Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Eve 2011...

Wow, it is January 31st. Where does the time go? I had more projects to share with you but the time has run away from me. So, I think I will just take a few minutes to reflect on what I did post this year. There were several themes.

Mini Albums:

Fun Gift Bags:

I could say that I have set goals and resolutions for next year. But I really have not had much thought about what I want to do with my crafting next year. I do know that I want to continue to find ways to incorporate my Cricut into other areas of my crafting.

Have a great year end, and keep thinking crafty thoughts.


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Time for Some Cozy Quilt Sewing

Seems most of my free time has been eaten up by Report Cards, prepping for the holiday, and to a lesser extent crafting. I have managed to carve out at bit of time the past 3 weeks to get several quilt tops finished.

First, I pulled out a partially finished set of blocks. Bought the fabric years ago, cut out the pieces, made two blocks and set it aside. I completed several more blocks so I had at least enough to make a wall hanging, but don't want to make anymore! So, this is what I ended up with:

I am happy with the results. I really like the purple and orange combo.
    - Pattern "Autumn Splendor," form Quilt Maker Magazine, Spring 2000
    - Block size 10"
    - Quilt size 50" x 60"

Have you ever bought a kit for something that looked great, but then you get it home and it seems scarier or more complicated than you thought it would be, so there it sits? I did that with this next one. It had been purchased to make as a wedding gift. But I got home and it sat for almost a year.  I opened it back up last week and discovered it wasn't as hard as I thought!

It is off to the Long Arm Quilter for the finishing touches. I can not wait to see it finished.
    - Pattern "Cambridge Square," by Ro Gregg, for Northcott
    - Block size 7.5"
    - Quilt size 81" x 81"

I have one more top to share later in the week. I am almost finished. Feels nice to have something completed!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Just popping in for a quick moment. Wanted to say Happy Thanksgiving to everyone who stops by during this holiday. I hope you are enjoying the time spent with family and friends around the table. Seems that chances to sit and enjoy the company of others is getting harder and harder to come by. I am thankful for days like to day when we can take time to hang out.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Halloween Treats

Just a quick post. I have a few projects to share, and will get them up soon. For now I will focus on Halloween Treats.

This year's theme for Halloween treats for my colleagues and adult friends was Candy Corn. It all started with finding the illusive Candy Corn flavored M&M's at Walmart in early October. Then walking around Target I found boxes of 1/2 size Candy Corn flavored microwave popcorn. So of course then I had to buy some Candy Corn to finish off the goodies inside the bags.

I kept the top of the bag simple:

4 x 5 1/2" purple rectangle folded in half
5 1/2" Elegant Edges, Oblong shift cut on Flourish 2 page 53
     K & Company pad of Halloween paper
Candy Corn cut, Smiley Cards, 4 1/2"

I did the same top for the goodie bags for my students, but they got candy, pencils and fruit snacks in their bags.

Love the Smiley Cards cuts. They are cute like DoodleCharms, and varied so you can usually find something. to use on just about any project.

For the Family/Friends/Block Party on the 30th I took the Candy Corn bags, and a few other goodies to share. I used a book I found earlier in October for my inspiration. "Disgustingly Delicious - Hilarious treats to freak out your friends" by CQ Products, had an array of "gross" foods to make and serve. Anything from Water Bugs  made from olives and rosemary leaves, to a cake concoction that is entitled Cat Litter... yep, they are gross looking, but the ingredients sound delicious.

I tried my had at "Fido's Feast" a chocolate covered cereal mix that looks like dried kibble. I also tried "Brain Food," a watermelon peeled and cut to look like a brain on a plate.

Too fun! Everyone thought this was just hilarious. And surprisingly enough it actually tasted good. (Never too sure this time of year buying a watermelon.)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Better Late than Never...Banners part 2

I should know better. Every year, I feel pretty put together before the first day with my students. Then I spend the next month and a half feeling like I am falling farther and farther behind. Seems like we hit the ground running, faster and faster, each year. Most of the craziness comes from the setting up special rotations, reorganizing classes, and looking at data... but the straw that broke my camel's back this year was the loss of a file off my flash drive that had about a dozen documents my grade level had just created. I am happy to say I finally finished recreating them all.  Now I can share some creative stuff.

In my last post I shared the beginnings of a first week project with my students. It took a bit longer than I had anticipated, but the results are cute. Students traced the templates onto construction paper, white centers, and favorite color, backing.

Using 7" Paper Doll cuts without the facial cuts. They created hair and clothing using templates I cut in tag board. I used Peachy Keen stamps for the faces.

