Saturday, February 28, 2009

Still Here and With More Babies

Yes, I am still among the living. Both my husband and I have been ill this week. I took two days off school, and should probably have taken a third day off. Richard is just now getting the stuff I had a couple of days ago, but now I'm wondering if we aren't just cycling it back and forth. Our school was in the news this past week. We actually had Channel Ten News come to the school and do a story on our absentee rate. We've consistently had about 20 percent of the student body absent this week. Of course, they came on one of the days I was out sick, so I heard all about it from my students, who were excited about being on T.V. for any reason! We are shutting our school down on Monday so it can be completely disinfected. This will use up our last calamity day, so if anything else happens, we will be making up time.

We have babies! This afternoon about four I was lying down when my husband came in the front door and shouted, "We have twelve. Get out here and help!" In my fog I'm thinking 12? That's impossible, no goat can have twelve babies at a time! Then I realize he's talking about the size our entire herd has become. Duh! But he was wrong, anyway. It wasn't twelve, it was thirteen! Our girl had triplets! We got out there and started helping get everyone dried off. They are all good sized, but right now all three are walking on the ankles of their back feet. Their hooves are bent under. I hate to see that because I'm always afraid their little legs won't straighten out. Heidi's (momma goat's name) last little one was born on our anniversary, and one of her legs was bent pretty badly. It straightened up the next day, though, so that's what I'm hoping will happen with these guys. There are two little males (not good), and a little female. One of the males is a real chooch. He's got a big fat belly on him. All of them fed within half an hour of being born, and that is wonderful.

Heidi is such a good mommy! Last year she had her first set of twin kids, and tragically, they both died. The male was stillborn, and her little girl - so cute - fell into her water bucket and died of exposure when she was three days old. If you've ever been around baby goats, the third day is when they really start jumping and playing and trying out their legs. Those were our very first babies ever, and both of us cried buckets over the second baby dying. I had gone out to check on her around eleven P.M. before going to bed, and I found her. Heidi's next baby was Annie, the anniversary baby, born on August 11th. She is so sweet - and ornery! I think this is really going to get her nose out of joint, since she is used to being joined at the hip to her momma. She is already climbing onto the pen where Heidi is penned with the new babies. I think this will turn her into a real juvenile delinquent!

After the first accident, Richard and I changed practices immediately! No more open buckets around babies, and we put an infrared camera system in the barn. I was actually talking to my mother-in-law on the phone one day when she was enquiring whether or not we had gotten new babies, standing at the counter looking at the monitor telling her no, no new babies yet, when I saw one being born! I screamed, "Hey, call you back, one's being born right now!" I ran out to the barn in time to see it drop to the ground. Babies are so much fun, but I'm just not cut out to be a farmer. I cannot inure myself to the dying that inevitably occurs. I just came in from cuddling all three of the new little critters inside my coat, and getting them used to being petted and handled, and I already have images of one of them dying before morning. This is our third set of triplets, and of the three sets, one died out of the first set, and we sold the mama and the three babes of the second set, so I don't know about them. I wonder, though . . .

So anyway, life is exciting and we are getting better at the goat stuff, and we still have one more mama ready to drop a kid any time. This goat, Bessie, had her first baby on Richard's birthday last year, March 1 (tomorrow). So that kid became Birthday Boy. Really - that's his name! Then Bessie had a little girl, Trixie, this summer. So now, maybe she will give us another birthday gift for Richard, but I hope it's a girl. After all, we can't have two Birthday Boys, now can we? That's another bad thing about me; I name all the babies, and then when it comes time to sell them, I have a hard time because they have become family. Like I said, we're not cut out for this farmer stuff.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Creeping Epizootey

My title reflects my current condition: I'm sick. The creeping epizootey, the creeping crud; whatever it is, I've got it, and so do a bunch of my students. I began getting sick over the weekend after a big fifth grade feast of dishes inspired by the children's heritages. This morning I actually got up and went to school, but on the way there I started coughing so badly I couldn't get my breath, so I called for a sub. Luckily they were able to find one on such short notice, and I was able to come home a little later. Before I left, I took attendance and I had seven children absent out of my class of eighteen. Seven! I have never had that many students absent - ever! I'm beginning to think that Friday there was a huge germ sharing going on along with the food sharing. I'm taking tomorrow off, too, and I plan on not doing anything too strenuous. Maybe a little reading, a little blogging, a little Etsy-ing. To all my friends, I hope you are avoiding the creeping epizootey! I'm off to bed - just me and my cough syrup.

