Monday, January 30, 2012

In our homeschool, games are a regular part of the curriculum. With an ADD daughter and a son who dreads math worksheets, games are a fun way to liven up a sometimes dull subject. I was inspired by this marble arch game on Pinterest, but made a few changes to make it more versatile.

I used a whole box, minus the lid, so the marbles wouldn't run everywhere. The top and sides are covered with scrapbook paper, because I'm lazy and didn't want to wait for two or three coats of paint to dry. I painted the front with chalkboard paint (sigh, how I love chalkboard paint!), so I can change the numbers depending on what each child is working on. For the example above, you shoot two marbles through the arches and then multiply the numbers. Of course you could add, subtract, or divide the same way. But why stick with whole numbers? You could use fractions, decimals, or negative numbers. You could play with fraction bars, so the child collects the corresponding fraction bars until they have made a whole. You could use pattern blocks to practice geometry and/or cover a pattern block card with a design. You could use coin amounts and have the child collect the corresponding coins until they reach a dollar (or other specified amount). I love having wipe-off games that I can customize to whatever skill is needed!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Book Log Tutorial

The kids both have this book to keep track of what they are reading this year, so I decided to make one for myself, too. I have several old blank books lying around, so I decided to alter one instead of buying a pre-made log. I also wanted to have a book organized by subject, since I primarily read nonfiction. Lastly, I have lots of supplies I'd like to use up to make room for baby stuff.
I started with this blank book. I sanded the cover since it had a glossy finish. (Sorry, I had to take the pictures at night)
I crumpled up an old map, then applied Distress Ink (brick and burlap) stamp pads directly to the paper.
Spray the paper with water, then crumple again.
You can let the paper air dry, or if you are impatient like me, you can use a heat gun. When it is dry, rub a Distress Ink pad over the paper to highlight the texture. I used Marigold for contrast.
I wrapped the book with the paper, using matte medium as an adhesive. I ran a gray stamp pad over the edges for contrast. The title block is made from scrapbook paper, brad, and a cut out from my sketchbook.
I covered the inside end papers with scrapbook paper, and used extra supplies for the date.
I punched category tabs from scrapbook paper to divide the log by topic. Now let's see who reads more this year, me or the kids...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

For the New Year

This may explain why it has been pretty quiet around here over the last few months. The little bean is doing well and expected on July 7. I'm also starting to feel like a regular human again, so hopefully things will pick up around here.

As for the New Year, have you picked your word yet? Mine is "mindfulness" this year. Ali Edwards is holding a new one little word class at Big Picture Classes, but I signed up last year and never actually did the monthly projects, so I saved them all and have ambitions to do them this time around. After having the kids pour through scrapbooks recently and then ask why there weren't any recent pages about them, I have vowed to try to keep a simple monthly schedule of three layouts this year. Mind you, these will be simple, but that's okay with me. I have plenty of other outlets for design, but I am mostly concerned about recording their stories. I so cherish the pages that I have, and wouldn't have remembered half of those moments if I hadn't recorded them.

The plan? I had a bunch of bags of leftover scrap kit pieces, which I sorted into 12 bags and divided by season. The plan is to use whatever is in there, along with white, black, or kraft cardstock, to create three layouts a month. One will be about Max, one about Madeline, and one will be a family page. Once the baby comes, it will either be one per kid or just an additional page. I'm thinking of printing a page of layout sketches and just choosing from them each month, or keeping the basic layout the same every month and just changing embellishments and patterened paper. We'll see which one is easiest - I'm all about easy right now!

Well, there, I've put it in print. I suppose now I'll have to actually follow through;)