Thursday, October 31, 2013

Rosie's Doll Clothes Patterns (TOS Review)

Rosie Doll Clothes
I have been sewing since I was in my teens. About five years ago I made my oldest daughter a pile of doll clothes, but haven't done much since then. Recently, I had an opportunity to review a sewing course from Rosie's Doll Clothes Patterns.
The Learn How to Make Doll Clothes Video Course offers 12 months of online access for over 130 step-by-step video tutorials that gives hints and tips for sewing doll clothes. It also comes with 8 free downloadable patterns for 18" dolls. This course can be used with a child 8 and up or the beginning sewer to the advanced sewer.
The Learn How to Make Doll Clothes Video Course is broken down into six week segments in which you cover such topics as:
  • Setting up Your Sewing Room,
  • About different sewing tools and fabrics
  • Using Elastic
  • How to print patterns and put together 
  • Sewing with a straight stitch and zigzag stitch
  • How to stay stitch
  • How to sew a seam
  • Create casings, tubes, and straps
  • Threading elastic through casing
  • How to gather
  • How to attach intricate pieces
  • How to attach ribbons and trim
  • Fastenings
  • How to make clothes fit different dolls
  • Troubleshooting help 
  • Loads of cool tips
The videos are easy to see and hear with clear instructions, plus you get to hear them done in Rosie's lovely Australian accent! A great thing about having access to the videos is that you can go through them at the pace that you need to and are also available so you can go back and review a tip or if you need to troubleshoot something.
The patterns and instructions are all downloadable and also include step by step video instructions for putting together each pattern. The free patterns include sports short, crop top, sarong, halter top, summer nightie, hat, pumpkin costume, and underwear.
Rosies 3
My initial thought was to use this my 13 year old daughter, but I ended up getting a new sewing machine which actually got broken in for this review. Due to the learning curve of the new machine I opted to go through the course myself.
I was interested to see the ideas presented in this course especially from and experienced seamstress' point of view. I found the video instructions to be excellent and I also learned a few tips to use that were unknown to me. If I had anything negative to say about the course would be the patterns that were included. Since my girls don't wear shorts, crop tops, or halter tops the patterns seemed useless (But hey, the patterns were free!).
I decided to make the summer nightie for Delani's American Girl Bitty Twin dolls. Again, I found the pattern was easy to put together and with the step-by-step tutorial videos you couldn't really go wrong. The Bitty Twin dolls aren't the same size as an 18" doll but since the nightie was made out of elastic the nighties fit the dolls okay.
Now I must admit my biggest interest in the video course was how well the tips would cross over if you used a different doll pattern, so of course I had to test that out. Rosie does offer other patterns that I like, but I have piles of doll patterns already sitting in my pattern drawer.
Rosies 1
I decided to make a skirt from another pattern. The directions given had the skirt sewed in a tube and then the casing, elastic, and hems put in. I applied the tips from Rosie's Video Course and kept as much of the pattern flat for ease in putting in the casing, hem, gathering, and elastic. Once I had that all finished I sewed up the back seam and ta-da! the skirt was finished. Needless to say, I had one happy little girl and it didn't take very much of my time do it, plus I feel ready to tackle some harder doll patterns I have been putting off for awhile.

With all of the video tutorials included, especially the ones included with the patterns you can easily find one to guide you and apply that to the pattern that you choose. That is how much information is included in the video course! 

Rosies 2
I found Rosie's Doll Clothes Video Course to be an excellent course, especially for a beginning sewer. This is something that I will have Destini work through over the next few months. There is so much great information included, and a big plus is that I don't have to teach it and can just be a guide and help. Highly recommended!!
Rosie's Doll Clothes Video Course is available at Rosie's Doll Clothes Patterns. $47.27* gives you 12 months access plus the 8 free patterns. *(Please note the price fluctuates due to exchange rate.)
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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Wednesdays with Words (Mrs. Miniver)
 A few days ago I delved into Mrs. Miniver. I am enjoying this simple story very much and basking in the lovely writing. I had a hard time picking what I wanted to share--thoughts on sitting in the dentist chair (These thoughts alone are worth picking up the book to read!), the war (powerful), or numerous others. Today I am going to settle on a couple of quotes about marriage.

