Wednesday, October 30, 2013

homeschooling and art--just do it

I think art is something it would be easy to let slip through the cracks as a homeschooler. So are science experiments, in my opinion. Luckily, I have a child extremely inclined toward each of these things, which gives me a push to just suck it up and plan for both art projects and science experiments because that is what my girls like. I have also realized, it doesn't necessarily have to include a ton of planning to incorporate art into our school days, especially since Natalie will make anything possible into an art project anyway--today she finished coloring in fraction pies and then proceeded to doodle all over the page to make it cute :)

This month, we have made quite a few October-themed art projects and it's been super fun. I think the key is to have a handful of basic supplies on hand and then choose simple projects that use the things you already have--nothing demotivates me like having to buy a list of supplies to complete a school project, especially since I am sort of flying by the seat of my pants this year, due to moving.

I hung our projects on the wall in our dining/school room and they make us all smile :)

All the projects hanging here can be found on my Pinterest board, Kid Art. I think the spider web and googly-eyed spiders was my own idea, though. 

I find it pretty easy to tie art in with science. For example, before we made the spider web art, we watched spiders spin webs on YouTube. It was soooo amazing to watch!!! 
Here was our fave:

How can anyone think this world has no Grand Architect, huh?

The skeleton project came after Layla got really into the skeletal system one week. I think I already blogged about that one.

The pumpkin art project idea came from DeepSpaceSparkle, although we used the kinds of paints and supplies we had on hand, instead of the ones she suggested. They turned out awesome!

We had been studying the lifecycle of a pumpkin and really enjoyed this cool giant pumpkin video-the kids like to keep track of the Pepsi can:

The Owl and tree crayon resist watercolors were to go along with the book, Owl Moon, which we were reading that week, along with a little study on animals that migrate and hibernate. We found the book North at the library and found it so fascinating and educational! And the pictures were beautiful.

Here are some of the supplies I keep on hand. Even if I weren't a homeschooler, I think having these things around can encourage kids to create in any home! These are my suggestions beyond just crayons, colored pencils, markers, etc...

  • Paint--watercolors, acrylics (just the craft kind in little bottles, nothing fancy) and tempera. The pumpkins were our first time using tempera and we really like these paints! I don't buy expensive things, even though that's what the fancy kid art bloggers tell me to do, because I don't like worrying about the kids ruining them or using too much, etc... I do not, however, buy the cheapest watercolors (Roseart?)--I like the Crayola ones best. When they get messy, I replace them. The younger your kids, the more often they'll need replaced ;)
  • Paint brushes--I like the ones made by Crayola. They sell them in packs of five with different widths and we find they work great.  I don't like the ones that come with watercolors, they're too cheap.  
  • Crayola oil pastels. (These are what Layla's using in the picture above). These things are awesome and can be used in so many ways. They can be blended, they show up on dark paper, can be layered over other mediums and can be used for resist techniques. Crayola is a running theme here, I know. I think they make good products for kids and they're not expensive and can be easily found. Plus, they go on sale all the time. 
  • A table covering--for a long time I had a plastic table cloth I used over and over. It didn't make the move, but I want to spend a few bucks and have a few to keep on hand. We used one last night for pumpkin carving. They're just easier to lay out and clean up than newspaper, which we don't always have around. We improvised last week and used some really wrinkled packing paper from some of our boxes in the garage. 
  • Art shirts--I rescued three of Casey's t-shirts from the giveaway bag and keep them in our school hutch for the kids to wear for painting projects. Along with the table covering, I am more inclined to jump into messy projects if I don't have to search for old clothes for the kids to wear in case they get really messy. 
  • Baby wipes. We always have these around. They are especially handy when we use ink pads, which is surprisingly often. As for ink pads, get a few real ones and don't bother with the washable kids ones--they don't work :) For the spiders, we used pigment ink, which shows up on dark colors. I only have white in pigment ink, but it's been handy for lots of things. 
  • Googly Eyes--because, why wouldn't you? Ha!
I think that's all for now. Feel free to add ideas in the comments! You can browse and follow my Kid Art board here. Along with Deep Space Sparkle, Art Projects for Kids is a great site. And so is Alisa Burke's site.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


