Wednesday, October 17, 2012

US Presidents: Theodore Roosevelt

I enjoyed learning more about Theodore Roosevelt this week with my co-op class! I think they enjoyed themselves too! I used the listed biography plus abook I found at my local library because the listed bio was not very informative. He was a very interesting man!

Our activity this week was to make a "Teddy" Bear. First, we read the story about how President Roosevelt went on a bear hunt, he was a hunting man, and because they had been hunting for so long, one of the men found an old bear, shot it, and chained it to a tree so that the President could shoot him and get the kill. Well, good ole Roosevelt would have nothing to do with that! He didn't think it right to kill that bear in its condition. However, he did have the bear put out of its misery. Later, a political cartoon was drawn up about the incident. Then, a man contacted him about naming the stuffed bears he made "Teddy" bears after him. That is how the "Teddy" bear came to be!

So, I knew the perfect activity would be to make a "Teddy" bear! I tossed ideas around in my head on how we were going to do this in less than 45 minutes, and without a sewing machine. I searched the internet and found a great template to use for the bear outline but did not find anything simple enough to do in class. After perusing a craft book, I found what I was looking for! Yay!

First I traced the template pictured above, and cut out 2 pieces of brown felt per student. 

Next, I hammered holes all around it with a nail. (I tried lots of different ways for these holes, this was by far the BEST way to go about it. I have no pictures of the actual process because I figured it out around midnight, and that is when all of this occurred. The night BEFORE of course!) Now the bears were prepped for class the next day!

All the kiddos had to do was take some yarn, although I think craft cord would have made this craft easier, and thread it through the holes. We left an opening in the leg to stuff the bear. Then they finished threading it through and tied the end pieces together. 

We used sticky wiggle eyes and felt sticky hearts, turned upside down, for the facial features. That's it!

Simple. Now they had a new bear to love! =)

Next week: Franklin D. Roosevelt

Monday, October 8, 2012

Ninja Backpacks with a How-To

I was asked by my youngest son to make him a backpack. This is no surprise because he often asks me to make him a back pack. He is creating quite a collection.

This time though, he didn't just want a backpack, he wanted a ninja backpack.

I knew exactly what to do! 

As you can see, I not only made one for my youngest son, I made one for each, plus one!

I chose a simple drawstring bag this time around. Usually when I make a backpack I go all out with adjustable straps, a magnetic snap, and all the extras. But, to be honest, with all of the backpacks I am asked to make for these guys, I knew simple was best! These are totally functional. They are big enough to carry folders, small books, a snack, etc. You just have to keep the load light. These backpacks are made for fun, so it totally works!

Now, you may be looking at that ninja face and thinking you've seen it somewhere before. If you have any Lego fans in your house, as I do, then you probably have. I totally used the Lego Ninjas as my inspiration for these bags!

Maybe you're thinking you'd like to make one too? Well, these are super easy and inexpensive to make! I used fat quarters, scrap fabric, ribbon, and wonder under to make these. I made each in about an hour, and you can too!

So, get ready for some fun!

Gather your supplies: 
  • 2 fat quarters, any color you want just make sure they match OR 2 pieces of fabric cut 17 1/2" x 13 1/2"
  • yellow scrap fabric 13 1/2" wide by 3" high
  • black scrap fabric, you only need a small amount
  • a roll of 5/8" yellow ribbon, cut 2 pieces to a yard and half each
  • wonder under
  • iron on stabilizer
  • sewing machine
  • matching thread 
To get started you need to iron out the fat quarters and cut them into 17 1/2" x 13 1/2" rectangles. With right sides together measure down 2 inches and mark it.

You're going to need to cut a small slit, about a 1/4 inch, on both sides. Make sure you cut through both pieces of fabric. Taking one piece at a time fold the slit into the wrong and press with an iron.

This is the first step to making the casing for your drawstring. Next, fold down the top of the fabric about a 1/4 inch.

Then, fold again to the bottom of the slit.

Now, sew it closed. Repeat on other piece of fabric.

Now that you have both casings complete we're going to make the ninja face for the front of the bag! 

*I am going to assume you know what Wonder Under is, and how to use it. If you've never used it before, the instructions on the package are pretty easy to understand.  =) 

First you need to cut a piece of wonder under 13 1/2" wide and 3" high. Iron it onto the back of the yellow fabric. Before peeling off the paper backing you are going to cut it to shape. I folded mine in half and cut a curve on the top and bottom so that it would look like a ninja mask once opened back up.

After that I peeled off the paper backing, positioned it about 4" from the top of the bag, and then ironed it in place.

Once you have that attached you are ready to make the eyes, and eyebrows on the black fabric. (In the picture the fabric looks blue, I assure you its black!) I cut a square piece of wonder under and ironed it to the back of the black fabric.

Then I drew the eyes and eyebrows on.

After I had them the size and shape I wanted them, I cut them out, peeled off the paper backing and positioned them on the yellow. Once I found just the right spot, I ironed them in place.

Making the facial features is the most tedious part of the whole project, and it's really not that tedious! It's smooth sailing from here!

Now that the face is together, I ironed the stabilizer to the back piece of the backpack behind where the face pieces are, this will be hidden because it will be inside the bag. That's just for added support when you are sewing them in place. I used the applique method to attach the eyes, eyebrows and yellow piece. Basically what I did is used the zig-zag stitch and set it to a small stitch length, that way the zig-zags are really close together.

