Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Back to the Classics Challenge 2018

Ok, I'm going to ATTEMPT this in the coming year.  Karen apparently hosts this challenge on her blog every year.  This is the first time I've heard of it but it sounds right up my ally and will be a good challenge to help me read books with a bit more substance.  I'll also probably to try to find books from Ambleside that the kids will have to read eventually so that I'm a step ahead there.  So, here are the categories and if I have an idea for what book I'll read for that category I've added it also.   (Once I've completed a category the category name is hyperlinked to the page for that challenge on Karen's blog and the title of the book I read is hyperlinked to my review of it.)

1. A 19th Century Classic -
          In Freedom's Cause (A Story of Wallace and Bruce) by G.A. Henty - This is one Kessa will have to read next year in year 7 of Ambleside Online so it will help me get a jump on my pre-reading.

2. A 20th Century Classic - (written between 1900 and 1968)  (DONE!)
            I ended up going with Animal Farm for this one just because it fit and I was reading for "school".  I still plan to read The Birth of Britain but I'm counting this category done for this challenge!  

3. A Classic by a Female Author - (DONE!)
          The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte - I've had this one for a little while, I think I got it after reading The Bronte Sisters: The Brief Lives of Charlotte, Emily, and Anne, but haven't started it yet.   I don't know that I've read anything by Anne before.  I've read several of Charlotte's books and at least one by Emily.  Jane Eyre is my all time favorite book, so we're going to give this one a chance!  lol.

4.  A Classic in TranslationPhantom of the Opera (DONE!)

5.  A Children's Classic -
          Possibly A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain - This is an AO year 7 free read.

6. A Classic Crime Story -
          Probably either Bleak House by Dickens or a Sherlock Holmes book.

7.  A Classic Travel or Journey Narrative - (DONE!)
          The Incredible Journey - This is an AO year 4 book that Zeke will be reading and I've never read it before so I'm excited to see how much better it is than the movie!

8.  A Classic with a Single Word Title -
          Pollyanna - another one that I've seen the movie but never read the book!  Horror!  Or possibly Ourselves because I need to pre-read it for Kessa's AO year 7. 

9.  A Classic with a Color in the Title -
          I ended up reading Agnes Grey for this one instead of my original plan of Sir Gwain and the Green Knight (I'll probably read the translation by Tolkien because he's fabulous.)

10.  A Classic by an Author that is New to You -
             I read Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy for this one.  (DONE!)
Maybe the Tripods series (these just eked in under the 50 year old limit for this challenge!  lol.)  They're on the AO year 7 Free Reads list.

11.  A Classic that Scares You -
          Bleak House by Dickens (DONE!)

12.  Re-read a Favorite Classic -
         Well Jane Eyre would be the obvious choice here...and I probably will...or maybe The Lord of the Rings...or a Jane Austen book...there are just too many to choose from!!!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Mini Charm Pack Quilt Block

Ok, November is my month to be queen in our Instagram #quiltbeenewbees quilt be and I decided I wanted a Sweetwater quilt.  I had a lot of mini charm packs I'd been hoarding so I started playing around with layouts and came up with this! 

So, for this block I sent everyone a different mini charm pack of Sweetwater fabrics.  You'll also need
Solid white fabric-
2 strips 1.75"x16"
2 strips 1.75"x19"
a light colored fabric that coordinated with your mini charm pack (preferably reads solid but isn't)
2 strips 4"x1.5"
2 strips 2.5"x1.25"
2 strips 8"x2.5"
2 strips 12.5"x2.5"

You'll be using all but one of the squares from the mini charm pack so pull one out and set it aside (feel free to keep it if you think you'll use it or send it back with the block if you don't think you will and I'll use it!)

Next pick out a square to use for the center of your block.  You'll be sewing your 2.5" strips to the sides of this, then press and add the 4" strips to the top and bottom.  Press and then trim to 4.5x4 if needed.  You should now have something like this:

Now pull out some more of your squares and arrange them as desired.  You'll need to sew 4 of them together into a strip (x2) and then two together (x2).  Press your seams and you'll have strips as shown below.  

