Spring has Sprung!

What a day it was yesterday! Not only was it the Vernal (Spring) Equinox, it was also Purim, celebrated by Jewish people (see the next post!) AND it was a Super Worm Moon! All in one day…!

So if you’re looking for fun, lively decorations for your springtime spaces, check these easy ones we made here for our learning wall. All you need is medium weight crepe paper, some glue sticks and scissors – oh! and paper plates to glue all the lovely petals to. Check out the pictures below to see how simple it is :0)

Happy Spring wherever you are!

IMG_4777

IMG_4745IMG_4747

IMG_4778
To make the center piece, just roll up a thinly fringed piece of crepe paper & glue it on in there!
IMG_4780
We added watercolor for the edges and middle of this beauty to give it some dimension!

Purim Time!

In honor of Purim, we broke out the flour and butter, jam and chocolate to make a batch of Hamentashen… Cookies made in celebration of of this celebratory Jewish holiday. Check out the video below to learn about the story of Vashti, Esther, Mordechai, King Ahasuerus and of course, the villain – Haman. It was quite an event that took place in Persia so long ago. The cookies are delicious, good any time of year, but especially on the Spring Equinox!

IMG_4767IMG_4650IMG_4651

 

The Power of Bees!

Over the past 8 weeks I have been part of a pilot program that is intended to develop partnerships between our local school and Homeschool families. To do this, I signed up for an independent study project for one trimester at Saugatuck High School. I was interested in a project that would have a real world application, so we also collaborated with the Saugatuck Center for the Arts, with the focus on Bees. The outcome of the project was to develop a 3 day camp for use this summer with kids ages 6-12. With more ideas in mind than I knew what to do with… the fun began!

There were 2 other students other than me on the project, Madeline and Carter, each with their own Homeschool experiences.  Overall, the project went a bit differently than I had expected, but I soon learned, those are the joys of being in a group project! So… since the camp was spread over a time span of three days, we each chose one and planned around a topic related to bees. My focus was on flowers, bee gardens, and pollination. I also illustrated a small book in collaboration with Carter to support his topic of honey.  Madeline’s day focus was on Mason bees and creating a bee hotel. We each came up with a number of crafts, some delightful choices for snack time and a few games or takeaways.There are photos of my process, presentation content and our final 4’x4′ info bulletin board, that all 3 of us created – it now hangs in the main hall of the High School.  If you have kids (or are under the age of 12 yourself!) and the bee camp sounds interesting, you can sign up for it here.

Overall, as a partnership experiment I’m not sure it was the smoothest of processes but that is what pilot programs are, I guess. Try it out, see what works then either do it again or share how to make it better. The next steps for me, will be to participate in the first day of the camp, Mom and Olive are coming in their bee suits and sharing “tools of the hive” in a short presentation before the kids do a fun bee craft! That will bee cool.

With the spring equinox coming tomorrow, summer is just a short time away!

IMG_4392IMG_4391IMG_4387cover pagematerial listIMG_4542

IMG_4539

 

The World of Lapidary!

Ever stroll along a beach or in a park and see a beautiful stone? Us too! It’s one of our favorite things to do and that activity just got a lot more interesting after a visit to the Livingston Gem and Mineral Club in Howell, Michigan. Geology has never been so fun. There we were, guided by our (Aunt!) Olga Lampcov and rock and gem expert, Ann Marie. Between the 2 of them, they left no stone unturned ;0)

We met people who were (understandably) CRAZY for opals, saw rocks and gems being cut and learned about cracks, types of stone, both natural and synthetic. Ann Marie even takes JEANS, layers them up with resin and turns those into ‘stones’. And then, before we knew it, steady hands in place, we learned to polish our own pieces into shining, beautiful versions of their former selves!

It was super fun, wet and exciting. We didn’t want to leave and can’t wait to go back!

