Monday, December 31, 2012

Springbrook Community Art Show.

Back in June 2012, I received an email from an art teacher at one of the local high schools, Springbrook High School. He had the ambitious idea of putting together a December show that not only showcased the work of the high school students, but would also incorporate the work of all the feeder elementary and middle schools. Lo and behold, the (super-successful) show came together on Thursday, December 13th.

Turn-out was excellent-- I had six students come with their families to view their work! (That number is high for our community.) Unlike the annual countywide mall show in the spring, this show was more accessible due to proximity. And because it was a one-night-only event, I was able to be there to greet all families that showed, unlike a show that is up for five days, when a family is likely to show up when I'm not there (solution: camp out at the mall in April? maybe?).

Our display was at the very entrance of the show! My principal and assistant principal LOVED that :) They showed up as I was literally leaving the show, which was somewhat embarrassing (I had already been there for two hours and was tuckered out), but also extremely lucky! In the stress of preparation, I had neglected to check in with them to see if they would be able to make it. They did not disappoint! I am so lucky to have administration that fully supports the arts.

The above pic would be way cuter if I didn't have to crop out my student, crouching on the other side of her art (bottom piece). She brought tons of extended family: maternal and paternal grandparents, aunts, cousins, and of course, mom, dad, and brother. She was just glowing with pride.

My bio!

The show owes it's success to a few things: 1) it got older students to look at younger students' work, and vice versa. Apparently some of the high schoolers were admiring the elementary and middle school work, not even knowing that it wasn't done by students at their school! And then the little guys get to look up to the work of the older students, and envision themselves as artists throughout their education and beyond. And 2) high school students were leading tons of hands-on activities for children: button-making, digital arts stations, other crafts, etc., which kept little ones entertained, and parents less stressed. And 3) there were free snacks. Everyone likes free snacks :) So we were all well-hydrated with balanced blood sugar levels. Key for proper art-viewing.

As with everything the first time around, there were a few kinks that will need to be ironed out for next year. And yes, there's already talk of next year's show! We're the only cluster in the county to have ever hosted something like this, and our supervisors are very impressed and ready to see what we work together to create next year. Overall: Springbrook Community Art Show = success!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Will you be my bridesmaid?

For the past few months or so, I have had an intense girl-crush on Elise Blaha Cripe, a blogger and small business owner. I stumbled across her site when perusing Pinterest for wedding-related things. I knew that I wanted to ask my bridesmaids to, well, be my bridesmaids through some kind of package that arrived in the mail, but when I came across this blog post, I knew I had to borrow her idea. Even though we were engaged almost a year ago, we tried our best to delay asking our bridal party until the wedding was closer. While this was difficult, and we did throw out some hints here and there (and I might have told, not even asked, N.'s sister via Facebook like a day after the engagement), we did a pretty good job of keeping quiet for almost a year. That's hard to do, folks! But the time had come, and I wanted these little bundles to serve as Christmas presents.

I ordered five beautiful, hilarious letterpress cards from Sapling Press (based out of Pittsburgh-- nice little connection to N.'s favorite city). 

They so kindly provided me with five extra envelopes at no cost (even though I offered to pay for them!), so that I could make a pocket by sticking the flap of one envelope into the other to create a "folder" of sorts. Then I lined it with scrapbook paper.

I typed up four little tidbits of info and played with margins and font size until I got them to look like this:

The Sapling Press card went on the left side with a handwritten note, the four info sheets went on the right side.

I had too much fun decorating labels...

Names blurred for privacy.

Rhia's name is not blurred because she already knows she's in the wedding :)

  Tied it off with pretty ribbon.

Stamped the back.

Popped 'em into the mail!

The contents of the little info cards went as follows (heavily inspired by Elise, but edited to include my voice and obviously, info pertinent to our wedding):

Dress - I am going to try my hardest to pick out a dress style that will flatter all of you and will allow each of you to tie for the second hottest girl at the party. I want you to feel fabulous in what you are wearing, not break the bank when purchasing it, and be able to wear it again. That being said, I am open to looking at dresses that are sold outside of bridal boutiques. Sadly, I don’t have a color for you yet (wedding colors are TBD), but I am pretty sure that I want everyone in the same dress.
Shoes – I really don’t know about shoes yet. Check back later :)
Hair & Makeup – I will be hiring someone to come in and do my hair and makeup at the Carrollton Inn, which is the B&B connected to our ceremony/reception venue. I’ll be reserving one of their beautiful rooms for us to get ready in. If you’d like to get your hair and makeup done as well, that can definitely be arranged! But it is by no means required. In terms of styling both hair and makeup, you know what you look best in and the choices are up to you! One concession: you might be asked to wear a flower in your hair. If you’re in town early enough, I thought it would be fun to get our nails done together, too, but that depends on everyone’s flights and such.
The only events that you are required to attend are the rehearsal, the ceremony, and the reception.
The ceremony/reception will be on Saturday, March 29th, 2014 near the Harbor East area of Baltimore (which is pretty much “Downtown”). The venue is called 1840s Plaza, and we’re hoping for the ceremony to be held in the lower courtyard (weather permitting), cocktails in the upper courtyard (weather permitting), and the reception will be on the second floor of the Fava Building, called City Lites. (Apologies for the awful way they spell “lites.”)
The ceremony starts at 5:00pm, followed by cocktails at 5:30pm, followed by a stationed buffet dinner (yes, there will be a slider station!) and dancing. Mandatory, crazy dancing. As of right now, the party will end at 10:30pm, but we’re considering extending it until 11:00pm. No matter what, there will be an after party of some sort :)
No idea when the rehearsal will start, but it will be on Friday, March 28th, at 1840s Plaza, followed by a fun and laid back dinner thrown by Nate’s parents at a local (TBD) restaurant/brew pub. You will not need to worry about transportation to any of the events. Between our families, me, N., and local friends, we’ll have you covered. We will also try our best to pick you up / take you to the airport. Flights into BWI are recommended—you can take the Light Rail directly into Baltimore.
Most of you are out-of-towners so I will be in touch about hotel arrangements for Friday through Sunday. We are definitely going to reserve a block of rooms for our guests, most likely at the Fairfield Inn that is a stone’s throw (like, literally) away from our venue. If you want to be fancy, you could reserve a cute room at the Carrollton Inn, which will run you between $250-$350 or so per night. Not cheap, but quaint and cute.
There could be a bridal shower before the wedding that you will be invited to, but there is no obligation to make it. Flying back and forth is insanely expensive.
If a bachelorette were to happen, I would love for it to be in NYC. I will let you plan as much of that as you are interested in. As you know, I’d also be extremely content to eat pizza at H.'s place and Skype.
You will all be getting plus-ones to invite to the wedding (of course). You will be sitting with your dates and other cool people you probably know. N. and I will be at a sweetheart table. But feel free to make a toast or say something if you are interested…. especially because I’m not sure that my dad is going to be able to gather his nerves enough to say much of anything that day, let alone give a toast.

