Creating -and actually using- Watercolor Paints (Part One)

Creating –and actually using– Watercolor Paints

(Part One)

This is a two part post.  In this first part, I will show and tell you how we decided to make our own watercolor paints.

The second part will be how to create a portable watercolor pan set to carry with you or to give as a gift.

Recently, I saw a video on Facebook that touted how easy it was to create your own watercolor paints.  As an artist, I spend way too much money on supplies.  Water color pans can be outrageously over-priced.  The idea of being able to actually make my own thrilled me.  This happened to coincide with Kira’s sudden interest in using watercolor paints, as well.  I began my search on the internet to find the easiest recipes I could find for safe, non toxic, and simple watercolor home-made paints.  Bare in mind, our results are far from professional grade paints, but for the purposes of what we wanted to do, they were perfect!

With a few simple ingredients, you can make watercolor paints while also making a fun science experiment!  Kira LOVES all things science, so we had a blast with this. Please note, there are actually hundreds of recipes out there for this.  It is really up to you which to  choose.  We went with the following ingredients because they were easy to obtain and Kira has been wanting to do an experiment where a liquid acts like a solid for a while now.

We used 4 tablespoons of baking soda

Kira measuring the baking soda

 

2 Tablespoons of white vinegar

Kira measuring vinegar

Half a teaspoon of light corn syrup

Kira measuring corn syrup

2 Tablespoons of corn starch

Kira measuring corn starch

Before the next step of adding the food coloring, we decided to play! We enjoyed touching and playing with the liquid that acts like a solid!!!

And finally, food coloring.  We used several drops to form the colors.  You can add as little or as much as you need for the desired color.  Bare in mind, the paints will dry significantly lighter than they first look after mixing them!

Kira adding color

We used basic toothpicks to blend the color.

Kira proudly displays the finished product!

Dry time will vary depending on your home’s temperature, the amount of food coloring, and the container you use to store your paint.  We used a mini ice cube tray that came with the mini fridge that  I use to store my insulin in. This was the perfect size for the measurements I have listed above.  If you are using a larger container, I suggest doubling the size of each ingredient.  Ours took about 32 hours to fully dry.  Once dried, they look powdery.

Ready to paint!

We grabbed our watercolor paper and were ready to begin!

Kira showing her work
My finished piece

We had a blast making and painting with these water color paints.  The texture is a bit gritty and hardly professional, as I stated previously.  However, as a fun and educational art lesson, these were perfect.  We are now prepared to make professional grade watercolor paints once we have used these up entirely.

Please see part two of this post (coming soon, link will be here) to see how to create a portable watercolor pan container to tote your paints or to give as a gift.

 

 

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The Year Is Almost Half Over

The Year Is Almost Half Over

Wait, what did I just say?

The year is what?!?!?!?!?! Okay, can someone please tell me where this year has gone? For me, quite possibly, it has gone to sleep.  This Graves Disease is kicking me in the rear.  Post my last Endocrinologist appointment, my medication has been increased.  Crossing my fingers that this helps.  The symptoms of having my thyroid ablation are certainly taking a physical toll.  I went from a multitasking maniac to a lazy blob! My ambition to do anything other than sleep is at an all time low.  I am not sure how long the increased dosage takes to make an effect, but it has now been 4 days. So far, I have been a bit more productive, albeit not as much as I would like. On the upside, my ophthalmologist says I am at 20/20 and my vision issues are simply eye fatigue.  Guess all this sleeping makes my eyes tired?????

My over ambitious self has a million tasks that I want to do, plus a million more that are presently incomplete…  The biggest of which being the book I am presently illustrating.  It has been 5 months now….normally by now, I would have had everything complete, and here I sit still working on the illustrations! Thankfully, the author and the production company are completely understanding and patient with me. I wish I could be as patient with myself.

One of the illustrations I am presently working on

I have acquired new tools to begin my greeting card line endeavor. It seemed silly to allow another company to sell my cards and reap the rewards by keeping the lion’s share of the profits for my work and design. Thankfully, my family is extremely supportive in this expensive venture. Anything artistic I try to do, they always allow me to dive in head first.  Their support is an amazing blessing for which I shall always be grateful.  I also know the investment is not foolhardy when my daughter is a creative artist too.  Now, if only we had a home that would support this both structurally and specially we would be set! If I sell enough cards…

First trial making a shadow box card

I also received my new set of lenses.  Photography has become one of my favorite hobbies lately. There is something so incredibly satisfying about capturing what I see as I see it and being able to share it with others.  My art is always fantasmical and photography has become my realism. Nature is simply too gorgeous to not photograph.

cool mishap, picture of the lens

Then there is this little high schooler here.  How my baby has turned into a high schooler seemingly over night is beyond me.  With high school comes career choices and extra studies, college focusing and testing.

