Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Fused Art Glass

Last week the Princess and I signed up for a fused glass art class. I have worked with glass in the past and was excited to be doing something creative with glass again. This was the first time Princess had experienced working with glass. Unfortunately Little Man was not able too participate due to being to young. However he still came with us and entertained himself with his DS game as well as played the garden of the artist studio. Considering this class was nearly 3 hours long I was amazed at how well Little Man entertained himself while we were busy in the class.

Ahead of time we were given instructions to bring a drawing or picture to work from. Princess got right to work and came up with five various drawings of dragons.

I on the other hand did not come prepared with art work and had to think of something to create while I was there:)

After a long and careful consideration Princess finally chose a dragon from which to work from. I think this was the hardest process for her.

She had to score her drawing onto a copper foil using a sharp awl.

Then she had to carefully cut out her shape

Once the basic shape was cut out in copper foil then other types of foil were used to embellish the art work. There were aluminum, bronze, and brass foil available to use.

Here Princess is using brass foil to cut out the dragon's wings!

While Princess was busy doing hers, I got to work trying to create something for myself.

So here are our before pictures:

Princess's Dragon

My very unimaginative flower. Best I could come up with at the time. Next time I should not procrastinate on the homework assignment:)!!

After we cut out all the pieces a second glass was added on top and the pieces were put into a kiln for firing. Drum roll please.....Results......

Princess's two-toned dragon; she is very pleased with it:)

My very weird looking flower. I like the before picture better:(

The artist explained that during the fusing process you can never really predict how the glass, air, heat and the various foils will interact with one another. So each design is one of a kind.

Here are some of the other creations before and after pictures.

This drawing was done by another of the mothers who had obviously done her homework

The before and after firing

I thought hers turned out very good, I am a bit jealous of it actually.

These were done by an 12 year old girl, pretty good!

Done by a 9 year old boy

Done by a 12 year girl, very cute

Lots of fun and an interesting form of art! Princess know just where to hang hers in her room. Mine will probably end up in a drawer somewhere:) Better luck next time!

Monday, 28 March 2011

Wimpole Farm

It is Lambing Season here in the UK, which means there are tons of farms opening up for people to visit and watch, if you are very lucky, a lamb being born. We witnessed one 2 years ago, but last year we had no luck seeing a live birth despite 2 separate trips to 2 different farms during lambing season. Lambing season here is from mid March to early April.

Today, we met up with some homeschoolers and headed out to one of our favorite farms. Wimpole Home and Farm which is one of the UK national trust sites. It is open year round and has lots of fun things for children to do while exploring the farm life.

The Scottish Cow known here as the Highland Coo!

Pigs and piglets. The children got to feed the pigs and even help the farmer round up one piglet that got out of its pen.

Saw lots of cows and calves.

Goats with baby Kids. Princess fell in love with this goat who was very friendly.

Then we went to see the sheep. The first time we stop by we watched and waited but there didn't appear to be any sheep in labor so the kids got bored and we moved on to the wood land park and had a picnic and let the kids play. After about 2 hours we returned to the sheep pens and were told that this sheep in the corner was in labor! How did the farmer know, I asked? He said the signs were the sheep pawing at the ground, changing position often such as standing or lying down and baring its teeth.

The kids watched patiently, well as patiently as kids can:)

and lo and behold the birth of twin lambs were born. The farmer kept his distance preferring to allow the sheep to take immediate care of its lambs. We watched as the mother ate the sac around the face of the second lamb and nudge them to a standing position. Very cool to see:)!!!

Once the lambs are standing and the mother sheep has settled down the farmer removes them from the big pens and moves them to smaller pens so they can bond and the farmer can examine the lambs and the mother to make sure they are healthy.

What an exciting day!!!

Please join Lynda, Tracy and myself at the No Ordinary Blog Hop. Join the fun!!!

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Homeschool Mother's Journal

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

In my life this week...

Ever have one of those weeks where you feel like you are spinning your wheels and going nowhere fast? I have been extremely busy this week but have very little to show for it. Which for some reason stresses me out! The sun is coming up a bit earlier these days (time change occurs tonight, March 26th, in UK) so both kids are getting up extra early which means I am getting up earlier. I am not a get up before 7 am kind of person so I am dragging a bit this week.

In our homeschool this week...

Monday, I had a meeting so the kids played then in the afternoon we went to the park to met up with some friends. Boy Scouts this evening

Tuesday was the only real school day we had. Nothing very exciting just continuing our studies. Both kids had Horse riding lessons

Wednesday, I attended the Ladies International club meeting which I go to 2X a month, so the kids did no real school work. I got grilled by several people as to why I homeschool. I try to look at it from the perspective that most people here don't know about homeschooling is so they are just curious, but sometimes the questions can be a bit annoying. Both kids had swimming lessons.

