Salty Sam’s Fun Blog for Children
Now the winter evenings are drawing in and becoming ever darker do you find it a bit depressing?
When something really bad happens everyone feels sad. That is only natural, but sometimes you can feel sad when there seems to be no reason.
lf this is the case, the good news is that you can take action to try and make yourself feel better.
Human brains feel happier when it is a sunny day. This is because they produce a brain chemical called serotonin. With some people, low light levels can make them feel quite low.
There is actually a scientific name for this.
lt is called Seasonal Affective Disorder.
lt is called SAD for short – or winter depression. Some people call it having the winter blues or a touch of the Februaries or a case of the Februaries.
Sometimes you want to sleep more and do less. Sometimes you feel just plain miserable.
Of course, there are many other reasons to feel miserable as well, and brains can often slip into what is called a ‘negativity bias’. This is natural.
For the whole of human history the human brain has worked hard to protect us from potentially dangerous surrounding. A rustle in a bush could have been a sabre-toothed tiger or a highwayman (depending on when you lived).
l will put it another way. lf you were walking through a thick forest and you had some beautiful flowers on one side of you and a ferocious animal on the other side of you, which would you put your attention on?
So the brain wanted to focus much more attention on survival than enjoyment.
ln other words, bad things were more important to focus on than good.
Nowadays, the world is not quite as perilous because there is a lot more social order – but the brain hasn’t changed and often over-reacts to situations that are not life-threatening; like a hurtful comment or a bad grade at school. These situations become more upsetting than they need to be because of the way the human brain works, and if you are feeling a bit down anyway they seem even worse than usual.
So l thought l would take the opportunity this week to give you my Salty Sam top tips for keeping away the winter blues. And don’t worry, it is not much longer to mid-winter’s day and after that, the days will be getting noticeably longer anyway – and summer will be on its way – yay!
The first tip is to go out in the fresh air as much as possible and take exercise. Make as much use of all the sunlight you can when the days are so short. You don’t have to play football even; just a walk in the park at the weekend is good.
Every time you take some exercise in the fresh air it will give you a boost.
Swimming is good for you too – but make sure you dry you hair well before you go out in the cold air to go home. (This may not be possible right at the moment, unless you have your own pool.)
Gardening is also good for you – when the weather lets you get outside.
Humans feel good when they are outside with nature. lt is a good idea to have plants in your garden that are colourful in the winter. lt is a good idea to have a bird table so that your garden will always be full of life.
Play with animals too.
Set some goals to make you excited. Humans are goal-orientated creatures and you know what goals are important to you because they make you feel excited inside. Then focus on them – it is always good to have something to look forward to. They can be big goals or little goals. Write down a plan to list all the things you can do to make them happen.
Start your new project straight away. The first thing you might have to do is learn more about something. This is generally the first thing to do when you start a project – a library and the lnternet will have a wealth of knowledge to help you.
You might want to learn how to cook or plan your vegetable patch for next year.
Learn a new skill – like knitting or model-making or typing. These are good things to do on winter evenings. Learning something new takes a lot of attention and can be calming.
There is a saying ‘busy hands, quiet mind’ which means that if you are concentrating hard on doing something, you fret less about other things.
lf you think you have problems, talk to someone about them.
You know what they say, a problem shared is a problem halved.
Think more about solutions to problems than the problems themselves. This may sound strange but it works. lt is called being solution-orientated. People who are successful in life are very solution-orientated.
Talk to your parents or your grandparents or friends. Maybe you could talk to your brother or sister or cousin instead.
lf you have nobody to talk to and you problems are really getting you down, telephone Childline. Childline told me that calls to them do not show up on a phone bill so you can talk to them in secret. The calls are free.
lf your problems relate to your school work, talk to your teacher about them, she is there to help.
lf you don’t want to talk to anyone about them, write them down.
lt is amazing how when a problem is written down on paper and taken out of your head it looks smaller and easier to sort out. This is called a brain dump. Try it if you don’t believe me. Write down the problem and then list possible solutions.
Some people write down how they feel every day. This is called journaling. A journal is another name for a diary.
Speaking about what is upsetting you and writing about what is upsetting you uses different parts of the brain. So doing both can be helpful.
Keep your bedroom tidy. Have a bright light in there. Sometimes looking at a bright computer screen can help. (Find a film of a tropical beach to look at for a while.)
Wear bright colours. Put plants and fresh flowers in your room. Make some decorations to put up. Always have an interesting book to read at bedtime. Some books are so exciting you can’t wait to see what will happen next.
Listen to happy music and sing, sing, sing, dance, dance, dance.
Draw and paint pictures, write stories, arrange flowers; do whatever creative things you are good at.
Eat good, fresh, healthy food – your body, in a sense, is made from the food you eat.