Now sew the strips of two blocks to the sides, press, and sew the strips of 4 to the top and bottom.  You'll now have block as shown below.   It should now measure 8.5"x8".

I forgot to take a picture of this next step but you're going to take your other light colored strips and sew them around the block, after you've done this it should be 12.5"x12" (sorry I forgot a picture of this step!)

Now you're going to sew together 2 strips of 6 blocks and 2 strips of 8 blocks

sew these around the block as you've done with the other strips and then trim to 16.5"x16".

Finally, sew your true white strips around the edge!  Trim as needed and then the final block should measure 19"x18.5".  That's it!  Thank you!!!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Deep Thoughts from a 6 Year Old

"What does blunder mean?"

I was standing by the table one afternoon working on something while my 6 year old son was coloring.  He interrupted the quiet with this question.  Not thinking much about it I replied, somewhat absentmindedly,
"It's a mistake."  The quiet resumed but apparently his mind didn't stop.  A few minutes later he said, "Oh.  So the soldier made a mistake sending them into the mouth of hell."  At this I started to pay more attention to what he was saying (this particular child is known for talking non-stop and it's possible I have a bad habit of only half listening to him).  "Mouth of hell?"  What was he talking about?
"So the soldiers shouldn't have had to go to the mouth of hell?"  As he continued his line of questions it dawned on me that now, hours after the fact, he was thinking about the poem we'd be reading every morning.  The Charge of the Light Brigade paints a vivid picture of honor and duty as well as the consequences of a "mistake" and Zane was still pondering what it all meant even after we'd done ten thousand other things and even wrapped school up for the day.  These connections and conversations are stuff dreams are made up of for us home-schooling mamas.  To see even my youngest child grasping the feast set before him and forming a relationship with it almost feels like a whisper of encouragement to keep on keeping on from Heaven itself.  Sometimes the relationship is just a 6 year old understanding what happened in an historical poem, sometimes it is something like my 11 year old mentioning that the valley that made pilgrim's sleepy, that was part of the Evil Prince's realm, in Pilgrim's Progress, reminded her of the field of poppies in The Wizard of Oz that she has recently finished reading, and sometimes it's seeing a mossy snapping turtle at a nature center and my 9 year old saying, "Hey!  That's exactly what Minn looks like!"  However they're made I'm trying to store them up, write them down, remember them, and thank God for allowing me to take them on this journal of education which, as Charlotte Mason says, is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Girls Portlander Pants

I haven't been sewing much lately because home schooling has been taking up so much time...then throw baseball and softball into the mix and that's about all the hours in my day!  lol

When I saw Terra, the brains behind New Horizons Designs, post the tester call for these shorts though, they were so cute, and I knew they'd be a fast enough sew that even I could find time to finish them, and they wouldn't take a lot of fabric (not sewing much means I haven't been buying fabric and my stash is dwindling!)

The Girls Portlander Pants pattern includes sizes 12-18 months all the way up to a size 16!  I made my girls sizes 8 and 10.  There are also short and pant options, pocket options, and a drawstring option!  Let me tell you, the pockets and drawstrings really push this over the top!  That said, I went simple.  I didn't put pockets OR drawstrings on the three pairs I made for testing and they're still super cute and comfortable!  

These two pairs both have a simple knit body and a cotton/lycra blend waist.  The waist is a mid to high rise but you can always fold it over if you like it lower.  

I also decided the girls needed new tank tops to match so I whipped up the (FREE!!! SAY WHAT?!?!) Key West tank pattern (also from New Horizons) and then added some heat transfer designs that I cut with my silhouette.  Grace's (best seen in the second picture from the top) says "Pool Hair Don't Care" and just seemed very fitting for her, lol, and you can see Kessa's above.  If you click on the link for the tank you'll see that it says it's $7...hmm...I thought it was free!!!  So, to get it for free you'll need to head over to the New Horizons Facebook group and grab the coupon code in the pinned post.  The Key West actually has a TON of different options too, including a slim cut (like the two I made here), a more flowy style, multiple hem lines, racerback or regular tank, and there's a ladies version too!  

