sewing for my paints

I made a roll for my brushes that I take when we go places.  Usually they go in a big box with everything in it, that keeps them well taken cared for.  But this time, I needed something a lot lighter. So I sewed this roll, from a linen tablecloth I had.

DSC_0066-small DSC_0068-small DSC_0069-smallI am hoping I’ll have some time to paint somewhere.  I know I need to make the time.  Now, I need to put my sketchbook and the paints and to have fun!


And yes I did that too.  I had these linen pants that I wore a lot in India, actually, and have been waiting to make something with them, since they were worn too thin.  So I picked the back pockets, to be part of the bag.

DSC_0074-small DSC_0075-smallI put all the supplies I want to take with me this time.


I put a lining (another linen piece left over from a dress I had) and of course, a zipper.


I stamped the lining, because I wanted something secret in the bag.


And sewed it all around.  A perfect carrier-of-paints-and-everything-I-need bag.  Now I want to know what else I’m going to zipper up!  Let me think…

World Unit : France : The Impressionist, Claude Monet


I think, well I know, Claude Monet was our favorite French Impressionist artist we have studied so far.  We all loved him.  We liked his life story, the paintings, his quirkiness.  We read this book, and I think it gives enough details and information both Lucas and Siena were able to relate to him.


Also fun to know he grew up in Le Havre, a seaport town where our ferry will arrive from England, when we get there.  

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And from this book, we made this project and we had fun reading about his life from these pages as well.  The kids loved it that he started drawing caricatures when he was a teenager and was known for his great talent.

DSC_0002-small DSC_0004-small DSC_0006-small DSC_0007-smallWe made a paper water lily.

Another day we did a painting based on how he painted.  We picked a beach landscape and tried to paint in short strokes.  We remembered the story about Monet and his painting at the beach, as most Impressionists were doing at that time, painting out of doors.   We read of one time he was painting the ocean, and up came the tide and waves, and he got wet and all of his paints were taken by the water.


In one of the books we read, there’s a drawing of Monet painting at the beach, and with the wind blowing, he ended up with all sorts of things stuck to his paintings.  From sand to starfish to leaves… just a funny sight.

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We had lots of books with Impressionist paintings so we can discuss how different they were and to have on hand a copy of the originals right at our fingertips.   To looks at colors, tones, strokes, styles.

DSC_0039-smallAnd we also painted his Japanese Garden and water lilies from his Pink House just outside of Paris, Giverny.   A place we’ve all decided we would like to go visit while in Paris.  Right now, I am trying to figure out how to take the train and how to get to his house, now a Museum.  How neat it would be to be standing right there.


DSC_0040-small DSC_0044-smallHere are Siena’s paintings based on Claude Monet.  I love Siena’s sky with the sun.

DSC_0046-smallThese are Lucas’s paintings. I love his waterlilies.

DSC_0045-smallAnd these are my paintings.


We’ve been keeping our work in binders.  We keep them in separate ones for the most part, by units. So, this is our France book, and at the end we are keeping some copies (either printed on photo paper from pictures online, or postcards I’ve had collected over the years or we have found or ordered recently for this unit.)

The kids have done a great job keeping them organized and looking so nice.  We enjoy looking at them, studying the paintings, sharing them.

These are the resources we used to study Claude Monet:


And we can’t not mention one of Claude Monet’s most influential paintings.  Impression, Sunrise.


Because of this painting, shown at the First Impressionist Exhibition in Paris in 1874 (not called that at the time) is that this group of artists that were trying to break away from the main style of paintings of that time and before them, were called Impressionists.  Name given by a critic not as a compliment but as a way to criticize them.  Little did he know, a name was given to the next generation of Master Artists.

France, Paris : The Eiffel Tower


We read the Night of the New Magicians (#35 Magic Tree House series) when we started our studies of France.  This is why we studied Louis Pasteur, together with other scientists.


Here I’m sharing what we did to study the famous Eiffel Tower.


We drew it.


We read a few books about Gustave Eiffel.  We also found a lot of resources online.  We drew the tower, we talked about it, we figured out when they would be painting it again.  So many neat stories about it.

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And we cut one out from cardstock from an online resource.

