September 11, 2016

No-Sew Curtains!

Every year when I fist step foot into my classroom.....I have the same recurring thought, "How am I going to hide all my junk this year?"

You see (like many of us) in my 9 years of teaching I have accumulated piles of stuff, boxes of things and loads of junk.

Do I throw this stuff away?  

Well.... OF COURSE NOT....I mean, "you never know when I am going to need it again!" 

Which brings me to the question I always ask myself.....how can I keep it, but not see it?!?!?

So, this year I made some inexpensive no-sew curtains!!!  They are super cute, and super great at hiding your precious treasures. (wink, wink)

The no-sew curtains took me a couple hours and cost me around $40-50 bucks.  Not too bad! :)

Here is the before, and a glimpse at why I needed to do something!




And here is the after! Goodbye junk and see ya later ugly desk cords.

Much better, right?



Are you interested in making these cuties yourself?  Just follow the steps below!


Step 1: Measure the area you want to cover up.

  • I always add a few inches in length and width.  It is much easier to cut off extra, than to start from scratch because it was too short.


Step 2: Purchase your fabric and ribbon.

  • Prior to purchasing fabric I did a quick inventory of what I had at home and then created a color scheme based around existing items.  At home, I already had some black fabric scraps and yellow....so I made my theme yellow, purple and black. Then I went to JoAnn's Fabrics (teachers can get a 10% discount there without a coupon) and hit up their clearance fabric section.  I purchased about 10 yards and only spent about 30 bucks.  I looked for fabric that had all different patterns and textures---as long as it was in my color scheme
Step 3: Set up work station

  • You will want to set up some sort of work station that allows you to full stretch out the ribbon, as you will be tying the fabric onto the ribbon.  My husband used two saw horses and an old door.  We then clamped down the ribbon on each end of the door, with a little slack so I would be able to pull out the ribbon and tie.  You could also tie the ribbon to two chairs, a bar stool or hooks.....just as long as it is fully extended.
Two saw horses, an old door and clamps helped me secure my ribbon.

This is about how much slack you want in the ribbon, so you can easily tie fabric.

Step 4: Cut ribbon

  • Cut the ribbon a couple of inches longer than the desired area you are covering.  It is always easier to cut off extra than to start from scratch because you don't have enough width.
Step 5: Cut fabric into strips
  • Just like with the ribbon, you will want to cut your fabric longer than the desired length.  Not only do you not want it to be too short, but you also need to account for the fact some of the length will be used for the knot you are tying.  I would say an extra 5-6 inches, and you will be good to go!
Step 6: Organize fabric into piles
  • I wanted my no-sew curtains to be in a pattern, so I laid my fabric into sorted piles.  You could skip this step if you don't want to follow a pattern.....just stick the fabric strips into a big pile. :)


Step 7: Tie your fabric strips to the ribbon
  • Make a loop with the top 5-6 inches of fabric

  • Place the fabric loop behind the ribbon

  • Hold the fabric loop with one hand (ribbon is on top of fabric loop)
  • bring the remaining hanging fabric over the ribbon and through the loop

  • Select another piece of fabric and keep tying until ribbon is full!


Step 8: Remove the no-sew curtains from work surface
  • Once I was finished, I un-clamped my work and hung the no-sew curtains over a hanger.  I didn't want them getting tangled as I transported them to school. 
Step 9: Hang Curtains
  • There are many ways to hang these curtains.  You can Velcro, double sided tape, hot glue or even use 3M hooks.  I personally used Velcro....and lots of it....these babies are pretty heavy with all of that fabric.  I placed one sticky side of the Velcro to my desk/table, and then they other side of the Velcro on one of the pieces of fabric....and voila! 

All in all...I am pretty thrilled with how this project turned out!  It was cheap, took a couple hours and made my classroom instantly cute and homey!  If you have any questions--feel free to contact me!

Happy Crafting! :)


August 14, 2016

The Starfish Story

Tomorrow is the first day back for many teachers, and it is easy to approach the first day like this.....


BUT.....how about challenging yourself to begin the year like this....


I know it is hard.

I know it is tough to set the alarm and actually remember what day it is.

I get that it is painful to put on real pants (pants that actually button, zip and aren't made of stretch fabric).

I get that the thought of styling your hair and putting on makeup makes you want to curl into a ball and cry.....but you can do it folks!

In fact, here is a bit of inspiration that was shared with me, this week, from my district's Director of Learning. It is called The Starfish Story, and you may have heard it.  If you have--that's okay--it is a good reminder of how we can make a difference.  If you haven't--then you are in for a treat!




So, as you are beginning your year remember you have the power to make a difference.....one starfish at a time!

If you would like to share The Starfish Story with colleagues, you can download this freebie on my TPT store.

August 5, 2016

Flashback Friday.....The BEST game!

So this is my last official day of summer.


That picture pretty much sums up how I feel.

So.....since school is quickly rapidly approaching I thought I would have a #FlashbackFriday to a great team builder game to use a the beginning of the year.



It is called The Best Game....because that is exactly what it is.....THE BEST GAME!

You can download the game for FREE at my TPT store by clicking here.....

You can read ALL about it on the old blog post, by clicking here.....

Now, if you don't believe that it truly is THE BEST GAME......look at the smiles on these kiddo's faces...


Or if you want further proof.....check out these reviews.

I'm not lying people. 

You, and your class, should try it this year!

Oh....and happy start to the school year!



July 31, 2016

Best Year Ever Sale

What are you doing August 1st and 2nd?

If you said, "Why....I am shopping on TPT during the BEST YEAR EVER sale!"

