Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A Challenge

I love thrift stores!  The other day I stopped by Salvation Army on a whim. Anything with a white tag was half off. I was thrilled when I found this buffet and it had a white tag.  I knew it would fit in the back of the car so I practically skipped up to the counter to pay the $40. I brought it home thinking that once I refinished it I had three places in my house I could put a piece like this.  My husband gave me the "Are you serious?" look.  I explained how much I loved this piece, my plans to refinish it and the options for where we could put it. He still seemed skeptical about whether I could do it. I like a challenge so now I have to prove that I can do this. I don't like to lose and I plan on meeting this challenge. I know it won't be perfect because I have no real experience with refinishing furniture but I still think I can do it.

Armed with an orbital sander, I sanded down the outside and the drawers.  I still need to sand the inside and the trim at the bottom but I'm making progress. I made a huge dusty mess in the garage but it's way too cold to do this project outside.

Today I headed to my local Home Depot to get more sandpaper and to choose my stain.  I explained to the guy at the paint counter what I was trying to do.  When I showed him the picture of the buffet and explained my husband's challenge he laughed then walked me around the store gathering supplies.

I still have a lot of sanding to do but I've started this project and intend to finish it. I don't like to lose, plus I really love this piece of furniture. Hopefully I can refinish it on my own. Wish me luck!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Art for Homework

Let's face it homework isn't usually fun, it's work. This week's homework assignment included some drawing.  Now art for homework is fun, so I guess on occasion homework can be fun.  My daughter is reading the book Ida B at school. As part of their literature circles the students were asked to draw a character from the chapters they were reading. This is what she drew.  It's a girl in Ida's class who always wears a sparkly tee shirt, sparkly fingernails and sparkly barrettes. I love her style of drawing! She makes it look so easy and simple yet with just a few lines and colors it captivates my attention.

I created a little art for homework too.  I joined a preschool busy bag swap so I could get busy bags for my classroom. I wanted to create these felt button rings for my classroom and thought they'd be great for the swap.  I had to create 20 of the same busy bags to send. It took me forever to sew buttons on and reinforce the buttonholes, but I like the way they turned out. (By the way this picture shows only ten of the twenty chains.)

I wanted to include a second color activity in the busy bags so I drew these fish on my computer. I  laminated them, cut them out and attached a paperclip to the back of each fish. I made a magnetic wand using a jumbo craft stick and a magnet to create a color fishing game. Now that I made the 20 sets of both activities for the swap, I need to make a few sets for my classroom. Unfortunately I've been feeling a bit burnt out on fish and felt button chains so I haven't started the ones for my class yet.  My art homework was beginning to feel more like work. Hopefully next week while we're on vacation I'll be motivated to work on them again. I also need to work some more on my Needful Things swap package. I have lots of ideas and have been collecting things. I just need to get crafting and put it all together.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The White Stuff

Back at Christmas time I was excited to see the white stuff falling from the sky and blanketing the earth in iridescent white. New fallen snow is so beautiful.

Now it's the end of February and it's snowing again. I'm tired of the snow, the shoveling and the driving on snow covered roads.  I want spring to arrive. I'm ready for mud season, with new plants coming up, birds singing, sunshine and most of all no snow!

It amazes me how you can appreciate the beauty of new snow while at the same time craving it's disappearance for another year.  If you're in need of some snow stop by our house, we have plenty to share.  While you're here would you mind shoveling the walkways, clearing the driveway and driving me to the airport. . .I'm craving some tropical weather.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Needful Things

I'm participating in The Needful Things Swap over at Yarnigras swapper spot. As part of the swap you have to post twenty things that you need.  Easy right?  It was a challenge!  I've thought, pondered, written, edited and re-edited to come up with my list. Presenting Jill's Needful Things . . .

1.     I need my family!  My husband, my daughter, my dog Chunk, my siblings, my mom, my nieces, my nephews(including a new one on the way) and my friends. They make life wonderful.

My sisters, my mom and I having fun on a girls weekend in Maine.

2.     I need the color red in my life.  When I wear my red boots, I look at my feet and can't help but smile every time.

3.     I need books.  Children's books for school, teen books that require no brain power so I can read just for sheer enjoyment.  I love bookstores, libraries, the book section at the thrift store.  I just love books! While I prefer a real, hold it in your hand kind of book, I do use my Kindle for books too.

