Archive for Woodwork and Building

Not back to School Norfolk…

Sam would have started school this month, but happily we are home-educating! So to celebrate not-starting-school, we went on a trip to North Norfolk for the week with our friends.

We were blessed with beautiful weather, and so spent most of our time outdoors…

Crabbing at Wells-next-the-sea,

Tree walking,

and storytelling,

and den building at Bewilderwood.

And moving the furniture in!…

Sailing boats in the stream,

and finding a hedgehog in our garden!


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A Railway in a Day

Last week we made a railway:


From this!

Here’s how we did it…

First we turned the table upside down onto a piece of 4ft by 2ft, 6mm MDF which we bought from the local DIY store. We screwed two strips of wood to the long edges of the board to hold it securely in place on the table, without having to fix it permanently.

Then we started planning the layout…

…as usual the trains couldn’t wait to try it out!…


When we were happy with our design we drew around the edges of the track with a pencil, and also took an ‘aerial’ photograph so that we could remember later which pieces went where…

Then got started on the painting:

We used our regular children’s paint, and followed the pencil lines only very loosely, so we got quite a vibrant, energetic feel to the ‘landscape’.

When it was dry, (or almost dry, as we just couldn’t wait any longer…), we stuck the track back down with wood glue.

Added some wooden buildings and trees, animals and of course, some trains. We stuck the trees and buildings too, but not the animals (or trains!)…


…and Voila!

Sam has played with it LOADS everyday since we made it.

Here’s some other views:


As an afterthought, I think we probably should have varnished over the painting before sticking the track down, as it would have made it more durable and more or less waterproof (useful when beakers of juice get placed on it etc.). But then, varnishing would have meant another (pretty messy) stage with a lot more drying time, whereas the way things were – we completed the whole project in less than a day – start to finish, and still had some time left to play with it! Also, there’s nothing stopping me varnish even now on an evening. Apart from writing this blog and a rather large pile of ironing that is…x

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Our vegetable beds 2009

Here’s a back-dated look at our vegetable beds from last year. This was the first year any of us had tried to grow vegetables. My Dad kindly helped us build the beds from recycled railway sleepers:

At the end of March we planted some salads: radishes, cut-and-come lettuce, rocket, spinach, garlic and pak choi:


To begin with they all got lots of sunshine…

…and grew really well. The radishes were delicious, not one of them made it onto a dinner plate!



After the first crop however, we had real trouble getting any more to produce fruit. We tried four more crops of radishes over the summer and they all came up but with no root to eat. I wonder if the taller crops took the sunlight from the shorter ones? We will try again this year however. Hopefully next month the weather will be warm enough to start planting again…will keep you posted…

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