Tuesday, May 31, 2016

A Walk in the Footsteps of the Chumash

When my daughter switched to homeschool in 3rd grade they were learning about the Native Americans and early settlers.  We continued to learn about the early settlers over on the east coast and the interactions with the Native Americans there, but I wanted to personalize it a little more to make it more immersive and focused toward the Native Americans that are from our area, as well.  Specifically, where I am from, Santa Barbara, CA.  The Chumash Indians inhabited the area extending from Morro Bay in the north to Malibu in the south.  Santa Barbara County, which is in the center, is rich with Chumash history.

I was lucky enough to find this great book at the local library.  We read the whole thing.

I discovered that there was a Chumash Indian Museum in Thousand Oaks, CA.  On a beautiful Saturday we drove up and met my mom there to check it out.  I had never heard of this place before, but it sounded really cool.  It was such a peaceful place, even on a Saturday.  Hardly anyone came through, which made it extra cool.  They had a small museum packed full of artifacts and history.  Then you take a short 8 minute walk down an easy and beautiful trail lined with, literally, thousands of oak trees to a mock village.

Once you reach your destination you feel like you've been transported in time back to they days when the Chumash thrived.  They had several aphs, what the Chumash called their huts.  

They had all the things we read about in the Chumash book that an actual Chumash village would have had.  They had the ceremonial dance ground, a siliyik (sacred enclosure wall that blocked the view of religious rituals performed by priests and shaman), the great council house, a temescal (a sweat lodge), and it was set against a creek and under the oak trees.  

They also had modern day benches there, so I am sure that they still perform some ceremonial events here today.  I wish I would have known they had the benches, I would have packed a picnic to enjoy in the shade of the oaks.  With the lack of people, you really could immerse yourself into the Chumash world.  What a neat little gem this place is.  I highly recommend a visit.

We picked up this book in the museum gift shop, along with a few other cool things.  It was small, but they had some neat stuff for very little cost.  This book is a really cool workbook.  It has a lot of the history that we had already covered, but it includes some fun arts and crafts, word searches, crosswords, and discussion topics to introduce to students.  We have already dug in and started working on it.

On our way out we found a cool bush that had these pods on them.  Some of them had dried up and fallen on the ground.  We picked them up and when you shook them they made a cool rattle sound because they had seeds inside.  My mom told Aubrey that she could take them home and grow her own bush, so we did!  I cannot for the life of me remember what this bush was called, but I bet my mom, the green thumb would know.  

We took our seeds home, put them in some wet paper towels, stuck them in a jar, and stuck them in a dark, warm place.  I got lucky and got 3 out of 7 to sprout.  

We transferred them into little starter cups.  Unfortunately, only one survived.  I know I damaged the root on one accidentally, but I'm not sure what happened to the others.  I'm still trying to germinate the rest, but they seem like pretty sleepy seeds.  

I did, however, get one to grow.  We planted it outside in a pot by our front door.  So far so good!  It's been sprouting new leaves in the middle, so I think its in for the long haul, I hope!

For spring break, I planned an entire vacation around the Chumash Indians.  Bonus was, I got to go home and frolic in my land with my mom and brother.  This was such a fun vacation.  Aubrey likes to complain that we had to "learn", but we really didn't do too much learning as we did playing and exploring.  My hope was that the learning would be done more by osmosis, than anything.

First, I took them to see actual Chumash rock paintings up in the Santa Barbara mountains.  These are called the Painted Caves and are located along Painted Cave Road.  It's a little tricky to find and to park, but it's worth the hunt.  Once again, no people were to be found, other than the regular residents in the area driving by ever so often.  So peaceful and serene.

A short walk up some stone steps will lead you to the entrance to the cave.  These are some of the rock paintings that you can view through a gate.  

Here's the family in front of the entrance to the cave.  Such a beautiful rock formation.  I love the rocks in Santa Barbara.  

