Thursday, April 28, 2016

Passion and Resurrection Peg Doll Ideas

Catholic peg dolls may become my new obsession :).  After making gifts for several kiddos this Christmas, my mind has continued to plan and think about how these simple toys can be used to teach truths of the faith. So far, I've made lots of little peg saints, a church and Mass set, and a Nativity.   This Holy Week, my mind turned to the Passion of Jesus, and I thought it would be great to have a set that would help kids act out the stories of Good Friday through Easter Sunday.

Then, Rigger Art offered to send me one of their painting palettes to review, and I knew that this would be the perfect project to try it out on.  Considering I usually paint using an old plastic lid for a palette, this was a big step up in the world.  I mean seriously, look at how pretty and organized it is!  My Type-A-self, combined with my right-brain-creativeness, is so happy.

This palette has 33 mixing wells, its 10"x 5" size is huge without taking up a lot of space, and while I don't often paint while standing, it does have a thumb hole that allows you to comfortably and securely hold with one hand.  It lays flat but also folds closed.  I took advantage of that feature while painting so that I could get up and do adult things like laundry.  When I came back to it, I was able to resume working without wasting all of my acrylic paint.  Also, when I was done I was pretty impressed with how well it cleaned up, leaving it ready for my next project.  Click here to see more details and reviews:
Large Watercolor Folding Palette -  Rigger Art Acrylic & Oil Palettes. 
(Note that this and other links in this post are affiliate links, meaning that if you purchase through the link, I receive a small percentage at no cost to you.  I'll probably just use it to buy supplies for my classroom, so thanks!)

So, because there are a lot of pictures in this post, I'm going to list what I did out in steps.  You could take any part of the idea and make it your own :)

1. Paint Good Friday background.  This was done on a lightweight 8x10 piece of basswood.  I just painted a simple gray sky, tan hill, and the two crosses to the left and right for the two thieves crucified with Christ.
Artist Panel Unprimed Basswood 7/8 Inch 8X10

2. I already had a peg doll Jesus, but I knew I wanted to create a way for kids to reenact the Crucifixion.  I painted a thick wooden cross that is about 8" tall, and then also painted a smaller cross that is about 4" tall (the same height as the peg dolls).
Unfinished Wooden Wall Cross
Wooden Unfinished 4-1/4 Inch High Cross 

3.  I then drilled holes in the left, right, and bottom of the smaller cross.  I think my holes were about 5/16." They just need to be big enough for the head of a small nail to pass all the way through.

4. Next I put the small cross on top of the larger one and hammered in three nails until they were flush with the small cross.
You can see that the small cross can be taken on and off the nails on the large cross:

5. This is because the small cross is going to become the background for the Crucified Christ.  If you are not super confident painting people, I took pictures of my simple steps:

Paint an oval head and basic stick figure with arms outstretched and hands where the nail holes are.  Then legs seem a little trickier, but are just bent slightly at the knee with the feet where the nail hole is:
Then fill in the shape of the body:

6. Next up, paint Jesus' face, hair, beard, crown of thorns, and garment.  I also added red paint at all his wounds, including a little inside the nail holes.

So here you can see the Corpus on the larger cross, being held by the nails:

So here is the cross standing up in front of the Good Friday scene:

And here is Jesus attached to it:

Here I've gathered the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mary Magdalene, and John at the food of the cross.

These are the same Peg Doll Bodies I have ordered a couple of times.  They have always been uniform and high quality, and I haven't found a better price:
Wood Doll Bodies - Woman 3-1/2 inch - Bag of 10
Wood Doll Bodies - Man 3-9/16 inch - Bag of 10

7. Ok, on to Easter Sunday.  On the back of the basswood piece with the Good Friday scene, I painted a garden scene.  Bluish sky, tomb, flowers:

8. Next I painted a 4" circle plaque a matching gray for the stone to roll in front of the tomb.
Walnut Hollow Pine Circle Plaque, 4 x 4 x 0.63-Inch
So the body of Christ can be "laid" in the tomb and covered with the stone:

And Mary and John and Mary Magdalene can wait in the garden:

And then on Easter morning, Mary Magdalene visits the tomb, and finds angels and then the Risen Christ!

