Friday, May 25, 2012

The Art of 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 of 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 a yellow measuring tape.  Because the rim is larger at the top than the bottom of the rim, I cut the measuring tape every two inches or so, and glued them separately to compensate for the angle.  When glued, you cannot 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.


 A coordinating tag that reads "Thank You for helping us to grow."






The teacher was so touched to receive the gift.  
And the students were anxious to find the flower with their name.

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

An Oldie but Goodie: Graduation Canvas

  
An Oldie but Goodie
Here it is mid-May.  I haven't posted diddly since early April.  Good excuse?  Actually, yes!  Went on vacation.  And then stuff.  family.  more stuff.  So until I get my act together and write posts featuring new projects, here is an oldie but goodie I hope you will enjoy! 

Keep Calm [and Ride On]
[original post date: August 15, 2011]

Being a student in a small college town has its perks -- like riding your bike from your apartment to class, meeting friends downtown for coffee, and stopping at the library for a study session, and then cycling back home, all while exercising your brain and your body.

In June, our older daughter graduated from this bicycle-friendly academic world that she enthusiastically embraced for four years. Is she ready to go out and make her mark on the world? Well, ready or not, here she comes! And in this day of high unemployment and economic despair, I am happy to report she just landed a professional job in her field of study.

As a mother, it is nerve-wracking exciting to cheer from the sidelines, as one's children take their first steps towards becoming self-sufficient in the "real" world. I know she'll be fine. I'm not so sure about me. Thank goodness I have my creative therapy. Thus, I present my altered art canvas entitled, "Keep Calm and Ride On."

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This two-piece canvas uses the college graduation announcement and one of my favorite photos from that special day. The photo captures her walking away, while taking a quick glance back. I love how this represents her moving forward with her life, while always treasuring her wonderful college days.

The supplies:
12" x 12" and 12" x 4" artist canvasses
four eye screws
acrylic paint
cardstock - two solid colors and coordinating paper [I used the college colors]
chipboard letters
large and small Prima flowers
Buttons and hemp cord or embroidery floss
tassel (found at Dollar Store)
decorative pearl brad
3 different coordinating ribbons, 16" in length
acrylic parentheses
bicycle stamp and black Staz-on ink
college announcement
photo

The process:

Paint both canvas pieces. Let dry.
Cut solid color cardstock 1/2" smaller than larger canvas. Cut coordinating papers to fit accordingly.
Decoupage cardstock and coordinating paper to canvasses.
Stamp [bicycle] image onto printed paper. Trim and mat with solid paper, adhere to canvas.
Mat photo. Position in place, but do not yet adhere.
Apply chipboard letters [I looped the tassel to one of the letters] and acrylic parentheses.

Using hot glue, adhere buttons to wheels on bicycle image.

Decoupage announcement and text onto canvas. Hot glue layered flowers and small button, slightly overlapping onto announcement and text.

When dry, decoupage entire canvas which adds luster and holds chipboard letters in place.

Using 3D foam squares, adhere matted photo to canvas and hot glue pearl brad.

Measure and mark 3" in from sides on canvas edges [bottom edge for large canvas and top edge for smaller canvas].

Twist eye screws into canvas at marks, so canvasses line up.

Cut ribbon into 8" lengths. Tie three ribbons together, inserting ribbon through matching eye screws.
This connects the canvas pieces. Trim ribbon ends at a diagonal.
The altered artwork canvas is now ready to display and can easily be mounted on the wall.

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Now one question remains: Who gets to keep it? The proud Mom [Me] or the new college graduate [She]?

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