Monday, September 28, 2009

First Miniature Horse and Pony Show

Ready to Go Home
Originally uploaded by Pictures by Ann
Sophia and Olivia are with Bailey (the black pony) and Hoss (the brown miniature horse). They and their horses are dressed up after competing in the Costume Class at their first miniature horse and pony show.

In addition to the Costume Class, they competed in a lead-line class for children 12 and under. Hoss did a jumping competition and jumped over all the jumps with the exception of one (the one that all the miniature horses couldn't do). Bailey also did an obstacle course.

Sophia won two red ribbons (2nd place) and Olivia won a third place and fourth place. They were happy to have won ribbons and completed their first show.

It was a long day...started at 10 and didn't end until after 5. It was a hot, sunny day in the 80s. We were all ready to go home by the end of the day.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Olivia Learning About Vocal Cords

As part of a science lesson for the day, Olivia blew up the balloon and then let the air go. The neck of the balloon wasn't able to vibrate because there was a tube in it.

The experiment shows the difference between being able to vibrate and make sound (like blowing up a balloon and then letting the air out which makes a sound) and not being able to vibrate and making no sound (which is what Olivia was doing).

This was a very hands-on way to learn about how the human body works. It's simple, but was very effective for the girls to understand something that could have been quite confusing if they just read about it.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Sophia Checking Her Pulse

By putting a small amount of play dough and a toothpick on your wrist, you can watch the toothpick move back and forth (it's a very small movement).

The girls then exercised for a bit to get their heart rate up and blood flowing faster. Did this again and you can see the tooth pick move faster.

Pretty cool - and very visual - way to learn about how blood moves through the body.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Christmas Ornaments and Legacy Gifts

Bluebird Star Ornament
Originally uploaded by Pictures by Ann
Saw this ornament on a blog and wanted to make my own version of it. Made two different ones for a Star ornament swap on Swap-Bot.

I enjoy doing embroidery - both for my shop (Harvest Moon by Hand) and for pleasure. It's not something that I did when I was a child or teenager; it's a skill I learned in recent years on my own.

When I make items from wool felt for my shop - like toys and Christmas ornaments - I always make an extra one or two for my daughters. My goal is that they have a collection of items that they can use on their own Christmas trees when they are adults and toys they can pass along to their own children one day.

Monday, September 21, 2009

White Snowflake Stars

It's still fall, but I'm looking ahead to winter already for Harvest Moon by Hand.

Made four different sizes of this window star pattern at the suggestion of a customer.

They are a change from paper snowflakes that are folded and cut. These window stars let the light through thanks to the translucent paper that I use.

The stars range in size from 6" to 14" in diameter. They are folded 80 times each to create the pattern.

They are available as a set in my shop, Harvest Moon by Hand, at

Friday, September 18, 2009

Making Math Tangible

To help Olivia visualize the math problems she's doing, I suggested she use some shells. It makes math so much easier for her.

It's nice to hear her work through her math lesson ("If I have three sea shells and I add one sea shell, I have FOUR sea shells!").

Having natural math manipulatives is important too. Rather than having children count with plastic items, it is as easy to use small pebbles, acorns, twigs, or other items found in nature. Fall is a great time to find beautiful, colorful leaves.

Go outside for a fall nature walk, and bring bags to collect the treasures that can be used during math. Children love discovering items outside on walk which only adds to the excitement when they use them during math.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Simple Natural Toys for Children

I made a variety of gnomes for my Etsy shop, Harvest Moon by Hand. This trio is in autumn colors, and are made from wool felt and stuffed with wool from sheep I raised.

They do not have faces because then children can use their imagination to give the gnomes "feelings" based on what they are playing.

My daughters love to have toys that are more "open ended." I find that their play is more imaginative when the dolls or toys like these gnomes.

I also include hand-embroidered toys that I make on the nature table so the girls can play with natural elements (e.g., pinecones, stones, sticks) and the toys. It's amazing what stories they can come up with given a few simple, natural items.

The gnomes are available through Harvest Moon by Hand at

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Using Fabric Dye Sticks During an Art Lesson

During the homeschool art lesson today, Sophia is using fabric pastel dye sticks to create a design on cotton fabric. After the design is done, it is heat set by an iron.

The girls enjoy the art lessons and activities that we do together as part of homeschooling.

Art was a class that I always enjoyed in school - especially in junior high when I learned and developed my skills in many different forms of visual arts (e.g., calligraphy, rug making, pottery, drawing). It's great seeing my daughters enjoy art as much as I did.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Win $20 in My Shop - Facebook Giveaway

I'm giving away $20 towards any purchase in my shop on Etsy.

Just go to my Facebook page for Harvest Moon by Hand for more information.

Become a fan of Harvest Moon first so you'll have a chance to win!