One of the most important things to eat to help combat feeling depressed is Omega 3. You will get it from flax seeds (better milled – that means ground to a powder) that you can sprinkle on your salad or your porridge or you can buy oil capsules to take. They will make a really big difference to your mood.
You could also try chia seeds and ashwagandha to improve your mood.
Bergamot (that you find in Earl Grey tea) is a mood lifter too.
Watch happy films and comedies that make you laugh. Don’t watch the news too much because it focuses too much on the negative things in the world and the human brain is not designed to cope with that much negativity without getting really stressed.
The more you concentrate on happy things the less room there is in your brain for unhappy things. This is because your brain can only hold one thought at a time.
You need to exercise your chuckle muscle.
Be with people you like and play games with them, or join an after-school club if you can – people are social animals.
And help people too.
Helping people makes you feel good. Try to do a ‘random act of kindness’ every week – maybe even every day!
Some people call it doing your good deed for the day.
Oh yes, and keep reading my blog – there are lots of smiles on it.
lf you can think of more of your own top tips to add to my list, please write in.
lf you think the winter blues are going to hit you, it is wise to plan ahead.
Start doing these things before it hits you is what l mean.
Bye bye everyone – don’t forget to subscribe to my blog!
lf you like my blog, please support it by telling all your friends and followers about it.
And see you again next Fun Friday!
Love and kisses
Bill and Bob’s Joke of the Week
Bob: So what is your joke for this week Bill?
Bill: A horse walked into a bar – and the barman said, “Why the long face?”
Salty Sam © Christina Sinclair 2015
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of material from this blog without express and written permission from this blog’s author and owner is strictly prohibited.
Links may be used to www.christina-sinclair.com
Sometimes you have to see beyond what is
THE SALTY SAM NEWS DESK
If you are hoping for an MP3 player this year or you intend to spend you present money on one, here is a neat little pouch that you can make to keep it in. Then it won’t get scratched or tangled up when you carry it around in a bag.
If you put a long cord onto it, you will be able to hang it on the handlebars of an exercise bike.
Don’t listen to music if you cycle on busy streets though!
AN MP3 PLAYER KNITTED POUCH
POUCH (KNIT TWO)
Using 4mm knitting needles and red dk yarn cast on 16 stitches
Knit 1 row
Knit 1 row
Change to light green yarn
Knit 4 rows in stocking stitch
Change to red yarn
Knit 4 rows in stocking stitch
Repeat the last 8 rows 5 times
Change to light green yarn
Knit 8 rows in stocking stitch
Purl 1 row
Purl 1 row
Knit 1 row
Purl 1 row
Purl 1 row
Purl 1 row
Change to red yarn
Knit 4 rows in garter stitch
TO MAKE UP
- Sew up the bottom of the pouch with wrong sides together using red yarn and over-sew stitching
- Sew up the sides with the appropriate colour as you cross the stripes with right sides together
- Make a cord by crocheting 100 chains into a length of red yarn and thread this through the channel at the top of the pouch (you can make a shorter on if you like) then tie the ends together and neaten
When Bill and Bob heard about the topic for my blog post this week they thought it would be a brilliant idea to add some extra material to it themselves.
They found all these articles from the Rocky Bay Gazette to give you a smile…
News has come in of a lorry full of manure crashing into a tanker of sour milk. There was a terrible mess and the smell was just awful! Police have asked witnesses at the scene not to come forward.
At the local hospital for contagious diseases, the nurses have come out on strike, the doctors have come out in sympathy and the patients have come out in spots.
An unfortunate local man, Oliver Reest, sat down on a chair and missed it. He fell over and was taken to hospital. He said that it would not have happened with the benefit of hindsight.
The mayor of Rocky Bay held a grand banquet last week. It has been reported that it was so posh that the guests ate their ice cream with a knife and fork.
It was recently reported that local amateur archeologist, Hieronymus Potts, thought he had stumbled upon an ancient snowman burial ground. Unfortunately, it turned out to just be a field of carrots.
Local man, Herman Storm, has just got a job on television as a weather forecaster. He was so nervous on his first appearance that he predicted sunny periods through the night.
Apparently Brendon Twist, the contortionist, from the Rocky Bay Fun World will be absent from the fairground for a while. He has gone on holiday to unwind.
TO ADVERTISE ON THIS BLOG
Can you fill in the missing letters to find indoor sports?
- S _ i _ m _ n _
- G – m _ a _ t – c _
- B _ d _ i _ t – n
- W _ t _ r _ o _ o
- T _ b _ e _ e _ n _ s
- H _ g _ d _ v _ n _
- l _ e _ o _ k _ y
- K _ r _ t _
- S _ o _ k _ r
- C _ r _ i _ g
lt’s the Weekend!
HOW TO MAKE COOKlE CUTTER PRESENT LABELS
AND A BOX TO KEEP THEM lN
I expect you have started your present shopping by now.