My kids have never visited the inside of the Santa Barbara Mission.  We have walked around outside on the grounds.  We have played and picnicked in the rose garden and we've explored some of the Chumash structures that are in the dirt area just to the side of the rose garden, but had yet to tour the grounds within.  

It was a beautiful day, even with the rain.  I think it made it more fitting, since this was a much more tragic piece of their history.

Outside the mission they have the basin which the Chumash washed their clothes.  They carved the animal in the fountain from stone.

We visited the grave yard where several Catholic families of both early spanish settlers and more recent families that are promenant in the area are buried.  According to this sign, 4,000 Chumash Indians are buried in this cemetery, as well ... in unmarked graves ... you know ... somewhere .... 

Here are some of the original Chumash stone art pieces that you can see in the Mission.

They have a small part of the museum dedicated to the arts, culture, and history of the Chumash.  Here are some of the beautiful shell jewelry and money they traditionally used.

This is a photo of the last Chumash couple that worked at the Mission.  They had a few other cool photos and artifacts, but you will have to go see them for yourself :).

As luck would have it, they happened to be having their annual Chumash Day celebration and Inter-Tribal Gathering in Malibu on the last weekend of our spring break.  I couldn't have planned it better myself.  

I took the kids on a Sunday after the rain had passed.  It was a bit of an ordeal to park, shuttle, eat, etc, but I'm glad we went.  It was absolutely amazing to see the Native Americans in their traditional tribal dress and watch their ceremonial dances.  After learning so much about the destruction of their way of life it was uplifting to see the culture bonding together to help continue their legacy, their history, their culture, and their way of life.

They couldn't have picked a more beautiful setting on the bluffs of Malibu over looking the ocean.

Aren't these back pieces, head dresses, and bead work incredible!?!?

Back home we decided to continue on with the fun.  We collected some rocks on the beach while in Santa Barbara to take home and make rock paintings with, like the Chumash.

We all had fun creating our own images on rocks that we now have displayed in our patio.
(Plus a couple Earth Day themed ones, too, since this doubled as an Earth Day activity).

Once again, luck shined upon me and I found this awesome puzzle for sale through a homeschool sell and share group on Facebook.  

I got it for only $2 and it was never used.  Score!!  She was also selling a basket weaving set, but I was too late to snag that one up as someone got to it first, D'oh! I'm sure I can find one on line if I really feel we need it (but I'm pretty sure I'd be the one doing all the work on that, so I probably won't).

We put the whole thing together the other day.  It was a fun history project to do.  It came with a little search and find sheet, that got us doing a sort of 'Where's Waldo' hunt.  It was colorful and inviting.  It really made you want to read all the tribe names.  I think we spent a good 30 minutes pouring over this thing the day after it was put together.

What a fun learning adventure we have been having!  This came together wonderfully.  I probably enjoyed it more than anyone.  We have moved on now to studying the early settlers and the 13 colonies.  I have been dreaming of taking the kids to the east coast to visit some of the historical sights.  That won't be quite as easy to accomplish as this was, but something to save for in the future. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Homeschool Happenings

Most of you reading this probably know that we made a huge change this year and decided to pull Aubrey out of public school and begin homeschooling.  I have debated whether or not I would share some of our adventures on here, but I figure it falls under the realm of Sticky Genius, so why the hell not! I thought it would be nice to share with you a few fun things we have been doing in homeschool that have helped us get past some of the public school slump.

My daughter is such a smart little girl.  She loves to learn.  Unfortunately, she faces some behavioral and learning challenges that were a little to complicated for the public school to understand and respect.  I could go on until I'm blue in the face, but I feel that one of the best things about leaving behind public school is that we left behind the negativity that was surrounding my daughters ability to succeed and excel in school and life.  Therefore, I will not dwell on the negative, but move on to more positive things.  The beauty of homeschool is that I can adapt to her needs, to her learning style, to her pace, to her moods, and there is no anxiety around learning.  It's just much more relaxed, flexible, and fun.

