Monday, December 27, 2010

Some new favorite goodies this holiday season

Homemade peppermint marshmallows  - Who knew? In hot chocolate...ymmmm...Next I may try these

Folding little Christmas trees - addictive. 

Caron Simply Soft yarn - Feels so good running through your fingers.  Read the reviews - I am not alone in this opinion.

Loops and Threads Country Loom yarn - I finished two-thirds of an afghan today.  No, not kidding. I may finish the rest tonight.

Chainless foundation  - These tutorials, here and here,  taught me how to make a whole line of single crochets without starting with a long chain stitch.    Therefore, the afghan.

The movie Tangled - The scenes featuring Maximus the horse were worth the price of admission. All over the theater I could hear adults as well as children laughing out loud. (We haven't seen Voyage of the Dawn Treader yet, but I'm sure it will be a favorite, too.)

A simple 4-in-1 cookie recipe that has been in my recipe box for years, but I never made it until this year.  My favorite version: lemon flavoring with dried Craisins. The recipe originated from McCormick.

Did you discover some new favorites this Christmas?

Vanilla Butter Cookies
4 cookies from one recipe
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 t salt
Flavorings/spices(see below)
Add-ins(See below)
Preheat 350 degrees.  Cream butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add egg and beat well. Blend in flavorings and spices.  Combine salt with flour; add to creamed mixture. Stir in add-ons.

Drop by rounded teaspoons, or roll into balls.  Flatten slightly with bottom of a glass dipped in flour or powdered sugar. Bake 10-12 minutes until slightly golden.

Flavorings and Add-ons:  
1. Vanilla Butter:  Add 1 T vanilla extract

2. Lemon: Add 2 t lemon extract plus 1-2 t. ground ginger

3. Cranberry Almond: Add 1 t. almond extract.  Stir in 1/2 cup driend cranberries ("Craisin") and 1/2 cup chopped toasted almonds. (Note I skip the almond and almond flavor, and make these lemon-cranberry)

4. Chocolate Mint: Add 1 t. mint extract along with 1 T. vanilla.  Add 1/2 cup cocoa to flour mixture.  Stir in 2/3 cup chocolate chips (I used chocolate mint M&Ms)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

December in St. Augustine, FL

Remember the cape I was making for a Spanish maiden in historic St. Augustine, FL?
When we read Felicity - An American Girl, we learned that the caps they are wearing are called 'mob caps.'  I don't know why. 

The tall handsome British Redcoat is her brother. 

When he was only about 6 years old, the first time they went as a family to an event in St. Augustine, his parents looked around and realized he was gone!  Someone pointed out that their son had joined the reenactors, who motioned that it was OK.  He marched along with them, very serious, having a great time.  Afterward, they invited him to join them next time.  He has been reenacting history ever since!

You never know when an encouraging word to a child may ignite a passion.  Those men, who could have shooed away a little boy, instead welcomed him and began to build a young man who would carry on their traditions.

Our next project:  gaiters!  The dress white gaiters he is wearing in the picture (white button-on canvas that runs from shoes to above the knees) are loaners - he needs his own black ones and white ones. We'll be working on those in 2011, and I look forward to posting pictures in uniform.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Holidays Will Never Be the Same

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving trip up to south Georgia.  We enjoyed spending some time with my parents, feasting, and visiting a bit with other relatives.  Then we traveled home safely on Saturday afternoon.

Our route took us through Thomasville, Georgia on U.S 19.  As we approached Thomasville, we began to notice people spread out along the northbound lanes.  They were all looking south.  We speculated about what they were waiting for.  Maybe we'll see their Christmas parade...but no, a Christmas parade wouldn't come this far out of town.  We noticed they were all holding flags, some small, some large.  I said, "I think this might be for a soldier."

When we stopped at an intersection, my husband rolled down the window and asked a lady waiting in the median with her flag.  Yes, a local young man had died in Afghanistan, and the community was honoring his service and supporting his family, waiting for the funeral procession to arrive.  She was gratified to hear that people were waiting at every intersection for the next 2 miles.

