Thursday, November 13, 2014

Making A Skating Skirt with

Busy, busy, busy.  Aren't we all?!  This poor blog gets neglected over my other one, but the other one has been neglected too.  'Tis the season.  But isn't it fun?

My girl and I have been having fun getting our sewing on.  Chewy started skating not too long ago.  Figure skating.  When I say "skating," people always ask "roller or figure."  Roller skating is more popular in a land without water and ice.  We're lucky enough to have a family member who lives by that is a figure skating coach.  Chewy gets private lessons!

I think one of the things that Chewy likes about skating is the outfits.  She's the "fashionista" in the family.  A very original fashionista.  She's got a taste in clothes all her own.  A polka dotted shirt with a  striped skirt and neon tye-dye knee high socks is something she would wear.  Fortunately,  Chewy has gotten a handful of hand-me down skating outfits.  But I also wanted to get her something.  But I'm the thrifty type, so spending $40 on a skate skirt or $90 on a dress from the pro shop is not in my budget. Especially when she'll out grow the stuff in no time at all. She's growing like a weed!

After some internet research, I discovered Jalie patterns.  They have figure skating outfit patterns.  Except I wasn't quite sure I could just jump into sewing a figure skating anything.  On the Jalie site I came across  Jack pot!  A blog on sewing figure skating stuff, a store with fabrics, patterns, and pre-cut outfits, and help for crafting figure skating outfits!  Just lovely!  I know figure skating is only a small niche in the world, but you could even check it out if you have girls who like to wear pretty outfits!

I ordered a pre-cut skating skirt in small and a pre-cut skating dress in small for my Chewy.   They just fit her, so I'm guessing next year we'll be getting mediums!  She's already excited at that!  I have to admit, it's kinda addicting sewing these, once you get going.  I might even venture out into pairing some of Make My Skate Dress's fabrics with the Jalie patterns.

I'm just going to show the skirt first.  The dress will get billing another time, once I can get some photos of Chewy in it.  That shouldn't be too hard, considering she likes to wear it.  The lighting just hasn't been great and I don't want to pull out my studio lighting to take a few photos.

Everything was packaged nicely and cut nicely.  Much better than I could do myself.  Each piece is also labeled, so you know what it is.  Totally worth it!  Sorry that the photo isn't the best.  Again, low light and I didn't put on my speedlight.  Lazy Busy photographer homeschooling mom.

The directions were easy to follow.  I'm not an expert sewer, I wouldn't even call myself an intermediate sewer.  I'm a basic sewer.  With a basic sewing machine.  Nothing fancy.

Here's a few hints that helped me:
  • You don't need a serger, but an overcast foot is so helpful.  It cost me about $7 for the foot for my Kenmore machine and makes zigzagging the edges of the fabric together a breeze. 
  • Stretch needles are worth it.  I have ballpoint needles and I'm cursing/hating/mumbling not nice things under my breath every time I use them on stretchy fabric.  The fabric bunches and doesn't go under my machine nicely.  Then I read about stretch needles and decided to get some and try them.  I love those things.  Stretch material doesn't bunch anymore when I use those.  I have broken a few, but that's par for the game with sewing. 
  • Use nice thread.  Not the cheap stuff.  My mom gave me that hint (thanks mom!).  It doesn't shed as much, doesn't break as much, and doesn't muck up my machine like the cheap stuff.  I've become an expert at cleaning and repairing my machine, unfortunately.  
The overcast foot on my machine.
Both Chewy and I were impressed with how well the skirt turned out.  I'll admit, I'd do a few things differently next time.  But those were my own mistakes, such as having the seams lie different ways once I got everything sewed together.  Little picky things like that, I suppose it comes with experience or not being a type A person.  The directions were easy to follow and the skirt turned out looking like it could have almost been store-bought.  (Almost...again...I'm not the best sewer, so I'm pretty stoked at how well this skirt turned out.)

So pretty much....Chewy and I love Make My Skate Dress.  It's affordable, easy, and just plain awesome.  $10 to sew a skating skirt over paying $40!  Yes, please!  The material is all pre-cut, that is a huge time saver and made this project easy.  Plus, it all came with a matching scrunchie for Chewy's hair.  I grew up in the era of scrunchies and it's a time those things made a huge comeback.  Love the scrunchie! 

