" Some days we paint with large bold strokes, like when someone finishes a book report or gets a piece of music ready for performing. Most of our days are softer in color. A little dab here a little dab there, following a rough draft, but allowing ourselves to paint outside the lines when we want too. "
~ Deborah Jean

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas Cookies and Magic Carpet Rides

What do Christmas Cookies and Magic Carpet rides have to do with each other? 
I'll  let you in on a little secret...When our children were toddler's and too little to help out in the kitchen for any length of time with baking Christmas Cookies  I'd bring out my trusty magic carpet which I saved for only the most special of times...

I'd call out, " It's magic carpet time"  and they'd come running with pillows and toys filled to the brim with anticipation of another adventure on magic carpet.
  I would spread it out on the living room floor, provide each of them with a small bowl of snacks and a drink and they'd take it from there... It was make believe at it's best and it kept them entertained just long enough for me to finish up in the kitchen ~ most of the time...

In actuality our magic carpet was a large piece of fleece fabric with a bright red back ground and big friendly, fury spiders on it...( I had purchased it for a Miss Spider's Tea Party reading at our local library )  It was the perfect inspiration for an outdoor adventure indoors or wherever a child's imagination will take them. 
Any old blanket or quilt will do!

 Just remember, when your cookies are all done don't forget to let the kids have a taste and roll up your Magic Carpet until next time! 
It works like a Charm ~ 

What sneaky I mean magical things do you do to keep your young one's occupied when you need some UN interrupted time? 

Happy Baking,
Deborah Jean 

Friday, December 17, 2010

This Moment~ A Friday Ritual

A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special
A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 
, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Stitches of Love

I'm not a knitter, but I know a little elf that has been very busy in the Dandelion Workshop.

Nicolette's knitting needles have been getting a workout the last couple of weeks! She became interested in knitting a couple of years ago and with the help of a friend and a Knitting book by Anne Akers Johnson called Knitting  ( for ages 10 and up) she was on her way!  A friend showed her how to cast on and off and the book helped her with the basics of winding her yarn into a ball, tying a slip knot, hand position, casting on, knitting, purling, casting off, and other nitty-gritty details!

She was determined to learn on her own and spent many evening hours up in her room on her bed studying her " knitting bible"! In true Nicolette fashion, she was knitting in no time and I can't say enough about how well done this book is.. It truly is easy to follow and makes learning so much more fun! I wish I had  taken a photo of the first hats she made. We visited my brothers out west in November of 2007 and one of them ( along with his wife) loves to hunt. When we returned home she decided that they needed something warm and bright to wear that would make them more visible to other hunters. Off we went to our local craft store ( no fancy yarn shops just yet ) to find the perfect color and gage... She chose a very bright red and a large gage yarn and went about  knitting them the most adorable matching chunky red stocking caps.

 This year she was inspired by one of the 6 simple projects this nifty little book has to offer.  The Pocket Purse. Lucky recipients this year? For her music teacher she chose the fuzzy multi-colored yarn with a soft green button for contrast. For her best beach buddy she used asoft green  yarn with a lavender button to remind her of the beach!

I hadn't noticed the 100% KLUTZ certified stamp up in the right hand corner on the cover until I started this post! This little gem also got the Best Book Award from Oppenheim Toy Portfolio too!

 Who knows I may just learn to knit after all!

Happy Knitting~

Don't be shy now... tell us what you're stitching up for your loved ones?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Alphabet Dice Game

Last year as we were doing our seasonal  decorating I  came across our box of Alphabet Dice and thought it would be fun to add some inspirational words to our table decorations to enjoy through the holiday season. 

A Centuries Old Spelling Game 

Enlightened educators have long recognized the connection  between play and learning. More than 300 years ago, Philosopher and educator, John Locke, suggested that by playing with alphabet dice, " Children may be cozen'd into a knowledge of letters"... without perceiving it to be any thing but sport. 

We had fun LOVED playing this game when the children were young and learning to spell. It was a great thing to just leave lying around in a bowl or in a book basket but it's not recommended for children under 3.

It gave the kids a chance to make words on their own, discover new sounds and arranging the dice into words that none of us could pronounce was fun too! 

It's the perfect stocking stuffer!  

Here's wishing you time with your loved ones for what ever brings you closer together.

Thank you all for joining us this year on our homeschooling journey through the teen years and looking back on the wonder years too!


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Diorama Diva

If you can PICTURE it;YOU can MAKE IT~

That's what the Diorama Diva tells us all the time. 

diorama [ˌdaɪəˈrɑːmə]
n1. (Fine Arts & Visual Arts / Art Terms) a miniature three-dimensional scene, in which models of figures are seen against a background

If I had a nickel for every time she starts the day sitting at the dining room table in her PJ's making something I'd be a rich ( in dollars) homeschooling mama.  Sure, we have our curriculum and our schedule but when she's on a creative roll I push all that aside ( until later)  and let her CREATE!

This is how she envisioned her bedroom makeover. She wanted a fresh color palette to remind her of the beach and a place where she could relax and be alone. She wanted a day bed, plenty of spaces for books, and a splash of color so the room wouldn't be TOO boring. Function before beauty is key. She has it all. Storage, a desk for writing and primping, and a comfy ( princess and the pea) bed. 

 She has created a space with balance, symmetry and beauty too! Her bedroom design did come to fruition with some new paint, and a lot of elbow grease from dear old mom! It's my job to show her some dreams do come true!

Every artist dreams of a studio of their own. I have no doubt she'll have the studio of her dreams one day. I love the inspirational quote above " her"  spot  and the additional work spaces she created for future collaborators!

She sketched a wood floor pattern on the floor and made sure everyone had plenty of storage and a nice place to sit.

She made these chairs with foam core, and hot glue. If I didn't know better I'd swear they could roll and spin! The wheels are black buttons glued onto the frame. The " wall paper " is scrap book paper. 

Come on in and ...

Creating Dioramas is a fun way for your child to explore skills used in the Visual Arts. Making Dioramas also strengthens skills needed in Math, Art, Science, Physics, and History but to me, the best part is the use of imagination and the hands on experience of making something with things you have on hand. 

Hold on to your old shoe boxes, stock up on glue sticks, foam core, scrap paper, markers, paints, buttons, beads, yarn, thread, and misc. pieces from toy sets, doll houses etc. The possibilities are endless! 

What  dreams come true are your children making today?