Thursday was so beautiful outside, high 60', that we spent most of the day outdoors doing outdoorsy things like gardening, riding bicycles, jumping on the trampoline, hanging washing on the line and so on. Everyone did want they wanted to do outside and it was wonderful!!!

Friday the kids and I attended a fused glass art class, pictures to come in a later post. The kids also managed to score some frog eggs from a pond and we are now officially trying to hatch frogs:) My daughter had Girl Scouts and they had their first outdoor camp out. My husband and I brought our telescope to the camp site and tried to show the girls the stars. The clouds were not cooperating. Only about half the girls saw the planet Saturn, before the clouds covered it up and the other half saw the third brightest star in the northern sky, Capella. We had hoped for a better viewing night:(

Places we're going and people we're seeing...

Been on the go a lot this week, maybe this is why I am feeling like we haven't accomplished very much school work wise. My husband's work is finally slowing down a bit in that he has made it home nearly every evening for dinner and has both this Saturday and Sunday off from work.

My favorite thing this week was...

Spending more time with my husband. After taking my daughter to the girl scout camp we went out to dinner at a nice restaurant with our son. I did something I usually never allow, I let my son play his DS before dinner so my husband and I could talk and hold hands:).

What's working/not working for us...

Weather is finally getting warmer so we are spending more time outside. I have several field trips planned so we will be out of the house a lot more next week. While I don't think this is necessary bad I do have a few things I need to have the children continue working on if I want them to be prepared for the CAT test by May. So it is a balancing act at the moment trying to fit everything in.

Homeschool questions/thoughts I have...

How many of you test your children at the end of the year?

A photo, video, link, or quote to share...
We went to a Daffodil Festival on Saturday and saw these dancers. I have no idea what the costumes or the dance means but they made me smile:)

Please join Tracy, Lynda and myself at the No Ordinary Blog Hop. Give away drawing is on March 31st, link up now:)

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Getting our Garden ready

I was never a gardener until I moved to England. Mainly because we always lived in subdivision with lots of rules such as no vegetable gardens, no clothes lines etc, etc. Never really bothered me but now that I live in England I am a getting the green thumb. We still live in a subdivision but the rules are much more relaxed here. You can have a clothes line and yes I do hang out my laundry on warmer days, you can have pet chickens in your back yard. Our neighbor has 4 and we chicken pet sit whenever they go out of town. Having a small vegetable garden is practically mandatory here if you have any land to your home (no matter how small). I love going into garden shops here because they are so unique and unlike anything in the states. You can find the most interesting gardening tools, supplies and anything you need to do gardening no matter the size of your property.

This weekend we got our first chance to get outside to prepare our garden for planting. So after hitting the garden shop for necessary supplies the children and I got started. First I had to rethink our garden plot and made big decision to move one of the bushes left by the landlord. I originally planned to transplant this bush to a new location in the garden but the root system proved too much for me and after struggling for about an hour I gave up and got out the garden shears. My daughter was quite upset that I choose this path!

I didn't take a picture of the before bush, trust me it was huge. This is after taking the garden shears to it.

My daughter's face watching me cut down the bush. There were real tears and I did feel a little bad about that -- but I had a goal, bad Mommy!:(. Princess clung to those branches for at least an hour. I think we have read the books the Lorax and the Wishing Tree to many times:(! I still need my husband to dig out the main roots but at least now I have a bit more room to place our raised beds. Goal accomplished but at what cost to my child's emotional well being....

My son's contribution was to collect all the slugs and snails found in the garden
and toss them over the garden fence. I would have used the slug/snail killer formula I had bought at the garden shop but after the bush ordeal I thought better of it. I am sure I will see those snails again, and when the kids aren't looking.....

Every year the Potato council, from Scotland, sends free potato seeds to schools and homeschoolers and this year we received two varieties the Rocket and Rudolph potatoes. Along with the seed potatoes comes planting directions, lessons plans, charts and recipes to try. They also have a school contest to see which school produces the largest crop of potatoes. We did this last year and we had a great crop, so I was excited to try again this year!

Planting and watering our potato seeds.

Next I got a nifty little herb container for my kitchen window and planted some coriander and mint. I might get another one and add a few more herbs to my kitchen window. I use these herbs when cooking Thai meals:)

After mopping around for about an hour, Princess finally got over her shock, dismay and disappointment of my need to destroy a perfectly good bush (these are her words).

Her smile returned and she played in her sand box and created a Pokemon castle. WHEW!!!:)

I will be linking up to the Homeschool Garden Challenge once a month. If you would like to join in go here: