Gamifying language learning

Well, as a gamer at heart, I of course found a way to hack the achievements presented in duolingo. (An awesome free language app, btw.) 

I noticed my fluency rating had slipped from 22% down to 12% in the app over a few weeks. My bad for not being consistent. 

When it slipped after I completed two daily lessons, I knew it was time for action. And since I quit WoW Monday, what other achievements am I getting? None, I tells ya. 

  
So I kept clicking “practice weak skills” over and over until my fluency rating came up from 9 to 12%. It took about 8 lessons to do it. 

Then I noticed a link to my dashboard. Voila! The web version has tons of other options like progress tests and timed tests. Neat!

After a timed tests I was back up another 5 percentage points: 17%. Oh, now it was ON. 

After a few more tests, all easily within 30 minutes or so, I was back to my original 22%. Then I beat that. 

  
Today I’m at 27% after two timed tests and my normal daily new lesson and one practice of weak skills. 

   
Commence project “new life goals”. Or “I think I’m addicted to leveling”. 

WoW: It’s happening… again

Oh no.. Maybe it’s the fires on ALL SIDES OF MY HOME sending me into a dreamworld of escapism. Maybe it’s the WoW music randomly hitting my iTunes playlist. Or maybe it’s just that I really really used to have a good time playing and kinda miss the joint.

This is happening right now.

They're staring into my soul. Searching me.
God have mercy on my bandwidth. ...I mean soul.

 

 

Hand-made Link doll

Before Christmas, my friend EA asked me a simple, solitary question: can you make a Link doll?  It sounded easy and fun, and it turned out to be both! It was my first doll I have ever made, though, so there were some challenges.  🙂  Here’s our story in pictures.

Oh, first a link.  (See what I did there?)
The pattern is from http://www.marthastewart.com/article/black-apple-doll, even down to the hair.  EA blew it up on a copier until the whole thing fit on one piece of paper.

We used muslin and various other cottons—I think we got maybe 1/4 yd at the fabric store when we needed any fabric, and then felt for the hair; plain ol polyfil was the stuffing.

Looking back, I guess I didn't need any interfacing on his body parts, but the muslin (our flesh-colored parts like arms and face) felt just way too skinny to stand alone through rough play. So I cut around the pattern EA gave me and left a bit for seam allowance. For the arms and legs, I just used doubled fabric so I had one less seam.
After a while, I decided that Link's arms and legs must surely be covered with sleeves and tights, so I just cut them out of white. For the now-leftover flesh colored fabric, I cut the end off of the arms and decided they'd be my ears, since the original pattern did not include a piece for elf ears.
I used the ends of the arms and legs patterns to make brown gloves and shoes. I simply cut them with a tiny bit more allowance around the edges so they could slip over the white arms and legs.
Oh, the hands! This made me super happy. After I put the brown gloves onto the white arms, I sewed little finger lines over the whole thing (unstuffed). This will become Link's kung-fu grip!
Ear construction. Obviously, I put the ears on before the hair.
Since this was my first doll construction, let me just say there might be an easier way to put it all together. But the way I did it, I stuffed his head, arms and legs, then sewed most of the body up, leaving holes for the appendages. It was just too hard to put them inside and turn later. So after the body, I put the arms, legs, and head inside their holes, right sides out, and topstitched on the machine. Seemed sturdier anyway.
My friend EA did the work of all the cutting, stuffing, and drawing. I simply pieced and sewed.
Link! EA drew on a face and red boxer hearts with a marker! I love this. We also gave him a kung-fu grip by putting velcro on his fingers and palm.
The tunic is more or less 3 rectangles with one corner cut off of the front rectangles. The hemming was the only tricky part here, just because there was a lot of it.
As for scale, we made Link's tunic to fall about mid-thigh. His hat is his body+head length, and is just 2 triangles sewn together. You can see the kung-fu velcro here.
Tricky, tricky! We put a tiny bit of velcro on the hat and his hair to keep the hat from falling off all the time.
Ta da! A length of ribbon with velcro for a closure was his belt. I think EA sewed a star-shaped button on later, and a couple smaller buttons on his shoes, to match. Surely a Link from Texas would have a star belt buckle, right?
And Link's best side, more familiar from game-play. 🙂