Sunday, August 10, 2014

What the Art Teacher Wore #109 and Welcome Back, Crazy!

Monday, Monday: Since I was painting my windows with a Mexican market theme, I thought I'd wear a colorful outfit for inspiration. Unfortunately that rogue tube of cerulean I mention in my last post managed to douse my legs, necklace and hair. Good think I was wearing my big ole plastic apron or the rest of me woulda been Smurf-a-fied as well. top: Banana Republic, garage sale; skirt: Anthropologie, found at Buffalo Exchange; sandals: Anthropologie, gift from a buddy
Welcome Back, y'all! 

If you're like me, a crazy art teacher, you just might be heading back to school this week or in the very near future. What better way to be welcomed then by my fave after-school rerun show to watch as a kid: Welcome Back, Kotter. Even though my students have been back since Wednesday, they've not come to art yet. Oh no, that starts tomorrow. Which explains why I'm still in my pj's working on lesson plans at 1pm on a Sunday. Ahem.

Oh, before I forget...Arsty Book Club friends! So as not to overload this here blog post, I thought I'd chat about this past week's readings of Teach like a Pirate to my In the Art Room post this week. It totes ties in because it's inspired just what will be going down in there this week. So read up and we'll chat soonish. 

Now, let's chat about the Apron Sew-Along (could we possibly have more going on here? Me thinks not)! I got my fabric orders in this week and I thought I'd share with you what I decided to stitch into an apron. I also couldn't help myself: I bought a buncha other prints to eventually be stitched into dresses or some MC Hammer pants or culottes. So stay tuned! 

Okay, so here's what I got...
Really? Could one person be more excited about cat fabric? I don't think so.

Now, while we're still on the topic of our Apron Sew Along, please remember to prepare your fabric for stitching by washing your fabric first. The reason being is that this will remove all the sizing from your fabric (have you noticed that it feels a lil stiff? That's the sizing. It needs to be washed out before you sew). I use a delicate and cold setting on my machine. I dry as normal. You should probably wash separately (um, I never do but I'm totes lazy) just so the colors won't bleed onto the other fabrics. 

Okay, so here's a close up of what Ima be stitching with...
I know, riiiiight?! Cray-zay. But they both make me so extremely happy that I just couldn't not get them. I also think that the busy pattern will do a bang up job hiding stains. We'll see about that. Now I've gotta pick out accent fabrics (for the pocket, neck thingie and ties). For that I think I'll dip into my own stash. I'll keep ya posted. 
Totes Tuesday: I finished off my windows on this day. My super sweet custodian popped in to tell me how much he liked them...but then asked, "Don't you usually paint both sets of windows?" I told him I was just too worn out. He took a step back, scratched his chin and said, "Hm...I think I like last year's windows better." Gee, thanks! top: vintage, thrifted; skirt: old, Anthropologie; sandals: old, Target
Oh my gawd, my inner preteen just died of excitement. I cannot wait to stitch something insane with these sweet prints. I love how the framed cat at the top in the middle looks just like our Asha. Fat and furry, just how we like 'em.
Welcome, Wednesday! It was the kids very first day. It was a half day which was weird because 1. I didn't have kids in my room and 2. I was just as tired as if it were a full day and I did have kids in my room. What's up with that?! top: Forever 21; skirt: etsy; shoes with artsy shoe clips: deets here;  necklace: Paper Source
I kinda wanna stitch this into something right freaking now. I have so many sewing projects in the works that it is absolutely nuts. I have no business buying any more fabric...and yet...sigh. 
No Running with Scissors, You'll Lose an Eye! Thursday: At least that's what I told the kids when they asked, "why are you wearing a shirt with eyes and a skirt with scissors?" What I really wanted to tell 'em was "I've got my eye on you and if you misbehave you might get cut" but I just didn't think that was appropriate. Not with other teachers around anyway. eyeball shirt: Urban Outfitters; scissor skirt: Modcloth, super duper sale
Speaking of scissors, I love this sweet print on the left. I don't know if I love it with the pin fabric...but the theme is there, right? I'm still dreaming up what I want my kids to stitch up this year. I'd love any hand sewing/machine sewing project ideas if y'all have got any!
Finally Friday, I mean, Really!: I actually thought it was Friday all week long. That is not a good way to live your life as it only ends in disappointment. dress: DIY by me; belt and necklace: Anthropologie; shoes: Frye, TJMaxx
Speaking of having the kids sew, look at this! I made a lil mention of needing embroidery hoops for my 4th grade artists and a friend shipped a big ole box of these beauties my way! The kids are going to Freak the Funk Out. Yay! So much stitchin' goodness.

I do hope you guys have a super fun week! You especially, teacher friends! Just remember, if all else fails, just act like a crazy person and the kids will love ya. Welcome back!

Friday, August 8, 2014

In the Art Room: A Virtual Tour of the Art Room

Hey, friends! As you just heard, cuz I just done tole you, I'm gonna take you on a lil tour of my art room today! I tried to keep these two clips short and sweet for a coupla reasons: 1. It takes me foreverness to upload a video clip on youtube. Like, 4-eve-err. If any of y'all have any tips or tricks, I'd so appreciate 'em. And 2. I have a hard time listening to my own voice in a vid clip so I assume it can only be worse for you. 

That bein' said, I thought y'all might be able to better understand the lay of the art room land if I virtually showed you around. Now, this is just a wee tour but I do blab a pinch about my first coupla days of school that will begin next week. For that I'll give ya a full blog post of what new things I'm trying, what's working and what's gonna get tweaked (er, what?!). You can read about my first coupla days of school from last year here, if you wanna. For this year, stay tuned. For now, welcome to my art room!

C'mon in!
At the start of the video, I show you this board. All of these fun souvenirs have been thrifted and garage saled over the years. I also reference my giant windows (which are glorious, I know. I'm very fortunate to have such a great space. This is why they can't get rid of me!). I repaint those window every year to go with my theme. You can check out my Parisian windows here and Asian-themed windows here