Adding in the little other chores life provides, cooking, cleaning, pets, review, etc….

So sleeping over 8 hours each day is not acceptable, yet if I get less than 10 I am unable to function lately. This is even with coffee!

 

 

 

 

Memoria Press Traditional Logic I Complete Set (A Review)

Memoria Press

Traditional Logic I Complete Set

 

Today I will be reviewing Traditional Logic I Complete Set from  Memoria Press.

 

As you can clearly see, Kira was very excited when the package from Memoria Press arrived!!!

For those of you who follow our Home School Journey regularly, you will know we are big fans of Memoria Press. Their educational materials have been a staple for us throughout our journey.  Within as much, when Memoria Press Traditional Logic I Complete Set arrived, Kira could not wait to open the box and see what was inside.  Kira says her favorite part of  Memoria Press packages is how inclusive the materials are. Everything you need is in one box! This certainly helps us in today’s hectic world.  Anything that will save me a step or two is a God send. Gone are the days when I had time to go to the Library or Barnes And Nobel to search for reference materials or spend hours online searching.  Now that Kira is a high school student, our focus must stay on topic and there is little time left for much else!

Within as much, it was no surprise to be completely impressed with the contents of the box! This Traditional Logic I Complete Set is truly COMPLETE!

We adapted our daily lessons to include at least two hours per day to work on the Traditional Logic I Complete Set.  Each day, Kira would diligently bring the student text, student workbook, and the student quizzes and tests book to her desk. Kira tends to work at a faster pace than most students, as we do home school lessons year round.  Mind you, we do take vacations and give Kira holidays off! Because Kira does work fast, she averaged finishing approximately one week’s lesson each day.  Again, this is not a normal pace. We try to go over each lesson again the next day to ensure she has actually committed it all to memory.  We noticed Kira was finishing books rapidly when she was very young.  Although it did seem impressive, she was not fully remembering all that she had read.  Now she knows to always go over everything at least a second time to ensure she will not forget it later. We also make sure to quiz again each and every chapter upon completion.  This helps ensure Kira has fully grasped each lesson fully.  Here are a few examples of the lessons and quizzes Kira completed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kira enjoyed Memoria Press Traditional Logic I Complete Set immensely. Kira said,
“The lessons were short, simple, and were easy to understand, because they were explained fully and in great detail. I had a lot of fun completing these lessons and learning a new way to see and think about logic.  I had never thought of these concepts in this way before. I know this will help increase my learning among my other subjects as well.  It certainly has helped to increase my vocabulary!”

 

The  Memoria Press Traditional Logic I Complete Set comes with:

Text – A beautiful book to accompany the workbook, full of everything your child needs to complete his/her lessons.  Kira says that the definitions help her comprehend what otherwise would be words that are hard to understand.

Student Workbook – This workbook contains approximately 4-7 pages of exercises per lesson. The lessons are laid out in a way to ensure your student learns. Kira says her favorite part of the work book is that it includes reviews of the previous chapter at the end of each lesson.

Quizzes And Tests Book- This will help enforce your child’s learning and comprehension. Kira expressed that the tests and quizzes ensure she is mastering the lessons, and said they are challenging but not impossible.

Instructional DVD – Set of 2 Discs These will help to ensure mastery by reinstating concepts.  We love that they include downloadable lecture slides!

The Teacher Key- This will help you grade all quizzes and tests.

We highly recommend Memoria Press Traditional Logic I Complete Set for all.  We already are preparing to get Kira Traditional Logic II Complete Set  next!

 

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Critical Thinking Detective: Vocabulary from The Critical Thinking Co.™ (A Review)

 

Critical Thinking Detective: Vocabulary

From

The Critical Thinking Co.™

 

Today I will be reviewing Critical Thinking Detective: Vocabulary from The Critical Thinking Co.™.

