Saturday, October 6, 2012

World Cardmaking Day

All three boys left me and I found myself at home with time to myself.  First, I had to clean up my studio.  Ok, I didn't really clean it up but I moved the piles of non-craft things off my craft table and tried to push papers to one side, embellies to another, and so on.  I was surfing the web looking for inspirations and I discovered that today is World Cardmaking Day.  I didn't even know such a day existed.  I'll have to remember to plan for a day at home next year!

Whenever I have time, I usually sneak over to and do RAQ's weekly challenge.  This week, the main challenged was also for Mojo Monday.

 Then, a friend told me to check out Operation Write Home.  They were asking for Holiday Cards using sketches so I came up with this snowman.  I figure he can be a Christmas card, New Year's Card, or winter birthday card.

 Next, I found myself at Craft Test Dummies and used one of her examples for a layout.  She also suggested to always make your cards in a series and do 3 at a time.  It makes perfect sense,  You put all that time into making the card it would be nice to have a little more to show for it. 

 So, then, I asked my 13 year old son for something I could use for inspiration, and he said "aliens".

 Right now, I still have an hour left until World Cardmaking Day is over.  I wonder if I can get another one done.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Jett Pack 2012-2013, My 2nd Grade Classroom

It's a new year!  I am still teaching 2nd grade at First Baptist Christian School but I had to switch classrooms this year.  Unfortunately, I had to leave my chalk wall behind.  I didn't feel like re-painting one, either.  I am also teaching Performing Arts (music and drama) to the Elementary students.  I will have to travel to another room for that and I can't decorate.

The first thing I did before I moved was to pull all my books off traditional shelves, buy a ton of baskets from the $1 store and sort my library.  I had no idea how many books I had collected in just a short while.  As you can see, my overwhelmed fifteen year old son helped me sort.  I think we estimated around 700 books.  I've been back to the $1 store 3 times for more baskets!

I can't believe all the stuff in general.  Here's a before shot of half my room.

I'm still doing my nifty fifties theme but not quite as extreme.  Here is the after photo of the same area on my back wall.  The empty bulletin board is to display student work as well as the blue one with the stars in front of my computer station.  I really like having the computer monitors back to back so that the students can work without being distracted by the other computer.

Here is my desk with my fifties decorations on the wall.

I have this silly pole smack dab in the middle of my classroom.  I put my desk by it and covered it with a cheap blue tablecloth so hopefully I won't run into it on a daily basis.  It is actually my Math Goal Chart.  Each child has a rocket and when they complete a math drill page with their goal, they can move their rocket up to the next letter.  I made the rockets out of cardstock, laminated them and put Zig 2 Way Glue on them and let it sit to dry.  Now, they have repositionable stickiness on the back.  The horizontal lines are yarn tied around the pole.

 Lucky me, I only have 5 students this year.  Here is the front of the room with their desks.  The red bulletin board is covered in felt so I can use felt pieces while teaching math or I have words with sandpaper on the back that will stick, too.

I need to take a few more pictures.  I do have a closet in my room and I have turned it into a reading cave.  It's pretty cool.  I'm actually still working on creating labels for everything.  Oh, where does the time go?  I hope you enjoyed this quick trip around my room.  Please come back soon as I will post more.

Here are links to my room last year for more cute nifty fifties classroom ideas.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

World Best & Easiest Corn on the Cob

I have to admit it.  I make the best corn on the cob in the world.  And, I also make the easiest corn on the cob in the world.  I did a brief search on the internet and didn't find my recipe in the first few links I tried so I've decided to share it with you.

First buy corn on the cob.
Second, soak corn in water for about 20 minutes.
 Place corn on the grill.  Rotate once or twice.  Cook for about 45 minutes.  (Experiment with the time.  Usually, I cook corn with some kind of meat and just take the corn off when the meat is done.)
 Next, peel husk and silks.
 Last, eat!  It is so tasty and sweet that it doesn't need salt or butter.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Getting the Most Out of Roller Coasters and Theme Parks

We just got back from Six Flags Fiesta Texas yesterday and I'd like to share a few tips that will help you get more out of your time and save you money!

