Wednesday, January 21, 2015

More Daily Yum

This picture is just lovely and I wonder if it was completed by a professional instead of an amateur as the shading is so exquisite.  Do you recognize the similarities between this on and yesterday's yum?

Lot 420 Sottheby's 4th Dec 2013 London 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Some Daily Yum!

I have been busy shipping caskets and catching up with mailings, writing lessons, putting the final touches on a needlework nibble and checking in new threads (yes, they are starting to arrive again).  And robots everywhere, not expected to be put away now for another two months because they are a victim of success.  My original team who was starting a new type of system this year expected to 'learn' and not get far.  Well, we won the top two awards at our first competition and a bid (only 10% moved on) to the States.  This is how convinced I was that we wouldn't move on this year - I am in Virginia teaching that day (oops) and they'll be on their own.

Lot 85 Sotheby's 22 October 2010 New York.  Circa 1665
Every once in awhile I send my mom and aunt a picture of a great quilt (we are quilters) and call it their "Daily Yum".  So I am going to send out to you a few days of the Daily Yum, pictures that I have been keeping up on my computer screen.  These are part of a series of pictures that relate and I have been studying them to absorb the similarities and think.  Back in October I finally had organized enough of the pictures, mirrors and caskets that the drafters finally became clear and now I am working to catalog their unique attributes.

Hope you like the Daily Yum

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Is it French or English?

Here is a lovely beaded casket that is reportedly French in origin, maybe because of the fleur-de-lis at the corners.  I can buy that because at that time the English royalists were in France and there may have been a great deal of cross-fertilization in the decorative arts.  There are several caskets with similar motifs in collections in England and the US.  But this design is certainly something to consider for a lovely beaded piece!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Another Casket Photo to Enjoy

Lynne Anderson gave me a heads up on another beautiful casket in the collection of the Dallas Museum of Art.  It is lovely and uses blue and yellow silk covered parchment pieces on the top for the garland - really lovely to see it in different colors from greens.  There is another picture of the piece on the site that you will want to check out.  I recognize this style from another draftsman for a piece that was up for auction a few years ago and will have to go digging to put them together in my big map of caskets.

This one was sold at Christies in 2006 and was certainly drawn by the same hand.  The front panel is almost identical with who may be Jesus being wrapped and prepared for burial?  Note that one has a unicorn on the end and the other doesn't.  There is another piece and I am struggling to find it in my files and I have to get to other stuff now... think I wasted a few hours looking for it already!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Save the Date - Casket Tour

I am a bit behind in getting all the details in stone and written up for everyone - but we have been working and are close to getting the Casket Tour of England ready to announce.  I know that many would like to know that there is a tour and what the dates are - so the dates are October 14-24th, 2015.

As soon as we have all the details final (we have been working since last summer) we will post an announcement and details as well as when we will start taking reservations.


Monday, December 29, 2014

Disappearing Craftsmen - Scissors

I was interested to see this video from the BBC about the Sheffield scissors makers - but also disappointed as I have been in Sheffield twice in 2010 (once on the Jacket Tour) and we could have visited the scissors makers!!  Ernest Wright and Sons, Ltd are one of the few handmade scissors makers left, but the internet is giving them new life and their apprentices are now in the first 18-months of a 5-year apprenticeship.

I will be ordering some scissors so I can think about cutting the threads that I know who made with scissors that now I know who made!!


Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas Robots

Teamwork at the beginning of the day.  Their posters behind
them go over their research project on dyslexia and grit
and robot design process/programming - they made all that.
Christmas has been a bit depressing this year with my FIL in hospital/rehab so having our robot kids around has been a godsend to divert our attention.

So my little team ran their 'little robot that could' over and over at the MA State championship a few days before Christmas.  Their results were stupendous - this contest is for kids 9 - 14 with 9 being a bit soft and we took advantage of that in the spring of 2013 to have the kids join their older siblings/friends to run to the National level.

