The Home Front Project Part 2 – Wartime Homes

sandbagged_homes

Homes during the war had to change to compensate for the new ways of life that were emerging.

Some of the things that changed in many homes were;

–         Windows were sandbagged against bomb blasts to stop fragments of glass going everywhere.

–         Bedding was downstairs or in shelters if that was what was used instead of a shelter.

–         First aid kits were easily accessible encase of injury from blasts etc

–         Gum and paper was used for sealing cracks and gaps in homes in preparation for gas attacks. For this reason vents were also blocked.

–         Stirrup pumps and water in buckets were placed for fire fighting encase they were needed after a blast.

–         Gas marks were kept nearby in occupied rooms.

–         Sand in buckets with a shovel were placed encase there was an incendiary bomb was dropped.

–         Wireless sets were kept close for updates and entertainment.

–         Tinned food was more common as fresh food became more rationed.

–         Fireplaces, and sometimes doors were also blocked/sealed against poison gas attacks.

–         Ceilings were supported with wooden props so as to strengthen them against blasts.

–         Windows were taped so that if the glass breaks, it didn’t go everywhere.

–         blackout curtains were used

–         Pole fencing and earth filled soap boxes were put in place to shield doorways.

–         Street lighting wasn’t used in the blackout so that German bombers couldn’t easily identify target towns and cities by their light. For this reason bike lights were taped up, and car lights dimmed.

–         Homes often had a “victory garden” where they would grow vegetables and fruit in their gardens or allotments. Soil could be placed on roofs of Anderson shelters and extra plants could be grown on this.

–         To keep warm in their Anderson shelters, people used oil lamps to see and a flower pot heater (a candle under an upturned flowerpot.)

–         Iron railings were taken away from garden boundaries to salvage as scrap metal to melt down and use in munitions factories.

The two types of shelters people had in their homes were Anderson shelters (pictured below) and Morrison shelters. Anderson shelters were shelters made of corregated steel or iron that were half buried in gardens. They were 6 and a half feet long and by 4 and half feet wide.  Many were given away free but those with a big enough income had to pay £7.  Morrison shelters were shelters made from heavy steel, and were cage-like in appearance. If people didn’t have a garden, they could shelter under them during air raids. They were 6 and half feet long, 4 feet wide and 2 and half feet high.  These were often used as tables.

anderson_shelters

Morrison shelters in a way were better as Anderson shelters were cramped, cold, dark, often flooded and all the noise from outside could still be heard. Whereas Morrison shelters were inside so it was quieter, warmer and more comforting, especially as you didn’t have to run outside in the middle of the night. However, Morrison shelters could be more dangerous because if the house had a direct hit from a bomb, the occupants of the house could be buried inside their shelter and no-one would know.

Blackout curtains were heavy black pieces of material used in the war. They were important because at night they blocked out all light coming out from a house into its surroundings. It was important to do this so German bombers couldn’t be aided in their aiming by light being emitted and highlighting their target.

A wireless was an early radio that many people had in their homes. It was important because it gave updates on news events of the war, but also entertained people during the long nights or days and helped to keep up moral.

How To: Make Thank You Cards

I hope you’ve all had a good Christmas! I thought a good idea for my first post in quite aa while would be to share with you a little project you could try for yourself at home. A cute alternative to a thank you letter, which may be hard to write if you haven’t done anything exciting of late, is to send homemade cards. They’re great because they show effort, thoughtfulness and they’re also fun to do! So here’s some quick tips on how to make my design for this year 🙂

Spring Garden:

 spring_garden_female spring_garden_male

 

 

 

 

 

I made this design in two colour schemes because I thought pinks and purples were a bit too girly to give to my grandfather and great uncles!

