December 27, 2014

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Whew! I survived December! It has been a hectic month over here. As soon as I got back from the NYSATA conference I was busy working on stocking my Etsy Shop and Midnight Sun in Oswego. A new custom mug design brought in a ton of extra orders and kept me busy most nights of the week.
I fired two loads of wares this month! I was able to keep my inventory full in both shops too!

December 7, 2014

I'm alive!!

For me, Thanksgiving break means the start of the holiday season. Not Black Friday, not Cyber Monday ( which I feel like both have taken over the month...) but it's the holiday season for my studio!
This means I spend nearly every waking moment in my studio getting custom creations made for people all over the U.S.! So if you are wondering where I have been I apologize. I've been killing it with custom mugs this season. Unfortunately my social and social media life get put on the back burner this month. And the posts will be slow until the rush is over. 
In the meantime, shop local and check out my shop 
See ya soon! 

November 25, 2014

NYSATA Conference Workshops Recap!

Another conference is in the books! I spent the past weekend in Albany with fellow art educators sharing information, meeting enthusiastic teachers and teaching 3 workshops!  I also sold some of my pottery as well! If you couldn't make it to the workshops I have made my Prezis public so you can view them on your own. Enjoy and feel free to leave comments or get in touch if you have questions.

November 16, 2014

10 Art Ed Conference Tips and Tricks!

It's my most favorite time of the year! No, it isn't Thanksgiving, the holidays or snow days, it's our annual NYS Art Teacher Association Conference! Next week, I will be heading to Albany to meet old friends, make new ones, teach three workshops, sell my wares, win some freebies and receive the NYSATA Region Art Educator of the Year Award! And I am beyond excited!

As you know, I am a nerd. I love learning and sharing, which is why I started this blog. Once a year sharing just wasn't enough! But at conferences I can win stuff. I am what some call a 'wizard' at

November 10, 2014

Origami Fortune Teller Cootie Catcher for Critiques and Assessments

I don't know about you, but I am prone to 3 AM brainstorms. You know, you can't sleep because your brain is going a mile a minute with ideas. Maybe you haven't experienced this yourself, but if you are a teacher or creative person you will understand. Many of my best ideas come to me during this time and I have taken to typing notes in my phone and attempting to decipher them in the morning.
Well, I had one of these brainstorms and followed through with it immediately.

I somehow stirred up a memory of a cootie catcher and thought it would be a fun way to have students talk about artwork and assist them in engaging in artistic conversations and critiques.

November 1, 2014

Halloween Shenanigans Inspired by Pop Art

Well the longest week for teachers came and went. A holiday centered around costumes, candy and a building full of 4 through 11 year olds can turn dreadfully awful for teachers if not handled properly.
Yeah, you might have a few hyped up kids of your own after Friday night, but we had 350 of them. And no one is absent on Halloween! 

October 31, 2014

Marbled Paper and Ezra Jack Keats Art Project!

My second graders are starting one of my favorite projects. I think I say that about every project, but I really love this one. We are working on creating marbled paper which we will use for an Ezra Jack Keats inspired collage.

October 26, 2014

New Bad Morning Coffee Mugs!

School has been back in session for about 2 months and I am battling with the teacher/artist balance. I have been finding a few hours here and there to make mugs and custom orders have been keeping me busy. I have a new batch of  bad morning mugs that I have put in the Etsy shop, are guaranteed to get a laugh and make any coffee drinker really happy.
Up in the studio
Lots of mugs getting glazed!

Final Products! 

October 17, 2014

Fall Bookmaking for Primary Students

A few weeks back I posted about this beautiful Jackson Pollock inspired paper my students created.

After making some leaf prints, we will be transforming this paper into beautiful books!

October 15, 2014

Creating Random Groups in the Art Room!

Nothing is worse than being the kid that is left without a partner. It's like being the last kid picked for the kickball team. Embarrassing, crushing, nothing I ever want to happen in my classroom. I had this brainstorm while sitting in a workshop this summer discussing group assignments. Popsicle sticks with a variety of ways to assign for pairs and groups.

October 13, 2014

How to Pick Random Volunteers in the Art Room

We have all been there, that moment when you have to call on a student to answer a question and the same kids raise their hands and the same ones don't. You get to know your students well in an art room having them year after year and you know which students know the answer, which ones don't and who isn't paying attention.
The last thing you want to do is crush a student's esteem by calling out this behavior and having them stare at you blankly unable to answer.
This look. 
Yeah. That look. It happens.