And a little side note, it worked out well that the 8x10" basswood background fits right in the lid of the wood box I have ready to store all the peg dolls:

I really loved how this set turned out, and I can't wait to keep making peg dolls and scenes for telling the story of the faith to kiddos.  And I really loved experimenting with my new paint palette. :)

Click on this pic to see the Peg Doll Church and Mass set, along with ten peg Saints:
(Includes some links to supplies and resources, including Q&A in the comments)

Click on this pic to see the Peg Doll Nativity Set:
(Includes some links to supplies and resources, including Q&A in the comments)

So, what kind of scene or set of peg saints should I start planning next? :)

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Acts of Faith, Hope, and Love Prayer Card Mini Book

It's the time of year when I am wrapping up the content in our religion textbook, which means we are talking about virtues, holiness, and sainthood.  To go along with this unit, I redesigned some prayer cards for the Act of Faith, Act of Hope, and Act of Love.

These cards could be printed and cut individually, or if you print the two pages back to front and then cut the page apart horizontally, you can fold each half to make a mini book complete with the cover and the three prayers.

Click on the image below for the printable:

Friday, April 15, 2016

Katie Reads {1}

Oh, books, how I love thee.

As a teacher, I have found that personal reading during the school year gets pushed to the wayside (unless of course we are talking about our 5th grade novels or PD books of course.)  So during summer and on breaks, I eat up books.  Spring break was a couple of weeks ago, and I'm just getting around to bringing these suggestions to you.  Maybe there will be something that looks like the perfect book for your next free weekend!

(FYI- the links for the books are Amazon Affiliate links.  That means that if you click through and purchase something, I will receive a small percentage at no cost to you.  I will gratefully use it, probably to stock up on more books! :) )

Since I would rather be reading than writing long book reviews, I'll give you a grade (once a teacher...) and a quick run down.  Totally just my opinion based on what I like to read.  I'd love to hear your thoughts on these books or suggestions of what I should read next in the comments!

The Warrior: Caleb , Francine Rivers {B+}
  • Gotta admit, I'm typically skeptical (and critical) of Biblical fiction, but Tessa Afshar's In the Field of Grace changed my mind for the better
  • And I love Francine River's Redeeming Love, so when I saw The Warrior (and The Priest- book one in the series) at the thrift store, I had to pick them up
  • I happened to be finishing up the Book of Numbers in my Bible reading plan over break, so this novel about the life of Caleb was perfectly timed
  • Loved the insight into Caleb's warrior heart and why he was chosen as one of only two men from his generation to enter the promised land
  • But it almost tried to cram too many large events (covering all of the wandering in the desert and the conquest of the promised land...) into one little novella
  • I'm working on reading the first book in the series about Aaron, and will keep my eye out for the other three as I'm thrift shopping
  • If you would like to dive deeper into the lives of Old Testament key players through your imagination, this book is for you.
The Brontë Plot, Katherine Reay {A-}
  • This was a must read for me because Reay's Dear Mr. Knightley is one of my absolute favorites
  • I love Reay's flawed characters, heavy English lit references, recreated stories, and unpredictable (but yet predictable) plots
  • The Brontes don't hold a super dear place in my heart, knocking this book down a little bit for me, and really, its going to take a lot to outshine Dear. Mr. Knightley
  • If you like Austen & the Brontes, old stories made new, and happy endings, this book is for you.
Brooklyn, Colm Toibin {A-}

  • After all the award hype, I knew I wanted to see Brooklyn (the clothes! the era! the accents! and again, the clothes!) but after discovering it was originally a book, I am under strict self-imposed guidelines to
  • So I read the book first.
  • And I liked it- but I am a little surprised by the hype 
  • Well written? Yes.  Story that should be told? Yes.  
  • However, I thought it was a tad slow, but in a kind of beautiful simplicity 
  • Overall, I really enjoyed it and now definitely want to see the movie...for the clothes of course
  • If you like coming-of-age tales and period pieces from the post war era, this book is for you.

A Man of the Beatitudes: Pier Giorgio Frassati, Luciana Frassati {A-}

  • Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati is our CCD patron Saint for this Year of Mercy, so I ordered this book over the summer to do my research
  • And it sat on my bedside table until two weeks ago
  • But it was worth the wait.  Written by Pier Giorgio's own sister, it gives a unique view of his growing up, family life, desires, and hopes for the future as only his sister could tell
  • I loved the snippets of notes and letters written by Pier Giorgio himself, as well as the evidence that only at the end of his life did his family truly understand who he was
  • I also discovered that I apparently don't know enough about politics and social class in Italy in the 1920s, but I was able to figure out the gist at least
  • If you are looking to be inspired about the combination of youth, service, and holiness, this book is for you.

