Nov 062008

My daughter has completed her latest TOG craft project.  She chose to make a bowl out of paper mache.  Overall, it was a good experience and she did a nice job.  There are a few changes that I would make if we were to do it again.

The first step was to chose a bowl. That was also our first mistake. I should have guided her to a more rounded bowl, like a mixing bowl. We spread the outside of the bowl with Vaseline to help the paper mache to come off after it dried. Then she dipped strips of newspaper in a paste made with 1 part flour and 2 parts water. The strips were smoothed over the surface of the mold.

This is the completed bowl. Probably a little too soggy!

This is the paper mache removed from the bowl. As you can see, there are some rips in it, because it was very difficult to remove. As I mentioned before, I think a different shape of bowl would have helped.


We added some more strips to piece together the rips in the bowl. Then I put it upside down on the top of a candle to dry. I think this was a mistake too. It dried with wavy edges because it didn’t dry on the same shape that it did the first time.

Here is the bowl with a coat of red paint.


And the final, decorated product.

Oct 102008

This week our TOG studies have brought us to Ancient China.  Frankly, one week is not really enough time to go into much detail, so we’ve down a broad overview.  Our favorite activity (so far) has been papermaking. We made recycled paper. (Meaning, we made paper out of paper.)

Step 1: Rip 1 sheet of paper into pieces about 2″ square. (Shape isn’t important, just basic size.)


Paper Making
Step 2: Put pieces of paper into the blender.


Paper Making
Step 3: Add 1 L of hot water.


Paper Making
Step 4: Blend about 3 minutes to make pulp.


Paper Making
Step 5: Put paper screen and mold into large container. Fill with water until the water level is 1″ over the screen. (OK, this is the part that I cheated on. My husband took a summer seminar at NC State’s Pulp and Paper Science Department and they gave him all the supplies for making paper in the classroom including this nice little screen apparatus.)


Paper Making
Step 6: Pour pulp into mold over screen.


Paper Making
Step 7: Remove mold from water, letting as much water drain as possible.


Paper Making
Step 8: Remove top from mold


Paper Making
Step 8: Blot paper with blotting paper or paper towels.


Paper Making
Step 9: Carefully remove your paper from the screen by slowly peeling back the blotting paper.

Paper Making
Step 10: Make a “sandwich” with 2 layers of blotting paper under your new paper and 3 pieces of blotting paper on top. Iron on highest heat setting for 3 minutes.

Paper Making
Step 11: Carefully peel your new paper off the blotting paper.

Paper Making
We also made a sheet using blue construction paper.

Oct 042008

My 8 year old daughter completed weaving a small doll blanket using a 14 inch cardboard square for a loom. We made the loom by making a small mark every 1/4 inch along 2 opposite sides of the cardboard.  Then I cut a 3/4 inch slit with scissors to line up with each mark.

Here’s a close-up of the slits.


Next, we wrapped bedspread weight cotton thread around the cardboard going through each slit and its corresponding one on the other side.

Here it is almost completely wrapped.


It is one long piece of string. The back looks the same as the front at this point. Next, my daughter used yarn to weave through the parallel strings. She chose to weave several rows of one color, working down and back the other direction and then switched colors. This made a striped pattern. I unfortunately forgot to take pictures of the intermediate steps. After the weaving was a long as she wanted it, we cut the strings along the back of the loom. Then the strings were tied in knots in pairs and cut to the desired length for fringe.

Here’s the finished project.


She had so much fun with it that I ordered her a lap loom from Vision Forum for Christmas. It’s a surprise though!

Sep 282008

Last week we completed Unit 1 of Tapestry of Grace Year 1.  What an amazing unit!  We spent the first 3 weeks studying Egypt, the second 3 weeks included Creation, the Flood, and the Patriarchs, as well as Mesopotamia.  The final 3 weeks  focused on Moses, the Law, and the Tabernacle.

To celebrate the end of our Tapestry of Grace unit we had a celebration with our co-op. We all brought in our projects from Unit 1.

tapestry of grace unit celebration
This is our project table.


The main event for the evening was a Seder meal. I have never participated in a Seder meal before so it was a new experience for me. The speaking parts were divided up among all the participants.

tapestry of grace unit celebration
Here’s our section of the table. Doesn’t my husband look excited?


