Today was the day of our faaaaaaabulous workshop on upcycling!

Zoe made a sock doll, showing the rest of the girls her own secret method, and we introduced them to Sock and Glove which has some wonderful designs (thanks to Jayla and Kerin for introducing it to us). Amber made a beautiful dress for her doll!

People brought in sweaters, and we talked about all the different things you can make from them – some of the best ideas were in Alterknits. Athena got started re-purposing a sleeve right away.

We admired Judith’s crocheted grocery bags and Willow’s refrigerator pockets. And we loved hearing about the handbags Amanda made from jeans.

While the girls were working on their projects, we watched The Story of Stuff, a movie made by native Woodstockers who run Free Range Studios.

In parting, we did a demo of how you can make stylish beads using a straw, glue stick and wrapping paper. Just in time to rethink throwing out your holiday gift wrapping.

Cut a piece of wrapping paper the width of your thumb and the length of a straw.
Coat the back of the paper with glue.
Place the straw at one end of the paper and roll tightly until all the paper is stuck on the straw tube.
Wait a minute for it to dry, then cut the tube into beads.
String the beads on embroidery thread or yarn.
Makes a great necklace, friendship bracelet or keychain!
Thanks to the Recycled Crafts Box for the great idea!

The Woodstock Library has some extra copies of our collection of upcycling patterns. Check it out when you go there next!

Love the world!


DIY: Upcycled Fashion Show

A Party for the Planet and an Awesome Puppet Show

To add to the fun for our final Party for the Planet, we decided to put on a shadow puppet theater.  We chose the story of The Elephant’s Child by Rudyard Kipling.  We rewrote the story and made the puppets.  We created the music and decided which animals would have a certain kind of song.  Mostly, I did the soundtrack, and Jayla and Emma did the puppeteering.  But in one part, Emma played the keyboard; another part, Jayla played the violin; and in one part, I did some puppeteering.  Jayla’s mom, Kerin, worked with us for a couple of weeks, and she did the narrating for the performance.  We had very few people there, but everyone who came seemed to enjoy it.  You can watch it here, too:

More about the Party for the Planet and the results of our read-a-thon in our next post and movie!



My good friend and fellow Roots and Shoots member, Benny, made this movie about how the world is trying to make boys get drawn into fighting.  It is kind of like how the world is trying to lure girls into just taking care of other people and becoming the mothers of those boys who are going to war.  (Note from my mom: We wanted to post Benny’s movie here because it makes us think about things a little differently, and we thought you’d enjoy it, too!  Check it out…)

Now that I have seen this video, I think when my baby brother is born (in February) we should let him play with lots of different kinds of things so that he doesn’t have to play with just fighting stuff every single day.  That might let him know that it is better to be a fan of lots of different things instead of just one kind of thing.  Like me!  Because I like a lot of different things, including Harry Potter and a series of books called the Hunger Games.  I hope you learn from this video, just like me!


And now for the bloopers!

Zoe just loves blooper reels…

Showing the World Your Vision

Imagine this: an African girl wonders what it is like to live in America. We can show her in pictures!  This is what our Roots & Shoots group did.

First, my mom gave out cameras, and we went home and took pictures of whatever we liked.  Then our moms printed them out.  Lots of people made different pictures about different things.  When we got together again, we looked at the pictures and sorted them out.  We saw that our pictures were sometimes different than what we thought they were going to look like.  Sometimes they were blurry, and sometimes they were really clear.  Sometimes they were very dark, and sometimes they were very light.  But all of them were interesting.  We learned that photography is a big experiment.

Here are some of our projects…

Etolie, 8, made photos of her favorite thing – animals! – during a trip to some farms in Maine.   She used all natural light, outside, and the sunlight outlined certain features in her pictures.

Jayla, 8, made photos of things around her house, looking through doors and windows, and using the light and her subjects to play with perspective.

Zoe, 8, made a list of all of her favorite things, and then came up with ways to photograph each of them.  She played a lot with light, using natural light, flash, and even flashlight to achieve different looks.

Alana, 8, created a portrait series of her teacher, mom and friends in a homeschool Waldorf program she attends, arranging the photos in size order from smallest to biggest person and ending with a group photo.

Rachel, 8, was interested in looking at relationships between different objects.  When we looked at her portfolio, she decided to put pictures together that had a tonal theme.  And when making her book, she cropped the pictures more by cutting them.

Benny, 8, photographed a day in the life.  When we edited his photos for the portfolio, he created a narrative out of six of the photos that would also make a great film!

Forrest, 9, made photos of anything that caught his interest.  At some point in the process (while shooting? or while editing the pictures?), he became interested in turning some of the pictures into diptychs.

Benjamin, 11, made photos of various things in his life, creating a visual diary.  He wants to do another series of cool portraits of his beloved dog.

Then we made accordian albums and decorated the front with really awesome duct tape.  We also used sparkly letters and colorful markers to decorate the covers.

Thanks to everyone who came to our photography workshop!

the Hudson Valley Homeschool Roots & Shoots Group (left to right: Etolie, Forrest, Benny, Jayla, Benjamin, Zoe, Rachel and Alana)

-Zoe Flash (with italicized descriptions of the projects by Hillary)

ZoeTV, Episode 1

Our premiere episode of ZoeTV, Zoe’s new show featuring stories of interest to our Roots & Shoots group!  We hope you enjoy!

UPDATE: If you have trouble viewing the video above, try accessing it on YouTube with this link!

Previous Older Entries