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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Quilting My Way

I'm still working on a little "patchwork" now and then.  I don't have as many scraps as I thought I did.  I really haven't had the time to sew lately.  I made my niece a few binky clips but my sister doesn't use them.  I need some new coasters but I just haven't gotten around to making them. 

Last night, I finally got around to collaging.  I got that Alene's 2-in-1 glue all over my fingers.  Even after washing my hands multiple times and using lotion, it was hard to get off.  So I was trying to sew, thread my needle, and cut squares with everything sticking to my fingers.  I need to remember to buy a bar of Lava soap.  I couldn't go without that in the old days when I used to oil paint.  I wish I could post some pictures of my colleges and patchwork but my camera won't connect to iTunes since the last update.  I have to figure out how to autosync Google again. That worked great for the two weeks it actually worked.  College is the best way for me to get inspiration. I used to paint from my collages.  Inspiration and focus are what I have been lacking lately.  I want to make jewelry but to drag everything out is overwhelming. Then, when I get it out, I want to make cards. Then, I want to turn everything into a chalkboard...

I love sewing together the patchwork. It's like a puzzle but also a maze.  Some of my pieces are irregular; some of my stitches are also.  I cannot just "crazy quilt" pieces that don't go together.  However, when they do, it looks amazing.  I am using pieces of old sheets, cloth that I dyed, clothes that the dog shredded, and scraps for expensive fabric.  I long for one of those quilting machines that just cuts the squares for me. An accu cutter or something?  Will I ever make big real quilts?  I don't know.  I'm no math whiz and I my quilts would never be perfect.  I saw an old quilt at the art museum on Wednesday.  We were on a school trip and I was blown away but how bright the fabric colors still were after all these years.  Who made that quilt? No one knows.

Virginia Woolf

“For most of history, Anonymous was a woman.”

Virginia Woolf

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Technology Overload

Update:  I've been wanting to update since school started.  Since the latest iPhone update, I haven't been able to upload my pictures. I know that at one point I was able to set up my Google app for automatic updates.  However, I don't know what happened to that.

I've been sick for the last week or so. I actually had to take off Friday because I was starting to feel like Typhoid Mary.  It's been a great year so far.  The new Promethean board is awesome. I just wish I had the time to create the awesome flip charts of my dreams. For now, I just download off of Promethean Planet. 

To keep my classes up to date and learning off-line, we're doing Edmodo. It's free, SAFE, and easy.  There are many more features that I want to start using.  I'm trying to get some new technology from Donor's Choose. We have a class Pinterest.  We now do eMaps.  Students are even following me on Twitter, which I still am not really sure how to use.

I thought about using Remind 101 but my students said that they just wanted to use Edmodo.  We're allowed to let students use cell phones in class for educational purposes this year.  That's been awesome!  Students can check their grades, google things, and use Edmodo during class.  This is the wave of the future.  I'm thinking more and more of getting a Samsung Galaxy tablet.  Do I need one?  No, but I love to write with a stylus! I did get a small little style for my iPhone from Things Remembered. 

I'm in tech overload and I just want more. I want to go paperless. I want all my documents all the time.  I'm tired of file cabinets, papers, clutter, and looking for things.  I'm considering using Google more.  There is so much to do, so little time.  Okay, time for more tea...I'm having another coughing fit.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Flower "Steal-Proof" Pens

Do people constantly steal and move your pens? Then, when you go to write something you are pen-less?  This is what happens to my friend when students use her sign out book. They walk off with the pen and when the next student goes to sign out, no pen.  Personally, I have one of those chains stuck on my sign out clipboard.  These cost about $7 at Staples.  Since I am not buying a lot this year, I decided to make some simple flower pens.  No kid could accidently walk off with one of these!

I gathered my materials: 
-artificial flowers
-floral tape or green duct tape
-a Bic pen
-E6000 or another glue anything to anything glue
I also decided to make some beaded pens:
-tiny glass "beads"
-Terrifically Tacky Tape (Provocraft)
-a Bic pen

For the flower pens, I used my very sharp Tim Holtz scissors to cut through the wire and plastic to have about a 2" stem.

I used this GOOP which worked great.  Gluing plastic to plastic can be tricky.

I glued on the stem and glued the whole pen except the roller ball tip.

ASAP I started to wrap the totally old and unsticky floral tape to the pen. This forms the stem part. You have to wrap at an angle to keep going the whole way down.

I LOVE these scissors. I bought a couple of different lots of Tim Holtz stuff off of Ebay last year. This came in one. They are so sharp, they come with a plastic protector. They cut almost anything.  Caution: they are very sharp. Keep away from children and clumsy people.
On some of the pens, I cut off the end. Some I just wrapped up the flower stem in the floral tape. 

If you do cut the tip off the pen, just glue it in.

Inserting the stem into the pen. (Not into the ink thing, just beside it.)

I added some extra glue. 

For some of the pens, I wrapped them in Terrifically Tacky Tape and then rolled in micro glass beads. I just kept pouring the beads over the pen until all the glue was covered.  For some of these, I also added a flower.

This tape is extremely sticky. I of course got it all screwed up and stick to itself.  However, it will really hold those little beads to the pen.
All the pens are drying now.  I ran out of fake flowers and of pens so I only made about six.
Ugh, the duct tape pen did not turn out so great.  It's just so sticky.
I like to stick a pen to the board and file cabinet for sign-up sheets and check off lists.  I am always looking for a pen!  I love pens and have hundreds.  I used to get a free pen from Vista Print that has "This pen has been stolen from Miss X."  Strangely, those do get returned! 
I also had pencils printed with my name on them.  I'd say to a student, "Hey, that's my pencil?"
"What does it have your name on it?" 

Friday, August 23, 2013

What Kind of Hoarder Are You?

Kitchen Cabinet Redux

    BEFORE                                    AFTER
I had another organizing gig.  This time it was a kitchen cabinet that was overfilled and unusable.  Will I ever be a certified professional organizer?  At this point, I doubt it because serious organization is hard.  Plus, in some cases, it can be dangerous. Read below to find out how.
The first thing I did was take everything out of the upper five cabinets.  I could not deal with the lower four because they were filled with pots and pans.
As I was removing items, other items were falling on my head. I ended up hitting my head on one of the doors. Yes, cleaning can be painful. Plus, I almost lost my balance on the stool I was on because the dog was trying to jump on me.
I found many smashed light bulbs that had been crushed by piling debris onto of other items.  Plus, why does someone need over 50 light bulbs? I ended up using drawer sorters to place the loose light bulbs. The boxes ones just got pilled up.
I kept finding multiples of items. Some of these were able to be placed down in the basement. 

I brought my collection of dollar store organizational containers. I really didn't know what would be used.

Anyone hungry for pasta from 2006?  No, this was not wheat but it was a brownish color and rock hard. I was tempted to take it home to make pasta jewelry with my nephew. Who is the hoarder now? Luckily, I was able to throw it out.  Of course, I washed the container.  I use these at my house to store flours, sugars, and other baking supplies. Of course, I label these.  I love to use chalkboard contact paper with a chalkboard pen.

Anyone afraid of running out of starch? What is starch for? I have no idea but obviously some people love starch. A lot.

I threw out a lot of expired, broken, and really old items.  I then sorted like with like on the kitchen table. This was a nightmare.  It was like playing a game of memory.   I was able to put together sections on CLEANING, LIGHT BULBS, CLEANING, IRONING, FOOD ITEMS, and a section on SHOE POLISH and METAL CLEANING. I labeled each section with my DYMO label maker. Not to reveal the identity of the home owner but I have know her since the day I was born but I've NEVER seen her polish a shoe. Why have ten tins of shoe polish?  Okay, confession, I took some old tins and old glass bottles home (with permission, of course!) Decoupage time?
Is this person a hoarder?  I don't think so because the rest of the house is presentable. Too much clutter for my taste but clean.  This home owner is a shuffler.  She will shove stuff "out of sight."  My next step is to clean out the office space for important papers. She wanted to clear a space in the food pantry for her bills.  I find that bizarre because their is an office right off the hallway from the kitchen. No one really uses the HUGE desk and almost empty file cabinets.  This is ridiculous.  I would like to CLEAN and ORGANIZE this office for USE. It should not be a place to shove random things in!  I will try. 


Are you a hoarder?
Maybe or maybe not. I think I am a craft compulsive shopper & and organized hoarder.  However, I do use the art supplies so maybe that makes me a compulsive crafter.  I don't know. I do know this compulsion comes in handy when I have to sew something or make a card. I rarely go to the craft store to pick up an item. I buy things and then use them years later.  I don't like to throw things away because I like to upcycle them. I do have the space for a separate craft room and sewing room. I have an office and a spare bedroom. The only thing I that I pile up in my bedroom is books! I cannot be without my books and journals.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

School Bulletin Information Board for Middle School

Do people in your school or organization need to know certain changing information daily?  Our students need to know "what day" it is for their schedule. Some also need to read the daily bulletin and gifted classes list.  However, every teacher either posted this in their rooms, outside their rooms, or not at all.  This led to students milling about trying to find out if he or she had gym that day or music.  Students weren't sure if his or her club was meeting that day, etc. I knew that I had to make an information hub for everyone's sake.
Last year I was so excited to use my Cricut Expression 2 cutting machine that I made signs for everything I could think of.  I cut my mailbox numbers out of a sheet of duct tape, I made images of our school mascot, and I decided to make the information hub for students with my cricut.  It was a great project yet time consuming. The letters all cut out fine but I ran out of the tie-dyed scrapbooking paper that I was using as my background paper. I used coordinating colored paper but it drove me crazy all year while I was doing hall duty because it didn't match.  This year, being short on time and money, I decided to just use Microsoft Word 2010. Instead of the expensive tie dye paper I used a rainbow of basic colors as a background. 
The first thing I did was type up all my signs.  I wanted a sign saying "Student Information" and categories such as: daily bulletin, band, clubs, breakfast/lunch menu, and day 1 or day 2.  Since our days rotate, I use an arrow with sticky tack to change it daily.  Students never moved that arrow all year. I was a bit afraid that someone would remove it but no one ever did. (Knock on wood!) I used a "Chalkboard" font in 120 font. I always minimize the borders.  I used a rainbow of colors for text and printed on regular printer paper.  Then, I used a paper cut to trim the signs, I glued them to a coordinating color paper, and trimmed again. My favorite glue for paper projects like this are glue runners. They don't warp the paper like wet glues do. Quick and easy!
Last year I didn't laminate my Cricut signs. They held up well. However, this year, I decided to just laminate the front of the sign with contact paper. It's cheap at the dollar store. That also worked out because I am out of laminator sheets.  They are just too pricey for me to buy right now.  I used to do my laminating at school but no one orders laminating sheets anymore!  I don't mind much because that laminated stuff just falls right off the walls. That, I can't stand.
I started to fold back the contact paper. However, it didn't hold so I had to trim around each sign again. I can just stick these up with sticky tact because we are not allowed to use tape on the walls. I've heard that some teachers use hot glue guns but I am afraid to try that.  I get in trouble every year for using masking tape and duct tape to tape wired to my floor.  LOL. I guess the head custodian doesn't care if I trip and make a fool out of myself in class.

The real beauty of this information board is that everyone can use it. Other teachers who are absent or don't come in as early also don't have to worry about getting the masses of information out.

 Every morning, I tape up the bulletin and update the day.  Throughout the day as papers come in through email, I print and let a student stick tack it up.  (Everyone knows how much students love sticky tack.)  If I am absent, my neighbor teacher will step up and do the board.  I also try to circle, highlight, and write out information to draw attention to it. When a student asks me a question, I can just point to the hub and then can find what he or she needs.
0 days left of summer vacation!  I went in today and finally put up some bulletin boards.