As for my Masterpiece Gallery, you can read how that was created with a bunch of thrifted frames here. You can also read about our game The Smartest Artist here. 
So I chatted for a moment about those vocab pockets that I keep next to my door. As the kids enter, they usually read an art word. However for these first couple of days, we are going to read these words. Then we're going to chat about how these words both describe us and art class. These will be our first "word wall" words. For more deets on this flashcard biznatch and my feeble attempts at teaching vocabulary, go here, here and, wow more?!, here.
Details on that Word of the Week in this here blog post. If you attended this summer's AOE conference, you might recognize that telly on the right. A fellow art teacher commented that she was looking for one to use to "call an artist" and I thought that was simply genius and promptly stole her idea! I can't wait to try it out. 
You know with the way educational theories and junk change with the wind blowing (usually outta some politician's a$$), I don't know if it's still "I Can" statements or something new. Regardless, I like having the kids recite what they "can" do as I find it empowers 'em. So I'm going to keep it up. I wrote about this here. 
Now, I don't know why I didn't say this earlier, but new art-teacherin' friends, you just might be freaking the funk out right now. I know I have a lotta stuff: decor, books, souvenirs, a rando rotary phone. I've spent the last 16-ish years collecting, gathering, midnight-online-shopping. And I've been in this art room for over 10 years so I've managed to decorate just a pinch. But you DON'T NEED ANY OF THIS STUFF to be an excellent art teacher. Seriously. All you need is a whole lotta love for the kids and art. That's it. And maybe a can of this. Because it has the best name ever and everyone knows art teachers use this for deodorant. 
 Like I said, we really only visit this area when I start introducing and chatting about Mexico and Central America. The kids are very good about not running over and grabbing things. In fact, we treat the objects in this area as if we are in a museum. Look but please don't touch. Except for the books. You can get as touchy as you like with those. For the paper decorations, I just accordion folded some scrap bulletin board paper and cut designs. 
By the way, any of y'all got a killer Day of the Dead lesson plan for me? I've been scoping the interwebs and finding all sorts of fun stuff. However, the last time I taught about Day of the Dead it was misinterpreted by some and was promptly shut down which is unfortunate. So this go-round I've got to be certain to teach it very carefully. 
Now, let's chat about my windows, kay? I usually paint both sets but this time, after spending 2 half days working on these, I was done. I pulled some images from the interwebs and started sketching my design with a grease pencil. For paint, I normally use Window Chalk (which I can no longer find!) and the kid's paint. This year, I really wanted the windows to be vibrant and not fade as fast so I decided to use my acrylic paint.
My make-shift painting studio. Do you see that tube of cerulean blue sitting here on the right? When I picked it up, I could tell it had tons of paint in it but when I squeezed it, nothing happened. So, being the genius that I am, I squeezed it even harder until the paint exploded from the back of the tube covering the floor, splattering on to my keyboard, my necklace and my legs. Shoot, it hit places I wasn't even aware of until folks be like, "Um, you have blue paint on your XYZ". And don't nobody want blue paint there. The best part? Every time I needed blue paint, I WOULD FORGET THAT THE PAINT WAS GONNA SHOOT OUT THE BOTTOM and I managed to splatter it everywhere all over again. Wiping it off the cat as we speak.
I think I blabbed for a moment about Mona Lisa in the vid clip. I know some art teachers do this thing where they say "Mona" and the kids say "Lisa" and then they are to imitate her stance: body calm, hands in lap, eyes on me...creeper smile optional. I thought I'd demonstrate that with my framed Mona on the right. I painted that a couple of years ago after finding the frame at the thrift store. I was tired of looking at my same rules so I decided to use these fun images from a Keith Haring calendar instead (I said Kandinsky in my video clip, sorry, friends!). 
Here's the deal, in art class and in life, I think you should be nice. In Teach like a Pirate (our Artsy Book Club book), the author Dave Burgess calls his classroom the No Meanness Zone. I think it's super important to teach children the importance of kindness...even in the face of unkindness. Which is tough and something I struggle with. A part of that is having respect for yourself which is where the "take pride" idea comes in. I'm a lil too tired of hearing the kids down talk themselves and/or their artwork. But I'm really getting ahead of myself. More on rules and first day-ness soon.
Yes! I have drums! Thank you, Forks Drum Closet! The chimes are my hub's biz called Treeworks Chimes. You can find em here...and a super great attention-getting chime bar here (okay, commercial break over). Details on that Art History Wall here
Oh! Y'all remember these frames? 
Well, you might have noticed that I've gotten 'em up! I spray painted them gold (although in this photo, it really just looks like brown wood, humph) and have 'em around my room. I picked 'em up at Michaels for just a couple bucks each. I do believe every art teacher in the land needs these fun frames so get you some! And, if you got 'em, I wanna know what you did with 'em.

And that's it! I do hope all y'all have the very best back to school ever! I'm so excited to share with you guys what we're up to...that is, once I figure it out. Chat with you soon!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

DIY: The "Uh, Are You an Art Teacher?" Ensemble

The other night I was meeting up with a group of non-art-teacher buddies (yes, I have those. Two, actually, thank ya vury much) for dinner. I was just coming from my first day back at school so I was in my normal art teacherin' garb. Paint palette in mah hair, pencil-y shoes, some sort of embarrassingly obvious art teacher know, the norm. When I wear this wacky tackiness, I honestly don't think twice about it. In fact, I often forget that I look rather ridiculous. My non-art-teacher buddies, however, never forget. 

NATB: When we go out, people seriously look at you funny.

Clueless Me: No they don't!  

NATB: Um, yes they do. It's like they are trying to decide, "Is this a crazy person? Does she realize there are crayons in her hair and she's out in public?!" And you don't even notice!
Okay, so I totally thought this was bogus until yesterday. I got it in my big fat art-teacherin head that I needed to create some miniature art supplies. I'd seen some amazing ones here (gah, y'all! This artist must have magical fairy fingers!) and was totes inspired. So I ran to the nearest big box craft shop and loaded up on Sculpey. When I got up to the register, I realized I didn't have my teacher ID for a discount. Then this went down:

Me: I'm sorry, I don't have my school ID. Can I please get a teacher discount?

Not-Looking-Up-From-Scanning-Countless-Sculpey-Blocks Check Out Chick: You have to be a teacher.

Me: I am a teacher, I promise! I just left my ID at school. 

Still-Preoccupied Check Out Chick: I'm sorry but I don't have any way of knowing if you're really a teacher. 

Me (remembering my convo with NATB): Look at me.

