Sunday, August 19, 2012

Science at home

Did you know that in Australia, right now, as we speak, it is National Science Week?? Well, it is!

National Science Week is designed to celebrate science in Australia - to enjoy and explore the wonders of science!

What does that mean for us homeschoolers? I think we are in a unique position - for us, science easily becomes "wonderful". But I also think a lot of homeschooling parents are a bit frightened of science, particularly in the high school years. I've been reading feedback from parents considering homeschooling on forums, and one of their concerns is that their kids won't get the same "quality" science education at home as you do in school.

But fear not! In a past life, I was a high school science teacher! So I thought today I would share with you some ideas, links and experiences for doing science at home!

As you are no doubt aware, there are as many ways to homeschool as there are homeschoolers. So, your approach to science is going to differ, depending on your homeschool outlook.

Purchased curriculum/kits:
There is a lot of science curriculum out there, which sets out topic by topic, a list of knowledge and activities for you to do at home - suitable for those that err more towards a school at home approach or if you really remember nothing about science from your own school days and the prospect of science freaks you out. Text books would also fit in this genre. The big elephant in the room is whether you opt for a secular or Christian approach. We are pretty secular here and as a scientist, I've seen some fairly "dodgy" science in the name of Christianity:

The goal of this post is not to start a religion vs science debate, but just be aware that some texts have bias (especially in the areas of evolution and geological history). However some incorporate religious ideas quite well within the text, without throwing out the science.  You just need to decide what you are comfortable with in your home.

The "alternative" approaches to home ed (eg: Steiner, Classical, Charlotte Mason etc) do not have a big emphasis on science, particularly in the early years, except for perhaps nature journalling. So if you want to explore more science within these contexts (and it's one of the reasons we don't really go for them), you would have to seek out extra materials/experiences.

Some common science homeschool curriculum (mostly from the U.S.) include:
  • Noeo Homeschool Science - gets good reviews. It picks and chooses resources from multiple sources (much like I do as a teacher), so hopefully doesn't get boring and you can buy the prac kits all sealed up and ready to roll.
  • Apologia Science - Christian resource, which has a good scope and sequence (for those that like to follow along) and good pracs, with easily obtainable resources.
  • R.E.A.L Science Odyssey - Secular, homeschool-orientated with lots of hands on activities
  • Sonlight Science - Christian perspective - includes books, activity sheets, kits, DVDs, instructors manuals.

Good Australian textbooks include:
  • Pearson Ed - Australian curriculum including student books, activity books, teachers guides.
  • Science Quest - I used/use these as a teacher - lots of great pics, good questions, extension activities, good pracs.

In the later high school years, there are still plenty of ready-bought curriculum and textbooks, and even if you need full-on chemistry or physics, there are resources for you too - we have The Illustrated Guide to Home Chemistry Experiments: All Lab No Lecture!

There are also growing numbers of online courses and many of the open university subjects have bridging courses in the sciences.

DIY science curriculum:
This is the approach I take (for all subjects, including science). I start with the BOS Science Syllabus (K-6 here and 7-10 here, Australian curriculum here). I go through these and get a feel for where my kids are up to. Video Boy, in particular, has a phenomenal amount of science content stored in that big brain of his, and I often have to tailor the topic to suit his huge discrepancy between what he knows and what he can do. Then I go searching for a balance of written work and hands on activities and visual learning that will suit us. My sources come from:
  • Textbooks - see above. I also have some of the student activity books linked to these, which are good for worksheets etc.
  • General science books - we particularly love the Usborne Science Encyclopedia (Internet Linked) and LOVE Horrible Science (check out eBay for cheap copies)
  • Science experiment books - you can pick these up (usually cheaply) in any bookshop or even Aldi
  • Prepared science kits - again, usually going cheap in Aldi or the Warehouse or have a look at Fizzics, Jaycar (click on Kits, Science and Learning on the left), CSIRO, or Mad About Science. Bear in mind that you are able to replicate many of these "experiments" using stuff at home for much cheaper, but you can end up with a nice collection of equipment from them.

