Friday, November 16

Color Me Faithful.... (Ellie Claire Review)

With Christmas coming up, I'm always on the lookout for a nice gift that will be both practical and whimsical...and these journals nicely fit the bill! 

Art journals offer an interactive way to get creative with precious quiet time. One of the reasons that I look at these for gifts is because (unlike traditional novels / books) journals offer limited text and ample space to practice and learn creative reflection. 

Today, I'm comparing three journals from Ellie Claire to see which one will make the best gift, and for whom...

We're checking out :

Illuminate Your Story Journal
Illuminate Your Story is from the Museum of the Bible. It offers a step-by-step guide for how to draw illuminated letters (like the S on the journal cover) as well as a history lesson on this lost art.  Some of the structural features of the book include : elastic pen loop on spine; cloth spine opens for lay-flat journaling; high-quality, non-bleed paper; uplifting, inspirational quotes sprinkled throughout; drawing guides, grid background practice pages, and lined pages for journaling; ribbon marker; storage pocket; and elastic band closure.

Admittedly, this is my favorite of the three journals and one that I'll definitely be keeping to use regularly.  I would also purchase one of these for my friend who is a history buff; she will love the illuminated letters aspect, including the history lesson, and fancy practicing making her own.  The features of this book also make it a better fit for me, including the elastic closure (no falling open and getting torn up in a bag), its smaller size (about 7"), the ribbon placeholder, and the storage envelope in the back for small notes or mementos.

Faith & Lettering, by hand-lettering artist and graphic designer Krystal Whitten, offers tutorials for lettering styles, embellishments, Bible journaling, and more.  This is a fun and inspiring way to create beauty with words and decorate pages with original thoughts and plans. 

I have a girly-girl in mind for this particular journal.  She loves to draw; she loves to doodle; she loves lettering -- and this journal offers all three, along with the space to write as much as her heart desires.  The binding is thick, embossed cardstock with fabric; it also has an elastic spot for holding an attached pen.  The pages lay flat, offering a neat workspace, and are thick enough that your pen won't bleed through.  The tutorials cover basic letters, lettering styles, and phrases.  There are dotted pages, for drawing or doodling, and lined pages for writing.  It leaves plenty of space to be used however your creative heart pleases!

The Illustrated Word
The Illustrated Word, from the Museum of the Bible, is an illuminated coloring journal with coloring pages and lined pages interspersed throughout. There are forty beautiful coloring pages that were inspired by the Museum's impressive collection of illuminated manuscripts (early Bible and book manuscripts that were intricately illustrated to make the Biblical text come alive.)  Just as medieval monks brought Scripture to life through intricate inked illustrations in handwritten manuscripts hundreds of years ago, you can now create your own stunning keepsake that will be treasured for years to come!

Of the three, this is probably the most traditional journal and would be appropriate for someone who 'likes things as they've always been.'  You know the type.  The paper is thick and doesn't bleed through (we didn't try thick magic markers on it), there are plenty of lines for writing, and coloring pages for getting creative or just doodling with color.  The binding is a combination of thick, embossed cardstock and fabric, and the pages lay open flat and neatly.  Perfect for a traditionalist!

*I received this product in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.*

Thursday, November 15

Lighthouse (Soloman Jaye)

On what will be our last trip to the Outer Banks for a while, we made sure to visit all the familiar haunts...including the Bodie Island and Currituck Lighthouses.  Get the lighthouse unit study...

Why will it be our last trip?
After several years on the road, our lifestyle is fixin' to have a major makeover!  We'll be coming in off of the road....which is sure to be different and difficult at first...and we're excited about it.  Join us at our new digital home - starting in January 2019.

We spent some time with National Parks learning the inner workings of Bodie Island Lighthouse before heading north to Currituck...

Here are photos from the Currituck Lighthouse way back in the day....

We hiked to the top....

....and looked out over the coastal world..... was just a tad windy....

....but some of us just couldn't be torn away!!

Finally, we had to hike down and head out, as the sun was going down.

It's a family tradition to head to the innercoastal waterway and watch the sunset, so that's where we headed next!

It seemed like slow going, so we goofed around a bit!

Finally, though, it began to meet the horizon and we watched the world fade to black.

The following morning, we rose early for our tradition of watching the sunrise over the ocean on the last morning at the beach.  This was a bittersweet moment, as we knew it would be the last one for a long time....

We sat back, listened to the gulls awaking to a new day, and appreciated the beautiful reds, oranges, and yellows that were reflecting off of the clouds.  Even the have an innate ability to appreciate the beauty in life, and it's important to nurture that.  

