If you’d like to skip straight to the creative project and learn how to make a children’s travel game then scroll down until you see Blue’s paw print below.
This episode is subtitled: ‘Beryl too, eh?’
‘Here you go Jenny, my treat,’ said Beryl and she put a piece of millionaire’s shortbread in front of me. She looked over at Kim who was sitting at the table with me and said smugly, ‘It’s okay, I’ve put the money in the till.’
I’d slumped into a melancholy that Kim was doing her best to shake me out of. And Beryl was obviously trying to help as well, which was sweet of her.
Kim asked her for a piece of carrot cake and she scooted off to get it.
‘She’s working out okay isn’t she?’ I said.
‘I never thought I’d say this,’ Kim replied, ‘but I don’t know what I’d do without her now. She’s always going to be a bit rough around the edges but the customers love her and, even though she’s a bit clumsy-’
Right on cue, Beryl stumbled through from the kitchen. She managed to keep hold of the plate but its contents shot off and landed in a gooey mess on the floor. Blue, who’d been content in his basket at the front of the shop, sped over to make the most of the spoils.
Kim rolled her eyes and carried on chatting. ‘Beryl’s had a visit from an old flame,’ she said. ‘I think she’d better buck her ideas up if she wants to impress him.’
‘Well let’s hope she has more luck than I did with my old flame,’ I replied.
‘Oh me and my big mouth! I’m meant to be taking your mind off Shaun not reminding you of him. Here, have some more tea. It’ll make you feel better.’
I knew a cup of tea wouldn’t make me feel better about Shaun but I did appreciate her trying. And I certainly didn’t begrudge Beryl some happiness just because things didn’t work out well for me.
What’s Beryl’s story then?’ I asked, genuinely interested.
‘Well,’ she said and dipped her head closer to mine, ready to spill the beans. ‘He’s called Tommy and he’s just come back from Australia.’
‘Australia? Where did she meet him?’ I asked.
‘Oh, he’s local but moved out there nearly 40 years ago. Broke her heart when he went, apparently.’
‘Poor Beryl’, I said.
‘Gary didn’t like him. He was happy when Tommy emigrated and now he’s trying to persuade her to steer clear of him.’
‘But Gary was just a boy then. Surely he can let Beryl make her own mind up.’
‘He told me she’s always had poor taste in men,’ Kim continued. ‘A string of losers, he said.’
I looked over at Beryl, her nose to the floor while she cleared up the carrot cake, and I felt sorry for her. It couldn’t have been easy being a single mum and I bet Gary was a real trial at times. He’s always felt he’s a cut above his roots.
She stood up and smiled when she saw me looking over. I watched her wipe her hands down her apron, creating tramlines of cream cheese frosting, before turning away and carrying on serving customers. Good job Kim has her back to her, I thought.
‘Fancy something a bit stronger than tea at The March Hare tonight?’ Kim asked, obviously still trying to cheer me up. But I already had plans. My young niece Hannah was spending the night with me and I was keen to give her my latest creation. It was a game of noughts and crosses that she could take on holiday and I thought we could test it out that night. It’s not wine but it would still lift my spirits.
‘There’s my little beauty,’ said a man, cheerily, as he strode through Tulips and into the tea room.
‘Hello Tommy, love. Table for one?’
‘Yes please, Beauty. A pot of your finest tea and a traditional English scone with jam and cream please.’
‘That’s him! That’s him!’ whispered Kim. I’d clocked him already and he seemed like a decent enough chap. But more than that – I was completely envious of how comfortable they were with each other. Why do I get so nervous? Hmmm…. Never thought I’d be thinking of turning to Beryl for advice about my love life. ◊
How to Make a Children’s Travel Game
With Hannah due to stay the night I set to making a game she could take on holiday. I thought I’d whip it up in no time but since I’d decided to try a different method for my drawstring bag, it did take me quite a while to work it all out. But with so many photos this week, you should be able to follow my eventual method and complete it quite quickly.
First I started with two complementary fabrics, some white vinyl and 10 old (thoroughly washed) milk carton lids.
The easy bit for me was using my Cricut to cut out the noughts and crosses (the font I used was Marker Felt). I realise you won’t all have a Cricut so you could cut them out of the vinyl freehand, or paint them on, or just use five green tops and five red ones – anything to distinguish one set from the other.
Now for the bag. I used this lovely fabric for the spring planter and I’ve been waiting for a good project to use the rest of it up. I had just enough to cut two pieces 28cm x 38cm. You don’t need to be exact but something similar to those measurements would work well.
The next job is to iron Bondaweb to the back of the other fabric and cut the strips for the gridlines. I decided to make them 28cm x 8mm. The long measurement coincides with the width of the bag on purpose.
I placed them on the patterned piece to make sure they looked okay before peeling the backing paper off and ironing them into position.
The Bondaweb would stop the strips from fraying but I didn’t trust it to stay in position for long so I sewed one line of stitches along each of the strips.
Now to sew the bag together. I was inspired by this post from Tea and a Sewing Machine to have a go at French seams for this bag.
Firstly you pin and stitch the pieces with the wrong sides together.
Then you trim that seam, turn it inside out and stitch it again. If you use the same seam allowance each time, your first seam, once trimmed, will be neatly inside your second seam. Don’t trim the second seam!
I turned it right way out to check it was looking good.
Now, a drawstring bag needs a casing so you need to fold in the raw edge then fold again. The second fold needs to be large enough to take your ribbon or cord (my folds were 1cm then a further 3cm). I did actually iron these two folds while the bag was inside out so I’m not sure why I’m showing it to you like this!
Don’t sew it yet (like I did!). You need to make a buttonhole where the casing will be. I chose to do it on the front at the right hand side but you can do it where you like around your bag. The hole must be in the top layer only so unfold it, mark it and cut a small slit with sharp embroidery scissors. Because I’d already sewn my casing by mistake, it was easy for me to see the little holes in the fabric to judge exactly where the casing would be. You could just measure it to ensure you don’t cut too low.
I was working late at night so I’m not very proud of how untidy my stitching round this buttonhole is but it works just fine and isn’t noticeable now the ribbon is in. Phew! I used blanket stich, by the way.
Now it’s time to sew the casing. Make sure you sew close to the lower edge.
There we are, buttonhole safely within the casing, and only one layer deep.
Now for the ribbon or cord. Use a bodkin or safety pin to feed the ribbon through the hole, right around the casing and out again in the same place.
You could knot the ends together to stop them disappearing into your casing but I decided to keep them separate and put an old bead on the end of each one.
- Take your time to read these instructions carefully.
- If you don’t have a Cricut to cut your noughts and crosses use your imagination to distinguish between the two sets of counters.
- Milk carton tops
- Old beads
Hannah loved it and is probably boring her brother Jake with the game right now while they’re on holiday. If you like this then you might also like the memory game in episode 21 that was made along similar lines.
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