Sunday, May 30, 2010

Resolutions; May Update

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Project Status!

I am one week into my summer break! I do have in-service training for the next two days though, so very little progress will be made on home projects while I think about school!

However, I did manage to finish the Red/White/Blue quilt. It was made with a technique called "Stack a Deck". I use scraps of fabrics I had laying around...the blocks have been here for quite some time! It is a nice lap sized quilt.

This "Prairie Schooler" quilt I found in a magazine, I believe it was a 2007 magazine. I liked it and purchased the fabrics that the pattern featured, so this one has been around since 2007. I worked on it in bits and pieces since then. The only fabrics I purchased were the letters and the scrambled letter fabric. I used scraps and my stash for the remainder of the quilt. It was my first quilt with prairie points and I think they turned out well! I do need to finish the binding on this one, but otherwise it is complete, label and all!

This quilt is one for a friend of mine who is having her second child. I decided on the "I Spy" design because then the older brother could play with the younger brother! This one is complete except for a little bit of binding and the label. I wanted to wait and put the baby's birthdate on the label!

And finally: I finished one of the pillows that will grace my classroom this fall. This is one of two pillows that I am creating from items that no longer have a life on their own. I used a discolored fabric shower curtain, and the stuffing material came from an assortment of stained pillows. I washed the stuffing material (Fun stuff!!) and created an interior pillow form (again from re-claimed fabric). I did purchase two zippers so that the outer colorful cover could be removed and washed as needed. Here is a link to my classroom "alternative seating" project that these pillows are part of: Sit, Stand or Lounge?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Terracycle Brigades!

Terracycle works hard to keep their Brigadeers updated on items that are collected and that credit is given for. The list is continually expanding and for that I am glad. This past school year, we earned over $200. That money will go towards upgrading items in my classroom, fixing some of the broken items and towards a new pencil sharpener (the students burned out my new one during TCAP week!)

I know that some people will buy and consume items that are packaged in plastic regardless of the impact (health, environment.....) There are also people will buy and consume items packaged in plastic and tell themselves it is okay because the packaging is recyclable.

I like the Terracycle program because the company strives to keep items out of our landfill and upcycle them into other products. I do encourage my students to recycle items for this reason. I tell them that they SHOULD NOT purchase items simply because the packaging can be recycled, but if they already use those items, then please work to give the waste new life. So, for those of you who are helping me collect items, or are interested in helping me collect items, here is a detailed list of what is acceptable into the brigades that I belong to. You can either pass the items off to me, or email me and I will send you a label to attach to your box or envelope of trash!

DRINK POUCH BRIGADE - Any Brand, Must be the foil juice pouch (we will not accept the cardboard juice boxes)

CANDY WRAPPER BRIGADE - Any Brand, We do not take the candy boxes you might find in the movie theaters. A good way to determine if it is accepted is if the wrapper's material closely resembles the same material Mars candy wrappers are made from (i.e. Starburts, M&M's, Snickers)

COOKIE WRAPPER BRIGADE - Any Brand, We will not take the plastic cookie trays, only the wrappers (and no cardboard boxes, only plastic wrappers)

CHIP BAG BRIGADE - Any Brand, As a rule of thumb, you will know it's an accepted bag as long as the bag in question is made from similar material that a Frito-Lay Bag is made from (Pretzel bags are also acceptable, even if they have a clear window on the front)

ENERGY BAR WRAPPER BRIGADE - Any Brand, as long as it has a foil inside. This includes Rice Krispie Treat wrappers.

KASHI PACKAGE BRIGADE - ANY Kashi packaging, including boxes, wrappers, linings and trays.

SCOTT BRAND BRIGADE – SCOTT BRAND ONLY, Any outside wrapper plastic, from Paper towels, napkins and toilet tissue.

HUGGIES BRAND BRIGADE – outer wrap plastic Packaging from ANY BRAND diaper/pullup product, this also included feminine products.