Aubrey has several challenges to overcome in order to learn in the classroom environment.  She was born with a Congenital Heart Defect that, I believe, had an affect on her brain function due to lack of oxygen, surgeries, time on the bypass machine, etc.  She has been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder (ADD), anxiety, she has executive function (EF) challenges, and Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD).  SPD encompasses a lot of things that explain so much as to why she is so sensitive to many things regarding the senses and stimulus.  Specific to learning, the challenge for her is a visual-motor sensory integration dysfunction.  Which, in layman terms, means that she has trouble getting the information from her head or off of the smart board onto the actual paper.  Somewhere the connection from her knowing what she wants to write or having to copy something off the board (visual) gets lost in the transition (processing) from her brain to her hand, to the pencil, and onto the paper (motor).  As I'm sure you can imagine, this was a big issue with the public school.  Even though she was allowed dictation, output kept coming up as a problem for them and ultimately they didn't feel she was producing enough written work to continue on to the next grade successfully.  She also has trouble initiating tasks (EF) and staying focused on work independently (ADD).  Eventually, she ended up shutting down completely and employed the use of "escape behaviors" (anxiety) that could be disruptive to the class in order to avoid doing the work.  What was sad was that it was clear to me she was picking up everything they were teaching if she was quizzed orally.  She is definitely an auditory learner.  She remembers so much of what she hears, even if she looks like she isn't listening or is fidgeting around, she is listening and absorbing what is being taught.  I think that makes her a bit of a kinesthetic learner, too.  If she is moving, she is more focused.  I am sure that's the influence of the ADD.  I wanted to take the pressure off of her with the physical writing to help decrease some of the anxiety around it and focus more on helping her learn through auditory and kinesthetic means for some things for now.

One of the areas of struggle for Aubrey has been her recall speed of math facts.  I blame the switch to common core a bit for this.  Don't get me wrong, I understand the whole point behind the arrays and all that jazz, but when Bayne was in the lower grades it was all about flashcards, repetition, and memorization. That is how it was in my day, too.  For some reason memorization of math facts is like a bad word in the public schools now.  If homework wasn't such an epic struggle for us we might have had more time to work with flashcards in addition, but it was and we couldn't.  We spent so much time drawing 60 circles to form an array that we missed out on doing at least 10 math problems the would have reinforced the math fact.  She totally gets the arrays and why 8x6=48, so common core did it's job.  It was when I started to ask her what 6x4 was and she started drawing circles in the air that I realized we are going to have to go back to basics or we are going to be stuck on each problem for 5 minutes instead of 30 seconds.

One of the ways we did this, aside from flashcards and math workbooks (don't worry, they are in line with common core, lol), was by doing math hopscotch.  Every week or so I change the hopscotch court to reflect a different number.  Here we were doing multiples of 6.  We played just like regular hopscotch, but we had to say the multiples of 6 as we jumped and whichever spot the stone landed on you had to say the math fact.  So if it landed on 36, you have to say 6x6.  This has sped up her math facts a lot.  If she's unfocused or stuck (I swear sometimes her brain just freezes) when we are on a problem I just say, remember the hopscotch and it triggers her memory and she pulls out the answer.  As an added bonus, she gets some exercise and vitamin D, too.  

Although Aubrey has anxiety and reluctance around writing, I still want to encourage her to put her thoughts on paper.  I saw a tutorial for something called a Smash Book on pinterest.  It is like a journal and a scrapbook combined.  Anytime we go anywhere special or do something memorable we bring home some type of souvenir.  Usually something from nature, a brochure, or a ticket stub.  Then we write a little something about our adventure.  She is still rather reluctant to write, so I have been letting her dictate her thoughts to me and write only key words herself.  She also labels all her keepsakes herself.  Here is just one small example of a smash book page in her book.  We had a playdate with her friends at the park and they found hundreds of snails on a tree.  She had to take home two to keep as pets.  She gathered some grass for them to sit on for the ride home.  She taped the grass onto the page and drew pictures of both her snails, since we obviously weren't going to smash the real snails in the book.  We did, however, let the snail leave a slimy trail across her smash book page.