  • Videos - we got the entire set of Magic School Bus from Scholastic, we adore Bill Nye (I may or may not have the entire series via dodgy downloads from someone else, but most are on YouTube), Khan Academy has higher level science, we have quite a few DVDs from The Great Courses and you can't go past Top Documentary Films for a range of docos on just about any science topic you care to think about!
  • Websites - just Google whatever topic you are interested in, and I usually include "teacher resources" in the search terms - it's amazing what is out there. More generally, we love ABC Science, Discovery Science, Exploratorium, and Steve Spangler.
  • Museums and Science Discovery Centres - this is obviously going to vary according to where you live. But they are a great resource and usually worth the drive. Most go out of their way to have interesting, updated, interactive hands-on displays, but don't forget to read some of the panels too - a wealth of information! Some even offer courses or special days (if you're really lucky, especially for homeschoolers!).

  • Your local library - you don't have to buy everything! Don't forget this wonderful resource for a range of topics and often they will get in books from other libraries if they don't have what you are after. For Free!
  • Lapbooks - we have discovered that lapbooks are particularly useful for recording written information as well as experiments or activities you may have done. I usually just Google "lapbook + topic" but there are a range of templates you can buy at CurrClick. If feel up to it, you can download blank templates and make your own.

Science equipment:
Most people think science and an image of a test-tube pops into your head! Whilst bunsen burners and beakers and test-tubes are firmly fixed in our memories of school science, they are not essential for science at home, although you can purchase them if you wish. Most topics have hands-on activities that can be done with basic equipment around the house (saucepans, eye-droppers, bicarb, balloons etc). 

There are science kits to explore particular topics (magnets, electronics, etc). Some of these are worthwhile and some are not. It really depends on your child's interests and how hands on they are and your budget. A lot of "experiments" can also be done virtually (eye dissection, circuits, nuclear physics, etc, etc).

A microscope is something that most families purchase eventually - we just have a cheapy that came with the Horrible Science magazine subscription, and surprisingly it works well for the level of work that we are doing. We may upgrade later...

Scientific Literacy:
I did particularly want to touch on this topic as opposed to "content" or "knowledge". Whilst kits and hands-on activities have their place (and help kinaesthetic learners), they are not necessarily "real science" or not really how science is done by real scientists. They are what I call "recipe" skills - you follow the instructions and voila! Concept demonstrated!

A big part of science is learning what actually makes something "scientific" - as opposed to belief, dogma, etc. And this is understanding the scientific method. How do we "know" what we know? How did things become "facts"? How do we understand what are dodgy claims and what is real, peer-reviewed science? This is more than just knowing the steps to doing a scientific experiment or first hand investigations - although this is a big part of it. It is understanding scientific theory and law. Understanding the work of scientists in the "real" world. The world of variables, data, analysis, research. 

Once of the best resources I know for this is Mark Hackling's publication Working Scientifically - it covers primary and secondary levels, has templates and scaffolds, and explains how science investigations work. The NSW DET's Curriculum Support Unit also has some good links for scientific literacy.

It would be great if you are trying to get your head around science for homeschooling that you spend at least a little bit of time developing your own and your child's scientific literacy - because in the end, that will enable us to think critically about the world around us (and bonus points - the data part links nicely with maths!).

Finally, the Australian Science Teachers Association produces a resource booklet each year which are very handy! This year is the Energy Evolution available as a PDF download and last year's React to Chemistry (gotta love freebies!!).

So many resources - so little time!! It can be a little overwhelming. But I would strongly encourage you to take it a topic at a time, gather info, and enjoy learning alongside your kids! There is almost nothing that is available at schools that you cannot do at home (if not better!).

Do you freak out at the thought of homeschool science?
What's your best science resource?

*Disclaimer - I have not been paid for any of the recommendations here - they are not sponsored. I have also not used all of the curriculum mentioned and cannot vouch for it's suitability for your circumstances - I'll leave that in your capable hands (although feel free to ask questions!).

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Game over

It's so weird to wake up to morning TV again, instead of the Olympics. I'm a bit of an Olympics nut - I love watching all the sports - love the glory of winning, the agony of defeat, the weird and wonderful sports you don't get to usually see. I don't usually enjoy watching sport, but once every 4 years, I get my fix. (I did not love listening to the inane commentary of Karl Stefanovic (overseas readers, be thankful you don't have to suffer him too). I do not know how Lisa Wilkinson has not slapped him. Oh, but hold the phone! Apparently someone has!! I feel better now).

