Saturday, January 31, 2009

Posting My Picture

I wasn't sure I wanted to post my picture on my blog. After I thought about it though, I realized that I liked being able to put a face with the words I was reading. Not that it really makes any difference - but have you ever found yourself reading a book or an article, then after reading it, you go to the dust jacket or back of the book and look at the author's picture again? I do that, and now I am wondering why. Do we do it to "read" the person's face to see how the words came to be? Is there a relationship between what someone writes and the way they look or their facial expressions? We know for sure that facial expressions and body language play a huge role in conversation, so maybe that is why I am interested in the face of the author after I've read some of his or her words. Whatever the reason, I do know that I enjoy looking at the pictures of the people with whom I am communicating. So, here I am.

This has been a good week for me to get things done at home, but a mediocre week to get things done at school. Mostly because we missed two days this week. I do feel good about the writing the students have accomplished in the past few days. I know they will love it when they start receiving replies from the colleges they wrote to. I will feel badly for those students who don't receive anything in the mail, but maybe they can write another letter to those colleges who send things out.

At home I've been able to knock out some housework (always a struggle to keep ahead of the dogs and the barn track-in), so I feel good about that. Plus, I've been organizing in my studio area AND playing. Last night I stamped and embossed on some jars, and they look good. I used Staz-on ink for some and White Daisy ink by Close to My Heart and the new stamps Deb and Jackie got me for a belated B-day gift. So, I think today will be more of the same - clean a little, organize a little, play a little. Tomorrow I plan on going in to my classroom and working. I still need to work on my classroom library reorganization process, but that is moving along thanks to two of last year's fifth graders, now all grown up and in sixth grade, who have been coming in during their free time to help me out. The other jobs waiting are {dum de dum-dum} lesson plans, of course, and grading papers. Dirty jobs, both, but someone has to do them!

Thursday, January 29, 2009


There must have been some bad spirits watching when I did the snow dance yesterday because I got my car stuck in the drive this morning! I just knew the superintendent of our district must have meant no school when he called for that two-hour delay this morning, but I faithfully tried to go to work anyway. And, just because I forgot the part of the snow dance routine where you call out no crosses, I had to pay the piper. About 25 feet out from the garage door, I got my car impossibly stuck. So, did I have to go to work anyway? Yes, but someone came and got me. The good thing is, most of the students were there this morning, and we got a writing project just about finished up for the book we're reading, The BFG. If you're not familiar with The BFG, it's a story about a big, friendly giant who snatches a little girl out of her bed at an orphanage because she saw him. He takes her to Giant Country, so my students had to write a paragraph telling where giant country is, then create a map to go with their writing.

Some other thoughts: The weekend is coming, and even though I didn't make anything other than the widow paper doll last weekend, I did spend quite a bit of time down in the basement cleaning and organizing this week, so I feel like I can go down and work this weekend without guilt since it's so clean and neat down there. But, as the title of my blog states, my best thing to do is "Junk it Up!" And that is just exactly what I will do when I go there to play. Cover me in glue and roll me in fibers. I'm lovin' life!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Doing the Snow Dance

We did the teacher snow dance today, and look what happened! I knew I didn't have enough weekend this past weekend! I just didn't think my little ol' snow dance would produce this much nasty white stuff. I think I'm going to grow up to be snow bird one of these days. I absolutely do not like winter. Sure, it's pretty to see a snowy scene on a calendar page, but who wants to deal with it all winter long?? And why, in all those homey Currier and Ives pictures, is the snow never dirty? Around our house, the snow is yellow with dark splotches most of the winter. And that's one good thing I just thought of for a new snowfall; it covers up the pee spots. Our dogs are not the delicate types who think they need to be private in their eliminations - they just stop at the edge of the sidewalk, or in the case of my dainty little girl whose picture is my avatar, she just stands in the middle of the path where the snow is lowest and makes her deposits. If my legs were only three inches long, and my belly as fat as hers - wait, my belly IS as fat as hers- I would . . .oh, never mind.

Got my hair done this P.M. and went grocery shopping. I figured I better make the best of my time in town, and I was having to get pretty creative in the cooking arena the past few days since I hadn't done a grocery stock-up for over a month. We're good to go now, because I even bought T.P. and laundry soap. You know, the essentials along with the other necessities like coffee creamer, doughnuts, and box wine. So hey, we're set. No more white roots, and groceries, too. Life is good!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Writing Letters

Today was a day of worn-down pencils and sore hands for my students. I teach three sections of grade five language arts and reading, and all three sections worked like little monks scribing all period. As part of a project sponsored by a local group, our students are exploring post-secondary education options by writing business letters (fifth grade indicator) to Ohio colleges requesting information and hopefully, a pennant to display at school. Instead of having the students compose their own letters, I used a sample that was given to me in a packet of materials from the organization last summer when I attended a seminar. The group also paid for postage and a small stipend for stationery, which was great because I ended up footing the bill for a lot of postage last year when I pursued another letter-writing project.

It always amazes me how much kids like sending letters. They were all very careful of their cursive handwriting and making sure they got the format just right. I love "authentic" projects like this, because even though some kids may not get a response, they all treat it as serious, "official" business. The icing on the cake are the replies. Last year's project was a name game book, and I had students look up celebrities who had the same name as theirs and write letters requesting autographs. Some celebrities who replied were Steven Segal (sp?), Rachel Ray, Michael Jordan, Raquel Welsh, and Kyle Busch, among many others. The letters, photos, and trading cards the students received were scanned into their books, and then they got to take their keepsakes home. If anyone is interested in the Name Game lesson plans and grading rubrics, email me or leave a comment, and I will make arrangements to get all that info to you.

I used the Student Treasures Company who sends out free book kits to teachers. This is a great company because their kits are free, postage is free, and the only catch is that a K-2 grade has to participate because at that grade level, only the teacher gets a free class book that all the students create together. The company hopes that parents will purchase extra copies and this apparently brings in enough income that the company can extend the free hardback book offer to the other students who participate. I've used this company several times, and my students have written a local sesquicentennial history book that utilized trips to the local library, a walking tour of their town and speech from a local historian, and trips to the court house and county recorder's office. Other times kids have made autobiographies, ABC books, and cookbooks.

So, I hope all my students get something cool in the mail so they can brag about having written and honest-to-gosh, real, actual, prehistoric letter!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Play Time is Over

Play time is now officially over for another week. I had a fabulous time messing around and JUNKING IT UP! in the basement. Yep, I glued everything that wasn't already covered in glue, and I absolutely, positively, glued all my fingers together! Kidding! I made this doll, and her clothes, and the clothes are made of crepe paper, which, when glued, gets REAL sticky REALLY quick. And, that whole sticky mess bleeds onto your fingers and makes them a delightfully, gluey, fiber-y, colorful MESS! I love it!!!! Can you tell I had fun? I'm not so sure about my creation. When I showed her to my husband, he said she looks mean. I didn't see it until I put her clothes on and took her photograph.

So here she is in her drillies (she even has fishnet hose and garters with bling!), and here is her outfit, and then here she is all dressed up. I think she is a widow. Does she look like one? Anyway, I have to think on her a bit. Maybe she just needs some different clothes. I wanted her to be Spanish when I first started. I'll think on it and get back to you.

Yes, I do think it is going to be necessary to make her another outfit. Her hat does not show her face very well. She's going to have to cast off those widow's weeds and get back into her life.

Maybe you'll see her in another incarnation - maybe not.


It's playtime, folks! Just ran upstairs to get some templates copied on the computer, and it's off back to the dungeon to play. Making some dolls tonight. Maybe some pics later - maybe not. We'll see what I get done. Gotta dash - more later!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Etsy Stuff

These are some views of my things on Etsy right now. Some are handmade, some are vintage. Feel free to contact me with questions.

