Sunday, 22 March 2015

FutureLearn and MOOC's

Has anyone else tried MOOC learning? A MOOC is a Massive Open Online Course which anyone can join as the only entry qualification is an interest in the subject.

FutureLearn is a UK based site owned by the Open University which draws on a worldwide range of partner Higher Education Institutions (HEI's). However there are many other mainly US based providers such as Coursera , Edx and Udacity  Some are larger with a wide content range and others are more niche or offer add-ons like a nanodegree! Coursera is the largest and even has some specialist content in Teacher Development which might be of interest to those of you involved in education or who are in professional roles where developing staff is part of your portfolio.

I've only used FutureLearn so far and have enjoyed it as I've found the learning to be engaging and of a high quality. The flexibility is key as it can be done anywhere when you have the time and an internet connection. There's also no need for a sun worshipping feline paperweight snoopervising your studies!
So far I've enjoyed an 'Introduction to Forensic Science', 'Decision Making in a Complex and Uncertain World' and 'What is Character? Virtue Ethics in Education'. So whether you are looking to develop a new interest, further a current one or just to challenge yourself then a MOOC might be worth exploring.

Note: This isn't a sponsored post I'm just sharing something I enjoy with anyone who might enjoy trying a course for interest, online and totally free.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Marching Onwards

So much happening, so little time and we are already into March. The laptop has come home again so posting and commenting is much easier. It seems to still not to be particularly healthy but is working for now. I've been loving visiting your blogs and your posts have sustained me. Commenting has been hard as the tiny tablet seems to struggle to cope with my blogging account and I couldn't download any pictures.

Last month was mainly taken up with my beloved little cat's surgery, recovery and return home. Our 'Dick Whittington' trip to the Royal Veterinary College in London for her neurosurgery seems to have been a success as her tumour was removed and she is very quietly almost officially in remission from her diabetes.
She travelled beautifully on the train to London charming all she met and lapping up cuddles and scratches from anyone who wanted to say hello.
I am documenting her story on my cat blog as its been quite a time and a half. She is only cat No.25 who has had this surgery and huge thanks need to go to the Neurosurgical and Critical Care teams at the RVC who actually are magical!
 An amazingly big thanks also has to go to Magic's wonderful vet at Glasgow Veterinary School as she has held my hand and Magic's paw the whole way through and maintained really supportive contact. We'd have been lost without her.
I'm was surprised to see my blog named by Angel Jem to answer Leibster questions. Thanks so much for this and I'm looking forward to answering the questions. Post to follow unless of course I actually win tonight's Lottery and can enact my first big purchase! Huge thanks go to the lovely blog friends who have sent kind wishes and emails while I've been missing from the blogosphere.

So what is new in Casa Gone Beading? My Mother continues to deteriorate, has frequent falls and now really hasn't a clue who I am anymore. Dementia really is a long drawn out and cruel bereavement. Its hard to face my feelings around this right now particularly as close friends have lost loved ones recently and are struggling with ill relatives too. My situation is really just an inexorable deterioration so more minor by comparison even though it is hard to face.

Technology and inanimate objects have clearly decided to act up. My boiler has broken and the 'Home Emergency' insurance cover decided it is beyond economic repair as they costed it at a whole £53 above my £1000 cover limit and chose not to allow me to cover the excess. So it was welcome to Chilly Towers for a week and a half. I've had to source as many quotes as possible in as short a timeframe to get a new boiler. After the major financial hit of Magic's surgery less than a month ago buying a brand new boiler counts as a financial disaster. Its ironic that the insured boiler was deemed not worth repairing so the problem lands squarely back on me.
Lookie the light is on, and this one is WORKING....!
 
Heating and hot water are a necessity. The convector heater did the job of heating a room but I'd have killed for a proper shower instead of the kettle shimmy to the bathroom. I found it hard to get my head round boiler knowhow in order to choose an installer as each quote came with another titbit of information or something else to ponder. However, I decided the first company which gave me a quote had been the most open, helpful and straightforward. It's a small company but they've been impressive and I'm glad I chose them. 
Lovely steaming hot water!

In addition to my own laptop being cranky I also managed to drop my work laptop which now only works if docked as its screen is gubbed! This constitutes a bit of a disaster and the last two weeks have contained 'major hassle or impediment of the day' and to add to my misery including a trip to the GP with an abscess. I think I very much underestimated the stress value of everything that had been going on. My body made it clear though on the weekend after Magic came home as I was only wakened for three hours in total from Fri evening till late on the Sunday morning. Thankfully the cats got their food and Magic her drugs and testing in the brief snatches of time where I was actually upright and conscious.

Crafty-wise, I dusted off the sewing machine and it took me a whopping 7hrs to make a padded tablet carry bag and slip pocket for the back of my 'expletives simmit' for the tablet. 
 