My little detective was quite excited when Critical Thinking Detective: Vocabulary from The Critical Thinking Co.™ arrived.
We have used their books and software throughout our homeschooling journey over the years. Kira is a big fan of the Word Roots series and actually chose The Critical Thinking Co.™  logo as one of her study examples within her Graphic Design lessons. Needless to say, Kira was eager to dive in! And she certainly was not disappointed! As this is geared towards 5th through 12th graders, Kira found this one a little easy, albeit time consuming, as her three year old dictionary was missing many of the words provided as choices. Kira gets very annoyed when she has to go look things up.  It seems as though she would prefer the world at her fingertips…insert a Google search here, and world at your fingertips provided! I lovingly call this, teenageitus. Bare in mind, Kira is not allowed to use the internet unsupervised.  We are a bit strict on this, as I have mentioned previously.  No matter how safe or secure you may believe your web browser is, believe me, it is not, and to avoid any further problems within our household, we have opted to ensure Kira’s safety when using the internet. So, if Kira has to look things up, she has to not only get permission but have us watch her do so.

Kira was able to complete one mystery per day with ease.  As a supplement, I would believe any student between grades 5 through 12 could easily complete at least two mysteries per week.

They mysteries are set up cleverly, and the illustrations are colorful and eye appealing.  The stories and suspects are believable which helps engage the student.

Kira has always loved logic puzzles of any shape or form and found  Critical Thinking Detective: Vocabulary from The Critical Thinking Co.™ to be quite fun, although not as challenging for her as she would have liked them to be.  Again, bare in mind, she is 14 and had been doing logic puzzles for many years on multiple levels. In her opinion.  Critical Thinking Detective: Vocabulary from The Critical Thinking Co.™  would be best suited for children in middle school.  Kira was excited to learn many new words that she had never used, heard, or even read before.

If there were one aspect that Kira could change about  Critical Thinking Detective: Vocabulary from The Critical Thinking Co.™  it would be this; Kira would like for it to delve more into the vocabulary lessons to affirm and ensure proper comprehension of the vocabulary words and their definitions.  We have opted to do this on our own, now that she has completed  Critical Thinking Detective: Vocabulary from The Critical Thinking Co.™ , and Kira will be creating a story compromised of each vocabulary word.  We did a similar lesson many moons ago when Kira was learning her prepositions to ensure she could memorize them.  It certainly did help us a great deal.

 

 

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Living The Dream

I always giggle when someone tells me they are jealous of how I can sit around and draw all day. I have been told by several that I am living the dream.
If that were what I did, I could see why someone might envy me. However, that could not be further than the truth. In a year, I earn less than what an average minimum wage salary provides. And for that I work, on average, 120 hours a week. Out of those 120 hours, you may be surprised to learn that approximately only 30-40 hours are actually spent ‘drawing’. Behind the scenes, I do way more. I am doing social media managing and marketing, all PR, all advertising, and customer service completely alone. I am not allowed to use my own Imagination on every project and have to create what another wants. This means multiple revisions to achieve what a client sees as perfection. On virtually every book, with the exception of two children’s stories that I have illustrated, I also did the editing, formatting, cover creating, and submitting to the printers as well as all advertising, social media and book trailers.
Why do I bring this up today? Because I just spent my entire morning and afternoon updating my own website, http://www.alysathena.com/ to reflect new laws. If you are anything like me, you really never read the “terms of service”, “privacy policies”, or “use of cookies”. Yet I had to add these lovely bits of information. So when you think I am doodling and drawing all day long and how lucky I am, please realize, I work. I work VERY hard. It is incredibly time consuming and hardly lucrative. Most part-time workers earn more in a week than I do in two months.
I love my job because I am able to do it even though I am disabled and can still educate Kira.
I am not complaining at all, I know I am blessed.
But, please, never confuse my hard work for luck.

Welcoming May

Is it only me, or is anyone else also finding it hard to believe that this year is nearly half way over? I think time has somehow sped up. I hear it goes faster the older you get, and with this pace, it has me envisioning that soon a year will feel like a day used to. I swear it was just February.

With summer rapidly encroaching, the temperatures are drastically increasing.  Gone are the days of doors and windows open and enjoying the beautiful breezes.  Only to be replaced with hiding indoors with the house sealed up like a drum and the ac running full blast!  Oh, how I miss my pool; which reminds me, hurricane season will be here shortly as well.  Remind me again why people love Florida?

