Friday, September 27, 2013

Wrap Up: Lentil

We have just finished another super fun Five in a Row unit study on the book Lentil, by Robert McCloskey.  Lentil is a book that we owned before we began our FIAR journey, so it was familiar, and Robert McCloskey is one of our favorite children's authors.  We always enjoy getting to know a familiar book even better by taking it through Five in a Row.  Here's what we did with Lentil:

Social Studies:
1. Map work and coloring page for the state of Ohio, in the United States.  We found both Ohio and Louisiana, colored both, and discussed how far Lentil lived from us.
2. Patriotism and the United States flag.  In the book, there is a big parade welcoming home Colonel Carter, the town's most important citizen.  They decorate with flags.  We read a library book about our flag and what the colors and symbols on it mean, and made flag collages.  We listened to Wee Sing America while we worked, for some familiarity with America's famous patriotic songs.

Art: We tried our hand at soap whittling, which is not as easy as it seems!  In the story, the antagonist spends his time "whittling and grumbling".  My kids much preferred playing with the soap afterwards than the actual activity of carving it.

1. Acoustics and sound.  We set out to discover why Lentil says that when he plays his harmonica in the bathtub the tone is improved 100%.  We watched the Magic School Bus on sound and bounced a ball on the couch (it didn't bounce much) and then in the bathtub (it bounced a lot).  We decided that sound waves must bounce better in hard places like the tub just like balls did.  Then all of the kids got a harmonica and they put on show after show after show.
really hard to get a picture of a busy kid bouncing a ball!
again with the bouncy blurry kid

2. Taste buds!  Old Sneep (the antagonist) tries to ruin the Colonel's homecoming by sucking on lemons so that the members of the band would pucker up when they looked at him and be unable to play their instruments.  We read the page in our Flip Flap Body Book about taste buds and then tasted some salty, sweet, sour, and bitter foods.

not a fan of the sour lemon!
in disbelief that Mom actually handed over a cup of (bitter) coffee!

Music: Besides playing with our new harmonicas, we explored the instruments in the brass section of the orchestra.  The book talks about several brass instruments, so we listened to that section and read the accompanying pages in The Story of the Orchestra.

In non-FIAR school news, we have a new plan for nature study and a new artist and composer for picture and music study.  Our new artist is John James Audubon, the 19th century naturalist who painted many many bird species.  Our local zoo, aquarium, insectarium, and a park are named for him, so I thought he'd be a good artist to study.  We started with a picture study of a pelican he painted.  The kids were surprisingly enthusiastic about it!

We have been listening to Camille Saint-Saens' Carnival of the Animals for composer study.  We have a book and CD that includes a poem by Jack Prelutsky for each movement of the piece, along with fantastic illustrations by Mary Grand-Pre, who illustrated the Harry Potter books.  The kids have LOVED this. We've been listening at breakfast most mornings.

Finally, nature study.  We have had the hardest time getting nature study off the ground.  It's something I really want to do, but I have not been consistent with it.  I decided that I just needed to follow someone else's plans and DO IT until it became more comfortable and routine.  So, we jumped in with the first of the 10 "Getting Started" Outdoor Hour Challenges (OHCs) on the Handbook of Nature Study blog.  Here's the first one: We followed her instructions to the letter.  I read the introductory material in the Handbook of Nature Study (well, re-read, since I had read them before), then we went out for a walk around the block with our eyes and ears open, but with no other expectations.  The kids brought in some leaves, seeds, and acorns they were excited about, and I gave them the opportunity to record some of what they saw or found in their nature journals.  The twins and I all made nature journal entries, and Jono put his leaves and magnolia seed pods in the nature basket to save for later.  Overall, it was an enormous success!  We're going to head out on an OHC every week and try to finish those introductory ten before Christmas.  I'm so excited to have a plan!

