Posted in Blog

Merry Christmas, and Goodbye 2020

I haven’t really been there for you all this year. To be honest, I haven’t done a lot of writing myself. It’s hard to be creative when the world is in upheaval.

As I take my leave until 2021 I want to thank all of you who kept reading my sporadic thoughts and advice. I want to wish you good health and safety and a brighter year to come. If you celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah then please enjoy your celebrations with your family and friends, and I hope you find comfort and peace in your faith. If you don’t celebrate these religious occasions, then I hope that you can wave goodbye to this year with a smile (a perhaps a tear) and step confidently into the coming year.

I really am grateful for everyone who finds thier way, one way or another, to Pieces of String.

Until next year!


Posted in Blog

Good-bye for Now

Today is exactly one month before Christmas. As always at this time of year I’m taking a break from Pieces of String but I will return in 2020 and, if you follow me on Instagram, I’m sure I’ll still be adding things there (probably in the sporadic way I do now).

I want to take this time to wish you a safe and love-filled end to the year, whatever your faith and wherever you are in the world. So many wonderful things have happened during 2019, but I also feel it’s been a year of conflict, many of them conflicts about how people feel we should act now, for the future of our world and species. I’m hoping that next year we are all able to find more common ground, peace and co-operation.

I hope Pieces of String has helped in some small way to encourage you with your writing. An art like ours truly helps people make sense of the crazy world we live in, as well as giving us a voice, and it’s worth pursuing even if it’s only for our own wellbeing.

If you are Christian, I wish you a very happy and safe Christmas. If not, I wish you a very happy and safe end to your year. Thank you to everyone who has joined me here at Pieces of String. There will be a couple more posts this week but otherwise, see you in 2020.

Posted in Blog

The Countdown Has Begun

Oo, the Christmas countdown has begun. In my part of the word the birds are singing, the flowers are blooming, the days are heating up and it’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas (of course, depending on who you are it could also be feeling a lot like Hanukkah).

Christmas is, without doubt, my favourite time of year. Everything is prettier, the sun shines brighter and the kids are off school for six whole weeks! Everyone and everything feels just that little bit happier around Christmas time and, right now, that’s a feeling that I grabbing with both hands.

So, let the games begin!

Posted in Blog

Taking a Break

Ugh. I’ve been all over the place with my poor blog in the last couple of months. It’s like a middle-child, loved but over-looked. Luckily it’s not a real child because that analogy is a bit depressing (I’m a middle-child myself). But seriously, my husband got very sick (not scary sick but still, really really sick), my youngest is readying himself to begin school next year and my eldest has been having a few small issues with a boy at school. So, I’ve been distracted.

With all this in mind I’m going to take my break early this year. I usually knock-off from the blog on December 1st and stay away until February 1st. Christmas and summer holidays coincide here, neither of which is conducive to productive writing. I’m stealing a few extra weeks.

So, until the New Year, I hope you stay safe and well. If you celebrate Christmas I hope it is a magical and peaceful time for you, if you don’t but you celebrate another religious festival I hope it is equally as wonderful for you. And if neither thing is your thing, I hope you just enjoy passing from one year to the next.

Next year I’ll be back with more writing tips, more two-sentence stories (of which I hope many will be yours) and more general chattery (which is not a word but I wish it was).

Lots of love,


Posted in Blog, Something Different


Wishing you all a most wonderful Christmas and a glorious summer (or winter, depending on where you are in the world). For my part I will be enjoying it with my beautiful husband and adorable children, thinking of absent friends and family who are much loved and often remembered. I hope that I will be eating too much, laughing all day and paddling my feet in the paddling pool.

I hope the new year brings you everything you could wish for that is good and hopeful and inspiring.

Oh…and don’t forget to read a few books.

Merry, merry Christmas.

Posted in craft

Christmas Craft – Pom Pom Santa.

Christmas is coming!

