Wednesday, January 30, 2013

number o' the day.

For the entirety of our fall semester, my little nuggets were engaged in Morning Meeting as our calendar review, rote math skill review, etc. (a breakdown of which you can find here). They would record our tasks on their own preshy Morning Meeting Boards and for a while it was l-o-v-e.

But as we started closing out our first semester, I could practically HEAR the boredom in my kids' sweet, miniature voices as we recited our days of the week, skip counted, etc. They were more excited about cleaning up from Morning Meeting than actually doing Morning know it's bad when kids would rather clean up the activity than do the activity. #teacherfail

I totally got it - doing the exact same thing over and over each day with no change can become totes yawn-worthy! But I still wanted to have some sort of whole-group, light, math activity to open up our morning...enter Number of the Day.

I created this one-page document as a quick, but skill-packed morning math activity for us to do as a whole group.

Not wanting to waste any more trees, though, I decided to take a screen shot of the document and create a flipchart out of it for our ActivBoard. That way, one kid at a time could come up to the board and complete one of the tasks for our class...

...while the rest of the class completes the task on a white board at the carpet!

Our Number of the Day is the number of days that we have been in school, so while the tasks don't change, the kids are constantly being challenged to manipulate new numbers each day. 

They love seeing the "finished product" each morning - they like seeing all of their individual work pieced together to make a fabulous group product!

I am in love with our new morning math activity and the kids are too!

To pick up your own copy of our Number of the Day page, click here or on the picture below:
The document comes with both a color copy and a black-and-white copy so that you can choose the best way to implement this activity in your class!

What morning activities do y'all do?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

xalted x-bench.

Us dear Texans had our first snow of the season yesterday.  By snow, of course we mean remarkably cold rain. We didn't handle it too well.

Hopefully, everyone made it to their destination of choice yesterday and we will all got back to our humble abodes in order to hibernate from the blustery temps.
In order to brighten these gloomy snow-days-but-we-still-have-school-days, I thought I would share some new seating I created over the Christmas break!
I absolutely love it, but due to its height and width, underneath the table was looking rather bare and exposed. Poor Parsons.
Then, while doing a bit of Christmas shopping, I popped into Tuesday Morning to check out their new inventory....helloooo x-bench! I had to force myself to look past the zazzy zebra and see the potential within. You might have to do the same.
Since it was a misty day, I took all of the metal pieces out to the garage and gave them a light first coat of this lovely "Lagoon" spray paint by Rustoleum.

Over the summer, I bought and covered a Parsons console table in a textured, grass cloth fabric and placed it in our entry/formal living room.

Ever since I put the table in its spot, I have been dying to put some x-benches underneath to serve as extra seating in the room, but really just to cover up the lamp cords and provide a nice pop of color in the space. Knowing this, I have stalked all of my favorite bargain bins for the perfect benches, but I just wasn't finding them! I was completely open to painting, re-covering, or anything to create the perfect seating for the space, but still nothing for the price I was wanting.

Here's the super news, though: the x-bench was a whopping $30. You better believe I loaded up two of those benches faster than you can say "zazzy zebra".

On my drive home, I began brainstorming new paint colors and fabric choices for the benches. I was even further enthused when I remembered that I bought this Robert Allen fabric for another project on the clearance aisle at Joann's for $3 per yard! I had planned to use it for a project in our kitchen, but I decided the fabric would coordinate much more in the living room - don't you agree?

The manufacturers of these products must have WANTED me to completely re-do them, because the benches came completely disassembled, taking a full step out of my job!

While the spray paint was drying, I came back inside to work on re-covering the cushions. I laid the cushion face-down on my fabric so I could trim the fabric down to size.

Not wanting the zebra print to show through the striped fabric, I then measured an equal amount of cotton lining as the striped fabric.

Then, it was time to wrap and staple! I first stapled along the long edge of the cushion to be sure that the stripes were running horizontally, rather than jabberwalky.

I then stapled along the opposite edge, being sure to pull the fabric tightly to prevent wrinkling.

Then, I folded the corners to make as flat of a tuck as possible...

...and finished stapling the remaining sides.


I repeated the exact same steps on the second cushion, so after about 30 minutes of re-covering, I had two brand new cushions!

After allowing the first, light coat of spray paint to dry for several hours, I very lightly sanded any rough spots, and then applied two more light coats of paint, allowing several hours between coats to dry. These were the absolute easiest things to paint!

Once all of the metal pieces were dry, all that was left was assembly! Following the assembly instructions produced an absolutely fabulous result!

I placed the x-benches underneath the Parsons console table, and stood back to admire the beauty!

