Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Art Day!

Looking at the Ambleside Online Art Schedule for the 13-14 school year, I found someone we have already studied in part: John Singleton Copley. Usually folks know him for his very famous portrait of Paul Revere. I love that painting because its fine details are incredible, and his use of white to make his silver shine is just superb. However, they also link to another of his paintings that I have seen before, but I never knew the story; Watson and the Shark. (Click to see it up-close.)

From Wiki:
The painting is based on an attack that took place in Havana harbour in 1749. Brook Watson, then a 14-year-old cabin boy, lost his leg in the attack and was not rescued until the third attempt, which is the subject of the painting.

This painting was done more than once and the details at the Wiki link are fascinating. The man in the water certainly doesn't look like any 14 year-old I know!

Copley had never seen a shark before and I think you can tell that here when you look at the animal up close. What do you think of it?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A Picaboo Yearbook Journey - My Review

When I found out that we were going to be reviewing a yearbook from Picaboo Yearbooks for the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I was excited. I have never done an online photo book like this before so the whole process was brand new to me. I share this because if it is brand new to you too, you don't need to be concerned that you won't figure it out! It is easy and there are many tutorials to help you if you get stuck.

We were given a 20-page, 8.5" x 11" softcover yearbook to create from scratch for our families. There are hardback versions available too and you can add more than 20 pages if you wish. (Product choices here.) The turn-around time on the yearbooks is three weeks. (This does not count your "creative" time.) I devoted a lot of hours to mine because I was making a keepsake yearbook for my graduating daughter and I wanted it to be very special.

You begin by logging in to the site, clicking on, "Create a Yearbook," and get going! There is a process you will go through to create the specific pages you want to make. These are called sections. You can create the sections with names like "Cover" or "Page 4-5." After this I uploaded a ton of photos. This can take a while depending on your connection and the number of photos you want to upload at one time. I have high speed cable internet so it didn't take long for the batches of photos to upload, but I did have one time where it "glitched" on me and I had to log out, log back in, and begin the upload for that batch over again. Once I had all the photos uploaded, I then started creating. Below is a photo for a blank two-page spread. This is what you start with.

(Click to enlarge.)

I began by looking for a background (on the right). I wanted each two-page spread to have a different background and I wanted it to be just right. There are hundreds of backgrounds to choose from and each of them are categorized. I spent the bulk of my time doing this because it had to be just right. Click on the page you wish to add the background to and then start searching for the backgrounds. Once you find a background, you click on it and click on the page you want it to fill. The cover background will wrap around, but the others require one for each page. This is one of the ones I chose:

From there I could do two things: drag the photos I wanted to use onto the page and arrange them myself or use a template. The template choices are also on the right and look like this:

There are sections for print or captions and many different layouts for any number of photos. Almost any type of font can be used for text and in any size, shape or color.

This is the finished page for this background:

As you can tell, I used a lot of photos and two different kinds of text. I used some quotes I knew my daughter loved and photos of many of her friends. This was a template but I needed more photos so I dragged them to the page and aligned them where I wanted them. I was able to shrink any of the photos to the sizes I needed them to be, and move them within the border to showcase a portion of the photo I wanted. The white flower on the left is one of the stickers the program allows you to use. I wish they had more choices of stickers as they were a fun add-on, but were limited in selection.

These are two examples of the two-page spreads from our book:


As you can see, the backgrounds are quite varied! There are softer designs and solid colors along with solid-colored backgrounds that look textured. There is a great variety here.

Age range for a product like this is going to vary. If you don't mind your children helping you create it, and they understand how to do it, you can work together to make a special book as a family. I did all the work myself on ours; each family will differ.

The pricing is incredibly reasonable for this 20-page keepsake at $8.49. You can add pages for only 22 cents each! The shipping for my book was $10.99, but it looks like they have lowered the shipping price to $8.99. Either way, the book was around $20.

What did we think?

It was spectacular upon arrival. I mean it was absolutely gorgeous. The photo quality was extremely high and the font choices against the backgrounds I selected were perfect and easy to read. The book has a sturdy thick cover and the photo pages are nice and strong. It has been handled already by quite a few people and the pages have not been ripped at all. To say I am very pleased is a great understatement!

Picaboo Yearbooks entirely lived up to my expectations and delivered a gorgeous product. I cannot recommend it highly enough. I will definitely be doing this for each child as they graduate. There is so much to celebrate about your children and this is just one way to do it.

To see what the other Schoolhouse Review Crew folks thought of Picaboo Yearbooks, just click this link:


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Monday, July 08, 2013

Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence

We sang this in church the other day. Our church sings hymns and this is one of the more ancient and beautiful. This was written in the 400's. I love singing hymns that have been in the church for so long. It is taken from Habakkuk 2:20: "But the Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him.” If you take the time to read the words you will be humbled by the power of God and the glory of the Lord. It makes me think of the terrible yet wonderful sacrifice that the Lord made for His children.

As Philippians 2:8-12 says:

And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 

Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence

Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
And with fear and trembling stand;
Ponder nothing earthly minded,
For with blessing in His hand,
Christ our God to earth descendeth
Our full homage to demand.

King of kings, yet born of Mary,
As of old on earth He stood,
Lord of lords, in human vesture,
In the body and the blood;
He will give to all the faithful
His own self for heavenly food.

Rank on rank the host of heaven
Spreads its vanguard on the way,
As the Light of light descendeth
From the realms of endless day,
That the powers of hell may vanish
As the darkness clears away.

At His feet the six winged seraph,
Cherubim with sleepless eye,
Veil their faces to the presence,
As with ceaseless voice they cry:
Alleluia, Alleluia
Alleluia, Lord Most High!
(Trinity Hymnal, 193)

Monday, July 01, 2013

Well, the one thing this heat does is...

Make the garden grow! I can't complain about that!

Those of you that have not been following my weather posts, this is what is expected here this week:

Pretty gross all around, but the tomatoes and the melons sure love it!

Here is my garden update. It has been three weeks since I posted photos and now you will see why I like EarthBoxes so much!

Here is the top view of my bush beans. The plants are so large they are starting to fall over with their weight so I took the photo from the top as the metal around them that holds them up is not very pretty.

The cantaloupe - that I think is just so pretty!
(Please ignore the weeds!)

The honeydew melon:

My glorious peppers that are ripening!

It is hard to tell the size of these peppers - the one below is easily close to a foot long.

And these are the black ones:

Such a lovely shade of red!

My second zucchini is just about ready to produce. The dark green color of the leaves is just so pretty to me.

My cucumbers are reaching maximum and are producing all these strangely shaped things that taste great, but do look martian-like. :D

Monster tomato number 1. 

Finally seeing these beautiful babies. They will love the heat!

Tomato number 2:

Can't wait for the harvest!

How does your garden grow?