Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Under the Sea Bathroom for Children

A few I painted these fun murals for my kids' bathroom which were a lot of fun to do. My kids have enjoyed them immensely! Since I am no artist, I need all the help I can get and Donna Dewberry's books were wonderful to break down painting techniques into simple steps.

After painting the walls I found a shower curtain to match...

For a window treatment I used fish netting filled with seashells.

History Timelines for Grammar Level Students

When  my children were in elementary school, we made a historical timeline of our studies day by day. This was in the days before we had a digital camera, and before I had a blog, so I don't think I have any pictures of this. However it's rather simple to put together this great hands-on activity. Whenever we studied about a historical event, I took out a blank white index card. On the one side I wrote the year in big colorful numbers. On the other side I wrote the name of the event, and allowed my kids to decorate it anyway they wanted.
About once a week, I took out all of the cards we had accumulated and mixed them up. Then we could play games with them like flash cards. The most popular game we played was to lay them out with the name of the event face up. Then I had the kids line the cards up one by one, in chronological order. Then they flipped the cards over to see if the years were in proper sequence.
It was fun seeing how long the timeline could get!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Daughter's Garden Bedroom from Texas

Now to catch up with some house remodel and quilting projects!

My daughter's favorite colors are pink and purple. Can you tell? This is a Double Irish Chain pattern for the quilt. I can't find a better shot of the bed. The bed skirt is a lavendar floral print. I did a sheer overlay, where I sewed both selvage edges to the seam and gathered to the top of the bed skirt. Inside I had slipped in large silk gerber daisies from my all time favorite store, Hobby Lobby, to pop against the purple bedskirt. (Sadly I never got great pictures of this.)


Then I painted this huge tree with swing in the corner. I am not an artist so if I can do this, anyone can do this! I used a Donna Dewberry book for instructions who lays everything out with easy to follow directions!


 We also purchased a limestone looking laminate countertop from Lowes for her desk. I wish I had gotten a close-up of the countertop because it truely looked like limestone! It was a snap to clean, which is a good thing considering she does a lot of craft projects here! It's quite durable and nice looking!

On the shelves over the countertop are lots of purple cups that I found at Hobby Lobby, along with other neat pink and purple cylindrical containers. I organized her craft supplies in each container: gel pens in one, markers in another, color pencils in another, scrapbook scissors in another, etc.    

I also painted a green picket fence around the room. It was really easy to do, measuring along the way with a yardstick and pencil.

The smaller bookcase is a picket unfinished piece I found somewhere. I painted that green with an antique effect, since the wood was rough.

The little white antiqued wrought iron bedside table was purchased at Hobby Lobby! I'm not sure where I found the purple lamp, but she loved it. There are little purple beads that dangle from the edge of the lamp. The flower picture was also purchased at Hobby Lobby!

The headboard was also purchased in raw wood at Hobby Lobby, which I painted green.


I found the tall bookcase in someone's garbage pile years ago. It was a country blue color, which was fine but most of the backing was gone. I asked my husband to rip off the last of the old backing and replace it with a new plywood back. Then I re-painted it country blue and put it in my kitchen pantry. Then we moved to this house where I put it in my pantry again, for a few years. When I started painting  my daughter's bedroom, I decided to give her the bookcase, which I repainted green to match the fence on her walls. Then I used Donna Dewberry techniques to paint flowers on the sides.

Here are close-ups of the florals with a more accurate rendering of the green color.



I made the bulletin board by hot glueing more silk gerber daisies (from Hobby Lobby) around the edge. The shelf above the bulletin board was made by my husband when my daughter was little. Inset in the center bottom portion of the shelf is a floral heart cross stitch I had done. The other shelving over the counter top on the right was purchased in raw wood from Hobby Lobby and we painted it green to match all the other furniture. Well most of all the other furniture. The rocking chair was purchased when my daughter was born, and I deeply considered for years whether to refinish the paint and redo the fabric or not on that.  In the end I never did. I finally sold it. The little pink butterfly mirror on the wall between the shelving was also purchased at Hobby Lobby.


I think it's a lot of fun to design a child's bedroom around a theme that they enjoy most. It sort of surrounds them in fun and comfort! Paint is relatively cheap and can pack a punch! I wish I had taken better pictures, but this was before I had a digital camera and blogged. Hopefully everyone gets the idea though...and this is a great memory for us to come back to!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Mosaics, Roman Arches and the Archimedes Screw-Ancient Rome Art Projects

When we studied Ancient Rome last spring we made the following art projects. I didn't have my own digital camera yet, so I have few process photos of any of our projects or schooling last year...or from previous years. However I'm looking forward to taking lots of pictures of our upcoming school years because I now have my own digital camera and I've finally learned how to upload photos to my computer and how to figure html code for blog posts!