Using templates to create our shapes.
Some of the members of the Gem and Mineral Society.
The beginning of the shaping process… A long way to go from here!
Adding the support sticks to the stones for better grip.
Ready for more shaping & polishing!
Once the domed shape is complete, it’s time for polishing.
Final buffing and polishing on the 3,000 grit diamond polishing wheel!
3 Petosky stones, 1 Amethyst, and a Blue Mountain Jasper stone, polished and ready for something special!
This cool material is called ‘Fordite”. It comes from the Ford paint line during manufacturing. The paint builds up on the racks after countless parts have been painted different colors. The end result after cutting and buffing are beautiful stone like patterns. Check hem out! They’re super cool!!
Layers of the paint.
More buffing and polishing!
Viola! beautiful Fordite Cabochons!

Welcome to the Paper Doll Era!

Since we’ve been little, me and Olive have always created little paper dolls and animals that we either taped on a wall or left in a folder for later inspiration. But there were problems with those dolls – their clothing often ripped and the overall look was pretty tacky (not to be judgy, we did make them after all). Plus, if you wanted someone to hold something you had to tape it, otherwise it’d probably be lost. Recently, I tried laminating every individual piece, but amazingly, the tape pulled each piece of clothing apart.

So…I came up with a solution! Digital dolls – it’s basically the same but instead of coloring, cutting each piece, I simply drew my character, made a few outfits and then popped her (A.K.A Carly) into Illustrator! Fashion wise, it’s very useful because you can have the one t-shirt, but then change the color or add a print and then suddenly you have 7 different shirts made out of the one outline! Not to say paper isn’t great, I don’t think I’ll switch over to an iPad to draw in the near future, but using the computer really solved quite a few problems.

Moral of the story: Although modern conveniences are cool and quite frankly, super useful, it’s better to find a balance in-between… using technology and our wonderful minds to work together to create something RADICAL!

Have a nice day y’all, and keep a look out for more awesome posts coming your way! (;

This is one of the fresher dolls I’m working on, her name is Alice!

And The Winner is….

Ever since I’ve been little, I’ve loved Hot Wheels cars and Monster trucks, so when the holidays arrived this past year, we were shocked to find itty-bitty versions – I basically fainted in the store. They came with baby size tracks and just like when I was little, we named them something totally RADICAL! (like Scary, Blu Angel, Pinkerstinker, etc.) But as usual, we turned the delightful little toy into an accidental school project about weight, velocity, friction, probability and a competition in physics!

We have a lot of tracks and we used that to our advantage! We rolled out paper on the floor, taped it down, set up the track, re-thought the names we gave them and assigned colors to each car. Then we sent them down the speeding track for SCIENCE!! We mapped out were they landed and saw if that correlated with each car’s weight. Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than the company that created them! Able to be sold to a traveling tourist in under 10 minutes! LOOK! ON THAT RACING TRACK! It’s a bird! It’s invisible.  NO!! YOU’RE ALL WRONG! IT’S RED ELEVEN! (thats another car we named.)

Whew! I got a little carried away with my imagination there. Anyway, I’ll let the pictures tell you basically what happened but in the end, our hypothesis of which cars would have the greatest potential of making it the farthest was correct!

That’s Snow Amazing!!

Have you ever seen a snowflake up close before, even for just a second? Well, as one of our projects we learned even more about the magic of snow, the different types, and the mathematics behind every snowflake. Math is everywhere in nature, once you look closely :0)

Did you know every branch of a snowflake is exactly 60 degrees apart? Every flake (if its absolutely perfect) has 6 sides, and every branch is identical. The water molecules (after it latches on to a piece of debris ) grows outward in a hexagonal shape – this is what creates the 6 sides. One of the things we loved to learn was that the hexagon is also the building block of honeycomb in bee hives. Summer and winter, this is a very important shape! With this in mind, we each built our very own, non- melting snowflake that started with a single dot… Want to try it? All you need is flat pieces of cardboard, an xacto- knife, a ruler, some white paint (which is optional, in which case you’d also need a paintbrush and water) and drawing utensil and maybe some reference!

Check out some of our photos below, and if you do give it a try, we would LOVE to see the results!

Credit for our beautiful heading photo, check out the Columbia Journal Review.