Have you ever tried to make your own labels to put on them?
It can be very easy.
Once they are made you can start wrapping up your gifts and stacking them up under the tree!
You can use cookie cutters to make your shapes, but if you don’t have any suitable ones, you could just make a snowman shape by drawing around two circular bottle tops.
Once you have cut out your shapes in paper or card you can colour the pictures in.
Otherwise, you could print out some clip art and stick the pictures onto white or coloured card and cut the pictures out.
Whatever you decide to do, don’t forget to leave a plain space at the top of your label because you will need to make a hole here, maybe with a hole punch, so that you can thread some thread or cord or yarn through it and tie or tape it onto a present.
And then you might like to make this box to keep them all together.
- You will need to cut a lot of panels to make this box.
- Write out a list of all the panels you will need and tick off the items on the list as you mark your panels out for cutting.
- In order to keep wastage to a minimum, mark out your cutting lines with odd lengths of yarn before you start cutting. Sew them loosely into the canvas with a yarn needle and pull them out as you cut.
- Double and triple check your counting before you start cutting.
- Drag the point of a yarn needle across the canvas as you count and it will make a clicking sound as it moves. This will make it easier to count than doing it just by eye.
- This task will take quite a time but it is worth doing it properly.
- Put the panels into four piles so that you will know which panels belong to which part of the box.
Cut the following panels from plastic canvas:-
You will need 2 sheets of 7 mesh 10.5 by 13.5 inches/26.7 by 34.3cm
Cut the following panels:-
Outer lid top 35 x 21 holes 1 piece
Outer lid sides 35 x 4 holes 2 pieces
Outer lid ends 21 x 4 holes 2 pieces
Inner lid top 33 x 19 holes 1 piece
Inner lid sides 33 x 3 holes 2 pieces
Inner lid ends 19 x 3 holes 2 pieces
Outer base bottom 33 x 19 holes 1 piece
Outer base sides 33 x 15 holes 2 pieces
Outer base ends 19 x 15 holes 2 pieces
Inner base bottom 31 x 17 holes 1 piece
Inner base sides 31 x 14 holes 2 pieces
Inner base ends 17 x 14 holes 2 pieces
LABEL BOX LID
- Sew the sides to the top on the inner skin of the lid but do not sew up the corners – using white yarn will make the stitching less noticeable than a darker colour.
- Sew the sides to the bottom on the inner skin of the base but do not sew up the corners – using white yarn will make the stitching less noticeable than a darker colour.
- Put these two inner boxes to one side and work canvas work stitches onto the other panels using any colours you like but try to use a darker colour on the edges and corners of the box because these will get the most handling and wear.
- Embroider the lid top using the photograph as a guide – work the border first so that you can place your fir and star more easily. The border is made by working diagonal crosses over a square of nine holes with a cross of a contrasting colour placed on top.
- The fir is worked in cross stitches and the rest of the top is filled in with tent stitches.
- The star is just three lines of yarn sitting on top of the work.
- Put a border onto the bottom of the lid sides and a line of tent stitches above it.
- Sew the sides to the lid top and the corners together.
- Push the inner skin into place and sew around the rim of the lid – you will sew into only one layer at each end of each side.
LABEL BOX BASE
- Work squares of diagonal stitches along the bottom of the box sides to represent presents. Switch direction when you make the next present. You can put contrasting ‘ribbon’ wrap on each square – you can use a limited number of colours to match in with a colour theme or lots of presents wrapped in many different colours. When you make a present keep in mind the direction of stitches and colours you use at the end of each panel when you match work the next panel so that the corners match up and look neat. Make sure that the top of each present is lower than the bottom edge of the lid.
- Fill in the rest of the panel with tent stitches working up and down rather than across.
- Put a few bows on top of the presents if you like using lazy daisy embroidery stitch.
- Work the base just using tent stitches.
- Sew the sides of the box to the base and then sew the corners together.
- Push the inner skin into place and sew around the rim of the box – you will sew into only one layer through one hole at each end of each side.
Make sure you identify each panel piece before you start working on it.
WORKING ON THE LID
The fir tree is worked in cross stitches
Put one yellow cross stitch for the star at the top
Work the tree in green – working downwards :-
1 3 5 3 5 7 3 5 7 9
Work one stitch for the trunk in green
Work 2 rows of 3 stitches in red for the pot
The first layer of the border on the top of the lid
The lid panels
The side panels of the box
The base of the box
Base of box
Please note that the material on this blog is for personal use and for use in classrooms only.
It is a copyright infringement and, therefore, illegal under international law to sell items made with these patterns.
Use of the toys and projects is at your own risk.
©Christina Sinclair Designs 2015
Quick Quiz Answers
- Water polo
- Table tennis
- High diving
- lce hockey
For an Embroidery Stitches Chart
Check out Blog Post 3