We had a few bumps in the road, schedule-wise, during the last couple of weeks, and didn't get to quite everything I had planned for Lentil, but we still very much enjoyed it, and we're looking forward to a couple of weeks with Henry the Castaway coming up next!  Thanks for following along! 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Toy Library

We have a new toy library! Before I tell you all about it, here's a little history of us and toys:

When my kids were babies and toddlers, I rotated their toys.  I found that they just played better with fewer options, that clean up was easier (and faster!) with fewer options, so I split them up into thirds or so, put the "off" toys in big plastic bins in a closet, and rotated them about once a month.  This worked well enough, especially since they didn't really remember what was missing, so they didn't ask for things that weren't out.  I didn't like the job of rotating boxes, though, so it got put off sometimes.  It was sort of a pain, but I felt it was worth it.

We moved here just over two years ago when my kids were newly 4 and newly 3.  We had a playroom at first, so I didn't split toys into rotations, I just dumped them all in the playroom.  Sure, it was always a disaster, and the kids were too overwhelmed with the volume to clean up effectively, but I also didn't have to go in there, so I was able to turn a blind eye and tackle the mess infrequently.

About 15 months after we moved here, we had exhausted all the room sharing combinations and came to the conclusion that my kids sharing rooms was just NOT going to work.  We needed to sleep a kid in the playroom.  I split the toys up between the bedrooms and for the last year, it's been a big toy nightmare.  Hazel's room absorbed the "girl" toys (play kitchen, barbies, dollhouse, baby dolls, American Girls, My Little Ponies, other ponies and barns, etc).  Jono doesn't like a lot in his room.  He likes a large pile of stuffed animals, some action figures, and that's about it.  That meant that Charlie's room (the former playroom) had all the rest.  Trains, lego, dress-ups, tool bench/tools, blocks, cars, Imaginext Star Wars, Mr. Potato head, etc.  He was regularly melting into a puddle because even though his siblings would go into his room to play with toys there, no one wanted to help him clean, and it was FAR too much.  This is what it looked like most days...

We needed a solution.  I wasn't willing to take on rotating their toys for them again.  And they wouldn't want that anyway, since they have favorites.  Some things they play with daily, some things much less frequently.  They're 6 and 5.  They needed choice and freedom if this was gong to work.

After some time with my friend Google and a little blog reading, I started to hatch a plan. I started by paying the kids in lollipops to bring all of their toys out of their rooms.  ALL of them.  Every single toy they owned.  I sorted them into groups in the living room floor.  I ended up with somewhere around 30 individual "items" for check out.  Dolls, barbies, blocks (3 different kinds) cars, dress ups, stuffed animals, ponies, play kitchen food and dishes, action figures, transformers, puppets, and on and on it went.  

Then we bought bins.  LOTS of bins.  I was willing to try this without this step, and use the myriad randomly sized containers and baskets that toys had been living in, in bedrooms.  My husband suggested (and he was SO right) that I might like the uniformity of a just a few sizes of bins.  Not cheap.  Worth it.  

not pictured: a box of those big 2 gallon ziplock baggies for those things that didn't require a full bin

Everything then found a home in a bin in the shed. Several of the blog posts I read used space in their basement or a spare closet.  While I'd give my left arm for a basement, my house is actually below sea level which means that our water table is something like half an inch below the grass in my backyard.  Yeah, so, we don't have a basement.  Luckily, I do have an awesome big shed.  

one corner
yep, toys. right there between the edger and the extension cords. awesome. 

the other corner
with the card table, the bird seed, and some sports equipment.  whatever.

(closer up)

My kids checked their first toys out of the library yesterday afternoon and it's been a huge hit!

My initial plan was to have two types of bins, big and small, defined by how big of a mess their contents made, not necessarily how big the actual bin was.  I was going to allow kids to have one "big" and three "small" bins checked out at any given time.  I initially divided the bins in the shed along the same lines.  Big bins in one corner, small bins in the other.  My kids don't appreciate this distinction. In the first afternoon, Charlie wanted to swap superheroes (a small bin) for log cabin blocks (a HUGE bin).  I had just started to protest when Hazel bounded around the corner and, having heard her brother was finished with superheroes, wanted to trade the trains that she had (big bin) for his superhero bin.  It was not worth arguing with both of them over bin size.  So I dropped that distinction before the 24 hour mark, and now they're simply limited to four bins apiece.  