What you’ll need:

  • Card blanks and envelopes (or simply fold some A4 card in half if you don’t have any pre-made cards)
  • Patterned paper (but only if your card blanks are plain, unlike mine above)
  • Brown and silver paper/card (the more textured and sparkly the better, although not necessary!)
  • Green tissue paper
  • Sewing thread (or wool), ideally in 3 shades of the same colour
  • Thank you stickers (or a silver pen)
  1. Stick the patterned paper onto your card blanks (if your cards are pre-printed with patterns, skip this step)
  2. Cut out a branch shape from the brown card (it should be about 3/4 the length of you card, when in landscape, long) and stick it about 2/3 the way up the card on the left hand side as above.
  3. Use the scraps of the brown paper to cut out 2 small branches and glue these on.
  4. From the silver card cut out a bird-box shape with a small handle like above, then cut out a small heart from the centre of this. Glue about 2/3 away along the main branch.
  5. From the green tissue paper cut out some leaf-shaped pieces (tip: to speed this up fold the tissue paper in half a few times so you make 4 or even 8 leaves at a time) and then glue these around the 2 small branches and at the tip of the bigger branch (about 4-6 leaves per branch looks the best)
  6. Now for the trickiest stage: to make the flowers wrap the sewing thread 8-12 times around your little finger, then remove it from your finger and tie it in the middle with ones strand of thread or some cotton, then cut the loops at either end to create a sort of mini pom-pom. Glue these tp the middle of the branches, spreading out the pieces of thread so the pom-pom becomes a flattened circle.
  7. Attach a thank you sticker, or alternatively write ‘thank you’ in a swirly font in the bottom right corner.
  8. Write yor message inside and you’re done!

I’d love to see your ersions of this design if you make your own, until then happy crafting!

Living in the Amazon (Amazon project part 3)

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There are hundreds of tribes in the Amazon. One of them is the Jackoona tribe. They were contacted during the 16th century, and since then, their traditions have changed, although some still many remain.  

Most of the time, their main priority is food. They only have a basic diet. On land,  they grow crops using a technique called shifting cultivation. This is where they clear an area of forest, maybe a few hectares. Then they plant and grow crops around tree stumps. They keep the tree stumps because the roots will hold on to the soil making sure the nutrients doesn’t wash away when it rains because there are no trees. When the land becomes infertile, they move and clear another few hectares while the first few hectares grow back into dense forest. The cycle carries on like this, and about 30 years after they cleared the first hectares of land, those first hectares of land is now fertile and ready to clear again. In the land, they grow mainly root vegetables, pineapples, bananas and beans.

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Another source of food is fishing. Most of the fish in the Amazon are freshwater fish. This is their main source of protein. One way they fish is by hollowing out a tree to make a canoe, then canoe down the river and use a net to collect fish, and then stab them so they die or shooting fish with an arrow with deadly accuracy. Another way is to build a dam in a stream. Then, get some poison roots from a tree and slit them. Meanwhile, some women will weave some baskets out of grass. They then wave the roots in the stream. This stuns the fish so they have to come up for air. They then catch them with the baskets.

Sometimes this food is not enough. If they have any left over food they do not need they take it to the market and trade it for modern clothes and other things like guns, but they mainly rely on the surrounding environment. If one man has any bullets to shoot, he will try to kill a monkey or bird. However, the bullets are expensive and successful shots are rare.

The Jackoona build there homes on stilts to keep them safe, dry and cool. These indigenous people use everything around them without destroying their environment. They all help each other, even the children.

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Now, businesses are trying to take over. Already they have forced or killed over half a million indigenous people like the Jackoona. The Jackoona children are now being taught Portuguese, maths and other useful skills just so they can survive in the growing world that is leaving them behind.

Another tribe is the Kabocka tribe. These people are more damaging to the environment and have some very different traditions. One of these traditions is when a child has gone through puberty; they are given an alcoholic drink during a special ceremony to make them unaware of what is going on. Next, they kneel down and everyone else in the village pulls out all of the hair on there head as a punishment for their sins as a child.