"But that is what I feel every spring," said Clem unexpectedly. And I've known him through seventeen of them, thought Mrs. Miniver, with out knowing that. But it was quite natural really: she had long ago discovered that whereas words, for her, clarified feelings, for Clem, on the whole, they obscured them. This was perhaps just as well. For if they had both been equally explicit they might have been in danger of understanding each other completely; and a certain degree of un-understanding (not mis-, but un-) is the only possible sanctuary which one human being can offer to another in the midst of the devastating intimacy of a happy marriage. (p. 94)

Enchanted, she put the incident into her pocket for Clem. It jostled, a bright pebble, against several others: she had had a rewarding day. And Clem, who had driven down to the country to lunch with a client, would be pretty certain to come back with some good stuff, too. This was the cream of marriage, this nightly turning out of the day's pocketful of memories, this deft habitual sharing of two pairs of eyes, two pairs of ears. It gave you, in a sense, almost a double life: though never, on the other hand quite a single one. (p. 203)  

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

VocabularySpellingCity Premium Membership (TOS Review)

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Spelling isn't a favorite topic around here. We are using a spelling program right now with some level of success, but I'm always open to new ideas. Recently I had the opportunity to review VocabularySpellingCity Premium Membership which I used with Chantry.
VocabularySpellingCity offers many activities for free and also a premium year membership that covers up to five members in a family. It works for all grades--K-12th. You may be thinking what makes Premium Membership worthwhile, when there are many activities available for free. The Premium Membership includes:
  • Vocabulary and writing activities
  • Tracking of student activities
  • Assign different lists to students
  • Recorded test and activity results
  • Customizable lessons
  • Grammar activities
  • Individual Student Log-ins
  • Definitions
  • Premium Games
  • Helpful Videos
  • Telephone Support
  • So much more...
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Chantry's game of choice.
I used this with Chantry (11) in several ways. The first way (and the one I always kept coming back to) was to use this to enhance his spelling program he is currently working in. He would do the work in his book and then he would play different games to practice his spelling. At the end of the week he would take the test. Another week I used the assignment feature and assigned the lessons for him to do and another week I used some words I wanted him to practice that didn't go along with what he was doing in  spelling. He used the games to practice his spelling and many times used the Test-n-Teach activity before taking the test.
Chantry really enjoyed playing the games, but got really frustrated with doing the test. He doesn't know his keyboard so he was having to a lot of hunting and pecking to find keys. Sometimes he would hit enter before he had had a chance to double check the word.
Though there are so many uses with the Premium Membership--vocabulary, grammar, and writing, for myself, I found it hard to navigate at times. Many times it was overwhelming and if I found something once many times I couldn't find it again. (Yes, they do offer helpful videos on this topic, but I didn't know the exact name of the list so it didn't do me any good.)
I think my biggest concern with doing spelling this way was that I noticed Chantry couldn't transfer the spelling he was doing on the computer to a piece of paper. I don't know if he enjoyed the games so much he forgot to learn from them or what the issue was. I also think since he hasn't learned keyboarding yet, this hindered him in the spelling aspect of the program.
That being said I did like that I had access to his records and could see what he had done and go back and look through his tests and find out what words he did have wrong so we could keep working on those. Another goody that I found that I hopefully get to use with Caleb (17) was SAT Vocabulary Cards.
VocabularySpellingCity Premium Membership has a lot to offer and I think is a great program for kids who learns best using the computer. Plus, it is a great deal--$29.99 a year covers up to five kids. $29.99 is a great deal for one student and if you have more than one you are getting a bargain!
Head on over to VocabularySpellingCity and see if this would be a great fit for your family.
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Monday, October 28, 2013

Reading Journal: The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy

Book Description:
In the year 1792, Sir Percy and Lady Marguerite Blakeney are the darlings of British society—he is known as one of the wealthiest men in England and a dimwit; she is French, a stunning former actress, and “the cleverest woman in Europe”—and they find themselves at the center of a deadly political intrigue. The Reign of Terror controls France, and every day aristocrats in Paris fall victim to Madame la Guillotine. Only one man can rescue them—the Scarlet Pimpernel—a master of disguises who leaves a calling card bearing only a signature red flower. As the fascinating connection between the Blakeneys and this mysterious hero is revealed, they are forced to choose between love and loyalty in order to avoid the French agent Chauvelin, who relentlessly hunts the Scarlet Pimpernel.
My thoughts:
The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy is a book set during the French Revolution. It is a story that has mystery, suspense, romance, and a nice sprinkling of humor.