I have thought often and prayed often for the family of Army Specialist Shannon Chihuahua since then.  A combat medic, he put himself in danger to help wounded comrades. Brave. Dedicated. Selfless.

Now as these holidays approach, I pray for his family.  This will be their first Christmas without him.  Lord, please pull them close to your heart.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Old Math Joke

My good friend Science Geek posted a Cool Math Lesson today, and it reminded me of an old joke:

The young man comes home from college to his less-educated Daddy.  Daddy says, "Well son, whadya learn at that fancy college you're goin' to?"

The son replies, "Pi R square!"

Daddy shout, "Ya idiot!  Pie R round; cornbread R square!" 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

O come, let us sing for joy to the LORD,
         Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation.
 Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving,
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. 
For the LORD is a great God
And a great King above all gods 
Psalm 95: 1-3

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Paperless Society

We have health insurance through my husband's work, including access to a nice  Flexible Spending Account plan whereby we contribute to the plan based on our expected costs for co-pays and other non-reimbursed medical expenses.  In our case, that includes dental, orthodontic, and visual expenses we approximate.  Then we submit receipts and are reimbursed the $, and realize some tax advantages.  We think the plan, which is administered by a large well-known company, is mostly just...ducky. 

When we have had an issue, I have always been able to work it out through their pleasant customer service reps.  Since they are based near my hometown, we talk the same talk.

Just today I dealt with them on a couple of claims, one of which we worked out over the phone.  You will be glad to know my October 1 payment to the orthodotist will be reimbursed at midnight tonight.  Happy Thanksgiving!

They had also denied a $10 receipt because, their very helpful customer rep explained, "It's a Walmart receipt, and Walmart prints the store name on the back, so you have to copy front and back."  I asked how he knew it was Walmart, and he said, "ummm...from the bar code."

Then we laughed, because though he could read from the car code that it is Walmart, he cannot pay it without seeing the printed, "Walmart."

So why do we have this technology?  So much for the paperless society!

Just a little note - I have worked for the power company before, and have a good idea of how a customer can explode over program rules and requirements.  I could tell my rep today feared I might blow up over the submission requirements - he was braced for impact!  Part of his laughter was just plain relief that I did not give him a hard time.  The rep on the phone (or the little gal doing the energy audit) has no control over POLICY, and cussing him/her out will not make the day go better for either of you.  When you talk to someone who works for a large company with rules and regulations, be kind.  I have never regretted speaking kindly.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Recreating history

I am awash in a sea of brown fleece today, making a cape for a Spanish serving girl.

Our young friend goes to St. Augustine to take part in recreating history.  I'm embarrassed to admit that though we live less than 2 hours away from this historical city, we have yet to really do a history fieldtrip to St. Augustine.  

She'll have the cape at bottom right, but calf-length.

Our friend goes to St. Augustine every year to carry a lantern and be a part of history.  Her brother, a re-enactor since age 6, even gets to fire a musket! Since I did a little dress-up-and-play-history when I was young, I think it is really cool.  Because of the time I spent being an 1850's girl, I feel very confident about that period of history in south Georgia, at least, the everyday history of the doctor, the lady who spun cotton and wove it, the quilter, the potter, the syrup-maker, the shoemaker - I spent time in all their houses, showing them to visitors.  From age 9 until I was grown, I always had a long 1850's dress or skirt. 

We lit real candles on the tree in this stagecoach inn at Christmastime.  Over the years, we drank wassail, hung the greens, ate the yulelog cake (I never was the one who found the good luck pea), and in spring, danced around the Maypole.  I did not chase the greased pig on July 4th, though. 

Thinking about what I learned through my involvement there and how it enriched my life makes me wonder where and how I can help my daughter have some of this kind of experience. 

I hope to post a picture of the Spanish serving girl (a well-dressed serving girl), and maybe her brother the soldier in a few weeks.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Blessed are the peacemakers

"Yes!  You're both MY friends, and you're BOTH invited to My birthday party, and it's going to be a PRINCESS party!"
- quote from a little peacemaker, age 5                

I'm pondering how to best be a peacemaker when my friends are in conflict.  I'm not a natural at it.

