Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Very Crafty Christmas

Hope everyone is enjoying their holidays.  I know I am enjoying the time off to be with my family and to rest up for the new year.  It has been a super busy year and I could not have done it without the help of my wonderful parent volunteers.  To thank them for all that they do, I made these Pinterest inspired gifts:

They are Hersey bars covered in white cardstock, decorated as snowmen, and topped with a pair of gloves, one tucked inside the other, tied with ribbon or a bit of fabric.  The original idea called for popcorn, but I went with chocolate.

Here's a closeup of one of these cuties.  They were "snow" much fun to make!  You can find the original project here.  You can find a different version here.

These little guys got me in the mood to make even more fun crafts, so I made these cute reindeer, also inspired by Pinterest,  for my son's teachers.

I used punches from Stampin' Up for the circles and the "hair."  You can find the original project here.  There is a similar version here.  

But I didn't stop there.  I had seen some cute apples made from the bottom of coke bottles and was inspired to make a winter version...chocolate filled snowflakes!

First, I started by cutting off the bottoms of clean, dry 20 oz. coke bottles.

Next, I wrapped some yummy kisses up in tissue paper.

Then, I placed the wrapped candy inside the bottoms and taped the seam to keep the two pieces together.

To cover the tape seam, I added some ribbon and hot glued the ribbon to keep it attached.

Next, I added the snowflake design.

One snowflake "arm" on each "bottle bump," plus a little ball at the end of each snowflake "arm."

In between each bump, I added a smaller arm and then crossed the long snowflake arms.

I added a cute snowflake stamp to the top.  The stamp is from Stampin Up.

To finish, I used a scallop punch and Christmas stamp that I hot glued to the front.  So cute.  To see what inspired me, click here.

And finally, I was inspired by the coke bottles to decorate some water bottles for my grandmother for Christmas.  It was a gift I know she would use and would love.

I simply removed the water bottle label and replaced it to one I personalized for my grandmother from my boys.

Viola!  A personalized waterbottle for Great Grammie!

And finally, yesterday was my birthday and since I was feeling crafty, I decided to make myself a couple of presents using some fabric I had left over from decorating the Media center.  I made a pillow for my office chair (I have a really bad back) and a polka dot purse.   I really like the way they turned out and the fabric just makes me happy!

So did you have a very crafty Christmas, too?

P.S.  If you're on Pinterest and would like to follow my DIY Gift Ideas board, just click here.  I must warn you, though.  Joining Pinterest can lead to a "pinning" addiction.  Be prepared to spend lots of hours finding neat ideas.  =)

P.P.S.  The frames around the pictures are from Mel D.  of  From the Pond  She has tons of cute frames on her blog. Check 'em out!  =)  

Friday, December 9, 2011

Free eBooks

I don't know about at your school, but at my school our budget is very tight.  We don't get very many new library books per year due to the small budget so I try to find ways to access great literature at little to no cost. Some of my favorite sites for free eBooks are listed below.

Online Storyline is Barnes and Nobles free eBook site.  Every month a different book is featured and is usually read by that book's author or illustrator.  The Polar Express is this month's free “ebook” on Barnes and Noble's Online Storytime site. Chris Van Allsburg is reading the book! It’s about 7 ½ minutes long.  Available until Jan. 3rd.

Storyline Online is another great eBook site.  This site features actors reading popular children'ts books.  Storyline Online is also featuring the Polar Express.  Lou Diamond Phillips is the featured reader.  

Do you have any favorite eBook sites?  I'd love to hear what you think of these sites, too.  Just leave me a comment below.  =)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Ever just have one of those days?

Today was one of those days for me.  Nothing seemed to go right, technological speaking.  My day started off with the online circulation program we use being down for about an hour and half.  Then two out of the six student comptuers in the Media Center decided to stop working.  Next, the Activboard projector bulb blew.  And the worst was saved for last.  As I was finishing up some work on my comptuer this afternoon a virus scan started going off.  Granted, I am using a new computer this year, but I had never seen this scan before.  The county did an overnight update, so I thought it might be something to do with that.  Suddenly I began getting messages that my comptuer had been infected with several worms and trojan viruses. 


I immediately shut down the computer and disconnected it from the Internet, which probably did absolutely nothing to stop it but that's about all I could think to do at that point.  I am afraid of what damage has been done, provided that this was a real virus scan and not some hoax to get me to type in my credit card information to be able to remove the offending files.  And of course, this is the only computer that has a working printer connected to it.  Oh what fun tomorrow will be!   I sent an email to our Tech goddess and have my fingers crossed that she will be able to do something for me tomorrow as she had already left for the day. Again, just my luck.  So I decided to shut the Media Center down and head home early today, well, early for me anyway.  I can only hope that tomorrow will be better. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Last week a teacher asked to reserve a few time slots in the Media Center this week to send in small groups of students to research for a Science project.   I immediately responded with a "YES!" because I am always encouraging teachers to collaborate with me on what they are doing in class.  Looking back now, I realize I should have asked a few questions like what types of things will they be looking for?  Will they need access to Reference materials?  Will they know what they should write down about the books they are using?  Knowing these things would have helped me to better help those students.  I could even have had a few books pulled out and ready to be searched through.  Hindsight.  Even though this is my fourteenth year of teaching, this is my first year as a Media Specialist and sometimes I feel like such a newbie.   *sigh*  Now that one group of students has been in, I realize that most of them were completely unaware of what they needed to be doing in order to conduct their research (future lesson idea stored away), so I made up a quick sheet to help guide them through the process as well as have one place to write down all of the information they found.  Feel free to download it and use it yourself if you think it might be helpful. Just click on the picture below.   =)

Do the Dewey

This month the Media Center is featuring non-fiction as the Genre of the Month.  I have been teaching non-fiction lessons to second through fifth grade classes for the last few weeks.  I found some great resources on the Internet and tweaked them to fit the needs of the students at my school.

It's tough to explain to elementary students what fits into a category called Generalities or Philosophy and Psychology.  But I made some reference sheets for them as well as a bookmark for them to refer to.

Today I made a Dewey Body Buddy worksheet based on a Highsmith poster (got permission from the company to do so) to go with the lesson for second and third grade.   Just click  HERE or on the picture below to snag your FREE copy.  I'd appreciate your feedback in return.  =)

Monday, December 5, 2011

So many pins! So little time!

Are you a Pinterest junkie?  I discovered and joined Pinterest over the summer, but didn't really get hooked on it until a few months ago.  But now I can't stop myself.  So many pins, so little time!  It's amazing all of the great stuff you can find just by looking at the homepage of Pinterest.  I recently spent some time repinning some great ideas to use in the Media Center as well as repinning and pinning items that would be great to use with different books.  If you're interested, click on the links below.  Hope you find something you like!  =)