Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Tropical Clown Fish - Level 1 {Virtual Fridge}

This Week
 I am super excited about using Creating a Masterpiece. If you would like to know more about how it works I've updated my review with graphics of the program itself and how to use it.  Nathaniel and I did this Tropical Clown Fish which is a level one art project using paper and coloured pencils.

Are you on INSTAGRAM ?  You can now use your IG account to link up an show us your art adventures.

This weeks Feature

I though I'd inspire you with some more beautiful art from Creating a Masterpiece.  Peacock Feathers is a piece that Kennady did.

This weeks feature is a Shamrock Zentangle Tutorial from over at Our Unschooling Journey Through Life.
Your Turn

I invite you to take some photo's of your children's artistic pursuits put them in a post and link up with me I would love to come over and see the wonderful art your children have enjoyed doing.
Virtual Fridge Link Up


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Please NOTE by adding your links to the Virtual Fridge link up YOU are giving the hosts of the Virtual Fridge link up permission to use a photograph from your blog to feature 
your ART along with a link to your art/tutorial.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Bessie's Pillow {Strong Learning, Inc. Review}

During my high school years I developed a love of reading.  I enjoyed many many different types of genre's. Years later when I started home educating I was introduced to historical non-fiction books and it was love at first book.  Nathaniel and I have been reading Bessie's Pillow published by Strong Learning.Inc during our afternoon quiet school reading sessions.  What started out as a half hour an afternoon for me soon turned into a few midnight reading sessions.

About the Book
  • Title: Bessie's Pillow - A Young Immigrant's Journey (Based on a true story)
  • Author: Linda Bress Silbert
  • Publisher: Strong Learning. Inc
  • ISBN: 978-0-89544-201-7
  • Copyright: 2014 
  • Pages: 290
  • Available in English and Spanish.
  • Purchase as a paperback or kindle.
The Story
Journey with Bessie as she escapes persecution and departs from Vilna, Lithuania in 1906 to Hamburg, Germany by train.  Bessie courageously journeys across the sea on a ship spending the time learning to speak English as this will be the everyday language she needs to survive in America.  At the port of entry her name is changed as the passport officer says her own name will not be suitable any longer.

Bessie shares her struggles, her joys and her sorrows as she builds a brand new life in America. A beautiful love story unfolds as you discover life through the eyes of one immigrant who bravely came to America from Lithuania. She was only 18. A woman alone. An orthodox Jew. In the year of 1906.

Bessie's Pillow is written in the first person.  From her perspective, you will see the world through her eyes from the year 1906 to 1936.  It's a time of great change: new technologies,  the great depression, the Great War, World War II, cars, Suffragettes and medical technology. Bessie is courageous, she is independent, a business woman, she loaned people money to buy a homes, she paid kindness forward. 

The book is divided into five sections:
  1. Prologue: New Rocelle 1950
  2. Part One: Leaving Home 1906 - 1908
  3. Part Two: New Rochelle 1908 - 1925
  4. Part Three: Going On 1925 - 1936
  5. Afterword

The book is written by Bessie's granddaughter, Linda Silbert and is her first novel. All the events in the book are true. The book contains actual family photo's from Bessie's photo albums.

One word of caution:  This book contains some confronting moments and may have your children asking you some questions.  It is honest and contains scenes of things that happened to immigrants in the early part of the century.  I do advise caution for younger readers and would encourage you to read the book before handing it over to your children.

Bessie's America on page 257 contains historical information about immigration and America.  In 1906 along 215,665 Russian Jews passed through Ellis Island on their way to America. This section contains a comprehensive insight into immigration resources, museums, TransAtlantic Steamships, Famous people of the time (with short biography's), Food and Recipes, Health, Movies of the day, Music and Dance, all about New Rochelle, News, Historical moments, Influential Presidents during Bessie's life, Radio and Social movements during her lifetime.

Connect on Social Media

My thoughts
I have loved every word of this book.  I've cried, been heart broken, anxious, loved, smiled, laughed  and celebrated milestones with Bessie and her family.  I've been reminded that this was real life, and these are the realities of the forefathers of every family who have immigrated and gone before us to enable us to make a better life.

Bessie's Pillow is a beautiful book that every child should read.  It's a book of courage and love.  It's about life and paying forward goodness to all.


Monday, 20 March 2017

Creating a Masterpiece {Review}

I am not naturally artistic.  Homeschooling with the Charlotte Mason method means exploring the fine arts and drawing. Home educating an only meant taking out art supplies for one which is a real chore and not one I have enjoyed that is until now.  Now I look for reasons to do art every single day together with Nathaniel. We were given a monthly membership with Creating a Masterpiece to review and will continue to share our masterpieces in our weekly virtual fridge on Thursdays. We have both been encouraged to pursue creating art with each  success we have encountered creating beautiful pieces of art with artist Sharon Hofer. 
Read my Review of Creating a Masterpiece in Fine Art

What is Creating a Masterpiece?
Creating a Masterpiece is an online streaming art class presented by Sharon Hofer who is a master artist and currently teaches students from her studio and internationally.  Her goal is to bring quality instruction and projects taught in such a way that they will inspire and encourage students to create a masterpiece of their very own. 

