Wednesday, September 17, 2014

In the Art Room: A Flower-y Mural for Dot Day

Well, now that the Dot Day dust has settled, I thought I'd share with y'all just how my lil first grade friends created this flower-y dot mural. It's been a big hit and I gotta say, I just love that it's planted, so to speak, right outside my room. It makes me feel like I'm walking into some sorta crazed Candyland everyday. Whiiiich I kinda am. Buuuut whatevers. Lemme first share with you my inspiration for the mural...
I pinned this beauty the moment I spied it on pinterest. I had no idea just how I was gonna use the idea but I knew I loved the piece. It's by an etsy artist who's handle (er, etsy-shop-name? I like "handle" better as my alter-ego is a chain-smokin, gravely-voiced, don't-take-no-shizzle trucker. What's yours?) heathergallerart. I love her whimsical colorful style. When I was scrolling through my pins for Dot Day, I rediscovered Heather's piece and decided it would make the perfect inspiration for our mural-tasticness. 
As I've blergged before (whuh, you didn't know that "blergged was the past tense to "blogged"? You, my friend, need to get your kitten mittens on an urban dictionary, stat), my first grade friends began this adventure with a lil intro to Wasilly Kandinsky and his concentric circles painting. Shortly after, the kids attacked a paper plate with their own concentric circle deigns. By the way, what you see above is known as "Crap! My paint order isn't in! Let's just use whatever we can scrap outta the bottom of the paint bottles." You'd think after your millionth year of art teacherin', you'd know to get your supply order in before school starts. Sigh.

Not like any of these artists noticed. They could paint with any ole thang and be perfectly happy. So glad to see they remembered that their Paint Brush Ballerina is to always paint on her tippy toes, never ever scoot around on her bottom (aka when-the-kids-scrub-their-brush-into-the-paper. Funny story, I used to call this Paint Brush Grinding until I realized that "grinding" was a form of dancing that shouldn't be mentioned in the art room. Ahhhhh-em). 

 The following art class, we blabbered about those ole Elements of Art and reviewed our chats about line from last year. Then I gave the kids what I like to call The World's Smallest Ballerina Paintbrush so they could create their delicate designs. I also gave the kids some watered down India ink which was ridiculous as one sweet girl promptly spilled the ink and ruined her top. Thankfully her mama wrote me a kind note saying, basically, "no worries!" and sent me a bag of chocolate. Shoot, I'll take that kind of punishment any day! To insure no more spillage, I placed the cups of ink in aluminum pie pans thus catching any spilled ink. Duh, why do I always get these ideas after the fact?
 For the flowery-petal portion of our dot-flowers were created on the following art class. The kids were given a folded piece of paper. On one side, we created a texture (you see how we keep hittin those Elements of Art? I'm tryin', y'all. I'm tryin'.) with my fave art room tool, the texture comb. On the other side, we used shape which, in this case, was a dot stamp. 
Once those dried, we did a lil math-ness. The kids were to fold their papers in half, trace two circles and magically cut out four (and it truly is magical in first grade which is why I love 'em so). From there they were to create eight half circles which stumped 'em for a hot minute before one of 'em realized (after doing some super cute simple math on her fingers), "you cut the four circles in half!" Once those were cut out, we glued 'em to the rim of our plate.
For the following art class, I had precut several squares of bulletin board paper. On each, I painted the start of a pattern with either black or white paint (for example, on this sheet, I painted asterix with dots on the tips). I gathered the kids around the giant sheets and asked them to pick a partner and pick a paper they'd like to continue pattern painting on. The sheets were just large enough to take up half table. The kids and their partners set to work. 
 And at the end of each class, we ended up with something that looked a lil like this. Which I've decided I'd like to have made into wall-to-wall carpet. Super cute, riiiiiight?
 Next came the assembling. I was a little worried that this might take me forever but it actually went by quickly once I figured out what in the world I was doing. Because I have four first grade classes, I went with four different trees. From there, I picked one of their patterned papers for the top, sky, back-, middle- and foreground. One that was decided, I curve-cut the tree and the landscape and proceeded to hot-glue 'em to each other. After that was assembled, the flowers were lightly glued into place (I want to be able to remove them at the end of the year to return them to the artists).
 Once all the pieces of the landscape and flowers where in place, I used that aforementioned, stain-your-clothes ink to outline the land and add a tree. I love their happy patterned papers, they made the perfect collage pieces! And the scraps, oh! Stay tuned as the kids have been using those to create paper bunting for our upcoming Mexican Fiesta!
And there you have it, our Crazed -n- Colorful Flowery-Dot Candyland! This mural was truly fun to make and brightens my day whenever I see it. I've loved seeing the many Dot Day murals y'all other art teachers have shared. What other murals do you have up your art-teacherin' sleeves? Lemme know, I'd love to hear. Until then!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

DIY: Apron Sew-Along

Art teacher Denise Warf surprised me recently when she showed up at that Andy Warhol's Flowers workshop in her finished apron! I love the Dia de los Muertos fabric she picked out, it has mini-Frida heads on it! Of course I demanded we get a twinsies apron pic together. Because I'm 12. You look adorbs, Denise! 

