Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Knuffle Bunny Story

The absolute highlight of my job with a local school corporation is that I get to administer tests to move-in students whose parents want them placed in the high ability classes we offer.  Most are simply not qualified for the classes, but a few shining examples do stand out and are offered any spots we have available.

Today, I tested a young seven year-old girl who was a student at a gifted magnet school in the Chicago Public Schools system (yeah, those words don't quite go together, but believe me, she is one smart little whippersnapper).  She is currently being home schooled; honestly because I believe that her parents believe that our "hick" schools aren't up to the task of educating their gifted little one.

She was an absolute delight to be with!  She had that self-confidence and cockiness of a seven year-old whose parents have constantly made her aware of how gifted she is and who has known nothing else in her short life.  Once I wore down that defense, however, she warmed up to me and was full of smiles and words for the rest of the test period.

In fact, she was ripping through one of the tests and was going to have ample time to spare, so I gave her a "talk break".  She instantly brought up some books she thought I should read (!).  They are from the Knuffle Bunny series of books by the children's author Mo Willems.  Knuffle Bunny evidently is a little stuffed bunny that has a knack for getting lost or misplaced by his owners and finding his way back.  I got her condensed version of the plots of each book and what she liked about them.

Then, in truly gifted child fashion, she explained the titles of the books (Knuffle Bunny, Knuffle Bunny Too, Knuffle Bunny Free), and suggested that the next book be titled Knuffle Bunny For (note the play on words in each title).  We both then delved into the possibilities of the next plot and what it might contain.  It was truly a wonderful, creative conversation with a very bright seven year-old mind and a very tired almost-51 year-old thought process.  I am thankful to her for the injection of positive thinking and hope that she unknowingly gave me.

When all else fails, listen to a child.  You will be recharged and rejuvenated.

Monday, February 11, 2013

2/10/13--Oval Wood Bottomed Basket

Check out my little watermelon basket!

Oval Wood Bottomed Basket
Of course, that's not the name of it.  It really doesn't have a name other than Oval Wood Bottomed Basket.  But it looks like a tiny watermelon to me.  It also is the same shape as a mini laundry basket.

It was so much fun to put together because of the solid wood bottom.  Solid wood bottoms have a groove around the outside.  We stuck the ends of our spokes in Gorilla Glue and inserted them into the bottom, evenly spaced them out, and let them dry for 20 minutes.  Then, the weaving began full bore!

There were three of us in class that day, and although we ended up with the same shaped basket, the reed we chose to weave with gave us three completely different looks for the same basket.  One basket was woven with dyed red and dark blue reed, which gave it a very cool checkerboard look.  I will have to remember that pattern for a future basket.

That's it for basketmaking until April (unless I do something on my own, LOL).  I'll miss it!  I was trying to save some money (due to the tax cut uncertainties at the beginning of 2013) and allowing myself time to work on the Home and Family Arts Open Show entry book, which will be at full steam in March (deadline of April 1).  I will be ready to get back into the creative flow of things by that time!