Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Big letters, small letters

Apologies for the random font sizes that are now on the blog. I read this very interesting and useful article, which said you shoud make your online fonts bigger. And it does make a huge difference. So I've changed my default font size. The trouble is, a lot of the articles were not using 'default', but I had specifically set the size to 'normal'. Which gave the same result. But now that the default's bigger, those ones haven't changed.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

How to make 12 swords in under 20 minutes

We were filming a scene for our nativity play yesterday - angels, to appear up in the 'sky' (i.e. on screen).

I wanted the angels to have swords, and previously I have used newspaper and tinfoil. But I really wanted something that would take less time to make, since it seems unreasonable to give a child a sword and then forbid him to use it, which means they would likely get destroyed beyond repair. Also, it was past my bedtime!

So this is what I did.
I used gold and silver card which I had bought for something else but it was really poor quality - however it was fine to be viewed from a distance.

For 12 swords:
  • 3 sheets A4 silver card (letter size would work too).
  • 2 sheets A4 gold card - brown or a colour would be good if it wasn't for angels.
  • 12 staples (glue would have been better).
What to do:
  1. Cut the silver sheets into 4 strips (for A4, mark at approx 5.25cm, 10.5cm, 15.75cm - accuracy's not that important)
  2. Cut the gold sheets in half long-ways (approx 10.5cm), then in thirds (approx 9.9cm and 19.8cm)
  3. Fold silver strips longways - easiest if you draw a heavy line with a ballpoint pen on the back where you want to fold. Cut off the point at an angle.
  4. Fold gold pieces in half. Cut out a sort of L-shape from the non-folded side. 
  5. Overlap hilt on blade an inch or so, and attach. I used a single staple on the fold so it didn't show - glue would have been better.
Top: the swords.
Middle: as worn for filming.
Bottom: The heavenly host engage in some post-filming combat practise.

By the way, the swords are really for display purposes only. They were not handed out until the camera was ready to roll, and after filming they probably lasted less than 5 minutes in action!

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Natural Ingredients

Q: I have developed a rash/irritation - why if your product is natural?
A: Nad's is made from natural ingredients, therefore it is not usually the ingredients, which cause irritation
Because, as we know, natural things never cause skin irritation. Except for nettles. And rosehips. And poison ivy. And giant hogweed. And wild parsnip. And jellyfish. And... 

I remember reading another ad once:
And, because all our ingredients are natural, you can know it's completely safe.
Because everything natural is safe. Like arsenic. And toadstools. And undercooked kidney beans. Yew berries. Lupins. Deadly nightshade. Hemlock. Aconite. Belladonna. Poison-arrow frogs. Portuguese men-of-war. Cyanide. Mercury. Death...

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

I wonder

I wonder if, milennia in the future, archaeologists will come across a layer in their excavations whose distinguishing characteristic is the large quantity of tiny brightly coloured rubber bands?

Wednesday, 26 November 2014


Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.
Japanese proverb 
I tend to err on the side of the first bit :-)

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Psalm 23 book

Look what a customer sent me!!!

They used my Psalm 23 PowerPoint in their service, and then printed this book out for the kids to take home after the service. Looks really professional.

It's fun seeing the text in Dutch. I'm glad I decided to use editable text on all the PowerPoints.


Look at the wee sheep on the back :-)

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Boy angel costumes

It's that time of year again when we look out the tea towels and dressing gowns* and dress up little girls as fairy princesses angels.

But why the little girls? Despite all the costumes and cards, angels in the Bible are not fairies. Or Disney princesses. Or even gently inspirational people.

In the Bible, angels are men**. God's messengers and warriors. Sometimes they ride in chariots of fire. And they're definitely not twee & sissy. 

If we believe the account of Jesus' birth is true, not just a traditional seasonal story, should we not be portraying what the Bible actually says - and therefore have the angels acted by boys?

This, of course, causes a problem. I want the wee boys in my Sunday School class to think being an angel in the nativity is a privilege - not an insult! 

So you need to teach them what an angel is. Last year our Sunday School had just been learning about Elijah and Elisha and the chariots of fire, which was ideal, as I could really play up the 'some angels are God's warriors' thing even before we started talking about Christmas. Make sure they know the angels that appeared above Bethlehem were the heavenly army (that's what 'host' means.)

You also need to have a costume that your nativity angels can be proud to wear, so they (and their parents) don't feel they're playing a 'girl's part'. 

Here's our boy angel costumes from last year. They were very popular!

Gabriel and the angel that came to the shepherds.
  • Tunic - Large white man's T-shirt. 
  • Breastplate - metallic bubble wrap. I got the gold years ago. Silver is easier to get - it's sold as insulation! Better than cardboard as it will last for years and won't crease.
  • Gold/silver elastic for breastplate straps.
  • Flame (optional) cut from orange opalescent sticky plastic. 
  • Belt and headband - For the two main angels I used shiny flame-coloured dress fabric I couldn't resist! To avoid sewing, shiny ribbon works well too - I used gift wrap ribbon for the heavenly host.
  • Sword - main angels had swords from a £ shop - heavenly host had newspaper swords wrapped in foil.
For speed (when dressing large numbers of hyper children in minimal time), tunic & breastplate are designed to be put on all at once: 

Beforehand, breastplate is safety-pinned to T-shirt, then gold elastic tied to pins and crossed at back. Elastic is pinned on shoulders and under arms. 

Then only the belt and headband need tied on separately, and the sword stuck in the belt. They were strictly instructed not to remove the swords during the play, with promises of being allowed to play with them afterwards :-) 

Boy angel extras, with view of crossed over elastic on back.

*Not if I can help it, but that's a whole other post on what first century people actually wore. 

** At least, when appearing in human form they appear as men whenever gender is specified. That's not to say there might not be female ones we don't know about (but we know Gabriel appears as a man). They may of course be genderless in reality - certainly they're asexual.