Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Teacher Appreciation

Twice a week I volunteer in a classroom at a community Pre-K program.  There are 17 children, most from non-English speaking families.  The teacher is amazing.  She is patient, kind, cares about each child, and is preparing them for success in Kindergarten next year.   Without this program, these children would start kindergarten way behind their peers.  It's hard to believe our school district has plans to cut the program next year.  But that's not what this post is about.

Teacher Appreciation Week comes and goes.  There aren't room parents for this class.  So I decided to help the students show their love for their teacher with this project.  It's simple enough, but goes a l-o-n-g way in showing their appreciation.  

I brought punched scalloped and plain circles, mini letter rubber stamps and a black ink pad to school one day.  Each child chose their color combination for their "flower" and stamped their name on it.  So it was also a lesson in ABC's.  Then I glued a coffee stirrer stick between the flower and another scalloped circle to create the "flowers."
I painted a terra cotta pot and saucer using yellow acrylic and chalkboard paint.  Two coats of each fully covered the pot.  I also painted a tag with the same yellow paint and stamped the teacher's name on it.
I embellished the top rim of the pot with an actual yellow measuring tape.  Because the rim is larger at the top than the bottom, I cut the measuring tape every two inches or so, and glued them separately to compensate for the tapered difference.  When glued, you can't even tell the measuring tape was cut.  I used Mod Podge for the glue, and again for a final glossy coat (but not on the chalkboard paint).

 All that was left was to pot the plant and stick the "flowers" in the pot.

 And added a coordinating tag that reads "Thank You for helping us to grow."

The teacher was so delighted to receive the gift that her students created.  
And the students were anxious to find the flower with their name.
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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Nightstand Transformation from Blah to Beauty-ful

Gotta love how paint can completely transform an outdated furniture piece.  

I picked up this little eyesore--err, I mean potential beauty--for $15 at the local flea market a few months ago.  Even with St. Patrick's Day coming up, its shade of kelly green did nothing for our home decor.   

 So, out came the ASCP (Annie Sloan Chalk Paint) in French Linen and Old White.
Updated furniture
There is a great deal of discussion on whether ASCP is worth the high price.  I've been experimenting with a few colors of the expensive paint.  It really does cover well.  You only need 1 - 2 coats.  I can't say I'm hooked, but I do enjoy its consistency and ease of use.  Some days, it beats making my own chalk paint.

I tried my hand at stenciling this time by adding a decorative design to the top of the nightstand.
[so fancy!]
How to stencil designs on furniture

And a little stamping on the bottom drawer.
nightstand tranformation
As well as a decorative paper liner inside the drawer.

 I finished the nightstand with a little distressing around the edges.  

 This transformed beauty landed in my daughter's room, replacing an old boring bookcase.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

All Signs Lead to Love, Repurposing a Wood Plaque

Love Makes the World Go 'Round.
Love the One You're With.
What the World Needs Now is Love, Sweet Love.

And the list goes on and on and on.  
So many beautiful lyrics.

With Valentine's Day in a few days, I decided to update a chicken wire frame that read "NEST."
While this might be a great word for a birdhouse, I prefer something a little more meaningful.
And softer colors.  With a little paint, I covered the blue frame with ASCP Old White and lightly distressed it.  Then I covered the red square blocks with Duck Egg Blue.  I stamped L, V & E on three of the blocks.
I transferred an old-fashioned graphic in place of the "O."  This graphic reads "Check Mate" on a heart with two people playing a game.  Then I added a little red & white twine.
Easy as can be.  
It left me plenty of time to bake some Valentine's cookies.
Happy Valentine's Day!

In case you missed a post, you might be interested in this repurposed project:
Repurposed furniture

Friday, January 30, 2015

Mason Jar Upcycle

What's up with the popularity of Mason Jars?  
You can't help but love them.  
These jars are so beautiful in their own quirky way.  

It was high time to put one to the test to help me get organized.
I started my project with this vintage notepad board 
that I picked up at the flea market.  
I painted both the board and a pint-size Mason jar with ASCP Old White, 
then lightly distressed both pieces.

Using a plumber's clamp, I attached the jar to the wood.  
I've seen this done a lot on Pinterest, and it was so easy.
I painted the jar lid red for a pop of color 
(and because Valentine's Day is soon).  

Then added rub-on transfers and attached a mini red photo holder.
The most difficult part of this project is where to hang it!

In the laundry room?

In the kitchen?

Or in my craft room?
No matter where it ends up, it will come in handy for office supplies.
I might just also use it for fresh flowers come spring.

Yesterday, I purchased several more plumber's clamps, 
and I have a few more ideas brewing 
with the other Mason jars just waiting to be upcycled.

Missed a Post?  Check these out:
Valentine's gifts

You might find me at these parties

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

New Year: New Calendar

Happy New Year! Let's ring in the new, and throw out the old. No, wait! Don't throw out the old. Instead, "upcycle" it.

As I near the age matching the year I was born (mid-50's), I find this creative phrase a metaphor for life. Instead of grumbling about all those things that we mid-50 year old women find astonishing (like hairs on the upper lip, a body in need of toning, and grumpy teenage children, just to name a few), it is time to upcycle ourselves: limit the sugar and white flour, exercise for life, share a smile more often, and stop being so hard on ourselves. The super-Mom syndrome of the past few decades is no longer acceptable. Instead, it is time to find a gentle balance on our continuing journey called life. That being said, here are my Top 10 resolutions for 2011:

 1. Donate un-used craft items to Girl Scouts.
 2. (Continue to) volunteer at senior centers.
 3. Organize (i.e., toss out) expired coupons, old receipts, and newspaper clippings that I saved to read (but didn't).
 4. Spend more time reading novels and non-fiction.
 5. Take a class to expand my computer knowledge (which will benefit my blog).
 6. Take vitamins regularly.
 7. Add a day of tennis to my bi-weekly tennis schedule.
 8. Hide the chocolate--from me (i.e., don't buy the stuff anymore).*
 9. Enjoy spending time (instead of arguing) with our younger daughter for the next eight months before she goes off to college .
10.Think outside the box (i.e., my comfort zone) and expand my crafting repertoire.

*This is going to be tough!

Let's start with Resolution #10: expanding my crafting repertoire; thus, I present my first altered art project for the new year:

Calendar & Photo Canvas

Material List:

9" x 12" and 6 x 8" canvas panels
coordinating scrapbook paper cut 8-1/2" x 11-1/2" and 5-1/2" x 7-1/2"
acrylic paint & foam brushes
Mod Podge (glossy)
Binder clips
Spiral paper clip
Hemp cord
Calendar, cut to fit smaller canvas (I found these for 50 cents at Michael's)
metal label holder & brads
4" x 6" acrylic flat photo frame
photo (which is interchangeable)
double-sided foam tape
assorted ribbon & ric-rac
silk flower (cut from stem and backing)
number stickers
hot glue gun

If you would like a tutorial, leave me a comment and I will be happy to email it to you.  Also, if you like this bright color combination, click here to see the matching mail & note holder I made last year.
Now onto Resolution #9:  enjoying my 17-year old--that is, after she yells at me for waking her...Happy New Year!

Editor's Note:  This is a repost of my 2011 calendar.  Time to update it for the new year!


Linking to these fabulous party blogs:

Wake Up Wednesday
Silly Pearl Project Inspire(d)
A Dose of Paige Create & Share
Project Parade Link-Up