Then you just stitch around each piece.

I also added the little black line under the eyes because my son insisted it be there! You could skip this step.

For the white of the eyes I just used white thread and stitched the zig-zag through it. Your ninja face should now be complete!

All that's left to do now is place the ribbon in the casing, position the ribbon straps, and sew it closed! Almost there!

With right sides facing together you are going to sew the backpack closed. Start just below the casing and sew the sides and bottom closed. I recommend leaving a small opening at the bottom sides of the bag for the ribbon to be sewn in place. If you don't you'll just have to rip the seam open and sew it back closed, which is what I usually end up doing.

Now you can place the ribbon in the casing. I used a safety pin to push the ribbon through. Start on one side, push it through, then make it come back around on the other side. Repeat starting on the other side at the opposite end.

It should look like this now.

Finally you are going to put the ribbon ends inside the bag and through the little openings. Just sew them in, reinforcing them a few times, trim the corners, turn it right side out, and you're done!

A fun new backpack! 

For even more fun, make them in all the ninja colors like I did! Well, except for the white ninja. I haven't done that one yet. I say yet because my oldest son insists they have a complete set! Ha ha!

I hope this was somewhat easy to understand. I know there are lots of good tutorials on how to make a drawstring backpack out there if I didn't make sense. Of course, you can always ask me and I will be happy to help!

Have a blessed day friends!

US Presidents Unit Study: Abraham Lincoln

I think most people are fond of Abraham Lincoln. I new that he would be one of the presidents we would study deeper about during our 9 weeks together at Friday school.

The kids already new a lot about Lincoln. A few of them even had the opportunity to visit the theater in which he was assassinated all those ears ago. I'm sure it was a amazing experience for them! As a class though, we were unable to make such a trip.

After we read the biography and answered a few questions, we got started on our Lincoln activity. It was a lot of fun, and the kids really enjoyed it!

We made Abraham Lincoln's face with Perler beads! If you have never played with Perler beads, you need to! They are super fun. You can create anything you want. My kids do not tire of these amazing beads. They are inexpensive which makes them even more wonderful!

I definitely pre-made Mr. Lincoln to make sure it would work in class! I think he turned out pretty good.

I also found a neat website that had a FREE Perler bead online designer. It was pretty cool! I was able to save, and later print, my Abe design to use in class.

It even told me how many of each color was needed to complete the project. Which was pretty fantastic because I made each student an activity bag with everything they needed to make Abe.  =)

You can click HERE and find a photo that helped me to come up with the Abe head I made. That guy did ALL 44 presidents in perler beads! Wowsers!

Click HERE for the post with the free resources I am using for this US Presidents Unit Study.

Next week: Theodore Roosevelt

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Bibles for Orphans

I just heard about Bibles for Orphans from Let's Fill the Van! The Johnson family is the one that first introduced me to Reece's Rainbow about a year and a half ago, maybe a little a more. They adopted 3 sweet, beautiful children from the Ukraine. 

One of those little guys has a birthday coming up! In honor of his birthday, the Johnson's are asking for donations in his name to Bibles for Orphans. EVERY child deserves to know the love of the Father! That there IS hope, and they ARE loved!

Would you consider donating in Sammy's name? They are hoping to raise $1000. I would love for that goal to be met, and surpassed! Please visit their blog by clicking below... Oh, and while you're there, you just HAVE to watch the video plea! Then you will see Sammy's sweet, smiling face.  =)

Have a blessed day friends!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

US Presidents Study: Andrew Jackson

For our 3rd class we studied Andrew Jackson, and we learned quite a bit! 

Did you know that Thomas Nast referred to him as a 'donkey's rear-end' (I'm uncomfortable with the derogatory way of saying it, even in print)? Which 40 years later led to the symbol of the Democratic party? I didn't know that either!

 There were many political cartoons done by Thomas Nast in reference to Jackson also.

Here's Jackson fighting the 'monster bank'.

For our project this week the kids made their own political cartoons. This was really interesting! For a group of 10-12 year olds they did a great job. I think the concept might have been a bit much but what they came up with was pretty cute.  =)

I'll leave you with one to interpret as you wish!

Next week: Abraham Lincoln

Monday, October 1, 2012

Child of the Month: Katrina

I just made the first donation {of what I hope is many!} to the Child of the Month over at Reece's Rainbow. What an absolute JOY is was to send that money to Millie for her future adoption into a loving family! A true blessing for all who were involved!

And, with the start of a new month, comes a new child to bless. 

Just look at that sweet, happy face! She deserves a family to love and nurture her!

Here's what it says about her over at Reece's Rainbow:

Girl, Born December 2001
Oh what a miracle, to have an updated photo of Katrina!!!    And there is the light I  knew had to be there!   She doesn’t realize it, but now that she has a profile here on Reece’s Rainbow, Katrina has a CHANCE…a chance for a new life, a family of her own, to get out of these four walls and to have something to smile about.
From her medical records:  Down syndrome, significant cognitive delay (coupled with FAS), flatfoot, partial atrophy of optic nerves, esotropia, secondary cardiomyopathy.
From a missionary who visited with her in March 2012: Oh my heart…I so wanted to bring her home!   She is a giggly soft hearted darling…she needs a mama!
Katrina and Tania can be adopted together if a family is approved and interested.   Families should be HS approved (or close to it) prior to commitment.   10 day wait often waived here.  Married couples only, larger families welcome, travel required.

Have a blessed day friends!


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