Wednesday, August 14, 2013

UPDATE: Glittery Clothespin Magnets

Here we go again. Another Pinterest project that I had to try.  I really like those projects that are easy, quick, cheap, and entail glitter.  I have more glitter than I like to admit.  I didn't find any really complete instructions for this project so as usual I ended up just "doing my own thing."
I had two packages of clothespins from the dollar store. I think they were actually $1.  I also had a couple of stray clothespins in my art room.  I like to keep a lot of clamps around for watercolors and gluing things together.
One site recommended using the GLOSSY type Mod Podge. I didn't have any and I am not going out to buy anything anymore so I used the MATTE.  Also, I pulled out my coveted Martha Stewart glitter glues and some other glitter glues.  I had a couple or paper plates handy as well as some paint brushes and a Mod Podge cup.  I started off by dipping my brush directly in the Mod Podge but it started to get glitter in it.
All I did was slop on some Mod Podge and then pour glitter over it. Let it dry!
I also experimented with glitter glues. Some I left as is, some I still covered in glitter.
Sometimes I get a little too creative. 
Let them dry. You can top them off with another layer of Mod Podge if you want.
The glitter is now all over my house.  That's a great lesson in CSI for criminals.  Evidence like hairs and fibers will travel everywhere, as will glitter.
I waited until the next dry to handle these.  However, I don't think they will take a long time to dry.  At this point, you can add magnets to the back.  At this point, I have a lot of magnet and I plan to use these to clip papers together at school.  We also do a t-shirt bio-poem project the first week when we hang our t-shirts on a line. I have little mini-clips but I could use a few of these also.
I look the multicolored look.

If you do want to add magnets, you would have to find smaller magnets.  I'd use E600 or another strong glue.
I only had one clothespin that I needed to unstick with my trusty Exacto knife.  I really sloshed the glue all over them so that is good news.  Could these be used as bookmarks? I think I saw little creatures made out of these with googlie eyes.  Also, you could cover these with fabric and/or paper.  Since I am obsessed with glitter, I had to try that first. 
I broke down and glued magnets to the back of some of my precious clothes pins.  I let the glue set about a day before bagging them up for school.  What a classy way to display "no name" papers and make up work!
I also created a late work bulletin board. I thought I'd try to make the clothes pins into tacks so we don't have to keep using push pins.  I just hope I don't step on one!

Waist Apron

Waist Apron
I made this waist apron for my friend G$ (not real name obviously) who teaches in a special education school. She needs to keep her supplies on her person because her students are on the go.  I didn't really find any free patterns online. I did find a site that had some measurements on it.  I decided that I hate to measure fabric. Unlike paper, it moves, wrinkles, and stretches.  So I tried to follow the sewing adage, "Measure twice, cut once."
The patterns were not really supposed to match but I did want to use a darker colored fabric to hide any stains, food, or ink spills.
Being lazy as well as frugal, I used the bottom of an 18 " pillow case as that was the recommended width of the apron. Perfect.  So I was making three horizontal pockets that I could sew in half if more pockets were needed.  I did hem the top.  I think I even broke out the iron since my fabric was so wrinkled.
The second pocket was 18" in width and about two-thirds of the apron. I also cut some ribbon to make apron straps that will tie.  I pinned them in so they would be sewn in.  I took the  two pieces with ribbon pinned in and sewed them inside out and flipped over. Set aside.
I make a small 1/3 pocket, sewed it inside out, flipped and then hemmed it and made the pockets.
I pinned it all together and top sewed it around the edges.  I tried to stay close to the edges but I was sewing through several layers so I didn't want to push it.  I tested out the apron. I think the ribbon is much too flimsy and uncomfortable. This turned out pretty heavy as I think the top fabric is canvas or heavy cotton. The bottom two are medium to light cotton.  I think I am going to try to make a sturdier version with cloth straps.  I might have to look for that garbage bag I have of old jeans.  I don't know if I have a denim needle or not.  I am a bit afraid to sew through really thick fabric. I might try a simpler, studier design. Hopefully, I will get this done before the school year ends.