Sunday, October 20, 2013

What the Art Teachers Wore #80

Forgot-to-Take-a-Picture-on-Monday-So-Here's-Tuesday: In celebration of the best holiday of the year, I've decided to wear Halloweenie-themed outfits until the big day. Here's hoping I can find enough spooky looks to last me! dress: picked up in Burbank at the super friendly Audrey K Boutique, tights: Target; shoes: Clarks
This was Rebecca's last week student teaching and, as they say, all good things must come to an end. Which totally sucks and I hate it! This means I have to go to school tomorrow BY MYSELF! And teach those kids ON MY OWN! Just me and the kids and no Ms. Tenpenny. I don't know who to feel sorry for, the kids or myself. Humph. 

In this outfit post, I've included just a smidgen of the awesome projects Rebecca taught. She's an incredible teacher and is totally gonna kill it at her next student teaching placement (high school art students, shivers). I'm so going to miss her sense of humor, style and just plain awesomeness. And I know I'm not the only one. In fact, when we told the kids on Friday, they let out a long-winded "Awwwwww!!" During a first grade class, one little girl raised her hand and this happened: 

Little Girl: Mrs. Stephens, I know why you want Ms. Tenpenny to stay.
Me: Oh yeah? Why's that?
L.G.: So you can eat and drink all you want in the back of the room!

Busted! That's truly the real reason.

All kidding aside, we'll miss you at JES, Rebecca! Best wishes in High School Land!
That sign ain't lyin', she IS unique! I mean, she's wearing polka dotted socks, a striped shirt and a floral skirt all in one awesome ensemble!

Rebecca dreamed up this project and did all that disgusting math stuff to figure out the dimension of each class' soup can.

You can read all about this fun mural project here.

Wicked Wednesday: This was the very first Halloween dress I created last year (and you can read all about it here, cuz you know you wanna). The kids kept remarking, "Your dress is creeeeepy" to which I replied "So is your face!". Not really. Well...maybe once. Or thrice. dress: DIY, here; tights: TJMaxx; jacket: Modcloth, old; shoes: Sofft

Rebecca scaled that air conditioning unit to hang each and every one of those coffee filters for our big ole The Dot display. These lovelies in the window was a huge hit.

Details of The Dot project here.
Like An Overgrown Lalaloopsy Thursday: Don't ask me what I was thinking. It's like I walked in my closet and said, "Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, BEETLEJUICE!" and this happened. dress: Betsy Johnson, picked up at Buffalo Exchange; headband: gift from a friend; necklace: DIY, here, tights: dunno; boots: etsy

Oh my gerd, I think this is my fave Rebecca outfit of all time. Those tights! That necklace! Those booties! Don't tell her, but I totally went all Single White Female and rushed out to where she scored those boots and picked up a pair of my own. They're Lucky Brand and I scooped 'em up at Marshall's.
This necklace, gah. I LOVE it. Rebecca has a couple pieces by this jewelry designer friend of hers (who also designs for Anthro, if you can imagine!). You can check out KariBeth Thompson's incredible pieces here.

Having spent part of her summer in Norway (what?! Soooo jelly), Rebecca created an awesome Viking unit for the kids. To introduce all things Norwegian and Viking-esque, we donned these sweet, albeit super toasty with that fur-lined brim, hats. My fave incident, aside from us randomly horn-whacking the kids, was when Rebecca asked the kids what we were supposed to be and one shouted, "COWS!" Priceless.

Full story of these collages here.

Last Day of Student Teaching Friday, noooooo!: An art-teacher-best-bud gifted me this screaming chicken and it's become one of the random sources of hilarity for Rebecca and I. I don't know why I felt compelled for it to be in our final photo, but here 'tis! owl dress: DIY, here; blouse: gift; shoes: Fluevog

