Friday, September 28, 2012

SOLD 9/27/2012

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Slow and Steady

Fall Euinox

I can't believe that it is the first day of Autumn already.
It seems like just yesterday... 
it was spring.
I feel as if I have been in a deep sleep 
and have just awoken.

A bit like...

Rip Van Winkle
Gotta love some Washington Irving!
photo by: John Howe

I suppose that this is partly true.

I have not exactly been present in my body, lately.
I have not been taking care of my emotional, physical or spiritual needs.
Which has left me feeling like a square wheel.

In just about ALL the areas of my life.

But the times...
they are a changing!

I went to the doctor last week and it seems that I am having some positive results with my newest medication and supplemental vitamins.

Woo Hoo!
It is nice to finally have some progress in this part of my life.

 Wonderful Bounty

Remember all those wonderful big gourds that were given to me by a friend?

last weekend while Mary was at

The Barn

with some of her new barn buddies.
(ahhhh... ME time)
I was able to give myself some long over due TLC!

Man what some Rest, Meditation, Journaling and 
Peace and Quiet can do for one's soul.

By the end of the day I was out
scrubbing some gourds 
and getting some... 

Green Gourd Time

I had to dig out my scouring pads
and plunged my hands deep into the soapy water.

I have to say...

Wet, Soapy and Moldy!

What more could a girl ask for?
I got about a dozen 

Let'em Dry

... and they are ready to put away or start getting creative.
I am leaning more toward the 

I put them back in my studio to keep them dry, clean and ready to go.
This is the view from the back door of my studio
(zoomed of course)
A Vine

... full of 

Green Gourds!

There are actually two vines here...
and they both have several NICE gourds on each of them.

It is looking "as if" my future may have a little job security after all.

Gourd Seeds 

One of the gourds lost it's  neck
so I was able to 
remove the seeds with a promise of gourds in the years to come 
and to also share the wealth.

Final Projects

Mary's projects and final grades for her 6th Grade year are finally finished.
Yippie Ki Yea!
A weight has been lifted from my shoulders!
She was soooo... proud of herself!
I wish I could capture that excitement and bottle it!
As painful as this struggle was... 
to complete all the goals that Mary was given
and receive her final grade for Science, 
it was well worth it!
I am grateful for the opportunity it gave both of us 
to learn and grow from our mistakes
and continue on... 
more experienced in our Homeschooling journey.

She even wanted to take her Final Exam over
she wanted to bring her grade up.
Finally some self motivation!

Her final grade in Science was a ...

(Way to go Mary!)

She has now Officially put 6th Grade behind her 
and moved up to... 

7th Grade

New Schedule 

I decided to go ahead and start our 
new school year.
I know I said that I wasn't going to...
But alas...
the joys of homeschooling, 
get to make the decisions that work best for our family.

I am trying to ease her into the heaver work load that she will have this year.
It will be substantially more work than what she is used to.
She will have a few additional subjects this year
as well as 
the work being a bit more challenging.

Mary and I have certainly hit a few bumps in the road
but for the most part we are off to a good start.

I have spent a lot of time this year trying to get myself much more organized.  
I have made spreadsheets, printed out lesson plans, created a reading list and much more.  
I am not usually this structured.
But... again... it sure feels NICE to not feel like I am playing catch up.

A PLAN is nice!

I have to say...
I am kinda happy Mary chose not to play any fall sports.
It has allowed me to get caught up on some much neglected areas of our life
and Mary to focus more on her schoolwork 
and other responsibilities.


Language Arts

I just got our new Language Arts Curriculum in.
(it is the the same folks who put out her Math that I love)
It is the first official curriculum that we have used in L. Arts since we started homeschooling.
Up till now...
we have used an extremely eclectic approach to her reading, writing, grammar, spelling and phonics.

Because this was the subject that she needed the MOST help in.
Being the undiagnosed Dyslexic that she is.

she has come a long way in just two short years!
She is ready to tie it all together.

