December 28, 2011

Pinterest at work

So I took the plunge a few weeks ago and got a Pinterest. At first I wasn't too into it. After all, I have my StumbleUpon account and I didn't really think I needed anything else. I recently discovered though that I love seeing what my friends are pinning to their boards. It is quite wonderful to see what inspires my friends.

As my own board started to fill up I kept thinking, "are these pins just going to become unrealized dreams". I am living life so I might as well stop dreaming that I'll have my pins one day and just make it a reality.

Thus comes to the pin that became my inspiration for my next project.

This pin had no link to an external website, so I was frustrated because I wanted to buy the statement piece necklace that was featured in this picture and I couldn't figure out where it came from. So I did what any art teacher would do. I decided to make it.

The last time I made real jewelry I was in college and had wonderful resources to use. This time though, I had only the creative side of my brain and a picture.

I went to my home away from home, Hobby Lobby, and scoured the shelves for cheap beads that looked similar to the picture. Luckily most of the beads were 50% off. The hardest part was guessing what materials were in the picture.

These are some of the things I came home with.

*Assorted Blue Stones (The holes for thread were not the same as the picture so I had to improvise)
*10mm & 5mm Cream wood beads ( the smaller ones were the improvisation I mention above)
*Jump Rings (used to attach the blue stones)
*Embroidery Floss in Cream
*Gold/Bronze Metal string of beads
*Lobster Clasp (for securing necklace)
*Split Ring (for securing necklace)
*Suede Lace in Beige

I started the necklace by getting the blue stones ready to be attached to the metal string of beads.This is where I had to improvise since the holes were not where they should be.
After I had a good pile of these assorted blue stones I cut the suede lace in half and started to string the metal beads onto it. I used the pliers to attach 6 blue stones to one string of metal beads and capped the ends off with the 10mm cream wood beads. Then I used the second strand of suede lace and repeated the process only I added 10 blue stones and capped the ends with three 10mm cream wood beads on either end.

I knotted the two suede laces together. In the labeled picture at the top of this post you can see how I added split rings to either side (after measuring it around my neck). I then added a lobster clasp to one of the split rings. You can trim the extra suede, but I just tied them into bows just in case I need to readjust them. Trim the extra embroidery floss off your blue stones once you have knotted them a few times and you should get something that looks like this.

It's the perfect statement piece for any outfit. Here I glammed up a dress and a casual sweater.

Altogether it cost me about $15 and took about 3 hours to make.
*Scissors- Already owned
*Pliers- Already owned
*Assorted Blue Stones- $4 total for two bags (they were 50% off)
*10mm & 5mm Cream wood beads- $2 total for both bags (50% off)
*Jump Rings- Already owned
*Embroidery Floss in Cream- Already owned
*Gold/Bronze Metal string of beads- $3.99 for each strand (but I used a 40% coupon on one) $6 total
* Lobster Clasp- $.75 (50% off)
*Split Ring- $.75 (50%off)
*Suede Lace in Beige- $1.99

I am pretty pleased with the results and I am happy to see my pinning become a reality.

December 26, 2011

Batiking Shirts

As promised, the post-Christmas craft! I've been wanting to share this for two months now, but I didn't want to spoil the Christmas surprise for all of my female relatives. During one of my StumbleUpon adventures I came across this blog which gave me the idea for my next craft.

I contacted each one of my female relatives and close friends and asked them to give me a favorite quote, song lyrics, or Bible verse. Everyone sent me something and I got to work.

The pictures show several different shirts being made.

Part One Supplies:
T-shirt, Blue Gel Glue (white Elmers won't work), and a sturdy surface (like my huge drawing notepad)

Put the sturdy surface inside your dry t-shirt so it lays flat and wrinkle free.

Use the Blue Gel Glue to write or draw whatever you wish on your shirt.
Wait for glue to dry.

Part Two Supplies:
Rit-Dye (The Primaries), Large container, Gloves, Plastic Spoon, Trash bags

Fill the tub with warm water. Add dye to your liking. Stir with spoon.

This was the shirt I did for my 9 month old niece.
Place shirt in dye and keep it in there until you like the color (although it will come out lighter once washed)

Hello Batiking!! The glued areas will remain white. Rinse in the sink and squeeze out.

I put trash bags in the bathtub and laid the shirts out as flat as I could. Once they had dried for several hours I washed them in cold water in the washer with just a bit of soap. Beautiful! Here are some of the creations I came up with...including my own!

Peter Pan quote for my youngest cousin.

Thanks to Switchfoot for my favorite song lyrics on my personal shirt...

December 23, 2011

Something's Fishy

Here is a wonderful slab lesson that I do with my 2nd grade artists.

1) We draw out a fish outline on a piece of paper (ex. 4x6") and cut it out to use as a tracer.
2) Roll out a slab of clay and place our fish tracer on top.
3) Use a paper clip to trace around the paper into the clay.
4) Use a variety of tools to make textures.
Bonus: stuff a paper towel or two under the fish so it dries with a little wave in it's form instead of flat.
5) Use warm and cool tempera paints to make our fish tropical.
Bonus: Add mod-podge on top to give it a glossy look...OR...use the sparkly mod-podge and link your fish to this story: Rainbow Fish

A great way to display them is captured in net! Enjoy!

December 21, 2011


I'm on break from school right now, but don't worry, I still have plenty of postings to come. Especially looking forward to my craft post that will show up after Christmas (wouldn't want to spoil any Christmas surprises). I found the following quiz on one of the blog I follow. Thought I'd share my answers with you.

