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Monday, February 23, 2015

How to finger knit (with video)

This morning, I taught D, age 7, to finger knit.

I'd grabbed a packet of Lion Brand's super chunky "Quickie" wool blend in "Spicy" the last time I was in Michaels because it was so pretty (and now, of course, I'm kicking myself for not grabbing all the ones they had left in the store!). I thought it would make a good skipping rope for indoors, so I took a minute-literally- to demonstrate the actions of finger knitting to D and he ran with it!

how to finger knit with video

After about 10 minutes, he asked me to get the video camera and make a short video of him explaining it, "so that other kids can learn this too - it's fun!". Of course I obliged. He finished his skipping rope in under an hour, and made it long enough for his siblings (one of whom is 6'2"+) to use it as well. The wool turned out to be the perfect weight for the project.

So without further ado, here is D's video that teaches you how to finger knit. All the editing for it was done by M, 14. The Austin Powers imitation in the background is courtesy of a certain someone who didn't realize we were filming. Enjoy!


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Got questions about homeschooling through high school?

If you've been looking at homeschooling through high school, here's your chance to have someone else do the legwork for you! I have a post today over at Enchanted Homeschooling Mom on just that topic.

Please feel free to stop by over there and leave me your questions. We're all in this together!

Here's the link for " Homeschooling High School: What Do YOU Want to Know?" I hope to see you there too!


Friday, February 20, 2015

An Easy Clay Dragon Tutorial for Kids

Yesterday was one of those days where nobody could seem to settle down, and it is bitterly cold outside, so I did something I rarely do: I scrapped the planned schoolwork and brought out the clay. Since it was Chinese New Year and I keep seeing really cool clay dragons on Pinterest, we decided to make some! Here's a quick and easy clay tutorial for our dragons:


You'll need some wire....we had some copper wire left from another project, and it cuts more easily than stainless steel, so we went with the copper, but any thin wire works (I think I paid $3 at the hardware store and I still have lots left for other projects) You'll also need some air-dry clay...it's easy to use, stays moist for a decent amount of time and you can buy it at almost any dollar store.

Start the framework for your dragon......one long piece for the head, torso and tail all together, and 4 pieces for the legs. Smaller children might need help with this part. Bend the ends into sort of circles around the body wire. Wherever you put them, they're going to swing loosely and annoyingly until you add a blob of clay and wrap it around the joint.
clay dragon tutorial for kids


Take more clay and flesh out the legs a bit more, and start the foot clumps. You can start the base of the neck and head at this point too.

clay dragon tutorial for kids
In retrospect, I probably should have asked M to brush her hair before we started.

clay dragon tutorial for kids

clay dragon tutorial for kids

If you want wings for your dragon,  this is the time to add them. We each made up our own, but basically you'll need a long piece leading off the torso and some shorter pieces. Put it together sort of like the shape of a bat wing. (Watch your wing location - my dragon was mostly dry before I realized this morning that the reason it looked strange to me was that I'd put the wings closer to the back legs instead of the front.)
clay dragon tutorial for kids


Attach the joins with lumps of clay before you add any pieces further out on the wing. We found that the clay was so heavy that it presented a bit of a problem at this point. M, 14, built some permanent copper pieces in underneath to hold them up; I attached my wings to the torso a bit by sticking them with the clay, and D, 7 decided he didn't need wings at all. To each his own! For the top of the wing sections, one thin flat piece seemed to work the best, bent over the wire framework.

clay dragon tutorial for kids

clay dragon tutorial for kids

That's basically it! All you need to do now is add a head, eyes, nostrils and any extra details you want. I tried to make "scales" on the legs and torso with the tip of a plastic spoon but I would go with half a plastic straw if I were going to do it again.....the spoon made my dragon looked like it had been injured, rather than the scaly effect I'd hoped for.
clay dragon tutorial for kids

This project was a lot of fun! Once they're dry, we plan to paint them in time for St. George's Day.

clay dragon tutorial for kids




Monday, February 16, 2015

Kid-sewn, kid-designed capelet

M, age 14, has had a great interest in sewing for years and has made some of her own clothing from patterns as well as many doll clothes and comforters when she was younger. This week, she grabbed her 7 year old brother, some fabric from her ever-growing stash (she is a lot like her mother on the fabric stashing front), and a sewing machine and sewed D,7 a flannel capelet with a hood.


She designed the pattern herself and tweaked it as she went along. It would need a few refinements if she were going to make it again, but I think it's pretty awesome and D is delighted, especially by the tassel on top. D loves the show Merlin so this fits right into his knights-and-dragons imaginary play!

Is this not fun?!
kid sewn kid designed pattern for capelet

back of kid sewn kid designed capelet


One good turn deserves another, so don't tell her but I have some stretch velvet and some silk for a lining, and I plan to make her a longer version of her own.

back of kid sewn kid designed capelet

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