Summertime Crafting

This summer has been a complete whirlwind of activities.  I have been busy with the kids, teaching, reading, fighting knee pain, and making STUFF.  Some of my favorites this summer were a set of 3 costumes I made for a Steampunk Art Camp.  Most of the pieces were recycled from other costumes, with a few new pieces thrown in.  The bowler hat is my favorite piece.

This particular costume is simply an old bowler hat with a bow and feathers with a few gadgets hot glued on.  The peplum came from a Wicked Witch costume, and I added an extra layer of fabric to make it a bit “frillier.”  The pants and shirt were discovered in my own dresser drawers, and the belts I stole from my husband’s closet.  It is so much fun to try and make a costume from what is in your basement and not spend a penny!

Besides costumes, I’ve been making quilts, knitting up a storm, planning a high school curriculum. In fact, this afternoon, I’m off to the quilt shop to play with one of their new Innova quilting machines.  Will let you know how it goes!  I’m so excited, I can hardly sit still.

DS106 T-shirt Remix

Awhile ago, I received my very awesome DS106 Kickstarter t-shirt.  It is super fantastic cool.  However, when I checked “medium,” I was thinking men’s t-shirt sizes.  Someone at headquarters saw it and thought, oh, a girly medium would be better.  Now, I totally appreciate that they thought I was so delicate, but as it turns out, I’m a bit more robust than a girly medium can handle.  So for a few weeks, I was sad that I couldn’t wear my new threads.

Enter Pinterest: the scariest time suck I have ever entered (outside of actual DS106 projects).  I found this great idea.  Just cut out the seams of your shirts and add in a few inches of another t-shirt.

It fits so well with the whole DS106 Remix idea, that it just felt like the perfect solution to a slightly too small shirt that made me look like a Playboy Bunny Wannabe.

I sliced out the side seams of my DS106 t-shirt, added about 4 inches of 2 other t-shirts (in fabulous, but non-matching, stripes) and like magic**, I had a t-shirt that could fit my more Renaissance woman frame.  Plus, it adds a little something to the gray background of the original, I think.

**Use a sewing machine that has a zig zag or knit stitch and it becomes even easier.  Remember that t-shirt fabric stretches.  Pin the right sides together and gently run it through the sewing machine with the appropriate stitch.  If you try a straight stitch, it will not stretch-and that would be a tragic turn of events for your favorite t-shirt.  Also, t-shirt knits will not ravel, so you can leave the edges unhemmed if you so choose.

One Day in 60 Seconds

Yesterday morning, I got up and had this brilliant idea. I wonder if I can make a video of our ENTIRE day and condense it down to 1 minute?  But how?

I was inspired by a video that took 2 months of vacation time and condensed it to 1 second video of all the activities into just over 1 minute.  It was brilliant.  I started taking 1 second worth of video of the kids.  They just sat there.

Let’s go to the beach!!!  Now we’re talking!  Then, the rest of the day just played itself out and I had to remember to keep getting video.  There was a couple of hours in the afternoon that I missed because I was all worn out and took a nap.

It was definitely tricky getting 60 separate events throughout the day without making it seem too staged.  I finally decided that I should just get video of what we normally do without going too far out of my way to get something “fantastic.”

The editing took just short of forever.  My 1 second clips were all between 1.2 and 1.5 seconds, so I had to use the clip trimmer to get them all down to exactly 1 second.  ONE at a TIME. Then, I just ran all the video together in order and hit play.


The Tooth Fairy has one more stop to make

All grown up.  She lost her first tooth on Mother’s Day.  She was doing a puzzle when she turns around to me with her hand out and her lips all bloody and her eyes wide with shock.

“Mom! My tooth fell out!”

Yes it most certainly did.  You have now joined the ranks of the rest of the 1st graders who have jack-o-lantern smiles.  My big girl is growing up.

After the tooth fairy visited last night (and left behind a bunch of fairy dust all over the bed), she informed me that she is so excited about school pictures NEXT FALL because she will have a whole lot more teeth missing.

I’ll just be happy when all of her teeth stop wiggling at the same time. She has 4 more that are about to join their fallen comrade in the next month or so.

I can’t wait for those pictures!

Hip Hop Easter Remix

For DS106 Remix week, I’ve been doing a few little projects on the side again.

This one is called “The Big Hip Hop: Turn Up the Cheese.”  I went over to The Big Picture for this image of a little girl in an angel costume standing in a cathedral. This image is a bit “sweet” for DS106, so I tried a couple variants.

In the first, I used lyrics from Christina Perri’s “A Thousand Years.” I liked how it kept the  theme of Easter.  I experimented with fonts and decided on the much overused “comic sans.”  Nice, but not really pushing any boundaries. This one feels beautiful without much effort, lazy even.