Would you ride this upside down twisty ride?
First, you need to go to an amusement park with "like minded' friends.  I'm not talking political or religious beliefs here.  I'm talking theme park beliefs.  When I was in high school, I went to Astroworld with a group of girlfriends.  When we first got to the park, they wanted to hit the shops to go shopping.  I thought they were crazy.  I didn't pay all that money to get in the park just to pay more money in the stores.  When the boys were young, we invited some of their friends who ended up being too scared to ride most of the rides we wanted to ride.  So, go with friends with the same intentions.  For us, it means riding as many of the big rides as possible.  Roller Coasters all the way!

Next, you need to pick a park.  This will also depend on your theme park beliefs.  In central Texas, we have basically 3 parks to choose from; Sea World, Schlitterbaun, and Six Flags Fiesta Texas.  If you like shows and animals the most with just an occasional ride, then you should probably go to Sea World.  Schlitterbaun is the best waterpark in the world!  But, they are also pricey even with coupons.  But, if you want great water rides, go to Schlitterbaun.  We usually go to Fiesta Texas for a number of reasons.  First, they have a reading program for elementary students that if you read 6 hours, you get a free ticket!  If your elementary teacher is not participating, let them know to sign up.  Teachers also get a free ticket.  This year was the first year that both my boys were too old so the only free ticket we had was for me since I teach elementary.  We found 1/2 off tickets for the boys.  Plus, Fiesta Texas has a little bit of everything.  They have rides, shows, and a waterpark.

The next few tips work for us at Fiesta Texas.  Adjust accordingly for your park.

No one likes long lines, so go during the middle of the week.  It is so worth it even if you have to take a day off from work.  Yesterday, a Tuesday, the lines were the shortest I've ever seen them.  However, all the shows were closed.  So, if you like to watch the shows, you might not want to go on Monday or Tuesday.  We usually try to get to the park soon after they open.  We don't show up before they open because we don't want to wait in line to just get in.  Yesterday the park opened at 10:30. we got there a few minutes after 11:00.  We found a parking spot in the 4th row!  (More on that later.)  When we go in, we go towards the back.  The rides at the front of the park have the longest lines.  Everyone likes to ride things in order so the line for the coaster at the entrance is ridiculously long where as yesterday we walked right up, waited maybe one turn before riding Poltergeist closer to the back of the park.  Later in the day, go back to the rides at the front of the park once the lines have gone down.

Go unencumbered! We wear shorts with lots of big pockets, comfortable shoes, usually shirts with sleeves to help avoid sunburns, hats and sunglasses.  No bags!!!  We carry cash or a credit card (All purchases with a Discover Card in the park are 5% off.) in a pocket with ID.  We also carry the car key in a deep pocket.  We might carry a small sunscreen and I usually have my phone in a ziplock baggie to take pictures.  We carry in a disposable water bottle to share.  (This may be gross to some, so each of you carry your own.)  We refill it every chance we get.  Sometimes at the park, the ride operators won't let you take anything on the ride and won't let you leave anything on the deck.  You have to purchase lockers just for the one ride, which we NEVER do.  If the water bottle can fit in someone's pocket, we will carry it on the ride.  If it doesn't fit, we just throw it away before getting on the ride.  When we go back to the car, we will get another bottle.  We have been known to put our hats inside our shirts during a roller coaster as well.