My initial thoughts?  AWESOME.  My kids have four bins of things in their rooms.  This is about the same volume of toys that Jono used to voluntarily keep in his room, so no big change there.  But Hazel and Charlie can now clean up without weeping!  Wahoo!! I am not limiting how often they swap things out.  So far, Jono is happy with his initial four choices.  Hazel and Charlie have traded bins multiple times.  I don't want to limit their access to their toys. I just want to limit how many they have access to *at the same time*.  

The most interesting thing to me has been what they've chosen to play with.  This is the first time in their lives that specific toys have not had a "home base".  Even shared toys (like dress ups, play kitchen, and blocks) have been stored in one room or another.  Hazel currently has her My Little Ponies, the superheroes, the dinosaurs, and the small animals in her room.  She's got a big mash up world going on in her (empty) dollhouse with all the components of those different bins.  I love it!  I have a feeling that besides her MLP, the other "girl toy" bins will rarely leave the shed.  She's just not into them, and that's OK.  

I'll keep you posted as we use this for a while, but so far, I'm really excited! 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Wrap Up: Amber on the Mountain

We just wrapped up a week on the Five in a Row unit Amber on the Mountain by Tony Johnston.

I know I say it every week, but this was such a wonderful story and fantastic "row"!  Amber on the Mountain is about a lonely little girl who works on the family farm in the Appalachian mountains.  Amber cannot read or write, but she desperately wants to learn how.  A man brings his wife and daughter with him while he works to build a road up to the mountain.  Amber befriends the man's daughter, and the daughter, Anna, teachers Amber how to read.  Throughout the story there are references to Amber's mule Rockhead and his stubbornness.  The girls call themselves "rockheaded" when they set their minds on teaching and learning to read.  It's a beautiful story of friendship and determination!  We remain completely enamored with FIAR as our core homeschool curriculum.  Here's what we did with Amber:

Social Studies:
Amber is set in the Appalachian mountains.  The book is no more specific than that, so I had the kids color a map of the mountain range, we discussed what states are in Appalachia, and we chose to put our story disc on the map in West Virginia, right in the middle of the range.  We looked at the page in The Amazing Pop-Up  Geography Book about mountains and mountain ranges, and had good time locating some of the world's highest mountains on the world map.  The kids were disappointed that none of the mountains on the list of top 5 tallest were in the Appalachian Range.  Yeah, sorry kids.

That afternoon, we watched a video from the library called That Book Woman.  This was one of my favorite parts of the week.  It's also about a family in Appalachia who have little access to schools or books.  This darling story is based on a real group of women, the Pack Horse Librarians, who through a New Deal project in the 1930s took mobile libraries up into the mountains on horseback, giving the people in the back woods of Appalachia access to books and magazines.  Definitely pick up this title as a go-along if you row Amber!   On the same theme, we enjoyed Waiting for the Biblioburro, which was pretty much the same story, but set in Mexico.  Beautiful illustrations in that one.

We did a second day of social studies on the character trait of friendship, drawing comparisons between Amber and Anna and Max and Boris from Another Celebrated Dancing Bear.  I wasn't sure if they would hear the overlap in plot between the two stories, but they were SO excited and pointed out all the similarities I had hoped they would see.

Language Arts:
Amber is FULL of similes.  There are multiple similes on every page in the story.  We read Crazy like a  Fox to start our language arts day, and once the kids understood the idea of a simile, we re-read Amber, with them nearly jumping out of their seats over and over again, every time they heard a simile, to point them out.  I had them do a notebook page after that, completing the sentences "This mountain is as high as..." and "That road is windy like..." and illustrating one of the similes they made up.  My favorites were Jono's "That road is windy like a swirly whirly pool," which is what my kids call whirlpools, and Charlie's "This mountain is as high as the deepest ocean trench." There was a blurb in the Pop-up Geography Book about how some of the highest mountains in the world come up from the ocean floor, and really latched on to that idea.