Check Out Chick, startled: Huh? Oh. Wow (taking in that number above). So, you're an art teacher, huh? Kay, I believe you!

And I actually think she gave me double the discount, y'all. As she should all crazy art teachers.
Thank goodness for that wee discount otherwise Ida never been able to make these mini-masterpieces. You know, cuz every approaching-middle-age lady needs a set of Art Supply Shoe Clips, amiright? More on those in a minute, for now, let's talk about that discount-gettin dress, shall we?
You might recognize this fab fabric from my Dreaded Art Supply Order post (which I will be posting a revision of. Y'all made SO MANY super duper suggestions that I've already rewritten my order!). I decided to pair it with some orange and red chevron fabric I thrifted years ago that were curtains in it's previous life.

As for a dress pattern, I settled on that 1970's number on the left. I totes loved the bodice (I fer realz have a thing for dresses with a midriff band. In case you've not noticed every-freakin-dress-I-stitch has a midriff band. Band? Belt? Thangie? You know what I mean). However, I wasn't loving the skirt options. Here's the deal, that mini is just a lil too mini. I don't believe in shaving above my knee caps so I pretty much look like an orangutan from there up. Just ask the hubs. Good thing he's into primates. As for the maxi, y'all, I can't do a maxi in the art room. Every time I squat in a maxi (um, that sounded bad. I mean squat down to pick something up off the ground, not like, to pee outside or something. I may look like an orangutan but I'm not an animal, geesh), I inevitably step on my hem, start to stand and fall over. It's quite classy. For that reason, I decided to go with my skirt standby, good ole Project Runway Simplicity 0320.

Now, let's address the big fat hairy elephant in the room...those 1970's bat wings...
Yeah, those. Y'all know I'm not really a lover of stitching sleeves but I was willing to forego my hate for these guys. I mean in the sketch they looked so hippie and cute! In fact when I wore this dress the other day, all my flower-power teacher buddies reminisced about the dress they had as teens with "wings". However, these guys should really come with some sorta warning label. The entire time I wore this dress, I could see those wings outta my peripheral view and kept swatting at 'em. Once I thought there was a bug on me, another time a bird and I swear I even saw a group of dancing bears. But that was after accidentally consuming some of that Sculpey clay (hazards of eating and crafting). So there's that.
I also have decided that absolutely no dress is complete without pockets. However, I really hate where the pocket are placed in this particular dress pattern. It's impossible to have your hands in your pockets and NOT look like you are piddling (scroll upward, y'all and tell me I'm lying). I opted to use some more of that chevron for pocket town.
Oh! Can we talk about that vintage pattern for a pinch? Cuz it was just about the weirdest pattern I've ever used. Tell me if you find this odd: it had me separately create the front and back of the dress...
And then stitch the front and back together at the side seams. Huh? I mean, I've always done it where you make your bodice and your skirt and attach those together. I actually kinda liked it this way as it made gathering the skirt portion a lot less taxing. I just found it kind of odd...have y'all every sewn a dress this way? What are some of the pros and cons cuz I'm thinking of going down this road again when it comes to other dress patterns.
Oh, look, crafting shrapnel. This is what you don't want your dinner table lookin like, FYI. Not unless you want Dancing-Bears-on-Shoulders hallucinations. 
To make these into shoe clips (and sweater, hair, nipple, whatever clips) I simply glued a little alligator clip on the back. I'm kinda addicted to making these right now (well, as of last night) but I'm in need of more mini-suggestions. Whatcha got for me?
And there you have it, kids! An ensemble that will most definitely get you stares and the occasional discount. Off to see if it'll work at the liquor store! 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

What the Art Teacher Wore #108 Whilst Vacationin', Book Clubbin' and Art Room Preppin'

Hiking Mount Baldy, Walking the Devil's Backbone: I'm never a fashionable hiker. For me, it's all about comfort. But it did crack me up that when I posted a couple of landscape photos from the hike on Facebook, several peeps asked "What dress where you wearing?!" and my first thought was, "I NEED A HIKING DRESS!" Um, no. I don't. t-shirt: Urban Outfitters; hiking pants: sale rack, some hiking store
Well, howdy, friends! I hope your week was a wonderful one. Mine was all kinds of crazy, thanks for asking. We'd been in Southern Cali since last Friday doin' the Disney circuit while squeezing in some serious dining and vintage shopping in between (possible vacay post to come because everyone loves countless photos of someone else's vacation, amirite?!). When we're in California, we love to hike and this hike to the summit of Mount Baldy was our most fun and challenging one to date. I took One Million photos and hubs made a groovy video of the view which I've posted below. It was such an exhaustingly awesome experience.

