Thursday, February 17, 2011

Clean house? or Blog?


I had great intentions of coming home, opening the windows (since it is now 65 degrees, not -15), enjoying my coffee and getting some cleaning done. 3 of the 4 things I've got goin' on... aaaand I've decided to blog instead of clean.


Not to sound, ya know, whiny or anything... but these 23,000 snow days the past two weeks sure have made it hard going back to teaching 5 days in a row! I deserve an award for making it nearly Monday through Friday without crafting. So Me, Myself and I have a date with a massage tomorrow.

I am pretty pumped about the progress that my students have made this week. My 7th graders finished a huge project. We studied Claes Oldenburg and Pop Art then kiddos made giant food and every day items with boxes, newspaper and found objects. Next, we added papier mache and paint. This is the first time I've ever done this lesson. I have to say, even though my art room has smelled like a rotting bakery from the papier mache for 4 weeks.. it was worth it!

Some of the projects aren't completely finished. The lolli-pop on the left is waiting for the rest of its paint and plastic wrapper. I can't wait to see it when it's finished! The projects are going to have a fantastic photo shoot in about a week or so then they'll have a blog all to themselves!

In the midst of the 5 day work week, I signed up for a welding class! I'm guessing you read the previous post and the part about fire and wax seals? YEAH! I cannot wait! The class lasts 10 weeks. We will be studying MIG and TIG welding and learning about plasma cutting. I bet my brother is excited because he probably thinks I'll stop bugging him to teach me to weld.. or maybe to just wear the mask. Nah. Now I'll pester him to compete with me in a WELD-OFF!

I'm out of coffee. I guzzled it as I was blogging... kinda like eating too many potato chips while watching TV. Looks like I should make more and find more interesting things to do so I can have exciting blog posts for my 9 followers... 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Memories of elementary school Valentine's Day parties are hard to beat.

I'm fairly certain my obsession with writing and receiving letters stems from collecting Valentines in a pink and red tissue covered kleenex box from kindergarten. I wish I could replace our mail box with one of those. I would definitely win the neighborhood contest with my rockin pipe cleaner, pom pom and glitter covered box.

This has to be one of my favorite things from childhood. I have old school Valentines from 1991-1994 in this little book.

By 1994, I documented Valentine's Day happenings myself but Mom helped me with the writing aspect until then (Thanks Mom). Apparently "What I liked least about this Valentine's Day (1991) was getting my name on the board". I have to say, I can tell she definitely wrote down everything I said. Guess whose fault it was that was name was on the board... SHANE!
Although, as a teacher now... and thinking about what I must have been like in school.... and if I was my own teacher... I probably would have put my name on the board, thanks or no thanks to Shane.
(I'm still going to blame it on sugar from the umph-teen Little Debbies cake hearts I ate at the class party).

(My Momma loves me)

My 5 other art teachers friends share my love of Valentine's Day... and receiving Valentines. My friend, Jen, had the awesome idea of hand making Valentine's Day cards and mailing one to each of our artsy friends.

Project! Project! Project!

I started thinking... what is a unique Valentine I could make? My sewing machine was nearby and offered to help. Some scrapbook paper and felt overheard and decided to volunteer as well. Then, my stomach pitched in. It wanted a cupcake...
So, what does all that equal?

...some pretty sweet Valentine's Day cards!


I also have a slight fasination with wax seals. I know this does not stem from elementary school Valentines... sometimes I'm still not sure if I trust myself with fire. To share my love of this lost art, I gave my 9 year old niece a wax sealing set for Christmas. My brother looked at me like

Really. You know this involves a flame... and she still hasn't mastered cursvie.

Speaking of my brother.. I even made a Valentine for him!

Hopefully all of my friends will enjoy their home-made cards.
And I hope you received a Valentine and are enjoying an ever-so-delicious Little Debbie cake heart today... but be sure not to get your name on the board!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Sweet Baby Boy

It's always a creative opportunity when another friend has a baby

...and this time it's a boy!