For science we discussed why Amber's Granny thought that there was no way you could build a road up the mountain with "people rolling clean off."  I made a play doh model of a mountain and we put a little house up on top and then discussed how a road straight up the side of the mountain would be far too dangerous and steep.  We then talked about alternatives--switch backs, or a road that winds slowly around the mountain. We discussed that those paths are longer, but much safer, etc.  The kids pointed out a few days later, when we were at Storyland Park, that the path up "Jack and Jill's hill" is windy so that it's not too steep, but that the slide off of it is straight down, since it's OK for slides to be steep, but not paths/roads.  They got it! I suspect I'll hear the same the next time we are at Monkey Hill at the zoo!

I also bought the kids a set of Lincoln Logs and brought them out this week.  Charlie has done little else,  building many a cabin for Amber and Granny Cotton.  The first day he built a group of log buildings together in the middle of his room.  The second day, the tore them all down and re-built them in the corners of his room, spread apart.  When I asked why, he quoted from the book, "Mountain people live scattered far from each other.  Amber was lonesome." Sweet boy.

In the book, when the road is complete and Anna leaves, Amber gives her a little clay mule.  We played with clay (a first for us!), discussed sculpture, and made a trip to the New Orleans sculpture garden.  We've been there before, but it's always fun.

We also tried our hand at following these instructions and drew Rockhead the mule!

We skipped applied math this row, but we have continued to do work our way through our stand-alone math curriculum, so that subject has certainly not been neglected.  Thanks for catching up with us!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

crafty catch up

My available craft time is still minuscule, as home and homeschool commitments are pretty intense right now, but I have been working on a couple of small things.

First is an order for a friend's daughter. Whenever little Sarah is over at our house, she wears baby dolls in my kids' mini mei tai carriers.  Her mama commissioned one for her upcoming birthday.  Such a cute, fun, little project!

The next one will be an ongoing project, so I'll post update pictures occasionally. I got a sky scarf kit for my birthday from my in-laws, and it's really fun! The concept is that you take note of the sky and knit 2 rows on your scarf.  Every day.  For a year.  In reality, I'm finding that I remember to knit about 5 installments a week.  It's knit in lace weight (really tiny) yarn, double stranded, so you can choose 2 different colors to represent the sky for the day, if need be.  This is roughly 3 weeks worth of NOLA sky.  The most frequent combination so far is light blue and white, although we've had some gray in there, and some darker brighter blues as well.

What about you? Been working on anything fun?

Friday, September 06, 2013

Growing Pains

Our new school year has required some growth and stretching from all of us.  The first week was HARD.  Like, mama in tears every day HARD.  I love homeschooling, and I have firm convictions about this lifestyle for us, but let me tell you, I thought about that big yellow school bus several times during our first week.  Here is a short list of the contributors to the chaos during week one:

  1. Over-scheduled family.  David is working his normal full time job, plus he has taken on teaching a class at Tulane this semester.  It's just one class, but it puts him home late on Mondays and Wednesdays.  The kids have been in 2x/week swim school in the late afternoon on Tuesdays and Thursdays, pushing dinner and bedtime late on those days.  That meant that during week one we had a late daddy or a late bedtime every night of the week.  I know that many families juggle far more than this, but for us, this is too much.  
  2. Frazzled mama.  I am one who needs her environment in order.  August was full of renovation in our front room, and it didn't get all the way unpacked and functional after renovations were complete before school started.  That stuff (unpacking, organizing, and decorating) on top of starting school was too much on my list.  
  3. Trouble working one-on-one with one or two kids while one or two others entertain themselves in a reasonably quiet and non-destructive way.
  4. Trouble juggling the school needs of kids whose skill set is pretty different now than it was in May. 
So, back to the schedule drawing board.  

The first issue seems to have worked itself out.  We had already decided that we were going to take the fall off of swim school while David is teaching this class.  They only overlapped for that one week.  Plus, our Musikgarten class started this week on Wednesday afternoons, which further helps by breaking up one of those long days when David is late.  MUCH better.  