1. Egg nog or hot chocolate? I'm a hot chocolate girl all the way.
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Santa has to do all the shopping, wrapping, and planning. Trust me, he is busy.
3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? I like colored, they make my glitter tree sparkle more.
4. Do you hang mistletoe? Hmmm, no, but I should.
5. When do you put your decorations up? The day after Thanksgiving. Always.
6. What is your favorite holiday dish? Chocolate covered pretzels. Mmmmm.
7. Favorite holiday memory as a child? The year we got N-64. Best Christmas ever!
8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? Mom never let me believe.
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? We used to, but now I like to save them.
10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? glittery ornaments only!
11. Snow! Love it or dread it? Love it when it gives me snow days, hate it when it turns slushy.
12. Can you ice skate? Yes!
13. Do you remember your favorite gift? I remember the ones that someone special gave to me or that meant so much.
14. What’s the most important thing about the holidays for you? Remembering the real reason for the season. :)
15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? Gosh! Everything that gets piled up on my desk that last week of school.
16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Watching Christmas movies and listening to Christmas music.
17. What tops your tree? A glittery star
18. Which do you prefer: giving or receiving? Giving. I love surprising people.
19. Candy canes: yuck or yummy? Yum, if they are fruit flavored, even better.
20. Favorite Christmas movie? It's a Wonderful Life
21. Saddest Christmas song? Goo-Goo Dolls "Better Days"
22. What is your favorite Christmas song? Christmas Canon

December 16, 2011

Polar Bear Paintings

When I saw this artwork while perusing blogs this past summer I wanted it to be winter immediately so I could try it with my students. Ah! So beautiful!

I taught this lesson to my 5th graders because I thought it would be an excellent pre-cursor to my big lesson I do in the spring to teach all the watercolor techniques in one lesson.

This lesson teaches a few concepts:
Wash: to lay the base colors
Watercolor Removal: the moon we made from soaking up the wet paint with a tissue and circle template
Salt: to make our frosted Antarctic sky
Plastic Wrap: to make our crackled ice

The first picture is week one. It only took 30 minutes so we worked on another project for the other half of class. The second picture is week two. It also only took 30 minutes to stencil print the bears so we finished the other lesson we started. Week three will take about 5 minutes (our sketchbook time at the beginning of class) and we will add eyes and a nose.

December 13, 2011

Clay Texture Necklaces

As promised, my lesson for Kindergarten on Clay Texture Necklaces. One of the staples for Kindergarten curriculum is to explore texture. What better way to do this than making textures in clay? I cut out circles of clay for each student (this is the one down-side of this project because it takes some time). You could let them roll out clay, but I find their little arms just aren't strong enough yet. So I pre-cut the clay a few days before and store them in a baggie with wet paper towels. Easy solution.

Each student gets a toolbox of gadgets (markers, Popsicle sticks, seashells, beads, etc) that will make texture. They get to explore on their clay. I write their initials and teacher code on the back and punch two holes through the clay so we can make them into necklaces. Once they are fired, we use watercolors to paint them, and they proudly wear them home! So cute.

December 12, 2011

S'more Pastries

I'll have another clay lesson for you soon, but I thought I'd take break and do a craft post. This craft post just happens to involve food!

I went to a girl's night on Friday and we were supposed to bring a treat to share. I made s'more pastries and they were delightfully tasty! I got the pastry dough from the grocery store and cut it into 12 equal pieces. I put a graham cracker, chocolate, and peanut butter on the pastry.

Put some water around the edge and fold the pastry on top of itself.
Using a fork, crimp the edges together.

Put an egg wash on top and slit the tops with a knife.
Cook @400 for 15 minutes.

Add marshmallow puff on top and watch it melt.

So wonderfully warm and gooey, much easier to eat than a real s'more.
Go enjoy one and cuddle up next to the fire.

December 8, 2011

Pinch Pot Ladybugs

So I am pretty sure I got this idea off a blog, but that was months ago. So if its yours just let me know and I will cite you. I finished clay texture necklaces with Kindergarten just the other week and today I taught pinch pots to 1st grade! We learned about pinch pots while we created them. We talked about scoring the clay before they can attach a head. We pinched out antennas on our lady bug's head. Then we add texture for the spots (marker cap) and face (wooden stylus). They were so cute...can't wait to get them fired and glazed.

December 7, 2011

Snowmen Collage

I originally got this idea from Our Art Lately. I took a bit of my own spin to it. On week one the first graders made a watercolor resist where we also revisited the idea of perspective and how things look smaller when they are farther away (like our pine trees). On week two we talked about geometric shapes (like our circles) and organic shapes (our circles turning into snowflakes). We built our snowmen up and collaged all their features together.

December 6, 2011

Hundertwasser Final Update

Here are some photos I snapped of fifth grade's finished Hundertwasser collages! I encouraged the kids to envision their artwork like Hundertwasser might have. You'll see lots of hidden faces because that's what they seemed to like most about his artwork. :)

December 2, 2011

Printed Seascapes

I suppose not ALL the lessons I am teaching right now have to do with winter. I know...I know...I am obsessed with winter, Christmas, Holiday music,  and snow right now. But let my seasonal affective disorder kick in after a few below freezing days and I'll be wishing it was summer. So I thought I would start a project that will warm up the hallways a bit during the bitterly cold days ahead.

I finished my printing plate today. I'm planning on teaching this lesson to 3rd graders. They will study Impressionism artists, like Monet. Since Monet loved to do seascapes we will use that as our subject matter. Students will learn how to do a relief print of their seascapes. I'll post pictures when we are done, but my guess is it will be January due to the upcoming break.

Here is my printing plate: