Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Task Card Organization Solution

Teacher friends, are you looking for a practical place to store all of those task cards you find yourself downloading? I have the a cheap and perfect solution. 

I kept finding myself downloading or making my own task cards, printing them out, using them during the unit and then shoving them in a drawer or file folder. I realized that this was such an inefficient use of my time and money since I rarely used them over again until the following year or until I remembered that i had bought them. I wanted to have them in a practical spot where I could see and grab them easily to use as a spiral review, warm up, ticket out the door, etc. 

I had an extra "behind the door shoe rack" I bought from either Target, Walmart, TJ Maxx, etc. laying around after my move and the more I looked at it, the more I thought, "This could be a perfect task card holder." And boy was I correct. As you can see, I used zip ties to hang it from the wire racks in my classroom. The pockets are the perfect size to fit a few sets of task cards in baggies and then just simply fold the recording sheets and/or answer keys behind the cards.

You can pick them up at any department store and they come in many different colors and styles- you can probably even find one to match your classroom decor!

Oh, and don't forget to stop by my teachers pay teachers store and check out some of my task card creations!

Happy Teaching!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Repurposed Pallet Picture Frames

After my wedding photos arrived it was such a tough decision trying to figure out which ones to develop and place in frames. Luckily, I was perusing pinterest and stumbled across this blog. I loved the way she created the frames and used the clothespins to easily change the photos out. So, I decided to create my own version with these pallet pieces I had laying around. 

I wanted them to be large enough to hold 5x7 photos but if I decided to place a 3x5 in it, it wouldn't look as though there was too much empty space behind it. So, I went with 12" by 10 1/2" dimensions. I used mini clothespins from Hobby Lobby and just hot glued them onto the frame. I kept going back and forth between painting them and making them look more rustic or leaving them with the original wooden grain. I went with the original pallets with just a coat of polyurethane but I could always decided to change my mind!

The best thing about these is that they are so beautifully simple and they were fun and easy to make. After putting them on my etsy store I had a few custom orders, one of which is pictured below (before adding the clothes pins).

After moving recently they have found their place lining the hallway. I look forward to continually swapping out the photos to display all of our memories!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Car Part Metal Art

My husband is one of the most creative people that I know when it comes to creating art from random things. His mind works in ways I can't even begin to understand. When he started welding about 5 years ago, he was working as a mechanic at a local shop and would use old broken parts to create robots and other abstract art.
After posting them on facebook and realizing that people really liked them, he started to weld regularly and become better as time went on.

He even proposed to me by welding a metal robot that held the box my engagement ring was it. A couple of his latest pieces are below.

Most recently he landed a big job with a local Austin company called, Audience Innovation. He created their logo out of metal and welded it all. Below is the finished product after being hung in their new office in downtown Austin.

Each day I am in awe of his talent!!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Pallet Love

I have recently become obsessed with pallets. I'm not quite sure what it is but whenever I see an old pallet laying by the trash I make my husband stop and put it in his truck. Over the past year I have created many things from old forgotten pallets. Shelves, signs, picture frames, etc. One of my favorite creations has been these multi-purpose boxes.
I have used them in so many ways since I made them. At first I put them on my dining room table and used them as a centerpiece with vases and flowers like the one below.
Then I made smaller ones and used them as a "junk bin" for my husband in the mud room to hide all of his spare change, sunglasses, keys, etc. After moving into our new house I decided I wanted to hang them on the wall and uses them as little shelves. I change up what is in them or on them periodically or with each passing holiday.

If you like these and want some of your own, check out my etsy page, here!!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Pollock painting party

A month or so ago I attended an amazing 30th birthday party for one of my friends and co-workers. She had a painting party at a studio in Austin called, Smudge Studios. It was beyond fun and so laid back. We were able to bring our own snacks and alcoholic beverages and the two ladies that were working with us were awesome. 

The first hour we mingled and snacked before we got messy! There are many types of parties you can chose from but my co-worker chose the Jackson Pollock themed party. The room that you paint in is covered in splattered canvases with hooks every few feet apart for you to hang your canvas frame on.
The ladies working there give us a short tutorial on how to use all of the objects that they had to paint with. They varied from large brushes to small brushes to fly swatters and spray bottles. Each object created a different texture on the canvas so it was helpful to see examples before we began. After that, they left the room and let us get artistic!! Oh, they also had smocks and other clothes to wear over yours and we definitely needed them as we all let out our teacher stress in the room! 

I'm completely in love with my completed piece and hung it in my living room after picking it up. (You have to leave it there to dry and then they contact you when it's ready for pick up.)

 If you are looking for a unique party idea for adults or children, you need to check out Smudge Studios in Austin or look for a studio like it near you!!

Rotting bananas and rainy days


A Saturday forecast of rain all day calls for some warm banana bread!! Sometimes I think my husband purposely doesn’t eat all of the bananas just so I will make it for him. I don’t mind really, I grew up making it with my mom almost every month and it’s such an easy recipe! It has become easier now that I have my amazing kitchen aide mixer, I really don’t know how I baked so much before this thing!

First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees then get out all of your ingredients and measure them out. The best part about this recipe is that you probably already have all of the ingredients right in your pantry! (1 c. sugar, 2 c. flour, ½ c. butter or shortening, 2 eggs, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. salt and 4 regular sized bananas (you want them to be brown and on the verge of being thrown away!)  

Cream the butter and sugar together until smooth. (I use the microwave and soften the butter first, about 20 second should do the trick) Then add in the 2 eggs that are already beaten.

Mix the dry ingredients together in a separate mixing bowl. I usually just do this while my kitchen aide is creaming the butter and sugar together- like I said, how did I bake before this??

Mash up the bananas on a plate or in a bowl.

Add the dry ingredients in to the butter, sugar and egg mixture gradually. I use my shield for this step. You can get one, here. I love it!!

Once they are mixed together, add the bananas in and mix until everything is well blended. *It will be a little lumpy because of the bananas, that’s okay*

Sometimes I like to add walnuts or chocolate chips to spice it up a bit, I didn’t have any today but you can get as creative as you wish!

Grease your pans, I use one muffin tin and one loaf pan. You can mix it up however you want. One heaping spoonful is plenty for each muffin section and then just pour the remaining mixture into the loaf pan.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. If you do the muffin tin and the loaf pan at the same time- the muffins typically only take 20 minutes and then the loaf takes about 40 minutes total. 

*This recipe makes two loaves of bread or one loaf and one pan of muffins. I like to do the mixture of muffins and a loaf and keep the loaf at home and bring the muffins to work and share the yumminess with my co-workers.

Banana Bread Recipe
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter or shortening
2 cups flour
2 eggs
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
4 brown bananas 

Cream butter (softened) and sugar
Add beaten eggs
Add dry ingredients gradually (flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt)
Add mashed bananas
Place in greased muffin pan and/or bread loaf pan
Bake for 20-40 minutes at 350 degrees (muffins take about 20 minutes and bread loaves take around 40 minutes)
Let cool before slicing