Friday, May 27, 2011

Teacher and bus driver appreciation

Are all of you as crazy busy at this time of year as I am?  I have decided to cut myself some slack and scale back on my end of year gift for Ms A's teacher.  I had an elaborate plan to make cake pops like ones I'd seen over at Bake at 350.  Oh well, maybe next year.

Just in time to save the day I received this teacher appreciation idea from Lisa Storms in my inbox and knew it was my solution to a simple yet fun end of year gift.  You can go to her site to download your own flags to print out.  I took it into microsoft paint to change the wording for Ms A's bus driver.  Some fun tissue paper and a few packets of lemonade and ta da you have a quick gift!

Flag says "Thank you for quenching my thirst for knowledge"

"Thank you for "ade"ing in keeping my kid safe!"

What all did you give to your teacher's this year?

Monday, May 23, 2011

End of year teacher gifts

I see most friend's are gearing up for the summer and end of year teacher gifts.  We still have 3 more weeks!  I can't wait for summer!   Apparently neither can my two year old Mr T. Last week when I went in to get him in the morning he had on his beach hat and with swim trunks in hand tells me, "mommy I go to pool".  Only another week before it opens.  Yippee!!  Oops I'm showing my ADD, back to your regularly scheduled blog post.

My last search for a Christmas gift brought me to a post from Creative holiday gift ideas.  She has a lot of great ideas for teacher gifts.  I decided to create the framed crayon art.  It was a simple and relatively inexpensive gift that looks fantastic.

I purchased a shadow box frame from Michael's, these are normally on sale for 40% off so I could use my coupon for something else I wanted needed.   She recommended 8x10 but I thought that might be a bit too big so I used a 5x7 frame.  I already had a new box of crayons from when I stocked up during those back to school sales.

I used the century gothic font she suggested to make the "V" as a base to cover up.  I used bradley hand for "Mrs. Vickers".

Print on nice cardstock.  I layed out the colors before cutting to arrange them just so.  Random designs and I just don't work well, I tend to over think it too much.  I enlisted the help of my hubby and put him to work with one of our kitchen knives.  Use your trusty hot glue gun to attach.

That's it, pretty quick and simple but with a lot of punch with all those beautiful crayon colors!  Looking back I wish now that I'd bought the black frame instead of white.  I think it would have popped more.  There's always next year!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

School Organization Nook

Now onto the final part of my organizing your kid's school craziness series.

I don't know how many times I wouldn't find out about a school event or book order due until the day before or after it happened because the papers would get "lost". The weekly planner and contribution chart inspired me to create a spot for all that stuff to land.  I thought this space at the bottom of our stairs would work perfectly since it was right next to the front door.

I won't lie it's not always this nice and neat on the surrounding floor but we're working on it.

I searched everywhere online and in stores to find a cute little paper holder.  I never found one that fit what I envisioned so I decided to modify one myself.  I still have ideas to spice it up even more later.

Did you know they make spray paint specifically for plastics!  Remember that when we do our ATG tape dispenser re-vamp later on.  I bought a generic paper holder from one of those office supply stores and spray painted it brown. Then I had my dear hubby hang it up for me =)

I also keep the spare events, ie dr appointment, field trip, etc in this bin

I love to search through etsy for inspiration.  I came across many different variations on a coat hanger that I knew I (ok my hubby) could make.  I wanted a square shape so I had my husband cut them and router the edges.  I painted them brown and after the paint dried I added a piece of scrapbook paper that matched my boards with mod podge.  Do three coats, again remembering to let the coats dry 15 minutes between the next layer.  Then he attached a hook we found in the cabinet hardware section of Home Depot.  They do carry some oval shaped wood pieces near the moldings and stairway section, just in case you don't have the tools or handy husband to beg.  I love that she can hang her backpack and coat and not just dump it on the stairs like she did before.  Make sure to use anchors when attaching, those backpacks can get pretty heavy.

When she gets home she sits down and puts all her papers, including her agenda, homework, schoolwork completed, and notes into the bin.  I sweep by it sometime in the afternoon and place anything that needs to go back to school into the bin.  After homework is done she places it back in the bin. Every morning she knows that anything in the bin is stuff that needs to go back to school and reloads it into her backpack.

So that's it.  My trick to organizing just some of the craziness we all have to live with.  I'd love to hear how you made this your own!

Dragonfly Designs

Keeping It Simple

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Contribution Chart

Organizing your kid's school craziness part 2 of 3.