Hello, y'all! I'm excited to share with you the fruits of our Apron-Sew Alongin' labor. Not too long ago, I threw the idea of a sew along out there to Facebookland and I was thrilled when many of your responded. And I'm even more thrilled (does that make me thrill-ier?) that y'all were able to follow my crazy directions and goofball vid clips (you can visit here for Part 1 and here for Part 2 for those sew along directions) to create your own masterpiece. Or is it an Apron-piece? Whatever you call it, it's simply Apron-tastic.

Now, for those of you that are still game but have fallen a pinch behind, no worries! You just keep on emailing me those super cute aprons (you can chat me up at and I'll keep sharing 'em here. In the meantime, I am currently dreaming up our next sew along, if you're game. I'll be sharing that idea with ya's soon. 

So, without further jibber-jabber, check out these lovely ladies in their awesome aprons, why dontcha?!

Daw, look at how cute Nic Hahn is, would ya? She's the super amazing art teacher behind one of your fave blogs, Mini Matisse. If you've never met Nic, lemme tell ya, she's one of the sweetest ladies around. And super cute in that apron, riiiight? She went with an Amy Butler pattern for her apron and wisely only used fabric currently in her stash (if only I had that kind of self-control). You can read all about her stitchin' experience here. Thanks for joining the fun, Nic!
Can you believe this apron that art teacher Kerry Bevers made?! She scored that bargain ant fabric and stitched up this apron for her first grader's insect unit. I know the kids were just ant-sy over it (bwahah, sorry. I just had to). 

The pocket detail is my fave. Kerry said the reverse side of her apron is heart-themed in honor of the artist Jim Dine. I love that her apron ties in with her themes! Thanks for sharing your ant-astic apron, Kerry!
 Wait a, minute. Is this lovely lady covered in Monet paintings? Your eyes do not deceive you, y'all.
Art teacher Christy Rasmussen is just a walking Monet-masterpiece, doncha think? I love that her apron is reversible so she can showcase all several of Monet's paintings. I know her students will remember this artist and their awesome art teacher who wore his paintings on an apron. Way to go, Christy!

If this beautiful lady looks relaxed to you, that's because newly retired art teacher! Which you'd never guess because my friend Ginny Guiffre only looks like she's 33. I love so many things about this picture: that lemon-y fabric, that gathered apron, that mirror (which has nothing to do with the apron but still, I loves it!). Thank you, Ginny, for sharing your lemon-y fresh adorable self!
I'm so glad I can call Leslyn Rushing, who is also the Kentucky Elementary Art Educator of the Year (way to go, Leslyn!), my friend as she is simply amazing. And this super adorbs apron (I am in love with that rainbow-ribbon-tie-thangie!) is just the tip of her awesome-ness iceberg. Last year she took a thrifted wedding dress and transformed it into this fantabulous peacock gown. A gown, I tell you! Thanks for stitching with us, Leslyn!

What was that? Did I just hear a collective "awwwwwww"? I know, right? I know, I too am smitten with this reversible artsy fabric apron. Meet art teacher outta Long Island, Kelly Ryan. After wearing her apron in art class, she wrote me the following: I wore my apron this week when I had the 4th grade because we are painting, and the one class especially FLIPPED OUT over it!  They thought it was just pretty cool in general, and then when I said I made it, they absolutely could not believe it!  They talked about it the entire period.  I’m from Long Island, and I would say the thought to sew things ourselves is pretty much dead here, as far as I can tell.  The only fabric store I know of is JoAnns, and it’s kind of gross in there.  So to think that people can actually sew clothes is probably a very foreign concept to the kids.  The teachers all really love it too!  I can’t wait to make something else! Such a great story and what an impact Kelly made with her apron. I'm so glad you sewed along with us, Kelly!
 So if I saw art teacher Jenny Knappenberger's apron for sale in a boutique, I'd totally throw my credit card down. I mean, how cute is that apron?! And I most def wouldn't wear it in the art room for fear that some crazed kiddo would get their grubby mitts on it (today's convo: Kindergartener, while tapping my arm, "Hey! I have paint on me!" Me, looking down at the painted taps on my arm, "Great! Now I do too"). That tiered skirt portion is amazzzzzzinggggg. 
And woulda look at that! A Warhol-tastic apron. So bloomin' clever, Jenny! Thank you so much for sharing. By the way, Jenny has a super amazing blog that you gotta check out! Go here. 

Leah Keller's apron is so stinkin' adrobs, y'all. From the pom-pom'ed bottom and the flowery accent to the two pockets and the scrunchie neck strap, it's just top-to-bottom, front-to-back super cuteness!
I really loved how she played with pattern, one of my fave things to do when I'm stitching. Her fabric choices are so happy -- and I love that one side of the apron is so different than the other. Way to go, Leah!
Meet my amazing art teacher friend, Hilda Thomas. I absolutely love that she used denim because it's the perfect fabric for an art room apron. It's super thick so no paint/ink/clay/whateverness can soak through and totes durable. But my fave part is that tie-dyed fabric. I love that she used it again for the waist tie. Doncha love Hilda's "I Am Art Teacher, Hear Me Roar" stance? She's the bomb squad, y'all.

