Monday, April 14, 2014

Sunday, April 13th, at Alt*Con Tallahassee 2014

Alt*Con is our local science fiction convention. This was our first year attending, so I didn't know what to expect, but was very pleasantly surprised by the large number of venders and the quality of the costumes worn by the attendees. It's a fairly small convention, but that meant there were no crowds to deal with and there were more opportunities to meet new people and have actual conversions.

As far as fandoms go, there was a little bit of everything:

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Art by Mandem:

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The huge Japanese junk food and manga selection:

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Star Wars:

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Dr. Who:

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Battlestar Galactica:

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Star Trek:

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The SCA:

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Steampunk, which included my panel of "Steampunk on a Budget":

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And more amazing costumes:

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Tap dance troupe preforming at Alt*Con:

Friday, April 11, 2014

A Field Trip to the Field Museum

This past weekend, we made the long drive from Florida to Northern Illinois for my Grandmother's funeral. The funeral was Saturday and I'm very glad that we were able to go, because it gave me a chance to reconnect with family members who I had not seen since I was about 12 years old.

It took two full days of driving to get there, so we stayed two full days, before making the long trek home. Sunday, we took my mom to the Field Museum in Chicago, mostly because I really wanted to see the 1893 Chicago World's Fair Exhibit, while we were in the area.

I had read Devil in the White City, by Erik Larson, a few months ago and DH is reading it currently. The book is based on the true events of the Chicago World's Fair and America's first serial killer. This exhibit was the perfect follow-up to the book.

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Napping, Egyptian style:
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I like that at least some things never change. The hall of dinosaurs looks the same as it has looked my whole life, even though much of the rest of the museum has changed.
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The 1893 Chicago World's Fair Exhibit:

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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Hanging Mirror

I have made a decorative hanging mirror that we can take with when we go camping. It started out as a $1 mirror from Dollar Tree, with a thin, gold, plastic frame.

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Today, I added dabs of alcohol ink to the frame and sprayed it with clear coat. Then painted a black frame inside the real frame, using black nail polish and added some scrapbook stickers for extra embellishment.

This caterpillar completely approved of my color choices and came to visit while everything was drying.

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The final touch, was using Super Glue to attach two long pieces of ribbon to the back of the mirror.

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After looking at this picture, I decided that the gold frame needed a little more copper color, so that it would match the steampunk stickers, so that has now been done.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Old Fashion Milk Bottles

I have seen this idea in several places, that the Starbucks frappuccino bottles look like old fashion milk bottles, but I only just recently tried it for myself.

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The labels are easy to peel off. I read one source that said to use nail polish remover to clean off the expiration date and any remaining glue, but I found that Lysol wipes also work. Then the bottles can be washed by hand or they can go in a dish washer.

What I hadn't read anywhere, was that normal straws are two short to use with these bottles. Special long straws, made for soda bottles, have to be used. The straws I used came from this Etsy dealer:

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Afternoon snack on the porch:

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Monday, March 24, 2014

World War 1 History Unit

We have been focusing on the 20th Century for Blaze's history lessons this year. We are currently learning about the Great Depression, but we spent quite a bit of time learning about World War 1.

The causes of WW1:

We read the following two novels:

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When Christmas Comes Again was about a young military telephone operator during the war. After the Dancing Days was about a girl dealing with the loss of a beloved uncle during the war and the injured and deformed soldiers who returned to the United States after the war.

Blaze was particularly interested in aviation during WW1. We found a simple model of the Red Baron's  plane that Blaze was able to assemble without help, at a local hobby shop.

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We watched two movies about German pilots,  The Blue Max and The Red Baron, along with some short documentaries about WW1 planes on YouTube.

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We then focused our attention on trench warfare.

We also watched War Horse.

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Blaze used a shoe box to make a diorama of a WW1 trench with American soldiers. The soldiers were paper dolls that were originally printed in 1918 and can be found here. We didn't use the paper stands for the dolls, but instead glued them onto 1-inch wooded blocks, so they wouldn't tip over so easily.

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To give the shoe box diorama a real "hole in the ground" look, Blaze painted the entire box with school glue and sprinkled it with dirt.

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After the glue was dry, I sprayed the whole thing with clear coat, so the dirt wouldn't fall off.

The sandbags were made from Crayola Model Magic.

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The culmination of all of our WW1 studies was Blaze's display for the Tallahassee Homeschool Group's International (Social Studies) Fair.

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Here is a recipe for the donuts that were passed out by the Salvation Army to soldiers during WW1:

Crafty Crow