Creating a Masterpiece
This image on Creating a Masterpiece
inspired me to give the projects a try.
Creating A Masterpiece teaches art technique in many media, building mastery so that students can go on to create their own projects. The instruction is simple enough for young children to follow, and the projects taught are the kind of high quality work that appeal to high schoolers and adults alike. Even young children can create beautiful artwork using media that is usually taught only in high school.

You can find more in depth explanations about the method and how to use Creating a Masterpiece on their What we Teach page.

How does it Work?
 After logging in you will be taken to the Home page.  Here you will find all the available lessons you have subscribed to.  Navigation is very easy.  On the left you will find a list of Art Mediums (with a colour coded dot) which are used or on the right you will find the specific lessons. Each lesson is depicted in a frame with the name and art medium below it.

If you click on a specific medium you will be shown all the art lessons available using that specific medium.  To return to the home page simply click on the Creating a Masterpiece logo on the top right.

After selecting your project you will be taken to that project home page where you will read a little background on the project's inspiration and a short outline of the technique the student will be using. Clicking on the blue link at the bottom takes you to the first lesson page.

All the projects are taught via short tutorial video's.  Sharon coaches students in proper technique and demonstrates each step by step process of the specific techniques used in the project.  Video lessons average around five minutes a session and will autoplay the next lesson.  Some of the projects we did took a week to complete as we did one short lesson a day and others we were so exited on our progress we spent a good hour working through each lesson so we could see the end result. This lesson was a lot of fun and took two sessions to do because the first step had to be completely dry before we could do step two.

Below the video lessons you will find the colour swatches you will need for the lesson followed by a list of art supplies and house hold items needed.  Below this is a box containing helpful tips to help make your Masterpiece a success.

Each lesson also has lesson highlights.  These are graphics depicting highlighted steps in the lesson progress followed by the available downloads.

Here you will be given a high resolution image of the completed project should you want to print it to show your students so they have a sample in front of them of what they are aiming for.

A full supply list in pdf format. This lists the list of art supplies and house hold items needed as well as a helpful table at a glance of how many of each items you will need if you are doing this project with multiple students.

The purchase supplies button is an affiliate link which takes you to where you will see the lesson name, instructor and description of the art supply list. The list is divided into required items and recommended items.  You can view a sample of this here African Sunset Art Supplies {Creating a Masterpiece Affiliate link}.

At the bottom there is a sample of pictures to inspire you in using the art technique to create your own Masterpiece.
Projects available 
Creating a Masterpiece is a work in progress and is constantly being updated with new projects.  Currently there are over 144 lessons over  six levels and Art in History available. We tried a few projects on multiple levels.

There are currently 18 types of media taught in the program, including:
  • Acrylic
  • Batik
  • Block Printing
  • Carving
  • Conte' Crayon
  • Copper Tooling
  • Glass Mosaic
  • Gouache
  • Ink
  • Mixed Media
  • Oil Painting
  • Oil Pastel
  • Pencil/Charcoal
  • Sculpture
  • Silk Painting
  • Soft Pastel
  • Watercolor
  • Wood Burning

Samples of our work
Beginners project Lessons in Mixed Media: Candlelight.
Beginners: Lesson in oil pastel: Winter Cabin.

Level 1 - Tropical Clown Fish

Level 4: Puppy Love

Try a FREE sample lesson
You can try a FREE sample project, which is divided over three lessons  using pastels and black paper.

Drawn by Nathaniel age 11

Drawn by Chareen

What is the Cost?
There are monthly or annual student plans available, which provide unlimited family access to all the projects. An individual level may be purchased with full access to that level for a year. Group membership plans are available for those who wish to use Creating A Masterpiece in a classroom setting.

Connect on Social Media
You can connect with Creating A Masterpiece on Facebook.

My thoughts
We are both loving the classes on Creating a Masterpiece.  You do not need to be an artist or artistic to create a Masterpiece.  With Sharon's gentle coaching and encouragement anyone can create a beautiful masterpiece of their very own. If you have a student who loves to create art with many different mediums  you are guaranteed to find something here for them to do.  No matter what your ability Sharon 's coaching will help you create which ever project you have chosen to do. A Vincent van Gogh exhibition is coming to Melbourne this year and in preparation for that we are looking forward to trying out the Post-Impressionism Period: The Eagle (Acrylic Painting) Art in History lesson.


Andi Series {Kregel Publications and Susan K. Marlow Reviews}

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