Monday, January 25, 2010

Big Hearts

Haiti Houses: Magnets, pins and necklaces made by the big-hearted art students of North Gwinnett High School under the tutelage of their amazing teacher Debi West.

I know you've seen the footage and photos of the devastation in Haiti. I can't think of any other way to describe it other than heartbreaking. And I don't know what's worse, seeing all of that loss or feeling as
though there is nothing I can do.
 Close-up of one house created by Jenna T.

Well, art teacher extrardinaire Debi West  found a way for she and her students to move beyond that feeling of powerlessness and do something. In her words: Art students at NGHS are creating unique and creative Haiti House pins, magnets and necklaces for a donation of $10. They have raised over $1000 over the last few days and hope to continue selling. All donation checks can be made to NGHS and we will be sending the money to several organizations such as Doctors Without Bordes and Habitat for Humanity to help rebuild houses, schools and hospitals!

I received my order of Haiti Houses on Saturday and I cannot begin to tell you how awesomely talented her students are. Not to mention big hearted. If you are interested in learning more, please leave a comment and I'll put you in touch with Debi.

Speaking of big hearts, check out this lovely...created by a fellow crafter and etsian whose jewelry can be found

So over my Christmas holiday, I decided to reopen my etsy store. I gotta tell you, selling there is not a walk in the park. In fact, it can be more like a walk down a lonely, empty street. Unless, you make some friends...
I know, I'm in love too. Find more at

  ...and start asking for some help. I have found that even though I often have no idea what's going on, how things work, why my items aren't flying off the proverbial shelf, I can always reach out and ask fellow etsians for tips, advice and help. I don't think I've ever come across a group of people that wishes your shop as much success as their own.

New heart-shaped belts in time for Valentine's Day. Comes wrapped in a neat little box with a ceramic ornament.

All of these big hearted people kinda inspired these new buckles and belts. Well, that and some Hallmark-y created holiday that's coming up!

Again, please let me know if you would like to learn more about Debi and her fabulous students.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


The Union at Indiana University. Hundreds of students use this building as a cut-through everyday and for 5-ish years, I was one of them.

This past weekend has been in the works for many months. Like maybe six months or longer. One of my favorite places to be is Bloomington, Indiana. Even in the dead of winter, I love the I.U. campus. So I called upon family and buddies to come and hang out there for the weekend. 

Most of the motley crew (L-R): college buddy Emily, high school pal/traveling partner Alison, moi, high school sweetheart Paul (jk) and high school pal/college buddy/fellow teacher, Kathryn

Missing: Aunt Judy. This is why one shouldn't dose off...for we will leave you and go drinking!

The sticky glue that bonded this bunch was me. Some of these peeps didn't know each other well or at all until this weekend. But when I was inviting everyone and their mother (okay, just my mother), I knew this wouldn't be an issue. Each one of these people is so uniquely awesome that I just knew they'd love getting to know one another. I was right. Staying up until 2am chatting and laughing for two consecutive nights confirmed this.

Getting our sugar rush on. Love coming back to campus and actually being able to afford food.  Back then, I'd have fainted at a $4.75 brownie. Now, with my amazing 5-figure teacher salary, I say "Why, yes, I'll take it -- make that two." 

Added to the group photo: Paula (moms) on the left and my Aunt Judy just to the right. She looks young for her age because she's my age....long, white trashy story, don't ask. 

Which has me already thinking about the next get-together...and all of the other friends that I'd love to add to the mix. In fact, these cute dudes look like they know how to have a good time...

I left my camera at a restaurant and when I got it back, found a photo of these guys on it! If you recognize these fellers and can confirm that they know how to partay, give 'em my digits, would ya?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Make Your Mark

A happy little kindergarten dude just painting away. 
When was the last time you did something that made you smile this big that didn't involve jello-shots?

Well, having survived the snowstorm, we all returned to school this week. I was a little sad to see my free time go, but since the kids are so excited to be here (read hyperactive and wired for sound), it's good to be back. I mean, how can you not love those pudgy little fingers and cheeks?

Inspired by Vincent van Gogh, this kindergartener fills her sky with sparkly stars and spirals. I introduced glittery oil pastels for the task thus earning me the kid's popularity award. Eat that, Jonas Brothers.

Just as I predicted, I was completely lost walking into my room on Monday. On top of being confused about which classes were in the middle of this or that project, I had made the grave error of promising the kids I'd introduce them to my drum set this week. For all you people out there who have little to no experience with the height-challenged-under-10-years-of-age set, word of advice: DON'T EVER MAKE PROMISES. For they will remember them...and hold you accountable.

You wouldn't think that introducing kids to the world of abstract would be hard. After all, this is the group that grew up on this...

...with a side of that...
 but trying to explain the concept of abstract art to Kindergartenland can be a tricky task. Kinda like getting Elmo to back off (really? You love me? But we only just met...) or Barney to stop giggling in that creepy pedifile kind of way.