I love Christmas. I scoff at the suggestion that, ‘Christmas is really for kids.” Firstly because I’m Christian and, for me, Christmas is about more than just celebrating time with family and friends (although that’s wonderful too) and secondly because, while my children bring something new and special to Christmas for me now, I still have the same excitement and sense of wonder about Christmas that I had when I was a child.

Also, if Christmas is really just for kids, how do you explain the lashings of port, brandy or rum that can be found in just about everything? From the mince tarts, to the Christmas pudding to the glaze for the ham?

Anyway, this leads us to a kid-friendly Christmas craft (and the first kid activity to be posted on this blog).

Here’s what you’ll need:

Coloured paper


Knitter’s needle

Wool pom pom

Extra wool to match pom pom

A bit of blue tac or plasticine

A glue stick

Cotton wool

Here’s what you (and the kidlets) will need to do:

1) Make a pom pom. This is fairly simple to do – cut out two discs from an empty cereal box. Tracing around the top of a egg cup will give you the perfect size.

Poke a hole in the middle of each disk and cut a hole in the middle that is big enough for you to pass the wool through.

Hold the cardboard rings together, hold the end of your wool to the disk, pass the rest of the wool underneath the rings and through the hole.

Cross over the end that you’re holding, pass the wool under the discs again and through the hole, and pull it tight to anchor the end of your wool in place.

Continue this until the disks are completely covered in wool and you can no longer pass your wool through the hole in the centre.

Anchor the end of your wool by passing it under some of the tight strands. Using a pair of sharp scissors, work the point of the scissors through the wool and between the two discs. Cut the wool all the way around but do not remove the disks yet. Pass a strand of wool between the rings and make a tight knot then remove the disks.

And there you go, one pom pom. Now on to making your Santa.


From your coloured paper cut out one face shape, one semi-circle (hat), one long rectangle (belt), two boot shapes, two glove shapes, two small pink circles (cheeks), one small yellow square (belt buckle), two small black rectangles and two small yellow rectangles.

The age of your child will dictate whether you cut all the shapes out and they do the gluing, or they do it all. My son is three and a half. He love scissors *shudder* but he’s not capable of cutting out shapes like the ones above.


Start constructing the parts of your Santa. Stick the rosy cheeks onto the face and pencil in the eyes, nose and mouth.


Glue the yellow square to the middle of the long black rectangle and then glue the two small black rectangles on top. Fold the small yellow rectangles in half and glue to the top of each boot.


Wrap the belt around the middle of the pom pom and glue the ends together.

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Put one of the boots on the blue tac and punch a hole in the top of the boot with a sharp pencil. Repeat with the other boot.


Run a piece of wool though the hole, tying it off with a knot.


Using the knitter’s needle, pass the piece of wool up through the pom pom. When you’re happy with the length of the leg, tie a knot in the top and trim the strand of wool. Repeat with the other boot.


Ooooo, look, Santa has legs…and a weird…disembodied head.

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Glue the hat to the head and add a beard and the fur on the edge of Santa’s hat.


Glue a rectangle of card into the top of the pom pom. You might have to squeeze for a little bit to make sure it’s properly stuck. This will be what you stick your head onto so, to avoid freaked out kids, make sure it’s well stuck.


Stick Santa’s head on.

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Attach the hands and arms in the same way you did the legs except use only one strand of wool. Attach the hand to one end, pass the wool through the pom pom and attach the remaining hand to the other end and tie off. Add cotton wool to the tops of the gloves.


And there you go. Trace over the eyes you pencilled in earlier with a black pen.

This little guy takes about an hour to put together, if you’ve got the pom pom already made.

If you don’t celebrate Christmas or you don’t have the time to do this activity right now (maybe you’re busy for some reason…is there some big event coming up soon that might have you stressing out a tad?) then it can be varied in many ways.

What about a pink pom pom made into a pig? A black pom pom turned into a bat?

I’d love to hear your ideas for variations and I’d really love to see your kids creations.

Merry Christmas.