Saturday, February 21, 2009


A recent jaunt to one of the blogs I follow has once again inspired me. I am not a very disciplined person, and that is one of my biggest shortcomings. It is probably the single biggest issue my husband and I argue about. He has a specific laundry day, and all his laundry gets folded and put away immediately. My laundry day, however, is whenever I run out of clean underwear! And, it doesn't bother me a whit to rummage through a basket of once-folded clothes to find something to wear. Our closet is a huge source of dissension - his wire clothing drawers feature short stacks of neatly folded clothes arranged by type; my drawers are an explosion of straps and piles that were once folded, with splots of color escaping over every basket. My shoes are a mound that requires extensive excavation on a daily basis. My hanging clothes are neatly hung, but there is no rhyme or reason to their arrangement. This contrasts sharply with his arrangements of work shirts and pants, long-sleeved shirts, etc. All this about laundry is just one example of my approach to life - probably not a very good one, but it's all mine.

A long winded wind-up for what I really meant to say, but a blogger I follow, Jan Mader, is a children's author and writing coach, who has now extended her expertise in writing to those of us who struggle with that. Jan's posts challenge us all: students, authors, bloggers, parents, teachers, anybody or everybody with something to say. She challenges us to think about why and how we write, and she doesn't just throw down the gauntlet. She gets us actively involved in reaching into our heads and pulling out the seeds that we already have within. She encourages by asking questions and creating involving writing exercises. For me, a fifth grade language arts teacher, these activities are a goldmine! I am "creatively appropriating" (stealing) her ideas for use in my classroom. Not only do I think these exercises are valuable tools for getting kids to write; they are immensely helpful to me in getting my own thoughts into words. One of her recent posts, I Promise (, seemed like it could help me become more disciplined, so I'm going to try it. Here goes:

I promise to do my laundry more often.

I promise to get to work earlier in the morning.

I promise to grades papers in a more timely manner.

I promise to help out more with the goats.

I promise to keep my studio area cleaner.

I promise to email my friends and family more frequently.

I promise to weed out my clutter of books and magazines in the living room more often.

I promise to keep my nails looking better.

I promise to unload the dishwasher more quickly.

I promise to differentiate my instruction more.

Now, the part Jan promises is easier: Pick the one of these that "jumps out" at you, and write for five minutes about just that one. And she is right - one does jump out at me, and that is the last one, my promise to differentiate my instruction more. So . . .

My promise to differentiate my instruction is something that I have been thinking about my entire teaching career. I always say that school teachers see a very narrow slice of someone's life and abilities. We have a consigned set of activities that we value, and that slice, many times, does not coincide with an individual's talents and abilities. I am not a huge advocate of the talented and gifted programs in schools because I believe that everyone has something they are better at than someone else and that all children should have opportunities for enrichment. I think every child should have an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) designed just for him or her. BUT - once again that culprit, time, is the issue. So, I just began attending some classes being offered by the ODE for gifted education that I think will help in differentiating instruction for all students in my classroom. The concept I'm studying is called compacting, and it should help by letting students show me what they know, and allowing me to skip reteaching those concepts to them. Also, compacting involves more student choice in assignments through the use of interest inventories and learning modalities, which should increase student motivation.

Okay, I've written for more than five minutes here, but see - Jan was right! When I chose the promise that jumped out at me, it really was easy to write about because I am passionate about it! If you are reading this, I encourage you to visit Jan's blog to see what she has to say. It may be just the spark you are looking for to jump start your own writing or to help a struggling child begin to communicate more freely. Now, for me? I'm going to investigate those other promises, one at a time, to see what I can figure out to do about them!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Nothing New Under the Sun

Yesterday I thought I had a wonderful new idea about making journals and sketchbooks from old books I had chosen for their wonderful covers. I was absolutely crushed when I looked at journals on Etsy. Guess what? It's already being done! Here I thought I had come up with such an original idea. I am now, more than ever before, convinced that there is absolutely NOTHING new under the sun! The only thing original about everything we do is put our own stamp of individuality on things.