Right now is a good time to ponder this, because right now I am NOT in the middle of such a conflict.  But one could pop up anytime, being sinners like we are.  And being a cowardly-type sinner, I am loathe to help out.  I just want to duck out of the way and wait until it's over.  Actually, I just don't want it to happen. But if it does, I want to be NOT involved. Can't we all just get along?

A few weeks ago, 2 little BFFs had a conflict at church; the kind that is important to little girls.  The kind that ended with two little pouty friends saying to me, "She's not my friend anymore, and she's not invited to my birthday party,"  and "Well, she's not my friend anymore either, and she's not invited to MY party either."   {DISCLAIMER: It was two little bitty girls; not Earthgirl}

Sigh.  Even with little girls, I'd rather back away.  But I waded in, pulled them to me, and reminded them that they have been friends for a long time - as long as they can remember, which is maybe three years.  I told them that it would be sad to say things like this to each other and hurt feelings when they were such good friends. 

And then I looked at their sweet, sunny friend, who was looking on with interest and concern, and said something like, "Maybe since you are friends with them both you can help them get along."  She agreed with me, put her arms around both waists, and sang out the joyous promise above.  What delight greeted her!  Princesses were discussed, smiles beamed, and invitations by all three to all three were exchanged.

I was astonished. Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God. (Matt. 5:9)   I know a little girl I call daughter of God.

I wish it could be just that easy, but with adults it's always complicated.   Or is it?  Always?  How often have I missed a chance to be the peacemaker because I feared that it was complicated?  How often have I feared they might both turn on me?  Maybe sometimes I could just wade in, get in the middle and be sweet, and maybe, just maybe, discover that they want to be friends more than they want to nurse their hurt feelings. 

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
                                                          James 3:17-18

Saturday, October 30, 2010


But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment.  For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. 
 I Timothy 6:5-7

This post on Ten Reasons for Contentment is so rich.  Read the comments, too - they are also rich.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Scaredy Cats

Come see the scaredy cats and other spooky-eyed critters at the Sm'Arties blog.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

While I am working on a real post...

...I want to share a link.  I have a beautimous* picture as wallpaper on my desktop, shared from a blog of someone 'way more artistic and creative than I, and generous, too!  I love having the little handdrawn calendar in the corner.  Can I stand to let it go next week to switch to her November desktop?  For some reason, I cannot link to single posts on her blog.  The October 17 and 18 posts are the ones, but her whole blog delights me.  Check it out!

* Yes, beautimous is a real word.  My Daddy said so.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Going on more Picniks

Are you tired of reading about picnik yet?  

Yes, I know picnic is spelled without that "k," but our picnics are Picniks!  I love using picnik to edit pictures. 

Now Earthgirl is using Picnik, too.  She edited many of her own birthday party pictures, and had a ball.

Vignette and text

Text and border
Pencil sketch, color added back in

Ideas for using Picnik in the classroom.

Friday, October 8, 2010


Happy Friday! offers a load of business and personal printables, from timesheets and invoices to family trees and recipe cards, to mazes and play money. I wish I had seen this printable Western Bookmark last summer during our Western theme Vacation Bible School.  The paper section alone is just cool -  music paper, penmanship paper, knitting graph paper, Yahtzee scorecards...  Did you know there was polar graph paper?

I have noted this graph paper generator before.   Stop me before I start generating graph paper again!

Do you have a source for cool printables?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Picnik, and borrowing reading glasses.

I spent a lot of time last week at, the photo-editing site I love to visit.  It takes time for me, because I have so overloaded this poor old computer, that it must stop and take a breather now and then.

At Mini-co-op (still in search of a better name)  last week, Mom Keisuzi thought I had hand-painted my reading glasses.  She thought I looked like a real art teacher. 

Nope, they came this way from Dollar Tree.  I own about $8-worth of reading glasses, most of them plain.  I used to own some with flowers painted on them (also from Dollar tree), and one day my favorite Sunday School teacher (the one I married) arrived at Sunday School with no reading glasses and no large-print Bible.  He borrowed mine, much to the merriment of the class.