Anyway, my kids' Ancient Roman projects are pictured below!   

Here are my son's art projects...

and here are my daughter's art projects...

Our focal art project was the mosaic. These are so quintessentially Roman, yet we see them everywhere today. We had to do a mosaic. We went to Hobby Lobby and picked some pretty colored tile meant for crafting a mosaic. My son chose bronze while my daughter chose pink. I also perused the mosaic tiling section and bought anything that looked necessary to do this project! I helped the kids draw the cross. It would be easiest to tile square tiles in a rectangular area for our first project.
We had leftover tumbled square tiles leftover from tiling our kitchen backsplash that I wanted to use to surround the cross.  I helped them carefully smash the tile outside. We wrapped it in a towel and smacked the bundle with a hammer. Then they agonized trying to fit the tile pieces to fill in the background. Now that we have done this, I don't recommend using these two types of tile. I thought I'd be saving money (which we did) and it would look pretty to have a neutral background to show off the cross (which it does). However pounding that kitchen tile was agony. Also it is much thicker. It stands a bit above the cross, which is now recessed a bit in the tumbled stone. All in all though, I like them a lot. Seven years later they are still displayed on a shelf in my kids' rooms.
Next I wanted to make the arch, which is also so importantly architecturally.  My son made his out of styrofoam, the type I use to poke my flowers into in the vase. He does not recommend this. Again I was trying to save money and again it was a huge challenge. He used an assortment of any tool he could find to whittle the shapes out. Then he used toothpicks to put it together.  Then he used a dull edge to etch some writing with his Roman name into the side. Then he painted it. I'm sure there's an easier way but he is quite the artist and it came out quite nicely.
None of us remember how my daughter made her arch. Because my son's project would have been too difficult for her, I think we used clay to make a flat piece.
My son also wanted to make a sundial. He took some cardboard and shaped it into a circle, then spray painted it with stone paint. He's super good with fiddling and he fiddled whatever he needed to make it look like that.
Meanwhile my daughter made the flower crowns for us and the jewelry, which are the square metal and jewel objects on the table.
Finally my son made an Archimedes Screw. Since he is in the fifth grade, I like to line up science with our history studies. Actually, he asked me to do this and I liked the idea! The Archimedes Screw (and the arch) were great science projects! I thought I had pictures of this but cannot find them. We used materials found around the house, like one of my many plastic storage boxes, rocks from the yard, a portion of our soaker hose that I asked my husband to cut, and water. It actually worked! I don't remember exactly how we made it, but many google searches can bring up ideas. Here is one I found.
 Since that time we have seen an Archimedes Screw at the Witte Museum in San Antonio that we were allowed to play with! Then while hiking on Assateague Island in Virignia he saw a real one in operation!
That's what I love about these projects. They are sometimes a bit of an agony to make, but the kids are so proud of them when they are done, and the memories linger. Later when we go out and about and see a masterpiece of what we tried to imitate, the kids immediately know what it is, how it was done, and they apprectiate the craftsmanship because they struggled to make a fair representation of one. Usually they stand there and say...Wow!

Ancient Rome Dialectic History Presentation

Last month my MIL flew in from New York to see one of these history presentations for herself! Of course, my parents were there too! This time we were a Roman family. 

After introducing ourselves, dd said the Lord's Prayer in Latin.  Then we ate.

Because the Romans made oratory famous, that was the theme of this celebration.  The dc had completed their first year of IEW and had learned how to write persuasive speeches, which is what Roman oratory is all about. I printed onto parchment paper all of their 5 paragraph persuasive essays that they had written in the past few weeks. Then I rolled them up like scrolls. This kids picked these up to read out loud.  Here are the the scrolls and ds's art projects...

Here are dd's art projects...

 Here is dd reading one of her papers.

Here is ds giving Paul's famous oratory to the Athenians in Acts 17: 22-31. 

Friday, July 27, 2007

Greek Vase, Solar System, and more Ancient Greek Projects

For my daughter's speech on Greek architecture during our Greek history presentation, we bought a trifold posterboard in the color blue, to represent Greece.  Since she's not an artist (neither am I) I purchased a book on Greek architecture at Half Price book with a coupon. She cut out the beautiful photographs she wanted to illustrate the different types of explain her points and glued them on neatly with a glue stick. Her print and spacing isn't great, so we made labels on the computer.  As a result, she learned how to use other means to make a lovely product!

I have designed my son's science curriculum around our history studies. Since there were plenty of Greek scientific and mathematical discoveries, during science time he made models to display for the history presentation. (Don't you love when school subjects overlap?)   

