The Joy of Snow….up close

IMG_1501Can you see tiny snowflake shapes twinkling?IMG_1530
IMG_1528What about now, slightly closer up?IMG_1524

IMG_1509I’m sure I never used to see ‘proper’ snowflakes when I was a child. Was I just not looking carefully enough, caught up in the more exciting activities that come with snow? Is this viewing of snowflakes the consequence of age or has the type of snow we get changed?

I’d love the opportunity to see snowflakes under a microscope but for now, the macro function of my camera will do.

All images taken with Canon Digital Ixus 80IS and edited with iPhoto.

Inspiration from Little Tin Bird, here. Scroll down to the last picture.

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Flake off

A few days ago, one of my friends shared a picture on Facebook of the paper snowflakes she had been making with her husband. It reminded me of how much I like to make them. I like that I can never really quite picture how they will turn out as I am chopping away at my bit of folded paper. It’s a little surprise every time I unfold one.

I am a bit of a pedant when it comes to snowflakes. I like them to have the scientifically required six sides. Unfortunately it’s not as straightforward to fold a six sided flake as an eight sided one. I never got the hang of it until my children were given a Christmas activity book a few years ago. So here is a little walk through for the mathematically challenged amongst you.

First of all, you need a square of paper. The pictures below will show you how to make one by folding a piece of A4.

 

 

 

Then you need to fold your square, first in half diagonally (I can only spell that thanks to JK Rowling).

Next you can fold it in half again.

Now the tricky part, trying to fold it into three. I can usually do it by eye. You don’t have to be 100% accurate. If you want to be more accurate you can use a ruler or a protractor.

 

The pointy bits at the top are surplus to requirements so trim them off. You’ll be left with a triangle shape as below.

 

 

At last, the fun part, cutting out a shape. You will find by trial and error what works for your tastes. I like my snowflakes to be quite ‘pointy’ so I end up cutting away quite a lot of paper. I don’t usually draw a pattern on before I chop but for the purposes of completeness I did this time.

 

 

The Moment Of Truth…….Ta Dah

Like the shape, dislike the creases

Can you believe I actually got the ironing board out and pressed my snowflake? I’m not sure what the safety implications of this are so don’t sue me if you set fire to anything. I placed mine between two pieces of card, but maybe between two tea towels would be better. It was worth it as you can see in the next picture.

Much better, nice and flat. You can play spot the difference too

After I had chopped up a few pieces of pristine A4 printer paper, it  occurred to me that I could recycle the envelopes from any Christmas cards that arrived. I was probably inspired by the fact that one of them was already a square. I cut out and used the side with the address written on it. Obviously the reverse was clean white paper, so, that was the side I displayed. I suppose it depends where you intend to hang them. If they are in a window the light shining through will probably show up the fact that it’s not a fresh piece of paper. As I was sticking mine on the glass of my display cabinet, it didn’t matter.

As you can see from my initial picture, I’ve made a few different sizes. The biggest ones are from a piece of A4. The smallest ones were made from the strip cut away when turning A4 into a square. I find that the bigger the paper, the easier they are to cut and handle. I think the variety of sizes looks interesting and if you are recycling, it’s inevitable anyway. Now I just need a few more to fill in the spaces. Oh, and I think I might have to do the ironing trick a few more times too.

 

To Drive the Cold Winter Away

There are weather warnings about today. Alas, there is no snow forecast for my neck of the woods, just high winds and rain. This time last year we had about 10 inches of snow and unusually cold temperatures. I really love snow, probably because the furthest I have to travel in a day is to the school or shops at the bottom of my road. I did that pulling a sledge quite  a lot last year. Thinking back, I must have looked quite a sight since I was over 34 weeks pregnant.

My Dad was a real lover of extreme weather and he has passed his sense of excitement about it on to me. It seems a bit sad that the two most severe winters we’ve had have been since he died.

January 2010

Despite the lack of snow, it’s been a festive day here today. I attended my second nativity show at my children’s school. Son number one had a starring role as lead shepherd. Unfortunately he looked really tired, every time I turned the video camera onto him there seemed to be a yawn escaping. He’s had a lot of trouble getting to sleep the last few nights. I put it down to general excitement and a developing cough.

After the school performance, I came home to a nice tidy house, thanks to my Mum who had been keeping an eye on babykins. I soon had a peaceful, tidy house as babykins had a lovely long nap. I climbed up to my CD collection which is now on a high shelf through lack of use and retrieved my ‘winter’ CD. This was given to me by my Aunt a few years ago and though I love it, I’ve probably listened to it less than ten times. It’s a very atmospheric recording, mainly of old sounding folk songs. The voice of the singer is beautifully pure and is accompanied by just a harp, accordion or whistle. On days when it’s wild outside, it really does ‘Drive The Cold Winter Away’.

I lit my vanilla candles, made cup of tea and got busy with the crochet hook. Actually, I started off by darning in the ends on all the stars I’d whipped up the other night.

I’ve been enjoying crocheting stars and snowflakes. I think I may have to keep doing them into the New Year so that I have enough to create something with next Christmas. The stars came from an Australian blog called The Royal Sisters. The pattern, called ‘The Grandma Twinkle’ is here. They are really easy, though I find that I need to use the edited final round in order to make them sit flatter. So far I’ve only made two snowflakes. One was my own design that I just made up as I went along

My own design

The next one was from the crochet snowflake tutorial at Attic 24 (thank you Lucy). Following Lucy’s pattern was much easier than making my own up.

Attic 24’s Snowflake

I also blocked out all my stars and snowflakes so that they will be much more pointy. I’ve used a couple of my foam yoga blocks, covered in a layer of muslin. They are ideal for pinning out these little beauties. I spray them with cheap laundry starch, available from Boyes store (source of all crafting materials in my town).

I’m hoping that I will be able to create a few more individual snowflakes, after all, ‘in the wild’ no two are really alike.

It’s still blowing a gale outside tonight. Time to go to bed and dream about snow. As I’ve been organised and bought a super new sledge and snow boots for the children It’s probably the nearest I’ll get this year. Mother Nature always has the last laugh.