Sunday, August 5, 2012


Today's craft (well the craft that I finished today) was this adorable number 2 pencil vase.  I saw the idea on pinterest from DeckTheHalls.  I love the way it turned out... it can hold anything, but I whipped up some sheet music flowers and put them on the end of pencils.

Are you interested in having this vase? Yes, this VERY vase.  I will take it off of my kitchen table where it is sitting now and hand it to you.

I only have 20 pieces left to sell in my Puzzling Piece fundraiser.  For every piece that you buy you will get to choose something from my online garage sale to receive for FREE.

Including this adorable vase, and other handmade items.

I am also doing two more drawings once I reach 60 sales... one for a handmade tshirt quilt, and one for a coach wristlet.

There's a tab at the top of this blog where you can see all of the items in the garage sale and learn more about it, or you can click here.

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Puzzling Piece Raffle Prize... FREE Tshirt Quilt!!!

My fundraiser for The Puzzling Piece has begun to slow down... and I'm almost 2/3 of the way there!!!!  I created a raffle two weeks ago for anyone who bought a puzzling piece that week.  Whoever purchased a puzzling piece would be entered in the drawing.  I drew my classmate Scott's name at the end of the week, and he won a free tshirt quilt!!

This tshirt quilt actually ended up looking better than many others I have done:

I used nice clean, hidden seams and kept if very simple.  It only took a few hours, which was faster than other quilts, too!!!

I'm thinking about doing another raffle once I get to 50 sales.  The deal this week is buy one get one free... If you purchase a puzzling piece, I will send you a necklace or keychain for FREE!  Only 4 more available, so if you're interested please let me know.

Classroom Projects: About Me Big Book and Knight Behavior Chart

I start my new job (!) on Monday, and I have been focusing a lot on little things I can use in my classroom.  

If you remember, I created a mock-up for a 'Racetrack' behavior chart which was perfect for me, but then I decided I wanted my room to have a fairy-tale theme and the race car behavior chart wouldn't work.  I had to create something new... so I created something that would work for boys and girls and corresponded with our school mascot... the Knight.

So I created this:

The idea in creating it was that general education students would start every day at Page, and would move up throughout the day, or down if necessary.  If they spend a certain amount of days on 'Knight in Shining Armor' (tracked by a sticker chart, eg) they would get to pick out of the treasure box.

After reading a few IEPs and BIPs, my old internship supervising teacher helped me with a design that would use it in a different way.  Now, I am going to use it in conjunction with a point sheet.  The students will start every day at 100 points, with their clip at 'Knight in Shining Armor'.  For every 10 points they lose, they will move down a level.  For every 10 bonus points they earn, they can move back up.  Depending on what level they are at at the end of the day, they will earn certain free time activities.

I am also going to glue pictures of the students to clips instead of the knight so they know which clip is theirs.

The other project I completed for my classroom was a Big Book All About Ms. Spears to use to introduce myself on the first day of school.  I found this idea on pinterest from Yeehaw Teaching in Texas and loved it so much that I 'used' almost all of her ideas to make my own.

The book has a cover, a table of contents, and quite a few pages of facts about me including text features.  Some of the pages are below:

Cover Page: Simple, could be more colorful.  I don't have a cricut so I had to hand write my titles :(  I also used ribbon on this book, but would like to trade it out for binder rings eventually.

Table of Contents: Good for teaching students about text features.

Childhood.  The kids are going to love all of the pictures!  Notice the captions on the pictures.  I typed, printed, and cut these.

Middle school, all about England with a picture of my pretty school.

Favorite activities, including things I did as a child.  Great way for students to learn about me and connect with me. "Hey, I do that, too!"

All my pets... see my adorable hedgehog?? (My potential classroom pet-to-be)

Travelling is a huge part of me and I have been a ton of places.  I printed all of my pictures out (I tried to do only one or two from each place, and only of the well-known places) and I realized I would need a whole book just for my travels! So I split up the pictures and made each one a little flip book according to where they were taken.  I have one from London, one from Europe (misc) such as Germany, Belgium, etc, one from Paris, one from Italy, and one from the United States (New York, Colorado, Hawaii, etc).

I loved this page from Teaching in Texas.  It's such a great way to connect with the students and set a good example.  This is a picture of my favorite books.

Just random fun facts... more ways to make connections!

That's my big book! I thought of a great idea to do during the first week of school instead of a boring interest inventory would be to share my big book, then have the students make their own 'About Me' books.  For my kids, I will probably have to have a fill-in-the-blank templates that are really simple ("My favorite color is: _____________.  I have ___ brothers and ____ sisters.  I was born on ______ in ____________")  and allow them to draw their own pictures.  Older kids could make their own books.  They could draw pictures, bring in pictures, or use magazine cut-outs.

So excited to do this!!!

Baked Mac and Cheese and Golf Birthday Cake

*Whew*  Let me stop and take a breath for a minute.

Once again, I have been so busy crafting, baking, and classroom preparing that I haven't done any blogging.

But lately I'm back up to my craft a day, and it is exhausting.  But I have a night to myself so here I am to share!!

I'll start with my few recipes of late.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Spinach from Eating Well - This was a delicious meal I made for my parents the night they got home from Boston.  It wasn't too hard, and I had almost all of the ingredients on hand in my house (I needed to go to the store for spinach).  It was really good!!!

It was also Logan's birthday this week, so I got the chance to try out this Golf Birthday Cake from Changing my Destiny.

 It was such a cute idea! Except I don't remember the last time I made a 'normal' cake (I usually go for taste and ingredients, not looks) I knew it would be disappointing to just have a chocolate cake.  So I threw some Reese's cups in there for good measure.  Just as I thought, as soon as I unveiled the cake I spend forever on, I got a 'so it's just chocolate????'
Then again, he might have seen all those candy wrappers in the garbage and been concerned about my eating habits.
So I followed the instructions on this by purchasing the grass tip from Michael's craft store (only $1.50) and refrigerating the icing before use, but my mistake was using plastic baggies.  I don't have any pastry bags (nor do I really know what these are) and every time I squeezed the plastic bag, it would get holes and the green icing would goop all over my hands.  I only handled this for so long before I went hunting for a new, brand name plastic bag.  It was a disaster transferring the mess over, and when I started squeezing the new bag, it was getting holes too!!! Argh. I finally ended up transferring the goo from the old bag inside the new bag to a little cheap icing pump that camp with plastic tips.  I duct taped my grass tip on to the outside of a tip that fit on the pump, and proceeded with the project.  This worked nicely, but the container was very small so I had to keep refilling it.  All of this probably took an hour or so.  To ice a cake.  But I think it's adorable and so perfect.

That's my little rant for the day...  look forward to posts on the best gift I have ever given Logan, the completed raffle prize for my Puzzling Piece fundraiser, and CLASSROOM PROJECTS!!!