Since we incorporate science with our history studies, this project made a great science project! As the Greeks studied the lights in the night sky, so did my son! He made this solar system from a kit. The balls of styrofoam needed to be painted then strung with string.  He hung it from a dowel rod which we set on top of our fireplace tool holder.  The fireplace mades a great backdrop!

This Greek vase was made from an extra vase I had (one of the cheap ones).  My son has made so many vases during our study of the ancients, so I've tried to have him use different mediums with each one. For this one he paper mached the vase, then formed the handles.  When it dried he painted it to look like a Greek vase.  He also made some 3D shapes (turquoise) bottom right corner.  DD did some string art (bottom left corner) using some of the geometric shapes the Greeks played with. Included in the display are the masks from our Aesop's Fable play, The Tortoise and the Hare.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Oil Lamp, Pottery Shard, and King's Ring-Ancient Hebrew Projects

While reading through the stories of the prophets of the Old Testament last spring, my daughter did a few quick and simple craft projects. She made an oil lamp out of clay that was baked and painted. She also wrote some Hebrew letters on a pottery shard, as the Hebrews might have done.

DD also made a ring with a seal like King Xerxes in the book of Esther had.  The she sealed this letter with it.  We had Grandma break the seal, open it and read the message inside. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

How We Reenacted the Feast of Purim

When we studied Esther from the Old Testament last spring, we reenacted the Feast of Purim like the Jews do. The kids made these shakers out of emptied and cleaned frozen orange juice concentrate containers, decorating them with paper and filling them with stones. The original lids were taped back onto the containers. These were given to my husband whose job it was to shake them at the appropriate moment.  I read the entire book of Esther aloud.  DD represented Esther and DS represented Mordecai with these masks (which were displayed at our Ancient Greek history presentation with other items).  Everytime I read about Esther or Mordecai, they stepped out onto the "stage" and pantomimed the actions I was reading.  Whenever I read about the dastardly Haman, my husband furiously shook the shakers and yelled, "boo!!! hiss!!!" 

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

How We Made Persian Friezes

 Last spring when we studied the Persians, we made friezes out of wallboard. Wear a mask during this project because dust can fly!

The dc peeled off paper on the side they were going to work on.  Then they had to keep it wet with a spray bottle and scraped in their design of choice. This is extremely inportant, to keep it wet, because of all the dust that flies. After they decided it was done, they painted it with a watered down glue solution to keep the dust from flying. Here is dd's butterfly and flowers.

Here is ds' under the sea.

Classical Greece Dialectic History Presentation

Because we studied Greek theater last spring, we opened our Greek history presentation with a play of our own. We did the fable, The Tortoise and the Hare.  We used IEW's story structure chart from Unit 3 to help us write our play.  The dc also made gorgeous masks, since the Greek play featured masks.  We made them fun and simple, using great supplies we found at Hobby Lobby.

Here is lazy hare...

Here comes tenacious tortoise.

After the play, the dc got dressed and we presented ourselves as a Greek family  (with a son who was a Greek hoplite) who had learned of the one true God and follow Him now.  DS was always persistent that our characters must be converted! 

Then we ate!

Afterwards dd gave a speech on Greek architecture, using IEW Unit 6.

Then ds gave a speech on hoplites.

Then we showed off our projects from Greece...

 from Israel...

from Israel's captivity...

 DS showed Solomon's Temple

Here's the overview shot...

Then ds showed a web site that has an interactive through the temple...

Here's the solar system which the Greek's studied...

Monday, July 23, 2007

How We Made a Model of Solomon's Temple

Last spring we recreated Solomon's temple, reusing as much as we could of the tabernacle.  We repainted the base white.  We were able to reuse much of the furniture.  We used cardboard to make the temple.  DS made new structures out of clay, baked and painted them.  This project was far more intricate and complicated than the tabernacle, so it was difficult to do.  We definitely appreciated the craftsmanship that went into the real temple.  We also saw that the basic elements of entering God's presence remained the same.

Making Casts from Molds to Make Art like the Ancients Did

Casts from Molds
Last winter we had fun making casts from molds, replicating the art technique of some of the ancient cultures we had studied.  

First the dc sculpted a form out of sculpey.  We did not bake this.  We wanted it to stay flexible.

Making the Mold from Sculpey Clay

Then I mixed up plaster of paris to pour into the molds.

Pouring Plaster of Paris

When they were dry, the dc painted them with copper paint to represent some of the ancient art.  This is actually how some of the art was done, even back then.

Mold and Cast

We kept both the mold and cast for the history presentation to explain the process.

Mold and Cast