Friday, August 31, 2012

Repurposed Message Board

I was driving home from work the other day and realized I didn't have a daily schedule displayed anywhere in my classroom.  In the past I used a pocket chart from the teacher store because it was provided for me by my school district.  Well, I left that in my old classroom and haven't thought about it since.  Until my drive home the other day, that is.  Charley was still sleeping after the drive home from the sitter's house, so I went to the basement in search of something to hold the daily schedule cards.  I was originally thinking an empty picture frame with wire attached from side to side would work to clip the cards to, but I didn't have a frame on hand that was large enough.  Then I came across this ribbon message board that I had in college.  I started ripping the ribbon and buttons off and I was left with a solid black fabric board.

Please excuse the terrible pictures.  It was late in the afternoon and I was snapping photos with my phone, as this was a spur of the moment project.  Anyway, I pulled out my basket of ribbon and searched for something neutral in color.  I came across a piece of black and white checked ribbon and a big roll of thick string.  I cut the ribbon and string to size and spaced them out where I wanted them to be on the board.  Then I used a staple gun to attach each piece to the back.

Next, I dug around in one of my craft drawers in search of mini clothespins I knew I had stashed away from a baby shower a while back.  (And by a while back, I mean the baby shower I threw for my sister when she was pregnant with Ava.  Aaaannnndddd, Ava just started Kindergarten last week.  Wow time flies).  Sure enough, those little clothespins were still there and they were perfect size for my schedule board!

Unfortunately I didn't take a picture of the schedule cards hung on the board, but you can imagine.  If you don't have a classroom or you're not in need of a picture schedule for any kiddos, this same concept could be used to hang pictures, meaningful postcards, quotes, newspaper get the idea. 

I hope you have a fantastic LONG weekend!  

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Paint Chip Mosaics

This past week my kindergarteners have been busy discovering the tools and materials in our classroom.  It's so fun watching the classroom take shape once they arrive and start building the space along with me.  I mentioned in this post that the walls are basically bare when the students come, and everything that goes up is either made by the kids or with the kids so they take ownership and understand its purpose.  Yesterday I introduced scissors and glue sticks.  Once we problem solved the ways to use them safely in our classroom, it was time to explore.  The students worked in a team to cut paint chips into various shapes and sizes and then glued them to a piece of paper.  Ta-da!  Paint chip mosaics!  They were really noticing the different shades of each color and they worked hard to place each piece just so.  I wish you could have seen how proud they were of their artwork hanging in a real picture frame.  Later on that day we worked together to write the color words underneath each mosaic.  I hung the frames at eye level so the kids can easily see the words as a reference.

Above the Picasso quote I hung each child's self-portrait.  You can't see it in picture but they drew themselves underneath their real photographs.  They are so darling.  What's not to love about a 5 year-old's self-portrait?!  Hopefully this wall will inspire all of my artisits this year.


And just for fun, here are a few snippets of our classroom from yesterday...

Canvas bags to hold each student's books for Reading Workshop (the rest of the bags hang on a different shelf)

Math manipulatives in mini felt baskets, ready to be explored this week

One of the table's centerpieces
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Monday, August 27, 2012

Storybook Art

The projects around my house have slowed down a bit since the beginning of the school year is in full effect, so I thought I'd share an old project that I love.  My sister and mom threw me a children's book themed baby shower last February and every last detail was so adorable.  The cupcake toppers were perfect-tiny books attached to toothpicks.  My mom printed images of children's book covers and folded them if half to look like tiny books.  I loved them so much that I snatched them up, wiped the icing off the toothpicks, and brought them home with me.  I decided to frame them, collage style, in the playroom. 

I chose a couple pieces of scrapbook paper in the colors I wanted and simply taped down the tiny books.  I wanted the art to pop so I chose white frames on the white wall.  However, it would be fun to tape them to white scrapbook paper and use bright colored frames as well.

I love that this wall decor was so easy and cheap to make, but even more so, I love the memories that come to mind every time I walk through the playroom.
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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Homemade Finger Paint

A while back I pinned this recipe for homemade finger paint and I finally got around to making it.  It was super easy to make and only involved a few ingredients: corn starch, sugar, salt, water and food coloring.

The plan was to have Charley play around in the finger paint and use her creation as the insert in a Starbucks travel coffee mug for her daddy's birthday present.  The paint had thickened over night and was the consistency of Crisco by the time we were ready to paint.  I wasn't sure it was going to dry, and if it did dry, I wasn't sure if it would be thin enough to fit back into the mug.  So even though we didn't use her creation for the original intent, Charley had so much fun painting!  It was a great sensory experience and we will definitely do it again soon.  At one point, I'm pretty sure Charley was drooling at the thought of scooping the paint right into her mouth.