Cooler for lunch and jug for gatoraide.
Since we don't get there until about 11:00, we play for a few hours before lunch.  Then, we get our hands stamped to go out to the car.  This is where a good parking spot is key.  If you go down the line, you can usually find a spot near the front.  In the car is a cooler with lunch in it and a jug of gatoraide.  We either eat lunch sitting in the car or at the picnic tables for this purpose.  Usually by this time it is so hot that we are ready to go to the waterpark.  We grab the bag with the swimsuits and towels.  Leave all money, credit cards, and phones locked in the car.  Grab a new disposable water bottle and head inside to the water park.  We change, apply sunscreen, and set our bag with the car key hidden deep within, on a lounge chair by the wave pool and then go play and ride the water rides.  When we are done with the waterpark, we change and go back to the car.  At the car, we drink more gatoraide, re-apply sunscreen, grab the credit card and a new water bottle and head back in.

Dinner on the way home.
Since we don't have to wait in many lines, we usually are ready to leave around suppertime.  So, we get dinner at a fast food place on the way home.  If we were there on a weekend or just wanted to stay for the fireworks, we'd probably eat one meal at the park.  We do get a treat or two while at the park.  Yesterday, the boys and I split a funnel cake and split a giant pretzel.  Sometimes, we will buy the big refillable drink.  One person will buy it and get their choice of drink, when they are done, we refill it with the next person's choice of drink, and so on.

Monday, August 6, 2012

School Crafting has Started

Last year I decorated my classroom with a Nifty Fifties theme.  I think I'm going to stick to the same theme this year since most of the stuff is reusable and why invent the wheel.  I am having to move to another room this year so I will lose my chalkboard wall.
One of several Ice Cream Cones for student birthdays made with Nifty Fifties Cricut cartridge.

Anyway, last year for a birthday chart, I made ice cream sodas for each child.  I let them take them home on the last day of school which they really enjoyed.  This year, I made ice cream cones. I still need to take them to school to laminate and then write the students names and birth dates on each.   I'm thinking about getting Dairy Queen coupons for birthday presents to go with them as well.
Last years ice cream sodas birthday chart also made with the Nifty Fifties Cricut cartridge.

When my boys were little, we used to go to Dairy Queen, a lot.  It was one of the only fast food places with a play scape in town.  They would order a kids meal which comes with a coupon for a free ice cream.  But, I wouldn't let them eat the ice cream that day.  We would always come back a 2nd time for the ice cream.  At first they thought I was mean but then they learned it meant twice the time to play at Dairy Queen and they went along with it.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Cute Red 50's + Modern Kitchen

When we moved into the house, the kitchen was awful; dark cabinets, no dishwasher, olive green stove and vent hood, carpet on the floor, and white countertops with a harvest gold, orange, and avocado green flower design.  Can you say tacky?  And, who puts carpet in the kitchen?  Really, that's just gross!  It was one of the first things I pulled up.  I mean, at the time my boys were babies and babies make messes.  The bare sub floor with glue marks (which I just painted over) was much better until I could afford flooring.

Over the years, we've painted the walls and cabinets, we replaced the carpet with wood laminate flooring, we bought a dishwasher that you roll over to the sink to use, we got 2 new stoves and vent hood, (I placed the lid to my crockpot with the rubber edge down on my first glass top stove, when it cooled, it sucked up my stove and cracked the glass cooktop.) and I covered my counters with contact paper.  I became an expert contact paperer back in college when my roommate and I redecorated our dorm room with the stuff.  It looked so good that for years we lived with contact paper counters.  This year for my birthday, my hubby asked me if I would like new countertops.

We bought them from Ikea.  They are black with a stainless steel strip on the edge.  When removing the old ones, we realized that we couldn't re-use the sink, so I got a new sink, too.  It's an acrylic sink from Lowes with 4 holes!!!!  I was finally able to get a sprayer.  I decided I was tired of the food splattered colored cabinets on the bottom so I repainted my bottom cabinets gray.  Hubby and son installed the new counters.  They only set the smoke alarm off twice from trying to cut them to size.

I decided I wanted to update my plain white mixer.  I looked for red contact paper or sticky vinyl and none could be found in my small town.  But, while at Walmart, I found an 8 1/2 X 11 sheet of red duct tape.  I bought that, used 4 different sizes of circle punches and now I have a cute red and white polka dotted mixer, made from duct tape!

