Do you ever get those ideas that come outta no where (usually while you are in the middle of doing something totally unrelated like cleaning the cat's liter box or brushing your teeth. Not at the same time, of course, as that'd be all kinds of nasty). You know, a thought that's like a big ole slap in the face and think to yourself: OMG, that's, like, a decent idea! I might actually be able to do this!
Well, that's pretty much how the idea of creating a Gallery of Gratitude came to me. This past weekend. Which means we busted out this bad boy in a week. Also which is totes a record for me as I currently hold the title of Slowest Art Teacher in the Universe. Not that I'm braggin' or anything, just statin' the facts, ma'am. And mans.
Since we are currently doing a Be Nice campaign at our school (we started last week by writing kind notes about each other's artwork. You can read more about that here.), I've decided to have the kids "give nice a try" with a new task each week. This week, I thought it would be great for the kids to show gratitude (which was also our word of the week, see how I did that?) to the folks that help them each and every day. I decided that my third and fourth grade students would draw portraits and write messages of gratitude (as they have an hour and could bust them out); my second grade would also write messages and decorate the frames (they've only got 30 minutes of art time); first grade would create oil pastel hearts and send their heart out to someone special; and kindergarten would create a handprint to give someone in the school a high five.
With all that in my shockingly small brain, I went to the bookkeeper (one of my fave people, hi, Julie!) Monday morning and asked for a list of everyone that works in the school. I was thinking, eh, this should be easy for the kids. I mean, there's prolly only 45 folks that work in the building. WRONG, y'all! There are 71 super awesome people that teach, administer, parol, clean, cook, nurse and help my students. I realized then that this was gonna be a bigger undertaking then I'd imagined.
But the kids jumped right in. For my older students, we talked about gratitude and all the folks that help us at school. Then we chatted about how to draw a portrait. Each student was given a 4" X 6 1/2" piece of paper, a Sharpie and allowed to chose the name of the person they'd like to draw.
At their tables, I had placed copies of last year's yearbooks (this was a big help, y'all) and a head tracing template. I decided to offer the template to the kids (it was optional) so that they'd feel confident with the head shape and be ready to jump right in to drawing.
Once the pencil drawing was complete, the kids traced their lines with a thin Sharpie and added color with colored pencils. For most, this took an hour. For some, they had time to also write their message of gratitude.
Many message of gratitude and picture frames were created by my second grade students. They had only one session of art this week due to our art museum field trip. Again, these kids were allowed to pick a name for whom they'd like to write.
While I was gone on my field trip to the local art museum with my second grade students, one of the assistant teachers at my school was my sub. I left her directions on having the first grade classes create these radiating hearts.
The following art class, I had glued their hearts to a frame and had them write who their heart would go out to. This was great as it only took them 5 minutes and then we could return to our regularly scheduled art-making program.
On Monday, I had a couple of my kindergarten classes. As they wrapped up their landscape paintings, they came to me for a hand print. As I printed their hand, we chatted about gratitude and I asked just who they'd like to give a high five to. After printing their hands, I jotted down on their paper "High five to Officer Graham for keeping our school safe". Those kindergarteners really had some sweet high fives to give.
I'm happy to say that we were able to get the gallery (almost) complete and hung today! There are just a couple more messages of gratitude to be written but as it stands, everyone has a portrait on the Gallery of Gratitude wall. Or, walls, I should say. There's actually another wall across from the one above that is full of portraits, high fives and hearts.
I knew the kids would be excited to see their drawings and share their notes. What I wasn't expecting was the overwhelming response from those that I work with. Each was thrilled to see their portrait and read the children's comments. Several snapped photos of their portraits on their phones and have requested to take their portrait home. I do believe the kids accomplished our goal of showing gratitude to everyone on our school. Just in time for Thanks-Giving!
Thursday, November 20, 2014
Monday, November 17, 2014
Because I'm nothing short of an epic genius, I've come up with a desirable scent that will most assuredly be all the rage once it hits department store counters. I've decided to call it Eau de Art Class (which, upon googling, I've found means "water of art class". Like, ew.) or perhaps Parfume de Back-to-School. Regardless, it's gonna be a Big Fat Hairy hit and I'm bound to become so rich my bling's bling will have bling.
So just what is this Super Smelly Special Sauce I speak of?Das right, y'all. Scent de Crayola. Just dab a lil behind your ears and let the good times roll. I hear this is how baby crayons are made.
Oh, snap! Blue Crayon Babe, you's busted!
In other non-related/I'm-a-secret-super-genius news, I made a new sweater! As if you hadn't figured that out already. Sorry to underestimate your intelligence. We geniuses (genii?) do that a lot.Now I totes can't take credit for the idea behind this here felted sweater creation o' mine. In fact, I dunno if you know this about me but I rarely have an original thought. I blame Pinterest and too many years of drowning my sorrows in liters of Diet Coke (y'all. The hubs and I just watched a documentary on manufactured foods. I beg of you, step away from the aspartame!). I have this habit of googling such silliness as "art teacher clothes" and "palette dress" or "crayon sweater" into the wee hours of the night. One eve, this divine-ness popped up on my screen (it's still available, yous guyzzz). And I was all, "OMG, I have to have this!" which was promptly contradicted by "OMG, I have to make this!"
And so I did.
But, how?, you wanna know. 'Twas cake, I tell ya. Needle Felted Crayola-Goodness Cake. Lemme show ya.
I started by hitting the thrift store with the sole intent of just buying The Perfect canvas (aka a cream colored sweater) for my masterpiece. Which I totally found. Along with this here gem which I HAD to HAVE. Like, duh.
I mean, a hat with glasses?! Are you kitten me? (ya see what I did there? Made a cat joke cuz I'm wearing a cat sweater, in case you didn't notice. Aw, don't be all peanut butter and jealous of my super rad sense of humor, y'all. No need to get catty. Ahem.)
So when I got home, my first order of biznatch was to sketch up my design. Which I promptly did and then pinned to my sweater. Now, y'all now I loves me some needle felting. Like, lurves. I mean, just check out Exhibit A, B, C, D, E, and, well, you get the idea. What first got me hooked was watching a youtube vid clip where some British lady spoke these magical words: You can needle felting on ANYTHING.
That's right, kids. Any surface. Anytime. Anywheres. So, what's stopping you?
I decided to approach this sweater the same way I had my Crazy Cat Lady number: outline with 100% wool yarn (it's gotta be wool, y'all. And it's gotta be 100%) and fill in the rest with wool roving. I happen to have been gifted a giant sack of wool yarn as it was abandoned in my art room one afternoon (do the rest of y'all art teachers receive art supply abandons? I gotta know, what's been your fave? Mine was this here wool. And your least fave? Um, that'd have to be the three garbage bags of toilet paper rolls. Gee, thanks but, um, no thanks.)
'Kay, so I know I'm doing a lousy job of 'splaining how I felted this here number. So sorry. My bad. But if you follow this link, you'll find all the answers to life and needle felting. Yes, suriously.
And, BOOM, after power-watching two episodes of Project Runway, I had my box o' crayons complete.
And then came the crayons. For that I used my wool yarn again and this here crayon template. I just needle-felted/outlined my crayon...
And then filled it in with two different values of roving per crayon (you see what I did there? I just threw in one of the Elements of Art. Because an Art-Teacherin' job is NEVER done, y'all.)
Whilst needle felting away, I got the idea to contact my buddy Barb Reinke who works for Crayola. She was kind enough to send some goodness my way to share with y'all in the form of this here giveaway! Cuz, really, who doesn't love Crayola?!
So just how do you enter to win? Well, lemme tell ya in the form of bullet points as they make me feel all organized and intelligent:
- Leave a comment in the comments (der) describing your FAVE CRAYOLA PRODUCT. Not cuz Crayola wants to know but I do. My fave are their Watercolor Paints called Mixing Colors. They're my jam.
- I'll enter your name into the drawing once. But if you want your name in the drawing twice, well, then you gots to follow me here. C'mon, let's be twits together!
- Winner will be announced Tuesday, November 25th. International friends, you may apply. Non-art teacher buddies, you know I loves you, apply as well. This here give away is for all y'all.
Lookin' forward to hearing from y'all and let the giveawayin' begin!
(P.S. in the meantime, do an google image search of "crayon poop". You won't regret it.)
