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Heidi the Cycling Seamstress

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Heidi's Adventures!

Altering some Jean shorts

So I got some Jean shorts for Bee that were a bit too big, so what do I do best? I altered them! Altering is all about deconstructing a garment to take it in or let it out. Then you get to put it back together to fit the awesome person it is for.  Here are some pictures from Bee's altered shorts. The alteration took about 15 minutes in total to do, so I would consider that a win.  I have another pair of shorts for her that I need to alter as well, I will get to those this week though.

Worried about Food? get gardening!

Our family has a small, urban yard. We have cultivated a small garden plot next to our shed, that we have been gardening for the better half of 12 years.  I wanted to try something different this year, once I clear out our plot from last years debris, I am going to use grow bags. I have already bought these cavernous bags to grow our  harvest in.  I have the micro watering system in  my spare room ready to be cut and put together for when I set up the garden.

Even though I have the grow bags, one of my first challenges is to figure out how much container soil I need to fill the grow bags.  The bags use gallon measurements, so I will have to convert over to cubic feet. Luckily google makes that easy with their conversion widget that you can use when you search how to convert gallons to cubic feet.

So here is my break down:

  • Black rectangle grow bag- 16 cubic ft
  • Green rectangles x2- 4 cubic feet
  • 6, 25 gallon grow bags- 18 cubic feet
  • Purple 50 gallon grow bags x2 - 13 cubic feet

So I need a total of 51 cubic feet of container soil. If the average container soil bag/raised bed garden soil bag is around 2 cubic feet, I will need approx, 25 bags of container soil to fill the grow bags I have.  Looks like at Home depot, the soil bags I need are around $9 a bag. It looks like it is going to cost me about 225 dollars to get all the container soil I need for this years garden.  I am going to try and make it pretty to so I would like to pick up flag stones to make little walkways in the garden plot.  Only doing a quick search at Home Depot I can only find stone by the pallet, I don't need that much so I probably will have to go in and do pricing on my own.  No biggie, my seedlings are still small so I have got some time before I will have to plant.

That brings me to another great thing to mention, with transplants that you start inside you will have to, "harden them off" which is gardeners speak for acclimating the transplants to outside conditions. You start by putting them outside for little bits at a time then you finally graduate to leaving them outside full time. 

I still need to put some work in clearing out last years garden and getting this years set up fleshed out.  Now for the homeschool tie in.  There is tons of free gardening curriculum out there, and I found some that I should be able to use with kids to get them into growing their food.  I was looking for some curriculum quickly this morning and found the Rodale institute. They have a really nicely set up website about, My first Garden. The curriculum is for little kids, but is adaptable for older kids.  Here is the website. It has been colder a little longer than usual as we are in a bit of a cold/ice snap. But then again, my transplants are little so we have plenty of time.  I am going to dive into this curriculum a little deeper and give my pros and cons about it in another blog post.

Reading and unschooling

Dr. Peter Gray is a huge advocate of unschooling and the Sudbury schools. He shares his research on how the unschooling method really does work for people.  Here is an article about unschooling kids and how they learn to read.
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/freedom-learn/201311/the-reading-wars-why-natural-learning-fails-in-classrooms?fbclid=IwAR07-EVQ-N9XBAE21z-i2a8J_5OoRumP7OXVs-WLb2_sLGFIKHCf1-gIF3A

Explaining Homeschooling

Here at the Wunder house, we are a mix of Sudbury style school and eclectic home school.  The kids gain their social emotional learning from being able to actually have time to hang around with their friends at Sudbury school.  They follow their passions to learn what they need to.  Now you may say, whoa, that is crazy. It is not that crazy, my kids love to learn.

Can Thor and Bee read and write, yes. Are they good at math, yes.  We do practice those subjects at home.  Tim and I have a theory that if you have reading and writing literacy, along with numerical literacy, the world is your oyster.  Being able to access the information you want is important.

Passions: Thors passions are history, ships and 3D modeling.  When it comes to history, Thor loves it all.  WWI and WWII are some of his top history passions. He also enjoy military history.  How does he learn it? He learns it through watching documentaries, You tube videos and PC games that have a history background.  He loves the wild and wacky Maus and Rat tanks of the WWII German reich. The early jet fighters, the list goes on.  We make sure he has access to the information and he learns it by himself, because he is interested.