YAY! What to make.....

Oo! Babies can never have too many stuffed animals! The first thought that came through my mind when I decided this was,

Oh no. I've tried my hand at sewing little stuffed creatures in the past. They seem to be a better fit for the Land of Misfit Toys than in the hands of a baby.

I knew my friend and her little one deserved more than a make-shift pattern and jagged embroidery techniques. My snow-day-craft-day friend, Amelia, suggested I take a look at her sewing book, "One-Yard Wonders". I found the perfect project! The pattern is titled Leisure Suit Lapdog and is a design by Marlene Gaige. Now, this particular pattern called for  "vintage double-knit polyester" as the fabric of choice...

I'm gonna go with... mmm, no.

I decided on a cotton jungle theme fabric (to go with his bedding, of course!) I added the contrasting fabric on more sections than the pattern recommended. I thought he needed some... pizazz.

The funny thing was, the entire time I was making the stuffed animal I was thinking to myself,

Oh man, it's gonna look so good. I wonder if she'll even know I made it...

I'm going to make a shot in the dark, but I'm pretty sure the poor hand stitching along the back and the fact that the doggie looks like it's making a wee toot give away that it is non-factory produced stuffed animal.
I think I'll go with the

"I wanted to give it a... hand-made look"

Next came the stitching for the eyes and nose. On fourth attempt, I got something I could live with.

My original plan was to sew buttons for the eyes (or large glass eyes as the pattern suggested). But you know, buttons + new born = choking hazard. I hope as long as the little guy has no teeth, unwinding the thread might hold some difficulty.

Many hours and cups of coffee... he's finished! Now on to the card for the...
Sweet Baby Boy!

I plan to give this gift at his baby shower later in the month. I hope he likes it!

...and I have to say, I am pretty proud of myself with this project. After all, I sewed my first gusset!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Snowpacolypse 2011

Snowpacolypse 2011...

Way worse than last week's Snowmageddon 2011

Man! Talk about me hyper all yesterday morning. I was so excited I forgot to start my coffee for the first 30 minutes I was awake. I was too busy running around the living room, going outside to video, coming back inside to video, going back outside, eating the snow, spitting out the snow all the while, making the poor dogs a nervous wreck.

Oh poor dogs...

Can you even imagine trying to pee

Later in the day, my husband and I ventured out with a failed attempt to sled... in nearly 2 feet of snow. Hmph. Who would have known. On our way back home, a nice young gentleman on a four-wheeler offered to pull me on the sled behind his killing-machine (per my husband). I'm guessing he saw me starting to squirm and dance with excitement as he was driving by. Somehow he must have known that I've been wanting to be pulled behind a four wheeler or truck since the last snow, despite news segments on deaths while doing such things.

Bo and I responded to his offer at the same time. "Yes! Awesome! I'd love too!", "Aw, no thanks man." Then we looked at each other. Poor guy on the four-wheeler... must been cold as Bo and I silently battled it out. I tried the ever-girly batting-of-the-eyelashes and head tilt. Note to self:  ice-crusted eyelashes and a snot-spit covered face mask lack a cuteness factor. I think my looks would have won if it had been... warmer. Then, he telepathically reminded me, "What about our 5 hour visit to the hospital last January?"

                                                                      Oh yeah.
Seeing how I'm not the most graceful creature and being adventurous on a sled last year landed me in the ER (thanks to a big metal hand rail)...

Pre-concussion + 4 stitches
Winter 2010
 ...I politely declined the four-wheeler-man-'s offer. Ugh. I hate when common sense wins.
Eek. Hopsital smell memory overload.

So, I resorted to more modest options when we returned home:

1. Snow-day photography
2. Drinking hot chocolate
3. Staring out the window

And the snow-day photography continues today...
with flying objects involved

The Harry Potter method of taking out icicles

Welp, just got word that our school is closed tomorrow for the 3rd day in a row. Looks like I should save my blogging excitment for tomorrow.