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

In the Art Room: A Unit on Line for Kindergarten

Completed kindergarten masterpieces. That's right, I said kindergarten. The under-6 set is knockin' it outta the park, er, art room so far this year and I couldn't be more thrilled.
What I'm about to present to you right here is one Big Fat Hairy kindergarten unit on line. And color. Oh, and shape, sculpture and good craftsmanship, i.e. how-not-to-drive-the-art-teacher-crazy(-er)-by-not-grinding-your-paintbrush-into-the-paper. Because she no like-y. And, in my art room, keeping me sane-ish is at the top of my Learning Targets. Which is way harder than you could ever imagine. Just ask the kids.
Do you recall those wild and wacky paintings created on the first days of school in this post? Those large paintings have come in very handy as backdrops for our displays as you can see here.
Without getting into all of that, let's chat about the aforementioned Line Unit, shall we? I'm not gonna lie, I do this same ole project with kindergarten at the beginning of every year. Which is unusual for me because with all the other grade levels, I love to change things up. Not so with kinder'town for a coupla reasons: A. they love it; B. it covers a whole batch o' skills/techniques/vocabulary/routines and C. let's be honest, coming up with projects that the little ones can master is not my forte. So when I find something that works, I stick with it.
So on our very first day of art, after introducing ourselves to one another and an abbreviated discussion of rules and consequences (because, after all, these kids are five. They still have baby fluff, suck their thumbs and wet their pants routinely. Rules and consequences mean nada. A wicked stare and a "we don't do that in kindergarten" usually does the trick), I like to dive head first into the art-making swimmin' hole. Which means we create our very first sculpture.
Now if you're an old warhorse at this art teacher game, this lesson is nothing new to you. You might wanna skip on down to the bottom where I discuss such things as pinwheel portrait painting and bottomless basket weaving (don't worry newbies, they'll be gone a while. I don't even know what that stuff is!). For the rest of ya, lemme tell you how I go about teaching this line sculpture lesson: 
  • First of all, we have a little chat about the difference between flat two-dimensional artwork and sculptures. After looking at some images of sculptures, we chat about the ones we are familiar with (ole Lady Liberty almost always comes up) and discuss how a sculpture is something we can see (rotating body at waist for emphasis) all...the way...around.
  • I then tell 'em that we are going to create a sculpture with a bunch of straight lines (strips of paper cut 1" X 9" but sizes can vary). I ask them how to make a flat piece of paper pop out of their sculpture base (aka the bottom paper) to which they usually answer "glue!" It's at this point that I tell 'em that if they want their sculpture to stand, just like us, it must have feet.
  • I demonstrate creating a small fold at the ends of the strip of paper thus creating feet. It's there that glue is applied (to which the strip of paper always responds, "oohh, that tickles my feet! Ohhh, that glue is soo cold!" Yes, the paper talks to us. It's kindergarten, people. They eat this stuff up). Once the glue is applied, I show the kids how to hold the paper in place on the base for about 10 seconds. 
  • From there, I demonstrate adding more paper strips to the sculpture base on top, below, behind or beside the first strip. Then I turn the kids loose on their on sculptures. 
  • The following art class, I introduce more lines. I demonstrate folding a zigzag line, wrapping a strip of paper around my pencil to create a spiral and creating a loop de loop. 
  • I also chat about how lines create shapes and demonstrate creating a circle by gluing one end of the strip to the other. With that circle, so many other shapes can be created with a pinch. Pinch the circle once and you have a teardrop! Pinch it again and you have an ellipse! One more time, it's a triangle! Anther pinch and you have a square.
  • From there, the kids go nuts on their sculptures creating lines, shapes and whatever else they can dream up.
Here! Lemme walk you through it.
On the third day of art class, I get real serious about the whole line thing. We look at each of these snake-y lines on the poster I created way back in first-year-art-teacher-land and then locate them on works of art. Any ole Kandinsky works great for this. It's at this point I introduce to the kids a lil poem I wrote some years ago about a snake named Larry that can morph his body into any line he likes. It goes a lil sumpin like this (complete with hand motions, you better believe it!):
Larry the Line
Is a friend of mine
(creating a snake by opening the fingers of your hand, puppet style and there's your snake!)
He can make three
(hold up a three with your fingers)
Straight lines for me!
(create a vertical line with your forearm)
Diagonal and horizontal!
(pantomime each)
Any curve, he can learn
With a twist and a turn.
When he's out of his tangle
he makes a great...angle.
(created by placing your hand on your hip and pointing to your elbow)
Any line, he can make
After all, he's a snake!
After learning the Larry the Line poem, I bust out this huge cheesey carnival snake I got years ago that happens to have a little rattle in his tail. I convince the kids that he's real (they're kindergarten so they totally buy it) and maneuver him around to create a variety of lines. If the kids guess the name of the line correctly, I let them "rattle" Larry's tail. They eat it up and learn the names of lines to boot.
After that, I give a little demo on painting. If you've read this blog for five minutes, you know that when painting, I liken the bristles of the paint brush to a ballerina: It always dances on it's toes, it never scoots around on it's bottom. After I demonstrate painting each of Larry's lines, the kids go to their seats and we do a little guided painting. Meaning, I paint and they follow along.
This school year, I have my kindergarten for 45 minutes every six days (which is different than my usual 30 minute classes, twice every six days...confused yet? That makes two of us). That slightly longer block of time makes a world of a difference in that we can accomplish so much! On the fourth day of this unit, we examine Kandinsky again and this time chat about how influenced he was by music. The kids were told that they were going to be painting a nonobjective picture of lines while listening to Peter and the Wolf by Sergei Prokofiev. If you're not familiar, this piece of music introduces each character of Peter and the Wolf with a different instrument. Each character really comes to life with the music and makes for great line paintings.
On that day, the children were only given black paint. As they painted to the music, you could see them trying to capture each character in line. Once a painting was finished, I'd take it from them and hand them a new sheet of white paper. By the end of art class, each child had painted about three black and white line pictures.
The following art class, I introduced the kids to tempra cakes which you can see best a coupla photos ago. My focus was on using the art materials properly and exploration of color. I wrote about this particular painting lesson pretty extensively last year in this blog post. In that lesson, we didn't paint to music and we focused some on pattern in a follow up lesson.
Here's a collection of their finished pieces. I love how wild, bright and unique each one is, just like the artists themselves.
On the sixth and final day of this unit, the kids were introduced to Roy G. Biv and watercolor paint. Since the last lesson had just been about exploring with color and proper use of painting supplies, I really wanted to focus on the order of the colors in the rainbow. My hat helped them remember the order (even if it is missing the "B" in Roy G. Biv) as did the large rainbow I have mounted on my easel. And in case you're dying to get a rainbow hat of your own, mine is from amazon. Yes, really.
Have you read this book? I picked it up years ago at the thrift store and it's pretty cute. As you turn each page, an additional color of ribbon is added to the ribbon rainbow in the book, hence the "Magic Ribbon Book" label at the bottom.