I have ten million (yes, I am absolutely exaggerating) projects running at once here.  From gun powder art to virtual sculpting.  It seems my art projects are as disorganized as my thoughts lately.  I have so very many things I want to complete yet seldom seem to find the adequate time to do so!

Here are a few of the artistic projects I am amidst presently.  Eventually I will complete something, maybe!

This is *Prismatic Lepidote* The Wayward Discus Fish, a part of my Wayward Critter Series. This series combines artistic creations in multiple mediums from digital to hand-painted characters of a surreal nature.

This is a peek into the next book I am amidst illustrating for the incredibly talented Barbara Poor.  I am quite honored to be working with her once again; this will be our fourth title together!

I have begun hand painting cameo style pendants that will feature my original lowbrow characters.

Here are just two of the many virtual reality sculptures I am amidst creating. They will be included in my Wayward Critter Series once they have been completed.

This is another virtual reality venture.  This one has a steeper learning curve, as you can see.

Here are two of the paintings I am currently working on.

As you can see, I have quite a bit going on at once, and this is not everything.  There is much, much more. Stay tuned to for a post on making water color paints and painting with them!

In the interim, I am off for now to try and actually finish something, if anything, that I have started!

Christian Heroes: Then & Now – C.S. Lewis From YWAM Publishing (A Review)

 

Christian Heroes- C.S. Lewis

From

YWAM Publishing

 

Today I will be reviewing Christian Heroes- C.S. Lewis from YWAM Publishing. It is from their Christian Heroes Then And Now Series.  Kira was extremely excited to begin this lesson! She is a big fan of C.S. Lewis.  The Chronicles of Narnia is among her favorite collections of series. It was no surprise to see her dive straight into the book when it arrived!

You will also note that Kira has the study guide open on our desktop as she was reading. I cannot tell you adequately enough how amazing the study guide is!

The included incredible study guide contains everything you need! I was simply amazed at all there is! The unit study curriculum guide is absolutely incredible. Kira loves it too. I can print it out or leave it on the computer, which is especially nice as we share the computer.  I could conceivable plan a year’s worth of lessons with this guide!  It is, simply put, INCREDIBLE! From key bible verses to memorize, to chapter questions, and everything in between. Kira loved the student activities!

Kira has a folder designated specifically for  Christian Heroes- C.S. Lewis from YWAM Publishing! Above she is working on maps of the United Kingdom and a map of Europe. At one point, Kira had her globe out and was searching; amidst this, she expressed how much she was enjoying these lessons. The activities with the maps alone are phenomenal!

Perhaps one of the best parts, for me personally, was when Kira mentioned she had many theological questions that reading  Christian Heroes- C.S. Lewis from YWAM Publishing brought to mind.  Any home school parent will tell you, a curious child is a learning child! My beautiful teenager had a full page of questions ready for me.  Ranging from topics like, “Who made God?” to “Why does God let innocent children suffer?” I welcomed the questions, not as a means to force my beliefs and faith on Kira, but as an opportunity to share with her what I believe personally, as well as what others believe.  I told her it is up to her to decide which faith feels right for her and what she believes will help guide her.  It was the first significant conversation we had had about God in many years.  Kira also expressed the wonderment of learning about an author she admired. As an aspiring author herself, I believe  Christian Heroes- C.S. Lewis from YWAM Publishing was an important tool on her journey.

We have lessons that will surely last us throughout the year now, but are already looking to  Christian Heroes Then And Now Series from  YWAM Publishing. We are considering David Livingstone next, although I honestly wouldn’t mind any of the available titles.

We also have looked over the Heroes Of History from YWAM Publishing  and will be incorporating several titles into Kira’s history studies within our curriculum!

I asked Kira what she thought about  Christian Heroes- C.S. Lewis from YWAM Publishing and she said, “I enjoyed reading the book. It was concise and beautifully written.  The book provided many details into aspects of his life that I would have never otherwise known. I especially enjoyed learning about what was behind The Chronicles of Narnia. The study guide was AWESOME! The chapter questions were both fun and thought provoking, causing me to reflect upon what I read, and ensuring I fully understood each concept presented within. The student activities were fun; I could not possibly choose a favorite!”

We highly recommend Christian Heroes Then And Now Series from  YWAM Publishing. Kira especially recommends Christian Heroes- C.S. Lewis!

 

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