AVEENO BEAUTY BRIGADE – all personal care plastic tubes

SCOTCH TAPE BRIGADE - ANY BRAND Tape dispensers and cores

MALT-O-MEAL CEREAL BRIGADE – ANY BRAND plastic cereal bags, including those inside cardboard boxes!

GUM PACKAGE BRIGADE – ANY BRAND individual gum wrappers and multipack bags, to foil packs and clear cellophane exterior wrappers.

WRITING INSTRUMENTS - Any Brand and any pens, markers, highlighters or mechanical pencils.

ELMERS GLUE CREW - Only Elmer's brand glue containers

NEOSPORIN TUBE BRIGADE - Only Neosporin brand & only the 0.5 ounce & 1.0-ounce tubes are accepted

STARBUCKS COFFEE BAG BRIGADE - ANY BRAND coffee bags are accepted. Only coffee BAGS are accepted, so please no plastic containers.

LUNCH KIT BRIGADE - Only Oscar Meyer brand Lunchables are acceptable and we are accepting the plastic tray and the peel back film only, not the cardboard packaging

COLGATE ORAL CARE BRIGADE - ANY BRAND toothpaste tubes, toothbrushes, and packaging

SPREADS BRIGADE – Any containers from spreadable butter products. (I can’t believe it’s not butter, country crock)

YOGURT BRIGADE - ANY BRAND-- The yogurt cups must stack neatly (the top must be wider than the bottom)

HOME STORAGE BRIGADE - ANY BRAND plastic baggies or re-usable containers (that are no longer re-usable)

Friday, May 21, 2010

♪ ♫Summer Time, Summer Time, SumSumSummertime.♪♫♪♪

Yes, my summer vacation has "officially" begun. I do have several days of In-service training scheduled, but I plan to (once again) catch up on those unfinished projects.

I do have to say that I managed to get more projects finished this school year than last year, which is probably good as I have a lot more school projects for this summer!

My "To Do" list for this summer (as of today's date):

1. Finish the following quilts:
Jennifer's baby quilt
Spinning Card Deck (this needs serious seam ripping and thought!)
Skyward Nines (all of the nine-patch blocks are finished!)
Log Cabin (from the beautiful hand-dyed fabrics I bought as a kit at the 2009 Paducah Quilt Show!)

2. Finish the fabric rug I started 4 years ago using the Locker Hook method!
3. Finish baby bibs for Etsy store.
4. Photograph items for Etsy store.
5. List items in Etsy store.
6. Yard Sale in June!
7. Clean out school filing cabinets (done!)
8. Decide on and organize Math Stations for RTI (Response to Intervention) method that will be used in school next year. (this one is a biggie!!)
9. Organize school cabinets
10. Re-hang signs in classroom. (done!)
11. Repair entryway rug in classroom.
12. Put 2009-2010 scrapbook together.

I am sure there will be many more tasks accomplished, but these are the ones I am determined to do!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Plastic baggies!

As a school teacher, I often have a need for many small bags that will close. Thus the "Zippered" baggie. It can hold a wonderful assortment of items and at a glance, I can tell what is in there. I use them over and over again, saving them until they are as unfunctional as possible.

Once their usefulness has expired, the question is: What do I do with them?

I do not want to just toss it into the non-existent land of "Away". After all, we all know there is not "Away" !!

Nor do I want it to become part of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Thankfully Terracycle and SC Johnson & Company (ZipLoc Bags) have devised a way to keep these bags out of our landfills, our forests, our streets, our oceans.......

Every time you use a Ziploc® product - any type of bag or container - you can help save it from being discarded into a landfill by sending it to TerraCycle.
You all know that I have been working with Terracycle for more than a year now, and my class in school works hard to collect items that Terracycle Upcycles into new products. I am glad that I was accepted into their Home Storage Brigade (which is open only to schools)

Some key points about this brigade:
1.) Only schools can join this brigade and since I have joined, you can save the baggies for me and I will send them in.
2.) They will take any brand baggies or storage containers and in any condition (peanut butter residue included!)
3.) Participation in the Home Storage Brigade™ is completely free - there are no sign-ups fees and all the shipping is covered by the program.
4.) Also, for each approved bag or container received, 2¢ will be paid to my school.

