Lino Printing

Did anyone else do lino printing in high school?

I did.

We had to carve an Aboriginal-type design.

I remember it fondly.

Such memories always affect my homeschool plans.

In this case, I was determined that my boys would have a similar experience at home.

So I tracked down some lino printing kits online.

This is the one we purchased:  Derivan Lino Printing Starter Kit.

Lots of online art suppliers sell it.  (The site we purchased from seems to have disappeared.)

In addition to the kit, I purchased better quality, slightly larger lino squares than those provided in the kit.

(I purchased Silk Cut Lino Squares.)

044 (Small)

Then, I thought we were ready to start,

when I heard about ‘guards’.

When we did lino carving at school,

we were expected to keep our hands away from the blades

and our teacher handed out bandaides to those who didn’t.

But, nowadays, safety is top priority so they have these things called ‘guards’.

They hold the lino in position while you carve

and they also protect your surface from over-zealous carvers.

Guards sounded like a great idea so we decided they were a necessary item.

However, their price was ridiculous for what they were

so I decided that we’d make our own.

Okay, I held the camera and provided the students,

and Grandad was in charge of the woodworking instruction.

512 (Small)

Grandad did all the cutting.

I wasn’t letting my babies’ fingers near that great big saw thingie!

(Mothers really shouldn’t be in attendance when their little men need to learn how to be proper men.

I’ll remember that for next time and send hubby.)

542 (Small)

So the boys did the drilling and screwing,

with Grandad’s assistance.

520 (Small)

Our guards were very basic.

Merely a square of wood with two lipped edges on alternate sides.

046 (Small)

The concept is that one lip holds the guard to the table

so it doesn’t move as you push away from the edge with your carving tools.

The other lip holds the lino in place and also prevents blades from running over onto the table.

With our guards constructed and our lino kits purchased,

we were ready to start designing and carving.

054 (Small)

For our first lino carving, I emphasised simplicity of design

so they could focus on learning to carve.

012 (Small)

Brayden had very grand plans in mind

but I held him back a little

and restricted him to something a little less intricate than he had initially planned.

018 (Small)

And, very quickly, he appreciated my intervention.

He was a little frustrated that it was harder than he was expecting.

It’s not exactly difficult, but it does require physical effort, endurance and a lot of perseverance.

029 (Small)

I was really pleased that the boys stuck at it

and worked all afternoon to complete their carvings.

026 (Small)

By the end, their hands and fingers were definitely sore

028 (Small)

but they were so pleased with their carvings

that they hardly seemed to care.

041 (Small)

Brayden, our Star Wars fan, carved a storm trooper mask

040 (Small)

and Ethan, our Minecraft fan, carved a pick axe.

039 (Small)

And myself

– yes, I ordered a kit for me too –

I carved an interlocking type design.

057 (Small)

My design took several days to complete.

(I started work before the boys so I could offer them tips from my experience.)

Oh and you’ll be pleased to hear that

no fingers or tables were scarified during the carving of these pieces.

058 (Small)

A few days after our carving afternoon,

we printed our carved designs.

Our kit provided everything we needed

except a surface to place our ink on so we could apply it to our rollers.

For this, we used the glass from an old photo frame.

Everything about the printing process was easy.

067 (Small)

Just make sure to properly cover your carvings with ink.

We would peek under the paper

to check if we needed to apply more ink to areas.

(The ink was so tacky that there was little fear of moving the paper while peeking.)

082 (Small)

Here is Ethan’s finished printing of his pick axe.

He was very pleased with it.

087 (Small)

Also make sure that the carvings are dusted free

from all stray pieces of lino.

These also interfere with the final printing.

049 (Small)

I loved watching the boys’ face as they revealed their printings.

They were very pleased with their prints.

058 (Small)

This is Brayden’s storm trooper.

It turned out pretty well I thought.

088 (Small)

And this is my print.

Yes, I’m equally pleased with my print.

080 (Small)

Lino carving and printing is definitely an activity that we’d highly recommend.


Leave a comment

Posted by on August 14, 2016 in Art and Craft


Mere Motherhood

Have anyone else purchased and already devoured

Cindy Rollins’ first book, “Mere Motherhood”?

I was counting down the sleeps for this book to be released,

and then counting down the sleeps for it to arrive at my house.

Thankfully items purchased from the CIRCE Institute always arrive promptly.

My only complaint was that I finished reading “Mere Motherhood” in under 24 hours.

I didn’t want it to end.

If you haven’t heard of Cindy Rollins,

drop everything and go and check out her CIRCE podcast, “The Mason Jar

or scroll through CIRCE’s audios looking for Cindy’s talks

(and Andrew Kern’s talks and Angelina Stanford’s talks

…and the list goes on and on because you can’t go wrong with CIRCE audios

but I digress).

004 (Small)

“Mere Motherhood” is two parts Cindy’s memoirs and one part philosophy.

Cindy describes her family as it grows one child at a time

(to nine children – 8 boys and a girl)

while moving all over the US

following her husband’s work.