Our snails ended up living in a terrarium we built for a couple weeks before I convinced her to let them go free in the garden.  Before we let them go we painted dots on their shells with acrylic paint, so that we could identify them if we came across them in the yard again.  So far still no sign of Frederick and Kawaii Guy.  Who knows how far they've gone.

For a kid that doesn't like to write, she sure has some impressive spelling and grammar skills.  She nearly always scored 100% or close to it on spelling tests.  I really should have her edit my blog posts for me, too, because her punctuation and grammar skills far surpass mine.  She had an excellent phonics teacher in 2nd grade.  They taught them a lot through song, which nailed the auditory component for Aubrey.  She would come home singing all the rules.  

We are using Wordly Wise for our vocabulary and spelling, just as they are in school.  We backed up to level 2, so that I can use level 3 and 4 next year, because she zooming through these words.  Since she doesn't always want to write we mix it up when we practice her words.  The first day she answers the vocab questions for each word.  Another day she will silently study the words and definitions.  If she is up for it, she will write the words and then draw a picture of the definition.  She is also aloud to dictate both the word and the definition to me.  

Even though she is reluctant to write, I want to make sure we are still working on our fine motor skills and hand strength.  This was a perfect opportunity to mix some occupational therapy (OT) in with her learning.  It adds a little bit of kinesthetic movement to it, too.  Sometimes we use stamps.  She has to roll out the playdoh and smash it on the table, then stamp the word into it.  Each time she has to squish it up, roll it out, stamp it.

Sometimes she doesn't feel like stamping, so we make each letter of the word out of playdoh one at a time.  This requires her to do a lot of rolling, squishing, and bending, and pinching.  All great to help build and strengthen her fine motor skills. 

All the supplies fit perfect in one of her old pencil boxes from school, too!

Flexibility is the key with Aubrey.  In school she would become defiant and shut down because it was too much of a 'my way or the highway' mentality.  If she feels forced to do something she often won't even try.  She needs to know she has a choice and that helps decrease a lot of the resistance around doing work.  I can understand why public schools can't always cater to kids like Aubrey.  Luckily at home that is no longer an issue.

Keeping with the playdoh theme, we started making some stop motion videos in lieu of written reports.  We have done two reports for science so far.  We started with some simple subject matter, so we can figure out what the heck we are doing as we go.

First, we did the life cycle of flower.  This was fun.  We ripped paper with our hands, we cut paper with more precision, we cut strings, bent pipe cleaners, rolled, squeezed, and shaped playdoh.  Tons of fine motor skills involved, so there was some OT work involved.  It was artistic, so we got some art in.  It was science, as we learned all about the life cycle of a flower.  She learned about making a stop motion video and also about video editing from her Dad.  Even though she didn't physically write the report, we worked on it together.  She dictated it and I helped organize her thoughts onto paper.  She did all the narration for the video.  You can check it out on youtube if you click on the link here:

We have also been starting a lot of herbs from seeds at home, so she is watching the process in real time, too.  Super fun stuff.  I love that we have her Dad involved in the process, too.  Lucky us, we have an awesome editor in the family.  Personally, I think this is way more beneficial than writing a paper.  This will have a life of its own on youtube now.  She can watch this again as an adult, where a paper would find its way into the recycle bin and never be seen again.

The second video report we did was on snails.  We studied the snails we kept as pets, read books we checked out from the library, and watched a few youtube videos.  We used recycled products to make a fun back drop, used clay to make snails, and had a great time painting everything.  We shot another video, her dad cut it together, and she narrated the report that I helped her write.  

You can check that one out, too, if you like!