September 30, 2014

Easy Art Room Jobs and Cleanup!

An art room can't be kept cleaned and organized without getting your students to pitch in. Clean-up can be a time suck if it is not planned, practiced and a routine. I assign art room jobs to help with cleanup.

September 20, 2014

Fall Projects: Jackson Pollock Paper

Another one of my favorite fall projects is making Jackson Pollock paper with my first graders. We learn about color mixing, warm colors and the artist Jackson Pollock.
I start the project by asking students how they think this artwork was made. Be prepared for really creative answers! I could listen to my students discuss and critique artwork all day, they have the best imaginations!
I then ask them how big they think it is, then show a picture of me next to one of his works.
After a quick demo I let the students paint like Jackson Pollock. I have stations set up around the room. First ,  the roller station. They use these textured sponge rollers and red and yellow paint and paint on a 12x18 paper. I go heavy on the yellow paint and just a bit of red in the trays. Once again, write their names with sharpies and have them flip the paper or not paint their name.

September 12, 2014

One of Those Days...

It was one of those days...
My lovely new markers that I have fell in love with (Papermate Flair for the pen nerds out there) are not waterproof. I tested these out and put some water on them and they didn't bleed. 

But after labeling 40 coffee filters which accidentally got wet on the trip to the Pre-K room I found out they weren't. 

September 10, 2014

DIY Upcycled T-Shirt Project

My husband's birthday was last week. He is a musician and has acquired a surplus of band tees over the years. I always wanted to make him a tshirt quilt but lack the patience to hover over a sewing machine for hours. He recently put a bunch of these shirts in our donate bin. I had a brainstorm and decide to upcycle these shirts into some wall art.
Add caption

September 8, 2014

Starting the School Year in the Art Room!

One of the best things about being the art teacher is that the first day of the school year just picks up where we left off last year. Besides a few new faces each year and a few changes in the art room we really only need to review instead of establishing routines and procedures. 
I decided to start the year off with International Dot Day.  I showed the kids this video of the book being read so they can see and appreciate the illustrations. We discussed the moral of the story The Dot by Peter Reynolds which is just trying and seeing where it takes you!
Students were pretty excited to be able to paint on the first day of art class too! 

September 1, 2014

Back to School-Art Room Prep

My school is finally getting AC! Unfortunately this means that the entire school has been undergoing some major construction and teachers were unable to get into there rooms. And if you could get in they often looked like this...
Not much to do here...
I went in today in hopes of getting in and getting some work done. With just two days until students arrive I was getting antsy and my to do list was growing! 

August 27, 2014

Fall Projects- Silly Secondaries for Kindergartners

School is starting in a WEEK! I am going to share with you my favorite 3 fall themed projects for my primary students. I generally opt for seasonal projects instead of holiday themed projects with my students. There will be no Santas, ghosts, goblins or leprechauns being made in my art room!
Seriously, how adorable are these pumpkins!? I do this project each fall with my kindergartners. You can see the progression and past galleries below.
Silly Secondaries 2013   Silly Secondaries 2012  Silly Secondaries 2011 Silly Secondaries 2010

August 23, 2014

What to Wear to a Warrior Dash

So this is a little off my usual topics but I feel like I'm an expert in dressing for obstacle course race events, like the Warrior Dash. So if you are a first timer in an obstacle course like event listen up!

August 20, 2014

2013-2014 Art Project Recap & Planning

I'm gearing up for another year and am working my 2014-2015 Year at a Glance. I keep this handy guide in front of my gradebook and leave a notes for the next year. After some review,  I am dropping a few, adding a few and moving some projects to different times of the year.

My classroom currently looks like this.

Our school is finally getting AC and I am getting new ceiling tiles as well. I can't really do much in my room since all this work is getting done so I am doing what I can from home. So I was glad to have to digital resources to refer to while planning this summer. I upload nearly all of my students' work to Artsonia and kept track of all my plans this year on Planbook. I was able to use all of these plus some projects I was hoping to add from My Pinterest page to build my year at a glance.

You can see what we did last year by visiting my student gallery on Artsonia. 

Check out my post on Why I switched to .

How do you plan for the new school year? Start fresh?Keep favorites?

August 16, 2014

Google Forms: Adding Video and Images

I have convinced you of how amazing Google Drive is, you have made your first form and now you want more! Besides asking short answer and multiple choice questions you can incorporate other media like videos, artwork, images and drawings into your form.
How could you use this option in the art or class room?

August 10, 2014

Integrating Technology: Where do you land?