I guess what really bothers me about this discovery is that I would not want to be seen as stealing someone else's special design. I did think of it - just not before someone else. I am still going to make these journals because I made my first one last night, and it turned out beautifully. I used deckle-edged paper and it looks really handsome. Very masculine with an eagle and e pluribis unum on a scroll under the eagle. So that is my stamp of individuality and my interpretation of an upcycled, repurposed book!

I also had a new comment on my blog today. I have a friend who lives about twelve miles away, and for whatever reason, we don't see each other often. She's been blogging for several years, and I read her blog often just to keep up with what is going on in her life, since I don't seem to be be able to keep up with her by telephone. Anyway, I am one of her "followers," and I guess she didn't realize I was following her until today. Anyway, she commented on one of my posts that she couldn't figure out who this "Glue Girl" person was that was stalking her. When she looked at my blog, she knew the cat was out of the bag. Now she is making some kind of blackmail threats about stories of glue messes and hot soldering irons and other sordid affairs. Whatever you may read concerning any glue stories or anything else along those lines, DON'T BELIEVE IT! I BEG YOU! NOT TRUE! I NEVER MADE A GLUE MESS! I NEVER . . . well, maybe a little of it is true, a tiny piece, just a corner of the truth. Maybe a spot of glue might have been somewhere it shouldn't have been. Once. Only. I swear . . .

Saturday, February 14, 2009


Today I stopped by a little second-hand store I've been meaning to investigate since it opened a year or so ago. What fun. I found some old books to repurpose, meaning I'm going to tear them apart and make new books and collages from them. I found a really neat little something. I'm not sure of what it really is, but in its new incarnation its going to be a bud vase for a single flower. You know how sometimes you're out looking at the flowers, and you find one whose head has lopped off and it has only about two inches of stem and a three inch head? Well, this little thing I found will be just perfect for that. I think it was meant to be a shot glass or something like that, but I'm repurposing it. I like that word. I've been seeing it a lot on Etsy lately, and even though it's something I've been doing for years when I've made something out of nothing or recycled one thing into something else, repurposing just sounds more sophisticated, like me, sorta, kinda - NOT!

The books I bought to repurpose (think - rip apart) are not valuable first editions or anything like that. I wouldn't purposely destroy a valuable old book. Many people think that just because a book is old, it's valuable, but that is not so. Water or sun damage, brittle decaying pages, chewed up corners, insect damage; all these decrease the useful life of a book. Generally, before tearing up an old book, I will research it on the Internet to see if it is a common book. I haven't found a valuable first edition yet, darn it! Anyway, my plan for the books I bought today is to use their gorgeous covers to make some journals to sell on Etsy. I specifically chose books today that had beautiful covers, and I will make my own pages and use my handy-dandy little Bind-it-All machine to make some gorgeous new books, thus saving these from certain death by landfill.
Anyway, I had fun browsing around, and the store was run by a church, so my money went to a worthwhile cause. A good afternoon, I think.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Valentine's Day is For . . . Class Parties

T.G.I.F. Today was our class Valentine party, and were the students ever wound! We were on a two hour delay schedule which means the class periods were shortened to one hour apiece instead of the usual ninety minutes. You might think that an hour is a long time to have a class, and you'd be right, but it seems like such a short time when I am trying to cram four subjects into that time frame.

Today my students had their usual Friday test/quiz routine. I gave them the weekly spelling test and the weekly Daily Oral Language Quiz. Also, Friday is when they turn in the weekly Daily Oral Language sheet that they take home on Thursday so they can study the week's sentences, and get it signed by a parent to show they studied. Today was ALSO the day I collected independent reading logs, AND the day I had scheduled their first independent reading project to be due. Poor planning on my part! I made MY workload huge!

