Sketch Tuesday - on a tree

I thought it was high time that we got back into joining in Sketch Tuesday over on the Harmony Fine Arts blog.

The girls were reluctant to have a go - I think they are too used to drawing what they want rather than within a theme. It's a great way to challenge your drawing skills and expand though, so I told the girls that I intended to draw a picture and so they could too. It worked!

This week's theme is "on a tree". The youngest decided to draw a tree in bloom.

My 9 year old girl drew a kite stuck in a tree.

My 11 year old drew some Barn Owletts. 

And I drew a Fairy Wren. Do you know how long it's been since I actually sat down and drew something? Me neither! Too long! 

I think I will try to do this more often. Maybe you and your children want to join in the fun too?

Planning to NOT fail

Last year was a bit of a doozy in our little homeschool and it's only in the past couple of weeks that I've figured out what went wrong.

I was trying to juggle the demands of family, homeschooling, activities outside the home, volunteer roles and a growing home business and so I assumed that there was simply too much for me to do on my own. This lead to exhaustion and a definite lack of hope - how could I get through everything that needed to be done?

Towards Christmas and in the holidays afterwards it started to dawn on me. Each day would start with that overwhelmed feeling, knowing I would be chasing my tail until I fell into bed that night. You would think after 12 years of doing this, I would have systems in place, but life is ever changing as people grow and every year is different to the last. I started thinking - does it have to be this way? What positive changes could I make to avoid another year in this state?

Well, a few years ago, I decided that I hated planning. I felt that if I spent the best part of my day educating the children, why should I spend my precious evenings planning for the next day? So I did away with all planning and I think that is where things started to go wrong, though at the time I felt I was freeing myself of a great burden. I think also over this time period, the kids, whether consciously or sub consciously, began to lost confidence in me. And I definitely began to lose confidence in me!

But now I was ready to give planning another try - not in the way that I used to. At the start of this year, I bought a planner from Homeschooling Downunder and printed out the pages I felt would be relevant. I bought colour coded folders and boxes for each child. 

I sat down, mostly amongst the noise and interruptions that come with having your children with you 24/7 and I spent hours writing lists and schedules. I didn't like doing it. I would much rather have been weaving! But now, as our homeschool year has begun, I am already seeing the fruits of having a solid plan.

The kids have learned how to find their own schedules in my planning folder so they know what is expected of them. This worked perfectly yesterday morning when I had to sit in a medical waiting room for 2 hours. Under the supervision of their older brother, my 2 middle children worked independently, while I had the youngest child with me doing our current read aloud.

There is a new jobs roster too - ensuring that everyone pitches in to help because it is written down and followed. I've scheduled morning tea teams, which I'm hoping will lead to lunch teams and eventually dinner teams - lessening the time that I need to spend in the kitchen each day and teaching the children to work together responsibly in food preparation and clean up. 

I do a quick 10 minute prep each night to ensure I have materials ready for any experiments or activities the next day. I'm finding that the children thrive on this organised schedule and they even admit that the day goes more smoothly when they get up early and are at the table ready to go. I've also decided against some activities outside the home this year - our home is our hub and should be treated with love and respect!

Is it perfect? No way, nothing ever is! I still have very full days, I still have to deal with poor attitudes sometimes, I still don't love planning! But, there does seem to be more time in the afternoons for me to focus on my weaving and business and the children are much happier with a set routine. So, for now, this is how we roll.

I wish you all the very best in your homeschool this year, may it bring you many blessings and much joy!

Slouchy satchel bag - new lessons

Remember that gorgeous looking warp from my last post? This is the result! The whole project was woven on the rigid heddle loom with two heddles but different techniques. The bag was woven as a tube so it's completely seamless, and the strap was woven as double weave, providing a firm and sturdy fabric.

A lot of people have commented on the yarn, and rightly so, it is wonderful. It's called Bloom and is available from Bendigo Woollen Mills.

If you're interested in weaving your own bag, the lessons are available on my Weaving Lessons channel and include all the instructions you will need from materials, warping, sewing and finishing. 

I look forward to seeing you there! 

Double heddle weaving

Recently on my Weaving Lessons channel, we explored some of the possibilities of weaving with two heddles on a rigid heddle loom. It's these sort of techniques that really open up the imagination of what can be achieved on this humble loom. We covered sett, patterning, twill, double layer and tube weaving. Fascinating stuff! 

I love to polish off a series with a project or two, to enable students to see the new techniques in action and apply them practically.

I'm not telling what the project is (yet), but if this warp is anything to go by, it's going to be a beauty! This pure new wool is "Bloom" from Bendigo Woollen Mills and is just a delight to look at, a beautiful intricacy of colours.

I'll be back once the videos for this project are posted, stay tuned!

Make do and make a start

I thought I'd share with you a little reality check today. It is easy for us to imagine that people we see on social media, on websites...