one This girl (the one on the right): My little Newt is turning twelve in just a few short weeks. Yes, being a tweenager means a bit of drama, but my goodness how I love that girl. Last week, at swim practice, a boy did something that annoyed her. I’m not sure what his offense was, but she told me, “I just glared at him and thought: I hope you really want chocolate sometime and can’t find any.” Do not cross that girl. She recently declared that she is a writer, just like her mama. I can’t tell you how proud I felt. She carries a notebook around and writes whenever she has a spare moment. Her stories are just like her: fresh, funny, and a little bit quirky. I adore them. Also, if you must know, the girl on the right is lovely as well. She is giving us four to five eggs a week.
two I love to write in our studio/schoolroom. The words flow better there. However, it is not the quietest room in the house. I’ve taken to wearing headphones and listening to this. I’m an Oregonian. I bleed rain.
three My hair. It’s been awhile since I’ve given you an update, no? As of this writing I have used shampoo one time in the last 15 months. I was out of baking soda. It was a short-lived disaster. Thankfully things went back to normal after my next No ‘Poo wash. In other hair news, I recently had eight inches cut off. I did not donate it because I had no conception of it being that long. I just didn’t see it until it was a pile on the floor. Sorry. I love the new cut. I’m also trying out a new color. We’ll see how it lasts with my washing habits. On one hand, baking soda may strip the color. On the other, I only wash 2-3 times a week, which may preserve the color. I know you will be on the edge of your seat. I’ll report my findings once I find them.
four Walt and Newt went – are you ready for this? – Christmas shopping on Saturday. For me. Walt has never bought a Christmas gift before mid-December. I don’t know what to make of this new development.
It’s no secret that Newt is crazy about Doctor Who. Last week, while she was at summer camp, Walt and I turned her room into a space fitting her obsession (with a few nods her her other geeky loves). I forgot to take good before pictures, but you can see here a bit of the original, ugly wall color and trim. The closet makeover is already underway. Note: some of the photos were taken with my phone and at night, so the quality is not so good. The dresser was a garage sale find before Walt and I got married, 17 years ago. I’ve painted it at least ten times. This incarnation is just a bit darker – I was going for a just after sunset vibe. I also painted new Doctor Who themed knobs. Before/in progress: After: Here’s a close-up of the knobs. Top drawer is for the 9th Doctor and Rose. Middle drawer is for the 10th doctor and the bottom one is for the 11th.
More details: New switch plate, etsy I found a bookshelf on craigslist ($20-score) and filled it with all of her little collections. Not everything is Doctor Who; she likes a few other things as well. It makes me happy to see just how many things I’ve had a hand in creating. I made the Luigi cap for Halloween a couple of years ago and painted the Hello Sweetie! sign one evening last week. You can also see the Star Wars needlefelting I made her for Christmas. To the right of her shelf, you’ll see some of her paintings. To the left, a new Converse lamp I picked up at a discount store and a painting of Shasta done by a family friend.
I wanted some kind of art above her bed, but I didn’t want it to fall on her. Spray paint to the rescue. The Bad Wolf is Newt’s favorite part of her room. I also sewed new curtains to match her quilt. I didn’t like the finials on her curtain rods (they were pink) but didn’t have time to go pick up more. So…Lego! Not pictured, a new Doctor Who Poster with David Tennant. You’ll see it in the video below. I also have a Doctor Who Wall Calendar on the way. It should arrive next week.
Here is the room’s crown jewel – the Tardis: I painted the two center panels of her closet blue ( I had done the whole thing in chalkboard a couple of years ago) and added decals (etsy). Walt installed a handle and lock. Then I painted the trim and a light above (which I do not love and will likely redo).
I also painted the remaining trim in the room and her door white. Walt hung new blinds. We still need to put in new baseboards, but we didn’t get those finished in time. Now they will have to wait until we have company or move. Isn’t that the way it always goes?
All in all, I think her room turned out great. I’m pretty proud of it and the hours of work we put into it. But it’s not my opinion that matters – it’s Newt’s. See video of her reaction, complete with uncontrollable giggling, below:
I’m going to go on record right here, right now and say, “Teachers of the World: I love you!” That was awkward, wasn’t it? I thought so. I hope we can put this little incident behind us…
<begin mild rant> There is a nasty bit of a rumor floating around out there. You know, the one that says that homeschool parents don’t like/appreciate/respect teachers? And that teachers don’t like/appreciate/respect homeschool parents? I’m going to lay that rumor down right now.
Frantically Simple. Fighting injustices every day.
I love (most) teachers. They are dedicated, hard working and truly have their students best interests at heart. I don’t homeschool to keep Newt away from evil government schools and unrighteous influences. I homeschool because it works for our family. Most teachers that I know get that and respect it. </end mild rant>
Toning it down to an appropriate level: “Teachers of the World: I appreciate you!” Better?