I feel very much in the remedial sewing class as well as being a blooming disaster magnet. I don't see me applying for the Great British Sewing Bee anytime soon. I loved the final episode of this as there was none of that nasty competitiveness as the three finalists really seemed to look after each other. So well done to them all.

I made another soft blanket for bringing Magic home from London and I'm now crocheting a cowl neck poncho in the same gorgeous chenille Flutterby by James C Brett for myself. It really is the most gorgeously soft cuddly yarn.
I want it as a garden poncho to keep me warm when sitting out in the garden once the sun has gone down. I waste my garden as I never use it and I keep thinking I need to find the love for it. I'm still deciding how long the poncho should be and plan to edge the hand holes and edging once its finished.
I don't have a pattern for this, so I sort of created my own from seeing Lucy's Ta-dah post. Mine isn't an elegant one like hers instead it is a big huggy cosy one that looks more Yeti than fashion forward. I fancied doing each row as a different stitch but gave up as I was enjoying the comfort of just doing trebles.
I've done something wonky to the neck. I think when I increased to the next row I went round the wrong way. Its not too bad as this mistake actually gives it a crease point for the cowl to fold. I may have to put a drawstring round the neck but I'll see once it is finished. 

Every time I do a couple of rows I sling it over my head willing it to grow. When the boiler broke I felt like crocheting it while I was wearing it! James C Brett are bringing out new more adult colours in Flutterby soon. No, dirty minded people, not shades of grey.....but a plum, blue, beige and pink. I only have access to the older shades so my poncho definitely looks more shades of ice-cream- Vanilla, Parma violet, Pistachio and Raspberry. I've been loving binge watching episodes of Stella on the Now TV box while crocheting when I can and I have only a few episodes left to go from the latest series. Don't know what I'll watch when it is finished.

Well, I think that's us more or less caught up and now I'm going to pop round and looking forward to being able to comment on your blogs.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Grow Your Blog 2015

Welcome to anyone coming here for the party and lots of love and thanks to Vicki at 2 Bags Full and her little helpers for being hostesses with the mostest!
This is the second year that I've joined in and I just loved last year as I really expanded my blog reading horizons and found so many lovely bloggers. I will be doing a giveaway and will announce it soon. This is not to encourage you to make a second visit but because I am a bit scatty at the moment!

Grab a glass of fizzy apple juice as I tell you a little about my blogs.
I am from Glasgow, Scotland
and have two blogs, this one all for me and over at pepsimaxaddict is all about my nutty cats and my life in their service
Originally the blog started off with jewellery making (and rescue from sneaky predators doing bite tests)
 Right angle weave heart key ring
 Paracord bracelet
Angel keyring
Chainmaille
 
As time has gone on I've diversified in to other crafts such as crochet, knitting, decorative glasswork and wrangling a sewing machine.





 
 
even the Christmas tree got the crafty twist this year

I also love taking you along with me on virtual trips and days out
Wallace Monument, Stirling 
Luss, Loch Lomond
 Rob Roy MacGregor
 Girl on a Suitcase Gourock
 Gourock
 Milngavie
 Start of the West Highland Way Milngavie
Duck Bay Marina, Loch Lomond 
I love sharing my love of reading and listening to audiobooks
 
I also blog about random items, things that I have on my mind and certainly in the last year I've blogged about events such as the Scottish Referendum. However, my interest in politics and world affairs is very limited so these were probably one off events!
 I have a few relatives I've been considering recycling!  
 Irn-Bru's very apt Commonwealth Games campaign 
George Square, Glasgow on the eve of the Referendum 

Thank you so much for visiting and I hope this has given you a little flavour of what my blog is all about. Please feel free to leave a comment if you'd like and enjoy the rest of the party.

With love,
RedSetter

Saturday, 17 January 2015

2015: Going Forward

2014 definitely wasn't the improvement I'd hoped for...
 ...and, for the first year that I can remember, I did not sit and have some personal reflective time at Christmas to review my year before moving onwards.
There have been some lovely things that have happened and most importantly it has been blessed by the most wonderful friends and colleagues in real life and through the personal conversations and support that have come through being part of the amazing blogosphere.
2015 is heralded by a number of challenges, which I have little to no ability to alter, right from the outset. I can't even contemplate how any of it it is going to pan out or where I am going to be at the end of the journey.
However, as I cannot trade in this life for one I'd prefer, which would be totally organised with no stray piles of ironing hiding behind the cat, then I think I am just going to have to face whatever arrives.
Last year's experience would suggest the best thing to do is just try to live in the moment and decide accordingly.
 This sounds a bit like an anti-plan but it's a pragmatic solution that might be a lesson in itself to learn how to go with the flow, and see the wider picture.
They say that life is all about the journey...
...so, here's to all of us, travelling on our personal journeys, and the blessing of good companionship to see us through.
Happy, wonderful 2015 to everyone.


Saturday, 27 December 2014