Bee loves the minecraft you tuber Aphmau. She has learned about making you tube videos. She loves fashion and likes to dress up as certain people.  Not famous people, but like a artist or and designer. That is how she learns and experiences. She enjoys drawing fashion designs and stimming with squishmallow plushies.  Bee also loves to build animal houses out of card board. She just finished a little house for our cat, Moona. She learns how to measure and design buildings by using cardboard.

Kids are so wired to learn, if you just let them.

Social Emotional Learning

I just read an article on the need for social emotional learning.  I am going to say straight up, this is why most people send their kids to public school, is to socialize.  I am going to break your brain a little bit.  Kids in public school have so much external control from the adults that they do not have the time or ability in put in actual social emotional learning.  Currently public school is trying desparately to catch kids up to so called on grade learning levels, that they don't have time for social emotional learning.  Now you may or may not know that Tim and I send Thor and Bee to a Sudbury school.  A Sudbury school is a direct democratic school. Both children and mentors have an equal vote in what goes on at the school.


Thor and Bee do like that they have a vote and a voice in what happens in their school, but on to social emotional learning.  Kids in Sudbury schools have the time and ability to learn how to interact with their peers, whether that peer is their age or younger or older.  They have time to develop friendships, time to get to know the other kids and adults that are part of the Sudbury community.  There is no time in public schools to develop friendships. you are always doing busy work or moving from place to place within the school in a highly regimented way.  The way they move kids through out the school reminds me of the military, (yes I was in the Air Force for a tour of 6 years, so I am speaking from experience.)

Now comes an interesting part, Thor and Bee are both Neurodivergent,(Austim and ADHD). Neurodivergent people, and I say people because we are seeing a wave of adults that are either self diagnosing or are able to find a medical professional who is able to diagnose an adult, have a hard time with social cues. Sudbury has been a blessing for us, because both Thor and Bee have been learning how to navigate social situations because of the time that they have had to be able to learn with people who are similar to them.  They have the time to develop friendships. They are not forced to develop friendships, but are allowed to develop them at their own pace. 

Unfortunatly public school is so focused on Academic success that they simply don't have the  time to allow natural social emotional learning for kids on their own terms.


 

Girl Scout Outdoor progression

Between grabbing a bite to eat and loads of office type work, I wanted to sit down and share Girl Scout Outdoor progression.  Helping Girls get the confidence to get outside can be a challenge!  Some girls never really spend time outside of their house, so being in a Girl Scout troop can be the vehicle for that discovery and progression to getting there.  In my troop we are just starting that progression.  There is a workshop you can take called Outdoor 101. This allows you to get going on outdoor girl progression and can take you all the way to a back yard camp out. Back yard camp outs are super fun and is great way to get girls exposed to the outdoors.  Here is a picture of the Girl Scout outdoor progression chart:

So the first step is Look out.  This is where your story telling can really come alive.  I have so many outdoor/camping stories from my days as a young Girl Scout, (I am a lifetime member!) encourage girls to share their outdoor stories. This is great because you can really get a feel for where each girl is and what step to take next with them. 

 

Meet out.  Have a meeting outside at a park. Our troop is going into second year brownies and we are working on the eco friend badge and this badge covers great topics like observing the natural world and starting to learn about the leave no trace principles. (See attached picture)  Our next meeting for the year we will be observing nature at one of our local parks.

 

After we have done the eco friend badge, we are going to move on to the next step which is planning a small walk.  We are lucky to live in an area that has some great paved, multi-purpose trails that go through some Nature parks. If we have the space we can even do an indoor sleep over to get girls used to being in different environments than their home.  This is important especially with younger girls who may not have much experience away from their families.

 

Explore out is taking that next step of learning what to pack to bring along on a hike in a state or national park.  This is the plan ahead and prepare part of Leave no trace.  State parks are great because you can get maps of trails ahead of time and you can practice and explain how to dress for a hike and the weather.  This may take a couple of meetings.  I can see one meeting about learning how to dress for the weather with a clothing relay game and I can see another meeting on the basics of reading a map so the girls can follow and plan out a route they may want to hike at the state park.