We all enjoyed celebrating the end of our first unit of TOG and learning about the Jewish Passover celebration together.


Now it’s off to Unit 2! This week is Ancient India.

Sep 202008
Here are the basic materials and methods we used to construct our tabernacle model. I wasn’t able to find any free instructions on-line. I have a friend who told me that they had made one last year and had used the lid of a copy paper box and old-fashioned clothespins.  We started with that as our idea and went from there.
Lid to a copy paper box
60 old fashioned clothespins
Fabric scraps in off-white, blue, purple, and red 
Paper lunch bag 
Craft sticks (regular and mini)
Gold paint
Bronze paint
Tacky glue
Gold pipe cleaner
Assorted wood pieces for the tabernacle furnishings
Small box with lid for Ark of the Covenant
We purchased  all the wood pieces from A.C. Moore.  I’m sure we could have come up with some less expensive materials.  Many of the things came in packages with several so at least we do have leftover pieces for later creative projects.
Altar: 1-3/4 in wood cube painted with bronze paint
Laver: I honestly don’t know what it is. We found it at A.C. Moore. We painted it bronze, and then blue on top to represent water.
Table of showbread: 1 cm cube with a mini wooden sign glued on and painted gold.
Altar of incense: 1 cm cube with a wooden wheel glued on top and painted gold.
Lampstand: Cut a gold pipe cleaner into 4 pieces.  Wrapped 3 of the pieces around one straight piece in the center.  Stuck gold beads on 7 ends of pipe cleaner. Stuck in wooden wheel (painted gold) for a stand.
Ark of the Covenent: Painted a small lidded box gold.  Inside are 2 wooden tablets painted gray (could make out of clay), a Tinker toy end piece for the jar of manna, and a small twig from the yard for Aaron’s rod.
Tabernacle: We constructed a frame from craft sticks.  We glued a mini stick at the top between 2 regular sticks which  were at an angle.  We made 4 of those, then attached them together by gluing mini craft sticks along the top.  I should have taken pictures of the process.
We spent about a week on the project but not a lot of time on it each day. We spent most of the time painting pieces (especially the 60 clothespins!). It was kind of a pain to clean it up and drag it back out, but it was definitely worth it.  I had really hoped that TOG would help me to spark an interest in history in my children.  So far it hasn’t disappointed!
Sep 192008

We have been learning about the tabernacle in our Tapestry of Grace studies.

And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. (Ex. 25:8)

We built a model tabernacle to reinforce our learning and I think this was our most fun project ever!

model tabernacle

Our model

The altar and the laver

And thou shalt make an altar … and thou shalt overlay it with brass. (Ex. 27:1-2)


Thou shalt also make a laver [of] brass, and his foot [also of] brass, to wash [withal]: and thou shalt put it between the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar, and thou shalt put water therein.(Ex 30:18)

The tabernacle with the badger skin covering

Under the badger skins were rams’ skins dyed red


And thou shalt make a covering for the tent [of] rams’ skins dyed red, and a covering above [of] badgers’ skins. (Ex 26:14)

These items are found inside the tent.

The golden lampstand


And thou shalt make a candlestick [of] pure gold: [of] beaten work shall the candlestick be made: his shaft, and his branches, his bowls, his knops, and his flowers, shall be of the same. And six branches shall come out of the sides of it; three branches of the candlestick out of the one side, and three branches of the candlestick out of the other side: (Ex. 25:31-32)

Table of Showbread

And thou shalt set upon the table shewbread before me alway. (Ex. 25:30)

The altar of incense

And thou shalt make an altar to burn incense upon:(Ex 30:1)

The Ark of the Covenant

And they shall make an ark…And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, within and without shalt thou overlay it, and shalt make upon it a crown of gold round about. Ex 25:10-11

Inside the ark were the tablets with the 10 Commandments, Aaron’s rod, and a jar of manna.

Here are instructions for the building the model tabernacle.

Sep 182008

On Saturday we celebrated the Sabbath.  We are in the middle of a 3 week study on the Israelites’ wanderings in the desert, the 10 Commandments, the tabernacle, and Jewish holidays. (Tapestry of Grace Year One – Weeks 7, 8, and 9) We used the book Walk with Y’shua through the Jewish Year  as our guide. We decided to celebrate our Sabbath beginning on Saturday night and going through Sunday instead of Friday and Saturday because we celebrate Sunday as the Lord’s Day.