So here is what the day looked like (times 3, since I teach three sections of fifth graders):

9:10 -9:30 - Morning Opening : 48 students coming into the room at different times bringing
projects in every shape, color, and size; parents bringing
treats and Valentine boxes; students tossing onto my desk
money, excuses, notes to the office, and homework for
different subjects; students telling me that they are going to
challenge, band, and/or breakfast; taking lunch count and
attendance; checking my email for important notices . . .

9:30 -10:00 - Morning Seatwork: Are you finished with your Math Problem of the Day? Have
you studied for your spelling test? Where is your
assignment book? Whose paper is this with no name?
Last call for lunch money and notes to the office. Where is
your math? Whose paper is this with no name? What were
you doing out in the hallway? What do you mean you don't
have a pencil? It's ten o'clock and you should have been
done already!!!!!!

10:00 - 11:00 - Reading/LA #1: Spelling test; Daily Language Quiz; Worksheet for reading;
Sharing projects; Playing with our Valentines; Showing off
our Valentine Boxes for the contest; Asking, "What time
is our party?"

11:00 - 11:30 - Recess: I have outside recess duty. At least the sun was shining,
it wasn't raining, and the kids were OUTSIDE!

11:30 - 11:45 - Lunch: For students; for me, potty break!

11:45 - 12:00 - Study Period: HA! Not today.

12:00 - 12:40 - Related Arts: Phys Ed for them - lunch for me (carrots and dip)

12:45 - 1:45 - Reading/LA #2 Spelling test; Daily Language Quiz; Worksheet for reading;
Sharing projects;

1:45 - 2:45 - Reading/LA #3 Repeat Above !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

2:45 - 3:35 - THE PARTY Homeroom students return and grab their Valentine
boxes from wherever they've been stashed around the room (including a five-foot-long cardboard limo) and put them on their desks. Next, eighteen students converge on me asking if they can pass out their candy, cards, cupcakes, cookies, fruit roll-ups, fruit kabobs, juice, cups, napkins, pencils, stickers, etc. (Room parents have strange looks on their faces) Students simultaneously: play a chopstick game; talk; gorge themselves; deliver "stuff" to other classrooms; vote for biggest, fanciest, and best theme Valentine boxes; gorge some more; chug sweet beverages; make a mess; open Valentines; make jokes; talk; mill around; try to get inside limo box; play bingo; gorge; make a mess, until YIPPEE! 3:35 has arrived!

3:35 - 3:40 Dismissal: Turn lights off; Tell students to put everything in bags;
clean up floor; go to lockers; Give clapping signal: Clap
once if you can hear me, Clap twice and look at me. "Put
your stuff in bags and clean up the floor!" Give school
quiet clap signal; "Put your stuff in bags and get ready
to go!" Turn lights off (again - supposed to stop talking)
"Put your stuff in bags and get ready to go!" Oh heck
"Car riders -leave, Busers -leave, Walkers - leave.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Love Hearing From You

Yesterday I got home later than usual, and I was rather tired because we had a retirement party for our night custodian, Jo. Since I wanted to post a new entry on my blog, but I didn't have a clear idea of what I wanted to write about, I thought I would just jot down a little blurb about the book I had started the night before. I was surprised to find several comments left for me on that post! I enjoy reading the friendly and encouraging comments I receive on some of my posts because it feels like I am connected to that larger universe that I know exists beyond my little school's orbit.

Although I've never had the pleasure of meeting any of you in person, I feel as if you are my newest friends. This blogging stuff is fun! I reflect constantly on my literary development and progress through life, and one constant thread is woven throughout my reflections; if I had not had a mother who was a reader and lifelong learner, I would not be where I am today.

I know there are people who look upon teachers with some disdain and talk about "doing" versus "teaching," but I am the oldest child in a family of twelve children, and I am the only one with college degrees. More than half of my brothers and sisters are high school drop-outs, and my father had only an eighth grade education, so I hope you can understand what an accomplishment it was for me when, at the age of thirty-five, I decided to attend college.