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
I dunno how y'all entertain family when they come to visit but I'm guessing you take 'em to see the sights, feed them and do whatever good hostesses do (meanwhile, all I know about Hostess is they make a KILLER Twinkie). As for me, well, I like to put 'em to work. For zample, when my dear ole moms, mom-in-law and her sister (my aunt-in-law? Nah, she's just Aunt Rose to me) came to town, I decided to have them help me create some holiday decor (added bonus, a DIY blog post, yippie!). And I'm so glad I did cuz now I have this super feathery wreath and ultra divine wall hangings (um, scroll down-eth) just in time for Feliz Navidad (er, I guess it's just Navidad in this case, huh?). Here's how the whole process went down, Charlie Brown.
I started by informing each of my charges that they WOULDN'T be fed again UNTIL crafting was complete. At one point, Aunt Rose (seen above in what she dubbed her "White Trash Honey Boo-Boo Apron") said something along the lines of this being like a labor camp to which I replied, "WHY ARE YOU TALKING?! You can't craft while your lips are moving now hush it and get back to glittering!"
They pretty much behaved after that. Family, I tell ya. They really are just like a class of kindergarteners.
Oh, you know I'm only (slightly) kidding! We had a great time crafting it up. Even my mom who has crafting-phobia (is there a thing? Hold on, lemme check...um, all I could find was something called "unicorn-a-phobia". Why do I have a feeling this is wrong? On, like, so many levels) was all elbows deep in glitter, glitz and Martha Stewart paint. So just how did I come up with this lil craft?
Well, a coupla weeks back, Anthropologie had it's little "craft get together" (which truly is a labor camp but it's all good. When it's crafts, it's a labor of love. Plus, there's booze. Which washes down the glitter so well) where we did a super similar craft. They had us cutting out feathers, paint them and then glitz them up with glitter and gold leaving.
I just so happened to have donated to me a wee mountain of different colored card stock. I created a couple of feather templates for the fam which they traced and cut. From there, I busted out the sea foam and sky blue paint which was dry brushed onto the feather. Once those were dry, we added gold paint and/or glitter.
Of course, where there's this much glitter, one risks Glitter Lung.
It's a chance we dedicated crafters must take.
Oh, gah, I just hacked up a disco ball.
Now the menfolk opted not to partake in our craft-tastic ness as glitter is kinda like dude kryptonite in case you didn't know (ladies, just dab it behind your ears on those nights that you, well, just aren't in the mood, ya feel me? Works like a charm). Instead, they went hiking and brought back this mountain of turkey feathers. WHICH we promptly covered in glitter. We might have been a little dizzy from all the glitter-induced coughing fits. When hubs walked into our crafting lair (aka the dining room) he was all, "You just ruined all my turkey feathers!" Ruined? Really? It's called Bedazzled and you outta look it up, yo.
Since my labor force was so motivated by hunger, they created so many feathers, I was able to bust out a couple of these wall hangings too.
I used old canvas stretches and some AMAZING gold-leafed yarn I scored at JoAnn's. Just dry brushed the stretchers and added the glitter feathers. Cake, y'all.
Glitter Cake. My fave.
Now covering the world in glitter was not the only thing we accomplished. We also made these feather-tastic beauties!
Twas super easy, y'all. This is a similar craft as that Leaf Relief project I shared a while back. With matte board, paper and spray glue, I cut out the feather, sprayed the board with the glue and attached my paper feather. Then I hit the board with glue again and covered in foil. Finally I sprayed the whole thing with the world's cheapest spray paint.
It's the dollar spray paint from Home Depot. It works the best cuz it sucks the hardest. Trust me on this.
And mighty pleased with herself too. As she should be.
While we were sitting and painting, I noticed how pretty everyone's paper towels where from wiping the paint brushes. So I gave everyone a little 6" canvas square to just dabble and clean their brush on. Today I added mini-feathers to the painting group. Top left is my mom-in-law, right is my mom's, bottom left is Aunt Roses and right is mine. I've got em all signed and dated.
And there you have it! So the next time that fam of yours comes to visit, remember: withhold food and put 'em to craftin' work, y'all! You'll have a Super Sparkly Time, I promise!