I stumbled upon this wonderful and clever metaphor last week. After taking some and teaching some technology classes this summer I can easily place myself on the scale. I can also identify where my colleagues fall on this scale as well. Some people embrace change and technology and some people shun it! Thoughts are welcome!

Where do you land? Do you want to change that?

August 6, 2014

Google Forms- Getting Started with the Basics

Want a quick and paperless way to get feedback and responses from your students? Want to impress your administration with beautiful data, charts and graphs demonstrating student growth? Sick of grading, sorting and passing back around exit slips, handouts, test and quizzes?

August 5, 2014

Weekend Recap- A Little Bit of Everything!

Remember when I said this blog is about me as an artist, art teacher, deal finder and DIY-er. I did every single one of them this weekend. And because I'm a visual person it is mostly in photos.
Saturday was the Cortland Wine and Arts Festival. Beautiful weather and it was
 my top grossing show ever!!

August 1, 2014

Earning Extra Money with Swagbucks !

A while ago I wrote about earning some extra cash during summer vacation  . As we enter August, some of us may be wondering how we are going to make it to the first paycheck of school year! I'm going to remind you of a few ways to earn extra cash to help you out! 

July 31, 2014

Google Drive- Getting started with Folders, Uploads and Sharing

Yesterday I convinced you of 10 reasons why you should be using Google Drive. And now you decided to take the leap and open a Google account. Congrats! Let's get started and take a quick tour of the features!

July 30, 2014

10 Reasons Why You Should Be Using Google Drive In Your Classroom

On the fence with going to a Google account? Afraid of leaving your old email account? Here are 10 reasons why you should consider the switch to Google.

July 23, 2014

Padlet A Collaborative Workspace for Students

In my blended learning class we got to experiment with Padlet. It is an interactive real time place for students to write responses, ideas and share information. Students do not need an email account to use which is huge for elementary students who often don't have their own emails (or an extra step that simply takes up too much time.)
So here are some examples of a Padlet. I embedded the code from the website ( where I create them. I have an account and I can modify the document any time I want (and it will change where ever it is linked to). Contributors can only modify their own comments.
Created with Padlet

I really could see this being helpful in the class room to have each class monitor their own progress. 

Created with Padlet
Or students could have an ongoing critique of an artwork. 
I would instruct students to type their name (red) and response below.

Created with Padlet

The formatting is off a bit because of the width of my blog, but returns to normal on my website. 

What type of collaborative tools do you use in your classroom? Do you have another platform that you use?

July 16, 2014

What a Weekend- Artisan Show and Life Recap!

Whew! I survived my first two day art show in Skaneateles, NY! We had beautiful weather and a steady crowd both days. I had spent the past two weeks in my studio prepping, creating, brainstorming, glazing and firing. I am not looking forward to the electricity bill from the 6 firings I did! Check out the post I did on my in progress work. 
Mugs, chip and dip bowls. 

July 7, 2014

Back to School Supply Shopping! Penny Deals are Here!

Ok, I have been on summer vacation  for a week a penny deals are already popping up!?
What are penny deals? Major office supply stores like Staples and Office Max/Office Depot offer amazing deals on back to school supplies. These deals can get you supplies for a penny(or a nickel or a quarter! )With some planning you can get your child's entire supply list taken care of and stock pile your classroom for under $20. Not close to either store? You can bring the ad to the following stores for a price match. Read the policies to make sure you follow the rules! Walmart  Staples(scroll to bottom)  Target

July 4, 2014

Getting Cheap Landscape Supplies!

Ahhh....summer. That time of year when we get outside and realize that something needs to be weeded, planted, mulched, moved or trimmed. I grew up on a dairy farm, enjoy being outside and getting my hands dirty. I don't however enjoy spending money each year on landscaping. On a trip to one of our local home improvement stores, Lowe's, I stumbled onto quite a deal. 
Next time you are checking out mulch, topsoil or gravel look for the bags that are in clear trash bags. These items have been damaged, broke one or lost a  little product and they sell them to you for HALF OFF or $1 a bag! No really! I got several bags for $1 each-gravel and high quality mulch. 
So next time you are shopping for landscaping supplies, keep your eyes peeled for these bags. Depending on the quantity on the floor they may be a $1 or half off. 
Happy Landscaping! 
What is your favorite way to save on landscaping? 

July 3, 2014

Studio day! Getting my Hands Dirty!