Our sunset and sunrise traditions are very important parts of our travels, and I hope we'll develop equally as important traditions as we begin a new chapter....

Wednesday, November 14

Castles (Andrew Valentine)

Located in the heart of North Carolina, Duke Chapel in Durham is an example of neo-Gothic architecture, which has stone piers, pointed arches, and vaults to create large, open spaces.  Combined, these elements create immense areas that are a bit imposing upon first seeing them.  We've studied various types of architecture on other field trips, but this was our first stab at Gothic.  
With its spires and enormous, arched doorways and windows, the chapel - as well as the rest of West Campus' architecture - is a neo-Gothic architectural beauty.  All of the stone for construction came from a quarry in nearby Hillsborough.

Having grown up near here, I've always been somewhat in awe of this building's beauty, but seeing an old friend through the eyes of your children tends to bring out the new-ness again, doesn't it?  

Both inside and outside, the use of consecutive arches frames the hallways, looking somewhat like tesselations.

Even the use of light (such as in these stained-glass windows) and shadow add to the beauty and mystery of Duke Chapel!

Elementary Architecture Unit

First off... 

Our son's love for architecture stemmed from his love of all things Greek and Roman (ancient, of course).  Hence our hands-on history units for ancient civilizations!  So we will begin with a review of the basic architectural column designs.
Of the three columns found in Greece, Doric columns are the simplest. They have a capital (the top, or crown) made of a circle topped by a square. The shaft (the tall part of the column) is plain and has 20 sides. There is no base in the Doric order. The Doric order is very plain, but powerful-looking in its design. Doric, like most Greek styles, works well horizontally on buildings, that's why it was so good with the long rectangular buildings made by the Greeks. The area above the column, called the frieze [pronounced "freeze"], had simple patterns. 

Ionic shafts were taller than Doric ones. This makes the columns look slender. They also had flutes, which are lines carved into them from top to bottom. The shafts also had a special characteristic: entasis, which is a little bulge in the columns make the columns look straight, even at a distance [because since you would see the building from eye level, the shafts would appear to get narrower as they rise, so this bulge makes up for that - so it looks straight to your eye but it really isn't !] . The frieze is plain. The bases were large and looked like a set of stacked rings. Ionic capitals consist of a scrolls above the shaft. The Ionic style is a little more decorative than the Doric.

The Corinthian order is the most decorative and is usually the one most modern people like best. Corinthian also uses entasis to make the shafts look straight. The Corinthian capitals have flowers and leaves below a small scroll. The shaft has flutes and the base is like the Ionian. Unlike the Doric and Ionian cornices, which are at a slant, the Corinthian roofs are flat.
During our travels, we have visited and explored different styles of architectural homes, including :
Part of the fun of architecture is getting to express your unique individuality!!  Below are some fun activities for your students to explore their styles and do just that!
  • What Is Your Architecture Personality?
    • This quiz determines your architecture personality.   At the end of the quiz it tells you about the different styles of architecture.    This is definitely geared more towards adults than students, but the boys loved taking the tests lots of different ways to see what types of styles they could produce.
  • American House : Styles of Architecture Coloring Book
    • Crisp renderings of over 40 extant structures from Taos Pueblo to striking contemporaries. Spanish Colonial, Georgian, Stick, Gothic, many other styles. Rich and informative captions date, identify, and describe each dwelling.
  • How to Become an Architect
    • This page answers some of the most frequently asked questions about careers in architecture. The advice comes from several architects.
You can't learn about architecture without getting hands-on!  Here are some of the best kits and activities that we have stumbled upon so far.
  • Lego Architecture : Eiffel Tower
    • Lego has an entire line of architectural designs, ranging from $30 to $180.  The Eiffel Tower is on the lower range, and we spent a whole day studying France while building this one!!  (Double the learning, double the fun!)
  • Lego Architect Studio
    • This one is the mack-daddy of architectural sets from Lego...including a 300 page booklet and more bricks than any one child should own!
  • Young Architect Kit
    • Create a 3-dimensional design model in just 3 easy steps! Great for aspiring young architects, design and furnish your floor plan with templates and colored pencils that are included. To top it off, this building set is reusable, so you can start from scratch and redesign your floor plans over and over again for endless fun.

    Finally, David Macaulay's Building Big series at PBS offers students a chance to work with engineering concepts on an interactive site.  This site is the accompaniment to his DVD series, which was fascinating for our entire family.  Ranging from age 6 to Dad, we all enjoyed watching these videos together.

    This picture was taken just down the street from Duke Chapel....a visit to an old friend.  Remember to hug your loved ones and tell them just how much they mean to you!