I'm just sharing an exciting find with you....Make My Skate Dress.  Awesome service, awesome shop, awesome place.  I'm happy to share it with anyone willing to listen!  And Chewy is happy to wear what we "create," so that's make me a happy mom.   What exciting finds do you have to share?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

My Father's World - Exploring Countries and Cultures Weeks 9 & 10

It took a little bit to get through these weeks.  Not because it was hard, but because we were gone from home.  We traveled for 10 days out of the past 2 weeks.  One day we did do school work in the car. The rest was a free-for-all and we called it our "fall break."  Another reason to love homeschooling...being able to travel at "non-peak" times.  Love it!  Plus, the kids haven't been sick in ages!

So, I somehow didn't photograph much of our school happenings.  I did manage to get some photos of fall break, but not much of school.  I managed to find some photos.

On with the recap:

Week 9

We entered Brazil.  No photographic proof here.  I'm pretty sure we did stuff.  Such as a greenhouse experiment and making terrariums.  We went the easy route and did those egg-shaped terrariums.  We'll get back to you on if they grow.  We did a pitcher plant (which is residing for 6 weeks in the refrigerator), a venus-fly trap, and something else that I thought would grow.  I don't hold much hope for those tropical plants living here in the desert.  The plants are "guaranteed to grow."  I'm not so sure about that.  I'll be impressed if they do.

For art this week we made Drinking Straw Flutes.  And we did not have an epic fail this time.  Well, the kids more or less produced a lot of spit out of their straws, rather than the loud squacking noises I got out of mine. 

Our Magic School Bus watching for the week included "In the Rain Forest" and we watched "Jungles" from the Planet Earth series.  Cause, you know, there's a really big rain forest in South America. 

We went on a field trip to the local pumpkin patch with some other wonderful homeschoolers.  We've been going to this patch since Scooter was almost 2!  It's gotten bigger every year!

We also celebrated someone's birthday a little early with a party for a few friends at a bike park!  How do I have a kid that is a decade old?!

Week 10

Oh, week 10.  Part at home, some of it in the car, and most of it broken between 2 trips.  We had 2 days home between our trips, so it was craziness here.  Good craziness. 

We continued studying South America.  The kids are so good at knowing where the countries belong on the map.  They're better than myself or their dad.

Our Magic School Bus watching included "In the Haunted House" and "Makes a Rainbow."  They don't really go along with what is being studied in My Father's World, but I put them here.  We also watched "Eyewitness - Jungles."  Yep, we frequent the library!

We also built another Nanoblock set, but I didn't get any photos of it yet.  We built the Easter Island heads.  They're called moai statues.  Did you know that there are 887 statues on that island?!  Why did we build the Easter Island statues while studying South America?  Because Easter Island is a special territory of Chile.  Except Easter Island is way out in the ocean and far, far away from Chile.

We were suppose to do an art project this week, but I pushed it off due to time.  We may do it during week 11, but I can't guarantee it.  The kids weren't too disappointed.  They were busy enough with all the adventures we went on.


First up was a trip to Moab, UT.  I go into more detail on my photography blog about it here.  It was an amazing trip (with some slight hiccups).  Beautiful and fun!  It was a great family trip and I'm sure we'll be going back there someday.  We biked the Slick Rock Trails and Bar M (Circle-O) trails as a family.  We visited Arches National Park and did quite a bit of hiking.  The kids and I got to visit some local parks and natural areas while Biker Boy was off with some other people traversing the more difficult mountain biking trails.  Both kids wanted to move to Moab by the time we left.

Our second trip was to Alabama.  It was delightful and a great trip!  Our pass we have to our local science museum got us into the US Space and Rocket Center for free.  That was worth it and more.  If you're in Huntsville, AL that is a great place to visit!  We also saw Cathedral Caverns and did some southern eatin'!  Chewy wanted us to leave her in Huntsville! 

