When I first previewed this book, it didn't grab me. I read as many of the FIAR books as I could when I bought my FIAR manual to decide which ones I really wanted to row. This one didn't make the short list. At first I found it sad, and almost burdensome for a child.
However, I'm so glad I went back for a second look, because this one is a sweet and tender gem and it would have been a real shame to miss it. We completed this row September 1-5, 2014.
I do not own this book, so we took a little trip to the library to borrow it.
It was a beautiful day, so we sat down at the pond behind the library for our first reading of Rag Coat together. Several visitors showed up to join us!
I found many go-along books to enrich our study. I am an avid quilter, so I was particularly eager to share books relating to the quilting theme.
And in fact, quilting served as the inspiration for many of our projects. We loved the book The Quilting Bee by Gail Gibbons. Following a pattern from the book, I cut out pieces to the Pine Tree quilt block out of construction paper and let Emma put them together like a puzzle.
I also ordered this little sticker book, thanks to a great idea from Rachel at Spark and All. (This is one of my very favorite blogs for FIAR inspiration.)
Emma worked to create a paper quilt!
She also watercolored a rag coat, which we cut out and used as the cover of our lap book for this unit.
Michelle at Delightful Learning gave me the idea to make a rag doll. Michelle's blog is the first place I go when planning a FIAR row. She has a FIAR link up for each of the volumes, and it is so much fun to scroll through and read about what others have done.
Emma had very specific plans for her rag doll. We googled "images of rag dolls" and combined several of the ideas we found. First, we went to the fabric store and she selected a delicate, light blue fabric and some pretty lace trim. I stitched the trim to the bottom edge of a rectangle while Emma ran a gathering stitch around the edge of a muslin circle. We placed a ball of fiber-fill in the middle of the circle, then drew up the stitches to create a ball shape for our doll's head. We placed the ball about 1/4 of the way down from the top edge of our fabric, and used that as a guide for where to embroider the doll's face using DMC floss. This photo shows the placement of the head in relation to the rest of the "body". (The head gets wrapped completely inside the blue fabric.)
At that point it was just pretty much a matter of gathering the fabric and looping ribbon to make it look like a doll. I tied a knot around the head, then used the ends of that ribbon to loop around and form "arms". There is no right or wrong, and we had to work with it for a few minutes to get the proportions correct. We hand stitched one more short length of lace around the top of the head to make it look like a bonnet.
She calls the doll "Bluebell" and is quite fond of her. She is a sweet keepsake from this row.
We also embarked on a bigger sewing project. I love to quilt, so I gave Emma a pack of charm squares (5 inch squares of fabric) and let her lay them out in a pattern for a mini-quilt. I embroidered her name on a block of fabric as well. I was NOT ALLOWED to give input or advice on fabric selection or arrangement. ;-) (Nearly impossible for me to keep my mouth shut!)
Her mini quilt turned out GREAT and we decided to turn it into a huge floor pillow. She chose a pale blue fuzzy fabric for the backing so it will be super soft and cuddly. I machine quilted this top and bought a pillow insert.....but this project is still sitting on my sewing desk waiting to be finished. It isn't for lack of her asking. ;-( Unfortunately, this is the fate of many a quilting project....
I will have to update the blog with one more picture when I (hopefully soon!) complete her pillow.
We also took to the kitchen a bit for this row. I found a recipe for Coal Cookies at food.com.
We were supposed to squeeze them in our hands when they came out of the oven to make them look even more like lumps of coal, but that seemed a little gross to me, so we just left them as they were. I thought they looked coal-ish enough!
At week's end, we made an Appalachian supper......a wonderful casserole (with a few slight changes) and an apple crisp from the FIAR cookbook. The casserole was a huge hit with my family.
I went to www.teachcoal.org and requested some coal samples. They came very quickly in the mail, and I was so impressed by their generosity. We watched several videos on youtube about coal mining, and it was very interesting to compare the various types of coal. We also googled and gathered some facts so we could do some US map work about which states produce coal.
Some other highlights from our week:
Aussie Pumpkin Patch offers some wonderful printables for this book, as well as Homeschoolshare.
We studied Joseph's Coat of Many Colors in Bible this week, and made a Venn diagram comparing and contrasting the two stories.
We listened to dulcimer music on YouTube (LOVED this) and enjoyed it so much we studied a bit about how dulcimers are made.
We also listened to Dolly Parton sing "Coat of Many Colors"...brought me right to tears!
Emma did a beautiful narration of this book for me, and I sat at the keyboard and typed what she said word for word. I printed that on pretty paper and placed it in our scrapbook. This is such a touching and poignant story, and to read it through the most precious words of a six year old is a very special treasure.
Again, I'm so happy we did not miss this book. There is a quiet gentleness to it that made me really stop and give thanks for many simple pleasures in our lives.