The second issue was resolved by Labor Day weekend.  Thank God for the holiday!  With an extra day of Daddy home to run kid interference, I was able to knock out my work on the front room and start our second week in a much better place, environmentally.  I love our front room now!  We've spent a lot of time in there this week. 

The homeschooling issues were more challenging. I spent some time (probably not enough!) in prayer and a lot of time on IM with my best friend in Houston who parents four kids, homeschools three of them, and faces similar (often more challenging) problems with academics and temperament of children, plus a long conversation with David (of course).   We hatched the following plan: 

One of Karla's suggestions was to move Five in a Row to later in our morning. I had been starting FIAR over breakfast with reading the story and then moving straight into the FIAR activity afterwards.  That was fine, but on some days that spent too much of my oldest's academic focus energy, and then doing 3Rs (reading, handwriting, math) was torture afterwards.  Left up to me, we'd do the fun stuff first! I love having FIAR first, setting the tone for our day.  But the truth is that our mornings have been much smoother this week when I hit the 3Rs with the oldest first, as soon as breakfast dishes are cleared.  He spends his academic energy on those non-negotiables, and then if he's wiggly during FIAR later, so be it. 

Another schedule tweak was giving the not-currently-working-with-Mom kids something specific to do.  I had been telling them that they could play until I needed them again, leaving them up to their own devices.  To my children's ears, that sentence must have sounded something like: "Mom is going to work with one of your siblings, so she won't be paying much attention to you.  Feel free to sneak off and see how much trouble you can get into." That must be what they thought I said, because that's exactly what they were doing!  I was pulling my hair out having to interrupt work with one kid to go bust the mischief the others were getting into.  I was in a bad mood and my kids were in trouble by 10am every day!  Karla had been giving her 1st graders who weren't working with Mom a basket of quiet things to work on, so I quickly capitalized on that stellar idea and started one of our own.  Our "busy basket" this week included a couple of puzzles and games, a small crafty thing like pony beads and pipe cleaners or stencils and construction paper, and AUDIO BOOKS!  The kids have been checking audio books out of the library for a while to listen to in the car, and they're my go-to solution for peace on squabbly car rides.  It occurred to me that they could serve a similar awesome purpose at home.  I threw a few audio books (Amelia Bedelia is popular right now) and a portable CD player with headphones into the basket, and we have had PEACE!! I will change basket contents as often as needed to keep it interesting.  

Simply solving the problem of how to get some one-on-one time with the kids without the others destroying the house has really helped with problem #4.  It's a work in progress, but I'm getting to know them all again, seeing where they've grown this summer, what skills have gone soft this summer, and where everyone needs to be working as we continue to move forward.  

Moving FIAR to after snack time has the same effect as doing it first thing, since I can read the book while the kids eat.  It's so nice to read to a quiet audience with their mouths full of food.  I also sweetened the deal for cooperation with 3Rs, busy basket time, and FIAR by awarding five minutes of screen time (laptop or iphone) for each of those 3 time periods, for a potential total of 15 minutes each, to be redeemed after rest time in the afternoon.  I made a chart for the wall, and they get to circle how much time they've earned at the end of each period.  So far, so good.  They're big fans of mama's phone.  

Since we started the new systems, the days have been SO much better.  It's not perfect, and it never will be.  This lifestyle is messy.  Having everyone at home all the time means that you're parenting full time, all day, every day.  Discipline is a constant.  Changes will continue to be made.  BUT it's going to be a good year! ...even if it got off to a rocky start.  

Wrap Up: The Giraffe that Walked to Paris

We here at Chaos Academy have two weeks of school under our belt, and friends, it has been a WILD ride! We have certainly had some growing pains, and have already had to do some major schedule & routine troubleshooting.  I think we're maybe almost sort-of starting to settle in.  I hope.

I'll hit the academic highlights first, and then we'll talk growing pains at the end, shall we?