After that chat, I demonstrate to the children how to use watercolor paints. This is an easy transition from the tempra cakes as the cleaning-your-brush-before-getting-another-color is exactly the same. We do chat about the differences between the two mediums (you know, watercolor being more translucent) and also discuss painting in Roy G. Biv order. After that demo, the kids returned to their seats with their paintings created on that third day of art class and rainbow-ize the thing. This is the first year I've added this portion to the line unit and I love the result.

And there you have it. One Big Fat Hairy line/shape/color/RoyG.Biv/sculpture/abstract Unit for the wee ones. I know these lessons are nothing I'd love to hear how you approach teaching line. Also, for the sake of space, I may have not answered all of your how-you-teach-that questions, so feel free to email me or leave a comment. I may or may not get back to you. Just sayin'.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

DIY Car Crafts: An Embroidered Necklace

Many moons ago, a buddy gave me a big ole bag of junk jewelry. Most of it I crafted into Bedazzled Bobbie Pins but this oval pin/necklace blank was left untouched. When I found it while riffling through, what's known in this house as, the Hoarder Room, I decided to use it for my latest car craft.
Hubs and I are just back from a recent trip to Birmingham (that'd be Alabama, not England, fyi) where we spent time with the fam. It's a good three hour road trip, so I decided to take along an embroidery craft to pass the time. Stitching a little floral motif for this brooch blank seemed like the perfect car-aftivity (that'd be car-and-craft, Bradgelina'ized).
The benefits of having a Hoarder Room: I also had the perfect necklace for my pendant. My moms-in-law gave it to me a while back and it's a perfect fit.
But before I get into all that, I gotta tell you about a lil incident that happened during our visit. My moms-in-law was complaining of an ear ache and I was just convinced that there was a monstrous mountain of ear wax in her ear. Bee-cuz that's totally what was housed in my canals recently. Not wanting to freak her out, I gave her the low-cal version of the story. But for you, I'm presenting the Chock-Full-of-Calories, High-Fructose, Carb-Overload version. You can thank me later, gator.
What my lap looks like on our car rides. I know, the scissors, ack! Not wanting to see me impaled, hubs requests that I keep 'em in the cute lil craft cubbie that's built into the door of the passenger side.
So, I had this problem where I couldn't hear for the life of me and I had a sinking suspicion that there were alien-baby-sized balls of ear wax lodged in my ear canal. Sure enough when the doc stuck his little magnifying-glass/miniature-flash-light thingie in my ear, and I gave a meek little, "do you see anything...?", he sucked in his breath and shouted, "NURSES! Get in here, you've gotta see the size of this thing!" After each and every nurse, intern, secretary and lawn mowin' dude (who they convinced to come inside after beating on the window and making wild alien-baby-ear-wax gestures) had witnessed the freak show, I hear the doc say, "NURSES! Bring in that new instrument." Which, by the way, are words you never wanna hear.
Instead of 'splainin' my stitches to you, I thought I'd just share with you the directions from the vintage embroidery book I used.
Okay, ya'll, get ready. Because the instrument those nurses brought in was a sight to behold. Imagine, if you will, a long, slightly phallic, clear shaped instrument with lights illuminating the length of it. Now imagine the thought of said instrument penetrating, for lack of a better term, your EAR. The first words outta my mouth? 

