Saturday, November 12, 2011

My First Pinterest Project

I feel like I am a little late to Pinterest as I only joined about a month ago, but I am addicted. So many fabulous ideas. This is my first, and surely not my last, Pinterest inspired project. The orginal pin coming from here on Etsy (another fabulous place you can get lost in!) This one is much smaller and not at professional looking as the orginal but it worls well for the entranceway.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Crafting the Stress Away

One upside to the horrendous schedule my school district has imposed on me is to combat the stress I have been taking time to do more craft projects as an attempt to melt the stress away. Since I can't afford a massage every week taking some me time to be artsy is equally as relaxing, at least to me. Here are two holiday projects I have completed recently.

The beauty of both these projects is that they used items that I already had on hand as part of my hoard. The fall board was actually inspired by the blogger at That Village House.The project was meant to be when I discovered three frames that I had gotten at a garage sale this summer in my garage. I had stored them away and forgot I had them!

My "witchy" plaque used items from a project kit I had gotten a while ago. I couldn't remember what the kit made! So I just used the items from it to make this. I need to take a better picture to get the details. I used a copy of an old photo. The girl looks like something straight out of The Crucible. A old dictionary page with the definition of "witch" and "witchcraft". I made a littel broom out of a twig and threads from the frayed burlap, basic crafting papers, stickers, and chipboard letters with glitter, and burlap strips. The antique photo mat I had in my stash of estate sale finds.

My Path into Altered Books

I love art although not talented enought to draw or paint I wandered into the realm of paper crafts. I don't have the temperment for scrapbooking so I played around with collages and found myself drawn to altered books. I at first found it strange that they would appeal to me since it requires the defacing or deconstructing, rather, of books. But I guess it my love of the written word that pushes me to find a purpose for those forgotten or discarded books. I joined an altered book group and have been participating in their round robin, trading books with others and altering a page or more within their book. Here are my first two attempts.

This was my first page I attempted. I felt I left it unfinished as I felt it needed more. I am hoping another person who gets the book will feel inspired to add on to it.

This was the book that inspired my first layout. It was a book that I brought with me from Indiana. The copyright is 1935 and stamped "Public Schools, Mishawaka, Indiana" and it is in poor condition but the illustrations are beautiful.

My second attempt. This was a Grimms Fairytales book, and it was a beautiful book! It pained me too much to do too drastic a design so I kept it pretty simple. The owner also didn't want the gorgeous pictures covered up, only embellished, so I added glitter to highlight Red and the Wolf.

The Good of Goodwill

When it comes to my bargain hunting, I seem to get streaks of success. One day I will have a feeling and wake up thinking "Today is thrift store day", and I always come away with quite a haul. Apparently my sixth sense is honed to find fun bargains. Below are a sampling of the finds on my last few day of hunting. I have been putting together a craft/work. I didn't have a place to do art of to work on my graduate work. I was always forming piles in the kitchen or on the dining table. I found a desk and set of shelves and painted them and have been now looking for organizational items. I found this cute organizer at Goodwill for $3! I might paint it and distres it to match the creams of the desk and shelves or I might not. I also found two cute fleur-de-lis for $3. I am going to hang them in the dining room (I think?) but they were too cute to pass up.

Two fun vintage book. The New Junior Classics (1954) and The Public Speakers Treasure Chest (1942). I think the public speaking one could be a great altered book and the classics has some great images for altered works!

This is my favorite treasure found on this trip and I almost missed it. In the jumble of Goodwill shelves there was a small box (green one in the background) it was buried under some Christmas tins. I wasn't sure what it was and when I picked it up and opened it I nearly did a dance. Inside tucked safetly were 4! winking santa mugs. They will be so fun to decorate with at Christmas.

Cute little iron urn with grapevine and white silk roses. $2 Using it to spruce up my shelves above my desk area.

I love tins!! Especially old ones. They are not especially old but will be cute for storage or for gifts.

This is a craigslist find but a bargain all the same. A new hutch for the kitchen. I have wanted one but struggled to find one that would fit in the space in my kitchen and not be too overwhelming. This one is perfect! I can now have all my cookbooks out and and accessible!! It needs a little work so it is still a work in progress.

I found several other things including some holiday decorations, children's books and some clothes (really why buy new). I am heading off to work on my altered book for the round robin. I handed mine off and forgot to take pictures. I was especially proud of my cover so when I get it back I will post the finished project. I will post pictures of the book I am working on when I finish the page.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Stay Away from Bootleg Liquor and Peroxide Blonds

My class has been reading Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None and since it was written in the 1930's we have been listening to some period music while they work and read. The lovely title of this post is a lyric from one of those songs and it just tickled me. It seems sage advice to me :) Who wouldn't come take a gander at a post with a title like that. In reality the line has little to do with the focus of my post except maybe the lesson of "think about the consequences of your choices".