Well, hanging out with the big guys and watching them for years really seems to pay dividends.  In what should have been their first year as a team - they won the 2nd place robot performance award for the second highest score out of 400+ teams.  My big team never cracked higher than #7 in performance.  They managed to improve their robot programming in the two weeks between contests and could hit 530 on a good day - 471 in competition.  They only lost out to the team they beat in the qualifier (a team of 14 yr olds) who also won the entire state and are on their way to the World competition.  In the afternoon while
About ready to run for their high score.  This is run with
16 tables inside a full college basketball court with flashing
lights, buzzers, thousands of spectators screaming and MCs
narrating on loud speakers - a dyslexic nightmare.
By the time the eliminations had started my guy was so sick
with a headache that he laid on the ground outside throwing up.
I was so proud of the team - he was the best driver and on two
of our driving teams and they took
over, mixed driving teams (they practiced choreography
for a month so they could be down to 12 sec total in
base to replace attachments) to replace him and
weren't fazed and went onto win the elimination
after six rounds.  I have emphasized GRIT all year
long as the most important life skill and they have
absorbed that in spades.  Bad run? Get back on that horse
and do it again and again until it is great.  Paid off.
the judges deliberate, a fun (and trophy winning) contest is held as a single round elimination - half the time and two teams join together to compete their robots, joining their score.  It is fast paced and really fun for the thousands who watch.  My little team won the whole elimination -- beating out that Worlds team in the finals.  The Worlds team is a great set of guys - we have been competing against them for years with the big team - lots of respect between them and us.  They won't be going on to the next level of robotics as their town doesn't do it -- so we were happy to see them get the big prize of the day.  Deserved it!

I am so happy to finally have two girls on my teams.
These girls are very smart and full of verve and grit!  I am so
looking forward to working with them for the next ten years
We were terribly excited to win two trophies as well as to score very high in the research side of the day.  The little team is at a huge disadvantage as being nine makes it pretty hard to answer questions as insightfully as they will in a few years - they often don't understand the point behind the question.  It wasn't until my other team were 11 that they even made it to the States.  When you realize that they are programming this robot to follow lines by doing math on the light sensor values, do boolean logic, and auto align itself over and over on tables that could be bigger or smaller than regulation - it is really amazing what they have done before they can even do long division!  My son told me yesterday that he found out he never learned how to multiply two digit numbers by two digit numbers in his old school (math was behind) and thus failed his homework last week in the new one (where math is accelerated).  But he can quickly write a master program to run all the separate programs automatically with all kinds of if-then loops  (Yet another reason why this contest should be required for all schools - what they learn in practical ways blows away curriculums).

When they finish building their team website and 'publishing' their research project - I will post it.
Two trophies!!  What a haul!
They came up with a comic book tool for dyslexic tutors to use with newly diagnosed dyslexic kids to help them understand they have strengths that balance out the reading difficulties - as self esteem is the biggest stumbling block for dyslexic kids to succeed.  They have endorsements from every major US dyslexic organization as well as orders in the hundreds for copies just from one.  Pretty cool for being so young.  One group tried out the comic with a set of students and they all cried - it resonated so much with the kids.  Our group has many dyslexics in it and so they just were able to articulate in a way that really connected kid-to-kid.

Normally this would be the end of robot season for me... back to embroidering.  But the big guys have my entire dinning room turned into a robot competition zone and have been programming/building non-stop as school is out.  I have no less than 4-9 of them in there everyday trying to get multiplexers, sensors, IR beacons, and 3-stage lifts and servos all to work seamlessly.  They go to early February at least unless they are lucky enough to move on.

A pair of digital glasses a MIT friend let me borrow from
a kickstarter campaign - they played "First Lego League"
across the grated lenses all day
Thank you to the lovely ladies on the East Coast Casket Tour - they made a lovely donation which was used to print the comic demo copies to send to dyslexic organizations as well as buy materials for the big team.  The big team just presented its outreach work to the MIT Edgerton center.  This center develops hands-on-STEM activities for kids and will be incorporating many that our team has developed in a national summer camp this year.  So your donations are having ripples to many, many kids!

Every year I have a theme for my teams - based upon what they need to learn and internalize to become great over the long haul.  This team needed to learn GRIT.  They are talented and have grit in other aspects of their life but hadn't all learned yet that they could apply it to academic areas.  Not a surprise as they all are square pegs in the round hole of school - very, very smart but don't fit the mould.  So while they might be the type that practices music or sports for hours a day to improve - they didn't see the translation to their challenges in the classroom where their learning style was different from the curriculums.  So we spent tons of time in discussion, practicing, watching Ted talks on grit, and taking the grit test.  We learned that you have to believe that you can improve to have grit in that area.  Very profound and the subject of their comic book.  I am thrilled to say that I saw the transformation and internalization of these lessons during the months I hammered on it.  You think you can't program as well as him?  Well, just get in front of that computer until you can.  We must have practiced their talks 30 times until they could smile at the judges, have it memorized and speak clearly and fit 20 slides in 5 min.  They are learning that 'being bad' at something isn't a pass out of it on my team.  It is a ticket to more practice towards mastery.

As they say in FIRST - "Its the Hardest Fun I've Ever Had"