She talks about moments of great joy,

her moments of great fear

and the hilarious, sometimes hair-raising antics of her children.

She also talks about their homeschooling,

dropping the names of much loved books that shaped her family.

(Warning – your Amazon carts will fill quickly as you read this book!)

Cindy describes their ‘Morning Time’ (for which she is most well-known),

emphasises narrations (a chapter which really impacted me),

and shares about their brief experience with workbooks.

Cindy doesn’t write as though she has all the answers,

in fact, she says that there are only a few things that she knows for certain.

She says:

“Here is what I do know, what I am willing to share with you. 

There are three things that cover a multitude of sins: 

reading, reading aloud, and written narrations.”

005 (Small)

The later chapters of her books were my favourites.

She writes about family, culture, philosophy, and marriage.

She also shares about life as her children left the nest.

My favourite quote from “Mere Motherhood” was:

“Part of the sanctification of motherhood is learning to trust. 

One day we will come to the end of what we can do for our children. 

In those early day our children cannot live without us,

but slowly they grow up and move away. 

This is almost always heart-wrenching,

but the process also gives us a chance

to lean on our Heavenly Father and to trust Him more. 

God has entrusted us with a great treasure. 

It is our life lesson to hand it back. 

To let it go. 

Our children must not become ‘Our Precious’.

In the end, we are merely mothers.”


“Mere Motherhood” was a wonderful read.

Reading the book is like sitting talking to an older, wiser homeschool mother,

listening to her stories and gleaning wisdom.

I loved Cindy Rollins’ “Mere Motherhood”.

It’s the best homeschool book I’ve read this year!



Leave a comment

Posted by on August 14, 2016 in Homeschooling Thoughts, My Library


Simply, “Wow!”

Last night we watched an AMAZING documentary –

David Attenborough’s latest release, “Life that Glows”.

We’re not huge fans of David Attenborough.

We’re not really animal people and his evolutionary preaching is a bit much.

But we simply loved, “Life that Glows”.

Yes, it was about animals and, yes, we were beaten over the head with evolution,

but God’s bioluminescent creatures just WOWED us.

001 (Small)

My family has never said so many WOWs.

I know my jaw was often dropping open in amazement

at the spectacular bioluminescent creatures we were seeing.

The photography is simply incredibly.

002 (Small)

I would soooo love to see fireflies in the wild

and this dvd made me desire it even more deeply.

But now I also want to see bioluminescent dinoflagellates

These create Red Tides in the daytime,

but it’s the blue glowing waves at night that I want to see.

We are going to have to purchase our own copy of this dvd.

We HIGHLY recommend it!


Posted by on July 31, 2016 in Resources and Organising, Science


What We’ve Been Reading

As always, we’ve been busy reading through our mornings.

Here’s what we’ve read this week:

We started each day by reading a chapter from the Gospel of Luke, followed by a chapter from “Big Truths for Young Hearts“.  This theology book, I suppose you would call it, is the best I’ve ever seen.

013 (Small)

Every day we try to read a story from “The Brothers Grimm:  101 Fairy Tales“.  These are the original stories.  Not those fluffy, heartless things that young children are usually given to read.  Urgghhh!  Yesterday we read “The Fisherman and His Wife(the link goes to a tolerable version to give you the gist of it).  It was an excellent story and so unlike the picture books versions I’ve read.  The kiddy version turns it into a story about greed, however, the true message of the story was humility. We are absolutely loving reading through these stories as the Grimm Brothers intended.

014 (Small)

We been reading about Christopher Columbus, so we read these two related books I found on my shelves.  Both were wonderful.  I love this version of Saint Christopher’s story.  (No, we’re not Catholic but I think it’s important to be familiar with a more well-known saint stories.  “Encounter” tells the Columbus story from the point of view of a native boy.  He tries to warn his people about the visitors.  It’s an excellent book to provoke discussion.

001 (Small)

We’ve also been reading about Mary Queen of Scots.  She came onto our radar after we read about Walter Raleigh and Queen Elizabeth.  So this bit of reading was a lovely tangent to fill in a gap (one of the many) in our knowledge.

002 (Small)

I found this gorgeous old book about her by Elizabeth Kyle and we devoured it in a week.  Reading about her created a new tangent though (This tends to happen a lot).  We needed to find out if it was her father King James or her son King James who was the THE King James of the King James Bible.  With a bit of discussion, the boys worked out their own answer and used google to confirm it.  (It had to be her son, as the King James we needed had to have been King of England.  The other King James, Mary’s father, was only the King of Scotland.)  So now of course we need to watch a documentary about the King James Bible and its history and luckily I have one sitting on my shelves.