I'm not going to talk much about the story since I don't want to ruin the story if you haven't read it. One thing I found fascinating about the story was how much similar Baroness Orczy's writing reminded me of Georgette Heyer's writing. I was expecting a serious story and though it has its serious moments the writing definitely has a more modern feel than other books published during the early 1900s.

I was also surprised on how much in common The Scarlet Pimpernel and The Mark of Zorro had with each other. The protagonists in each story are very similar. The big difference is the settings.

I really enjoyed The Scarlet Pimpernel. If you haven't read it you will want to add it to you TBR list. Oh, and if any of my thoughts interest you save you research for later and just enjoy the story first! 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Bridgeway Academy: Bridgeway English 1 - Focus on Grammar (TOS Review)

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English grammar has been a thorn in my side, especially with one of my kids. I wish I could teach it organically to them, but I can't remember much myself, so thus I have to depend on curriculum to help me out. Recently I received for review the book Bridgeway English 1 from Bridgeway Academy, which my oldest son, Caleb, has been working through.

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Bridgeway English 1 is a remedial English course recommended for 7th-12th grades to help kids with grammar and writing. The Student workbook is designed to be self-instructional and it follows a mastery cycle. Bridgeway English 1 covers:
  • Subject and Predicate
  • Four Types of Sentences
  • Sentence Fragments
  • Run-on Sentences
  • Compound Sentences
  • Noun Functions
  • Pronouns
  • Adjectives
  • Adverbs
  • Prepositions and Prepositional Phrases
  • Conjunctions
  • Interjections
  • Grammar Review
Bridgeway English 1 is spiral bound and includes everything you need for the student including the tests. Each section is divided into a what is termed a "PAK" and then each PAK is divided into sections. At the beginning of the PAK is a list of objectives for the complete PAK. At the end of each section is a review for that covering the topic that were covered in that section. At the end of the PAK is a Self-Test that reviews the whole PAK. When the student has finished the PAK they then study for the final test which is at the end of the book.

A nice feature to this program is the helpful tips given before the test. The student is encouraged to review their Self-Test and to also go through their incorrect answers and review that section of the lesson and then to jot down the page number next to the incorrect answer. Then when the student is prepared they can turn in their textbook to their teacher/parent and take the test the following day. The teacher/parent then scores the test and the student can continue on the next PAK.

Even though this course is can be independently done by the student the reviews and the self-test require a teacher's/parent's signature for them to start. There are also section where the student has to write their own sentences and bring them to the teacher/parent for them to scored. Also, there are intervals throughout the book that reminds the student to check their answers, correct their mistakes, and then to recheck their answers.

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Another necessary component of the program is the Bridgeway English Teacher's Answer Key. This answer key includes the answers for Bridgeway English 1 and Bridgeway English 2 and for the tests.

I used this program with my oldest, Caleb, who worked through it on a daily basis, scoring the pages as needed using the Teacher's Guide. He for the most part worked on it without needing a lot of my help. though I'm not sure for him if that was a good thing. He is very right-brained and even though this is a very basic course, grammar and being right-brained don't go hand in hand! He found portions challenging but he never seemed frustrated and just kept diligently working through it.

I asked what he thought about it and he said it had helped. I then asked him how he would compare it to other programs we have used and he said that it made sense and he could understand it.

One big plus is that it is very straight-forward in its manner and it is appealing to an older student. Another thing I noticed is that it isn't overwhelming.  There isn't any diagramming or there isn't a lot of labeling of all the different parts of speech in the sentences. For my son that was a good thing.

I really appreciated the requirement of the teacher/parent signature at the reviews and self-tests. From personal experience I know how easy it is for my student to walk off with a subject and I may not see it for awhile unless I go hunting for it! With this feature my son had to bring it to me which gave me a chance to look through and see how he was doing and if he needed help.

I found this to be a solid grammar program, especially for a student who just needs to review parts of speech or great for a student who hasn't done much in learning basic grammar and needs to cover the basics. It is solid, appealing, and not overwhelming at all. If you have a student who needs to go through a basic course of grammar, check out Bridgeway English 1.

