Since last spring I’ve had this niggling feeling that I should better organize our math manipulatives. We use the homeschool math curriculum Right Start Mathematics, which is a good fit for me and my third-grader, and it comes with lots and lots of little bits and pieces and sets of cards. I have a small secretary desk in my living room that is dedicated to holding our math supplies. The problem was that I couldn’t close it anymore because it was so crammed full with our manipulatives, cards, and the various sandwich bags or dog-eared envelopes I was employing to hold them. I bought some white zippers in bulk and used canvas left over from our field trip bags to make 13 zipper bags for our math supplies. I took the time to embroider a label onto each bag, which seemed like “OMG, have I really become a person who embroiders labels on to homemade canvas bags to hold math manipulatives?” but yes, it seems I have. Assuming we stick with this curriculum, I’ll be using these supplies for many more years, and I’d have been mad if my previous disorganized system had caused me to have to re-purchase supplies I could have kept track of better. I am not, under any circumstances, going to follow this project up by crocheting a cozy for our abacus. So here we go. Hopefully these bags and I will have quite a future together, and it’ll be worth the time spent when my current toddler learns her fractions with their help. And if there is just a little voice in the back of my brain that says, “really? You made special bags to hold math supplies?” I’ll just tell it to shut up. In Latin, because that’s all homeschool-y, right?
I’ve been having some fun with some waterproof fabrics. I bought several yards of this cute apple oil cloth (which is actually vinyl, not oiled cotton like old school oil cloth) and have been having all sorts of fun with it. First I used it to cover the surface of my basement craft table and make a easy-clean surface under the kids’ easel, then I made this little pouch to attach to the outside of our homeschool bin. We have a few papers we need to access quickly or regularly, such as our agenda and our teacher/taught homeschool contract, so this pouch is for the storage and quick retrieval of those documents.
Then I made some zippered bags. Two are gifts for friends, and one got a grommet in the corner and is hanging by an S-hook to my homeschool pouch (above) to hold sticky notes and favorite pens.
And since those little bags went together so easily and turned out so nicely, I got inspired to make this bigger waterproof bag to keep in my car door. It’s supplied with my waterproof zip-up rain hoodie, a grocery sack just in case we need it, and a small towel for the same reason. The contents won’t get wet if I open my car door in the rain, and it keeps all those sundries together in a handy and attractive way.
I also recovered my kitchen chairs. These were covered in black and white polka-dot oil cloth (again, vinyl), but it didn’t wear well. The oil cloth split and got very worn around the edges after not all that much time. This time I covered the chair pads in laminated cotton, like I did for my dining chairs a couple years ago. I’ve had a great experience with the laminated cotton as chair seat upholstery fabric. It is comfortable, it wipes clean, it wears well, and it is easy to work with. I’m enjoying the pop of blue this new fabric is bringing to the room, too, in place of the black and white.