I have requested a product created from this brigade to review and blog about. I will then create a giveaway for that product. Watch future blogs for information about that!

Monday, May 10, 2010


I was in my favorite thrift store, The Gleaners House, looking for some items my students could use as costumes for their Mythology project.

I did find three items that may work for some of the students. However, the most exciting item was this:

It is a vest decorated with elephants! The thread work is all hand crafted with colored strings shot through with a metallic gold thread. The elephants have dull gold sequins stitched on.

I have no idea what I am going to do with this, (it is a bit too tight across my shoulders to wear comfortably), but I had to own it!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Early this morning

Early this morning, Vince was getting ready for work. Since it is Saturday, I did not have to awaken early. I usually do, and once Vince is off to work, I (and the dogs) go back to sleep.

This morning, when I entered the kitchen, this is what I saw:

Army Boots, Two Eggs, Shaving Cream, Razor. All placed neatly on a piece of newspaper.

Of course, I stood and looked at this odd collection of items for a while, trying to figure out their connection.

Could it be some weird way of polishing the boots?

In my sleep fogged brain, it did take me a while to deduce what this meant. Fortunately I figured it out before Vince arrived in the kitchen to make fun of me!!!

Resolutions: April's update

April's update on my Resolutions

1. Cease drinking soda. Vince did bring in a bottle of Pepsi for Pizza night early this month. I was tempted and poured myself a glass the following day. I found that I did not enjoy the taste, the fizz or the bloated feeling I had after drinking it. I am better off without soda!

2. Do not purchase new clothes for one year. Temptation was here! I was out with friends and visited the NEX (the department type store on the Naval military base in Millington) and was looking at summer skirts. I do not wear shorts because I really am uncomfortable in them, so I like skirts in the summer. I do not seem to have any casual ones, so I was looking.....but did not like the colors. Then I realized that I have some fantastic fabric in my studio that will make wonderful skirts! Unfortunately, I never found the time to whip up a skirt....I guess my motivation left me. At least I did not buy anything new!

3. Save the savings. Okay, I had very few coupons to use in the grocery store, so my savings was $1.00. However, I did save 10% on my batting order at Jo-Ann Fabrics because I am a member of AQS. All together, I saved $8.20 this month.

4. Reduce my personal belongings. More progress! I freecycled the electric fireplace logs that have been sitting in the utility room for more than a year. I also freecycled the hanging lamp that we removed during our renovations.
The large blue area rug that we have not used since we lived in Clarksville has finally left the building!
That is three large items that have left the house!

5. Read at least 3 books to improve my teaching skills.
URK. I have not moved along on this resolution at all this month. I did read several novels, but nothing that required much thought. I may bag this one until the summer gets here. My pile of books is growing faster than I have time to read!

6. Keep my tax records more organized for 2010. I realize I need to put my school purchases receipts in the folder. (Now....I wonder where they are????)

7. Walk 10,000 steps each day. I have not worn the pedometer this month. Sigh.

8. Reduce my fabric stash. Okay. I counted my stash during Spring Break. The unfortunate part is that I have almost as much fabric as I did when I initially counted my stash. However, I did reduce my stash by 3.5 boxes of scrap! But those scraps were not in the original yardage count.
The weather did keep me away from Paducah, so I did not purchase any additional fabrics for my quiltaway weekend in June. I still need to do that, so the count will increase when I make the journey to Memphis in May.

9. Make time for ME! Ha. This month, with being sick, I had a lot of 'me time' to rest and read.

10. Blog about these resolutions every month. DONE!(a little late, but DONE!)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Stormy Weather!

When it rains, we have rivers that run down our property into our pond. Every summer, the level of the water in the pond drops dramatically, but in the spring the level is at its absolute highest. In fact, the water will overflow the pond and run over the dam (the far side of the photo below).