I worked 3 tax seasons at H&R Block, evenings, part time.  (loved it!)  It was not unusual for a customer to go through their whole tax return input with me, then at the end be unable to read their copy - "forgot my glasses" - so I have lent my little skinny metal-frame pair to maybe 1-2 dozen customers.  Ya' gotta see what you're signing, on penalty of law and all that, ya' know.

 I really like Picnik's 'blemish-fix' feature - you can't even see that I have healed-but-not-gone-yet fever blister right above my lip, can you?Just a little necessary improvement, or I won't post a picture.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Marble Math

Todd Wilson, AKA The Familyman, shared Marble Math in a way that has stopped me in my tracks. 

He has reminded me that every decision I make about how I use my time affects my family.  Every wasted moment is gone.  I cannot add much to what he says, except to say click on the link and read, then, if you are like me, think before wasting another moment.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Dream Job

The other day, Earthgirl asked me what my dream job would be.  Then she said, "I think I know.".

She was right.

I have my dream job.  I'm a wife and homeschooling mama.  I get to do some crafty artsy sewing-y things, and sometimes do a little technical work, self-employed.  That's what I want to do.  That's what I AM doing. 

Sometimes, though, I forget that I am in my dream job.  Sometimes I forget to thank God for my dream job, and for the husband and daughter who make it possible.  Sometimes I act grumpy.  I murmur and complain.

Mary Engelbreit did a piece of artwork years ago that has stuck with me.  It says, "Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be."  She attributes the quote to the very quotable Abraham Lincoln.  The quote is double-edged, isn't it?  There is the sunshiny, positive outlook of a woman who finds a way to take joy in  whatever place she finds herself.  Then there is the outlook that can grump even while living  her own dream.  I don't want to be viewpoint number 2 - I want to look around me and remember that I am in my dream job.

 At her Birthday Pajama Party: Though she is 10 now, Mama can still pick her up

Sunday, September 12, 2010

B4 and After

I found this counter-height metal chair at a local church's yard sale.  It was so sturdy and sat so well that I circled back around to it.  I could so easily envision it in a bright shiny color, so I plunked down $5 for it and hauled it out to the minivan. 

It's sitting in my newly-repainted laundry room, next to my newly-spray-painted rolling cart The laundry room paint is a darker khaki color than it appears in the picture.

It said "Art Department" on the back in Magic Marker.  I'd love to sit in it while creating art.  

Now look at it!  It was the favorite counter stool for Earthgirl and her friends at her birthday sleepover Friday night.

Monday, September 6, 2010

I might be...laboring on Labor Day

We seem to have developed a tradition of laboring on Labor Day.  Years ago, when we lived elsewhere, friends dropped by to see us on Labor Day, while they were out house-shopping.  We had spent the day pulling muscadine vines out of  trees, sawing overgrown limbs, trimming hedges, raking and mowing our 1/2-acre lot. They took one look at us and decided to narrow their search to houses with a postage-stamp sized yard.

Our last week was a bit disrupted by a flood in the laundry room.

I thought I'd have to buy a washer, the old one being maybe 10-12 years old, but Pluto Boy saved the day.  He stayed home Friday so he could haul appliances if needed, but first he pulled the old one out to the driveway, hooked it to the hose, and tried to recreate the flood.  As long as he was running water, I tossed in detergent and clothes (after all, who knew how long it would be before I'd have a working machine?), and we looked like the answer to, "You might be a redneck if...your laundry room floods, so you haul the warshin' machine out to the front yard, hook up the hose, and do your warsh as usual."

I have misplaced my camera (left it somewhere?),  so I don't have a picture (Mama is probably relieved to hear that), though I'm sure it was an entertaining sight. 

After 3 loads of laundry, we had no flood, so in went the machine, where it promptly flooded.  PB, though, figured this one out - a hose had a split that only manifested itself when the hose was curved  - YAY!  Way less than $400 later, the floor is clean (6 moppings-worth of clean!) and dry, and so is all the laundry.