I love organization, that's my type A personality and OCD kicking in. However I LOVE things to be cute and crafty. I had a Melissa and Doug contribution (chore) chart from a great craigslist find a couple years back but it just didn't excite me and it wasn't specific enough.

After creating our weekly planner inspired from Controlling My Chaos my friend Abbey and I decided to create a contribution chart to go along with it.

I know I hate long winded blog posts too.  I tried to keep it short but I wanted to give you detailed steps so I give you my apologies in advance.

Tyler is only 2 so his list is quite short right now =)

My husband and I prefer to call it contributions instead of chores. You can use whatever terminology fits your family.

Once again you head to Michael's with your 40% off coupon in hand.  Use it to buy another already made magnetic board, some patterned paper that calls your name.  I'm sure I'm not the only one paper sings to am I?  Two colors of coordinating cardstock, ribbon, mod podge, and magnets if you need them.

These measurements are for a 22 x 35 magnetic board.

Grab your patterned paper.  I used a pattern for each child with a solid color in the center and my friend chose to use the same pattern for the entire top.  She needed two sheets of paper to have the pattern line up correctly.

For the top section cut two strips 12" wide by 3 1/2" in length.  Cut another piece 8 1/4" wide by 3 1/2" long.  Again keep in mind if it has a uniform pattern to keep that lined up.

For the center section you will need three sheets of a solid coordinating cardstock.  Use two full 12 x 12 sheets and one sheet cut 8 1/4" wide and keep at 12" long.

For the bottom section you will need one sheet of another coordinating color of cardstock.  Cut two pieces 12" wide by 3 1/2" long and cut another piece 8 1/4" wide by 3 1/2" long.

You will also need some coordinating ribbon to separate your columns and hide your seems.  You may want to buy extra cardstock for those mishaps creative touches. Not that you'll ever have one of those.

Lightly sand your surface where you will mod podge.

Now comes the fun part of putting it together.

Try a dry run first, making sure all your pieces fit like they should.  If you need to trim something do it now. Start with the very top.  Use a foam brush to put a thin layer of mod podge across just the area you are working with. Slowly place your paper along the top from left to right.

Be CERTAIN you are placing the right size paper down in the right direction. Don't ask how I know that you will stomp your foot a little, maybe a small tear will form, and then you'll be forced to use that spare paper I suggested you get "just in case".  I used my pampered chef scraper that came with my bakeware to carefully smooth the paper < I  still love that little thing>. For those lefties in the world it works just as good moving from right to left =)

Place another thin layer of mod podge in the section under the patterned paper and place your 12x12 piece of cardstock on the left, the cut piece in the center, and another 12x12 sheet on the right.

Now to the bottom section.  Another thin layer of mod podge and move from left to right.

Now give a nice thin coat of mod podge to your entire board,smoothing as you go if necessary. Wait at least 15 minutes between coats, I did about 3 coats.

Now for more waiting for mod podge to dry.  Back to your labels.  Yes more mumblings of frustration however less this time because I just used the template I'd prepared for my weekly planner.  I used the same color chart as I did with my weekly planner to match the colors to the cardstock.  I used a different color for each kid.

Print on cardstock and laminate.

Cut them out with a paper trimmer and add a magnet to the backs.

For the titles (names, Contributions Done, and I did it dots) I used my KNK (Klic-N-Kut) again.  If you don't own one of these machines you can always use a sticker alphabet or chipboard letters.  I inked the edges of the outline with a scrapbook ink pad because I thought it needed to be muted a bit.

Laminate a quarter sheet of cardstock of the color you selected for each child. Now use your digital cutter or a small circle punch to make the I did it dots. You'll need 7 for each child.  Put magnets on the backs.  After doing mine I realized I should have used a different color for my daughter's dots and font color because they blend in when sitting in the I did it Dots section.  Oh well that's what makes something homemade and unique!

Now that your board is dry attach your ribbon, I used my ATG tape glider.

Another logo needed to be covered so I used my black sharpie and some paper flowers and a button for the center that I found in my scrapbooking stash for embellishment.

Use your mod podge

I hope I've inspired some of you and didn't confuse you too much.  I'd love to hear constructive feedback and comments!

Working hard on her contributions

Be on the lookout for my last post in the organizing my kid's school craziness series!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Weekly Planner

"Oops I forgot to return my library book, again."

"I had to sit out of PE today because I forgot to wear my tennis shoes."

"I didn't know I had a dentist appointment?"

Any other mom's hear these type of things from your kids?  No, never... well you can make one just for fun then =)

This is the first post of 3 in a series, organizing your kid's school craziness.

