Wednesday, 27 February 2013

India Exhibit at the British Museum

We are studying India and the religions of that region, mainly Hinduism and Buddhism.  We decided to take a day to see what the British museum had on exhibit for this period.

Entrance to the British Museum--we have  been here so many times and yet I still don't think we have seen the entire collection and not sure we will before we have to return to the states this summer:(

Kids were able to recognize some of the figures.  This is Shiva and in his hands he holds a club, deer and snake.   Shiva is known as the destroyer but also can create

Brahma the creator of the universe.  He has four  head facing the directions of the compass (N,S,E,W)

Loved this sign as it explained the 6 different ways  Buddha would be sitting.  Kids quickly pick this up and were able throughout the exhibit to tell what the message of the Buddha statue was communicating based on hand position.

This hand position is the Buddha setting the Wheel of Law in motion which has something to do with he first teachings.  I need to read up on that more to fully understand it

The Wheel of the Law--we saw this in a lot of the statues

Statue of a Buddhist monk

Jainism -- Rishabha the founder --  Kids and I haven't learned about this  one yet but on my list to cover soon.

With Jainism I was able to distinguish them from the other statues based on the 4 pointed mark on their chest

This is a statue of the aviator of the god Vishnu, he has many avatars.  I must admit I get very lost with all of this.

Model of a stupa -- with is a burial for relics and ashes of monks.  Also  a place of mediation.

This is the God Ganesha--We found a story about him on You tube, weird but interesting story. 

Ceremonial Crown

We read somewhere that horses were harder to rear so elephants were what were used for  War.  I need to research this further.

Ravana is  the primary antagonist character of the Hindu epic Ramayana .  We read that is epic tale is longer than Gilgamesh.

Ivory casket for ashes

Ivory ladle

19th century palm leaf book, above is a silver case to hold it in.

Palace doors from the 19th century
We had fun touring the museum and learn a few more things that we didn't know along the way.  We are continuing our studies on the country India and ancient India.

Monday, 25 February 2013

A trip to the London Eye

We went into London recently and after exploring one of the museums took a side trip to the London Eye.  The last time we did this with the children was nearly 4 years ago, and Little Man could not remember going.

View of the London Eye as we approach

We went a week after Valentines day and all the trees lining up towards the Eye had sparkly hearts ornaments hanging in the branches.

Kids and I waiting while Daddy stands in a long, long line to buy tickets for us

In line waiting to go up

The cars rarely stop so when one bunch of people empty a car, a crew quickly goes in with mirrors to scan beneath benches looking for bombs and cleaning the cars quickly.  I bet they have less then 20 seconds to do that before the cars fill up with the next group of people.

Princess claimed a great spot right in front:)

Big Ben, it was a bright a sunny day so we had a great view of London.  Inside the eye they had little computer screens to help identify building and land marks.  Little Man loved that feature

Looking at a car at the top of the Eye, they fit approximately  20 people in a car so it is not overly crowded

My guys enjoying the sights

The Thames river

Family picture:)  Someone kindly offered to take a family photo.

We had a great day out in London and enjoyed being a tourist for the day:)

Friday, 22 February 2013

Make Over!!

My dining room chairs were in need of a drastic make over.  This dining room set is over 30 years old and belong to my parents before I inherited it when I got married.  The fabric is the original fabric so it was pretty threadbare.  However moving the table and chairs into the conservatory of our home in England the sun had basically damaged the fabric and the chairs cushions completely.  My friend offered to help me re upholster the fabric recently and spent an entire day helping me, while our children played.

Ok concentrate on the chair and not the messy floor in the background:).  See the sun damaged top panel and the kids have picked at or ripped the seat cushions beyond repair

First thing we had to do was take the chairs apart and remove the fabric and cushions, and with any project you run into some problems like finding out the top panel was practically super glued on to the wood was our first huddle.  But with team work we manage to remove the fabric panel without breaking the chair, WHEW!

The original seat cushion was beyond repair so I bought new seat cushions and we used the wooden seat panel as our pattern to cut new cushions.

I used my electric knife to cut thru the foam.

Next we had to measure out how much fabric we needed and cut out chair patterns.  I relied very heavily on my friend for this as I am not a seamstress by any means.  I think I bought enough fabric to recover all the chairs but we wanted to be sure to be fugal in our cutting of the fabric.

The back cushion was bit trickier as it was glue on and I couldn't find foam suitable to use to replace it with so we decided to just work with what we have as it wasn't in quite as bad of condition as the seat panel.

My finished chair, doesn't it look so much better.  We were able to get 3 chairs done that day!!!
I am so happy with my "New" chairs.  I am busily working on getting the other 5 chairs stripped down so they too can be redone!  I have to say having never done anything like this before and I found this project easier than I thought it would be.  Instead of needing to buy a whole new dining room set when we return to the states, which is what I told my husband we would have to do, we will be able to continue to use this one and I will no longer be embarrassed by the condition of the cushions.:)

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Hindu Center

We are studying Indus Valley for our History and for geography we are studying the country of India.  I thought I would try to combine the two.  Currently we are learning quite a bit about the Hindu faith and decided to arrange a visit at a local India cultural center and learn more about this religion.
We went to the Bharat Bhavan India Cultural center.  We were told the name means Focal point for India Culture.

We had a wonderful gentleman tell the children about Hinduism explaining that it is not a religion but a way of life.

Children got to ask lots of questions

Then we practiced mediation

We learned the Ohm sound is considered the first beginning sound of the universe occurding to the Hindu believers.

Then the children were shown the Center's shine

and stories were told about the meanings of the various symbols

This hall is often rented out for services and ceremonies for the India Community in the area

I like this poster:)

We learned such a great deal about the Hindu culture and I have to say the all the children behaved beautifully and respectfully.  The center has invited us back to listen to some traditional Indian music which I am in the process of setting up in the near future for our home school group

Monday, 18 February 2013

Pottery class

We had the opportunity to attend a Pottery class at a studio of one of the local Home Ed Moms.  We went for two days and started working on some pottery designs.

Princess got straight to work as she had already had a few ideas of her own

She made Dragons of course and lots of them:)

Although this one I am told is Chimaera which is a four headed mythology creature

This one was my favorite sleeping dragon in a cave

Little Man struggle a little with coming up with ideas but once I mentioned Mario characters, he was more willing to try to create with some help from me.

He also decided to make a few gifts, but I am not telling or showing what they are as it is a surprise:)!

Mario pieces are completed we have a super mushroom and fire flower 

As usual I like to join in with my kids so here is my creation, not sure what I will do with it but I like it!

We have to wait several weeks for our pieces to dry before we can paint them and see what the finish pieces will look like.