Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Alphabet Family

Play is such an important part of a child's learning and I try to make it a huge part of my classroom environment.  I incorporate literacy into all areas of the room so my students experience reading and writing through their play.  The block station is a definite favorite when it comes to areas of the classroom and lately kids have been asking if there are any people to use in the structures they build.  Up until this point they've just been pretending that the smaller blocks are people.  Boy will they be excited tomorrow when I introduce them to the Alphabet Family! 

A while back I came across a blog with tons of alphabet activities (I wish I could remember which one it was).  She wrote about using doll pins to create little wooden people with letters on their chests.  Such a clever idea!  She actually painted hers and made them quite fancy.  I, on the otherhand, just used a black Sharpie to write the uppercase letter on one side and the lowercase letter on the other.  I decided not to add faces, hair, clothes, etc. because I may have my students take part in that step if they decide the dolls need a bit more detail.  I'm kind of loving the natural feel of them now, though.  And having them a little unfinished makes it seem more open-ended, which I also love.

I'm looking forward to seeing what adventures the Alphabet Family go on very soon!
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Monday, September 24, 2012

Shades of Gray

My friend Jill wanted to freshen up this bedside table in her guest room, so she brought it over to get painted.  She was picturing it being a light gray color so I chose Valspar's Smoke Infusion.  First, I wiped it down and gave it a good coat of Zinsser spray primer.  I'm pretty sure you all know by now how much I love that stuff.

(Thank goodness Libby was there to guard the drawers while the primer dried.)

I probably gave the table three thin coats of the gray spray paint and let it sit outside to dry for a while.  Then I moved it into the garage for a couple of days until the stickiness went away.  Then I knew it was good and dry and ready to be moved back over to Jill's house.

I snapped some after shots but unfortunately something BAD happened to my camera's memory stick and all of the pics on there disappeared.  Like 194 pictures...of Charley...(insert panic mode here)...

But anyway, Jill snapped this picture of the table in her guestroom and emailed it my way.  It's amazing what a little spray paint can do, isn't it?!

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Alphabet Hunt

I've been in full on teacher mode since mid August, where I'm constantly thinking about activities for school and scouring Pinterest for brilliant ideas.  I've pinned so many things involving paint chips, so while I was at the home improvement store this weekend getting spray paint, I snatched a few up.  I chose the ones with the little window in them so my kids could go on an alphabet hunt.  To begin, I wrote one upper and lowercase letter on each section.

Then, I cut them apart on the white line and put them in alphabetical order.  I punched a hole at the bottom of each card and attached them with a metal book ring.

For my students working on letter identification, they'll go on a hunt around our classroom to find the letter that matches the one on the card.

And for my students working on letter sounds, they'll go on a hunt for items that begin with the letter on the card.

Even if you're not a teacher, you could use this with any kids in your life. You could put sight words on the cards, or numbers, or shapes, or leave it blank and make it a color match game, the options are endless!

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Memory Jar

This project has been a long time coming, and it was so simple that I'm not sure what I was waiting for.  Well actually I do know what I was waiting washi tape.  But I'll get back to that.  When we were in Hilton Head this past July we picked up a post card with the intention of writing ourselves a little note about the vacation.  This way we can look back at it and remember some little details about our trip.  We're going to do this from now on with any trip, big or small, that we go on as a family.  So we need a place to keep our collection (of one).  I wanted something that looked pretty and would show off the items inside.  I decided on a big candy jar that we used on our candy bar at our wedding reception.

To spice up the glass jar, I wrapped it with some fun, patterned washi tape.  I've had my eye on washi tape for quite a while now and I finally came across this colorful print at Michael's.

I like that it adds some interest without totally blocking your view of the keepsakes inside.

Eventually I'd like to sit this at the top of our staircase near our map wall.  But I also think it would be fun sitting in the center of our kitchen table so we could pull out a post card and reminisce about our trip while eating dinner.  Perhaps when there's more than one memory in the jar we'll do that.
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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Touches of Turquoise

I've noticed lately that our kitchen needs some touches of turquoise to tie into the connected family room.  I talked about wanting to add some graphic art on the tiny wall next to the window in this post last month.  I decided to go in a DIY art direction and headed to Michael's in search of mini canvases and various shades of turquoise paint.  My plan wasn't graphic necessarily, but would definitely provide the perfect pop of turquoise.  I was after an ombre look with each canvas painted in a different shade.


I painted three coats on each canvas and left them to dry over night.  I hung them vertically, darkest to lightest.  I placed them off center because I really wanted to cover up the eye sore that is the phone jack.  Do you see it there???

Once they were all hung, it looked way too off balance.  It needed something to fill the space above the lamp so I added a light blue S (our last initial) that used to hang in our family room.  It balanced out the space and matched the color scheme, so I snatched it off the wall and rehung hung it here.

Definitely a much more balanced look, wouldn't ya say?

I have big plans to paint the kitchen and family room area a soft gray color, so I probably should've waited to hang all of that on the wall until after I put on the fresh coat of paint, right?  Shoulda, woulda, coulda.
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Monday, September 10, 2012

Beer Glass Blooms

When we were in Hilton Head in July, I shopped at World Market for the first time.  What a great place for interesting, unique pieces.  I could have walked out of there with a lot more, but I narrowed it down to beer glasses and cloth napkins.  I knew when I picked up the glasses they wouldn't be used for beer, but rather a centerpiece on our dining room table.  They're perfect with their bright colors, fun graphics and unique shape. 

They've been sitting empty on our table for almost two months now, begging for some flowers.  So I finally picked up some budget blooms while grocery shopping this weekend.  And when the flowers aren't looking so good anymore, maybe these beer glasses will actually be used for a beverage, who knows!

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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Fall Favorites

Over the weekend, B.J. and I went through our closet and challenged ourselves to get rid of at least 10 items each.  I ended up finding 23 things to donate, and B.J. found 21.  Crazy, right?!  Actually, crazy is what I found still hanging in my closet...I'm talking shirts I used to wear "uptown" in college.  Not good.  I knew it was time to sort through my things because I stand in there each day thinking I have nothing to wear, when in reality, I'm just bored with what I do have to wear.  I decided to window shop online for some pieces I'm loving for Fall.  Not that I'll actually be able to purchase all of these items this season, but I will definitely use them as inspiration.  So here goes, a few of my Fall favorites...
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