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Snowballs + Leonardo for all!

One winter, long ago, we Blackbirds made a box full of snowball catapults to giveaway at a conference. When I came across a few remaining stragglers, I smiled to myself. “Just in time for December!”

So, I have have been a busy little elf recreating ONE HUNDRED catapult kits! Be sure to watch for your December email and our social media to see how you might be the happy recipient of one of the 100 kits we have ready to mail off!

Of course, when I think “catapult” I think Leonardo DaVinci, polymath extraordinaire!  What a persona to consider as we stand at the dawn of a new year. A bit of history:

You, of course know, Leonardo Da Vinci was a man who wore many hats: painter, sculptor, musician, engineer, father of flight, medical entrepreneur.  But did you know that he was known to sketch mechanized throwing devices just for fun?

The catapult design, conceived and put to use many, many years before Leonardo, intrigued him.  And so he went to the drawing board to do some tweaking.

Da Vinci recognized a simple fact that was likely overlooked by most: Gun powder was not 100% dependable! It just needed a bit of tweaking. And so he set out to refine the tool.

Da Vinci concocted two ideas: the single arm and the double arm catapult. The mechanisms he imagined would enable an increase in the throwing arm speed with ease. Like many of his notebook ideas, there is no historical record of the single or double arm catapult being employed but there are small scale and large scale models that have proved efficacy. More importantly, Loenardo’s tenacity to put his ideas to paper continues to inspire innovation. And this is worth celebrating!

For this reason, we will giving away one  Leonardo DaVinci catapult kit in addition to the 100 Snowball catapult kits.

Details to follow! Stay posted…

And may you be inspired.

 

~Kimberly ❄️❄️❄️

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Imagine a Big Idea: A State Quilt

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The big idea was to study our state in detail for one full school year, learning its basic geography and all the state symbols. There was no pattern. We just designed it the way we wanted it as we journeyed through our study. We decided to spell C-A-L-I-F-O-R-N-I-A on little pillows to create a relief effect. Each letter was cut out of different fabrics that had Wonder Under applied to the back. Different embroidery stitches were used to embellish the ironed on letters. The pillows were then hung on little safety pins.

Along the left of the quilt are laminated hand drawn watercolored state symbols—state rock, flower, bird and so on. Our children were delighted to safety pin each symbol randomly.

The middle of our quilted California is made of muslin and is a quilt all it’s own with two sides and batting in the middle. Using a large state map as a guide, major features like deserts, mountain ranges, valleys and lakes were either applied using fabric or paints.

We had children bring in photos of themselves from different places in the state or just photos they had taken in different places. We cut them small, then laminated them and attached them with safety pins. All the quilters painted California poppies and signed their names.

For the finishing touch we used bright yarns to tie the quilt together at random spots. We entered our geography unit in the Mid-state fair and won a first prize ribbon!

It’s pretty obvious that a project like this takes hours and hours. Really, there was no rush… except the deadline for the fair!

– Sara