We spent the first two weeks of school covering the Five in a Row unit on The Giraffe that Walked to Paris by Nancy Milton.  This was a book that I had often seen listed as a "not to be missed" title in FIAR, yet until this past summer it had been out of print for some time and was extremely hard to come by!  Neither of our library systems had it, and I was afraid we'd have to skip it altogether.  I was thrilled when it came back into print in July, though, and snatched up one of those fresh new copies to start our school year with!  I must say that it truly is a wonderful book and I'm so glad we got a chance to row it!  Here is how we covered each subject with "la girafe" and FIAR:

Social Studies: In the story, a giraffe is given by the pasha of Egypt to the king of France.  The giraffe takes a boat across the Mediterranean Sea, lands on the coast of France, and then walks up to Paris.  I printed a map of the region, had the kids color France and Egypt and draw the path that the giraffe traveled.

Language Arts: We covered some new vocabulary with this story including ambassador, impatient, and counselor.

Art: We had fun looking through the illustrations in the story after discussing how facial expressions convey feelings.  The illustrator used such fantastic facial expressions throughout the story, but especially with King Charles.  We had no trouble telling what he was feeling!

We also talked about how it's important to know your subject when you're drawing.  In the story, the people of France had never seen a giraffe, so when the king has a scientist draw him a picture of one, it looks more like a spotted horse.  The kids found the comparison between the king's picture and the actual giraffe very amusing.

One morning we also did a picture study of this painting by Jacques-Laurent Agasse. It actually shows the giraffe that walked to Paris!  The kids were so excited!

photo from Wikipedia on Zarafa 
Math: We did a measurement activity for our FIAR applied math day.  In the story, "the giraffe was eleven feet tall... still a baby."  We measured out 11 feet on our sidewalk and then I tried to draw a giraffe in the space.  Didn't come out too badly, I don't think!  We also looked up how tall a giraffe would be when fully grown (~16' for females and 18' for males) and drew a line farther up to see how how much the king's giraffe still had to grow.

Science:  We covered a couple of science topics for this row.  We spent one morning talking about the calendar, the four seasons, and what months fall into what seasons.  We figured out that it was fall when the giraffe left Egypt and landed on the Mediterranean coast of France, that she spent that entire winter in the south of France and then began her journey to Paris in the spring, arriving in the summer.  No wonder the king was impatient!

We also spent a morning talking about animal care.  We discussed how the people in charge of la girafe cared for her throughout her journey (food/water, shelter, exercise, companionship), and then we took a trip to Petco to see how you care for different animal pets there.  We came home with a fish!  Meet Gerald, named for the elephant in Mo Willems' charming series of books about Elephant and Piggie.

We read some wonderful go-along books for this row.  We checked out the usual non-fiction books about giraffes, France, and Egypt.  Those sat mostly ignored this week.  Since this is a true story, there happen to be other books that tell the same tale.  We really enjoyed reading and comparing two of these with the one that Five in a Row has selected: Zarafa: the Giraffe who Walked to the King and A Giraffe Goes to Paris

Our FIAR notebooks are cleaned out from last year and ready to hold this year's work.  For Giraffe, we're adding our map page, an animal report about giraffes, a field trip report about Global Wildlife, and each child's retelling (narration) of the story (for those, they talked and I typed).  I am excited to have the new Five in a Row notebook builder download this year!  The map, the animal report template and the field trip report template were all printables from that download.  Off to a good start!

This year, I have scheduled some Charlotte Mason-y things into our curriculum, and we've been enjoying them so far! We finished up several months of studying local artist George Rodrigue and his Blue Dog paintings.  We tried to finish our study with a trip to his gallery in the French Quarter, but it was closed.  A look through the window had to suffice, and we'll try again next time we're down there. We start a new artist next week.

We are focusing our nature study on birds right now, and started by setting up a backyard birdfeeder and getting a field guide to identify what we see.  So far, we've seen absolutely nothing.  Either we have no birds or they don't like sunflower seeds.  Go figure.

We have been listening to Camille Saint-Saens' Carnival of the Animals for composer study.  We love the illustrations and poems that come with this version!