Another 2 weeks in the books!  We're proceeding with the next 2!  How about you?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

My Father's World - Exploring Countries and Cultures Weeks 7 & 8

I thought I just wrote about weeks 5 & 6 a couple of days ago.  How am I into week 9, nearly 10 and I haven't recapped 7 & 8?  I need a pause button.  Forget that easy button.  Someone get me a pause button. 

And smack this fanatical photographer like crazy....I barely photographed my children during these weeks.  What is up with that?'s photographer syndrome.  You know how April is crazy for tax accountants, October is like that for photographers.  And I'm not even a professional with an actual job.  But I shot 4 families in 4 days.  (Shot as in photographed....just in case you were wondering).  I still have half of those photos to finish...but those are gifts, so I guess the families don't mind waiting. 

Alright, for the sake of trying to write down what we are covering this year.  Let's get on with the recap.

Week 7 & 8 found us finishing up North America.

Week 7

We ventured into Canada.  Eh.  People sometimes think Biker Boy is from Canada because of his accent.  I don't hear it.  But, eh, maybe.  The kids love using our talking globe (smart globe?) to find out about the countries we are studying.  Glad Biker Boy was able to fix it.  The poor thing was on the fritz before school started. 

We tried Inuit Soap Carving this week.  If you've been reading our school recaps, have you noticed a trend with the art stuff?  We've been having big time fails.  Again, we had a big time fail.  I mean, I was even excited about trying to carve a piece of soap into a polar bear or something and it wasn't workingout.  Chewy was done first the day we had art, so she eagerly went to work on the soap while Scooter was working on math.  I had to show her how to carefully push the soap away from her.  We used Ivory (cheapest stuff that Biker Boy could find on one of his shopping trips with the kids).  Well, it didn't take too long before Chewy was nearly in tears because her bar of soap broke.  So I gave her mine.  Guess what happened to that one?  Yep, it broke too.  Scooter didn't even attempt his soap carving.  He's not as into crafty stuff as Chewy is.  We put his soap into an Operation Christmas Child box, it'll be much more useful in there. 

For our viewing pleasure this week we watched Magic School Bus episodes of "Meets the Rot Squad" and "Gets Eaten." 

We started reading Indian in the Cupboard together. This is my own addition for our reading time.  The kids take turns reading pages to me out of chapter everyday.  (We try to read it 3-4 times a week, with self-choice on the other days).  We write vocabulary words out of each chapter and look them up in the dictionary.  They also either have a question to answer or a picture to draw each day about the previous chapter they read.  A question such as "What toy would you put into the magic cupboard and have it come alive?  Why?"  (It didn't have to be plastic in our cupboard).  Anyone care to guess what Chewy would have come alive? 

Week 8

Still in Canada.  We finished the week off with a Canadian meal.  And I have no photographic evidence of it.  I totally forgot.  We ate some meat dish with corn and mashed potatoes on top.  We had french bread with butter.  Then we made the desserts from the book we had.  Chewy helped make some Canadian Blue Berry Dessert and we had it with vanilla ice cream and maple syrup. 

Our art project for the week was Maple Leaf Prints.  Except we live in an area where maple trees are rare.  Really rare.  So we went on a nature walk through our yard and collected leaves off trees in our yard to make the prints. And we didn't do the prints in the way that the art book wanted us to.  We used crayons to make tracings of the leaves.  It was a short and sweet project and the kids loved it.  Yay for one successful art project. 

We did one science experiment with celery and it was easy.  I was I had more time to incorporate more science experiments. The kids love the hands on stuff.  I think I did a lot of science with them last year, so much that they have a hard time remembering what we did. 

We only watched one Magic School Bus this week, it was "Gets Ants in its Pants." 

In other events, we've been getting out hiking and biking.  We got up into the mountains at least a few times to enjoy the fall weather and colors.  It sure has been a beautiful fall.  We attempted the balloon glow for the fourth time and for the fourth time were not able to see it.  Just isn't meant to be, I guess. We had a canceled field trip to the Pumpkin Patch, but it got rescheduled for Week 9, so more on that later.  I even managed to take both kids ice skating on my own!  Chewy, of course, was the expert and showed us how to do everything.  Scooter was skating circles by the end and I was able to remember most of the things I had learned in lessons years ago.  It was much easier than roller skating!