Well, as long as we had pulled both appliances away from the wall, it seemed like a good time to paint behind them.  I have had paint for a while, just waiting for a good time.  Since we were painting Earthgirl's room over the weekend, we even had brushes and rollers out. 

So as long as I had already painted behind the appliances, we decided it was a good time to take the wire shelving down (and, of course, everything on the shelves) and paint the whole laundry room. 

And as long as we were moving the little rolling cart out, it seemed like a good time to sweep it off and spray paint it - red!

And as long as we were painting the laundry room, it seemed like a good time to paint the base of the island in the kitchen the same color as the laundry room...

Now, mind you, the project of the Labor Day weekend was supposed to be ONLY Earthgirl's room. 

Do you relax or labor on Labor Day?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

She said go

Amanda suggests (exhorts?) us to go to church.  Yes, let's.

See ya' tomorrow.  We'll be at the early service.

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,  not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near
Hebrews 10:25

Thursday, August 26, 2010

1st Day of school and Homeschool Hooky!

Our local public schools got back in the swing of things Monday.  We follow the public school schedule, more or less.  In the past it has worked out well to be off when they are off - play days! - and on when they are on.  But on the first day of school, we play hooky! 

 We have friends who like playing hooky, too.

Why do we play hooky?  Just because we can!

So Tuesday was our first real day of school. 

During our breaks, we often take time to pet our mascot.

Friday, August 20, 2010

We were hoping to avoid this...

...but at least we are still smiling!

We'll see those pearly whites again in about 10 months. 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Read the directions

A couple of weeks ago while we were in Orlando, we visited IKEA.  Earthgirl and I had fun roaming among the IKEA-designed showrooms upstairs, and then grabbing office and kitchen goodies downstairs.  We never have really spent as long as we want in IKEA.  We've been twice to the store in Atlanta and twice to the one here in central Florida, but always there is a schedule to keep.  It's probably just as well - I'd probably try to redo the whole house if I had more time.

We picked up 3-slot document organizers; one in steel for me, and one painted white for her.  It seemed like a good tool project for her, so we grabbed screwdrivers and sat in the middle of the floor reading directions.  I use the term, "reading" lightly, because the directions were all pictures.  They made me think of Science Geek's recent post.  I wonder if she can interpret this one?

This was such a simple project - 6 screws, screw them part-way in, then come back when all are in place and tighten. Great practice.

Here are the finished products. 

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Golden Week

Make new friends but keep the old;
one is silver, the other gold.

We love living here.  We are blessed with a comfortable house, a loving, happy, spiritual church, a supportive homeschool community, and less traffic than our everyday experience living in the Orlando area, and before that, the Atlanta area.  We've been here six years now.  It's silver

Last week we spent some time with  friends with whom we share a bit more history. Earthgirl and I went to our old church in the Orlando area, and spent a week with their Super Summer Singin' Funner music daycamp.  I had a blast reconnecting with friends, many I've know for almost 20 years.  Earthgirl endured grown-up after grown-up remembering her babyhood. 

My old friends there are beyond special to me.

These friends surrounded us with love and support through YEARS of barrreness.  These friends REJOICED when we learned we were expecting.  Grown men cried with joy on our behalf.  Then when we lost that first baby through miscarriage, these friends didn't just feel sorry for us; they MOURNED with us.  They wrapped themselves around us and helped us carry a heavy burden of grief. 

Then when we learned Earthgirl was coming, they rejoiced again, but like we did - carefully, praying every step of the way.  And when she was born, they rejoiced and thanked God for His grace to us.  Grown men cried. Again.  And even now, they call her their Miracle Baby, born in the 15th year of our marriage, when we were both 40 years old.  I hope will never forget the intense years we spent there, and how God gave us friends, just ordinary folks, who cared for us in an extraordinary way.

It's gold.

Proverbs 27: 10 tells us that "better is a neighbor who is near than a brother far away."  Our family was all a state or more away from us while we waited for Earthgirl.  Our neighbors who were near stood in for them, and became our family.   

