Tuesday, October 26, 2010

It's almost time...

Last year was my first year participating in the insanity of NaNoWriMo(national novel writing month).

The goal, 50,000 words in 30 days. Sounds terrifying?
It is.
But so worth it.

This craziness starts monday.  And I'm so ready!

Last year I didn't participate in any of my local write-ins, I didn't even know anyone else who would be tackling the insanity.
That's changing this year.
I'm planning on going to the kick-off party this Sunday.
And I actually know some one (around) my age who's going to be noveling as well.

I'm ridiculously busy already, I don't know what throwing a novel to write into the mix will do to me, but I guess we'll be finding out.

I might be posting some up-dates on how my noveling's going, but who knows.
Noveling takes priority all November.
That's just how it needs to be.

This cute little song pretty much sums up what this next month will be all about. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I make things out of felt because I'm homeschooled, that's what we do.

The other day one of our little friends was having a birthday so we cracked out the gift making supplies and got to work.
We found this super cute owl pattern in a magazine, but they didn't have a to scale templates to cut out, so I kind of made up my own pattern and just went with it.
Here's how I made it.
I'm not sure how well you'll be able to follow my instructions, but here they are anyway.

What you'll need:
Felted wool sweaters(everyone needs a good collection of these)
Paper to make your patterns out of
Good cutting scissors
Pins and needles
Matching thread
Embroidery floss
Buttons(for the eyes)
Stuffing(wool or what ever else you have on hand)
Sweet tunes to listing to while you work
   and a sewing machine might be handy too.

First you need to decide how big you want your owl to be, any size will work I think. The template on the right of the picture(above) is the body, you need to cut 2 of these, one for the back and one foe the front.
The other template is the face/wings. It needs to be slightly bigger than the body.
Wrap it around your paper pattern to test the size before you cut into the sweater!
The top triangle of the wing pattern is the beak/face, that part will go over the straight edge of the body piece.
Here's another view of my pattern, the blue piece of paper is the pattern for the base of your owl. You want it to be the same size as the bottom of the body piece(the side parallel with the straight edge.
    Cut out the base and the body pattern.
Pin the body pieces right sides together and sew around the entire thing, starting at one edge of the bottom and leaving enough room for your base to fit on later.
Stuff the body, make sure the ears are nice and firm!
Sew the base to the bottom of the body.
I kind of muddled through this. The instructions said to use the machine and keep the seems inside... but that wasn't working for me.
So I just ended up sewing it all together by hand, making sure to double my thread and go around twice.
Before sewing it closed completely add a bit more stuffing, if needed.
You don't want a limp owl!
Cut out the wing/back.
Sew the wing/back piece on by hand onto the body of the owl. Make sure it's nice and secure, especially if your creation is going to end up being loved  by a little person.
This is what it should look like once the back piece is all sewn on. Make sure you leave the tips of the wings free so your friend can fly!
Cut felt circles for the eyes. I found that a medicine bottle cap was the perfect template for mine, but you can fiddle with the size until it looks right.
I attached the buttons onto the felt circles before sewing the whole thing onto the face, but it's up to you and how you feel works best.
You can just stitch the eyes on if you want, but I find that the blanket stick gives it a more finished look.
  I wasn't going to add the tummy patch, but I decided(with prompting from my mom) that it would look good.
Just blanket stitch that to the tummy, and your done!

Here's the finished product!

The owl was a hit! The birthday boy loved his new friend, and the other kids want to play with it too.

The owl's name is now 'Hunter' a pretty great name if I do say so my self!

This is my first attempt at (sort of) step-by-step instructions.
I don't know how I did, but you might see some more of my projects up here on this blog at some point...
We'll see.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

My First Review (on this blog)

Half Brother
By Kenneth Oppel
For thirteen years, Ben Tomlin was an only child. But all that changes when his mother brings home his new “baby brother” Zan - an eight-day-old chimpanzee.

This was the book I most recently finished reading, so I thought I'd review it first, seeing as it is freshest in my mind.

When I was younger I loved Kenneth Oppel's Silverwing series. I totally fell in love with it.
Let's just say my friends and I we bats in our game of make believe more than not.
Then, a couple years ago I was completely enchanted again by his Airborn series.
Oppel has a fantastic way of creating characters that children and teens can connect with.
Half Brother fits right in with his other works on my 'Books I Love' list.

Half Brother is about a boy who just turned 13, and his mother brings home a baby chimpanzee that they are suppose to love and raise as a - human - member of there family.
Seems rather far fetched, but I makes perfect sense, once you start reading and embrace the story.
It's 1973, and the world is ready for discovery.
Ben's father is a scientist, and this little chimp is part of an experiment to see if any other species can learn human language. It's already been stated that Chimps do not have the muscles to create human sounds, so the plan is to teach Zan American Sign Language.
At first Ben is not too impressed about this new member of the family. But things slowly change and you end up falling in love with this baby right along with Ben.

I love the relationship and bond we see form between Ben and his baby brother. I feel like Ben has a more open and caring view of the world than those around him, involved with the experiment.
Being younger he has a clearer, unhindered take on whats going on. He's more intune with himself, and in turn, is able to understand and see Zan in a clearer light.

I think this book is a gentle coming of age story. It doesn't jolt you into reality, but it turns your thoughts to what love is, what it means to be human, and what family really means and who that includes for you.

I'll be honest, I did cry a bit at the end, but I was expecting to...
It's an animal story, animal stories always make me cry.

Something that I find exciting is, out of the blue, Kenneth Oppel(the real deal) added me on facebook. I'm not entirely sure why, or how he picked me... but I found a friend request patiently waiting for me to except.
Let me clarify.
I didn't add him first, he added me.
I'm not sure how he found I was a fan... but he did and now I can say I have him as a friend on facebook.
That is my claim to fame, and I'm sticking with it.