Here is a sneak preview into our next video about the Native Americans and early settlers.
To be continued :)

As I share all this I can still hear the nay-sayers in my head.  I am still trying to shake the negativity from the school.  I still feel like I am breaking free from the conditioning.  It's hard not to worry that you are doing the wrong thing.  They make us believe that there is only one way to success and that is through the public or private school system.  If she doesn't learn about x,y,z by this age at this specific time she will be a failure!  I am starting to pull back the veil little by little and I can see that this system is flawed.  I have known for years that just because you can succeed in school, does not mean that it guarantees you success in life.  Some of the most successful people I know are those who struggled in school and eventually found their own paths by following their passion.  I think for the majority, public school is fine.  My son is still in public school and I have no intention of taking him out because it works for him.  He's happy there.  He's learning.  He has friends.  It's a positive experience for him.  For my daughter, it has not been.  She is sensitive and has special needs that need to be taken seriously.  She was never going to fit in the box.  It has been a horrible struggle with more negative experiences, than positive for her.  Now that we are out, I feel like I am picking up the pieces and helping put her back together.  I'm helping her find her way to what she loves and bringing the joy back to learning.  We still learn all the subjects she learns in school.  We still follow the general direction of the masses, but the pressure has been taken away.  Flexibility has been included.  We don't "have" to do anything exactly one specific way at a specified time.  For a child who is rigid and inflexible this makes ALL the difference in the world.  I believe by allowing her some time to decompress, find alternative approaches to learning, provide choices that she can govern, and accept her where she is at and what she is capable of doing at any given time will ultimately bring her success.  

I saw this quote recently and it struck a cord with me.  

My flower was in the wrong environment.  She could not bloom where she was, so we changed the environment.  I actually named our homeschool "Room for Blooming".  I had not seen this quote until after.  Couldn't be more apropos.

Just in case you all need proof ... it's in the pudding.

I'd like to share a small miracle of sorts.  My child who will not hold or use a pencil for more than 5 minutes without complaint, dropping it, crying, or melting down has taken to drawing comics.  At night when it is quiet is when she likes to work.  This use to be her time to read.  She would read for 2-3 hours at a time.  Just a couple weeks ago she started drawing during this time.  The room is dark and she works by the light of her desk lamp.  She will draw for 2-3 hours a night.  Not only does she draw, but she WRITES!  And her handwriting looks amazing now that she doesn't have to fit it in between the lines. She has been making comics based on a youtuber that she loves to watch.  She works so hard on these, it is so cute!  I don't care if she isn't writing three paragraph long book reports on her own.  I am just so happy that she has found joy in holding the pencil and working with it for several hours at a time.  I don't feel worried that she won't graduate from high school if she doesn't write an essay on her own by the end of third grade.  I know she will master that skill before she is 18.  I don't feel rushed for her to have a thesis statement and supporting facts by the age of 9.  I feel like a good mom who followed her gut, who listened to her child, who is helping her find her own way to the pencil and the paper, who is allowing her child to build her fine motor skills, her writing voice, her endurance, her creativity in her own way and in her own time without a fight or any anxiety around the act.  

Here is just a small sampling of some of the work she's been doing.  

This was when she first started and it was less than a weeks worth of her drawings.  I have had to go out and buy two more packages of paper from the 99 cents store.  I have also had to start a new folder because the first one was overflowing with her work.  

All that worry, all that negativity, all that pressure they put on her ....

... honestly ...

I wouldn't be surprised if she ends up being an excellent writer one day.  

And even if she's not, she will always be a success in my eyes.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

DIY Stuffed Animal Hammock

We all love them, we all own them.  Then before we know it we have too damn many of them.

Stuffed animals.

They are like a soft, adorable plague that slowly takes over your home.

My kids love their stuffed animals.  They both still play with them.  Aubrey, especially, loves to play with hers.  She never cared for dolls, but she loves her plushies.  I hear her in her bed creating all kinds of scenarios with them.  I always find them dressed in different outfits, necklaces, hair accessories, tied to jump ropes.  You just never know what these poor little creatures have had to endure.  I am fine with stuffed animals, as long as they are contained.  Bayne has his nicely stored in a large rubbermaid container that he uses frequently as a chair.  I often find him squished in the center of his stuffed animal bin watching a youtube video on his phone.  His animals stay contained and docile.  Possibly suffocated. I'm just happy they aren't frolicking about freely in the room.