The biggest hits of the first two weeks BY FAR, though, were the field trips!  Yes, plural.  To go along with Giraffe, we went to the Global Wildlife Center, which is about an hour north of New Orleans.  We had such a good time!

loaded up on the safari wagon, ready to go!
the llama that stole Hazel's feed cup! 
Jono feeds a giraffe!

My favorite pic from the outing--bison tongue! 
This morning, we went downtown for a Johnette Downing concert.  Ms. Downing is a local children's author and performer.  She gives a free children's concert in the French Quarter every month.  They're always so fun, and the September show is always empty since schools have just started and no one is taking field trips yet.  We went with another homeschooling family and the kids had an almost private show!  Her shows get super crowded later on in the year with field trip groups, so this one is always a fun one.

Jackson Square--NOLA kids!

Alright, that's all the school stuff.  I said I'd tackle the growing pains at the end, but I think this has gotten long enough.  I'll hit that in another post.  Thanks for following along!

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Look! I knit! I crocheted!

It's been soooo long since I've picked up needle or hook, with my craft closet being packed up most of the summer for the TV room renovation and just a general lack of interest in yarn crafting during the heat of the summer. But I whipped up a little baby gift for a friend who is delivering her FIFTH baby BOY tomorrow morning.  So excited for them!!

Too bad about my getting the booties' size off and there being NO way the hat and booties will fit at the same time, despite the fact that I intended them to match.  Hat will fit right out of the shoot.  Booties are more like 6-12mo size.  I was not about to re-work them, though, so it'll have to do.

Converse booties pattern:
Hat is just a "math hat".  Calculate gauge, determine how big you want hat to be, cast on appropriate number of stitches to achieve goal, decrease when needed to close hat.  You know, math hat. ;)

Sunday, September 01, 2013

TV room remodel complete!

Our TV room remodel is finally FINISHED!  We got new floors (tile that looks like wood) and a fresh coat of paint after a hot water heater leak flooded this room in late June, ruined the laminate floor and required the removal of some sections of sheet rock.  When that was finished, we replaced the horrible-to-sit-on Craigslist couch that we used to have in the school room with a new Karlstad sofa+chaise from Ikea, in dark sivik gray.  LOVE it!! I just got everything hung on the walls and windows, and it is finally DONE.  Whew!  My to-do list is dancing a jig.  Without further ado, some pictures!

Here is Karl, with the b&w photo collage above him.  Most of these pics were in a collage above the fireplace in the main living room before the room switcheroo this spring.  I added a couple and moved the "This is the Life" piece in from another location to join the collage.  Love how this turned out!  The chevron throw pillow actually belongs in the living room on the leather couch.  Not sure why it made a trip across the house.  I'm waiting for inspiration for pillows on Karl.  If you have seen anything that screams "perfect!" for this room, point me in the right direction!

This room is SO hard to photograph because of the enormous window on the far wall.  That window is a big part of why I love this room, though.  So cheery!  This room was the garage in its former life, and the window replaced the garage door.  I bought the gray curtains at Target.  You can't see the pattern well in this pic, but here's a link in case you want to see them closer.  I bought a third panel for the small window above the TV.  I'm planning to hack it up and do something like this

Bookshelves and TV, nothing super special here.  That small window is the one that will be getting something roman shade-ish made from the 3rd panel of the gray curtains.  

Fourth wall, with doors to the closet (under the clock) and to the mud room (and rest of the house beyond).  My favorite things on this wall are the AWESOME cat pictures that my kids made in a summer art class.  Because they're directly across from the window, taking their picture is near impossible.  Glares galore.  You'll just have to take my word that they're fabulous. 

I was just sure that once I got the dark gray couch in this room that I would not like my tans and browns leafy rug anymore.  It doesn't bother me, though!  That's been a very happy surprise, since I do love the rug, and I was going to be sad if it didn't have a place in my house anymore.  The leaves that are actually sage-y green take on a gray look with the couch and the curtains and it seems to fit just fine.   Go figure.  

Alright, that's all.  Thanks for going on our room tour!