After a quick weekend of camping with friends, I came back ready to get in the studio. I have spent the last three days making up for lost time. I received an order for dog bowls on the last day of school and that kick started me. Plus, I have my first two day art show on July 11 and 12th in Skaneateles. I have never done a two day show and have no idea what to expect for sales so I am stocking up and hoping to go home with an empty car! 
 Here is what I have been up to! 

I spent Monday working on my order and some hand building. 

June 9, 2014

5 ways to Use Zip Top Bags - Can't live without them!

I am frugal and I like to spend money wisely. Zip top bags aren't cheap, even the generic brands so I have a hard time justifying their use. Granted some are donated, some I pick up on sale and I did order some with my supplies this year. This year I have broke down and really starting using my stash of zip top bags. Boy, I am glad I did!  How do I use them?


June 5, 2014

Be a Team Player...

As a special area teacher I feel like we are often asked a lot of favors by other teachers and administrators. I also try to be a people pleaser (most of the time)  and say yes to my fair share of favors. They often work to my advantage but at the end of the day I am pooped. Well today was one of those days.

To begin I had a teacher nightmare and woke up at 5 AM. If you are a teacher you are well aware of this phenomenon and they generally happen when you are stressed out about work. This particular one was about me standing in line at the nurse's office waiting to get my head checked for lice. Ew. I couldn't fall back asleep and was driving to work when my alarm went off.

May 30, 2014

You Got Mail! Student Gifts

Today was a different story though. I checked my mailbox bright and early and this amazing postcard was in it!

May 25, 2014

How to Pay LESS for Good Sneakers!

I like to run. I don't like paying a lot for running gear. So I have found a few ways to save money on gear and earn cash and rewards for working out. Here's my story. =) 

I finally had to break down and buy a new pair of sneakers. I have been dreading this purchase since my favorite sneakers from Asics have been discontinued and would have to try on several pairs of sneakers to find the right fit. I have been checking the ads every week and knew I was going to spend $100 on a good pair of shoes. Eek. I'm not a name brand snob but I know a $40 pair of shoes won't cut it. So I have found ways to make this hurt a little bit less.

May 23, 2014

Memorial Day Deals!

It's our last long weekend before summer vacation! Our town has a parade that comes right up our street and I spent the first day of this weekend preparing for it. This means lots of dreaded errand running. I had to make stops at 5 stores...ugh. But the stores are within a mile of each other and the savings is worth it. I found some deals and decided to share them with you!
My first stop was BJ's. Our membership expires at the end of the month and I am not sure if I want to renew it. I decided to stock up on essentials like our favorite brews, coffee, peanut butter, ziptop bags, fill up the propane tank and top off the gas tank. I called around a few local places and found that BJ's has the best price at $11.99 for a 20 gallon tank fill! 

May 21, 2014

Summer Savings! Earning Extra Money Without Working Too Hard!

As summer vacation approaches I always worry about saving money, paying the bills, and stashing away enough cash for us to make it through the summer. Over the years, I have found ways to make a little extra money that add to my summer savings.

I can't begin any money saving post without referring to my favorite blogger, +IamTHATlady ! She has helped me save thousands of dollars, check out my post on saving and her blog I Am That Lady. She

May 20, 2014

Round 1-Materials I Can't Live Without-Clothespins!

I am pretty sure if someone asked me what I couldn't live without in my art room, it wouldn't even be an art material! I recently realized my absolute reliance on these simple products that are now on my must have supply list each year. Here are some ideas for some items to add to your list this year (including wish lists!)
Have you ever seen a young child operate a paper clip? Seriously, try it some time.

May 6, 2014

Awesome Simple Free Design Website~Canva!

Have you ever looked at a blog and wonder who has the time or talent to make all those amazing graphics and photos? I know I don't! Being someone who has dabbled in Photoshop and Illustrator I know how time consuming those projects can be!
New Facebook header for our Art Teacher Association
Now and days there is an app or a website for just about everything and I was introduced to Canva just the other day. This awesome website can help you create graphics, presentations, posters, Facebook headers and more! With a few clicks you can get a custom image without the headache of finding fonts, colors, backgrounds, frames and shapes that all coordinate together and are free.

New Facebook header for my blog page! 
I see this being a great introduction to graphic design for my students, focusing on the importance of font, size, and colors. I am going to have a few of my advanced students work with it to see what they come up with and any possible glitches we may encounter.
There are also tons of images to search and add to your project, some you have to pay for, but there are some free ones to choose from as well. I see myself using this site to create stunning graphics for my blog and for school! Stay Tuned!

What is your favorite design site or app? Let me know!

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