Aubrey, on the other hand, has clearly left her animals wild and untamed.  They are always jumping off the bunk bed in the middle of the night onto the floor.  Those that have been banned to the shelf above her bed for being less popular are constantly escaping, or perhaps attempting suicide and jumping behind the bed, or sneaking their way back into hers.  In her bed, they have formed an alliance to keep me from the sheets.  Maybe they are afraid I will suffocate them and they will remain static, like Bayne's herd?  It's hard to say.  All I know is each night I have to sift through a mountain of stuffed animals to find each blanket and it is nearly impossible to tuck her in properly.  Each day I have avoid trampling them on the floor.  And all too often I have to send a rescue crew behind the bed to find the lost souls.

I have been on an organizing, spring cleaning, purging kick lately.  These little rascals are so on my radar.  Since I can't weed them out much without Her Majesty noticing, I decided there had to be a better way to both contain them and allow them a little freedom.  In addition, make it easy for her to reach them and find them if she wants a specific one, without having to dump all the rest onto the ground.  I also wanted something that would be easy to put them away in, so that she might be motivated to help tame her minions a little more.

This picture doesn't do justice what the actual reality of the stuffed animal situation looks like in her bed.  I'm in a clearing, but I assure you, they have me surrounded.

I had an idea of making a hammock on the outside of her bed, so that she could easily reach over the ledge and get an animal that she wanted to play with while in bed or while out of bed.  I have seen the stuffed animal hammocks that they sell online.  I was considering buying one, but I remembered I had some left over netting fabric from my sand toy beach bags.  It was just long enough to spread the length of the bed and wide enough to hold some animals without dipping down to low into the way of the bottom bunk.
I pulled out my bin of random craft crap to see what I could tie this thing up with.  I found a bunch of old tulle that was already cut into perfectly sized strips.  I folded the netting in half and threaded the tulle through the upper corner of the open edge of the netting and tied it to the bunk bed side.  I did the same thing on the opposite side and in the center.

Then I started piling them in one by one.  The Queen of the Animals even wanted to help, so that is a good sign.  I snuck of few of the less popular ones back onto the shelf behind the bed (and tent).  I'm hoping they hibernate up there for a while or at least that she is more drawn the the eye candy in the hammock.  

I'm really happy with how this came together.  I didn't have to put much effort into it all and I spent no money.  I didn't even have to fire up the sewing machine.  The animals are still mostly free.  They have lots of air holes, so no one will suffocate.  She can easily reach over and grab one if she needs one.  I'm sure we will have some jumpers, but I think this will help limit the number per night.

There are still a few that were too big for the shelf or the hammock, so they are the lucky ones that get to maintain their position on the bed.  They can guard the Great One while she sleeps.  

Now I don't have to wrestle fifty wild animals each night for the sheets, I can actually see the new comforter that I made for her, and easily tuck her in and say...


Thursday, May 12, 2016

Jeans to Bag Refashion

I have been saving jeans for quite some time.  I'll take anyone's old jeans, just an FYI.  My son wears his into the ground.  I've salvaged them many times with refashions like this, but alas, they eventually come back tattered and torn, too.  Not to mention, the kid is growing like a weed!

I finally sat down and cut them all up into 3 different width strips.  Then, I sewed them all together to make a panel of fabric.  Originally, my goal was to make a high waisted skirt to match this shirt that I made.  Unfortunately, this process that I summed up in two sentences, took what felt like a lifetime to perform.  I was going to need a whole additional panel.  I didn't feel like I could spend another lifetime on this project and I was a little worried it would end up being a bit too bulky with all the seams.  I decided to fall back on what I do best and turn it into a bag.

I've been watching all these silly sewing shows on PBS.  I watched one that showed a cool bag that had movable handles, so you could slip a yoga mat or beach towel under the bottom.  I decided to try out the idea on this bag.