Feeling Lucky

Have you ever been to a fortune teller? I haven't, but I would love to go to one. Although I know that the little gllimpse of one of my creations shown below is a stereotypical image, I still find romanticizing some of my artistic interpretations in that way is fun. And, I certainly do not wish to be disrespectful to certain Romish heritages - indeed, I find those people to be of hardy, resourceful stock. Anyway, this is a little peek into a piece of artwork I created recently, and I wanted to share it because I really like the way it turned out.

This is a tiny peek, and I will leave it up to you to guess at her identity, but I do have say I am very happy with her outcome. I did all the watercolors myself, as well as designing and making all her clothes of paper. Here is another view of her "abode."

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Where Do You Find Your Time?

It seems as if I wish my time away waiting for the weekend to get here so I can vent my creative energies, but as Friday slowly wends its way here, I start looking around at all the housework waiting to be done over the weekend, and feel my urge to create just evaporate! Where do people find time to create? Between my job, daily chores, family obligations, and the occasional emergency, I feel as if my creative time is time stolen from something more important. I know there are people who say, "Take ten minutes and sit down and do something you enjoy," but I'm not a ten minute type of person. It takes me longer than that just to decide what to work on! Oh well, when they invent a way to make more time, I'm going to get in line for some! In the meantime, it's almost Friday, and I think the housework will still be here for some power-cleaning on Sunday.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Books Were Still There!

Okay, what's up here? I went back into my classroom today, and the books were still piled up where I had left them! I PROFESS to hoping some major magic had taken place and they would have been miraculously returned to their proper places on the shelves.

No time for anything more than a quick jot, here, though. Grades are due in the computer by tomorrow night, and I still have tons of papers to grade. Now I need those paper-grading elves!

I'm still expending brain power on thinking about my doll house interior and exterior collages. What I was doing before was using pieces of printed paper to make the rooms' accessories, and it was just looking too "flat." I think better approach would be to make the drawings myself and have a more childlike look to everything. Think stick figures here - I'm thinking Conte crayon or charcoal drawings. Anyway, Friday is still a few days off, so I will chew it over a little more. Any suggestions out there?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Books, Books, and More Books

I went in to my classroom today to work on reorganizing my student library. Ugh! A one day job it is not. Our county educational consultant (bless her little heart!) volunteered to come in and help me make my cataloging system more student friendly, and I took her up on it. Well, after four hours of work and a wonderful Panera Bread lunch, I am nowhere near done. As a matter of fact, it is going to take a major push tomorrow morning for the students who sit neat the bookshelves to even be able to find their desks! I am going to have to go in VERY early in the A.M. tomorrow and try to get a little more organized, but I am still going to need to ask the students to help me. Oh well . . .

On a brighter note, the weather here in Ohio is getting a little warmer! After temps in the five to ten below zero range for a few days, that thirty degree increase to the mid-twenties felt downright balmy! Toward the end of January, I always begin thinking that spring is near, but then I wake up and remember that February through April are always really crappy months around here. The really good news is that it will be warm enough this weekend to be able to go over the the Scrap Shack and play this weekend. Deb and Jack played last weekend, but being the wimp that I am . . .

I'm finally ready to go back to a project I started last winter, but got tired of. I had purchased Sally Jean Alexander's book, Pretty Little Things, and had made several of the things in it like the Home Sweet Home swag, the lighted house, and a few other projects of my own design. Then I decided I was going to make the doll house. I worked on it for a month or so of Friday evenings, then I just lost interest in it.. I got hung up on the collages for the interior walls, plus I don't really like my exterior collages. The glass is all cut and ready to foil, and I think I have some new ideas in mind for the collages. I need to let go of my "too realistic" look and be more abstract in my interpretation. We'll see. Meanwhile, take a peek at my house sans its base. My husband has it on his list of Honey-do's to rout some grooves for my house to set in.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


I have to clarify something about the moniker I sign my posts with and the way I introduced myself in my first post. I intro'd myself as Lil Spotted Dog, and the reason for that was because that's what my Etsy name is. Because I wanted this blog to go in the direction of paper arts and altered art, I chose to call myself "Glue Girl." That's because, if you read my profile, I disclosed that I've never met a glue I didn't like. Although that's not strictly true, I sure do like my glue! And, I have to be honest and tell you that I catch a lot of grief from my friends about my messy habits! Anyway, that's been bugging me since I realized it, so consider yourself clarified!