Anyhoo, I digress. Australia came 10th out of 204 countries that competed. We got 7 gold, 16 silver and 12 bronze medals. The press here have been scathing about our "poor" performance. Although if you twiddle the stats enough, some reckon we did OK. Tears were shed over silver medal performances - and not of joy. And now of course, comes the recriminations and suggestions for how we can improve our Olympic performance.

Future Olympians?
 I'll just be happy if they can swim to save their lives and for fitness!

You know what's coming next, don't you?  The calls for "we need to spend more money on sports funding". And the ubiquitous "let's put more sports in schools". Sigh. Every time there is an "issue" that needs fixing, inevitably the suggestion is to fix it by putting it in the school curriculum (like bike safety and drugs awareness). Obviously these well-meaning souls have never actually either a) looked at the current curriculum to see how over-crowded it is with well-meaning outcomes that really should be covered by families at home or b) never actually spent any time in school to see how over-crowded the days are already trying to fit every outcome in.

Go Video Boy! Try your hardest!!

I have a couple of issues with the push to fit more sport into schools.

Firstly, in NSW at least, there is ALREADY sport in schools. Compulsory school sport, once a week up to Year 10. And also Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE), where some schools take physical activity so seriously it is done every morning. In addition to the standard "curriculum", there are sports carnivals, swimming carnivals, cross-country carnivals and if you child succeeds at those, there are Regional, State and National carnivals. And not just in athletics and swimming - you can also represent the school in rugby league, rugby union, AFL, soccer, touch football, hockey, gymnastics, tennis, squash, cricket, skiing, snow-boarding and surfing (and more, except I forget all the teams fielded by the high school I taught at). There are presentation days, complete with trophies, certificates and medals, for sport. I think if you have any kind of talent for any kind of physical activity, there is ample opportunity at school to develop and improve that talent.

Wombat Girl at Regional (that's right, baby! Regional!) cross-country

Secondly, if you (god forbid) do not excel in the sporting arena, I don't see how doing more PE or sport will encourage you to gold medal winning performances at the Olympics. But I could be wrong...

Thirdly (and you knew this was coming), why aren't we pushing for more funding for the Maths or Biology Olympiads?? Where is our national pride in academic achievements? Why are there always more sports awards than academic awards? Why are they not more balanced? Because let's face it, the vast majority of us are never going to be elite level athletes that represent our country (we can dream, we can try, but it's unlikely). Most of us are like me, sitting on our couches yelling at the TV, while periodically going out and trying to stay fit and healthy (and sometimes succeeding, sometimes not). But we have the potential to do more with our academic talent than we currently do. Why more of our taxpayer dollars should be spent on an already well-funded activity so we can feel better about ourselves as a sport-watching nation is a bit beyond me.

Video Boy receiving his High Distinction in the UNSW Science exams

I'm not saying here that there should be no, or less, sports funding. We obviously get some benefits out of our elite level sportspeople. And I'm not saying that our more academically-minded kids can never be good at sport (it can and does happen...not in this household, but apparently in others). And I'm a firm believer in developing good life-long habits of physical exercise that we enjoy that can help keep us healthy (and also boosts brain-function), which is why I try to drag my lard-ass off the couch and go running.

Our national pre-occupation with sport, sporting outcomes, and sporting heroes is, in my humble opinion, a little skewed. We need to value other achievements a little more equally. And for goodness sake, let's not shove more stuff into an already over-crowded school curriculum for the sake of a bunch of couch potatoes' satisfaction every 4 years!

 What do you think? 
Do you like watching the Olympics?
Do you care about the medal tally?
Should there be more sport in schools/curriculum?
Do we have too much emphasis on sport, at the expense of other fields of endeavour?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Did you ever see such a thing in your life?

We have spent the last couple of days livin' the high life in the nation's capital - Canberra. You could argue that if Canberra is my idea of the "high life" then maybe I need to get out more, and maybe I do, but as I've said before, we love it!

The prime purpose of this trip was to see Agatha Christie's famous long-running play The Mousetrap. It has been running continuously in London since 1952 for 60 years! 60 Years!!! That is amazing. Hubby is a long-time AC fan and has influenced the kids heavily. They read the books, they watch the TV series.