"Is that some sort of Alien Anal Probe?!" 
Which was met with no response. 

Thinking that, perhaps, they were the ones with the wax buildup and therefore couldn't hear me, I repeated myself:

"I said, IS THAT AN ALIEN ANAL PROBE?! Please, for the love of all things, lubricate that thing!"
The last thing I remember was the doc saying, "NURSES! Hold her head!" while my poor ear canal was taken advantage off. I do remember screaming, "Ouch, you've hit brain!" a coupla times before ole doc extracted the largest wad of wax known to man. After the nurses swaddled the thing and I named it George Michael, I repeated my alien-anal-probe inquiry one more time which was met with a "please pay the secretary as you exit." 

Needless to say, I didn't tell my mom's-in-law that. She got the Disney version which ended with me being able to hear so well that I heard birds chirping in the Amazon and monkeys making monkey love in Africa. Well, okay, I didn't exactly tell her that either.
Don't have a Hoarder Room full of pendant blanks? No worries, I did a lil homework for you and found blanks a plenty on etsy. Check out this wee shop.
After a trip to the 'bama doctor, looks like my mom's-in-law was actually suffering from a lil cold not a case of ear wax'itis. Some folk get off easy, I guess. No lil ear wax George Michael baby for her.
But, really, gnarly stories of ear wax is probably not why you dropped by this here blog today...or was it? Regardless, let's get back to the DIY at hand, shall we? Once I was finished with this little piece, I cut a small piece of cardboard to size and glued the embroidery to it. That was then glued inside the pendant. Wow, did I just explain this DIY in 150 words or less? And to think you had to suffer through all that other nonsense. Sucks to be you.
Hey, you embroiderers in the house, how do you store your floss? Until yesterday, I kept mine stuffed in a jar. Which meant I had to dump out the contents each time I looked for another color. Which the cat took as an invitation to start devouring strands of floss. Which is totally bad for kitty and makes for some seriously slimy floss. Ewww. Wait, where was I going with this? Oh yes, storage. When I came across this old spice rack at the thrift store, I thought it'd solve my problems. Well, one of 'em anyway. I painted the top of the rack black before hanging it (it was a little gnarly looking) and it's found a home on my sewing room wall.
Which looks a little like this. I've recently decluttered the crap outta this room (which you'd never know with one glance at the reflection in that mirror!) and thought I'd perhaps give you a little tour in the future...assuming you'd be interested. Well, would ya? I'll show you where I keep my jar of ear wax! If you ask nicely.

Wow. I just called this a DIY post and hardly spoke of said DIY. Eh, you get the idea. You don't really come here for the education. I'm not sure why you come here (and I'm guessing you aren't either) but I do appreciate you stopping by! Now, go get those ears checked! And, if you're so inclined, you can check out more of my embroidery madness here, here, here, here, and here.

Monday, October 7, 2013

What the Art Teachers Wore #79

Monday: Ermkay, I'm just gonna say it cuz you're already thinking it: this picture totally looks like some sort of  feminine hygiene stock photo. So much so I was tempted to title this "Massengill Monday". Fun fact: did you know that massengill is "a slang term for someone who can be correctly classified as a douche", according to Urban Dictionary? Oh, interwebs. How you educate me daily. sweater: felted DIY by me, see the back of it and read all the gory details here; dress: Anthro purchased at Buffalo Exchange; tights: Target; boots and belt: Anthro; flower clip: gift
Happy fall, ya'll! It's officially fall break (aka "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" with exception only to Winter, Spring and Summer Break) and I'm pretty stinking happy. This time of year is our favorite at Casa de Cassie because it's when we start hitting the haunted houses near and far. In fact, hubs and I just now did a little count and found that we've already done 20 houses this fall! I'll be certain to share those escapades with you soon but if you are dying to read about it now, you can check out our past trips to Universal Studios Orlando Halloween Horror Nights here, Universal Studios Hollywood here and Busch Gardens Williamsburg Howl 'o' Scream here. I know, we kinda crazy. Oh! And lemme know if you've got any haunted house recommendations. We're always up for a new adventure!