So Much Living; So Little Time

I have rediscovered the joy of blogging! I mean, I had dabbled a little a couple of years ago, but I wasn't particularly dedicated. Now, for some reason, I feel more renewed and energized. I think it has to do with my outlook on life. After being a person of size for so many years, I have finally made a commitment to becoming a healthier me. On February ninth, I go to my nutritionist for my final visit before bariatric surgery.

I know some may think that is too drastic a step, or that it may not last, but I know that for me it is almost like being handed a new life. After suffering for years with osteoarthritis, two knee replacements, and a host of foot problems, I hope to have again the mobility and energy to reclaim the life I once had.

Anyway, help me maintain happy thoughts and send me your good vibes. I have discovered some fabulous people in the pages of their blogs, in addition to a friend whose blog I have followed for several years, and I'm looking forward to these amazing people speeding me on my way to renewed growth and passion in what I love.

One of these, The Art Nest (, I found when I looking for Sally Jean Alexander's web page. I felt an immediate connection to these people just from looking at the pictures of all the fun they were having at one of their retreats. I wanna go! That's another thing - for several years friends and I have talked about going to one of these retreats, and we've never gone (Well, we did go to one at Stratton House, and I'll tell about that one sometime), but I want to go MORE, MORE, MORE! Not only was I drawn to the happiness and camaraderie radiating out from those people in the photos, but their stashes grabbed me and I just oogled every picture of the luxurious fabrics and ribbons. And, that is not even to mention the most fabulous little metal bits and pieces of handmade jewelry and adornments that I spied.

It was enough to make me slobber! Just kiddin'! I only slobber at meals; not on my precious! (tee-hee) Seriously, here is an open invitation - I have lots and lots of pretties, too, and if there is anyone out there who would like to exchange bits and pieces from their stashes, I'd LOOOOVE to do that. Any takers . . .?

I suppose the next step is for me to photograph some of my stash to entice people to swap stuff with me, so look for that next. Until then, I'm off to ogle and slobber over other people's stuff . . .

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Welcome Aboard to Me!

Well, here I am, the Lil Spotted Dog. This is the place to hear about all things junked up, glued up, and well, just about anything. I am all about any kind of paper arts. I make altered books, ATC's (thanks to my friend Cathy at, scrapbook layouts, stained glass (see "Pretty Little Things" at, and paper dolls, among other junk.

My philosophy is, "Leave no bare spot unadorned!" Some of my favorite things are antique and vintage raw brass and copper pieces, and anything "blingy." My artwork has been published in Making Memories magazine, Somerset Memories, and Kay & Company's first idea book.

I have participated in numerous ATC swaps as well as round robin artwork collaboratives. Other interests I have are animals, (LOOOOOVE my miniature dappled dachshunds, Fritz & Freda), reading, and sewing. I recently made a frou-frou homecoming dress that was very short, very strapless, and very tight - but not for me (tee-hee!). I also like anything old. I have a vintage and antique button collection, a collection of antique clothing which includes some gorgeous Civil War-era outfits, and a huge stash of antique jet trims that I use in my artwork. My favorite season is Fall, and I love the smell of the fallen leaves freshly turned earth. I love to dig in the dirt, but I'm not a very good gardener because I hate to weed!

I am a public school teacher, so I fit my creative time in where I can, but most Friday evenings I can be found at the home of one of my friends, Deb, where we play until the wee hours. I also have a great area in my basement devoted to my beloved junk. Right now this area should be in the witness protection program and remain anonymous. Suffice to say that it needs some major organizational magic worked upon it.

If you are interested in seeing any of my "stuff" or creative endeavors, take a peek at my shop on Etsy, Lil Spotted Dog. And now, you've had a chance to meet me, leave me a comment, and I'll get a chance to meet you!