I wish I could say I was a huge fan too, but my brain hurts too much at the end of a long day and I never seem to be able to keep track of who's who and who did what, unless I concentrate a LOT.

But I'm always up for a good stage play! So when Hubby emailed me and said "if we ever go to see anything, it has to be this" I had my finger hovering over the "Pay Now" button quicker than you can say "Three Blind Mice".

We watched the Wednesday matinee performance - the kids were the youngest there by about 30 years! It was a veritable sea of grey (luckily my own greys have just been dyed out of existence). But I guarantee my young whipper-snappers enjoyed it every bit as much as the oldies!

The play itself was fabulous! It's clever - lots of plot twists and turns and AC cleverly makes everyone into a suspect or the next murder victim, so you never know where the plot will head next - no-one is free from suspicion! Fabulous, memorable characters that are slowly developed throughout the play. Wonderful dialogue - beautifully crafted, easy on the ear and at times, laugh-out-loud funny (I didn't really expect that). And stunning performances - great delivery of the dialogue, some slapstick, quirky characters. Everything you expect from a great play! It totally engaged not only me, but the kids as well. A little fidgeting from Wombat Girl, but they were totally enthralled from start to finish. We especially loved the plea from the cast at the end  to "keep the secret of the whodunnit locked in your hearts". Which we shall.

The opportunity to enjoy the "big smoke" was nice too. We loved our hotel room:

Enjoyed eating out:

Video Boy's mango and coconut Bombe Alaska

Dessert King!

Mocktails before steak at Hogs Breath
Hubby and I wiped out the Kathmandu Clearance store that was conveniently located across the road from the hotel! $10 tees and I got a Goretex jacket ($799 down to $187!!) Score!

AND we found the best board-game store EVAH - Mind Games!

And what trip to Canberra is complete without a visit to Nerdsville Heaven (aka Questacon)? They had some nice, new exhibitions that we hadn't seen:

Thank you Canberra! We enjoyed ourselves and we are sure to be back again soon!

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Creativity - in the footsteps of giants

This post is part of the World Council of Gifted & Talented
 Children's International Week of the Gifted 2012 blog tour

I posted a little while back on creativity and why I didn't think we had it here, but that on closer inspection and more reflection, perhaps we do. 

We are headed off to Australia's capital today to go and see Agatha's Christie's The Mousetrap. It is the longest continuously running play in the world and Hubby and the kids are pretty huge Agatha Christie fans. So I was quite amused this week to find this quote from the lady herself:

I suppose it it because nearly all children go to school nowadays and have things arranged for them that they seem so forlornly unable to produce their own ideas. 

And in this week is the International Week of the Gifted I have been following some links and doing some (what some people would consider "heavy" reading on the issue). It got me thinking - what do we need to produce creativity? 

Albert Einstein thought formal education stifled creative thought:

It is, in fact, nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry; for this delicate little plant, aside from stimulation, stands mainly in need of freedom; without this it goes to wreck and ruin without fail.

And of course the most famous quote of all:

I have never let schooling interfere with my education ~ Mark Twain

Beth Hennessey says for the gifted to be creative they need instrinsic motivation and to feel in control of the learning process and yet it is often the case that the highly intelligent are not considered "creative" - they do not necessarily create something "new" (Joyce Van Tassel-Baska). According to her, we need "just the right amount of education" - like the proverbial porridge - too much "education" can prove detrimental. If you know too much about your chosen field, the ideas of others can block innovative thinking in the domain.

Initially we started homeschooling to stop sliding down the slippery slope into anxiety and other mental health issues - because let's face it, if you are that miserable, it's going to be difficult to learn anything, let alone be creative! But now things have settled down, we have found our homeschooling "groove" and as we move into the high school years, we need to make sure we don't get too bogged down in "content" and that we keep providing, nurturing and encouraging those skills that might lead to innovative creative thinking in later years.

What can I do as a homeschooling mum to give my amazing, bright, sparky kids the chance to think outside the square? How can we provide the conditions that might allow them to stand on the shoulders of giants?