The point I want to make is that I wish more parents would encourage their children to engage in literacy activities at home. Our entire society is so wrapped up in the concept of instant gratification and constant stimulation of the senses, whether through technology, sports, or always being on the go, that literacy education is left entirely to the schools. Schools don't have the time or resources to make sure that students are practicing strategies taught in school and honing their skills to be ready to move on. I'm afraid that many of the students I have are going to have difficulty finding jobs that will provide life's necessities, much less allow them to live the responsibility-free lives many of their parents are now allowing them to live. Also, I hate to burst any budding athlete's bubble, but those big money contracts go to those who work HARD and have big talent, and everyone needs a backup plan.

Even if parents just allow kids to scribble pretend letters and lists or point out environmental print, or tell nursery rhymes to their children, in the end it will impact the way they process and approach literacy, and improve their background knowledge. This last is a biggie with me. Sometimes it is unbelievable to me the lack of background knowledge students are bringing to the table. Is this just because our oral traditions have gone the way of the horse and buggy? I don't pretend to have all the answers, but I do think parents need to interact verbally with their children more often and do some of the other things I've written about to help their children be better able to navigate the world of print. Enough! I'm off my soapbox!

This post started out to as a thank you to those who are kind enough to offer their support and words of encouragement here - Thank you new friends!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

What I'm Reading

Alicia - you're my inspiration for this post; I decided to write tonight about what I'm reading. I love reading your recommendations. I just started reading The Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett. I'm about eighty pages in on this epic novel of about a thousand pages, so I imagine it will take a while to complete. So far, I'm hooked. It's starting off telling the story or Tom, a skilled mason whose dream is to become a master builder on a cathedral. Since cathedrals aren't being built much nowadays, you'd be correct if you assumed that the story is set in former times, as indeed it is. I know I am going to end up crying over this novel as Tom has already lost his wife in childbirth. I'll just excuse myself now to go get the box of tissues ready . . . Then there's the sequel, World Without End, also a backbreaking thousand-pager. I will have plenty to keep me busy while I recuperate from my upcoming surgery.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

One More Visit

Tomorrow will be my last visit with the nutritionist leading up to my bariatric surgery. I am so happy that the time is coming closer and closer for the actual surgery. The preparations for this surgery started six months ago when I attended a seminar for Fresh Start Bariatrics in Columbus, Ohio, at Riverside Hospital. It was pure luck I saw the ad for this seminar in the newspaper. Two years ago I tried to have the surgery through St. Vincent's Charity Hospital in Cleveland, and I was unable to complete the program. The steps to completion for both programs are basically the same, but Fresh Start does everything with you, whereas St. Vincent tells you what to do and then turns you loose to do it on your own.

Anyway, so far I have had to have heart testing, lung function testing, chest x-rays, psychiatric testing, take Prev-pak antibiotics (NASTY) to get rid of h. pylori, the bacteria that causes ulcers, give up caffeine, carbonated beverages, and chewing gum - all forever- learn to drink 60 ozs. of water daily, eat three meals and three snacks per day, count my protein grams, learn to chew well, eat slowly to make my meals last for at least half an hour, have no beverages either half an hour before or after, or with meals, and WHEW! I think I've done it! Also, I have had to lose 29 lbs. before the surgery, but I haven't lost that much, only about ten lbs. So, you can see that it has been a period of re-training my mind and body for the new lifestyle I am embarking on. Eighteen years ago I quit smoking, so maybe by the time I am eighty or so I will have a healthy lifestyle!

The six months of preparation have flown by. The hard part, waiting for the insurance to approve me and to get my surgery scheduled, will drag by much more slowly, I'm sure. I can wait, though. After all, it took me fifty-four years to get fat; I can wait a few more weeks.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Weekend is Coming!

Because of the weather, I haven't been over to the Scrapshack now for over a month, and I am missing my friends. For the uninitiated, the Scrapshack is my friend Deb's converted garage studio. The name was inspired by the fact that the shack, as it is affectionately known, is not very fancy. The fun and camaraderie, the atmosphere, the end products, and the people, however, are second to none.

