Recession: A Blessing in Disguise?

Saturday, July 31st, 2010
20070216_GTDBreakfastClub (small).jpgFor a scholarship, I wrote an essay about the effects of the current recession on the family.  I really enjoyed writing it and thought I'd share it.

While initially, one would expect the current recession to have an adverse effect on the average family, I have found that my family has grown more creative, closer in our relationships, and wiser in our decisions as a result.

I've heard of studies that claim that television and video games “reduce” creativity and I believe that there may be some truth to that.  Several years ago, in order to better manage what we consumed, my parents made the decision to get rid of our cable television.  We still had videos to watch, but the television was on far less frequently than when we had cable.  Suddenly, my sisters and I found ourselves with abundant time on our hands.  Kelly is wearing the cardigan I knit for her as well as my hat and scarfWe all read more and began to discover interests or talents that we otherwise might not have known we possessed.  Although I did not enjoy the home economics course I took in high school, I realized that once I had the freedom to experiment, I loved cooking and baking.  I also learned how to knit and have enjoyed making sweaters and scarves for family and friends.  We encouraged friends to get rid of their cable subscription and they, too, have found themselves being more creative.
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Bah Humbug!

Friday, July 30th, 2010
20100617 - Hand writing letterThumb.jpgDear Mr. Iger,

Why is there no Christmas store at Disneyland anymore?  It was charming when it was in the castle, but bigger and better stocked when moved to Mickey-Mouse-Santa-Gifts.jpgNew Orleans Square, it kind of got put back in Fantasyland, although it never seemed to be open when I was at the Park.  Other than a few odds and ends at World of Disney - there is nothing!!!  It can't be for lack of sales - I had to fight crowds and stand in line every time I shopped there.  Let's bring back the Christmas shop - what could be better than a combination of Christmas and Disney?

Fashion, Clay, Books, and more...

Thursday, July 29th, 2010
These last few weeks have been rather busy for us.  Amy and I are hoping to audition for our church's orchestra and have spent many hours practicing.  We are also starting a bell choir at the Pine Mountain Club church, and have been going through materials in preparation for that.  Amy also designed another fantastic clay box which I will be sharing soon.

Both Emily and Kelly received some fashion kits and dress models for their birthdays and they have been going to town creating new fashion designs.  Emily had so much fun wrapping the fabric around the small doll and twisting it to make new fashions that she decided to pull out a sheet and wrap the fabric around Kelly to create life sized fashions.

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Disney Archivist for a Day

Sunday, July 18th, 2010
Picture of Dave Smith.jpgWho would you like to be for a day?

That's an easy answer for me - Dave Smith - the official archivist for The Walt Disney Company.  This man either knows everything there is to know about Disney, or has the access to find out.  What a cool job!

Mr. Smith wrote one of my favorite books - "Disney A to Z".  If you love to learn about Disney history, I strongly recommend this book.

In the meantime, here is how you can access some Disney knowledge online:

Mr. Smith, if you'd ever like to really wow this homeschooling mom - just invite me to be your shadow for a day!  (hint, hint)
20100617 - Hand writing letterThumb.jpgDear Mr. Iger,

Our family stopped watching the Disney Channel many years ago.  Somewhere along the line the channel changed from fun and interesting family programming to several broadcasts each day of tween shows.  I mean, really, how many times a day does "Hannah Montana" have to air?

We miss "Vault Disney" and the classic movies.  You used to produce wonderful series like "Avonlea".  Where is the creativity?

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Happy 55th Birthday, Disneyland!

Saturday, July 17th, 2010
Sleeping Beauty's CastleDisneyland is the only theme park to have been directly supervised and built by Walt Disney.  In my book, that makes it pretty special.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, one of my earliest memories (at age 3) was in Tomorrowland at Disneyland.  That would have been in 1964.  Just 9 years after Disneyland opened.

Dozens and dozens of my happiest memories are based around Disneyland - the pure magic of being there as a child, my family indulging my belief in Peter Pan by making sure we always rode on his ride, had tuna sandwiches at Captain Hook's ship, stopped to see Skull Rock, and of course, watch Tink fly over the castle before the fireworks began.

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A Clay World

Friday, July 16th, 2010
The first clay box I ever created - A scene from the Muppet Christmas CarolAbout a year and a half ago, I had really wanted to take up whittling as a hobby.  I had always loved looking at beautiful woodwork and wood carvings and I wanted to learn to make my own creations.  My parents, however, were opposed to this new hobby because they were afraid that it was too dangerous using the knives and that accidents might happen.  Peter, Wendy, Michael, and John flying over Big Ben in LondonMuch to my disappointment, they would not allow me to try whittling.

My mother knew that I wanted to try something new and decided to try to get me into the world of Scupley clay.  I was not impressed, but she insisted I give it a try.
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Uncle Sam’s Hat

Sunday, July 11th, 2010
Front of Card - God Bless America!In honor of our countries birth, I designed a new Fourth of July card - Uncle Sam's Hat.

This was my first time using the cylinder technique.  While it was easy to assemble, it took me a while to develop a template with the right proportions. Uncle Sam's Hat - First VersionAs you can see, in my first attempt, the top of the hat didn't quite pop up all the way.  

Later, I tried adding a support brace inside the card to push the top of the hat up - and met with success!

Uncle Sam's Hat  - Second Version With Support BraceThe hardest part about creating a pop-up card is visualizing - not what it will look like when it is open - but how it will fold.  It's hard to tell in the picture but the hat is perfectly round when the card is laid flat, however, it needed to lay flat when I folded it. How Uncle Sam's Hat Folds I thought I'd post a picture of the hat as I folded it to show how the hat flattens itself.  The top of the cylinder folds inside the hat, the support pushes down, and the base of the hat lays flat.