So, a summary of the kitchen now after all the changes through the years:  White walls, except for the one wall which is red (this is a true bright primary red, in fact the paint color was called "Mickey's Pants."  White upper cabinets, gray lower cabinets, white stove, white microwave vent hood, white and black portable dishwasher, new white sink with new faucet, wood laminate floors, red & chrome 50's table, red and black Ikea chairs, red curtains with record albums and CD's creating a valance, red lockers from Ikea, and a polka dot mixer.

Now, I need to work up the nerve to paint the fridge.  I can't decide between gray to match the lower cabinets or red.  Please comment here to tell me what color you would paint it!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

DIY Jewelry Organization

I love my jewelry and use it as art on my wall.  It helps me to remember what I have and makes getting dressed easier and quicker.  Here is how I organize and hold my Earrings, Necklaces, and Brooches.

Earring Holder
A few years ago, while visiting my sister, I noticed her earring holder.  She said she bought it from "a girl who make them."  A few months later, I was needing birthday gifts for some girlfriends so I tried to remember what I saw at my sister's house and re-created it.

window screening from the hardware store - it comes in big rolls but you only need a little
dowel rod
4 wooden dowel rod balls
hot glue

First, cut your dowel rod into 2 12 inch pieces, then take your dowel rods and balls and paint them whatever color you like.  I spray painted mine silver.  Then you need to cut your screening (use big scissors) to 12 inches by 18 inches.  On the 12 inch side, fold down about 1 inch and glue down with the hot glue.  Do the same thing on the bottom.  Then slide the dowel through and attach the wood balls to the end of the dowels

Back side, fold over, glue, stick dowel through pocket.
Flip it back over and glue ribbon on the front to hide the glue seams.  Tie a ribbon on both ends at the top to hang.  Earrings slide in and you can attach hoop earrings on the sides.

Necklace Holder
At first I was just putting cup hooks in the wall but this was making a bunch of holes and hubby wasn't very happy with me.  So, I would have several necklaces on one hook and it was hard to find the right one or they would get tangled.  So, I needed a better solution.

Cup hooks in the wall.
cup hooks

I went to the local home improvement store and bought a piece of cheap but interesting molding already primed.  I measured my wall and decided on my size.  I cut my molding into a 12 inch piece.  (I actually made 4 at one time.)  Then, I painted my molding silver.  Once that was dry, I used a ruler to make evenly spaced marks across the board.  I just used a groove in the molding to keep the spacing from top to bottom.  Then I took my drill and made a pilot hole at each mark.  Then I twisted my cup hooks in.  Last thing, I drilled pilot holes to mount the holder with screws and then screwed it into the wall.  Yeah, I have 2 holes in the wall but that sure is better than 11.
My middle cup hook is missing because I made 4 of these at a time and my bag of cup hooks only had 40 so it's back to the store I go.
Now, to store my fancy pins and brooches I use a cute little "what not" shelf with a glass door.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Happy Mail!

A few months ago I discovered this blog from Pinterest about mailing items that weigh 13 ounces or less first class mail.  They can be any shape or size and do not require special packaging.  I was a little hesitant and then my boys told me that the Mythbusters mailed a coconut to prove that it could be done.  I couldn't wait to try it for myself.

While they were at boy scout summer camp, both boys got a special delivery in the mail; duct tape.  I mean what boy scout doesn't need duct tape?

Garrett's special penguin duct tape.

Marshall got paint splatter duct tape.
A little over a week ago, the boys and I sent gifts to all their younger cousins.  We bought beach balls for $0.97 at Walmart, spent a few hours decorating the balls and then sent them in the mail.  It cost about $2.15 in postage.

Garrett the artist, hard at work.