The story I would like to tell is that of one of my students, we will call her Marie. Marie is 17 and a sophomore in high school. Marie lives with her mother and two older sisters, father is MIA. Marie lives with her mother and two older sisters in a two bedroom apartment and oh, I didn't mention, Marie's sister both have two children. So Marie lives in a two bedroom apartment with her mother, two older sisters, four nieces and nephews and wait let's add, Marie just had her own baby boy a month ago. So, have you kept track? I might have to double check my math but I believe the final count is 9!

What to say, what to say? Marie is bright and capable, not a honors student , but bright. With determination she could have reached for a dream and even the dream simply to escape her current existence could have been possible. She could have escaped it and made a life for herself, but the escape she chose was to have a baby and apparently it is not turning out as she expected. Go figure.

Teenage pregnancy, for me it is an issue that takes me into so many different directions, many see it as a failure on the part of the girl but I see mainly as a failure on the part of our culture. I would imagine before the wide availability of birth control devices many teen pregnancies were very much accidents. I am not sure that is the case anymore. Teenagers are smart cookies and are well aware what is available to them. They know what condoms are and what they are for, places like Planned Parenthood and their resources are also not unfamiliar. Now don't get me wrong, there is still quite a bit of misinformation about pregnancy among teenagers and many listen to myths as truth, but I feel this is the minority and could be remedied with more comprehensive sex education. Yet despite knowledge (if not vague knowledge) of the biology of pregnancy many girl's still end up pregnant and here is Texas it is many, many girls as we have now have the highest rate in the country.

In my ten years of teaching I have averaged about one girl a year who is pregnant and about girl a year who already has a child. That number may seem small but remember I am only a sample of the population. I am one teacher among a staff of 200. I teach at a suburban school. that serves a diverse population with about 30/30/30 mix of various minorities and about a 20-30% population considered low-economic. Of those 10-20 girls, not one came from what most people would consider stable homes. The majority of them had no fathers at home and most of their families struggled economically.

Recently curiousity led me to record The Pregnancy Pact which recently aired on Lifetime television. Usually the Lifetime films I watch remain my guilty secret known only between me and my husband who is sworn to secrecy, but I was so impressed with Lifetime's accurate portrayal of the motives of teenage girls who find themselves pregnant. I was so impressed that I sought out other teachers and asked them if they had seen it. They had been equally impressed commenting, " It really showed the deluded reasons these girls get pregnant." That movie matched my and their experience with teenage pregnancy. These girls want someone to love them,whether is the baby or the boyfriend. They have a fantasy that a baby will somehow magically provide them stability and a home or provide them an excuse to avoid tough decisions. Why is graduation important when I have a baby to take care of? As long as I am a good mother does it matter if I finish school or pursue my goals?

This was Marie. She thought she was going to be able to move in with her boyfriend and he would take care of her, but apparently her boyfriend's mother doesn't want her and the baby to move in. The mother is not only taking care of her son and his siblings but also some of her grandchildren. So now Marie is in a tight spot. She lives in hell with a newborn. She discovering it is tough to get up early and get the baby ready and to daycare and herself to school. She isn't sleeping at night (really, who could) and she is depressed and wants to drop out.

So why do I see as a failure on the part of culture because despite "progress" in breaking down barriers we still have so many girls (and boys) who can't overcome the loneliness of their exsistence due to the lack of stable families. They bring more children into this world who now have a higher risk of suffering the same fate. My students bring their babies up to school (and they are adorable !!) and I cannot help but smile but a part of me inside cries because these babies now have a higher chance of becoming teen parents themselves and a higher chance of not graduating high school and I feel so helpless because I don't know the answer to their plight.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Oh so Random...

  1. First, I want to thank everyone who has stopped by my blog. I feel so honored.

  2. I am embarrased to admit that I didn't know JD Salinger died until four days later. I don't read or watch the news because I find it depresssing.

  3. The cult of celebrity is the modern equivalent to the Greek gods. They act like idiots with little consequences and we are in awe of them and bewildered by them at the same time.

  4. Listening to 9th graders read "Romeo and Juliet" out loud takes away a lot of the magic Shakespeare's poetry--I thinking more Oedipus and gouging out my eyes.

Two Funnies from my Mom

Teacher Humor

English Teacher Humor :)

State of Mind

I would like to start out this post by saying.. I have nothing to say. I feel so unmotivated, uninspired, so very blah. I can seem to locate the source of these emotions but I have a feeling there is simply too much on my plate and my mind reels. There is nothing like stillness to inspire me and I would hope there are others out there like this but sometime what motivates me the most is nothing. To sit quietly and feel the thoughts in your mind organize themselves. The peace begins becomes life-giving and ideas begin to flow. I need to take the time to find that moment where stillness is central and my "to do list" and "to pay list" and "to call list" dissapears and instead what appears is the cloudy-clearness of creativity.