We will be supplementing with some Literature from her reading list.

Right now she is reading 

The Secret Life of Bees

I really enjoyed this book when I read it several years ago.  
I was afraid that it might be a little too mature for her.
But, she LOVES it!

I found a great Teacher's Guide .
Using it, I have been able created a Vocabulary List
as well as some
ideas for writing exercises, essay questions and field trips.

And to brag even more on my organized self...
I even have a TEST printed out and ready to go
for when we she is finished with this book.
I know...
I amaze myself to!

I just put in an order for some more used books from 

1.  The Hobbit by J R Tolkien 
2.  Complete Tales of Washington Irving by Washington Irving & Charles Neider
3.  Outrageous Woman of Ancient Times by Vickie Leon

and two of the three books I need for Mary's Math Curriculum.
I ordered a NEW copy of the Test and Worksheets from 

It is my plan to order her Science and Foreign Language by next week.
I keep going back and forth between 
Latin and Spanish
I can't make a decision.
Mary wants to learn Latin but I am afraid that she will loose interest.
I took Latin in middle school and Spanish in High School.
I wish I had only stuck with one through out both.

However, Latin did give me a love for WORDS!
And if she is to become a Veterinarian like she says she wants to do...
then Latin will be very useful.
For the time being I am using some 4-H curriculum 
to fill in till her General Science comes in.

We are going with Apologia General Science.
I have been very happy with their
curriculum so far.

I am a fan of the Charlotte Mason approach to learning.
It seems to work for Mary.

Ancient History

Bill has made a frame so we can make some homemade paper.
We are studying Ancient China and they were known for their paper making skills.
This should be FUN!


I don't know if you remember the yummy flounder Bill brought home from Wanchese several weeks ago when my girl, Dea was in town?

Well once again working in Wanchese has paid off!

Bill was given an awesome tip yesterday 
he was given over 20lbs. of 

Fresh NC Shrimp

He popped off all the heads, cleaned and packed them up in freezer bags
before I could say Bubba Gump!

I steamed up about 2lbs last night and this is 
all that was left.

Perfect for today's...


Once again my... 

Fair Lady

has been laid aside.
The embroidery ring that keeps my fabric stretched has broken.

One more thing to add to the ever growing list of things to fix.
Oh, well...
I am sure she won't mind waiting for another couple years.

I may get her finished one day.

But for now...
I am enjoying this fantastic cool weather!
It has finally cooled off enough to open the windows and not worry about being eaten alive by the blood thirsty Carolina state bird...
the mosquito!

I am also enjoying the sound from my gift that Dea's son, 
Drew picked out for me...

Wind Chimes

Thank you!

Once again my house is some what quiet!
Bill has gotten on board with some of my request for help
and is taking Mary out to the Barn on Saturday's.
It is becoming a constant.
I am overjoyed!

So, what WILL I do with this quiet time?
I will finish this Blog Post!
But what about the rest of my Saturdays?


I still have a few more gourds to ...


before it gets to chilly!

Then maybe I will go back into my abandoned... 


Dust Off ...

The Brushes

or the 

Carving Tools



and get my Green Gourd on!

Sounds pretty good to me... what do ya'll think?

It has been awhile since I have done anything creative for 
Green Gourd Creations.
It was brought to my attention recently that I don't have anything on my Etsy shop from later than 2008 or 2009.

Thank YOU!

But, she is right,  I don't!
I did have a few pieces that were a little more recent...
 they sold! 

But that was ...
April 2012

But three gourds does not a business make.
It feels like a lifetime ago!

Yes, I have been creative since then in many different ways but nothing to keep a business going and barely even a hobby.

I got a call from someone yesterday letting me know about a Craft Show at their school and was wondering if I would like to participate.

I don't really have enough inventory right now to do a show.
But maybe between Bill, Mary and I 
we could pull some things together to make an 
"inventory" to sell.