I took the belt loops from the old jeans and used those to run the handles through.  You basically make one huge strap and thread it through the belt loops to make the straps on each side.  Then you sew the two ends together after you thread it though the loops.

In hindsight, I probably could have made this bag upright, so that it would be taller, rather than wider.  I'm not sure what inspired me to make it this way, but it's still cool.  It kinda gives it more of a gym bag vibe than a regular purse/bag.

For the zipper, I cut one of the side seams from the pant legs in half and threaded it through the hole and sewed it shut to create a little zipper pull tab.  I think this is my favorite part of the bag.  I'm totally using this as a zipper tab for future bags.

For the inside I used a floral print I had in my stash and added some pockets to fit my wallet, phone, keys, and pens.  I can easily throw a towel in here, along with some water and a magazine or book to read.  

Now all I need is a gym membership ... lol.  I can use this for the beach or just fun, too.  I've actually been throwing around the idea of getting a membership to the YMCA.  It's little bit of a haul from our place, so I'm worried that might deter us from using as much as I would if it were down the street.  I like that they offer so many classes for so cheap and I can actually do something productive when the kids are doing there thing or vice versa.  We are going to take a tour soon and see if it's even something we'd all be in to.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Poncho Refashion

I saw this cute poncho on pinterest (of course).  
I knew right away that I had to make one. 

 I have a poncho, but I wasn't willing to cut into that one.  My neighbor recently gave me a cute one that was her daughters, to give to Aubrey.  I tried to sell Aubrey on it, but she is very sensitive and particular about the fabrics she wears/tolerates.  One day I decided to try it on.  I didn't think it would fit, but it did!  This was the perfect candidate for my refashion!  

I forgot to take a before picture of the poncho, but I tried to cheat one for you all ;).

I cut off the sleeves, serged the arm holes, and folded them in and sewed them down.  Super easy refashion.  

This will be cute in the summer for a little extra warmth on a windy day at the beach.  I think it will look cute with some jean shorts and a bathing suit top underneath.  

We don't seem to be anywhere near summer yet.  The days have been cold and the ocean is still freezing.  It will come, though.  It will come .... and when it does, my new poncho and I will be ready!

Friday, May 6, 2016

Pokemon Comforter

I finally finished my most recent labor of love.  This took me WAY longer than it should have.  Truthfully, I wanted to have this done by Aubrey's 8th birthday.  Needless to say, that did not happen. I gave myself a break, told myself not to worry, now I have plenty of time to have it ready for Christmas her 9th birthday.  I was SO close!  I finished the top piece, but still had to bind and tie the quilt together with the batting and the backing.  I'm happy to say that I am officially finished with Aubrey's new Pokemon Comforter!!  Here it is!

(Displayed on Bayne's bed)

I found this crazy Pokemon fabric in the fashion district in DTLA.  I could not pass it up.  It is so rare to find pokemon print fabric in cotton blend.  It was kind of ugly all in one piece, so I cut out all the characters and created a quilt around it.  I used some fleece and chenille fabrics to add some soft textures.  I was smart and made it big enough to fit a queen, so it can grow with her.  I really love how it came out.  It is such a better fit for Aubrey, who has been living with her old Disney's Tangled (pink) comforter from when she was 3.  I know she hates it, as she hates all things pink and girly.  This is much more her style. Plus it matches the blue bed tent her grandparents bought her.  She looks so adorable all snuggled up in her new blanket in bed.  

She absolutely loves it, even though she likes to remind me how long she had to wait for it.  I'm just happy to have this thing completed and off of my table.  It's been clogging my work space and my creative qi.  

I recently moved my sewing machine to the living room in hopes it will motivate me to sew more.  I like the way it opened up some space in our apartment by moving things around a bit.  I have not been sewing much over the last year and it doesn't feel right.  It is definitely a creative outlet that I need to do for me to express myself.  Time is still an issue, but I'm going to do my best to find some.  If it's staring me in the face, it is hard to ignore and certainly allows me one less excuse.