Bridgeway English 1 - $23.33 (focus on grammar)
Bridgeway English 2 - $23.33 (focus on writing)
Bridgeway English Key - $23.33

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The Homeschool Mother's Journal: Random 5 on Friday

October 26 Collage
 1. Time to paint. 2. Game time at co-op. 3. Fine dining!
4. Getting the apples done. 5. The last apple!!!
6. Chant working on spelling. (Review coming soon.)
1. We had beautiful weather for most of the week. It is probably the last we will see for quite some time. I'll miss it.

2. I am trying to keep everything balanced in my life right now. I don't think it is working, especially in the homeschool department. Yes, we are getting our work done, but some things are getting shoved aside and I need to sit down and re-focus our goals.

3. For some reason we were short of food for lunch this week. I'm not sure what happened, but I guess all the convenience food that I had stored up disappeared. I had to resort to eating leftover brown rice for lunch, so I added some Johnny's Seasoning and it turned out quite tasty.

4. We finally made it through all the apples we bought. We froze some for pies and apple bars and the rest was turned into applesauce, 41 quarts to be exact. When my husband suggested we buy apples for applesauce I rolled my eyes at him. When did he think I would have the time to do it? Needless to say it did get finished, but it wouldn't have happened without his help. Thanks, Shade!

5. Last week at co-op Delani was invited to a tea party for the following weeks co-op. She was soooo excited. I think she squealed once a day, "I'm going to a tea party!" Let me tell you, I didn't have any problems getting her up this week to go to co-op. She loved dressing up and doing tea. She did discover that she doesn't like tea. Yes, she is her mother's child.
Tea Party 2013

Senior Moment 8
Dictation using Spelling Wisdom. Lest you think dictation is easy just
give it a try yourself, I think you will be surprised.
Homegrown Learners

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Read-Aloud Thursday: We Didn't Mean to Go To Sea by Arthur Ransome

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Read-Aloud Thursday Pictures, Images and Photos

We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea - Exodus Books
Book Description:
In this seventh adventure (following Pigeon Post, winner of the Carnegie Medal), the Walker family has come to Harwich to wait for Commander Walker's return. As usual, the children can't stay away from boats, and this time they meet young Jim Brading, skipper of the well-found sloop Goblin. But fun turns to high drama when the anchor drags, and the four young sailors find themselves drifting out to sea—sweeping across to Holland in the midst of a full gale! As in all of Ransome's books, the emphasis is on self-reliance, courage, and resourcefulness. We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea is a story to warm any mariner's heart. Full of nautical lore and adventure, it will appeal to young armchair sailors and seasoned sailors alike.
My thoughts:
We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea is the seventh book in the Swallows and Amazons Series. Just when you possibly think that another book in this series can be as exciting as the other books, Arthur Ransome does exactly that!

In We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea we meet up with the Walker children (the Swallows) who are waiting for their father to come into port. While waiting they talk their mother into let them sail in the Harwich Harbour with Jim Brading, a new friend. They make a stop for petrol and the Walker kids wait for Jim Brading to return. While waiting a fog rolls in and the tide rises, which sets their ship loose from it's moorings. Thus begins an adventure that send their little ship out to sea.

The Walker children are tested as they navigate through rocky area and around buoys. Also, a big storm hits which makes gives the girls sea sickness and makes it impossible to turn around. Eventually they sight land and make a surprising discovery which eases their fears and gives them an exciting adventure.

This story kept my kid's waiting in anticipation for what was going to happen next. We kept having to read just one more chapter!! Again, this was a winner for us and highly recommended!

Read my other reviews from the Swallows and Amazons series:
  • Swallows and Amazons
  • Swallowdale
  • Peter Duck
  • Winter Holiday
  • Coot Club
  • Pigeon Post

  • See what others are reading aloud over at Hope is the Word.

    Linking up:
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    Tuesday, October 22, 2013

    What's On Your Nightstand - October

    What's On Your Nightstand
    November Nightstand:

    From my September Nightstand I read:
    I also read:
    I listened to:
    What are you reading?

    See what others have read over at 5 Minutes for Books.


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