 

Cook out.  If you have young girls, they may not know how to cook for themselves. This is a wonderful step that I can see being done in a couple of meetings.  One of your meetings you decide on a simple meal, make the shopping list for that meal.  You can then have the girls meet at the grocery store to do the shopping, then you can have a meeting where you help the girls cook the meal they planned.  Because we are focusing on camping, and due to burn ban restrictions, I always recommend learning to cook on a camp stove. That way you won't be scrambling to change plans if you can't have a fire.  I am in Texas, so burn bans are frequent.  If you want to learn how to cook on a fire and there is no burn ban in effect, portable fire pans are really efficient and you can get a good cooking fire going, ( they tend to be hotter and less flames) you will be able to teach the girls that to cook over a fire, you will need to start it way before you are actually cooking so your food cooks completely. ( you would not want anybody to get sick from under cooked food.)

 

Sleep out is my favorite! If you have done the outdoor 101 training, this is the top of where you can go.  Does somebody have a back yard big enough to accommodate some tents?  Then go for it! this is great way to get parents involved in the troop, plus it helps bolster the confidence of the girls for sleeping away from their folks/family and outside with different sounds and experiences

 

I am going to do camp out and adventure out in one paragraph. Camp out is a 1 to 2 night camping trip. service unit encampments, week end camping trips at a local state park that is where camp out goes.  With the experience and confidence that have learned from the other steps of progression, they are ready to take on more outdoor skills.  Adventure out would most likely be for older girls who are planning on camping for multiple day trips, backpacking trips and that of the like.  If those older girls have gone through the outdoor progression, they will be ready with the skills they have learned on their way up through the scouting ranks to tackle multi- day trips.

 

Some points to take away.  If you are in the Girl Scouts of Texas Oklahoma Plains council, The outdoor 101 training will be able to let you be able to go as far as camping in a back yard.  The Cabin training will allow you to take your troop to cabin camping and tent camping will allow you to take the girls tent camping at a place like a state park. I hope you enjoyed this little post on Outdoor progression! I am outdoor 101 trained and have Leave no trace training, so if you need some help with either shoot me an email and I will see what I can help you with !

Strava rides! I am tracking my rides now with Strava!

3D printed brackets for mounting a solar panel to a trailer for charging ebike batteries

Video of making a mask!

The making of Face masks

Like it or not, Face masks have been a part of our life for close to a year now.  They are key in helping us keep others safe from COVID.  When in March of last year COVID hit the scene here in Texas, I started making reusable face masks.  I am very trash conscious so a good reusable mask was the way to go.  I hand wash my masks and let them air dry of course!  Now that we can get all kinds of awesome cotton fabric, (yes I still use cotton) I decided to document a little bit of mask making I did the other day. I don't remember where I got the pattern, but I sew a simple structured face mask with elastic ear loops and metal nose bands.

I found this great rainbow swirly fabric that was in a fat quarter size.  I love fat quarters you can get about 2 masks from 1 fat quarter, so you can have all sorts of fun prints! As you can see I brought out my trusty mask pattern which was printed out then affixed to some card stock for a little more durability.  As you can see my pattern is well used!  I made these masks out of the adult size. I do have a teenager/womens size and two kids sizes.  I use two layers of cotton fabric for the outside and then inside.  For the middle layer I use Hepa filter fabric to really help keep those germs to one's self.  Because we know that when wearing a mask our breathing foot print is loads smaller and that is important for keeping the spread of COVID on the low.

So all of this makes two masks.  There is the inner, outer, middle and the nose band pocket, which is the size of bias tape.  I have a bias tape maker so this step is super fast.  I cut out the fabric, feed it through the bias maker and press.  Once it is out, I press again to fold it in half and then it is ready to be sewn on to hold the nose band. I sew the nose band pocket on the inside of the mask so the band can be taken out when washing or replaced if worn out.

Here we have everything stitched together. Once you make your sandwich of mask layers you sew the top and the bottom.  You then flip the mask right side out and give it a good straightening out.  Then you begin to top stitch and add the ear loops all in one.  Once you are done top stitching all you need to do is add the nose band into the little pocket and you have a structured face mask!  It takes about 10 to 15 minutes to make a couple of masks. 

Please, please don't forget to wear you mask if you have to go out.  We all want to be able to get back to life on a regular scale.  Just remember with all of the normalizing of wearing masks, once we are through COVID, if you are sick with even a common cold, wear your mask, you will help keep other people healthy and that is a really considerate thing you can do!  As an additional note, with all the mask wearing, there hasn't been as many cases of the flu this year.

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/index.htm  

I know that mask wearing has helped and many, many people have gotten the flu vaccine this year. Keep up the good work people and remember to have fun with your masks!

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