I love my little $75 seating solution! The Parsons table is pretty pleased, too. Have y'all created any seating lately? How did it go?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


Mr. Spouse and I recently returned from Colorado: the land of sub-zero temperatures and high-quality family time. While the 14 inches of fresh snow made for some nar-nar-pow-pow on the slopes, Frosty wasn't so kind to my Uggs.

No, my Uggs weren't tragic, but they definitely had some grimy spots and weren't looking their best!

As I wasn't particularly willing to go buy the Ugg cleaner, I began doing some research online for homemade cleaning solutions. I found one suggestion to use water and vinegar, but felt like the smell would make me never want to wear my Uggs again (perhaps the editors of Vogue have planted this solution to prevent excessive Ugg wearage). Looking for a solution more pleasing to my olfactory glands, I found this process:

I began by wetting my Uggs with lukewarm water.

I then made a very diluted solution of about 3 tablespoons of dish soap and 8 cups of warm water.

Using a sponge, I gently scrubbed the stained portions of my boots with the soapy water in a circular motion.

Once all of the spots had been scrubbed, I rinsed the boots with warm water.

I then stuffed the boots with wads of newspaper to help absorb the water and give some shape back to the boots.

After 24 hours of open-air drying, my boots were looking rather spectacular!

Perhaps the fashion gods aren't too pleased that my Uggs have been given new life, but I certainly am!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

you raise me up.

Over the summer, I created these strappingly striped, painted curtains for our formal living and dining room.

Ever since, I have been head-over-heels in lurve with them! Maybe I smirk every time I walk by them...maybe...

Well I still lurve them, but lately I have been seeing this image pop up all over Pinterest and I started feeling a bit lurve-less.

You might not be able to tell, but my fabulously striped curtains are totally guilty of the "don't" category. Do you see how they are hung just above the window and cut off about 2/3 of our incredible natural light?

If you can't tell from the picture, just take my word that they do. Designers everywhere should be ashamed. I was.

Not wanting to completely trash my striped curtains to bring them up to designer code, I decided that I could simply add one more foot-long stripe to the bottom of the curtains and they would be floor-to-ceiling magnificence. But rather than just adding on a stripe of white, I thought I could make the curtains even more fabulous by adding on a pop of color!

That's when I found this minty butte at Joann's for a whopping $2.99 per yard.

Combine that with my 50% off coupon and I almost felt guilty walking out of the store with my 4 yards of fabric...almost.

I began by ironing all of the fabric to get all of the kinks out. I then laid out the fabric and cut four, 2 and 1/2 foot strips:

I did 2 1/2 feet because I wanted to add on a 1 foot stripe at the bottom of each curtain. I planned to sew a "pocket" out of the mint fabric to give the bottom stripe a finished look without having to sew a hem. Therefore, a 1 foot stripe made by folding one piece of fabric in half = 2 feet with a 1/2 inch of wiggle room. Clear as mud? Good. Let's continue.

I folded my 2 1/2 foot strip of fabric in half:

Then ironed the crease to make sure the fold stayed while I sewed:

I then sewed both, one-foot sides of the fabric and the folded edge to create a "pocket":

I did not sew the top, "open" portion of the pocket because I knew I would be sewing that to the curtain directly. Why sew something twice when you could just sew it once, right?

I then turned the "pocket" right-side-out...

...and ironed the edges to create a nice, sharp corner:

I loved that I had a perfectly straight, sharp-cornered stripe and didn't have to hem a thing!

Now that my bottom stripe was sewn, I pinned it to the bottom of the existing curtain so that the mint stripe would be 1 foot in length, and trimmed off any excess fabric that was overlapping with the curtain.

All that was left to do was sew a straight line attaching the mint stripe to the curtain! Thank you, Lord, for sewing machines that make life easy!

I then repeated the exact same process on the remaining three curtains! The entire project took about two hours - can't complain there!

The results, you ask? Well, if I was in lurve before, I suppose you could call me tragically love sick over these things!

I am so smitten by the little pop of mint at the bottom of the curtains! What a lovely surprise!

From a designer's standpoint, let's have a reminder of how curtains should be hung...

...followed by a little before shot of my designer's don't:

I think it's safe to say that the after-shot can be safely placed in the "do" column now!

And the Lord said, "Let there be light"! Maybe those designers know what their talking about after all.

Not wanting any room to be left looking like the short, squat, step-sister, I raised the curtains in our master bedroom:

Then, for the den, I purchased some Waverly curtains from Lowe's that were 84 inches long. 

Wanting them to be floor-to-ceiling, however, I purchased an extra curtain, cut it into fourths (one strip for each of my four curtains), and sewed on an extra foot from the extra curtain to each curtain to make them all floor to ceiling!

{Deuce was clearly taxed by all that sewing...}

If it isn't obvious already, I think it's safe to say that my New Year's Resolution will be to sew anything that moves...or is too short. Happy New Year, y'all!