Tuesday, July 10, 2012

No Club for the 2012-2013 School Year

We have decided to take this next year off, as we joyously await the arrival of our newest blessing, due in January.  Lord willing, we will reconvene our club for the 2013-2014 school year.  Thank you to all who have joined us and participated in our club for the past 2 years.  It has been a blessing!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Miniatures, Cont'd

Step one on the dollhouse roombox project was the base.  The girls each painted their bases green to resemble grass and left them to dry.   Later, they marked where the walls would go and then glued in their choice of color as carpet for the room.  Stone- and brick-patterned papers were glued down to make walkways leading the door of each "room".

2 of the different bases created by our girls
Lesson Learned: If you are going to be painting foam board, it must be sealed first!  We didn't know this and so had problems with the paper layer separating from the board as well as the boards warping!  The remedy to this is to seal the board on both sides with a product called "gesso".  It is found in the art supply area of the craft store.  Next time I think we will forego the paint and just use felt and paper to cover our board!

Stay tuned for the rest of the project!

Friday, April 6, 2012

April - Miniatures

For the months of April and May, our girls are learning about Miniatures, specifically Dollhouse Miniatures.  Dollhouses have been a hobby of mine since I was young.  I currently have one unfinished dollhouse and lots of furniture and accessories to fill it!  I wanted to start the girls on a simple beginner's project to show them how much fun this hobby can be and how they can use their creativity and frugality.  Miniature collecting can become a very expensive hobby, but at the other end of the spectrum, there are many, many things you can make yourself for next to no money at all!

In looking for an inexpensive beginner project, I came across this photograph online at this site:
foldable dollhouse
I thought, WOW, I could totally make that out of cardboard for free!  Talk about inexpensive!  So I had it all planned out in 1" to 1' scale, making the finished product 20" wide and 12" tall.  I later realized that this was a bit ambitious for a beginner project, so I modified the design to make just a one-room "house" with a little garden. 

Here is the basic, unfinished product I came up with, ready to be decorated:

Here's the step-by-step on how I put them together.

Materials needed:
     2 sheets foam board 20x30 (Dollar Tree, $1 each)
     Utility knife
     Stacks of newspaper or old cardboard

Make sure you read all the directions and look at the pictures before you start, just to make sure it all makes sense!  I hope my directions are clear.

Cut one 20" x 30" sheet of foam board in half lengthwise
so you have 2 pieces, each 10" x 30"

Out of one 10" x 30" piece, cut 2 pieces that are each 10" x 12".
There will be a smaller piece left over that you can save for
other projects

Measure the thickness of your foam board (mine was a bit over 1/8")
Holding your 10" x 12" piece so that 10" is the height and 12" is the
width, mark a straight line 1" from the edge and another line 1" + the
thickness of your board. Use these lines to cut a slot in the board half
the height of the board.

Do the same with the other 10" x 12" piece, then flip one over
so that they fit together like this:

Once you're sure they fit, mark your pieces 'left' and 'right' as well
as 'top' and 'bottom' and 'inside' and 'outside'.  Take the pieces
apart and cut out details such as a door and a window.  I cut on
2 edges of the door and scored the third so that it would make a door
that opened and closed. 

Make sure you score on the correct side so that your doors
and windows open to the "outside" when it's put together as
seen here:
I used the second sheet of foam board to cut a 15" x 15" base
for the "room" so that there was room on the "outside" for a
walkway and flower bed area.

So that is the basic unfinished "room box", ready to be decorated by the girls!  If you've made this, you'll see that you have half of the foam board left over so you can make a second project.  I think this would also work doing a full-size "house" as in the picture above, using a 12" height with a slant for the "roof" and a 20" or more width, giving you rooms that are at least 12" x 10", perfect scale for a 1" to 1" scale dollhouse.

Also, if you don't need to make 2, you could make the height of the box 12" or more and make the peaked roof as shown in the first picture above.  There are so many variations you can come up with!

Stay tuned for directions for the rest of the project.  Next will be wallpapering and carpeting!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

March - Cancelled

Our March meetings were both cancelled due to illness.  Thankfully, all is well now and we will resume our regular meeting on Friday, April 6th.

Girls will begin a Dollhouse Miniatures project and boys will begin learning and practicing using Hand Tools.  Both of these projects will continue for 4 consecutive meetings (April and May). 

This will be our last project for the school year.  In June we will have our end-of-year picnic and awards ceremony.  During July and August there will be optional recreational activities planned -- more details to come soon!

February - Sign Language

For the month of February, we learned some basic sign language.  We were blessed to have a great volunteer, Mr. Paul, to come and teach us.  Mr. Paul is currently studying sign language in conjunction with his job and was eager to share what he has learned. 

We learned the manual alphabet and many common words such as colors, numbers, greetings and other words and phrases useful in conversation.  We also learned how to sign important words such as Jesus and pray. The children enjoyed practicing finger-spelling their names. 

The adults were just as interested and eager to learn as the children (if not more so!) and we as a family have continued learning and practicing sign language. 

I apologize for not having pictures - we took lots of videos but no still photos!  Here are some of the signs we learned:

Saturday, January 28, 2012

January - Albums

For the month of January we fulfilled the requirements for the Albums badge by making photo albums.  The albums themselves were 6"x6" with plastic sleeves and they were purchased inexpensively at Christmas Tree Shoppes.  We used 12"x12" patterned paper cut down to 6"x6" for background pages, then applied photos and stickers to embellish the pages.  I encouraged the children to decide on a theme for their album.  One did a vacation album of their beach pictures, one did their Christmas vacation to see their grandparents, another did an album to put pictures of their LEGO creations.  Another idea was to put in pictures from each month of 2011.  Some just chose to put in whatever pictures they had.  Everyone had a great time with this project, boys included (though they didn't work on theirs nearly as long as the girls did!) 

Next month: Sign Language!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

December 2011 - Christmas Caroling

On December 10, we again visited the Misericordia Nursing Home to sing Christmas Carols for the residents.  We sang for about 30 minutes, mostly traditional Christmas Carols but also a few more modern worship songs.  We were very well-received and had a few residents singing along!  Our group was small but we persevered and sang for the glory of the Lord!  Prior to our visit, we had colored and signed Christmas cards for the residents, so after the singing we handed out the cards.  We made sure each resident received one, even if they were in their rooms and/or sleeping.  Everyone continues to be blessed by this outreach.

Front of card
Inside of card
(Photos will be forthcoming!)