The most important feature of the Scrapshack, beyond the people, is the fact that we each have our own huge table to sprawl on! Most get togethers at the shack commence with those of us who don't leave our "stuff" there making trip after trip carrying in our boxes, sacks, packs, totes, and whatever else we rat-pack our goodies into. After about an hour of schmoozing, we sort of get down to business. The business of deciding what we are going to eat, that is. Sometimes one or the other of us cooks, sometimes we have a potluck and even allow our -gasp- husbands to eat with us, sometimes we go out to eat, and other times we order in. There is even the rare occasion when we don't have dinner, but just nibble on whatever we happen to have stashed.

After these important rituals have been satisfied and everyone has made at least one trip into the house for potty breaks or a beverage - along about eight or nine o'clock, we settle down and decide to work on something. Usually that is different for everyone. Sometimes we know ahead of time what we want to work on, but most often we just look at our materials or some new paper (At least one of us has a paper obsession and it ain't me) or a new tool or embellishment, and wait for inspiration to strike. (And why does inspiration have to strike? Can't it sometimes creep up on you?) Anyway. Sometimes one of us will just sit there and listen and watch and talk without doing a thing. Another favorite activity at the Scrapshack is fondling. Fondling is just going through your pretties and making feeble excuses about needing to be more organized while you touch and stroke all your cool stuff. Fondling occurs often. Fondling is satisfying. Fondling sometimes even results in a degree of organization. Fondling oftentimes leads to discoveries of things you bought while sleep-shopping. Fondling is good . . . But I digress . . .

Anyway, once we finally get down to the serious business of creating, we become totally engrossed. Time flies by, and before we know it, midnight has come and gone. Usually around midnight is when someone discovers that there is an extremely important tool or necessity that only a midnight visit to Walmart can cure. We all pile into whatever vehicle happens to have the most freed-up passenger space, cruise on over to Walmart and wander the aisles aimlessly, dazed by the hypnotizing florescent lights, until whichever person breaks the spell first calls the others on their cell phones and orders them to the front of the store to check out. The Walmart visits usually induce a sudden desire for eats; Timmy Hortons, Mickey-D's, Sliders from the Castle, or maybe just some gas station flavored coffees. My buddies have learned that it's usually not a good idea at this point to let me eat because I have a condition that causes me to want to go home when my belly gets full. If I don't let my "condition" take over after we come back from our Wally-World visit, we continue on with whatever creation we are in the midst of imagining.

As the night ticks away and we start thinking about it being time to go home we finds ourselves periodically asking, "What time is it?" Someone will flip open a phone and exclaim over the time, but more often than not, we get sidetracked by another technique or comment or conversational tack, and the time slips on unminded again. Finally, one or another of us realizes she can't possibly keep her eyes open another second, and we all start packing up the junk we dragged in the night before. Many times as we are loading our cars, the first faint light is starting to creep up in the east and the birds are stirring in the trees. Loading up takes a while again, and we all help each other carry and gather up, and, after rounds of "Be carefuls," and hugs and "See you's," we back down the drive yawning like mad and make it on down the road. But we'll all be back - ready to do it all over again the next week or the week after -

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I'm Addicted

I'm addicted! Since participating in a swap on Swap-bot designed to gain exposure to your blog, I've had the good fortune to "meet" some wonderful people and read their blogs. The scope of these writers is amazing! I have not spent a great deal of time online in the past reading others' blogs, but all that has changed. I am now subscribing to several blogs and blog lines, and I am quite humbled by the experience. The level of writing, the range of topics, and the depth of feeling put into words by some of those whose blogs I am following is nothing short of amazing! I am also getting tons of ideas for changing the way my blog is presented, so stay tuned as I experiment with layouts, gadgets, tools, feeds, colors, etc. in the coming months. Meanwhile, if you have suggestions for me to improve what I'm doing here, please contact me or leave a comment. I'm here to tell you, you can teach an old dog some new tricks!
My students are continuing to receive packages of goodies and information from Ohio colleges. Today brought three parcels in the mail, and students are eagerly looking forward to getting mail. It always has been a treat for students to be sent to pick up mail for the teacher, but now everyone wants to go check the mail. The coordinator of the program emailed me and told me that she would make sure that any students who didn't receive replies to their letters would get something from her, so that made me happy. I really don't want any child to be disappointed because I know how I feel if it were me being left out. Ohio Weslyan University in Delaware especially generous sending both a T-shirt and a pennant. Go O-WU!
Right now I'm off to follow my blogs - such fun!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

