Creating

Read Aloud: The Dollmaker of Krakow

This year we have been making a study of Poland.  This is the book that inspired the unit study, but we are only just now getting to reading it because it comes later in chronological order.  I read several pages aloud each day before we get going with the rest of our studies.  It’s utterly charming.  The illustrations are lovely.  I’m a little obsessed with this style of art.  And the colours on the cover are pretty perfect for my life right now.

If you have a familiarity with trauma, the will take on a deeper meaning and you may find yourself crying through the first couple of chapters.  Ask me how I know.

 

And speaking of art, I’m having another go at a project idea that I tried a couple of years ago.  The composition is better,but this is only the first ‘draft’.  It still needs a lot of work, but I like the direction I’m headed in.

 

© Nissa Gadbois | All Rights Reserved

Craft Therapy

Self care is really important when you are the parent of a child with special needs of any kind.  Taking time away when your child suffers from trauma-related effects is not usually a great option, so I need to find other ways to lift my spirits and find respite.

I’ve spent the month of January nesting and breaking from the use of my personal Facebook account.  It’s too easy for me to become negatively affected by other folks struggles.  I need to conserve that energy for my children, for the pain that needs healing right here in my home.  Slowly we have been re-organizing and replacing and redecorating in order to make our house a home.  I’ve also been going through my library of art and handcraft books, replacing tools and supplies, and making lists of projects to make.  Many will stay right here in our home to decorate walls, or to be worn.  Some will find their way to our shop and the sales will help support our farm and ministry work.

I’m going to share my Craft Therapy projects right here on the blog.  Maybe something I’m trying will inspire you.  There is a link up below to share your current project.  I’d love to see what you’re making!

Right around Christmas, Dawn posted something about making a temperature scarf and that seemed like an ideal first project, but one that will take all year to complete.  You can find some great examples of temperature scarves and blankets on Ravelry.

While I’m waiting for more supplies to arrive, I’ve also cast on a beautiful “cowlette”, a cross between a cowl and a shawlette.  It’s called “Clairmore” by Corinna Ferguson (available for $6 through Ravelry). 

 

I chose Manos del Uruguay’s Silk Blend in the colourway “Caribe”.  I’m a little obsessed with the colours of the sea lately.


I love the pattern so much that I might just make it in a couple of other colourways.


  I’d love to connect with you on Ravelry.  My handle is “nissa”.  Easy, right?

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Art. Life.

©Nissa Gadbois

An impromptu art lesson for my Bulgarians.  They were never taught how to make art.  It is clear that they desire to make art.  We ALL desire to make art because we are made in the image and likeness of God.  The essence of our very being is that of creator.  Making art is a useful means of communication when spoken language fails.  It is therapeutic.

They are learning not only how to use art materials, but also how to observe. As teenagers, they had not really learned to pay attention to how the human form, nor plants, nor anything else was made.  Arms too small, bent weirdly, coming from the midsection of the body instead of from the shoulder.  Trees that look like lollipops instead of like trees. In some small way I am helping them to communicate when spoken language fails.

They are showing improvement in their artworks.  They practice daily.  It is as though a light has been turned on in an inner room in their minds.  “Aha!”  And there is a rush to use their newly learned skills.  It is beginning to pour out like a stream in spate. 

We are finding that letting them unfold naturally was a wise decision.  Forcing them too quickly would not have produced any fruit.  Rushing to have them diagnosed with this or that disability before they had a chance to become themselves would have been tragic.  We have had such a bumpy transition, and we still have days that are excruciatingly difficult.  We tend to avoid suffering at all costs. 

But in avoiding the suffering, we often miss the holiness and wholeness of life.

{Made for Learning} | Assignment Books

Lately I’ve noticed several homeschool moms sharing this amazing new thing – planning lessons using notebooks rather than charts or computer programs.  I seriously didn’t know you all didn’t know about this.  Way back when I was in school, my mom did the same thing.  She got me steno pads to keep my assignments in.  My Assignment Books.  I guess I figured everyone’s mom did this.

Each day, I was to write down in the assignment book what I was given for homework and projects.  Make a list.  Tick it off as I finished.  So simple that it’s genius!  The idea for homeschoolers is that mom writes in the book what she wants each child to accomplish for the day.  The child can check off or line through what he or she has completed as they finish each task.

Writing plans out by hand for several children can give you a hand cramp.  BUT, if you’re assigning so much that your hand is cramping, you’re either expecting too much, or you have a really large family and need to enlist Papa to help write up the lists. 🙂  I feel like teenagers should be collaborating on their assignments and helping to fill in their own books, but that’s my style.

{Made for Learning} | Assignment Books

A plain old notebook may revolutionize your homeschool.  It’s simple, it’s elegant.  OK.  It’s not elegant.  Those notebooks are UGLY.  And if you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you know that I adore Pretty.  So I thought I would show all of the new Assignment Book enthusiasts how to make pretty ones.  It’s really easy.  The first one might take you 10 or 15 minutes, but after that, you’ll get them done in under five minutes. You remember how fast you could cover a book with a shopping bag, right?  Like that.