If you’d like a cute and simple way to show your appreciation for a favorite teacher, read on. Note: Merely reading this tutorial will not be enough. Once you have read the instructions on creating the following project, you will have to actually create one. Or make a card. Or buy something. Or just say, “Thanks.” One of those ought to do it.
Newt and I made a chalkboard flowerpot for her piano teacher a couple of years ago. It’s a cute, simple, and cheap and easy to make little gift. Purchase a small terracotta pot from your local gardening store or crack addiction recovery center Wal-Mart. If you are going to plant directly into the pot, instead of using a liner, you’ll want to seal it. Thompsons MultiSurface Spray Water Sealer works great. Brush on or spray the interior of your pot and allow to dry according to label instructions. Once the sealer is dry, paint the outside or your pot with chalkboard paint. A little goes a long way; you don’t need to buy a large container of it. Allow to dry for 24 hours before planting. Have your little darling chalk a message to his/her teacher. I suggest, “Teachers of the World: I adore you (and also would like to smell your hair)!” And now we are back to awkward… I’ll be home all next week. Go ahead and drop the restraining order by any time.
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I found some really awesome stencils on Chocolate and Cream Cake. I just modified the Dalek slightly to give him a more classic plunger. Sadly, said plunger placement is uh, right over my um… Let’s just say I wore it today and spent the day being groped. They are evil, right? (Pst: If you like Doctor Who, check out our free printable Valentines, my daughter’s room makeover, and her Halloween costume.) Not Spring-Break crazy enough for you? Okay, more spring break madness: We watched a pig give birth and… …we dissected a still-born piglet. You, ah… what’s that? Only a homeschooler.
Since Newt wants to become a vet, and lots of dissections are in her future, we both felt it would be a great opportunity. That is how I found myself inviting some friends over for a good old fashioned spring break dissection party. I have to admit, I was a little unsure how any of us would handle it, but once we got through the first few cuts, we were fine. Fascinating stuff, that. If you have the stomach for it, I created a set for the rest of my photos on flickr.
What else have we been up to? Lots of sleeping in. Reading. Writing; I’ve made a fair amount of progress on my book. Time with friends. It’s been a nice break.
Valentine’s Day is generally a no.big.deal type of holiday around here. We love each other all the time, you know?
However, this year, I feel like making a bit of a fuss about it. A very small fuss, but a fuss nonetheless.
Last week Newt and I spent a happy hour making homemade Valentines for a party she is attending tomorrow. It was so much fun to to create with paper scissors and glue. And the end result was very sweet… just not very Newt. Pink hearts are not really her thing. We decided that the creative process was more fun than the actual Valentines; those we’ll keep and use for postcards. Over the weekend, we set out to come up with something better.
We are both fans of Dr. Who, so these were especially fun to create. With plenty of input from Newt and images we found online (used either with permission or under a creative commons license, credit above), I whipped them up in a jiffy. I printed them on a glossy postcard paper pilfered from Walt’s home office. The pilfered paper was perforated (hee) so Newt could easily tear the Valentines out. Besides making them super easy (no cutting) it also left slightly ragged edges which give them a “from the box” feeling that is sort of fun.
If you would like to print some for your own use, feel free. Just please do not use them for commercial purposes. I took Newt’s name off so you can personalize them yourself.
It just so happens that I have a ton of fabric strips left over from Newt’s quilt. Newt and I each decided to make a wreath. The inspiration wreath used a purchased heart-shaped wire form. I didn’t know where to find one of those, but Walt’s closet has plenty of wire hangers. I used wire cutters to nip off the hook and the part where the ends twist together. I then bent the hanger into a rough circle, overlapped the ends by an inch or so and used a generous amount of electrical tape to secure them together. Once the ends were secure, I bent the wire into a heart shape. If you make one, bear in mind that it does not need to be perfect. If one hump is a little larger than the other, don’t worry! Lots of girls have that issue. You won’t really be able to tell with all the fabric strips on. We trimmed our fabric strips to about 1 – 1/2 inches wide and six inches long. To tie the knot, fold your fabric strip in half. (It doesn’t matter if it’s right sides or wrong sides together.) slip the looped end under your wire. Take the loose ends, pull them over the wire and through the loop. Tighten and repeat with the next strip. I really should have taken a picture of the actual knotting, but once we got started, neither one of us wanted to quit. This was one of those activities that your fingers just feel happy doing. Just pretend there is a picture here, k? Keep adding strips until your heart is full. Ahhww! Right at the top, in the ah, cleavage(?) of the heart, tie two loose ends together to create a loop for hanging. After hanging you can either fluff it up so the rags go every which way:
Made by Newt
Or straighten them up so all the loose ends point out kind of:
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