Since I was feeling fallish, I decided to autumn-ize my wardrobe this week. I also rounded up some fall art work (f'art work? Sorry, I had to. It's the 12 year old in me) to set the mood. What are your plans for these crisp fall nights? Aside from haunts, mine include a nightly mug of hot chocolate. I'm curious what you're up to!  Chat soon.

I'm looking at this picture and making a BIG TIME sad face as this girl is leaving me shortly after fall break! When we return from break, she'll only be with me for another week before she jets off to her next school. They will be so lucky to have her. I know I'm going to go through some serious Rebecca-withdrawals.

Georgia O'Keeffe, Autumn Leaves, Lake George, N.Y., 1924 You know her as that lady who paints giant flowers. But she's so much more than that! You can check out her work AND the incredible artwork of young artists influenced by her here. Yes, I'm plugging Painted Paper again. No, I'm not on her payroll. Yet.

Feelin' Squirrely Tuesday: I mean, seriously. Is there anything worse than knowing you have a BigFatHairy break just waiting around the bend? Not only was I squirrely but I was going nuts! (and, yeah, that whole squirrel/nut reference was on purpose). dress: thrifted, Target; sweater: Urban Outfitters, last fall; tights: Target

Eehhhhh, I LOVE this dress. I totally think that color palette would make a create color scheme for some fall decor, don't you? Plum, mustard and cream. Sounds like a disaster of a food combo but love them colors.
As does my man Millias. John Everett Millias, Autumn Leaves (really, same title as O'Keeffe?), 1856

Potter Wednesday: My P.E. teacher buddy said I looked very Harry Potter in this outfit what with my Hedwig the Owl buckle and my key tights. Both Rebecca, my hubs and said P.E. buddy are HUGE Potter fans, having read the books and seen the movies. I'm kinda lame...I've yet to get through the first book. Meanwhile, I'm ashamed to admit I read ALL the Twilight books. Ahem. If you decide to discontinue reading my blog for ever and ever after that statement, I'll totally understand. sweater: vintage, thrifted; dress: vintage; tights: etsy shop TejaJamilla; belt: gift from a friend; shoes: Nine West, thrifted
Howard Hodgkin, An Autumn Leaf, 2000

Tigress Thursday: Okay, so when I saw these shoes at the local discount shoe place, I had to have them because at my school, we are the Johnson these shoes are totally educational. In fact, I'm thinking about turning in the receipt to the bookkeeper (this is legit, riiiight, Julie?!). The kids loved 'em but my feet called it quits at noon. Party poopers. dress: Anthro purchased at Buffalo Exchange; tights: same etsy shop as the key tights; blouse: gift; shoes: Naughty Monkey purchased at Martie and Liz; belt: Target; necklace: vintage, thrifted

Guess who as a thing for cheetah print? Just guess! If my shoes had been cheetah, pretty sure this girl woulda went home with 'em.

Don't suppose I can feature fall paintings without showcasin' this number. Vincent van Gogh, Mulberry Tree, 1889

Fall Break Friday!: This day began with me and a buddy riding a miniature motorcycle through a gym filled with hyperactive children (are there any other kind?!) and ended with me wearing a rainbow on my head. AND it was only a half day. Details on just why I was wearing this ole rainbow hat to come but until then...sweater and necklace: vintage, thrifted; skirt and shoes: Anthro; tights: Target

I'm just gonna tell you, it's hard to take a picture of this girl without it being blurry because we are usually cracking up for some reason or another. Usually because one of us is singing some horrible song ridiculously out of tune (ahem, me) while the other is usually rolling her eyes, groaning "oh-my-gerd" and then singing said tune. It's a vicious cycle of hilarity. Says me.
Edvard Munch, The Scream (of Nature), 1893. Seriously. That's the full title. Who knew? I thought maybe it was The Scream of Fall Break or The Scream After Hearing the Art Teacher's Sing. You decide.