Saturday, September 28, 2013

A library that needs some lovin'

I was SO thrilled to be asked to help make some bulletin boards for our school library. To me, that's like saying, "Ann, why don't you just take over this project and redecorate the school library from top to bottom?" "And did I mention, you have free reign and an unlimited budget?"  Oh yeah, that last part isn't quite what I'd call truth...
Here is what the library looks like right now:

It's great, isn't it? And it makes your eyes hurt just a little bit, doesn't it?

Our library has such AWESOME volunteers. They deserve a really cool space to work. I am so excited to see what we can do with it. It's actually what's called a "portable". For those of you who don't know what that is, it's basically a Winnebago of classrooms. It's a portable room, or rooms. See those lovely brown panelled walls?? Do they scream "make me a cabin" or what??!! And with school in full swing, it should really only take me about 17 Saturdays to get this done. Thankfully one of the volunteers has graciously volunteered to help. Yay! I'll keep you posted. Any library makeovers of your own to share???!!
Thanks for reading!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Before and after pictures...Extreme makeover, classroom edition!

Ok...finally. Have you every heard the expression "sometimes good enough is good enough"? It's so true when it comes to the life of a teacher. Remember my husband's classroom? It's in my previous post. I had been working on it while trying to run my own classroom, along with my four kids and husband at home. So finally, I had to say, "good enough is good enough." I was outta time and money. But I think it came out great. Can you get a sense of the classroom through the pictures? It was cold, cluttered, and just UGLY.  There were giant strips of purple paper with tons of store bought and homemade posters everywhere. The lockers were gunked up and needed a good paint job. Every cabinet and shelf was full of clutter. And nothing matched. It was SUCH a guy's room.

I could have spent days and days and dollars and dollars on my husband's classroom makeover. Unfortunately I am limited in both. So remember the before pictures? it is. Finally. Some after pictures:

Remember the beige lockers that were filled with junk? Here they are, silver now!

This is where the lockers used to be. I would walk in, shudder and turn around and walk right back out. Now it's my favorite part of the classroom.

These shelves were filled with dusty frames that were fallen over.

Remember the tv and shelves full of stuff? Do you remember my husband's "desk"? It was disorganized and very UNmemorable.
This is the main wall that was covered with purple paper and anchor charts. It's still not finished in this picture, but nothing helps you get stuff done like Open House. It has the same number of charts, but they're all hanging on coat hangers now, and take up much less space. But still accessible to the teacher and students. I can't get the stuff off the shelf. Disclaimer: the piles of science equipment on the table has nothing to do with me.

This cart used to be a dirt white with mismatched baskets. I painted the sides with chalkboard paint, and the sides are a chic silver with silver and black baskets. I can't help what's stuffed into them. That's all still my husband.

This room has a whole new feel to it. I love it. is it more girlie now? Yes, but the turquoise, silver, black and purple help keep it masculine-friendly. The boys AND girls appreciate it. I love to be in this room now. It feels homey, light and open. 

Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The rule of threes

Have you heard of the rule of three? I've always thought it applies to color in a room, but it's so much more than that. Here's a great article on Houzz (my favorite website) on the rule of three.
Can you see the lockers in the picture on the right? Do you see all the junk stuff that fills this space?
Add caption

a bigger picture, but not as clear, I know.
Here's a part of my husband's classroom that I am in the process of making-over. Can you see my rule of threes?
1)3 pieces of furniture
2)3 framed pictures/bulletin boards
3)3 rows of 3 cubicles
4)3 shelves on the silver shelf
5)3 poms on each b. board
6)3 decorative items on the cubbies
7)3 borders on the bulletin boards 

Wow! Did I go a little overboard on the threes? I guess you can be the judge! I actually switched out that chair for an outdoor white chair. Not super cool, but it really shows off the pillow, and it's better than a schoolroom chair! And free! My budget was a little on overboard by this point. 

More to come...soon...