4.     I need to create and be creative. Creating materials for my job as a preschool teacher, creating for my house or creating for family and swap friends is essential to my happiness. The process of making something with my own hands is therapeutic and leaves me with a sense of accomplishment.

Painted canvases for my daughter's room.

5.     I need polka dots, they just make me smile. 

6.    Some mornings,  I need to wake up to sunshine and birds singing.  It always makes me feel glad to be alive. You just know it's going to be a good day when you awake to the sun shining in and the birds singing. It's a good feeling.

7.     I need zombies.  Yes zombies!  I like them; not super scary zombies, but I like zombie dolls.  I like to make them and receive them. I even like to look through zombie pictures and crafts to get ideas for new injuries to add to my future zombie dolls. I also like zombie movies, again not scary, but funny zombie movies.

My daughter set these zombies up at Halloween this year.  The photo is a little blurry but the sign reads "Silence or we will eat you next."

8.     I need wool.  I can't wear wool sweaters because they are too itchy for my sensitive skin but I love wool sweaters and wool coats.  I chop them up to create dolls, ornaments, mittens, wine sweaters and more.  Wool is one of my favorite mediums for crafting. I often compliment people's wool sweaters.  Of course the people closest to me know I'm really thinking about all the things I could make with that pretty wool sweater they're wearing. :)

Wool pencil case made from a felted sweater.

9.     I need unsweetened ice tea on a daily basis. I love it!

10.  I need crafty baubles.  There is nothing like a trip to AC Moore, Michael's or Hobby Lobby to get craft supplies. Fabric, yarn, threads, buttons, paints, papers, beads, clay, and whatever I can scrounge from the clearance section.  It makes me giddy thinking about it.

11.  I need Sharpie pens and scissors.  I never leave home without them; in fact I have them in my purse, in my car, at school and at home. You never know when crafts will happen, so I'm prepared at all times:) And don't forget the double sided sticky tape, love that stuff!

12.  I need recycled bits.  I love taking things that would be thrown away and creating something new. Bottle caps, paper towel rolls, jars, cans, ribbons, paper, old books, etc can all take on a new life. I'm always looking for a new recycling project. I'm really loving recycled glass containers lately.  I have a couple of tequila bottles that make lovely vases. I don't even like tequila, I'm more of a rum girl, but put a pretty flower in the empty tequila bottle and wallah instant joy.

These are flowers from my mom's garden, in my empty tequila bottle.

13.  I need plants and flowers.  I have to admit I'm not a good gardener so plants in my care don't always have the longest life span but I need plants and flowers. Of course I've learned to buy hardy plants so they survive living with me. That little bit of green or pretty flowers just brings joy to a room. 

These are my hearty house plants. Notice the little red bird.

14.  I need children's art work.  There is something about art created by children that always makes me smile. It's usually full of happiness and joy.  I love my daughter's art and treasure the pictures and crafts she creates. Watching my daughter create art just makes me happy.

My daughter drew this owl.

15.  I need to be around children.  They remind you to slow down, enjoy the moment and best of all take time to play.  Part of what I love about my job is playing and acting silly with my students. Have you ever had running races with preschoolers? I usually hate to run, in fact I don't run unless there is a fire; but it's tons of fun to run races with my preschoolers!

16.  I need to just be home.  I love my job but I also love to just be home with my husband, daughter and naughty little pug. Hanging out at home with my family vegging out, crafting or spending time together is good for my soul.  I love being at home! We have a beautiful back yard for summer and a cozy, comfortable home for the cold winter months. Home is a great place to be!

17.  I need thrift stores. I love to go thrifting, it's kind of like recycled bits, taking things that someone else no longer needs and giving it a new life. Plus I gets my wooly bits and sweaters by thrifting.

18.   I need handmade goodies. I love things that are handmade; seeing the time, effort and talent that goes into a handmade item always brings me joy. I love fun, interesting handmade items. 

19. I need whimsical fairytale creatures like owls, red mushrooms, gnomes and traditional fairytale characters.  I still love retellings of fairytales. I loved hearing stories like Rapunzel and Thumbelina when I was a kid.  These days our February fairytale/nursery rhyme unit is one of my favorites units at school.

My painted muslin mushroom fairy ornament. I love this little guy!

20.   I need kindness, joy and laughter in my life. I think a smile and a kind word are small things that go a long way, laughter is good for the soul and finding joy in the small things makes life better. Kindness, joy and laughter spread and they usually find their way back to you.