Their way of cultivation plays a major part in deforestation. Unlike the Jackoona tribe, when the soil becomes infertile, they just make that cleared area of land bigger. Therefore, instead of them using it as land to grow crops, they use it as pasture for the few cattle they keep for food, but of course the pasture is rubbish as the soil is infertile and hardly anything will grow there. This technique is called slash and burn cultivation. As their area of cleared and is so huge, children as young as six have their own plot to take care of.

l4

Another way the Kabocka get there food is by growing a poisonous plant called manioc. They have somehow managed to work out how to extract he poison. First they peel it and but in a special weaved basket made from palm leaves to squeeze out the poisonous juice. Next, they bake it in a massive pan to make a flour like substance, which is their main source of carbohydrate.

A different Kabocka tribe live on one of the many flood plains In the Amazon. During the wet season, they cut down long grass and feed the cattle and other animals they have. They fish, but it is harder to catch lots, as there is a bigger and deeper area of water. When the water gets shallower, the use fishing as a source of income, as well as saving some as a food supply for the winter months. During the dry season, they can grow many crops as the flood brings silt onto the flood plain, putting lots of nutrients back into the soil. They often find levees (natural mounds of silt) on the riverbanks.

The indigenous people having to change. As you move further east across the Amazon, the more these once independent tribes are becoming more involved with the outside world, like becoming more involved in trade. Living in the Amazon is an ongoing struggle between them and the growing pressure from the outside world. There are still uncontacted tribes out there but how long is it before the indigenous people are forced out of the way?

Christmas Activity Ideas

I’ve just finished planning the evening I’m going to be running at Cubs in December, the theme being Christmas crafts. So I thought I’d share with you some fun, quick and simple Christmas activities for children:

Baubles

Baubles are cheap to buy if you purchase the undecorated matt or shiny finish ones. They are also easy to make yourself by using paper mache to cover a balloon. Then once you have your plain baubles, let your child go wild with glitter glue, sequins, ribbon etc to create a funky and original ornament. They also make great gifts for your child to give to family members!

 

Cake Lollipops

For this quick and easy recipe, all you need is some cake (chocolate brownies or golden syrup cake work best as they’re quite moist), some chocolate (and cream if you want a creamier coating), some lollipop sticks and some sprinkles to decorate.

  1. Cut the cake into squares and roll each square into a ball about the size of a truffle, and insert the lollipop stick. (Cocktail sticks or coffee stirrers also work just as well)
  2. Melt approx 100g of chocolate (or 50g of chocolate in 100ml warm single or double cream) for every 300g of cake.
  3. Dip the cake balls into the chocolate and twist as you do this to get a nice, even coating.
  4. Decorate with sprinkles (or grated chocolate) then leave to set. (Punching small holes in an egg box and putting the sticks in these holes will ensure they set without the chocolate becoming stuck to anything).
  5. Enjoy!

Stand up Ornaments

You could use an old jam jar to create a snow globe by using a hot glue gun to stick a plastic Christmas figurine to the lid, then fill the jar with water and glitter, then simply screw on the lid and shake!

Alternatively, you can make paper or cardboard stand up snowmen, stars and trees by decorating two identical shapes, then cutting a slit in one from the top to the middle, then a slit in the other from the bottom to the middle – you’ll then be able to slot the two pieces together. They can be made by simply colouring the designs in or by using glitter, sequins, felt etc. depending on what you have spare at home. You can find the star design here and the Christmas tree and snowmen templates here.

 

Christmas Quiz

There are lots of fun facts you can find out about Christmas. For example, did you know Christmas pudding originates from a soup-like medieval Celtic food called frumenty? However the questions don’t have to be based entirely upon Christmas; you could include a general knowledge round, or a riddle round;

e.g. “My first is in last, but not in first, My second is in best, but not in worst, My third and fourth appear in tree, My fifth appears twice in Jubilee, My sixth is in Churcher but not in Hall, The catch is, I could be in them all! What am I?” (For the answer, click here)

If you would like a copy of my animated PowerPoint Christmas quiz send an email to rebeccacdenyer@live.co.uk 🙂

Let me know if you have a go at any of these things – I’d love to see the results!