This link a friend sent me with a great tutorial at Controlling My Chaos couldn't have been sent at a better time.  I knew we had to make one of these.

We thought we'd make our own boards with a frame and sheet metal from home depot.  Instead we discovered with our 40% off coupon from Michaels it was cheaper and easier to buy a ready made magnetic board.

What you'll need
1. magnetic board (I believe it was the 18x24 size)
2. Either 1 sheet of patterned paper or two if using one for each side.
3. 2 pieces of coordinating cardstock
4. coordinating ribbon
5. pictures of your kids
6. mod podge

Now cut two pieces of your patterned paper 11" wide by 4 1/2" long.

Cut your two pieces of cardstock 11" wide by 11 1/2" long.

*a tip I found (after doing these) is to lightly sand your area before using your mod podge

Take a foam brush and put a thin layer of mod podge on your board only in the area you will immediately be working on. I found it best to start at the very top left. Working from left to right and then doing the row under that. I used my pampered chef scraper that came with my bakeware to carefully smooth the paper; I love that little thing.

I didn't cut the sheets the right sizes and didn't like the resulting bumpiness, so I changed the directions for you.  Oops didn't go from left to right either =)

Now after all the paper is attached put a thin layer of mod podge over the top. Wait a minimum of 15 minutes between coats. I used 3.

While waiting between coats you can get your labels ready. I made an excel spreadsheet with quite a few mumblings of frustration. I am NO expert in excel so it was a lot of trial and error. Being obsessed with it matching I pulled out my trusty cheat sheet for Close to my Heart printer color codes my bestie Dawn sent me. The cardstock wasn't all CTMH paper but we matched them pretty closely. If you have two kids you can pick a different color for each child to help keep them separate.

Print on cardstock and laminate.  We priced individual sheet laminating at a big box office store.  Picked up this Laminator at Target instead.  I figured I had to have one of my own, I mean there are just so many things waiting to be laminated in this world.

Cut them out with a paper trimmer and add a magnet to the backs. Jill, from the original blog, recommends saving those freebie magnets and using them. I used adhesived backed business card magnets I had laying around cut into small pieces.

For the names I used my KNK (Klic-N-Kut), a digital cutting machine that doesn't require cartridges. I used the outline feature and cut them out in a coordinating paper to place the name on. If you don't own one of these machines you can always use a sticker alphabet or chipboard letters.

KNK aka big yellow beast on the right, cake I made for a KNK retreat on the left.

I loved the idea that Jill suggested putting magnets on the backs of the pictures so you can change them out. I laminated the pictures put a magnet on the back then mod podged the name and the paper I backed my photo with on my board.

Once your board is dry add your ribbon to cover the seams. I use an ATG tape glider for all my crafting (be on the lookout for a post on how to make yours beautiful).

I used a black sharpie to black out the logo on the bottom right of the board and then covered it with some paper flowers I had in my scrapbooking stash. For good measure I added a few to the top left as well.

There you have it no more excuses from your kids for not remembering what they have scheduled in the week! We can dream can't we?

Be on the lookout for part 2 of 3 in the series. I have a contribution / chore chart to share as well as the little nook I created to organize all my kids school stuff.

I'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

My first post!

The dream : Girl starts blog and shares her ideas and crafts with craftaholics everywhere. Thinking it'll be a cinch and things will be up and running within the week.

Reality : Girl researches until her eyes are dry and has a headache. Buys domain name in September, then, does more research. Decides name is too long, buys a new domain name. More research. Now it's eight months later and she's finally ready to go.

Let me introduce myself with a little confession...

My name is Jen and I'm a bit obsessive with a touch of ADD. Heck my DVD's are in alphabetical order, which my husband loves to re-arrange just to drive me crazy. I must have a perfect blog site. With a cute little custom header, eye catching design, and perfectly selected buttons like RSS subscribe (which I've yet to figure out what that is for myself). After researching until I could research no more I broke down and decided to have someone else design my site. Check out Designer blogs, they have some beautiful designs. Being so popular I was on the waitlist for the past few months. The design was finalized this week and I'm very excited to share my ideas with you!

Be on the lookout for posts on my eclectic craft obsessions. My newest addictions are cake decorating and machine embroidery. I am also self taught and fake my way through sewing projects. I love pretty much all things crafty so I will be doing anything from scrapbooking, to altered art and party planning. Sometimes I'm inspired by something I see on another blog and love to make it my own. I will never claim something as my own if I didn't create it myself {big pet peeve of mine}.

I have projects with pictures stashed away on my computer and ready to post soon. I know you will all be waiting on bated breath =)