You've Got Mail

My students are starting to get really excited about the letters they wrote last week. One of our fifth grade Ohio LA Curriculum indicators is writing business letters, and my students wrote to Ohio colleges. This week they have been starting to receive replies, and they are lovin' it! Monday a girl receive a pennant from Columbus State (thanks Columbus State!). You know what she was most excited about, though? In the business letter they sent to her, they called her "Miss," and she just thought that was the best thing since sliced bread! Today, another girl received an envelope from The Ohio State University, Lima Campus. She acted just a tad disappointed because she did not get a pennant, but she did receive some very cool 6X8 color postcards promoting the university. I tried to play them up by saying she could send them to other people and write letters on them, but I don't think she was buying it. I am hanging on to the items the students get back until this spring so we can create an " I Can Go to College" wall to display everything. This will piggyback on our science and social studies teacher's unit about jobs, market society, and supply and demand.

This is when the students see the value of what they do in school; when they get something back from the "real world." This is authentic writing - it's what adults do in the course of going about their everyday lives. Now I just wish I could get them to realize that adults spend a lot of time waiting in line and that they don't push, chatter, kick, sing, whistle, or act silly while they are doing it . . . Sigh.
I am posting a picture of another dotee I made this weekend. My husband thinks it is ugly and a total waste of time, but I think it's rather attractive even if its face is lop-sided. I put a lot of work into embroidering the face and doing the beading and embellishment. Just in case you're not sure, it's a cat. Grin. I don't know what I made it for or what I'm going to do with it, but here it is.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Welcome to All My Swap Bot Friends

This post is a welcome to all my friends from Swap Bot. Thanks so much for stopping by and checking out my blog. I am fairly new to all this, so if you can give me any suggestions, I would really appreciate it. Most of the pictures here are of things I have made and have for sale in my Etsy store. I am also willing to do trades or private swaps. Just let me know what the protocols are for that type of thing. You may be able to tell from the pics what kind of things I am into, but just in case, I love paper manipulating, vintage/antique findings and embellishments, metal, ATC's altered books - basically just about anything.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

My First Dotee Doll

I just finished my first Dotee Doll last night, and I'm not sure if I made her correctly or not. After going through and looking at all the different Dotee Dolls on other people's websites, including Dot's, the original creator's site, I am convinced that I messed up by stamping her face instead of sewing it or drawing it. I think she turned out rather, um, cute? I named her BrideZilla because she is over the top in all her finery, and as we all know, on that show Bridezilla the women are just nuts. Anyway, if anyone could weigh in with an opinion on whether I need to redo her face or not, I sure would appreciate your input. She is for a swap on Swap-Bot, and I don't want to disappoint.

The weather here in central Ohio has turned into a tropical paradise again! We are up in the 40's as of noon, and I have been out on the deck in short sleeves and barefoot. I'm tellin' ya, It's almost bikini season!

I had some help in my quest for organization yesterday. My hubby came down and made little wooden spacers for some bins I was using on my work table, and he even wire-tied them together for me so they won't come apart. I knew I married him for a reason! He can make anything! He loves to do things like that, and he makes the most detailed plans. Me, I just start and if it doesn't work the first time, just revise on the wing. I shouldn't say I never plan, I do, just not in as detailed way as he does. I usually have a mind picture to start a project, but then let the piece take its own way as it evolves. That suits me most of the time, but I do admit to not always fulfilling my "visions," and that is sometimes frustrating.

That reminds me of making my granddaughter's homecoming dress this past fall. She had a "vision" and because she sews a little and is creative, she came up with a plan for the dress and a color scheme that was SET IN STONE!!!! The only problem was, her fabric was nowhere to be found. We shopped for eight hours one Saturday until we found some Halloween costume fabric that she deemed suitable for the top, and I found drapery fabric for the skirt. It turned out so cute, but I told her the next time she has a vision, to make sure she could reach out and TOUCH her vision before she came to me with it!

Anyway, I love her and I am proud that she wants to be different and creative with what she wears. I hope to be able to sew her wedding dress someday ( not too soon, though).