How about a few more pictures of more shorts?  This pair is made from sweatshirt fleece and also has a cotton/lycra waist.  Grace loves them and even wore them to softball practice the other night! 

Convinced?  They're on sale for $7 through 5/28 (and if you want the women's version too buy the bundle for only $14 right now!!  That means you get both pairs on sale!)  

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Flag Quilt Block Tutorial

I'm participating in the #tripleblockbee this year over on Instagram and I'm the Queen Bee in February!  

Last summer I was really liking all the Stars and Stripes quilts  I kept seeing but then I saw Sweet Littles Handmade version (shown above) and I totally fell in love!  I'm using the image above as my inspiration photo for my blocks.  

Now, I'm sure that the Thimble Blossom pattern (linked above) is amazing but there were several things that stopped me from buying it.  First and foremost, if I wanted to use it for my bee block I would have had to buy it 12 times so everyone could have a legal copy!  That was a bit too expensive for my blood.  Secondly, the finished blocks are something like 10x14 and for our Triple Block Bee we're supposed to have 12x12 blocks so I didn't feel like I could ask people to make ones that were bigger.  All that said, I decided to just figure out my own measurements for a block that would fit my purposes.  

 So, Triple Block Bee ladies, you're going to see two different prints and a solid white (true white.  I used Kona White on mine) for each block.  Be creative and have fun with the prints you use!  Use the inspiration photo and the two blocks I've made already to see where to go.  I'd prefer if you didn't use any novelty prints and no royal blue or RED RED either please.  Think fun colors in the red or blue families.

You're going to need:

"Stars" - 1 block that is 5.25"x4.25"
White Stripes - 1 strip that is 7.75"x1.75"
                          - 2 strips that are 12.5"x1.75"
"Red" Stripes - 2 strips that are 7.75"x1.75"
                       - 2 strips that are 12.5"x1.75"

You can obviously cut each "red" strip individually if you want to or you can cut a rectangle that is 12.5"x7".  Then cut that rectangle lengthwise at 1.75", 3.5", and 5.25".  

Now remove two of the strips and set aside.  Cut the remaining two strips down from 12.5" to 7.75".  

Now you'll need to cut your white rectangle to 12.5"x5.25" and then cut it into 1.75" strips (that will be cutting at 1.75" and 3.5" again.)  Remove two of the strips and cut the third down to 7.75" in length. 

You now have all your pieces cut!  

Now sew your three 7.75" strips together.  


Press the seams away from the white and then sew this section onto your "stars" block.  

Press the seam toward the "stars". 

Almost done!  Sew the bottom four strips together.  I chain pieced these (if you can call doing it with just two sections chain piecing!  lol).  If you had all three of your blocks cut you could easily chain piece all of the strips.  

Press away from the white again and then sew the bottom stripes onto the top section.  

You're done!  This is actually a really quick and easy block.  It should finish at 12.5"x9.5".  Because I'm never quite precise enough I'm squaring them up at 12.25"x9.25".  Thanks ladies!!!  :)

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Hedgey Christmas

I had two Sweetwater jelly rolls that were Christmas themed and I decided I wanted to make a quilt with them before Christmas.  I couldn't find anything I really loved made from jelly rolls though so I started sketching out ideas and sewing.  

I had some leftover Varsity fabrics (also by Sweetwater!) that I decided to use to make some Hazel Hedgehog blocks...because they're just too cute!!  

Zeke asked me to add glasses to one of them and he's since claimed it as his own (the hedgehog that is.  He tells everyone that the red hedgehog is him.  lol)  

This little tree on the left side of the quilt is a bit wonky and I embrace it but it wasn't planned...I found a missing strip that I forgot to sew in after I was done with it!  lol!!!  Oops.  Good thing I'm not a perfectionist!  ;) 

Stripey binding makes me swoon.  *heart eyes*

 The kids were a little excited that it was done and washed and ready for cuddles!!  (Zeke asked me last night when he was going to bed if I would finish binding it.  lol) oh!  I almost forgot.  It's backed with a fleece flat sheet so it's soooo cozy!!!!