Here is my list of ways that we encourage creativity at home:
  • make it a safe place to take risks, to try and fail, to give it a shot
  • allow time to ponder, to explore, to think divergently
  • give space to ask questions, to argue, to criticise, to discuss
  • give opportunities to read, to view, to watch, to experience
  • consciously allow them to chase ideas, follow rabbit trails, allow curiosity, to imagine
  • focus on potentialities, not just on deficits

They may never write a play (let alone a long-running one) or come up the theory of relativity or be considered leaders in literature. They may indeed be those ones that end up knowing a lot, but not providing anything new to the world. And that would be OK too. But if we can give those things to our kids, we have provided the best environment we can to let those seeds of creativity bloom. Who knows what it possible?

I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me ~ Issac Newton

Read all the other inspiring posts at the International Week of the Gifted 2012 here.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Homeschool Life - July Wrap-Up

I thought (in the absence of a shiny new blog) that I might start up a bit of a monthly wrap-up of what we've been up to in our homeschooling. Weekly feels too onerous at the moment, and monthly lets me pick and choose the best bits! I'm going to make it a monthly event (don't snigger!) and I'm going all technological on you - check out the bottom of the post for a link up!

In amongst all the working and walking and bathrooms and crying and photos, there has been some homeschooling happening. Now of course, if I were super-organised, I would be recording all the wonderful natural learning that goes on all the time. But I'm not. Plus, I have been out of the home, working a lot, so it's hard to record what you don't see (but I'm sure it is happening!).

So, instead I leave the kids lists of things to do, usually accompanied by some worksheets or websites. They have been pretty good at doing them, even unsupervised sometimes, but Hubby has also stepped up somewhat and given them a hand when they needed it.

So, what have we been up to?

Lots of boardgames:

Tea and Set

Lego Heroica

and Chess Club at the library too - Term 3 is "Competition Term" and Video Boy has announced his intention to win the comp! It's so very rare he sets his mind to anything, that I'm quite chuffed. Maybe the Olympic Spirit is rubbing off on him (although if he was a real Aussie, he'd be coming in second - LOL!).

And we have totally been into Plague Inc - an iPad app that ghoulishly requires you to infect and kill the entire world with a disease. Which sounds bad, but is actually highly strategic, requiring data interpretation, world mapping skills, knowledge of disease-causing microorganisms and infection control.

In English, we have have started on a unit of looking at Graphic Novels - check out Read Me Resources for the unit and for other great units of work that are designed to get boys aged 11-14 into reading. They are designed for classroom use, but have great activities that are easily adapted for homeschool.

Our word cloud for "depicting emotions visually"

They also completed the English ICAS exam:

Proud Mummy Warning!!  We got our results back for the Computer Skills exam - Video Boy got a Distinction (top 96%!)  and Wombat Girl a Credit (top 83%) and also for Science - VB a Credit (top 74%) and WG a High Distinction (top 99%!!!). Way to go! Actually, Video Boy was quite upset after the science exam - one he has previously done well in and enjoyed. He really struggled with this one and didn't finish the questions. But given that, I think top 74% out of all the science-loving kids was a great effort and if we do them again next year, we'll spend some time doing some practice (she says, confidently). Both kids said the questions were very heavily based on data interpretation. Which is good feedback for me. And just quietly - yay Wombat Girl! Great result :-)

Also, in the data they send the schools (of which we are one, apparently) it shows you at what level the kids are achieving (if you are into that sort of thing) and I can relax a little knowing that their results are comparable to the median results of Year 12 students in both Computer Skills and Science (they are currently in Year 7). Phew - that's a load off my mind!

In Maths they have been working on geometry. Hubby said he needed a quick Google refresher to help them out with some of the work on quadrilaterals (because, yanno, you have to identify isoceles trapeziums in everyday life quite frequently - not!). But he quite enjoyed helping them with the challenges at the end of the questions. I'm glad he likes maths and the kids get a kick out of working with their Dad.

I have also been using the wonders of Khan Academy a bit more. Up until now, I've only really been looking at the videos with the kids, to back up some concepts. But then I looked at the Practice section. How cool is the Knowledge Map?? If you haven't checked it out, go follow the link and I'll wait for you...see? Shows you the progression of things and how it all fits together! And then you can go and practice what you need. Self-directed learning! Love it! Video Boy was not keen to try it (grumbling, moan, eye-roll) and I calmly suggested that he just try 15 minutes of practice. Well, there was a complete 180 in attitude and he spent a couple of hours trying to get points and stacks. Love it. And it's free!!!