We've now been studying South America.  Scooter had some friends meet him at the bike park to celebrate his birthday and that was a fun time.  We've got 2 busy weeks ahead of us!  Not sure when I'll be back to write here again.  You'll have to check out my photograph page at for some previews of the kids dressing up in a few days.  Here's hoping I can whip something up in Photoshop for this year. 

Hope you all are enjoying your weeks!  Until next time...

Monday, October 6, 2014

My Father's World - Exploring Countries and Cultures Weeks 5 & 6

Apparently 2 weeks has gone by since I last posted.  I'm not quite sure where the time is flying, but it's flying fast. 

We've been enjoying school and failing at many art projects.  Yikes.  It's kind of discouraging and makes me want to quit doing art projects all together.  Scooter would be fine with that, but Chewy would miss it.  Plus, it's a learning opportunity.  Not everything is always going to work out and sometimes you need to try something else. 

Time to recap:

Week 5 found us in Mexico!  The kids got their fake passports stamped and we "entered" Mexico.  The talking globe has been a hit with each new country that we enter.

The art project that we selected for this week was Clay Sun Faces.  We were getting all excited about painting them and displaying them outside somewhere.  Yep, that was a failed art project.  It started out great and we all made sun faces.

We live in a dry environment, so things dry fairly fast.  Maybe these sun faces dried too fast.  They cracked.  And I didn't have anymore Crayola Air Dry Clay to try again.  Bummer.

We made up for the failed art project with a leftover project from the USA.  Our nanoblock set representing the USA arrived and we put it together.  We did it in about 15 layer increments.  We'd do 15 layers (I'd name out pieces and the kids would put them together ) and then we would do something else before coming back and doing 15 more layers of the nanoblocks.  The nanoblocks were the highlight of our week.

We enjoyed some science experiments.  We also added in watching 2 episodes of Magic School Bus with mommy written worksheets (All Dried Up and Cold Feet).  We also watched Planet Earth Deserts to go along with what the kids are learning about in science.  We also happened to get an Eyewitness Video at the library on Deserts.  It sounds like we watch a lot, but that's pretty much it since we don't have cable or local channels. 

The kids have always wanted to try coconut water from a coconut, so I indulged them and let them try.  That was a fun treat!

Week 6 had us doing a pinata for an art project, but I decided to have the kids start it at the end of Week 5, just in case.  Good thing.  It was another failed project.  We tried making a paper maiche pinata with some premade paper maiche stuff that you just had to add water too. It was like playing with spit balls (and then I had to explain to the kids what spit balls were).  It took forever to try, I ended up popping the balloon after 3 days and the rest of the pinata kinda sank and broke. Fail.  Epic fail.  I was so bummed.

Week 6.  Another attempt at a pinata.  This time each kid made one. We stuck with the tried and true method of glue mixed with water.  We dipped pieces of computer paper in it.  I didn't have any newspaper.  They only dried about a day and the kids used the glue/water solution to paint on some pieces of tissue paper.  We ended up making hot air balloon "pinatas."  There was no candy in the pinatas, but the kids put some hard candies into the hot air balloon baskets!

Wondering which episodes of the Magic School Bus we watched this week?  Kicks up a Storm and The Busasaurus. 

Another art project had us making some tissue paper flowers.  The kids wanted to make lots, but I thought 6 was enough.  We used them to decorate for our Mexican feast.

At the end of Week 6 we enjoyed a Mexican feast.  I found an old Mexican cookbook that was handed down to us and the kids picked some recipes out of it.  We had tamales (store bought), tortillas, beans, guacomole, watermelon, and bischochitos (again, store bought) with tea for dessert.  It was a yummy meal! 

For audio enjoyment we listened to Igraine the Brave by Cornelia Funke.  I had actually read that one this summer and knew both kids would like listening to it.  Chewy enjoyed the girl as the main character and Scooter enjoyed all the parts about the castle.  They both enjoyed the talking cat!