We returned back to Tennessee at the lovely hour of 2am Wednesday morning which was FANTASTIC as my first day of school was at 8am the very next day. To say I've been a mess every since is an understatement. Speaking of mess, my art room totes qualifies. Normally at this stage of the back-to-school game, I've got my room decked out, lessons practiced, prepped and written and my entire first couple of days scripted (yeah, I know. Dork much?). This go-round, not so much. I'm fired up about the school year (Teach Like a Pirate has me so inspired!) but my feet are still firmly rooted in summer. C'mon, feets. Party over.

Speaking of Teach Like a Pirate, how are my Artsy Book Clubbin' friends doing? I've decided to include our book club chats with my weekly What I Wore because if I try to do more than three blog posts a week I find that I stop washing my hair and cleaning the house (ha, who am I kidding, I gave that up a long time ago!). I also thought it might be fun to literally "chat" with you about the books so you'll find me jibber-jabbering away in a coupla vid clips below. I tried to keep 'em short as I know the sound of my voice is akin to yodeling-cats-in-heat.

Last but not least, I've been LOVING seeing the fabric choices y'all are posting on the Apron Sew-Along Facebook page! After hours of online trolling (yes, hours. Gah, I love me some fabric shopping), I purchased my apron fabric along with some new dress-making prints. I can't wait to share with you what I picked up! For more Apron Sew-Along deets, visit here, kids. 

Until next time, have a super duper week, dudes!
If it's one thing I learned on this hike, it's that I don't love heights. The walk entailed walking along something called the Devil's Backbone which was a ridge with steep drop offs on either side. I tried to keep my eyes firmly on the ground but I could see the crazy cliffs outta my peripheral view. Kinda spooky.
But the views were killer.
My 1970's Album Cover: In my lame attempts to blur out innocent bystanders, I created a rather fuzzy edge to this photo. By the way, my album includes such covers as Come Sail Away by Styx, Sailing by Christopher Cross and every Captain and Tennille masterpiece. dress: Forever 21, old; sandals: Chacos; hat: tourist trap, Charleston 
Hubs and I spent a lil time strolling the beach and the boardwalk at Venice Beach. It wasn't my fave place ever but it was an experience and I do love sand in my toes.
Back to School Thursday: By the way, I didn't always remember to snap daily outfit photos in Cali, hence the week mix up. My eyes are closed in this photo because I'm actually asleep. Whilst standing. It's a practiced and perfected skill. Now if I could only paint eyes on my eyelids, I'd be in business. color wheel dress: SALE! Modcloth; belt: Pin Up Girl Clothing; shoes: Crocs
Let's chat Teach like a Pirate! I can't wait to share with you how this book has reshaped my first coupla days back to school.
Freaky Friday: Reality has started to set in. Hence the freaky face. Workin' on revamping how I present my rules and routines to the kids. top: Banana Republic, garage sale; wrap skirt: Funky People, so old I don't remember where I got it; shoes: Frye, Marshall's; necklaces and bangles: thrifted and gifts 
Printmaking Unleashed.
Here's that stitched piece of foam I mentioned in the clip. Kinda digging this idea.
More experimenting on muslin using Printmaking Unleashed techniques.
Saturday School: So I popped in for a couple of hours on Saturday just to get at least one area to a decent state. I'm still working on writing up my rules so for now I've just got them jotted on the board. Proper signs to come...along with a million other things on that To Do list. dress: vintage, thrifted
I found this sign in the sale area at Urban Outfitters and I thought it'd be the perfect addition to the art room. I don't always feel this way...but, like Dave Burgess says in Teach Like a Pirate, sometimes you gotta fake it till you make it. It fits in perfectly in the art room...I'm planning a room tour soon so you'll be able to see where this guy is hung.