But it all worked out fine. They got to bang on the drums and I got to experience a continuous banging in my head for the rest of the day. We did manage to squeeze in some art. It being art class, I consider this a good thing.

The 1st graders managed to finish off their Neuschwanstein-inspired landscape-collage-type-thingies that we've only been working on

And the 3rd grade also finished their masterpieces. So, it's been a good couple of days back. Despite the following conversation I had with a couple of  kindergarteners:

Kid #1: What are you taking pictures of?
Moi: Your cute little hands working on your art.
Kid #1: Why?
Kid #2: Because her hands are old and bumpy.
Kid #1: Yeah, like witch hands.

...yup, it's so good to be back!

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Blizzard of 2010

Mitch snapped this picture of little birdie tracks on our deck. How they managed to wade thru all of that snow without a pair of Uggs, I just dunno.

So it snowed in Nashville. That's right, did you hear me? It SNOWED. Wanna know how much? Okay, take your index finger and your thumb and pretend you are picking up a pea...scratch that, make it a seed...on second thought, a strand of hair. Are your fingers touching yet? Good. That's about how much snow we got.

Hubs has really gotten into bird-seeding (which inevitably leads to bird-pooping) our deck. Not because he's all into birds or anything, he does it for the cat. Claims she needs something to do during the day. I see a mountain of dishes in the sink she could attack.
So we got out of school. For the dandruff. Look, I'm not complaining. I mean, it's almost noon, I'm still in my bathrobe, my socks don't match and the only reason my hair and teeth have recently seen a brush is because I had company yesterday. But you have to admit, this canceling for lint is awesomely silly.
Asha watching the birds. The whole time her tail is swooshing and she's making these adorable clicking and squeaking sounds that cats make when they are excited.

But I'm trying to make the most of it. Doing a little sewing and posting belts on etsy. But I still find myself making frequent stops to the couch (making sure it's still soft), flipping through this book (getting great ideas) and chatting with buddies on FB. I could really truly seriously honestly get used to this. 

Bird-inspired buckles.

But I had better not. Come Monday, I'll be back at school, turning circles in my room thinking "now where was I...?" Better make the most of my time and get back to work! On the couch! With my book!


Friday, January 1, 2010

Gifts that Keep on Givin'

My Christmas present quilt sewn by my talented music teacher buddy Leah White.

It was my 5th birthday. A hallmark year in the land of the kindergarten set. Grandma Marilyn and Grandpa Eddy hosted my party at their house, opening their doors to all of my cousins and the Roann, Indiana neighborhood kids. I was nuts with excitement over the ever-growing mound of presents all for moi. I coulda easily skipped the cake, passed on the Pin-the-Tail-on-the-Donkey, bailed on the Happy Birthday scream-a-long, just lemme at them damn presents. Pardon my French. Musta been something in that Koolaid.

Lil Bro Kris got me this awesome retro kitty print. Notice Jaba-the-Kitty posing in front of it.

Being the dim-witted child that I was (ahem, am), I failed to notice that each box carefully wrapped in Holly Hobbie or Smurf paper was exactly the same shape. When I was finally able to attack the mound of boxes like Elin goin' after Tiger (sorry, blame the media), I discovered the first box had just what I wanted: A COOTIE GAME! The cake-crazed kids nearly turned green with envy (although, again, that may have been the Koolaid).

I was gifted this lovely Snuggie by one of my students. With the exception of the backdraft and the strange looks, I think it makes quite the fashion statement when paired with a belt.

Once the oohs and ahhs had quited, I tore into the next gift. What? Huh? Another Cootie Game? Before I could open my giant five year old mouth and state the obvious "but I just got one of these?!" another gift was forced into my cake crusted little hands.

It's like the Porsche of sewing machines. You press the gray button, it starts sewing. You press it again, it stops. No foot action, fabric feeding or talent required. Perfect for me, as my old machine just went to a better place.

Hmm, ANOTHER FREAKIN' COOTIE GAME!? The grown-ups chuckled and the kids, coked up on Koolaid, roared with laughter. Um, excuse me? Is this some kind of cruel joke that's going to land me on Dr. Phil in 20 years?! Don't make me go all Gargamel on you because this is NOT STINKIN' FUNNY.

Lil' gift to myself: a cowl I knitted in between opening presents and stuffing my face.

In the end, all of the kids, no longer green with envy, took their Cootie Games back home with them. My mound of presents was not meant to be. My mom explained it to me by reading Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree. "See how much better you feel after giving?"

Um, no.

I have forever hated that book since. I mean, they chopped down the tree! And I got one present! Life is not fair when you are 5.

However, when you are old(er), you score big. As I did this year. I mean, a handmade quilt?! A retro kitty print?! A MACKDADDY SEWING MACHINE (I personally hate it when people use all caps, so I apologize, but this machine is some serious all-caps mackdaddy). I think I more than compensated for that birthday party. When Dr. Phil and I sit down over Koolaid and a round of Cooties, I think I'll be in a better place...though hopefully not in the same place as my ole sewing machine!