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Make Your Own Silhouettes

I am not really a big DIYer. I know it’s totally in right now, and I know that there are some things I can accomplish well, but I don’t go there unless I am SURE that I can make it turn out perfect-ish. (I know that is I’m too ridiculous on the perfectionist level I live to attain, but I’m just not into wasting my time and then not having a product worthy of my precious money & time! Especially when I could easily buy most items and be content.)

So when do I DIY?  When I can’t get an item, or when an item is so far out of my price range it is unattainable into eternity.  Or, in this specific instance: When I buy an item and hate it and know I could do a better job myself.

I had silhouettes done of the kids & I this past year and they turned out terrible!  The proportions to each other were off and I was smaller than Zara (and she didn’t even look like her).

There are endless tutorials on Silhouettes. I’m just throwing mine into the lot of them, because I do think I’ve done two things different that most others aren’t: Traditional Detail & Proportions (within a set). These two things will make your Silhouettes look “real”! I think these would make an adorable gift for Grandma or even to use on birthday invitations, Christmas cards, or make your own stationary!  I had everything I needed on hand, and I would think most people would too so this is really a low cost project.

What you need:

-Digital Camera.

-Area with good lighting and blank wall

-Photo Paper

-Tiny sharp scissors (I used nail scissors!)

-Black Paint

-Textured paper for background (I like the thick water color paper best)

-Fast drying glue

Before you start the process, and if you plan on doing a set of Silhouettes, you need to think about how to get all the proportions the same (with children, this isn’t as easy as you might think.)  There are two options: 1. Tape an “x” for the child to sit on and an “x” for you to stand on as you take the photo. And you still may want help from another adult to get them to sit/look in the right place while you don’t move an single inch!! OR 2. You can take the images and then size them in Photoshop (This was my route because I was working alone). This is one of the most important steps! If you realize that your silhouettes aren’t the same size, it’s better to fix it right away or start over because the finished product won’t look right if this isn’t done!

7 steps to your own Silhouettes:

1. Take profile photo of the subject in a well lit area.

2. Print out the image(s) on photo paper. (If you are doing a set, make sure they are proportioned properly at this point.)

3. Cut the profile out of the paper, but leaving a little room to create detail around the hair, eyes, and leaving lots of room around the chest area to create the fancy bottom.

4. Add detail! Eyelashes & hair details are what make them look authentic. Some of kids lashes were long enough to actually just cut them out, others weren’t and I faked it. Faking makes it looks more natural, so no one will know! Unless you tell them on your blog like I just did.

5. Cut out the chest area. Again, if you are doing a set, line them up with each other to make sure you get the chests the right widths & lengths in relation to each other. (You don’t want your 1 year old to be wider than your 5 year old.)

6. Paint your cutouts black. Depending on what paint you use, you may need a second coat. I prefer a semi-glossy look! (How do you like my professional painting area?)

7. Cut your background paper to fit in the frame size you are using, and glue the silhouette right in the middle

 

Voila!

Above: Cruz & Zara

I hadn’t found the “perfect” spot to hang these yet, but now that we are planning on moving I have a million places I want to use them!

DIY Homeschooling: This year + how I organize

I have long put off writing about what we did this year for homeschool. It’s actually on my list of topics to blog about, all 50 of them, that I have yet to do! But, when I got a super sweet tweet asking me about organization/homeschooling, I decided it was now or never. Um, but yeah, that tweet was over two weeks ago, so it’s now (or two weeks later…) or never. Same, same.

Last year (2010-2011 school year) went great, I couldn’t have been happier. But, my kids were charging through their curriculum, and by the end of the year, our school days were super short because we stinkin’ ran out of curriculum! Since both Jude & Zara are in school this year, and because I will have another one in school in August, I wanted to get some “independent” study type programs so I could share my time with the kids better, and to insure we wouldn’t run out of materials. Unfortunately, I am not going to be able tell you that I love the online programs, they are basic state standards and don’t think outside the box at all, but they get the basics done, track the grading, and advance by mastery. Most importantly they give me more time to work with each child separately.

Curriculum for Jude (Grade 2):

-Mathematics: Saxon, Xtra Math (online), Symphony Math (online)

-Language Arts: Spelling Workout, First Language Lessons, Reading Plus (online)

Curriculum for Zara (Kindergarten):

-Mathematics: Saxon, Xtra Math (online)

-Launguage Arts: Tatras, Lexia (online), First Language Lessons

The kids do the following together:

Social Studies: Story of the World

Science: Astronomy – I have to mention that we have book by creation something or another and while it is pretty good as far as giving me basic astronomy curriculum for 2nd & K, which is hard to find, I just get bummed out when they want to throw in Bible verse in just for the sake of putting a verse in. Is it really more Christian to study planets just because there is a verse on each page? Really? BUT, I do like that I found an Astronomy book for my kids at their ages because we’ve really enjoyed doing a “Classical” method of studies, and this helps me stay more organized to have a complete curriculum. (As opposed to using an older grade and editing it myself.)

Physical Education: Just following the state guidelines + anything else we can add in! My kids are super active so this is never a problem for us.

I think that’s it, it sounds so simple when I write it out – but it takes  up our lives! haha! If you have any questions feel free to ask.

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As far as organization, I am able to stay more organized by getting switching stuff out all the time. I don’t keep curriculum unless someone is going to be in that same stuff in the next year. (We just don’t have room, and since we are in a Charter program right now, it works out well that they can use that curriculum for another student!) I also have limited myself to two storage areas, so anything that doesn’t fit, I can’t keep, and I pass on AND I also don’t buy more then I have room for.

Here’s the closet. You can see the curriculum we use daily all on that one shelf. The baskets all hold different categories of activities. One is all the math manipulatives. One all the Language Arts, spelling cards/games/activities. One science projects, etc… This makes them easy to get out, use, put away, and the kids understand the organization method so this is good and they can help me clean up. (I added another basket in place of that stack of cards, I don’t know if these baskets are still available anywhere, but they are John Derian for Target and I am IN LOVE!)

 

This is the credenza/buffet. I only have a few things stored in here, but the drawers are so super helpful for art supplies! One drawer is crayons, one watercolors, one coloring books, etc…

I know some people have an entire room dedicated to homeschool, but obviously we don’t have that kind of space right now, and I’m guessing most people don’t either. But, this has all worked out perfectly as far as organization, and even though it’s not a lot of space, I am forced to stay organized and get rid of things I would otherwise try to get pack-rat with.

If you want more info on homeschool, and what we did for the past grades you can read those posts here!

In Loving Memory: Patrick McMullen

Early yesterday morning, our college lost a very sweet student: Patrick McMullen.  As you can imagine this is a very sad time for everyone. His family is all far away, so I can’t even begin to understand what they are going through.

It seems so untimely. A heart-attack at 19? Yet, while all the questions spin through our minds, there is one thing sure.

He is with Jesus.

Please pray for all those he left behind, especially his mother, I can’t even imagine what she is going through. Once you become a mom, your heart just aches for the loss of other mothers, doesn’t it? Also for the rest of his family, siblings (I hear his brother is expecting a baby soon), and of course his roommates and friends here. Thank you so much!