On Saturday afternoon, we made challah.

Shabbat Celebration
Here we are braiding the dough.

This is the finished loaf ready for its final rise.

This is our table set for our feast. We’re just waiting for sunset. (And our roast to be finished.)

Here we are (4 out of 6) enjoying our challah.


We started our feast with the blessing over the cup. We used grape juice instead, but we brought out the fancy glasses. This was followed by the blessing of the challah. After that, it was time for our meal, but unfortunately the roast was still not ready. I made an eye of round roast, roasted at 475 degrees for 7 minutes per pound. Then the oven was turned off and unopened for 2-1/2 hours. Unfortunately, the roast was a little rare for our taste. I had tried a similar method in the past that turned out delicious. It was baked at 375 for an hour, then the oven was turned off and the roast left for about 2 hours. I used the different method because it matched the size of roast that I had, but I’ll stick to the other way in the future. There’s nothing worse than waiting for the main course! After we finally had our roast, we finished up with apple pie. It was a fun evening and an experience that will be remembered by the whole family.

Sep 062008

We have had a fairly busy 2 weeks with our Tapestry of Grace (TOG) studies.  The topic of Week 5 is the Tower of Babel and Mesopotamia.  Week 6 focuses on the stories of the Patriarchs.  We were assigned chapters 12-50 in Genesis in one week!  Thankfully, we have the whole Bible on CD which we listened to this week or I don’t think I would have any voice left!


Last week we had our 2nd co-op meeting where we finished up discussing Egypt.  The UG kids made pyramids out of sugar cubes.


tapestry of grace year 1 weeks 5 and 6

My kids tend to be slow on doing projects so they weren’t able to finish them at co-op. They finished them last week at home.


They also painted their salt dough maps that they made at our first co-op meeting.


tapestry of grace year 1 weeks 5 and 6

My older son has spent 2 weeks designing a Royal Game of Ur game board. It’s 99% finished, but I don’t have pictures to share of it yet. My daughter made a model ziggurat which we downloaded from here. She also started a weaving project.


Finally, yesterday I decided to try the no-bake cookie dough map idea.  My younger son made a map of Israel.

tapestry of grace year 1 weeks 5 and 6

My daughter made a map to show Abraham’s journey from Ur to Canaan, to Egypt, and back to Canaan.


tapestry of grace year 1 weeks 5 and 6


My older son made the same map as my daughter, but he added flags to identify the cities.

tapestry of grace year 1 weeks 5 and 6

Everyone enjoyed themselves making and eating their maps!

Aug 232008


We completed Week 4 of Year 1 of Tapestry of Grace (TOG).  This week we studied creation from Genesis Chapters 1-10 which include Creation, the Fall, and the Flood.  I am really enjoying TOG and so are my children.  My oldest son even said he liked it!  (Last year he told me that he just didn’t like history and that I shouldn’t try to make him like it.)  Unfortunately, at some point I have to add in our other subjects.  (I do don’t I????)  We started TOG because our co-op was starting and we needed to be on the same schedule. It has been such a relaxing first month of school.  Absolutely the best ever and this is the beginning of our 6th year of homeschooling.


One of the assignments this week was to make a Creation book.  I allowed the children freedom to use whatever medium they desired. (Well, except the 1st grader.  Maybe I’ll write about my fun challenges with him later.) My oldest son (10) made his book entirely on the computer using editing photos.  It’s not quite finished yet, so I’ll have to post it later.  My daughter (8)used cut pieces of construction paper.  I think her book turned out cute.

studying creation
studying creation

studying creation

studying creation

studying creation
Those red things are birds.

studying creation

studying creation


For my younger son I found this mini-book. Here is his page before I cut the pages and made it into a book.

Yes, Adam is wearing pants and a shirt. Sigh.

Along with the TOG reading, I remembered that I had The Geology Book.  It has a great section on Pangaea (the theory that all the continents were one), as well as major geologic events in earth’s history including creation, the fall, and the flood.  My older son began on his own accord sketching a flip book of the continents separating!  (Did I mention that school went really well this week?)


I think we need to start math next week.  Maybe not though.  Maybe after Labor Day.  We’ll see.