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Tying up Summer

This has been the Summer of Tie Dye over here.  I've posted 3 times about it on my Sm'Arties blog.  Come over and see what we have been up to!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Greeting at Our Front Door

Warning!  Creepy crawly pictures follow.

Do you see her?  She has chosen an unfortunate place to build her home.  Each time we open and close the door, her home shakes.  And when we open the door inward, she is hanging over our entry rug, which gives some of us the willies.

She's beautiful, and she made a pretty zipper for her home (see it, under her right front legs?), and we appreciate that she is grabbing bugs that want to crawl and fly in,  but she simply cannot stay there.

I think she is Argiope aurantia. I understand these spiders are not particularly venomous to humans - they seldom bite, and their short fangs may not even pierce skin.  Their venom is weak enough to not be a cause of concern.  Mostly they just sit in their pretty webs waiting for a hapless bug to fly by.  These are about the only spiders I can look at without getting the heebie-jeebies.

Our friendly front-door spider has been relocated.

Friday, July 23, 2010

right 7.0 left 4.75

If the numbers above make sense to you, then you probably wear contact lenses, too. 
Inspiration for this post comes from my friend Science Geek, a fellow lens-wearer. 

I've worn contacts more than half my life.  Now, as I grow further into my era of reading glasses (I own about $7-worth of glasses, all purchased at Dollar Tree.  I also own $2-worth of sunglasses from the same source), I often wear contacts and glasses at the same time.  Remember this picture? We are both wearing contact lenses.

This is the way Earthgirl often sees her parents looking at her. (Note - the sky looked just like that right out of the camera - isn't it lovely?)
I started wearing old-fashioned contact lenses in high school because glasses just bugged me. Let me tell you, you had to be dedicated to wear the original hard, non-gas-permeable contact lenses!  PB switched to contacts in his mid-20's after his glasses got knocked off his face once too often in a basketball game. 

Those old-fashioned hard lenses had one advantage over today's wonderful, gas-permeable, high-moisture lenses: you could pop one out and into your mouth for a quick rinse.  Shhhh, don't tell the eye doc!  He/She will tell you all about eye infections.  I'm sure eye infections happen; I just never had one in 8 years of...well,...spit-polishing.

So, after reading SG's story, I got to thinking  about contact lens-related mishaps.  I've dropped lenses down drains and on the floor, but not as often as you might think.  These absent-minded mistakes happen more often for me:

Polishing glasses while driving.  Not a good idea.  I am used to taking off my sunglasses for a quick shirt-polish on a straight-away, and tend to do the same thing absentmindedly when my contacts are out and  I am wearing my glasses.  This results in everything around me going BLUR. I replace them in a hurry, smears and all. 

Putting both lenses in one eye.  I am blinking, trying to focus my right eye, which is overcorrected, while trying to find the left lens that I think I have dropped.  After 30+ YEARS of contact lens-wearing, I now know to try searching in my right eye for the left lens.

Putting the wrong lens in the wrong eye.  I catch this one pretty quickly, since my right eye is way more blind than my left.  I'm usually blinking my right eye, trying to focus better as I put in the left lens, then as I put in the left lens, everything starts swimming...whoa...that ain't right...  PB's eyes are much closer to each other in nearsightedness, so he often runs around for awhile trying to blink a bit more clarity in before he tries switching the lens...there...that's the ticket...

Putting a lens in flipped inside out.  Blink...ouch...blink...that ain't right...

All that said, I am SO thankful to live in this day when my vision can be corrected to near-20-20.  Sometimes I think about what my life would have been like if I had lived a few hundred years ago.  My world would have been limited to the things very close to me.  My household would have to be well-organized and simple.  I could still hand-sew, if I carefully placed my needle where I could find it.  I would have trouble recognizing friends until they were close.  I would wear a permanent squint, though I'd not see it if I glanced at a mirror.  I might have many more headaches than I have now.  Though I appreciate and even feel nostalgia for the olden days, I think God for all He has given us NOW. 

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Summer holiday weekend

It doesn't get any better than this!