At the post office!
 As you can see, the younger cousins were excited to receive their personal beach balls in the mail.  I can't wait to try mailing something else soon.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

How to Look Your Best, Part 4 & Final

Welcome to part 4 of "How to Look Your Best."  Click here for:  part 1, part 2, part 3

I gave my talk today to a group of ladies.  I think it went really well.  Now that you know the secrets to being a Chic Fabulous Fashionita, you need to know how to put it all together.

First, it might be helpful to know your style personality.  If I said that wearing ruffles would help with your body proportions but you're not a ruffle person, then don't wear ruffles.  Find something else that fits your style.  There are four basic style personalities; Casual/Natural - easy going and relaxed style, Classic/Elegant - timeless look that always looks in, Romantic - lace, ruffles, soft flowing fabrics, Dramatic/Trendsetter - show stopping, attention grabbing, statement making.  Look at this link that I made from polyvore.  Which dress do you feel more drawn towards?  Now, you may be a mixture of more than one style personality.  I like to switch between all of them depending on my mood or the occasion.  Others, may always stick to just one.

Another thing you can do is people watch.  When you see someone who looks nice, figure out why she looks nice.  If you see someone who doesn't look so nice, analyze what would work better.  Also, listen to compliments.  If someone says, "That's my favorite color."  They are not complimenting how you look.  If they say, "That color looks great on you," then wear that color more often.  If they say, "You look nice today," that's a good compliment.  If they say, "Cute shirt,' they are not complimenting you, they wish they had that shirt.  Your attitude and posture can go a long way.  Stand tall, shoulders back, head held high and you will just ooze with more style.

Don't be tied to the old rules.  Throw them out.  You don't have to wear hose with a dress.  In fact, don't.  Wear a longer skirt and use sunless tanning lotion.  Older women look beautiful with long hair.  White can look gorgeous in the winter.  And, you don't want your shoes, belt, and purse all to match.

When you are shopping, think about your Cost Per Wear or CPW.  If you buy a shirt on clearance for $15 but then only wear it twice, you paid $7.50 each time you wore it.  If you invest in nice trousers that cost you $50 but you wear them every week for an entire year, then they cost less than $1.00 each time you wore them.  Every item in your wardrobe should be able to mix and match with other items.  Try to find at least 3 ways to wear every item in your closet.  Here is an example with this cute teal blouse.

Funky teacher look with animal print skirt and boots.

Professional look with a suit.

With jeans for a casual night out with the hubby.

Cute cotton skirt for brunch with the girls or work.

Same outfit as above but with the blouse open like a jacket.

Cute casual look with walking shorts.

Pretty and dressy look with silk flowing skirt.

So, you say, sure it's easy to make multiple outfits with a solid colored shirt.  Try something harder.  Okay, here is a yellow floral print sundress, 3 ways.

Summertime fun.

Add a short sleeve sweater and wear to work in the Spring.

Add tights, boots, and a sweater to take you into fall.
It will help to organize your closet.  I have all my shirts on the top rack and all my bottoms (sorted into skirts, capri's, pants) on the bottom rack.  Dresses are on another rack on the other side of the closet.  Each section is then put in rainbow order:  pink, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, black, white, brown, tan.

My closet; pink, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, black, white, brown, tan.

Use jewelry as wall art.  If you can see it you are more likely to wear it!
Finally, you also want to make sure your hair and makeup go with your style.  Everyone should switch out their hairstyle every couple of years to get a fresh new start.  Talk to your hairdresser, ask for their help in a new look.  Be honest with them about how much time you will spend fixing your hair each day.  Make up helps enhance our natural beauty and also can be a sunscreen.  With practice, you can put on a full face of makeup in less than 5 minutes.  But, like with your clothes, pick one area to focus on.  If you want to play up your eyes, go with a neutral lip.  If you want to wear bright bold lipstick, keep your eyes neutral.

Hopefully, I have helped you learn some of the tools to be a Chic Fabulous, Fashionista using Color, Focus and Fit!