I'm excited to have learned this new technique and have already come up with several ideas to incorporate it into new designs.  Perhaps a candle on a birthday cake?  Or maybe a Fourth of July Firecracker?  If I can figure out how to put a cone on top I might even be able to make a spaceship or rocket!  I'll keep you posted on my designs!

A Case for Homeschooling

Thursday, July 8th, 2010
I have never liked writing a paper for school and never doing anything else with what I've written.  I thought I'd post the argumentative essay I just finished.  

Many of our schools are dangerous and inefficient.  Often in the news there are reports about shootings and drug abuse in schools.  Children as young as elementary school are familiar with several curse words and are hearing about subjects not appropriate for their age.  Students are being taught that there is no God who created the universe, and that they are a result of random chance which diminishes the value of their life.  It has become popular throughout our society to refer to education as boring or torturous, and students have little incentive to read or experiment outside of school.  Students are graduating with few writing or math skills and without the knowledge of how to discover answers for themselves.  Yet despite this grim situation, a movement has been growing to repel it.  More and more parents have decided to pull their children out of public schools and to educate them at home.  Critics of this movement claim that homeschooling children are ill equipped to handle situations in the “real world”, socially deprived, or that parents are unable to meet the special needs of a child – yet with homeschooling it is quite the opposite.

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Are You Wise?

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010
Fourth Wiseman.jpgA while ago, my parents watched a movie called, "The Fourth Wise man". It was based on a story by Henry Van Dyke called The Other Wise Man. They were so impressed with the story, that they wanted my sisters and me to watch it as well. Here is the summary:

A magi named Artaban leaves his home and sells everything he has to go look for the Messiah. All the other magi taunted him for his decision. A reluctant servant accompanied Artaban only for a reward of his (the servant's) freedom. Artaban brings three gifts for Jesus; a ruby, a sapphire, and a pearl. Along the way, he stops and helps needy people and gives the gifts away to provide for them. He got sidetracked, and for 33 years, Artaban lived with a colony of outcasts and lepers using his medical skills and farming abilities to help them. Artaban learned that Jesus was in Jerusalem and set out to meet him. Many troubles prevented him from seeing Jesus before the crucifixion. Before Artaban’s death, Jesus rewarded his faithful servant, Artaban, with his heart’s desire.

        My dad gave my sisters and me a challenge of how many verses from the Bible we could find to support this movie. He said if we found enough verses, we could earn the new Nancy Drew computer game for the four of us to play together. My dad also said that if we write a blog post about it, we could earn another game. These are the verses and the reasons why that we found:

John 3:16- For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth on Him will never perish but have eternal life. –Answers why Jesus came.

Isaiah 9:6- For unto us a child is born. Unto us a Son is given and the government will be upon His shoulders and His name will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. –The prophecy that Jesus was Born.

Matthew 11:5- The Blind receive sight, the Lame walk, those who have leprosy are healed, the deaf her, the dead are raised and the good news is preached to the poor. –Blind man received his sight

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Minnie is a Chicken?!?

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010
Kelly pets Sophie the ChickenMy cousin, Julie, recently got a chicken, and is looking forward to showing it in the fair.

She wanted to show us what her chicken will do in the fair. Julie inspected it, so that the judges would know if it is a healthy birdJulie inspects her chicken's wings

One of her requirements was to dress up her chicken. Julie decided to dress her chicken up as Minnie Mouse. She has an old Minnie doll dress for her chicken, felt arms with little white gloves. She also hollowed out a Minnie Mouse antenna ball for the ears. The funniest thing was that as soon as the dress was put on the chicken,Julie tries to dress her chicken it pulled its head out - looking like a chicken with its head cut off.  When the chicken tried to walk in the dress it would wobble, and turn somersaults across the table.  Oh well, at least it has time to get used to the dress!

I am very impressed with my cousin’s creativity!

Happy Birthday America!

Sunday, July 4th, 2010
Painting of the Continental CongressToday,  this great country of ours, the United States of America, turned 234 years old.  234 years ago today, on July 4th, 1776, fifty-six men in the Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence, which was written by Thomas Jefferson. This document would soon bring freedom to America.

The men who signed the Declaration were not only risking their lives, but their families lives as well. They knew that if they signed it, and if they were caught, they could be tortured and hanged as conspirators against the king.

Today, We should be inspired by the men who took this great chance, for instance, John Hancock. While other men were making small signatures on the Declaration, Hancock signed his name large and right in the middle of the page. Stars and Stripes Forever When asked why he took that action, Hancock said that he"wanted the King of England to be able to see his name without wearing spectacles (glasses)"  

I hope this Fourth of July, you will stop and think about all the people throughout history, who gave their lives for America's freedom.

A Pop-up World...

Friday, July 2nd, 2010
Lady Bug Card front coverA few years ago I was talking to my mom about opportunities for learning engineering techniques and she suggested that I learn how to make pop-up cards.  Her reasoning was that pop-ups are very complex how they fold and that the practical application of the geometry I was learning would reinforce it in my mind.  At the time, I was thinking only about robotics and didn't really consider what she was suggesting.  Lady bug card full inside viewHowever, the thought stayed in the back of my mind.

A year later it was Emily's birthday, and as our whole family has a tradition that we give hand-made cards, I had to come up with an idea.  For some reason, all I could remember was that conversation and decided Close up of the ladybugto search the web for instructions on making pop-up cards.  I discovered Robert Sabuda's site  and made the birthday cake pop-up card.  I was instantly hooked!

I went to the library and checked out two books:  Paul Jackson's The Pop-Up Book, and The Elements of Pop-Up by David Carter and James Diaz.  These two books have become an essential part of my pop-up kit.

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