Friday, July 2, 2010

What they are reading

Earlier this month I helped during our homeschool group's standardized testing.  (Here in Florida, standardized testing is not required for homeschoolers, but is one option to meet our state's requirement to evaluate our students.  This was Earthgirl's first time going through the testing process.)  Seventy-five 4th-12th graders took the CAT tests in our room. 

Our test coordinator encouraged the students to bring something to read in case they finished a test section before the time limit.  Almost all the students finished every section with time to spare.  I peeked over shoulders to observe what they were reading  during my walk-around.  Here are a few titles:

Twilight - New Moon
Twilight - a different one, I didn't see the name
Chicken Soup for the Soul
The Tale of Despereaux
Blink of an Eye
National Geographic Magazine
Treasure Island
Only You Can Be You
Personal Journal - art and words
Nancy Drew (2)
Banner in the Sky
Graphic novel, wordless cover featuring a teen girl with big, sad-looking eyes
Lord of the Rings

I was surprised that only one or two teens texted when they finished their test sections.  Along with reading, some drew (Earthgirl was fascinated with artwork being drawn by a highschool boy at her table), some wrote, some decorated their namecards, and one quietly made paper airplanes, which, of course, went flying during each break. 

Monday, June 28, 2010

All Wrapped Up - the results

I'm happy with my wrap skirt results.  The skirt turned out a bit dressier than I envisioned.  Next I think I will do a simple A-line reversible wrap that will be the skirt equivalent to a pair of khaki capris.

 The brown side has just a little strip of contrast fabric showing

 The tan side has a whole edging of brown, partially to make it longer.  I think the tan fabric may have been 44" wide, while the brown fabric was 45" wide.  I like the way the tan fabric has 5 different blues/greens/blue-greens, since I have about half a dozen blue-green summer shirts, and maybe 3 winter ones, too.

A few things I learned along the way:

When you lay out  a half-circle wrap skirt, you are limited in length because of accommodating the larger wrap-over waist.  I'd like the skirt to be about 2 inches longer, though it is OK.  I tend to prefer really long skirts - several inches below my knees, or about an inch below the scar on my left shin.

The skirt could have been longer if I had used less overwrap at the waistline.  Since the skirt is half-circular, you have much more overlap at the bottom than the top.  Mine laps over 12" at top, which translates to 28" at the bottom. I could have cut for a 10-inch overlap and still been OK.

I had a crisis of confidence in my interpretation of the directions, so I whipped up a little skirt for Samantha as a "muslin."  It really helped me figure out what I needed to do without cutting into a big piece of fabric.  Of course, now Earthgirl wants one, too.

I must say I am happy with how it turned out.  Samantha is stylish.

I had to use really long ties to wrap the skirt either way, then tie on the side. (If you wrapped it to the back, then tied in middle front this would not be an issue.)  When I do an A-line, I think I will use 2 buttons to close the skirt.

Why a reversible?  Why a wrap?  I wanted something cool and easy for summer, easy to toss on and modest.  I did not want to need a slip, therefore, 2 layers of fabric.  And as long as I was lining the skirt, why not take it a step further and make the lining a whole 'nother skirt?

I'd like to give credit where credit is due, but don't recall where I saw this flower idea.  A fabric flower brooch is not really my style, but it is a nice cover-up for a Reebok logo.  It took a strip of scrap fabric, 3 buttons,  and about 7 minutes to whip together.  I pinned it on with a big safety pin. 

Friday, June 25, 2010

All wrapped up

I am all wrapped up in trying to figure out a reversible wrap skirt.  I'm using instructions for a half-circle wrap skirt from Sew What! Skirts book, but am making it a reversible skirt. Lots to think through...I've got it pretty well completed except for a binding at the bottom to attach the 2 skirts together.  I plan to cut bias strips of fabric 1, that will fit over both fabric 1 and fabric 2.  Maybe I won't start chopping the remainder of my fabric after 10 p.m.