We made it up to a pretty great pumpkin patch over the weekend. Unfortunately, every little activity cost money that we weren't willing to fork out. But we did pay a dollar each to take the tractor hayride to the pumpkins and that was fun :) Although, one of our children neglected to tell us he or she had to use the potty before we got on the hayride and so we had to pick our pumpkins pretty fast so that he or she did not pee his or her pants. Such is life ;)

We are going to carve them tonight. Carving pumpkins is something I only pretend to like doing because my kids get so much joy from it. But if it were up to me ... I just wouldn't. Haha! Do you have anything like that? 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

best dress

I made a dress yesterday and now I want to wear it every day. Ha! I got this awesome knit at Denver Fabrics and just love it so much! It's sort of a sweatshirt knit, but without the fuzzy underlayer ... if that makes sense. And the design has subtle hearts in it! What's not to love? I picked up New Look 6097 because of the great photos on I never would have bought this based on the cover photo, I think that dress is terrible.

Instead of the fitted skirt, I went with a more casual everyday gathered skirt for mine and I love the results!

I think this bodice is superbly drafted. Reviewers said mixed things--some thought the bodice gaped or had to safety pin it shut and some thought the sleeves were too wide. Others said the bodice had too much ease all the way around, but I made my usual size and it's perfect. The coverage of mine is perfect too, there is no gaping and the sleeves are fine for my arms, which are admittedly on the buff side ;) I will definitely be making this again!  It's so comfortable and flattering for my everyday life.

Once again, I relied on my six-year-old photographer and she is getting quite into the directing side of her skills, haha!

What a cutie patootie.

I am anxiously waiting for Casey to get home so I can go hit the sale at JoAnn. I super hope they have the new McCall's patterns since they're on sale and I have quite the list!

I'm linking up for the first time on Make it, Wear it Thursdays! Pretty fun to see what others are making each week :)


Monday, October 21, 2013

bath time

Bathing is my newest hobby. Ha! I love baths. I take one every couple days, in the evening after dinner is cleaned up and no one needs me for about half an hour. I started this ritual while we were preparing to move from our old house because my body would get so achy by the end of the day and I knew that Epsom salts soothe sore muscles and joints. Did you know that Epson salts are pure magnesium sulfate? Did you know that most people are magnesium deficient? Did you know that magnesium has a ridiculously long list of health benefits? Just google it. If you find yourself tired, moody, achy or hormonal, try a magnesium supplement!

Unfortunately, I have yet to find a magnesium supplement that is gentle enough on my stomach, but that's okay because there are magnesium oils and homemade body butters I can try! For now, I am loving my Epsom salt baths. Any store with a bath and beauty department sells bags of Epsom salts, either plain or "flavored". Currently, I have a eucalyptus mint variety and a lavender vanilla, which have essential oils added to them. You need to use a lot, between 2 and 4 cups to get the most relaxing results and just pour it into your bath water and mix it in with your feet 'til it dissolves.

Another reason I got into baths is because my friend took my to Lush before we moved! I bought a Buffy Bar. And it was amazing. I just finally used it up a few weeks ago, boo! The good news is, I found a recipe to make my own. The even better news is, while I wait on those ingredients from Amazon, I found a coconut oil sugar scrub recipe, using ingredients I already had in my kitchen (except for the essential oils, which I just skipped this time), yay!

Scrubs with oils are the best, because they moisturize while you use them and you don't have to lotion up after your bath. Just rub it in at the end of your shower or bath and rinse off. You'll stay so soft afterward! I used this one last night and loved it so much.

I cannot wait to try some of the other things I've pinned on my "Make Your Own" Pinterest board. I have some ingredients in my Amazon shopping cart right now! Hopefully they will work out and I can give some of these things as gifts :)

The added bonus of taking baths is that my bathroom always smells like a spa, haha! Even my towel smells so good.

DIY spa recipe links or ideas are welcome in the comments!!

Friday, October 18, 2013

some dresses I never blogged

I never blogged this dress because I only wore it once ... because Casey did not like it! Grr. I really liked it, but his lack of enthusiasm had me rethinking it and I put it in the mending basket to maybe make something else from it. But, every time I looked at it, I still just really liked it! So I wore it yesterday and guess what? Casey liked it and couldn't remember ever seeing it before, as far as I could tell. Stinker!! I should have known. 