Alrighty, I think I quickly made my way through those 2 weeks.  In other events, we made a trip to the science museum.  Scooter's been playing away at his guitar and Chewy has been enjoying skating (especially since she now has some skate dresses and a skating skirt).  The library is always fun every week and we've been meeting lots of friends there.  We had playgroup at our house, while doing portraits at the same time!  We've been getting the kids to the pool once a week when we can (I refuse to take them in the summer).  It's not busy at the pool in the fall and winter and the kids are finally progressing!  Scooter will even swim some laps with me! 

It's past my bedtime now. I've got 4 sessions of portraits to work on, so I may lack in posting here again.  That is, unless I need a break from editing.  4 families in 4 days, that's a record for me!  Not one I'm likely to repeat, but it works for now.  The fall colors have been beautiful!  We've been able to enjoy them on the mountain for the past 2 weeks with some hiking. 

Enough random writing for now, this girl has got to get to bed.  What have you been up to?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

My Father's World - Exploring Countries and Cultures Weeks 3 & 4

On to a recap of Weeks 3 and 4!

Week 3 found us learning about North Amercia and more specifically, the United States.  It was hopefully review for the kids since we studied the United States last year.

We started the week with some more "school portraits."  I practiced one more time on the kids and got some photos of them.

We enjoyed doing some Sand Art.  This was the Navajo Sand Painting from the Global Art book that we are using.  The kids enjoyed it.  I was having them do it on some wood pieces that had word art on them (from my bathroom before we painted it).  I didn't anticipate the words showing through, I thought the sand would cover it.  Oh well.  The kids had fun and the sand art is sitting on their shelves in the school room.  Right next to a fancy plaque that Daddy got for one of his patents.

The kids worked on 2 pages of their fairy tale that we were working on last school year.  Someday we'll get that thing done!

As usual, for science, I added in a few visual things.  We watched the Magic School Bus "Gets Planted" to go with learning about forests.  We also watched Planet Earth "Seasonal Forests."  We continued listening to "The Best School Year Ever" by Barbara Robinson.

The kids are both reading chapter books for a book report.  They also filled out a page that looked like a newspaper and they had to put in information about themselves.  I add a few things in to the curriculum here and there.  This is a photo of Scooter reading, though not of his book report book.

I guess I didn't take too many photos.  Moving on.

Week 4 had us still learning about the United States.  At the end of the week we celebrated with some food made from the "A Trip Around the World" book that is used with the curriculum.  The kids made a Southwest Dip and a Grits Casserole.  We enjoyed it with some pulled pork and bbq sauce.  We had pumpkin pie to finish off our American meal.  Plus, we wore Hawaiian leis, because it's fun.

The kids started a typing program online.  They both enjoy it, which is pretty fantastic.  They only do it once or twice a week so far, when we have time.  It's a BBC program called Dance Mat Typing

For art, we did a self-selected activity.  Chewy chose it from some options I gave her.  We made some monster bookmarks, similar to the ones I found at this blog.

For science we added in watching the Magic School Bus "For Lunch" and "Goes Cellular."  The kids are very good at recalling what they watched and answering the worksheets I have for them later.  I need to make some more worksheets for upcoming episodes!

The kids put their new typing skills to use when they typed out their final draft of their Personal Narrative. This was part of their English Curriculum (Bob Jones 4).

They read their narratives out loud to us after our American Dinner Celebration.  We even took videos of them reading their narratives.  These are just the photos, with really bad light from the flash.  Hello, red eyes!  They both did very well with reading their narratives to us.  I couldn't stop smiling!

In other news, we made Homemade Marshmallows for the first time!  I think we'll be making more in the future!  I wrote about the experience on my photography blog, in case you have nothing else to do and want to read more and get the link to the recipe.

We also did our yearly photo by the aspen tree.  Everyone sure has grown, except for Biker Boy and I!  Have I not put up photos of this from the past couple of years?  Because I know I took photos, but I can't find any blog posts with them.  Here's one from 2011 that has all the photos we've taken since 2007.  That tree keeps growing.  At least I chose the one that is still alive and not the one that died!

That's been the last two weeks of school. We're into week 5 and having a blast, most of the time!  What about you?

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