As for the mug, my sister had a good idea of squirting some acrylic paint in between two pieces of paper and letting Charley pound on it with her hands and feet.  It turned out really cute and Daddy has been using it for coffee ever since.
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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Rustic Coziness

In the midst of all the back to school/switching school districts craziness, I found myself playing around with furniture in my house instead of facing the said craziness.  I've recently changed things up in the kitchen area by adding new white chairs and accessories that you can read about in this post.  Our eat-in kitchen area is a pretty small space but it didn't feel as cozy as I thought it could.  So I added this old, wooden stand that used to belong to my mom, but has been living in my classroom until now.  It's definitely worn and would look so fun painted a bright color, but I'm actually loving the rustic look just the way it is.  Wood tones add such warmth to a room and since it's paired with some modern white accents, I don't find it dating the room at all.

It fits perfectly in between the window and the kitchen peninsula, I just love it.  I topped it with the tray, the cream and sugar set and the plant that used to sit on the kitchen table.  I also added a lamp because I love lamp lighting, even in a kitchen.

I'm looking forward to adding some graphic art on the wall eventually.  I love the feel of the dining area below.  It's an image I pinned from Young House Love a while back.  The wood tones, the mixture of materials and textures, the pops of color, the graphic art...I love it all.

                             Pinned Image

I'm striving for a similar feel in our eat in kitchen area. 

I think once we change the light fixtures, add some art, and paint the whole area light gray, we'll be on our way to rustic coziness!

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Monday, August 20, 2012

Office Space

Our good friends, Ben and Christina, scored this great chair at a thrift shop for 10 bucks and asked if I would fancy it up for their home office.  Ben is a photographer in Chicago so he spends a great deal of time in his office editing photos and meeting with clients.  This chair will provide a nice spot for his clients to sit and enjoy looking at his amazing work. When you click on the link to his website you'll notice bits of aqua blue in the text.  Ben and Christina hoped to find a modern fabric in that shade of blue for the seat cover.  I ended up finding a striped fabric that matched perfectly at Joann's.  So here's what the chair looked like before...

I love the vintage shape, but as you can see, it was looking pretty dated.  When you want to update an old piece, think about modern colors and modern prints.  Here's what it looked like after...

What a difference, right?!  So here's what went down in between the before and after.  First, I wiped down the chair and primed it with Zinsser 123 spray primer.  This stuff is uh-may-zing.  I mentioned in a previous post how I tried Zinsser primer because it said no sanding required, so I tried it again in the spray version and I'm officially in love.

Next, I gave it a few thin coats of Valspar's flat white spray paint.

Then, I moved inside to work on covering the seat.  I gathered my supplies-a piece of foam, some quilt batting, the fabric, a staple gun and scissors.

To start, I cut the foam into the shape of the seat.

Next, I laid out the batting and placed the foam and seat on top.  I pulled the batting around the seat and stapled it to the bottom. 

Then came the fabric.  I laid it out and placed the seat on top.  I mentioned before that I chose a striped fabric.  Stripes can either be very modern or very traditional.  If I wanted to traditional look I would make the stripes vertical, but since I wanted a modern look, I made them horizontal.  Once everything was laid out, I began pulling the fabric around the seat and stapling it to the bottom.

Finally, I attached the seat back to the chair.

Here's another before and after shot...

I love this vintage chair with its fresh, modern look and I hope Ben and Christina do too.  I'm sure it will look much better in their office than it looks in my garage, don't ya think? Pin It

Friday, August 17, 2012

Classroom Update

I just wanted to stop by to share a few more classroom pics as many of you requested. As you'll notice in the photos, the shelves and walls are pretty bare. Once the students arrive, we will start building the classroom together. As materials are discovered, they will make their way to the shelves. The students will understand why they're there and how they're used. Along the same lines, I don't cover the walls with teacher store posters, but rather display student created pieces or charts made with the students that are meaningful and resourceful. Once the students arrive next week the classroom will begin evolving into a much different space and I'll continue to share it with you. But for now, here's what's going on.

This counter space is dedicated to Writing Workshop folders and supplies.  Soon there will also be blank booklets, a stapler, extra paper and date stamps.

Here's another shot of our meeting area.  I added the wooden chest that holds a lamp and a basket for recently read books.  I also added an authentic calendar to keep track of important events.

This corner is the poetry station on the right with a basket to hold the students' poetry folders.  On the left is the interactive word wall and leaning bookshelf that will hold seasonal themed books.

Could my pictures be any more blurry???  Anyway, this shelf will hold extra supplies in the little cubbies and on top sits my mail basket, some hand sanitizer and the students' fancy lunch number bracelets.  The big basket in front will be the library book return.

I couldn't get a great picture of the discovery station because of the big window behind it, but that same window is what makes it the perfect spot for a discovery station!   I can't wait to fill this table with interesting items the students find in nature.

Here's a close up shot of the discovery station.  I love these two books-they're both alphabet books using natural items.  I'm pretty sure my mom recommended If Rocks Could Sing, so thanks, Mom!

Here's the dramatic play station.  For now it's a house area but it could totally evolve into a restaurant, a flower shop, a campground, who knows!

This is a snippet of a bulletin board near the art studio.  The students' self portraits will surround this Picasso quote very soon.  I'm also going to add some framed artwork that will hopefully inspire the students as they create their own pieces.

That's all for now.  I'll be sure to keep you posted on how the space works for the kids and how it changes with them.  Have a great weekend! Pin It