The pattern is McCall's 6744 and although it's a pattern for knits, I made this one out of a woven by cutting the bodice front on the bias. It worked great, although next time I'll go down a size on top. 

Here it is, worn three ways. (By the way, Layla took ALL these pictures. She does awesome, my little budding photographer, even if she thinks it's hilarious to get a close-up rear end shot every single time, haha).

Yesterday I wore it with a black cardigan:

 This is the dress just plain.
 You can see the top is a little baggy, which is why I'll go down a size next time. I always have this issue with patterns for knits that are Small, Medium, Large sizes. I always make a Medium and I always need to make a Small!!! Think I'd know by now.
 I do love a nice racerback!!

I then went digging in my closet for other things I could pair this dress with and remembered my pink wrap cardigan I made last Fall. In this pic I'm telling Layla to turn the camera long ways...
 ...then she got this. Ha!
A nice collection of cardigans in different colors and styles is the absolute best way to stretch your Summer wardrobe into the other seasons, in my opinion! 

This is another dress I made last Summer and surprise, surprise, was just too big (McCall's 6754, another pattern sized for knits!) I loved the colors of the stripes in this rayon knit fabric, though, so I didn't want to give up on it. I took it in and up and liked it better then, but mostly wanted to see what I could do with it in Fall. So I pulled it out and tried it with a knotted tee on top...
I have plans to make this pattern again, but the view with sleeves and maybe with a half circle skirt instead of full. 

I do have a trick for knotting a tee that doesn't have a lot of fabric to play with--just use a hair tie in the same color. It makes it easy and doesn't twist up and stretch out your shirt :) 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Maymont Park

Some gals from our church here invited the kids and I to meet them at Maymont Park yesterday, which I learned is quite a Richmond "thing to do" if you live here. It was amazing. I loved it and can't wait to go back. It's absolutely huge and we got to pet some goats, see some animals, see some amazing trees and pick up some nature treasures to bring home and study. There's also a mansion to tour, gardens to walk through, a nature center (we will be going there soon, for Layla, my little science lover). I would love to schedule some family photo shoots there--would it be weird if I just started offering photo shoots to families I barely know?

Anyway, I took a lot of pics. It was fun :)

 Layla took this one:
 Then Kelby wanted to take some:
He keeps taking them as I'm coming to get the camera from him...
 He thinks this is just hilarious...
 He's belly laughing by now...
 You might notice, I got my hair cut! My friend Becky did it and it's awesome, I love it :) I hadn't had my hair cut by a pro since she moved to VA from CO three years ago. It was time!
 I think the goats were my favorite part. They are just so funny! And photogenic, obviously ;)

 Our treasures--things we've never seen in Colorado! We got all excited when we found our first acorn outside the library last week. I don't know that I've ever seen one in person before! The green thing is a walnut! And the spiky thing feel from a Magnolia tree! Cool.

It was great to get outside and be with other women and kiddos. We can't wait to go back there and maybe even branch out to Richmond more often. (I guess it's really not that far ;) And driving downtown in Richmond is way easier than getting around downtown Denver!

On a somewhat related (to these photos, not to their subject) note, I downloaded the free trial of Adobe Lightroom 5. I've been feeling limited by iPhoto for awhile and while I think PicMonkey is so fun, it's a one-at-a-time type of editing program and that's not practical for all my photos.

My thoughts on Lightroom 5 so far:

  • It is definitely more user friendly than Photoshop. I got the free trial of that and it wasn't long before I said "forget it". I can see why Lightroom is what people seem to be going to. 
  • The price is right. Quite a chunk less than Photoshop and doable for me. I have a birthday coming up in a couple weeks :)
  • There is still some "lingo" that I find annoying. They have terms for stuff that if they would call something normal, I wouldn't have to stop and look up what that means in the help section. 
  • The help section is unhelpful. Ha! I found bloggers more helpful.
  • I love, love, love the editing much more than I've been loving iPhoto! Since I started shooting in RAW files, I found that iPhoto wanted to cool my photos way down, it was weird. It was increasingly difficult to get the colors how I wanted them because minor adjustments are hard--it's major adjustments or nothing. The colors and presets in Lightroom are just beautiful. 
  • I can't wait to learn more! I think a book is necessary, though. 
What are your thoughts, if you use Lightroom?