Quick note on errata for the Sew What! Skirts book:  If you have or borrow this book, and the instructions for the 1/2-circle wrap say to divide the waist measurement by 6, it is wrong - you divide by 3 (approximating pi).  Later versions of the book correct this, I understand.  I found the corrections from helpful on-line sewists. 

Hey!  I just realized why many persons who sew refer to themselves as "sewists" rather than "sewers."

I also just realized that this skirt, laid out on the carpet, looks a lot like my Christmas tree skirt, only in blue/green/brown calico.

Other DIY wrap skirt patterns and tutorials:


The Versatile Wrap from Make it Perfect

Graceful Elements

Happy Hearts at Home

--and this seemingly (seamingly?) impossible one:

The Domesticated Skirt from Sew a Straight Line

And now just for fun, go to this 2008 post from Posy Gets Cozy and read all the way, including the comments.  You'll laugh!  Her  next newer post after this one had wrap skirts, and I found it helpful.  It tells me I need to let my skirt hang overnight before joining the 2 halves at the hemline.  Don't know if I can stand to wait.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

I might be crafty...

Kimbo over at A Girl And A Glue Gun posted a fun little list titled, "You might be crafty if..."  Loved the list.  I relate.  I qualified under many of her items, though I am more prone to sewing than glue gunning. 

Remember the 17 projects?  I also still have red paint smudged on the front door from spraypainting the metal chairs.

To her list I might add this one:

You might be crafty if...

You VOLUNTEER to teach crafts at your daughter's Gymnastics camp in an un-air-conditioned gym in June in central FLORIDA during a week of record-setting high temperatures.

Excuse me - I have to go get the rest of my tie-dye supplies ready,  and check on the labels soaking off the recycled glass jars, then run to JoAnn's for more Mod Podge.

 Do you want to see "real"?  Here is my dining room table, sporting 2 sewing projects, a scrapbooking for a friend project, and the aforementioned Gym camp crafts supplies.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Made for the Shade Revisited

Earthgirl has learned how to make a picture Black & white, then color back in portions. 

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Empty schedule

Ah, the joys of a blank day on the calendar!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Made for the Shade

Red smudges decorate our white door.  I cannot blame anyone but me - those fingerprints  And the evidence mounts:  my feet wear a misting of red paint, the spray paint can - and the poor, outmatched paint thinner can are in my laundry room.  And in the garage, progress is being made toward a fresh seat in the shade for this summer.

Happy summertime, y'all.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sepia-Toned Ephesian Journal

This year I am reading Ephesians. 

I know, it can be read easily in one sitting.  And I have read it in one sitting. 

But I am letting it sink in deeper, memorizing some of it (maybe all by December 31, but I am not requiring that of myself.)  I am writing down sections in a special art journal. Each page may have a passage, or maybe just a few words, like the page that says, "MADE ALIVE IN CHRIST - it is by grace you have been saved -", or the page that says, "brought near."  Other pages might have whole passages, like the one that says,"Therefore, laying aside all falsehood speak truth, each one of you, with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.  Be angry, and yet do not sin, do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity. (4:26-28)"

Putting these words in my handwriting, sometimes in all caps, sometimes cursive, sometimes calligraphy, helps me remember them.  I'm a visual learner, and I picture where the info is on a page; especially if I have written it myself.  (I can still squint my eyes and see certain pages from my high school Biology notebook, mid 1970's.)

This is an exercise in art, too - a bit of an art journal.  I've kept it in mostly brown and golden tones.  I've vacillated between calling it tea-stained or sepia-tone.  One of my stamp pads is cordovan-color.  I really like that one.

Some of the pages are just words; others have a little picture or a stamped border. 

This little angel is my rendition of the little statuette that sits on my desk, a gift from our Sunday School class a couple of years ago, she is signing "love."

Some pages I've made tea-stained or coffee-stained.  (no cream:) 

Sometimes I pre-decorate the pages; other times I write, then decorate. Some pages are just plain words.

Some of the pages I like better than others.

So far, I have not decided what to do with the cover.  I may adhere some pretty cloth. 

It's all part of letting the Word of Christ richly dwell among me (Col. 3:16).  And you. 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...