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Wouldn’t it be amazing to see it in person?  I can’t imagine standing by it, or walking around the city and having this amazing ‘scultpure’ rising above the city. And think that they thought of it as an eye sore, back in 1890’s.  An incredible piece of engineer work.

These are the resources we used:

And at the end, we add it to our France book.



World Unit : France : World Wars


When we got to modern times in our reading of France’s history, we stopped a little.  I know I studied WWI and WWII when I was in high school (probably), but I hardly remember anything.  So, when we pick what to study next, I always have the kids pick what they really want to do, because I know we learn better that way.  

This time, I wanted to make sure we studied what we wanted to study about the World Wars.

But knowing we are going to visit France this summer, made all this history and geography and stories, and art so much more interesting, than if it was just reading and learning because someone else told us we should.  It made our studies so much easier and so much more fun.  I love it that we can do that.  It is much more relevant, and I know we’re learning better this way.


We focused more in WWII and here are the resources we used.


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On June 6th, it was the 70th Anniversary of D-Day and we read and watched online:

This summer we’ll be able to see some of the pictures and videos and monuments, I’m sure, of this celebration.  We’ll be arriving via ferry from England in Normandy beach.  It feels so lucky to be able to do this.  Study, learn, read books, watch videos, and then go see it in person.

making : fabric + zippers + paper + wood… oh my!

There’s been lots of making in preparation of our trip this summer.  It’s funny, because I don’t really think we need anything made for it, but it is a such a great reason to search and do make something special for this special occasion.  Such has been the case of the family passport wallet and the pencil case.

So, why stop at two pencil cases, right?  Here I have two more just made.  One of these is mine though.

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I’m practicing to put zippers, and I love it!  I can’t believe they are not that hard after all!


They are so much fun to make.  And well, I figured since I learned to sew on zippers, I can make anything.  And I feel like I can!

DSC_0076-smallSo I have new zippers waiting for a project.  Oh… so much fun.  More coming up.

This card was made by Lucas for a friend on his birthday.  Do you want to guess how old he was turning?

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Siena made this card with a peacock she drew and then added tiny glass beads.



Lucas made this present for Siena for her birthday.  He’s been thinking for many months how to do it, and this is what he came up.

DSC_0070-small DSC_0071-smallHe gave it to Siena before we left, because we are celebrating her birthday in England. It was received with a huge smile and a lots of love.

the butterfly : fly

I will never forget when Siena started swimming in a team about two years ago.  We walked into the pool and meet the instructor (of the non-competeitice swim team), and Siena’s first words out of her mouth are “I don’t know how to swim butterfly”… The instructor responded with his sweet voice “That’s OK! That’s why you are here.”  And with that same care he’s been Siena’s teacher for more than two years.  Now coaching her in the competitive team.

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And I know I am her mom, but I do believe this is the most beautiful swimming I’ve ever seen. Her delicate hands, her strong strokes, her power, her movements, her coordination and graciousness, all put together to her most beautiful swimming.  And her favorite.  A Mama speaking with her heart spilling of pride.

a different point of view

This is how it went.


Me: Hey! Look what I found!

Lucas: What is that?

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Me: A cool rock.

Lucas: Cool!

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Me: Look what I found!

Siena: What is that?

Me: A cool rock.  Can you smile? I can see you through the holes…



Me: Look what I found now!


To myself: This is cool too.


Me: I can see you through the hole!  Can you see me?

Mark: mmm…. yes.


To myself: I can still see you.  I love it!


To myself: This is cool!  I can focus on Siena.


…or on the seaweed tube.


… on the waves…


or on the water and the foam.  I love it!


Me: Can you guys smile? It looks cool!

Lucas: Can you really see us through the hole?

Me: Yes!  It’s really cool! (Can you tell I’ve been excited this whole walk about my new discoveries?)

Siena: You have said ‘cool’ a lot of times.  Are you really taking all these pictures?  Oh no… are you going to put these photos on the blog?

Me: Can I?

Siena and Lucas: Yes, if you want to… but really?


Mark: Mmm…. Yeah, Mamá is going to post these.  Let’s see.  I bet she does.

Me: Yes I am. (Click.) (Publish.)