Coffee shop here I come!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Ah, Warm Weather Crafting

Let us now take a trip from the snow... into the future...

...Ah, Spring.

Guess what else happens in the spring besides crafts. Yes, ok, allergies.


Lots of babies seem to come about in the spring! (I shouldn't talk.. I was born in April). Making things for little ones.. oh man, it's so much fun. I like to imagine it will be their favorite thing for all time. When the truth is they will most likely throw up on it, break it or loose it. Well, maybe not.

My friend, Louann, asked me to make her niece, Erica, a piggy bank last spring. It was to be a gift for her sister's baby shower. She said she wanted a piggy bank, gave me the color scheme.. and off I went!

I was never the best at ceramics in college. I really struggled through the hand building... I think this was mainly due to the fact that I couldn't quite keep the back end of a ceramic cat attached to its body (Ugh, memories).

Specimen A
 My instructor always told me "clay is a lot like bread" because of the wedging and the science behind the mixtures. That must explain why my bread never turns out. See Specimen A.

In my defense, this bread would have been edible if I had not:
1. used wheat flour tried to make it health food
2. used splenda tried to make it health food
3. used a bread maker been in a rush

Despite my lack of confidence in baking and ceramics, I knew little Erica would just love this piggy bank if I made it out of clay.
And so we begin.

Observe slab box
Sense frustration in previous slab box
See newly formed box

"Insert Baby's Savings Account Here"

Adding embellishments (so she'll keep it forever)
Transparent & Opaque low fire glazes

...Ta Daaa!


I hope this brought a smile to Erica's little face...
and yours!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

"Imminent Death Eve" A.K.A "It's going to snow again tomorrow"

Beautiful sunrise... hot coffee... garbage trucks...

...the perfect morning.

No, really, we haven't had our dang trash picked up in about a week. Because, you know, of the SNOW. The non-picking up of the trash even landed a segment in the local news.

Can you imagine the intern... "You want me to cover... what?"

And due to the 4 days of no school, I've managed to create an exponential amount of garbage at home. The less-than-extra-strength trash bags are poking through with coffee grounds, cat poop (because stir-crazy-ness results in litter box cleaning twice a day apparently), vacuum...stuff (again, twice a day), and loads of thread, paper and fabric. Which reminds me, we're actually out of trash bags. Hm, looks like I'll be braving Walmart once again in preparation of... you guessed it...

Imminent Death!
 (be sure to really annunciate the "th" to get the full effect)
A.K.A. snow tomorrow

But as you can see, by Monday it looks like I'll be lounging in my bikini (ok, not really).

So here I sit, enjoying my pumpkin spice latte (half-caff, mind you, because I'll not be sleeping well... the mere sound of snow keeps me up), awaiting those wonderful frozen flakes to fall from the sky to send the town into a tizzy, me into art mode and make the last day of school (for good or bad)... oh, June 13th.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

"Feeling a Little Loopy!": Ribbon Wreaths

So enough about my snow day insanity.. how about some crafts!

I really love these things and making theme is quite addictive. I have a feeling before long I will have one, in every color scheme, in every room of the house. My snow-day-craft-day-teacher-buddy, Liz, shared this wonderful idea!
Sadly, we cannot take credit. We must hand over the I'm-The-Craftiest-Person-Ever-Because-I-Came-Up-With-This-Idea flag to our friends at Check out this link for the How To's & What For's: Ribbon Wreath How To's

I must say, though, thank goodness this ribbon wreath idea came my way around Christmas time. Hello Hobby Lobby 40% off Christmas ornaments! I like to think I gave this craft my own spin by adding the embellishment in the center.

I have also found that using a variety of widths of ribbon works well. I feel like it makes it a bit more interesting.

I will say that it looks quite sad when you first begin... 10 little loops of ribbon on this styrofoam wreath.. but keep at it! It's totally worth the work!