Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Back to School!

Here's where I spend my days. A middle school in North Carolina. The building looks like the High School in 'Happy Days' or 'Grease'. It's well kept with shiny hardwood floors in many rooms, sometimes you see a heat register here or there. Three stories which is good for the cardiovascular system. right? LOL

I teach many eager art students. This is our second day of school today. Our budget has been cut in half and so we'll be doing a bit less on the fancy side this year, but I'm determined to keep those active middle school kids working on learning to draw and work with color and line. Plus all the other disciplines of art like sculpture and textiles. It's a survey type class. The budget cuts are unfortunate, but parents are pitching in with some supplies and that is so awesome.

A student told me today that his old art class in another school had 7 students.!!! I can't imagine what that would be like. The classes are full and some students are disappointed they can't get art this year. One class that will be a challenge this year is a group of 6th graders in a class that is full with 27 students. 23 boys and 4 girls! hmmmmm what to do with that group is a challenge.

Anyway. That's one reason I lampwork. It helps me relax in the evenings and put the stress aside. That's important. Watch for beads on Etsy! There will be more soon and some I just need to take pictures of. With that class full of 6th grade boys, there may be a need for a lot of stress relief!

Have a good school year everyone out there!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

a cheaper workbench

My husband has been eyeing the table that I use when doing metalsmithing. It's an old oak table just the right size. I figured, well, get a workbench and give him the table. He needs it for his classroom. Then looking at workbenches, I took it all back! They are expensive. $300 and up.
So today we were in IKEA and there it was.... a table that could easily work out for a bench. drawers for tools, shelves for tools, a big enough workspace to solder and saw and what not. Edges that could be used for a bench pin and vice. 99 bucks. What a much better deal!
I put it together and had a lot of trouble with the long screws that are put in with an allen wrench (supplied) it would have been 'blister city' and I didn't know that a power drill can be used with the correct bit. Go figure. After trying to set one screw manually, DH came to the rescue, setting up the drill and placing them. I could have done it being a girl who has no issues with tools, but he had the fun.
Here is a picture of the finished bench. It doesn't have the curved cut front but beyond that, what's different?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Nostalgic Brownies

When you were a little kid, did you make jiffy mixes? A friend of mine, Nancy, in my hometown of Napoleon Michigan, had an uncle who worked at the jiffy mix factory in Chelsea. They always had a cupboard full of jiffy mixes. It's like playing with an easy bake oven, making those teenie little cakes and cornbread and biscuits. My love of carbs obviously started young. LOL

So when we were in Michigan, I picked up some jiffy mixes to bring home. Doing a search, I see they sell them near my house here so I won't go through withdrawal. Because I made the brownies last night. ooohhh I forgot how good they are. not too gooey, not cakey, just right and just enough for two people for a day or two since you use a bread loaf pan.

Is it nostalgia? I think not. The mixes have been around for ages so it must just be a good product.
When I taught third grade, I would tell parents who had kids with problems following written directions, 'get some jiffy mixes' because hey if the kid ruins it, how much did they lose? Maybe 50 cents? And how motivating is it for a kid to get some warm, out of the oven, treat if they followed directions.
Maybe a few budding chefs came out of those 8 year olds.