Then I mixed it with a Coldplay song, “Viva la Vida.”

A touch of teenage angst font and still, I’m getting a nice message.  I just can’t seem to cheese this up.  The little girl is just too sweet.

Ok, one more try.

Had to dig into the way back machine for a song by Real Life called, “Send Me an Angel” from the year 1983.  (For those of you who weren’t around then, here’s a link)

I love the teenage angst font with the lyrics for this one.  So demanding, it really has a DS106 feel to it.

I have no idea what assignment this was, because I closed it, so there will be no tags until someone figures out which mashup this is.


Journey of Love

I was asked to do a drawing for the church bulletin for this week.  The week’s theme is “Journey of Love” ad the sermon title is “Heart of Love.”

When I think of a journey, I think of putting on some good walking shoes and putting one foot in front of another, so here’s a shoe print with an icon of a heart and an arrow to point the way.

A very simple image, but I had to learn how to do a text arc.  You really can learn how to do anything online.  I’m not really sure why we need teachers anymore.  Oh wait…  because kids would have no idea how to do a search.

Which reminds me, I heard an interesting story on NPR this morning that Encyclopedia Brittanica will officially no longer print encyclopedias.  So I guess if you have a set lying around somewhere, you should hang on to them for a while, they might be worth some shiny pennies one day.

Altered Books and Blackout Poetry

My middle school students have been working for the past month on their altered books.  One of the parents donated a bunch of old science books from Time Life and we have been systematically ripping out pages, painting, gluing, and using Sharpies on them.  Here are a few of their Blackout Poems.

And a spare poem thrown in for fun.

The assignment for this page was to find text that they liked and blackout the rest.  They were trying to create a free form poem, without worrying too much about making sentences.  I encouraged them to use images either by drawing them, or by including them (not blacking them out) on their page.

The students liked this page in particular because it was creative without being too taxing.

If you are in the area next week, the kids have a show at the Box Factory.  You can come and check out their books along with a bunch of other great art.


DS106 Yarn Bombing

Because of my love for DS106, and my love for all things knit, I’ve come up with an interactive activity.  DS106 Yarn Bombing.

The rules are simple.  Get a knit square (or rectangle, or circle, or tetrahedron) and embroider DS106 4life on it.  Next, take your square and sew, tie, zip tie, or otherwise attach it to an object in public.  Last, take a picture of your Yarn Bombing. Post them to flickr with the tag ds106yarn.


Want to participate?  Post a comment here and I’ll send you your very own DS106 4life yarn square.  The only requirement is that you have a mailing address and you must promise to actually put it up in a public space and photograph it.

If you have your own yarn squares and you wish to do this: cool! I can’t wait to see what you come up with!


We’re Flipping Out

Today, my 3rd and 4th graders were working on flip books.  We made some very silly ones. There was an elephant that squashed chocolate mice, a girl that flipped over, a race car, a growing flower, a juggler, and a guy trying to cook hot dogs over a campfire.

That last one was mine. Want to see it?

This was inspired by the Daily Create project for today. The original idea was to record something cooking.  Since I was already doing the flip books, I thought I’d animate something cooking.

A quick lesson in creating a flip book: cut some heavy drawing paper to a nice neat size (ours are 4.5×3 inches) and staple about 20 of them together at the top.  Starting at the last page, draw a simple image.  Lay the next page down over the top and redraw your image slightly differently. You’ll be able to see through the paper just enough to figure out where your next image should be.  Repeat until your images go where you want them to be on the last page.  Hold at the top (staple side) and flip!

Helpful hints: Don’t draw anything more than halfway up the page.  You won’t see it when you flip the pages.  If you are unsure of where to start, draw a bouncing ball.  Move it a little, or move it a lot.  Small movements will be a slower speed and larger movements will show a faster bouncing ball.  Keep it simple! Detailed drawings will be hard to recreate.  Stick people are welcome!

And the most important tip: When stapling the pages, make sure that one edge of your paper all lines up.  Staple the OTHER edge.  This will make it much easier to flip.

Happy flipping!

*A special thanks to Nathan who did the filming for me so I could use both hands to flip the pages. You rock!

Cartoon Jim

Just a quick post today to introduce Cartoon Jim.

Found an image of Jim on the internets (wow are there a lot of Jim Groom images out there!) and then used the little tablet to draw him as a cartoon.


For those of you who are family member who are looking for photos of the kids, I’m sorry. I’ve got nothin’. I’m currently immersed in this crazy online class called DS106 and I’m not even getting credit for it.  However, I’ve convinced some important people that this could possibly be used as Professional Development.

I will attempt to put pictures of the kids here again very soon. Until then, you can look at Jim, the guy who leads us on this wacky adventure in digital storytelling.