I better get my green arss into gear!

So, today is a new day...

a new season...

I am off and away!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Homeschool Back in Session

Clay Model

Well, school is not exactly back in session.
We are actually just tying up some loose ends from last year.
I know I thought that I would have been done with all this a while ago,
but things don't always work out the way we wish they would.
We got all of our 180 days in that we are legally bound to do,
we got our standardized testing done so 
we technically could move on to 
7th Grade.

But, I just don't roll like that...
This is one of the reasons I choose to homeschool.
So, I can educate my child in a way that is individually created for her needs.

I want her to learn ...
Personal Responsibility.
I want her to THINK for hersel.
Is it... 
Thoughtful, Honest, Intelligent, Necessary is it Kind?

I want her to be able to work independently and budget her time.
I want her to fully comprehend her
school work before moving onto something new.

I want her to understand that her education is the tool she needs 
to take her to all the places she dreams for in her future.
I want her to seek knowledge
not just swallow the medicine given to her, like a good little girl.

I want her education to be intentional... and relative.
In this process.
This journey is not always easy... or predictable.

No matter how much you study education in "Theory"
the application is not so rigid.

Just like parenting... 
no two children are alike and what works for one child may not for another.

Mary is a 

Tactile Learner... 

she absorbs more by doing than by simply reading something about a subject 
or being lectured on it.
Unless the lecture has Visual Aids like a movie or a field trip.

I kind of went of subject.

So back to school...

To come up with an end of year grade in 


She had to do 4 things.
1.  Take a final Exam
2.  Come up with a final Project and turn it in
3.  Make a Nature Journal and turn it in
4.  Turn in her completed Notebooking Journal.

COMPLETED being the emphasis.
Every lesson needed to be NEATLY corrected and anything that she had skipped over during the school year needed to be done.
They all needed to be presentation worthy and she was given a final deadline in which to turn them all in.

I gave her a month in a half to do all this.

Now granted...
this was all during the summer, with sports and all sorts of other things going on.
Our schedule was pretty much all over the place.

Yet I really though that she would rise to the occasion and get this all done.

My first Lesson...
was with her Final Science Exam.

I gave her a printed list of Review Questions and said 
"HERE... go Study!"

Three days later she took the test.
She failed miserably.

I hung my head in shame and disgust!

What happened?
After a very passionate conversation/lecture with Mary
I asked her "Did you even study?"
She responded...
"I looked up all the questions in the book"
It was at that point that I humbly came to the understanding that she had absolutely no idea 
HOW to Study.

It had never occurred to me that she would have needed this kinda of instruction.
This was a very eye opening experience for me.

Second lesson...

The deadline that I had given Mary to turn in all her Science work 
came and went.

So, I made excuses to myself of how she had a lot going on and maybe she just needed a little more time.
Because as a Homeschooling Mom, we want our child to succeed, right?

Then the second deadline came and went.
Now I was absolutely livid.

"That's it Mary, there has to be some consequences for your actions or inaction.
 I am giving you an F!"

She immediately started crying and grabbed her books and said ...
"I will do it NOW."

I angrily responded "NOWAY, you had your chance and you blew it.

I was so mad that I didn't even grade it.

Then we went to Virginia to pick up my niece Bayli to bring her back here for a visit.
While I was there I discussed my frustration over this with my brother.
An F to me is simply 

Now granted GRADES were not really something that was necessary for me as a homeschooler up to this point.
She liked seeing a grade... and if it was a C or lower then she needed to do the work over.
That's it.
No report card, no punishment... just do it till you get it done and you understand it.

Well with her going into 7th Grade and transcripts being something in our near future if she wanted to go on to college.
I figured we had better get use to a grading system.

I went off subject again!

Anyway, I was discussing Mary's F in Science with my brother and Celeste.
I know that I can be really strict sometimes
and I wondered if I were expecting to much from her.