Lucy Zucaro's apron has my retro-loving/sailor-themed heart. All the sweet details she added to her apron are so sweet. I'm a huge fan of rickrack and I love that she used it at the top, middle and bottom bringing the cute thing together. And the buttons at the top! I die! Congrats on your retro-tastic apron, Lucy!
Art teacher Amber Dow's apron is so rosy and romantic. I feel like it would be just the perfect thing to wear when making a cuppa tea and biscuits, doncha think? I'm a sucker for florals so I adore this super sweet apron. 
Judy Harney's reversible apron showcases her interest in photography. That camera fabric has been in my virtual shopping cart many a time, I just love it so! And that mod face fabric on the reverse side pocket is just so awesome. I like how she used that band of fabric at the top of the pocket to bring both aprons together. 

I know y'all know Phyl who blogs at the always amazing There's a Dragon in My Art Room (one of my go-to/omg, I-need-a-lesson-stat! blogs) but you might not know Violetta. She's the lovely mannequin that Phyl created (yes, she MADE that mannequin! She wrote a blog post all about it here).  I love the fabric Phyl picked out for her apron, it's so stinkin' fun.
I mean, look! Yoga frogs! Her apron is just as fun as she is. You can read all about Phyl's apron stitching adventures here
I love Laura's apron...but I might be a lil biased. I have a thang for Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! The book is hilarious and the colors in the pattern are so cool and retro. Which is why I love that she created a half apron and that it's gathered. I do love me a gathered apron. Way to go, Laura!
Art teacher Amanda Kaiser's apron is covered in paint! Well, paint trays, anyway. This fabric is one of my fave art teacher-y fabrics and I'm so glad Amanda used it for her apron. What I really like is that she added a green trim and matching pocket. Her apron is so flattering. I know her students must love it!

Leah Klimet wrote, "My apron is done! After a little disagreement between me and a bobbin (which I won after a long battle), I am finally done!" And looking super cute, I might add. I love that color palette of gray, yellow and green, it's one of my faves. I'm so glad she was able to show that bobbin who's boss. I wonder if she could talk to my husband...
If y'all don't know this hilarious art teacher then allow me introduce ya. This is Lisa Beynon, super stitcher, blogger and art teacher. If she looks a pinch familiar, you might recognize her from this post or from her always fun blog
Lisa is some kind of awesome. She's a big thrift shopper who transforms frumpy dresses into fabulous fashion. AND she's hilarious. So there's that. Thank you so much for keepin' us in stitches, Lisa. Like, literally! 

Deborah FitzGerald should win the prize for Most Art Teacher-y Apron. Or maybe Most Upcycled Art Teacher-y Apron. I love how she transformed a pair of overalls into something splatter-tasticy super (can I say "super" any more in the post? What can I say, I am in love with all of these super stitchin' aprons!). I gotta get my mitts on some of that spluttery fabric, I just love it. Looks awesome, Deborah!

Speaking of prizes, if I were given' 'em out, Lisa Anderson would win Most Stitched Aprons as she's sewn up four now (maybe even more at this point). Each and everyone is so adorable that I feel like I need all of 'em in my closet. I mean, a heart-shaped bodice?! I. Die.
And angled pockets with lacy detail?! Be still my heart. 

But this one just might be my fave...or, wait...
Doggone, Lisa! You are amazing, I love 'em all!
Rebekah Cohen's apron features some of my fave fabric (that may be sitting in my sewing room as I type just waiting to be stitched up). My fave part about this apron is that pop of blue. It's so perfect with the rest of the colors in the apron. 
Here's Rebekah's daughter modeling the reverse side of the apron. I love how she used the blue again as the background and added those sweet fabrics for the pocket and the boarder. Her daughter looks adorbs! 
Like our super stitcher, Lisa, Julie Fouts made more than one apron, she made two and a matching one for her mini-me. Two things: 1. Isn't that little girl precious?! 2. Could she be more excited about her apron?! That face is priceless!
Here's the reverse of Julie's apron. I am loving those rounded chevron pockets, girl!

Julie's third apron was one made from fabric from Ghana. Um, like, that's cool! I love African print fabric (I've got just a pinch in my stash) and I'm so glad to see this bold and unique apron. It's so fun, thanks for sharing, Julie!
So I pretty much squealed out loud when I saw Emily Gau's apron.  I mean, it's got all of my fave things: polka dots upon polka dots (yes!) and a red/turquoise combo. Which is pretty much perfection in my book. So glad you joined the fun, Emily!
And here's the reverse side of our aprons seen in the first photo. Can you tell by the look on my face that I was a pinch pleased that Denise wore her apron? Gah, crazy much? By the way, don't you love that sweet bird fabric on Denise's apron? So cute and goes so well with the Frida fabric on the reverse.

And there you have it, friends! Thank you so much for sewing along with me, I had a blast! Remember, you can keep emailing me your aprons as you finish 'em. AND stay tuned for our next sew along...I think you'll really like it. Chat soon!