I’ve been a fan of gallery walls since my first dorm freshman year (unless you count arranging kodaks and polaroids with movie tickets and concert stubs artistically on my teenage walls with scotch tape, in which case I was a fan much sooner). I fell in love with the room in the photo above on Pinterest a few months ago [source], and I knew I wanted something else from a gallery wall for our bedroom redecoration. I think that the perfect gallery wall comes together after months or years of finding things that excite and charm you from vacations, day trips, flea markets and random shops, but then again, I’m the most impatient person I have ever met. Here’s what I’m thinking so far… Continue reading
At the risk of sounding terribly obnoxious, I’ll tell you: I have had a terrible time trying to relax this summer! I know, my first summer as a teacher (after a handful of years working in year-round education positions): two glorious months of reoccurring paychecks for doing no work. I should be ecstatic. In fact, I cannot stop planning and am pulling my hair out. So my new approach is to throw myself into as many projects as possible that have nothing to do with teaching. Like this granny square blanket (the color scheme was inspired by something Heather posted a while back). Or picking lavender with Katie. Or even these camp-inspired pieces from Martha Stewart Living.
Help me! How do you relax on vacation?
When I moved into my Washington, D.C., apartment, my landlord had left an assortment of quirky furniture for me (including a bright red lacquer/glass tchotchke cabinet). This ugly bench was left in the bedroom, but quickly proved so functional that I couldn’t throw it out. However, my bedroom has floral prints and bright colors, and the deep, dark velour red and black did not exactly tie it all together. I found this bright and cheery large chevron fabric on Etsy, and was surprised how easy it was to reupholster the bench!
Yesterday, I met up with my friend Katie to take a trip to Michaels and make some embroidery floss eggs of our own. We fought for a little too long with our balloons (the water balloons we bought were impossible
very hard to blow up), but this morning, I popped the balloons inside and had easter eggs!
Valentines Day was wonderfully low-key with a multi-course home-cooked meal, good wine and beautiful hydrangeas. My preschoolers made valentines with pipe-cleaners and pony beads that I safety-pinned onto heart cut outs to give to staff around our school.
Valentines Day is also my baby sister’s birthday, and I used this same pattern to crochet her an infinity scarf with a bright pink yarn. I made the scarf much longer (I just tested in on myself) and then stitched the ends together when I could comfortably loop the scarf twice around my neck.
I was so sad to send it off to her (I wore it one day when it was finished “to make sure nothing would fray” with a white tee and bright red jeans and fell in love) that I promptly started to make another one just for me.
One of my 3-year-old students has all of the early warning signs for autism. It’s my first experience working with a child who likely has autism, and I’m happy to try any strategies other teachers and educational professionals are willing to share. I was thrilled to stumble upon this post about weighted lap bags, and thought it sounded easy enough to try myself.
I went to Petco and bought a large dog toy (originally with squeakers) and a 5 lb. bag of aquarium gravel. I tried to find a dog toy for “hunting,” because that meant it would have less stuffing to pull out. I grabbed a pair of sharp scissors, needle and thread.
There were four squeakers in my toy, so I cut the seems on the side of my lion’s limbs (I probably only needed to cut one, and could cut out all of the squeakers from one hole, but I didn’t realize that until later). Teddy Roosevelt, my dog, was obsessed with just these squeakers, but I was a little nervous about him choking, so I kept a close eye on him.
Then I sewed up all of the other holes but one, where I would pour the gravel. I had WC hold the lion while I slowly poured in the gravel. My student, A, is small, even for a 3-year-old, so I only used about 3 pounds of the gravel.
Since the weight of the gravel is more than the original design had considered, I then sewed along the inside seems to reinforce them.
Now I’m just hoping the sensory input from the lion helps A focus on the carpet!
The recipe for a perfect low-key Friday night: a new DIY manicure, apple cider (store-bought and warmed in a dutch oven on the stove with cinnamon) + Scattergories
Operation Gratitude is a non-profit that collects handmade scarves (among other things) to send to American troops overseas. I found the organization online when I was looking for a serviceperson to “adopt” for the holidays. Unfortunately, none of the programs I found received credible reviews from the Better Business Bureau’s Charity leg, and Operation Gratitude did. I used this pattern on Lion Brand’s website (you may need to be logged in to see it) and crocheted this gray scarf for their annual scarf drive.
The 16 (sometimes) adorable preschoolers at my immediate disposal are helpful in projects like these. We took a picture walk through Eve Bunting’s touching book, The Wall, and talked about how our country has heroes who are making sacrifices far away from home. As expected, they wanted to make a card to send along with my scarf, and I’m hopeful my package warms the deserving recipient’s heart AND neck.
And if you needed proof that karma really does exist, as I was waiting for 45 (!) minutes at the Cleveland Park Post Office to send my package, my phone buzzed with a new email. My former boss and coworkers from my former office surprised me with a $150 Amazon gift credit to spend on my classroom. What goes around, comes around.
I’m a huge fan of do-it-yourself Christmas cards.
Inspiration: Paper Source. I used the Paper Source circle paper-puncher to cut pieces of a few different pieces of Christmas paper and card stock (Paper Source colors: red and moss). Then I punched circles out of small photos I printed I had taken of D.C. monuments (the Washington Monument at the Cherry Blossom Festival and Capitol on a snowy night in 2009). I arranged them in a circle to form a “wreath” and glued a piece of yarn tied in a bow.
My own little piece of the North Pole: the Christmas card work station (not complete, of course, without pinot noir… rumored to be favored by Santa’s elves themselves!).