Showing posts with label art day. Show all posts
Showing posts with label art day. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

DIY: Viva Italia Dress

Hey, friends! I am wearing this here dress today in...Italy! I managed to snap some photos before leaving but I'll be sure to share my Italian adventures with you when I return home. Until then, let's talk dress-makin', shall we?
After (a handful of) years stitching and countless homemade dresses, I think I have finally found the mashup of dress patterns that I like the very best. I am loving the fit and look of this halter-style top with this circle skirt, it's my new fave!
It's taken me this long to realize that simply because a pattern looks good on the envelope does not mean it will look good on you. And that's okay! You gotta go with what is the most flattering for your body type and your taste. Personally, I love a good fit and flair. And I like my fit very fitted (ahem) and my flair super, um, flair-y (double crinoline, anyone?). But I also know that I cannot do a v-neck, scoop neckline or anything else that is meant to show off cleavage. Because, well, I ain't got none. So it just looks awkward trying to show it off unless I'm wearing my big ole "Insert Cleavage Here" necklace which I seem to have lost. 
And I'm cool with this. Not the loss of my necklace, that thing was expensive, but the fact that I can't wear a good ole cleavage bearing frock. Because I have bodice patterns that work...and I think this one works the best for me. 
Now, here's a little something else I've learned: size down on the bust. Do you see that bust measurement of 34"? That is my correct size but when using this dress pattern in the past, I always found the bodice to be a pinch roomie (remember, I like a good fit). You can see other dresses I've made with this pattern here and here. For a more fitted dress, size down on the bust measurement. I'll be using a 32" bust for the bodice in the future. Now, this works for me for the entire dress because I do an open skirt...meaning I can have hips for days and the skirt hides 'em (another reason I love me a circle skirt!). However, if you are using a hip-hugging pattern, you may need to size up for the rest of the dress. 
Y'all would be so proud: the last couple of dresses I've created have been from fabric straight outta the stash. I purchased this fabric years ago with the intent to make a dress...but, Ima be honest, I didn't love the colors in the print. So in the stash it sat. Until 36 hours before leaving for Italy, that is! Another reason to love this pattern: it's a quick stitch!
You might notice I decided not to add the bow/belt insert. On the dresses I have with built-in belts, I feel limited. I love to add different belts to my clothing to change up the look. So I skipped that step in the pattern. I also made the straps thinner...the thicker ones just screamed "homemade!" to me. 
Just a side and back view. Did I mention that this dress has pockets?! I've decided that no dress is complete without them. Forever and ever, amen. 
Despite my initial meh-ness toward the print on this dress, I now really love it. I know that the pattern has a whole lot to do with it. 
 And now I'm off to explore the sites on my dress. Viva Italia, y'all! 
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Thursday, June 8, 2017

An Art Teacherin' Book Club!

Most of y'all know that I host a Facebook LIVE chat (nearly) every Wednesday night at 8pm CST. I host it on my "official" Facebook page, not my personal one as I assume my non-art teacherin' friends would not be interested in hearing me chat about #artlife. If you've never joined one of our chats, it's a lot of fun. We art teacherin' types commiserate, celebrate and create. No kidding! The month of April, we felted, all through May we worked with clay and now...we're going to have an Art Teacherin' Book Club!
In last night's chat, which you can find archived here along with previous ones,  I shared my favorite art teacherin' books. Many folks who joined the chat shared their favorite books as well. There were so many that I've decided to dedicate them for a future blog post so stay tuned!

The book we settled on (okay, the book I strongly suggested and didn't give anyone a choice on the matter) is this one:
I absolutely love the idea of growth mindsets and the little reading that I've done has lead me to believe that this book will be a great one for us to explore. I love that it's divided up by months of the school year. Within each month, the authors Annie Brock and Heather Hundley share lessons, books and even film clips that emphasis the growth mindset being featured. As a group, I thought we art teachers could brainstorm ways to make this possible in our art rooms. Together, we can inspire our students to grow into the creative, compassionate and kind artists we know they have the capability to become. 
So, how to join the fun? First, get you a copy of the book! I won't be active on Facebook LIVE until July (taking a vacation with the mama AND hosting Art Scouts!). Stay tuned right here. As we get closer to July, I'll share just what we'll be chatting about each Wednesday night.