Then they divided their banners into four spaces. Each space was illustrated with something about themselves: family, favorite book, TV show and food. Next, my students fold a 4 x 12 inch strip in half along the length. Then they cut a design along the open edge. This was glued to the top of the banner to give it a finished edge and also to give it more stability when hanging from the ceiling.
Here are a few of the finished products:

It is October and time to create a new banner. We will start on Monday. I cannot wait for you to see what we have planned! I think it is going to be a kick.

Monday, September 5, 2011

First Days of School

Well, I have to say this happens every year! I get already for the first day of school, and the night before I don't sleep well at all. I even have some funny dreams about forgetting things, being late....(remember the horrible dreams during finals week? - yep ) I guess I am not alone. The discussions in the teachers lounge the first day seem to focus on these funny, reoccurring "nightmares" we all seem to have.

Like I said, I planned. I have been teaching over 20 years and I still cannot get the hang of planning for the first few days. I definitely OVER plan big time. How much you ask? Well, we are still working on an intro "about me" project started on the first day!

Unfortunately this means that I have very few photos to share with you right now. But I can give you the gist of the project.

Using Everyday Paper Dolls, I cut out the "blackout" version of the doll at 7" in several shades of tan and brown (didn't know the skin tone of my students) Then I added faces from Peachy Keen's Everyday Character Faces stamps.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Turning 13!

I am sure we all have some kind of memory of turning 13, becoming a "teenager..." Well, last night was the family party for our friends' daughter, who just turned 13. She is an adorable, sweet, outgoing, fun loving girl. It has long been known that she is also the Princess with 3 very protective older brothers (18, 21, 27), a dad in denial, and many uncles who will definitely be around to remind the boys that she is off limits! The poor girl will never get the chance to date with that lot around!!!

Anyway, Being the typical tween/teenager she is in to music, guitars, dancing and the like. So I had to use that in the wrappings of the gift we gave her.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Back to School Organization - 2

As I get ready for a new school year, I tend to collect ideas to be used at various times during the year. Many times I file them in my computer and then forget about them. This year I decided to take it one step further. I printed the best of the ideas and started a binder with my long term plans. I always create the plans, but don't collect the idea pages, student worksheets... ahead of time. This year, they will all be in the same place!

I pulled out a binder, adding ideas in sections. The pages to be copied for students I have stuck in page protectors so I wouldn't have to worry about holes being punched through text. Apparently office supply stores don't carry as many office supplies as they used to. I went to 3 different stores/brands and could not find the binder tabs made for use with the page protectors. They are slightly wider so that the tab is visable past the protectors.

What to do? Make my own of course. I found fun cardstock and cut to 11.25" x 8.75". Then I cut tabs, using From My Kitchen cart, at 3". I adhered the tabs to the side of my cardstock using an ATG.

Then to make them even sturdier, I pulled out my YourStory and laminated the binder tabs using Legal sized laminating pouches. I trimmed the excess length to use for small classroom items later. I used a few of the trimmed pieces to layer inside the larger pouch around the tabs.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Back to School Organization

I am slowly working my way through a huge stack of things to organize, create, or toss. I bring home part of my files each summer hoping to whitle down the paper in my classroom. For years I have been creating my lesson plan book on the computer and then putting the pages in a binder. This is great most of the time. Now that I have more technology on my teaching station (Document Camera, Laptop, and Projector) I have less room for a whole binder sitting around.

My solution? I altered a legal sized clipboard. I started by tracing the top piece of the clip that connects to the board. This was a bit awkward since I could not really get paper up there. But I finally got it to work by cutting a piece down the middle so that I could get it up around the top. Then using that template I trimmed a  piece of fun school themed cardstock I found at my LSS.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Vinyl, Gotta Love it!

My project Sunday, was to do something I have had in the back of my mind for about 5 months. LABEL things with my Cricut, vinyl.....

I have several small plastic drawer sets, will hold 9 x 12 paper, that now house many of my embellishments. They were in desperate need of some type of labels so that I don't have to open 1/2 the drawers every time I need something. (I am sure you know the feeling). So I broke out Cricut Craftroom, some pieces of vinyl, and a list of the drawers contents.

I used Grape, Aqua and Bright Green vinyl, and Making the Grade Cartridge for the lettering. Here are some of the drawer sets... I think they came out fine, and love how quick it was.

Then I pulled out some black vinyl Mickey and Friend Font, Billionaire Font, and oops, can't remember the third. With these I labeled the Container Store Drawers, that I purchased for holding my Cricut cartridges (when I did not have so many).

Since I just purchased three of the ArtBin Electronic Cartridge cases I took many of the carts that had been in these drawers out. I like the ArtBin boxes, especially for organizing specific themes or sets of cartridges. I chose to do my Fonts - most of the carts are in one ArtBin box. Specialty Fonts like Mickey and Friends... are in a second box. All of my Holiday Specific carts are in the third one. So, naturally I had to label these too.

