Saturday, May 4, 2013

MN themed Homeschool day - and turning a skirt into a vest.

Well this week has come and gone feeling like a bit of a whirlwind and so my normal series of posts that I do on Wednesday and Thursday did not happen. Sorry about that. Lord willing I will be back to normal next week. :-)

  This week had a bit more activity than normal but as of tonight pretty much everything that I needed to do is done.

  • Hold a recital for my music students. Check! That was Sunday afternoon.
  • Make presents for and enjoy birthdays with my Mom and niece. Check!
  • Finish up our yearly achievement tests (required in MN) and mail them. Check!
  • Have our most time intensive and exciting homeschool co-op day for the year. Check!
  • Arrange and deliver wedding flowers. Check! (The wedding was this evening.)
  • Travel to a nearby town and pick up our bees. Check! (Ken and I went and did that after I delivered the flowers and then took the kids to my parents. - We had a fun date night!)
  • Put together a floral quote for another bride.
Then of course there was the normal stuff like our normal homeschooling, cleaning, cooking, teaching music lessons and such. It has been a busy week and I have been so thankful for the strength that God has given each step of the way. God is so very good!

  I told you that this month I was going to have a bunch of posts about remaking clothes. I thought it would be fun to tell you today about our fun homeschool day and a costume that I made that involved a clothing remake.

  The theme for our homeschool co-op day this month was Minnesota. Many of the months when we get together the kids are required to prepare something to present but this month the kids for the most part (though many of them did help with preparations to be sure!) had it easy and the parents had to do the work.

  We decided it would be fun to have different stations that the kids could go to that told a different part about Minnesota.

At one station (held in one of our classrooms at the church building) two moms told about all the different state symbols. They had a very nice coloring book of that made up to give to each child and they talked about them, had some activities and fed them blueberry muffins (or state muffin). I didn't get any good pictures of this station.

 At another station two moms had turned one of the classrooms into a pretty neat looking (this picture really doesn't do it justice at all - they went all out to make it cool) general store from the early 1900's. At that station they talked about that time period in MN and how the general store was rather the main place in town.
 At another station one of the moms with the help of her Grandpa told about logging in MN. They had pictures, clothing and equipment to show the kids and originally they had planned to saw some logs with a two person hand saw and other outdoor activities but the day ended up very cold so they didn't do that. The Grandpa had started logging in 1940 so he had plenty to tell. I would have loved to sit in on the presentation but I was busy running my own station most of the time.
 At another station a father and son told about Minnesota's involvement in the civil war. This 12 year old boy is very, very interested in the civil war (and knows facts about it like you wouldn't believe) so he skipped out on going around to the stations with the rest of the kids so that he could help run a station.
At another station two of the moms told and showed things about the voyageurs and fur traders. They were going to have all of their station outside but because of the cold weather they didn't but they did go out for a little bit to sit in a canoe and do some other activities.
 Another station was about the Native Americans that did/do live here. Kate made a tee pee using some tarps I was able to get from my brother that works at a lumber yard along with some poles that they collected. The two moms that ran this fed the kids pemmican and cornbread, had them grind corn using a mortar and pestle (they were going to use bigger rocks outside but stayed in the tee pee because of the cold, told them about signs they would have used to write and taught them a lot of other things too.

 I and two other moms worked together to tell about Scandinavian immigration to MN. A Grandma also came and helped a lot. From left to right our names are: Elsa Petersen (from Sweden), Hilda something-Bakken from Norway and Inga Olsen (pronounced Oooooolson) from Norway - her mom didn't have a pretend name. We tried to get in character as much as we could. Inga definitely could put on the accent the best and we had quite a few laughs over that.

 Our main activity was Lefse making. Lefse in a traditional Scandinavian food it is similar to a tortilla but made with lots of potatoes. It is still made and enjoyed by many people in our area. The Scandinavian influence in Northern MN is strong with lots of people with last names that end in "son", lots of Lutheran churches, Swedish Meatball and Lutefisk suppers and things like that.

 I like to make lefse at home put I just do it with my regular rolling pin, roll it on the counter and cook it on my normal electric skillet - however those that like to do it the traditional way have special cloth covered boards to roll it on, they have rolling pints with grooves on them or wrapped in cloth and they have a special stick to life it and flip it with and they cook them on special round electric skillets.
  We also fed the kids Lutefisk (a fish that is treated with lye an interesting process), a fruit soup and a rice pudding (I don't remember how to spell the Norwegian names for those). Lutefisk is pretty interesting and smelly but most of the kids were willing to try it and one of the older boys had seconds and a little boy ate 3 helpings.

  I took along things that I had tried rosemaling on for decorations and we brought other things of Scandinavian influence along to show off as well. We had a lot of fun in our Scandinavian kitchen!
 Megan or "Linnea" for the day - went dressed up like a Scandinavian too. Here she is having fun playing in a barrel that was brought to be part of the general store.
 I had a wool sweater that had been Ken's Grandmothers that was made in Norway. It was a great addition to my costume but was too warm to wear inside.
 The clothing remake that I did for my costume (I already had the shirt from a time I dressed up for a colonial times class and I had the skirt from some of my regular clothes - I just pin on a strip of red felt) was the wool vest. Most of the traditional Scandinavian costumes that I found when researching where Bunads that had skirts, shirts and vests. Often the vests would have flowers embroidered on them.
 To make the vest I found an old skirt in my stash of wool clothes (that were given to me and I have slowly been using them to make things). The skirt was fairly small and I held it up to me and figured out that really all I needed to do was to cut off the waist, cut sleeve holes, cut it down the back (which became the front) and then cut out a neckline. I left the hem in place to use for the bottom of the vest.

   My next step was to sew up the shoulder seams and then hem around the arm holes as well as each side of the front and around the neckline.

  Next I sewed hook and eyes on to the front (though not all the way up as their vest didn't seem to be fastened the whole way up). The vest was technically done but I did want to have flowers on it as most of theirs did. However I didn't have enough time to embroider it. I decided to cut the pieces out of some felted wool that I had and simply zig-zag around them (applique) to put them on.
 The decorating went fast and definitely made my vest more exciting.
 I doubt this vest will get much wear but thankfully it didn't take long (less than an hour I think) to make and I used stuff I already had on hand.

   I have more clothing re-makes to share with you soon - and most of them are a bit more practical! Stay tuned!

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