Until then, throw a good trashy novel into your online shopping cart when you order our book club book. After all, it's summer and you've earned it!
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Sunday, June 4, 2017

Art Teacherin' 101: Episode 35

 As an art teacher and a human, I find that there are many things I struggle with: consistency, finishing projects before starting new ones and, most of all, organization. I like to think that my decent art teacherin' qualities outweigh the bad but there is no denying this...I'm an Art Teacher Hoarder. And one of these days, my cold and colorfully dressed body is probably going to be found under a mountain of toilet paper tubes, bottle caps, yogurt lids, wire hangers and gently used popsicle sticks ("Why was she saving THOSE?!"). They say the first step is admitting you have a problem, y'all. There, I've said it. Now what?
Like a tour of my space, would you? Here you go! Just watch your step...I've just about boobytrapped the entire space. One of two things inevitably happens when I walk into my storage closet: I get injured by one of the art supply landmines I've haphazardly thrown on the floor or I find some amazing treasure, get a fun idea for a project and completely forget why I entered the storage closet in the first place. 
 I had a group of fourth grade girls who decided to make my art room their hang out place every morning the last month of school. It was fun, like our own secret art club. They'd come in, take out whatever they felt like working on (sewing pillows, painting a poster, you name it) and create for a solid 20 minutes before the bell would ring. I didn't mind, I was just making coffee and enjoying their company and love for creating. One day I opened my closet in front of them and it was like the door to Narnia opened before their eyes: they were amazed. Not only by the mess but by the sheer volume of stuff. I let them raid the closet for fabric several times...not that you can even tell. They hardly put a dent in the place. 
 With so many art teachers lacking supplies and space, I'm embarrassed to show just how much I've got and the large space I have to store it. I am super fortunate for the donations that I receive and the closets I have to store them in. I'm telling you, my art room (along with the closets) is what got me so determined to land the job at my school. I literally stalked the former art teacher for two years to get the job (she's a friend who was retiring). I'm not even kidding: I went to her art shows, helped in her art room, observed her. When it came time for my interview, the principal and staff already knew who I was (probably because of the restraining order). All that to say, I know I'm spoiled rotten. And I'm every bit of that spoiled kid who has the messiest toy box on the planet. All this I know. 
This is why it's part of my summer routine to pop in to my art room for a couple of hours once or twice a week to start chipping away. I really and truly do want to start my new school year feeling organized and ready to roll...not chaotic like I usually do. I'll keep you posted on my progress. In the meantime, can I interest any of you all in a 5 lbs box of chopsticks that may or may not be used? 
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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

In the Art Room: Art Show 2017, 2-D Displays

 I recently shared with y'all the 3-Dimensional portion of our art show...today I thought I'd showcase the 2-Dimensional side. But before I have to do that, I must give a HUGE virtual high five and hug to Molly, Donna, Lori, Terri, Paula, Camilla and the rest of the crew for hanging EVERYTHING that you see in these photos. Without moms like these, there would not be an art show. For them, my young artists and I are forever thankful!

Now, let's take a tour of the show!
Almost every project you see here and in the video can be found on my blog our my YouTube channel. Feel free to use in your art teacherin' world. A shout out is always appreciated. 

In this blog post, I thought I'd also answer some frequently asked art show questions:
Kindergarten displays. I love how fun and funny their artwork is. It always makes me smile to see what they create. All these projects can be found right here on my blog. Just use the search bar. 

Do you hang everything that the kids have created all year? Yes. Everything. My room is very big (it used to be the school library) so storage is not an issue...staying organized, however, is. It's just not my nature to be a Lady of Organization. And I'm cool with that...but it is a pain when it's art show preppin' time! "Where did I put Mrs. So-in-So's classes art?!" Yeah. That may happen multiple times during art show season. 
 Kindergarten selfies and line monsters.

How is your artwork hung? We struggled for YEARS finding something that works. We use deer mesh adhered to the wall with 3M's Gaffer's Tape. About three weeks prior to the art show, the moms begin hanging the mesh which we purchase off Amazon. We try to leave it up from one year to the next but sometimes it gets damaged. The teachers use it throughout the year to display the kids' work. Here's a little more about that:
We've used this method for the last three years and there is no going back, we love it! And the artwork actually stays up...which, if you are in a building with cinder blocks, you know that is no easy feat. 
 With this much art, we have to display it "salon style" with art from floor to ceiling!

How do you get volunteers? The moms I have are AMAZING! In fact, my mom-in-charge this year doesn't even have a child at my school anymore! She's just so stinkin' incredible and good at what she does, she came back for more. Honestly, just reaching out to the room moms and requesting that they contact other parents is the best way if you've never used volunteers before. My mom helpers came in nearly every day for three weeks solid to make this magic happen. Not only did they hang artwork but they also framed, matted and did the thousand other small tasks that goes into the making of an art show this big. 
 First grade work...the Bebo birds are a fave of mine. 

Is your art show a fundraiser? I did two art shows this year. In the winter, I used Artome which is a fundraiser and I LOVED that experience as it was super simple and raised a good amount for our art program. Our spring show is not usually a fundraiser although we have taken donations for the local animal and homeless shelters before, one time raising $1200!
 The first grade had so much work! They flew through their projects this year. 
My mom helpers were ninjas at hanging artwork in hard-to-hang places, y'all. 

How do you get people to come to your art show? The art show at my school was established before I got there. It's a tradition at my school...one that I try to make bigger and better every year. Not only is it an art show, but it is also an ice cream social with free ice cream served up by our fourth graders in the school cafeteria. Often times we'll also have a book fair on the same night to bring in even more folks. We always have a huge turnout.
 Second grade created some of my favorite pieces this year. I am loving the weavings, the hearts and the rainbow books!
How do you manage your time to get everything done? I'm the worst time manager, y'all. Knowing this, I try to start early. After winter break, I try to get myself into art show mode by sticking around after school, framing pieces and gathering up my thoughts on what our theme will be. After spring break, we dive in to clay with that theme. Once clay is complete in March, April becomes the crunch month for the show.
Why do you hang up everything from everyone? We do a couple of other art shows in the community that showcases a handful of kiddos. This is a great self-esteem booster...for that small amount of kids. I always worry about the other kids who don't have artwork featured. I was never a kid who got picked for such things...and it always left me with a sour taste in my mouth. I carry that with me as an adult. I never want a child to feel like their creative work is not good enough. I want to celebrate all of the kids and all of their efforts...which is why I do my art shows like this. It's an INSANE amount of work. I'm not even gonna lie: I work on Sundays and put in many 12 hour days. But, in the end, it's so worth it. 
 I love having displays in this big bank of windows!
Do you repeat your projects or do new ones each year? Honestly, I like a challenge and I like change. I may repeat a process, like the marker prints for those floating leaves you see below, but I rarely repeat a project completely. You learn something each time you teach a lesson...what worked, what didn't, what can be improved upon, added or taken away. I also love learning new ideas and methods from other art teachers and I get excited to share them with my students. So, no. I don't usually repeat projects which means much more work for me but it does keep things interesting and the art shows every changing. 
Who takes the artwork down? So parents hang it up right outside the classroom teacher's doors. I do that so the kids can easily find their work. This also makes taken the art down a lot easier. A few days after the art show, the teachers take down the artwork during our field day and various other activity days that seem to fill the end of the school year. 
 How do you insure the artwork gets home safely? The fabulous assistants at my school create a paper portfolios for each child in our school. They start right after spring break and fold large sheets of bulletin board paper in half and staple the edge. Many teachers have the kids decorate their portfolios while they take their work down. I love how dedicated the teachers and assistants are to making sure the kids' work gets home safely. 
 I tried several new techniques with my third graders this year and they really rocked it. 
 String art was something I'd only done with my fourth graders previously. This year, I did it with third grade and they loved it. 
 Don't the kids get upset that they have to wait all year to take their artwork home? Because we've always done end of the year art shows, the kids know that they have to wait to take their work home. One thing the kids are always excited to take home are their clay projects. That's why I wait until after spring to do those projects: so the kids won't have to wait as long to take them home! It also makes storing those bigger pieces a lot easier knowing that I only have to find a place for them for about a month...not longer.
 Seeing these fourth grade works of art makes me sad...I'm miss these artists!
 At the end of the school year, even though my kids have worked all year, I only have a handful of works of art from them. Why is that?! I have found this to definitely be the case with my third and fourth grade artists. The answer is easy: they do projects that are more detailed and time consuming! You are teaching them so many techniques in one project...it can take a while. Also, my fourth graders had three 3-D pieces on display this year: sewn and stuffed monsters, plaster candy hearts and clay bobble heads. All of those took many weeks to complete leaving us with less time for 2-D works of art. It's okay! As long as your artists are creating and having fun, you are on the right track. 
I hope you enjoyed the art show! Another one in the books. Love to hear about your art shows in the comments, y'all. 

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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Spotlight on Talk of the Town

Yesterday was a really fun and exciting day: I was on News Channel 5's midday show Talk of the Town! You can catch my four minute segment here. I was featured on the show to chat about my book which is now available for purchase. I had such a great time that I thought I'd share the experience with you. 
Talk of the Town is a midday show that airs each day of the week and features authors, artists, chefs, gardeners (you name it!) who happen to be local. I received an email from the host Meryl Rose not too long ago (via the marketing director of my book) asking if I'd be up for a segment. Of course I happily agreed! During the summer, Talk of the Town is a fave midday show of mine. 

I was asked to go on the show the day after the art show. I have been so busy with this mural and the art show (big ole blog post to come!) that I readily agreed to be on the show...and then promptly put it out of my mind. I had too many other items on my plate to take care of first! But on Tuesday evening, when the art show was over, I had to start wrapping my brain around being on the telly the following day.
I gathered up my examples, a couple copies of my book, a project for us to make on air and my buddy Tamara and arrived about an hour before going live. The news station is in downtown Nashville which is always an adventure to drive around (ahem). With the big Nashville growth boom, there is construction EVERYWHERE and parking NO WHERE. I'm so glad I had Tamara with me as I woulda been in panic attack mode. 

When we arrived to the very unassuming building, we were so surprised to walk in to this. It was amazing! So big, quiet and magical. I was also surprised how few folks were working. There were the hosts of the show, the guests (I was on with a chef and a florist) and two camera guys. The cameras now operate by computer and move around on their own. So there just isn't a need for a room full of camera folks. 
When I arrived, I unpacked my projects. A table on wheels was waiting for me to prepare. The hosts were so super nice. Meryl was to interview me. She spent a lot of time chatting with me and getting to know me so that our conversation would flow on television. 

We did run into one small hiccup though. My clay demonstration called for me to step on the clay. Because of the way the cameras were set up, I was not able to place the clay on the floor and step on it. Instead I was to do it on the table. Meryl went in search of a pair of shoes but didn't come up with one that would work. It was then decided that I would go LIVE barefoot so that I could use my shoes for the demo. That's right! I was barefoot during my segment. You can take the hillbilly art teacher outta the art room but...well, you know the rest. 
The show is a half hour long and my segment was the first of three. With only four minutes to talk, Meryl mentioned that we might not have time to get to the turtle demonstration. I was determined we would squeeze everything in. I mean, I teach 30 minute art classes, I can talk fast when I need to. 
I cannot say enough about what a wonderful experience it was being on the show. Everyone was so sweet, kind and made me feel completely at ease. Thank you to the crew at Talk of the Town for a fun experience! 

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Sunday, May 14, 2017

In the Art Room: Kindergarten Monarchs

Need a big ole messy project that introduces your kiddos to the magic of monarchs and the spectacularness of symmetry? Try this fun painting project that I did with my kindergarteners on for size!
We started our 40 minute session with this video about monarch butterflies. The kids LOVED this short clip! I then had them go "shopping" at the "store" (my term for gathering up supplies) for one large brush, two small brushes and a piece of pre-folded papers. I also had the kids grab their aprons as I knew this was gonna be a messy one. 

This process is similar to one I have done with my second grade kiddos. We created these butterflies a couple of years ago:
Here's a video I created to share that lesson:
Same concept, different lesson!
Once at their seats, the kids wrote their names and teacher codes on the back of their paper. From there, I told them that I'd be painting something on my paper. Whenever they heard me say, "your turn!" they would go for it. When they heard my chime, even if they were not finished, they were to press the pause button to see what I was painting next. 
We worked on big 12" X 18" pieces of paper and the kids had a blast. They loved the magic of printing and symmetry. 
 Once our big masterpieces were complete, we placed them on the drying rack, put our dirty brushes in the paint brush hot tub (where they go to hang out before being washed by my amazing middle school assistant) and learned a song about the monarch butterfly! It's def a earworm of a song, watch out. I've been humming it all weekend. 
These lovelies will be displayed in both the halls and as apart of our clay displays for our art show! It's coming up THIS TUESDAY...I'm so excited. Video tour to come. Until then!
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