Archive for the ‘Fun Learning Stuff’ Category

Stuff we’re enjoying

August 30, 2018 @ 3:19 pm | Filed under: ,

Toothpick puzzles

Acrylic paints — today we made abstract paintings in bright colors to go on the living-room wall (pics later)

This crochet pattern — I’m using up a bunch of leftover yarn I found when I cleaned out the garage

The Rattlin’ Bog — a longtime favorite, recently dusted off for my younger set (this rendition at an Irish wedding reception is A+++)

Muse magazine — Huck and Rilla are enjoying our stash of back issues so much! Makes me glad I kept them in the great pre-move purge last summer.

 

Wednesday, late August

August 29, 2018 @ 3:54 pm | Filed under: ,

Ahhh. We got a good rain and the air has cleared up. Have been able to resume my long walks with no burning throat and streaming eyes. Felt like years since I’d made my favorite trek to the dog park and back, a meandering route that takes me past my favorite gardens in the neighborhood. (Note to self: plant zinnias next year. This cutting garden, about a mile from my house, took my breath away.)

Here at home: the tide came rushing in and carried my high-school freshman (!!) off to his new school this week. I dove straight into high-tide lessons with Huck and Rilla (Beanie gets another week). This is one of the ways I cope with long hours closeted away, writing furiously (or more likely, gnashing my teeth at the screen and clutching fistfuls of hair): filling our mornings with good, rich homeschooling adventures before I slink away behind the closed door.

(When I finish: autumn. It’s already ablaze in my head; it will be glorious. This time last year, I was in radiation treatment.)

A glimpse of our high-tide mornings (sans photos because I haven’t remembered to snap any pics):

—stretches & math facts (we recite times tables while doing planks: not easy for this spaghetti-armed mama)

—German (continuing with Felix & Franzi; this year we’re doubling with ASL, learning signs as we add new German vocab. Each one reinforces the other.)

—Shakespeare memorization (continuing with Twelfth Night)

—singing (currently Irish & Scottish folk songs and some German songs)

—nature walk

—readalouds: Farmer Boy; The Penderwicks on Gardam Street; The Lost Art of Reading Nature’s Signs; tales of Ancient Greece (various)

—study of ancient counting systems (an Earthschooling lesson block—we started this a while back and picked it back up this week. It’s Rilla’s favorite thing. She’s fascinated.)

—breadbaking and sourdough starter

—sewing beanbags (I found the sewing machine power cord!!!! after a year!!!)

—embroidery and cross-stitch projects

—composer study: this week Scott picked Debussy

—watercolor painting

Not all of that every day, of course!

Time keeps on slipping, slipping

July 30, 2018 @ 1:46 pm | Filed under: , ,

If anybody says the word “August” to me I shall scream, ’Enry ’Iggins, I shall scream. It’s simply Not Possible we are almost there.

School doesn’t start for my rising 9th grader (!!! — now it’s your turn to shriek at the passage of time) for another month, but the rise of restlessness and quarreling among my smallest fry signaled to me that it was time for the tide to come back in. We picked up some dropped threads this morning—the Shakespeare speech they were learning in June (which I was pleased to see they remembered in full, so now I get to choose the next one); our German lessons; the study of ancient counting systems that Rilla is so enjoying. “Who knew I would be SO INTO numbers?”—/endquote.

And we began the second Penderwicks book. I had a different readaloud in mind but I was shouted down. “No offense to your choice, Mom,” I was assured. “It’s just…I mean, the Penderwicks.”

Indisputable logic. We’re on Chapter 3 of Gardam Street now.

Huck is clamoring for a return to Poetry Teatime (our July Tuesdays were full of misadventure), so that’s tomorrow. And if the heat breaks, I’d like to get them doing some baking once a week. I miss baking bread. Ooh but also! A German bakery is opening in our neighborhood! I may be a wee bit excited.

I read approximately one zillion Mary Stewart novels in June and early July, and then I completely forgot how to read. No wait, that’s not accurate—I read two entire Jean Webster novels on the plane to and from San Diego. But I got home a week ago and I’ve been floating from first page to first page ever since, like a butterfly sampling nectar and not finding anything quite satisfactory. Which is ridiculous, given the size of my TBR pile, not to mention the queue on my Kindle. Hundreds of options. I keep pulling out stacks and then…not committing to anything.

I’ve been steady at art, though, and that’s not nothing. Drawing or painting almost every day, and quite a bit of embroidery. This topic requires pictures but I can’t be bothered just now, please understand. I’m trying my long ago (so very long ago!) trick of using a quick blog post (timer set for twenty minutes) as a transition between the homeschooling mom and writer-with-a-deadline parts of my day. I daren’t go a minute over.