Here’s what you need:

  • Spiral bound notebooks (I like the steno pads for their size, columns, and for nostalgia. You use whatever you like)
  • Decorative cardstock (or recycle cereal or cracker boxes)
  • Scissors or Xacto knife (cutting mat for the latter)
  • Needle-nose pliers (jewelry ones are ideal, but regular ones will do)
  • Binder clips and trombone paper clips
  • Micro-punch or awl

And here’s how you do it:  (It seriously took me longer to type it out than it will take you to make a pile of them).

{Made for Learning} | Assignment Books

Place two binder clips on either edge of your notebook.  This holds all of the papers in place and keeps the holes aligned.  You don’t need to bind the top cover in with the inner sheets.

{Made for Learning} | Assignment Books

Next, using your pliers, carefully unhook each end of the coil and straighten the right-hand hook out so that it will slide through the holes without catching.  Then simply unscrew the wire.  The first turn will be a little tricky as you will need to keep the other ‘hook’ free of the book.

{Made for Learning} | Assignment Books

Now, using the original cover as a template, cut out a piece of cardstock.

{Made for Learning} | Assignment Books

Paper clip your original and new covers together so they don’t slip. Transfer marking for the holes from the original cover onto the cardstock, using a soft pencil.

{Made for Learning} | Assignment Books

{Made for Learning} | Assignment Books

Carefully punch holes through the card stock.  I couldn’t find my micropunch.  It must still be packed away.  So I used my bookbinding awl.  It worked a treat.

{Made for Learning} | Assignment Books{Made for Learning} | Assignment Books

Place the new cover on the stack of papers and back cover.  Use binder clips to hold everything in place.  adjust everything so the the holes line up nicely.  You may want to use your awl to neaten up or enlarge the holes now.

{Made for Learning} | Assignment Books

Screw the wire back in.  Watch the way the wire wants to go.  Most of mine needed to start in the back at the far right of the book.  One or two needed to either start in the front, or begin on the left-hand side.  Be careful to gently guide the leading end into each hole.  It should go fairly quickly and easily.

Be sure to bend a new ‘hook’ in the leading edge and to hook each end of the wire around the adjacent loop.  This prevents snagging.

{Made for Learning} | Assignment Books

If you’re feeling particularly fancy, you can hand-letter little name tags to glue on each child’s Assignment Book.  Carrie was happy to get some more calligraphy practice.

{Made for Learning} | Assignment Books

Her tags made the books so special.

Now, if you want to make your own notebooks from scratch (because you’re a compulsive crafty mama like me), I’ve got this pretty template for you.  Here’s what to do:

  1. Print 20 copies on nice paper (per Assignment Book)
  2. Cut them in half
  3. Make a front and back cover.  The back one can be made from a piece of bristol board or the back of a used drawing pad (save those!).
  4. Mark the holes (about 1/4″ from the top edge, evenly spaced), do the cover first and then use that as the template for the rest of the pages.
  5. Punch holes using a micro punch or awl.  You can probably punch four pages at a time without too much trouble.  But hold them securely with clips so they don’t slide around.
  6. Stack your covers and pages together with the holes lined up neatly.  Secure with binder clips.
  7. Wrap a piece of 20 gauge wire (or 18 or 16) around a fat magic marker or size 15 knitting needle the same number of times as holes you have, plus one
  8. Screw the wire into the holes.
  9. Bend the wire ends in or make a hook to catch the next loop in.

Voila!  Totally custom Assignment Books.

BONUS: now you have a compact, easy to access basis for transcripts.  And you didn’t have to use a fussy chart (unless you like fussy charts, which I sometimes do).

If you found this tutorial helpful, or interesting, or even amusing, please consider contributing to our adoption fund at Reece’s Rainbow.  And we sure would be tickled if you shared this Tutorial with your friends through social media.  Please feel free to pin away! And if you need to purchase supplies, you can do so right through our Amazon affiliate link.  Those commissions go toward our adoption, too!

Handmade Christmas

This is what my Christmas rush looks like:

Handmade Christmas | Slippers

 

Handmade Christmas | Slippers

 

Handmade Christmas | Slippers

 

Handmade Christmas | Slippers

Ten pair of slippers on the needles, to be felted later.  I’d a whole lot rather spend a winter day sitting on my sofa, with a cup of tea, children all around, knitting like the wind, than battling crowds and parking lots in the cold.

I’ll probably go out a few days before Christmas to soak up some of that festive atmosphere, but there won’t be any pressure.  Just a hot cup of coffee, a few stocking stuffers, and my fella.

Here, I’m making “Little Girl’s Ballet Slippers” by Monique Rae and “The Baby Lazy Loafer” by Bekah Knits, both available through Ravelry.  And while you’re there, go ahead and connect with me.

What are you making for Christmas?

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