Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I think I shall call her Kit

New doll from this pattern:

Pattern created by this artist:

This is the third one I have made. It's a good thing to make when I don't feel like thinking of anything, but feel like making something. Kit will be on the Doll Tree for sure. She is sitting in my unfinished window in my unfinished foyer. J.R. calls it The Orange Room.

Monday, October 26, 2009


Already? YES! I have kind of phoned it in on my decorating the last two or three years and all the renovating around here has inspired me to get my A game back on. I saw this mantle and fell in love! I have the fireplace and the animal head. It belonged to my grand-dad and nobody wanted it when the family auctioned off his worldly possessions. As usual, my house was the last stop before the dumpster and I became the proud owner of a trophy head. In case you are wondering, yes, all the hunters in my family eat what they kill. It's all very Grizzly Adams. Anyway, the other bit about decorating and renovation is the budgetary aspect. I have new all around me, so I must do my decorating on the cheap. Hmmm...sounds like a challenge.

Okay, so here it is: I will recreate the lush mantle and garland around the deer using only items I already have and items purchased at - drumroll, please -


Can it be done? So far, I have picked up some silver grapes, some shiny white stems and some silver glitter balls. I also got 3 packages of pine garland, 15' each, which will need some work to build the base for the pinecones, lights, dooddads, ribbons and baubles.

My main tree is sliver, red and light blue and it's in the same room as the fireplace. I want to do a tree in my new foyer with a bunch of pink and gold stuff I got on clearance at Kmart last January. I want it to be a doll tree, covered in Good Girls, dolls from the black apple Martha pattern and other figural fabric follies.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


things just don't make sense. Sometimes I don't have an answer for one of my girls. Yesterday was one of those times. Yesterday our high school boys and girls cross country teams ran in the semi-state meet for a chance to compete in the state finals next week. There were 23 other teams there, too. The top 6 teams and the top 15 individuals move on to the finals. Our girls team was ranked 5th coming in and, to be honest, everybody expected them to make it out. Everybody has been racing well and staying healthy through the tournament series. Almost everybody. Courtney had a great regular season, but the last couple of races, she struggled a bit. I think the effects of playing two varsity sports simultaneously have taken a bit of a toll on her body. And...hate to say it...but a little "team drama" got into her head and a seed of doubt grew into a fully bloomed case of insecurity.

But yesterday. Yesterday, she felt good! No back pain after a week to heal up and get her head on straight. Yesterday was shaping up to be a great race for her. Until about the One Mile mark. A runner behind her stepped on the back of her shoe. And it came off. So Miss Courtney had to run over 2 miles in ankle deep mud and even deeper standing water with one sock foot. She finished. Over 2 minutes slower than she would have, but she finished. She probably asked me 10 times why this had to happen. I had to tell her I didn't know.

The girls team finished 6th and advances to the state finals on Saturday. I guess the guy who projected us to finish 5th didn't account for Courtney's missing shoe.

The boys team didn't advance, but Whitley's boyfriend Logan finished 11th and will be running in the finals.

By the way, her socks were white.

Friday, October 02, 2009

And Now for Something Entirely Different

WELCOME TO MY STUDIO...One of my studios, I should say...the one I share with about 225 other artists.
I have been an elementary art teacher for 15 years. This is the third year I have been in this art room and it still looks new. I keep it pretty simple. One of my professors at IU told us once that too much stuff on the walls of the art room can overstimulate kids and actually hamper their creative process. Seemed counter intuitive to me at the time, but now I agree. My students notice the tiniest little thing new in the room and are very curious. Sometimes, I bring in something I have made or a piece in progress and sit it on my desk. Let's just say it's well-fingerprinted by the end of the day.

I have only 3 rules:
1. Create with intention. Think before you mark or cut.
2. Share materials kindly.
3. Clean up your own mess.

I teach grades one thru five in a rural area. Fifth grade has been working on creating value with hatching and crosshatching. This is black water-based marker on construction paper. I keep my materials to a minimum and always try to present lesson that the students could recreate easily at home with inexpensive materials.

I do a few seasonal crafts every year, just for fun, so we have made pumpkins and scarecrows. We might do some kind of ornament or decoration around Christmas.
King Tut is at the Indianapolis Children's Museum and although our school system can no longer afford to send kids on field trips, our fourth grade teachers applied for grants to take their students to see the exhibit.

Wanting to seize on their enthusiasm, I moved the lesson on symmetrical balance up a few weeks and we made these masks. Metallic paint, jewels and glitter, glitter, glitter. I think they look great and the kids are so proud of them. Fourth grade is now shifting gears radically and studying Hokusai. We had a long talk about how different aesthetics all have value, comparing the ornate Egyptian artifacts and the simple woodblock prints.

In an effort to support literacy, my fourth and fifth graders are keeping art journals this year. They do some writing every art class...mostly writing vocabulary and making sketches of artwork we study. It feels all very scholarly.

The drying rack is bursting with second grade paintings of active lines. Thank you Kandinsky.

My desk is always a bit cluttered, but I don't really mind. My art journal is on the far right edge of my desk. I try to fit in a little doodling or writing during my lunchtime.

Clean up can be a challenging time since my sinks are adult height, but we manage. Usually I give the yung 'uns a wet paper towel to scrub their table while I wash out brushes myself. I want them to be clean!!

Third grade made these robots - LOVE the way they turned out. The skill here is freehand cutting geometric shapes.

This room is huge and very well equipped. Here is one of closets. Some of those bins are empty.

The last photo is the scene outside my classroom door.
I hope you have enjoyed this little trip around my art room!