If I Run ,Terri Blackstock {B-}

  • This book way my biggest impulse buy on this list and also my biggest disappointment
  • I have enjoyed Terri Blackstock's crime thrillers for years as easy but interesting reads
  • So when I saw she had a brand new book with a seemingly different story line I was intrigued
  • The first person point of view...I'm not sure I liked it or if it added to the understanding of the characters.  I think it was supposed to make it more suspenseful, but instead maybe made it more annoying
  • But really, I was disappointed because I didn't know that this brand new book is the beginning of a series.  What seemed like an interesting story line stretched out way too long, introduced and solved an entirely different problem, and led the two main characters to not even meet until the last chapter of the book
  • I'm annoyed enough to not even want to finish the series
  • If you are patient and wait until this whole series is written and then can check it out from the library all at once, this book is for you.
Well, there you have it- what do you think?  Of the five books I read, which are you most tempted to pick up?

Linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy.  Go see what she recommends!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Women of the Resurrection: Small Group Study {with coloring pages!}

Community.  We all need it- our faith wasn't meant to exist in a bubble.  Christian community provides us with structure, accountability, mentors, and fellowship.  I'm grateful to be a part of a thriving young adult community that meets weekly for time in Scripture and prayer.

Our latest series during this Easter season is called "Men and Women After the Heart of God."  The ladies are gathering in our small groups to talk about women who were impacted directly by the Risen Christ or one of His apostles.  We are also focusing on a virtue that each women emulated.

When making up the handouts, I kept things simple, proposed a few questions, left a spot for notes and ideas...and then still had a whole blank page.  What to do with that space? So I turned it into a little coloring page complete with a key verse from that particular study.  We have been coming stocked with art supplies to do some coloring while we read and discuss.

I have to admit, a little part of me was worried about this.  I'm in the "I love art" camp, I have always doodled while taking notes, and I remember more when my hands are busy. But I was concerned that we might appear a little rude when not making eye contact, or that we wouldn't be able to focus on the Scripture, or that someone would worry about not being artsy enough.

So I kept the readings short and the questions simple and hoped for the best...and it was awesome- some of the best discussion we have had in a long time.  Conversation seemed more natural. and ladies that don't always jump in spoke more and dove deeper.  I'm going to call it a success :).

If you would like to use these studies for your Bible study, small group, youth group, etc. click on the images below to print the study guides.  They print two sided and then fold in half to make a little booklet as you see in the photo above.

Click here for the study on Mary Magdalene and the virtue of service:
Click here for the study on the Women of Jerusalem and the virtue of community:
 Click here for the study on Lydia and the virtue of hospitality:
 Click here for the study on Tabitha and the virtue of joy & generosity:
 Click here for the study on Priscilla and the virtue of leadership:
 Click here for the study on Lois & Eunice and the virtue of maternity:
 Click here for the study on Mary and the virtue of receptivity:

And if you would just like the Scripture coloring pages, click on any of the images below.  All seven coloring verses are in one full page pdf:

Happy studying, coloring, and praying with these wonderful women of the Resurrection!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Divine Mercy Sunday During the Year of Mercy

Divine Mercy Sunday is just two days away!  This celebration is especially special (divinely holy? wonderfully awesome?) because it falls during the Holy Year of Mercy.  There's still time to plan an activity for your family, CCD class, or classroom.  Here are some easy but meaningful projects ready for you to use:

Click here for a Divine Mercy watercolor art project, including a way to simply explain the symbolism of the colors in the Divine Mercy image:

Click here for pattern and instructions for making a Divine Mercy melty bead craft:
(Which could also double as a cross stitch pattern)

Click here for ideas for several easy and cheap mercy bulletin boards:

Click on the image below for a printable for making a "pop-out" Divine Mercy Chaplet:

Click on the image below for a notebooking activity connecting the Image of Divine Mercy and the Sacrament of Reconciliation:

Click on the image below for a post about making a lapbook connecting the Image of Divine Mercy and the Sacrament of Reconciliation:

Here are a couple of Divine Mercy craft ideas that are simple and cheap that haven't made their way into their own blog posts:

One quick Divine Mercy craft you could make is this cute mini shrine:

It is made with a repurposed Altoid tin and features the Image of Divine Mercy, instructions and the words to the prayers, and a pop-out Divine Mercy Chaplet.  You can also check my original post about making mini shrines.

Another super fast idea is to make these little decade Rosaries/Chaplets.  The heart and the vertical beam of the cross are one long bent pipe cleaner and the horizontal beam of the cross is a short (~2") piece of a pipe cleaner twisted on.  String on ten pony beads, twist together, and you have a chaplet that can easily be used by little fingers- they can even slide the beads as they pray.  These also could be used for good deed beads.  I used blue, white, and red colors to remind us of the symbolism in the Image of Divine Mercy.

May God richly bless you this Divine Mercy Sunday!

For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.