But here—three people to visit for gorgeous needlework pictures and patterns:

Liz at Cozyblue Handmade
Wendi at Shiny Happy World
Rebecca at Dropcloth Samplers

There you go.

Things I’m doing for fun these days

June 28, 2018 @ 5:54 pm | Filed under: ,

1.

You know about the long, flower-drunk photo walks that carried me through the long, flower- Portland spring. I enjoy going through my photos later and marking a few to share on Instagram. I don’t like to do heavy edits but I do usually bump up the contrast a little bit and adjust exposure if necessary. And I nearly always nudge greens just a tad bit bluer. Sometimes I try out filters in VSCO but most filters seem to tone down the rich, saturated color I seek out when I’m taking pictures. I enjoy looking at other people’s soft, pastels and filtered light, but I’m a color junkie and my own photos are a reflection of that.


(Greens bumped toward blue here but the orange and pink are straight from Mother Nature.)

2.

The Index Card a Day Challenge. Every day, splashes of color on a simple index card. Low pressure, high fun.

3.

Reading The Penderwicks to my kids. We’re just about to finish the first book, which got as many giggles and belly laughs as it did the first time around, when I read it to my older set. (Nope, I haven’t read the new one yet! It’s on the list, of course.)

 

A high tide week in May

May 25, 2018 @ 5:36 pm | Filed under: , ,

Sick kids this week, and lots of IEP stuff going on. But golden hour doesn’t begin until 8pm these days, so I’ve managed plenty of long, rhapsodic evening walks. The light is glorious. I’m completely enchanted.

Huck, Rilla, and I are still reading The Penderwicks and lots of poetry. They finished learning the Willow Cabin speech from Twelfth Night and have begun If music be the food of love. play on. We spent a few weeks immersing in the history of Ancient India, and next week we’re starting an exploration of ancient numbering systems. Rilla helped me prep for it and we’re both pretty excited to dive in. And we’re doing watercolors almost every day, because I’m addicted. Strawberry number two was ripe today. We’re anxiously awaiting the arrival of this lovely book: Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses. (Amazon influencer link.) I’m in no hurry at all for the tide to go out.

 

Watercolor Florals with Peggy Dean

May 15, 2018 @ 7:05 am | Filed under: ,

So here’s a fun thing: I got to take a watercolor class last Saturday. If Peggy Dean offers a workshop in your town, jump at the chance to take it! Three hours passed in a flash as we learned watercolor techniques for leaves and loose florals. Such a blast. And the paints she sent us home with—more swoon. Plus one of her cruelty-free, eco-conscious brushes. We laughed and painted and learned cool stuff (with a brief, blissful interruption to take turns petting the ADORABLE King Charles spaniel puppy who appeared in the tea shop with his very accommodating owner). Peggy’s teaching style is A+++ and I had a wonderful time sharing everything I learned with Rilla at our Saturday Night Art Date afterward.

If you can’t get to a workshop, Peggy’s Skillshare classes are also excellent (Rilla and I have taken several) and you’ve heard me praise her Botanical Line Drawing book many times before. I’m glad I’m a homeschooler because I can decree next week to be take-all-the-rest-of-Peggy’s-classes week if I feel like it. If you’re new to Skillshare, you can get two free months of unlimited classes. (Also highly recommended: Stephanie Kilgast’s Sculpey classes.)

Thank you Peggy for a fabulous workshop! I’m still swooning over that hematite violet. 😍

Vicarious globetrotting

April 24, 2018 @ 8:26 am | Filed under:

Nearly five years ago we planted a Trackable in a geocache near our home in San Diego. Since then, we’ve watched it travel back and forth across the United States, with jaunts to Honduras, Belize, and the Cayman Islands. Today we got a notice that it is currently in Ulster, Ireland. New life goal: to travel like my trackable.

Saturday night art date: polymer clay bugs

February 18, 2018 @ 9:48 am | Filed under: ,

Image via Skillshare

 

Rilla’s pick for our Saturday night art date: “How to Sculpt Beetles, Bugs and Scarabs Realistically” class at Skillshare. Delightful course. Really enjoyed the instructor, Stephanie Kilgast—her lessons are clear, simple, and inspiring. Rilla’s take was: “OH GOOD, this is exactly what I’ve been needing to learn.” (Her two chief interests in life are bugs and art. She wants to become an entomologist-slash-artist.)

My house is about to be overrun with Sculpey beetles, I can tell.

(Referral code for two months’ free trial: http://skl.sh/2GogjAi )