Thanks for reading! Have fun creating your space!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Chalkboard label freebie

I spent yesterday working on my husband classroom makeover. I'm not done, and I don't have any pictures for you yet, but here's a freebie. I will be using these labels for jobs and lockers.

So go here to grab them for free. They're editable!

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Extreme Makeover: Classroom Edition

My husband is my principal. Yeah. It works for us, overall. There are some hairy times once in awhile, but in general, it goes pretty smoothly. We agree on most things, academically speaking. He is a great husband and father. He's also one of the best teachers I've ever known. His classroom, however...not so much. I didn't really help him out this summer because I wanted him to do it himself. Hmm...does that sound like I'm talking about my child???!!! Anyway, now I can barely enter his room without shuddering. Here's what I mean:

It's so sad. I hate it. So last night I said to him: "This weekend I'm redecorating your classroom." He was totally silent and stared straight ahead at the TV. A deer in the headlights, I tell ya. So today I put on my beer goggles and went in to have a little look-see.

I have my work cut out for me. These are the before pictures. I'll keep you posted.

It's a room that is used for grades 5-8 during various periods of the day. There are between 6 and 19 students in it at any given time. It is TINY. And full of STUFF. The pictures just do not do it justice, and they're from my phone, so forgive me.

I'll show you the after pictures as soon as it's done. Or at least "done enough". So my next post should be coming to you in about February.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Dollar Store Decorating and a $20 challenge!

I grew up in the midwest and now I live in Phoenix. One of the things I miss about living in Michigan, Chicago, and Minnesota is FALL. I love fall. The colors, the cool air, the hot chocolate. There's something about fall that comes with a sense of nostalgia. What is it about fall that makes me feel like I'm 8 years old and have nothing better to do than read "Anne of Green Gables"? I don't know. But it's always been my favorite season. I wanted to live out East where all those trees make fall a little bit of heaven. I wanted to get married in the fall. Can you imagine the pretty wedding you could have? And on the cheap!!! I could spend ALL  DAY looking at fall pictures on pinterest. If I could find a job that would pay me to do that, I would be QUITE the expert in my field.

So last Saturday here in Phoenix it was cloudy. Those of you who don't live here cannot understand the importance of that statement. A cloudy day in August is a breath of fresh air. And it makes all of us fall people yearn for our beloved autumn even more. So I started to decorate. I told myself that I could only decorate the dining room, and not even the whole dining room. Just part of it. And that I had to come up with something that my girls could help me do, and that I could re-create in my classroom, especially on the door.  And that everything I bought had to be from the Dollar Store and I could only spend $20. So here's where I started:
This is what I bought that day.

$23. Okay, I went over. But to me, that was alot. I'm a teacher with a husband and 4 kids. My budget is tight. That may not be a lot to you, I don't know. Now, not everything I bought has been used yet, so my $23 can be stretched a little further.

I want to also say right off the bat that I know that using the fake stuff can be a faux pas. But cut me some slack, I live in Phoenix. Once the real stuff is for SALE (yes, sigh, I'll have to buy some of that stuff that many of you can just go outside and pick. But I don't have to buy sunshine!) But I think it's really important to use nature in decorating. The REAL stuff. I may have to head up North for a weekend to pick apples and plunder some obliging field full of cattails and fall foliage to finish my decorating.

I decided to focus on the light and the window sill.  Here's the finished product:

 I have a long way to go, but next weekend is a long weekend, so I'll pull out the rest of the fall decorations and force my daughters to bond with me. Check back to see what gets added! I'll put some candy corn in the vases to anchor the berries and mini-cattails. And some squash and mini-pumpkins. The holders that the little pumpkins are sitting on are candle holders that we painted brown and put a glass plate on top. They turned out pretty cute!

I know this isn't about my classroom, but I want to incorporate some of these decorating ideas into my classroom. Watch for that in the weeks ahead!

And take the $20 Dollar Store challenge!! What can you come up with?

Have a great week!