I used Don Juan for these labels.

Tips for cutting vinyl:
1. Make sure your blade is on 2 or 3 (depth on the housing)
2. Make sure cut pressure is at 2
3. Make sure speed is on 3 so that the blade doesn't get caught up in intricate cuts....

Have fun!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Sew What's for Sale?

I enjoy collecting fun fabrics for small projects. One of my favorite smaller sewing project is making lunch bags. These are insulated,  all cotton fabric bags that will easily carry your lunch to the office or school. The bags are large enough to carry a typical frozen lunch, a bottle of water, snacks and utensils. There are plenty of pockets running around the lining of the bag, and everything is kept together with stylish ties. Each bag also includes a cloth napkin to match. Bags measure 8.5" x 5.5" at the bottom, sides are 8" tall.

ONLY 1 of each bag is available.

Retro Kitchen

Night Owl

Dr. Seuss print
 I am offering these bags for sale, $40 each. No tax or shipping will be charged if ordered within the 48 contiguous states. Please contact me if you need a shipping quote to Hawaii, Alaska or outside the US of A.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Caution: Scrapbooking Can Be Hazardous to Your Health!

Yes, I said it - scrapbooking can be hazardous to your health, or at least mine anyway. My story starts about 2 weeks ago. I went to hang out at my friend's LLS and crop for the day with a few other friends. No biggie. We have all done all day crops right?

So I set to work, getting up occasionally to wander through the store. Mostly I just sat in my comfy office chair working on getting classroom photos finally on to pages. I was enjoying myself. I got 26 pages done. Not a lot of fancy stuff on the pages, very old school - mats and boarders, and maybe a journal box or two. My goal was to get rid of these pictures so that I can move on.

Nothing hazardous so far you say? How about just sitting for 10 hours? Yep, that did it! muscles between my shoulder blades began to spasm and the rest is history. I spent most of the next week, flat on my back. Oh well, at least it was during summer vacation when I can "afford" to lay around.

Here are some of the layouts I accomplished that day:

Gyotaku - Fish Prints

Cooking Thanksgiving Dinner in our classroom.

Dinosaur dig.

Create a machine to pop a balloon - science fair projects.
I have to say, ignoring the pain, I really had fun going through these pictures. They are from 1996-97. There are several projects I forgot about until I unearthed these pictures. I am feeling a bit rejuvenated on the teaching side of things. Now to keep working on my back, a bit of exercise and taking breaks in the middle of a project is definitely what I need to do!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Water Color Pencils

Someone on the Cricut Circle Message Boards asked about using Water Color Pencils to color and highlight a stamped or printed design. After posting an answer to her questions I thought I should make a sample of what I am talking about and then post it on my blog. (Gotta love the light bulb moments).

First, there are many brands of water color pencils including Crayola. I pulled out just a few of mine made by Derwert. I purchased just a few of these to play with and see if I like the quality before purchasing a whole bunch. While digging around I also found a box of Water Color Crayons I purchased from Close To My Heart. So I pulled them out too.

You will need a non-water soluble ink for stamping your design, think in terms of your inks for Copics...Or consider printing out Digi Stamp images, like I did for this exercise. You will also need a paint brush, water, and a paper towel.

Here is a sample of the 5 basic ways to use your pencils (plus a crayon sample)
1) Just color with them DRY just the way you would color with regular colored pencils.

2) Color with the Dry pencils just as above. Then give the whole picture a wash with a damp brush. Make sure to clean your brush and dab off extra water from the brush before using it on the next color.

3) Color with DRY pencils as you did before, but this time only wash parts of the picture to give different texture to different parts of the picture. I washed her raincoat but left her pants dry.

4) Use any of the ideas above but highlight (darken) areas by first dipping water color pencil in your water container, dab off water, and then sketch where you want to add dark shades.

5) Instead of laying color on to the image via pencil, use a damp brush. Dip your brush in water and then run the tip of the brush along the tip of the pencil, picking up color the same way you would from a pan of paint (think grade school water color boxes).

Then place the color on the image with the brush. This will give you the look of water color painting with a depth of color.

I really like the new "water brushes" that Pentel, Koi and others have come out with. Each brush has a synthetic brush that attaches to a refillable water reservoir. These actually come in several brush sizes/shapes. You have the ability to control the amount of water you are putting on paper by squeezing the barrel.

Lastly, I mentioned the CTMH crayons. I colored my little image with the crayons and then gave it an overall water wash. The colors in my box (Regal Colors)
I really like The look of water color so most of the time I load my brush and paint, but I really like the fact that I can change texture just by coloring with the pencils or wetting the tip to increase intensity. They really give you a lot of variety.