Virginia Johnson

Make Your Own Holiday Cards

You can create your very own cards to shine, sparkle, and spin. A quick trip to a craft store can net you a few things that can help you turn out beautiful and amazing holiday cards.

Play with Clay

The easiest way is to use a polymer clay to create creatures and more. This modern marvel is already made up in bright colors and is very quick to assemble. It's your best choice if you have only a day to complete a project. Don't underestimate the value of pure fun and where it can take you. Polymer clay creations Wallace and Gromit have gone on to win Academy Awards!

Elizabeth I: The Last Tudor Queen

The Tudor Family

Elizabeth's father was King Henry VIII of England--a big, red-haired man who liked to joust and feast. He also liked the ladies. For many years, he was mostly content with his marriage to Catherine of Aragon, a Spanish princess. They had a daughter, Mary, but no other children lived to maturity. Henry very much wanted a strong son to carry on his name and keep the kingdom safe.

Here Comes Johnny Appleseed

If you saw a man walking by your house barefoot, wearing old clothes and with a tin pot on his head, you'd likely wonder where on earth he came from. But if you lived in Indiana or Ohio in the early part of the 1800s, you just might recognize your wandering neighbor, Johnny Appleseed.

The Rattle of Sabers and the Sting of Gunpowder: Virginia's Role in the Civil War

Manassas. Fredericksburg. Chancellorsville. Richmond. Appomattox.

In these places and dozens of others, some too far away from civilization to be remembered, the sound of rifles and the drumming of hoofbeats echoed through the valleys and tore apart towns as the armies of North and South engaged in the terrible conflict that was the Civil War.

The Power of Magnetism

What do the Earth, electric motors, and your computer all have in common?
These things are all influenced by magnets.

The Earth has a liquid metal core that acts like a bar magnet. It gets its magnetism from being near electrical currents beneath the surface. Because the Earth is not perfectly shaped, every so often the direction of the field will change. Scientists have found evidence that this has occurred at least 171 times over the past 71 million years. How do they know that? Magnets!

Good Germs, Bad Germs

The microbes we call germs have been around for a loooong time, and, tiny as they are, they are excellent survivors. You can find traces of microbes in meteorites that have crashed to Earth from other planets and moons, on the tops of the coldest mountains, and bubbling merrily in deep sea volcanic vents. Microbes are survivors. If they "know" anything, it's how to spread and how to live in the most unlikely places.

If you like light-hearted fantasy...

Let's see:

Piers Anthony's Magic of Xanth series. The first one is A Spell for
Chameleon. Here's a review:
Amazon.com
Though already developing a successful career in SF with such heady
novels as Chthon and Omnivore, Piers Anthony did not reach brand-name
status until he cooked up some fantasy in 1977. And it was cheerful,
humorous fantasy at that, as in his first Xanth series novel, A Spell
for Chameleon. The book's young hero, Bink, is without magical powers in

Hands-on Colonial Crafts

Chances are if you are studying colonial times, your teacher will assign a hands-on project. You could make a model of the Jamestown Fort or a copy of the Declaration of Independence-but why not try a craft that the colonists themselves would have done?

Every colonial family except for the very rich had to be able to make their own soap, candles, furniture, cloth, baskets, toys, and musical instruments. Below is one practical craft to try. Scroll down and check our lists of books and Web sites for more ideas.

Time for Tapas

You and your out-of-town guests have survived a blistering day of fun in the Virginia sunshine. Now comes the gracious hour to unwind in the shade. Something icy or relaxing to drink is certainly called for. And, as the conversation continues, your guests realize they are just a little bit hungry. Although it's too soon for dinner plans, this late afternoon sojourn is a perfect time for tapas. The light and delightful nibbles from Spain are memorable way to treat your guests—and yourself.

About Tapas