Monday, November 15, 2010

Testing a Blog Board

I skim lots of blogs. As such, I've already forgotten (just since yesterday) where I heard the term "Blog Board" and found the link to MCP Actions. I just tried out their free "Try-Me" blog board though, and I must say, it's very cool!

During our last Arizona trip, the boys were helping their Great Aunt clean up some fall debris from around her house.

This "blog board" action was super easy to use! Now, I'd like to figure out how to create my own templates for this type of thing. So, if any Photoshop savvy readers are out there and can tell me how to do this type of thing, I'd sure appreciate it! I already know a bit about working in Photoshop and creating Actions, I'm just not sure how to create the steps where photos are loaded (and resized) into the proper layer positions.

Oh yeah, I also used the "Soft & Faded" action from The Pioneer Woman's Free Action Set #1.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Quilt - Pineapple Blossom

After seeing Becky's beautiful Pineapple Blossom quilt and then playing with her extra blocks from the same pattern, I decided to take her class... it was the first one she'd taught and every teacher needs a friendly heckler in the front row, don't-ya-know?

The timing turned out perfectly, since Becky taught the class at Cutting Edge Quiltworks over Halloween Weekend... which I happened to be spending with her. While in Arizona, I cut the pieces and sewed all the blocks. Home less than 24 hours, I've played with layouts. Here are "a few" of what I came up with... all from the same 36 blocks!

I would love to hear your input on which layouts you like and why.

I love the variety of a diagonal block like this, and am quite pleased that Becky convinced me to make this a two color quilt instead of just mixing all the pieces together.

Seeing Becky teach her class has inspired me... I'm thinking of taking this quilt into the local shop to see if they might like it on (I'm thinking) their January class schedule... it feels like the dead of icy winter to me. I'll let you know if I get the nerve up to share Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville Pineapple Blossom Pattern in a paid capacity.

Dice Games with Legos

I felt extra successful today when I adapted to play dice (math) games with the boys using Legos instead of paper and pens. I know it's simple, but sometimes the simplest ideas are the best, so I thought I'd share.

I am making an effort to play more games with the boys (especially dice and card for math skills, but board too). Today Jack just wanted to play with his Legos; so I adapted.

Frank and I were playing "Climb the Mountain". We started out using a Lego piece on the numbers on our paper, but once I created a "mountain" out of Legos, I couldn't stop them playing!

Next we mixed it up by playing the "Random Order" variation of "Climb the Mountain". We all three played (each with a different colored piece) and covered both sides of the mountain (but this was a little hard to see because we had pieces the same colors as the layers. It worked better when we play with our different colored pieces as "armies" on the mountain. First person to cover his side of the mountain wins the battle (another idea is to let them fill the mountain, then start rolling to knock the enemy off the mountain... first one to clear the opponent wins). This gives me a great lead-in to talk about Veteran's Day today too. ;)

By the way, I use old Play-Doh cups for dice rolling and (in this case) holding small game pieces.

When Frank and I started out playing dice today, we were playing "Mouse", with paper and pens to draw our creatures. Jack would bounce in and out to see what we were doing, but after using the Legos in the "Climb the Mountain" games, I gathered Lego Mini-figure pieces, labeled an egg carton and let them go to town building characters, complete with bonuses (vehicles, allies, enemies, and apprentices) for rolling doubles.

This classic game of "Mouse" with a Lego Twist worked best of all. Instead of drawing the parts of a mouse (body, ears, eyes, whiskers, nose, and tail) with each number rolled, you can choose a part from the appropriate bin. We played with two dice and a bonus area for doubles (you could only choose one part per turn though, even though we used two dice).

All-in-all, a very successful way to integrate play and math for loads of learning! Things like this remind me of why I love to Homeschool!

You could easily adapt this to use whatever toys your little one likes to play with, just grab some dice to help direct the play in a math-leaning direction! ;)