I'm such cool teacher, I let him wear his hoody in class

For science/geography we are not doing natural learning - I am making them do Murder Under the Microscope because it's not free and I paid for it! But seriously, it's a great learning tool and we've been researching catchments, runoff, endangered species and plotting locations on Google Maps using latitude and longitude. 

We have even (ahem!! Homeschool mum award coming right up!) doing art and craft. I know. I'm that good! The Winter 2012 edition of Stepping Stones magazine (which you get a download as part of your HEA membership and which I help on the layout!) had a great list of art apps for the iPad and we had a great time creating some beautiful art:

And I spent a pleasant afternoon with Wombat Girl making some more Felties:

My "pensive rabbit"

Wombat Girl's nearly completed "Panda"

So that's about it. I'm sure there's been more...but you know how it gets!

If you homeschool, what's the best thing you've done this last month?

If you blog, add a link to post that describes 
some/all of your homeschool activities this last month:

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Running rings around the competition...

Like most of the rest of the world, we are pretty good armchair-athletes. I love me a good Olympic games! And ever since 1976 in Montreal, I've loved the gymnastics (I wanted to be Nadia Comaneci!). 

So, we are sitting around this morning, in our jammies at 9am, watching Kohei Uchimura of Japan on the rings, on his way to the all-round gold medal. What a feat of human endeavour that event is. What strength. Control. Skill. Something we'll never have in spades around here.


Hubby asks Video Boy: "Do you think you could ever do that?"

To which Video Boy replies: "I can't forsee any circumstances in which that would be useful for my future!" 

Wise beyond his years. (and check out those biceps!)

Wednesday, August 01, 2012


You know how sometimes you read other peoples blogs or Facebook status updates and you feel a bit inadequate? Pretty pictures of coastal cottages, family togetherness, or even, errr, nature walks? Which are cool and lovely and maybe even worth Pinning, but you think to yourself "well, crap, my day wasn't like that at all!"

That's because sometimes, we only put up the good stuff. The warm and fuzzy stuff. The stuff worth sharing.

But, you know, that's not the full story. The other stuff is that sometimes you over load yourself. You say "yes" to too many things (even though they are fun and you want to do them). You work a bit too much. Your "to do" list gets a bit too long. You experience a bit of stress and heartache. You let things slide a bit too much. You get sick. You don't spend enough "good" time with your kids.

And then, one day, it will be one tiny thing that sets you off. Not a big, important thing. Maybe just an oblivious husband asking "what's for tea?" like he does Every. Single. Day.

And instead of answering "slow-roasted pork belly with apple and hasselback potatoes" like you usually do, this time you answer "I don't know what's for *tea because I woke up at 6am, spent the day with 120 school kids, drove about a billion kilometres, only just got home nearly 12 hours later and no-one has folded the socks and undies like I asked them to! So NO! I DO NOT * KNOW WHAT'S FOR TEA!!!"*

Um. Yep.

This is probably followed by some self-indulgent, but well-deserved tears and it is at this point that you know that you have overloaded yourself.

And that maybe it's time to say "no thanks, maybe later" to some invitations. Maybe it's time to hermit yourself away for a little bit. Maybe it's time to take a deep breath, have a cup of tea (instead of wine) and look after yourself a bit better. And maybe take a panadol or three (because we have progressed on from a Bex and a good lie down).

It's all about balance in the end. And sure, sometimes us mum's overload ourselves with more than we can cope with. Sometimes we just need a little vent or cry or a helping hand**. Sometimes we just to set those scales a little more in favour of ourselves instead of others.

So maybe this post will provide some balance to all my lovely feel-good posts. Because while of course those things happened (and I try really hard to see the good in our life), there are moments (hours, sometimes days) where things aren't all sunshine and roses. Moments when life just gets a bit too hard and you want the world to stop so you can get off and have a rest. Or a sav blanc.

Now that's some stuff worth sharing!

*I may or may not have used other, less family-friendly language there 
**I should put in the disclaimer that if you find yourself doing this multiple times a day (and at times, I have) that you are probably due to go to your GP and have a chat and make sure depression is not raising it's ugly, blue head

Embroidery Project - Blue Butterfly

I downloaded this pattern as a PDF from Hoop Embroidery Co on Esty as my first attempt at the technique known as "thread painting"...