Then you, my friend, are a genius! :)


Most stores are 20% off.......BUT if you enter code "BestYear" at check out you receive an additional 8% off!  Yay!!!

So.....fill those shopping carts now and happy shopping!


July 26, 2016

DIY Chalkboard Sign--Freehand!

Apparently I was feeling crafty this week because I learned to "french braid" my hair. I would post pictures.....but my husband informed me that I needed A LOT more practice.  Thanks babe. :(

 Although I am not too proud of my hair.....I am proud of my VERY FIRST chalkboard sign!  I did this baby freehand, without using printables. I know....I am crazy, right?


A friend of ours was going to throw out this chalkboard....but (luckily) we snatched it up before it made it to the trash.

I am not going to lie---it hung on our wall blank for about two months.  I was actually scared to make a sign---because I wanted it to be PERFECT.  Uhhhh hello........chalk is able to erase.  What  dummy I am.

Anyway...once I got up the courage to attempt a chalk design, I did my research first.  Also known as: Pinterest.  That is the modern day encyclopedia, right?

Check out my Chalk Talk board---that is where I pinned a lot of ideas, tips and tricks.


I started the process by finding a quote I wanted to use.  This sign is in my kitchen, so I knew this quote would be perfect.


Next I planned out how I was going write my text using paper and pencil.  This is where Pinterest became my best friend.  There are tons of pins on font ideas, lettering, shading, best font combos,etc. Once I had down my design I practiced, practiced, practiced.

Next I measured the size of my chalk canvas .  I had 26 inches to work with, which I divided into seven rows for my seven rows of text.

It is difficult to see....but that is why I used the blue painter's tape.  On the painter's tape, I measured and drew seven sections, that way I would know if I was making some text too large...which would make me run out of room at the end.


When I had my spacing down, I knew (eek!) I was ready to start.  I taped all of my practice drawings around the outside of the chalkboard.....easy to see and remind me what I was going to do.

Then.....I just went for it!



Here are my tips on creating a successful chalkboard sign:

  • Mix fonts (bold with skinny, scripts with serif, tall with short, thick with skinny, etc.)  Having contrasting fonts makes your eyes happy!
  • Embellish--this means add doodles---like arrows, banners, symbols, dividers, etc.   Again--this adds visual appeal. 
  • Research--hit up pinterest or google and get ideas.  There are a TON out there!
  • Plan ahead--this might not be the best for everyone, but it saved me time.  Grab a piece of paper and plan your fonts, your doodles, spacing, etc.
  • Practice--again not for everyone--but saved me time because I knew what I was doing once I started with my chalk.  
  • Have fun--be artistic and creative!  If you make a mistake---erase it, or turn it into something great!
If you want to become a professional ....check out this book:  The Complete Book of Chalk Lettering .  A friend of mine read it, and apparently it is amazing!  

  

Did you know you can also sign up for online classes?  Another friend of mine (I guess I have a lot of friends that chalk art) took a class from Hand Lettered Design

Check out their website.....they have free downloads, tips and tricks!

 

July 4, 2016

Monday Made It

Happy Fourth of July!  I do hope everyone is enjoying the holiday and PARTYING LIKE IT IS 1776! :)

Partying like it is 1776....get it?  haha.....I would love to take ownership over that little gem, but I found it on Pinterest.

Today I am linking up with 4th Grade Frolics for her Monday Made It linky party!



I am slowly but surely adding more variations of my Slap Words game.  Today, I finished the consonant blend variety.....



This game includes practice with two-sound consonant blends and three sound blends. The two sound consonant blend game cards include: bl, br, cl, cr, dr, fr, ft, gl, gr, ld, lf, lk, lm, lp, lt, mp, nd, nk, nt, pl, pr, sc, sk, sl, sm, sn, sp, st, sw, tr, and tw.  The three-sound blend game cards include: scr, shr, spl, spr, squ, str and thr.

An example of the game cards are pictured below.  For each blend there are four cards, totaling 150 cards in the game pack.  This means lots of time having fun reading words with two-sound or three-sound blends!

 

Slap Words Blend Edition is super easy to set up and very engaging for students!  Directions for the game are listed below---it is as simple as that!!


I hope everyone enjoys their day!


July 3, 2016

July's Pinterest Pick 3

One can always find something on Pinterest!  I seriously don't know what the world did PP (Pre-Pinterest).

How did parents create cool birthday parties?

How did we find delicious recipes?

How did brides to be plan their weddings?

How did I ever style my hair and dress myself?

I don't know....it is a mystery.

Anyway.....check out these cool ideas for Literacy Without Worksheet's July's Pinterest Pick 3 linky.





My first pick is a seemingly delicious and healthy (can those two words go together?) recipe.  I have been ***trying*** to lose weight this summer, yet I just can't seem to shed my extra chub.  Many of my friends have had success with Weight Watchers, so I signed up for a two month plan yesterday.  So far I really like it!  Anyway.....here is the pin!


The recipe is a ground chicken-avocado burger from California Avocado.  This burger even won some awards....which means it has to be good!


With this next pin....you may be seeing a theme develop.  You see this pin is about exercise.  Yes, people, I am trying to lose weight.


I've actually completed this particular circuit several times, and I love it.  This workout is from Spotebi, which specializes in at home workouts for women.  If you have time--check out their website as they have some great workouts!


I suppose my third pick should be something school related, huh?

I mean I have been thinking about school this summer (wink, wink).


I love this idea form Reading Mama that works with word families!  Recognizing phonograms, chucks or the rimes in words is an extremely important skill in reading development.  I love how this practice is also multisensory!  Fun!