The Making of a Masterpiece

Friday, December 28th, 2012
The Final ProductEvery year, we love to create clever themed Christmas cards to send to our friends and family.  Each year has been a bit of a challenge to create, but this year's card posed some unique problems.  Namely, the theme was of the four Mack girls posing in a gingerbread house in a winter wonderland.  The problem?  We now live in Santa Clarita where it doesn't snow...ever.

Behind the scenesSince giant gingerbread houses are in short supply at this time of year, we built our own out of wood and thick cardboard.  We designed special candies for the front of the house out of tissue paper and colored cling wrap and spray painted the house to look more authentic.  On a bright, windy day, the four of us carried the house into the backyard and posed in front of our palm tree (not very Christmassy, right?)

Continue Reading "The Making of a Masterpiece" »

Sing We Now A’Wassailing!

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012
The Fellowship of the RingThis past Christmas, The Fellowship of the Ring had the incredible privilege of performing in The Master's College 2011 Come Christmas Sing. Our quartet, which consisted of Lindsay Christoph, Wendy Mack, Amy Mack, and Morgan Ruthardt performed both outside as the audience was standing in line waiting to enter and inside during the concert. The theme of this year's concert was the 1920's, so during the prelude our quartet dressed in fur coats and top hats and stood in front of the building. We performed numerous four-in-hand pieces that Amy arranged for our group.

As part of a class project, Morgan Ruthardt and I edited a handbell piece arranged by Paul Ellsworth. We auditioned the piece and were accepted into the concert. We had a wonderful time being a part of Come Christmas Sing in this way and we are looking forward to hopefully doing it again in the future.

What Child is This?

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010
This past semester, our handbell trio The Fellowship of the Ring  had the opportunity to perform in the prelude of The Master's College annual Come Christmas Sing Christmas Concerts.  We performed Wendy's and my arrangement of "What Child is This".

From left to right:  Wendy Mack,  Amy Mack, Morgan RuthardtThis particular song really stretched the three of us as we had to come up with creative ways to cover as many bells as possible while still making the piece look easy and sound good to the audience.  The song included everything from the very lowest bells (weighing nearly sixteen pounds apiece!)  to some of the highest and each of             us covered over an octave of bells.

Through this semester we have been able to expand our repertoire as well as enjoy practicing challenging pieces together.  This next semester we are looking forward to playing a Lord of the Rings medley (since our group is named after it) and to pulling off another fun song!

Uncle Sam’s Hat

Sunday, July 11th, 2010
Front of Card - God Bless America!In honor of our countries birth, I designed a new Fourth of July card - Uncle Sam's Hat.

This was my first time using the cylinder technique.  While it was easy to assemble, it took me a while to develop a template with the right proportions. Uncle Sam's Hat - First VersionAs you can see, in my first attempt, the top of the hat didn't quite pop up all the way.  

Later, I tried adding a support brace inside the card to push the top of the hat up - and met with success!

Uncle Sam's Hat  - Second Version With Support BraceThe hardest part about creating a pop-up card is visualizing - not what it will look like when it is open - but how it will fold.  It's hard to tell in the picture but the hat is perfectly round when the card is laid flat, however, it needed to lay flat when I folded it. How Uncle Sam's Hat Folds I thought I'd post a picture of the hat as I folded it to show how the hat flattens itself.  The top of the cylinder folds inside the hat, the support pushes down, and the base of the hat lays flat.

I'm excited to have learned this new technique and have already come up with several ideas to incorporate it into new designs.  Perhaps a candle on a birthday cake?  Or maybe a Fourth of July Firecracker?  If I can figure out how to put a cone on top I might even be able to make a spaceship or rocket!  I'll keep you posted on my designs!

Happy Birthday America!

Sunday, July 4th, 2010
Painting of the Continental CongressToday,  this great country of ours, the United States of America, turned 234 years old.  234 years ago today, on July 4th, 1776, fifty-six men in the Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence, which was written by Thomas Jefferson. This document would soon bring freedom to America.

The men who signed the Declaration were not only risking their lives, but their families lives as well. They knew that if they signed it, and if they were caught, they could be tortured and hanged as conspirators against the king.

Today, We should be inspired by the men who took this great chance, for instance, John Hancock. While other men were making small signatures on the Declaration, Hancock signed his name large and right in the middle of the page. Stars and Stripes Forever When asked why he took that action, Hancock said that he"wanted the King of England to be able to see his name without wearing spectacles (glasses)"  

I hope this Fourth of July, you will stop and think about all the people throughout history, who gave their lives for America's freedom.

A Tribute to My Dad

Sunday, June 20th, 2010
This Father's Day, I wanted to share how much my dad means to me.  

Eric and Wendy pose for a pictureFor as long as I can remember, my dad has made it clear that the family is important to him.  Dad chose to work at home so that he can spend more time with the family.  He welcomes us at all times of the day to show him a craft or a test grade and he works hard to make sure that we don't feel like a nuisance but that we understand that he values our attention.

God has given my dad a passion for teaching.  Everything is a lesson, and it is rare that I walk away from a conversation without learning something.  A couple of days ago, while setting up a pantograph for my mom, he was excitedly explaining to Kelly and me the device's historical use by President Thomas Jefferson.  Family dinners are so much fun - especially now as Amy and I are approaching voting age.  We are often discussing or debating something, whether it be our stand on a political issue, or a historical fact, or how our government works.  Dad encourages us to pay attention in school by eagerly listening to anything we share - especially about history or physics.  It is not uncommon that we find ourselves the teachers and our parents the students!  Earlier as he was helping me with some technical aspects of a blog post - he took some time to teach me how to understand some of the code that he was entering.  Dad also practices what he preaches.  He not only tells us how important education is but he proved it to us by going back to get both a Bachelor's and a Master's degree!

Continue Reading "A Tribute to My Dad" »