004 (Small)

Currently, we reading through “String, Straight-Edge, and Shadow“.  This is a book I’ve wanted for many years but have only just purchased.  I could only find one supplier who would ship internationally and the shipping cost was not the cheapest (it wasn’t the worst I’ve been charged though).  Has the book been worth the trouble?  I think so.  So far anyway.  It’s very evolutionary in nature but, if you can get past that, the content and delivery is good.  It’s about the history of Geometry and how it has been used in daily life.  We’ve used the book as a launching point.  After reading a chapter, we go off and watch various related youtube videos on the topics. The other day we were learning how builders use the 3-4-5 method to make accurate right angles.  That’s bound to come in handy some day.

016 (Small)

We’re reading about Japan at the moment.  (We should have moved onto Middle Eastern cultures but we’re still interested in Japan so the Middle East can wait.  We’re in no rush.  We don’t keep to a schedule or rigid plan.)  This week we polished off the book, “Shipwrecked“.  This story was totally different to our expectations.  I know it says on the cover, “The true adventures of a Japanese boy” but the story was so amazing that we had our doubts about the authenticity and had to read the author’s note to check.  It really was a true story, which is what made it such a wonderful book. It was also fascinating.  The story shares a lot about what it was like to live in Japan during those centuries of isolation.  The events in the story also occur just before Commodore Matthew Perry arrives on the scene.  So, of course, we’ll be reading “Commodore Perry in the Land of the Shogun” next week.

012 (Small)

Last weekend, I picked up this book, “Complex Circulatory System” as a free ebook.  (Sadly it’s no longer free, sorry folks).  It’s quite a good book so we’ve been reading through it this week.  We’re almost done.  There actually two more available in the series that I’ll probably buy and read as well.  (There’s supposed to be nine in the series when it’s completed – I wonder if they’ll be done soon…I’m wishing).

011 (Small)

Invincible Microbe” is one of our favourite read alouds at the moment.  It’s about Tuberculosis and it’s fascinating. It’s creating so many questions in us.  “Is there a cure nowadays?”, “Is it still a big problem in the world?”, “Where is it a problem and is it safe to travel there?” etc.  So we’re trying to read a lot of the book throughout the week to find the answers to our questions.  It’s like reading a murder mystery and trying to restrain ourselves from flicking to the back of the book to answer our burning questions. And you can’t even begin to imagine the number of times we’re seeing references to TB and consumption in our other reading and viewing.  It’s popping up everywhere on our radar.  I love when that happens.

008 (Small)

Snowflakes are another interest at the moment.  After experiencing real snow for the first time earlier this year in the US, we’ve been fascinated. (Our first ‘snow’ in Australia was actually sleet and a snow machine – that doesn’t count!).  So we read “Curious about Snow” and “The Secret Life of a Snowflake“.  This second book was AMAZING!  Both the information and especially the photography!

006 (Small)

My boys wouldn’t/couldn’t believe that the illustrations were actual photos of snowflakes.  Oh to live in a location where you could go outside with a magnifying glass and see these beauties every winter.  Sadly, we’ve gathered from our reading, that Aussie snowflakes aren’t quite as lovely.  Our temperatures just aren’t cold enough, even up on the mountains, to create the gorgeous snow crystals that we think of when we think of snowflakes.

007 (Small)

Since we loved “The Secret Life of a Snowflakes”, which was a book designed for children, we simply had to purchase another by the same author so we could read more.  There were so many to choose from.  In the end, I purchased and have started reading aloud, “The Snowflake:  Winter’s Frozen Artistry“.  It was an excellent choice.  Oh and to dispel a common snowflake myth – they are not perfectly symmetrical.

009 (Small)

We are also reading “Slow Death by Rubber Duck”, which is about chemicals in our every day world.  Fascinating but horrifying.  During the week we also watched the documentary, “Unacceptable Levels” which was on the same topic.  These kinds of books and videos just make me want to find a deserted island somewhere and flee.  Being aware is scary.  It was much more ‘comfortable’ when my head was in the sand.

015 (Small)

And finally, (well not really ‘finally’ as we are also listening to “The Chestnut King” on audio in the car), we are reading “Treasure Island“.  It’s a fun read.  If you haven’t embraced classic stories, do yourself a favour and start immediately.  They aren’t as difficult as you imagine and the stories are truly excellent.

018 (Small)

Yes, we’ve done a few things aside from read (although reading is our favourite thing and quite frankly the most important thing).  The boys have worked on Math for an hour or so a day.  They’ve drafted a persuasive essay convincing the elderly to connect to the internet.  They’ve both been reading independently.  Latin lessons were completed every day, as well as grammar, punctuation, mental Math, spelling and cursive.  One boy also did cooking, and another created a Scratch program to test reaction times and also spent 30 minutes each night on Java programming assignments.  We watched “That Sugar Film” and “Unacceptable Levels” in the evenings.  We also toddled off to see a theatre performance of “Snugglepot and Cuddlepie”, played boardgames with friends and spent an afternoon at the park with friends.

And what are we doing this weekend?  Who knows what the rest of the family is doing.  I’m cracking open Cindy Rollins’ book, “Mere Motherhood“.  If I don’t finish it before Monday, I may just need to declare it a long weekend.



Posted by on July 30, 2016 in Homeschooling Days, My Library


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 62 other followers