When Celeste asked what Mary had picked for her final project and I told her that after going through ALL the projects in her book and narrowing it down to 3 she ultimately decided it would be
Plant a Tree

Celeste jumped up excitedly wanting to help Mary do this project.
It is what she does.

My knee jerk reaction was, 
"No Celeste!  She had her chance and she didn't do it"

Michael agreed with me that she needed to have a consequence for her actions/inaction
but she also needed to complete the task that she was given.

So I decided that she would still have to turn in all her work.
As soon as her cousin goes home, all her sport clinics were done and our friends from Ohio's vacation was over...
I would start taking points off her projects for every day that she did not turn them in.
Not counting the weekends.
However... she was grounded til all her work was finished.
That means 
no TV, computer, phone, play-dates or anything she "wanted" to do outside her normal responsibilities (like taking care of her horse or other animals).

Thank You, Talley's!

Celeste is a landscaper and she loves what she does.
She is constantly saving plants and trees from jobs that are either going to be thrown away and destroyed.

I have been the fortunate beneficiary of many of her saved greenery.

So, Mary has been given yet another opportunity to salvage a decent grade for her 

Final Botany Project

So we travel home with a glimmer of 


I told Mary that even though I was not going to start taking points off her projects til after all the summer commitments were over with and our company had left...
that it didn't mean she couldn't work on her projects before then.
I advised her that it would be in her best interest to try and get a head start on it.

Which I will say...
she did work on it a little.
Not as much as I would have liked for her to but she did make a small effort.

After speaking with some experienced educators about my worries and my expectations.
I realized that I had great expectations
they just may not be exactly 

I was told that
most kids Mary's age need to have things broken down for them.
That maybe I need to give her a syllabus
with more specific expectations that are outlined with multiple deadlines.

Especially with the larger projects like these.

Now the teacher and student are armed with new information and a PLAN.
Another chance for success.

Let's get Going

Monday was our first day back to doing classwork.

I wanted her to finish up all the lessons in her Math Book before we moved on to a new year.
There are 120 Lessons and she is on

Lesson 111

Only 9 Lessons, 1 Investigation and 2 Tests  to go.

Tree Identification

Celeste loaned Mary one of her Landscape books on Trees.
When we got home, 
Mary needed to identified her tree using the book 
before we took Bayli home.

Once she identified her tree,
she then copied the pages she needed on the

Japanese Maple

so she would have the reference material here
when she was ready to work on her project.


for her Japanese Maple.

Finished Project

All she needs to do now for this project to be finished is to do her written report.
She started by making an 


of all the things that were involved with this project.
Simply planting a tree was not all that was required of her to do.
She also needed to turn in a typed report or presentation, explaining what she did and what she had learned about her tree.

It is almost finished, I think she will have it done before the weekend is over, maybe even today.

She has also worked on her 

Nature Journal

I gave her a more specific guideline and she was ready to go.
She already had a good head start on this
project, she just needed to make a few adjustments to make.
Mary only had a handful of subjects left
to observe and 


After she had drawn the plant in it's natural enviroment.
She needed to come back and make small windows with a more detailed drawing of the bloom, leaf or fruit.

And for the finishing touch, she needed to write some 

Botanical Facts

about each of the 20 plants species that she drew.
This project is almost finished also.
She may have this one finished today also.

Mary went out with her dad not long after she woke up this morning to pick up some 
Report covers to turn in her Final Presentation.
She is so excited and proud of herself.

The only part of her science project still left to finish is her Notebooking Journal and this is the biggest portion of her grade.
But at the rate she is going it will finished in no time at all.

Anne Frank Test

This is a 5 part test.
She will start it Monday, taking one part each day.


It won't be long before we start adding all her new subjects like
Geography, Latin and Handwriting
and she is officially a

7th Grader!
I will be glad once we have all the bugs worked out of our new schedule and really get this ball rolling.