I Promise:

To (try) not turn into a bridezilla. I promise to (try to) keep things light and fun and exciting. I need you to help me keep in mind that it is not about how this whole thing will look, but it’s about how N. and I will feel on the day we commit our lives to one another in front of everyone we love. I will count on you girls to tell the jokes and BE HONEST. You’ll have to let me know if my idea to wear a Frida-inspired wreath of flowers on my head for the rehearsal dinner is genius or… ridiculous. Hurl that honesty at me with a heaping dose of kindness, please.

Word cannot express how excited and honored I am to have you five by my side (hopefully, if you say yes!) throughout this whole impending, crazy thing. I love you!
The five of you:
Here I included everyone's contact info and a little blurb about how we met, our relationship, etc.

Definitely feels good to have asked and now I eagerly wait for their responses!

supplies / Recollections Bright and Basic Paper Pad / The Paper Company Large Fashion Tags / K&Company SMASH* date stamp / Offray ribbon

Monday, December 17, 2012

Quote of the week.

I heard some discussion of flatulence between two of my kindergarteners today. This is how it went down:

Ms. Kristen-Crayon: "Are we discussing things that are appropriate for art class?"

Both students' faces fall flat, concerned that they're in major trouble.

Student: "Z. says that Santa knows when I fart." (He says this in all seriousness.)

I'm so curious about what my "using-all-facial-muscles-to-suppress-emotion-and-hysterical-laughter" face looks like...

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Circle trees.

Inspired by a pin that led me to Creative Jewish Mom, my kinders made these collaborative circle trees back in October (yikes! New Year's Resolution Number One: post more often). Those necessary basics get covered in this one-day lesson: how to draw a circle, use the entire piece of paper, color neatly, and the cutting basics. We closed the lesson with a discussion about how art changes when everyone's work is viewed together (I taped the circles to the whiteboard as students finished and discussed how they would morph into a tree a few days post-completion). This first tree was such a hit that my principal asked for any additional trees to "grow" in the upstairs hallway outside the cafeteria, instead of tucked away downstairs in the kindergarten hallway (!). I didn't snap pics of those trees before they got shabby from little hands, but I managed to capture the original (mostly) intact before taking it down recently. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

'Tis the season.

Jonesie celebrated his third birthday.
"Papa, will you blow this out for me?"

Thanksgiving dinner was consumed.
My brother's packed plate.

My neat plate.

And NYC was "conquered." 
And by conquered, I mean... well, it always feels like the city conquers us, more than vice versa. But the exhaustion is worth it.

My mom and I went on our annual NYC Christmas trip on December 1st through 2nd. On Saturday we saw Once on Broadway. Loved it, through and through (loved the movie, too, which I saw years ago when I randomly added it to my Netflix queue). No trip is complete without a stop to Rockeller Center to see the tree, and of course a stop into J. Crew and Anthropologie, where I picked up this teeny bottle of Tocca's Cleopatra. From there we walked over to Fifth Avenue for the sights and Sak's.

We started our Sunday off by taking a long subway ride from the World Trade Center (stayed at the Downtown Marriott), all the way into Astoria, Queens, my old neighborhood, for breakfast at (ironically) Brooklyn Bagel. Went back downtown, where you can't pass up The Strand. My mom bought a new signature tote bag, and I bought my annual Moleskine Weekly Planner, and two awesome books: Maira Kalman's And The Pursuit of Happiness, and Blexbolex's People (for my students / classroom). And I had to resist buying the rest of the store.

After years of trying a variety of Moleskine's planners, this one suits me the best.

Is it strange that I like to leave the price sticker on when I buy books from The Strand? I leave it there as a happy reminder of visits to New York and one of my favorite book stores (otherwise I can't stand to leave these stickers on!).


I just love these silly, thought-provoking, archetypal juxtapositions!

At some point we wandered by Kleinfeld's, but I was too intimidated to go in (especially with no real purpose in mind). And of course we went to Fishs Eddy. Tried to take a picture of the bag with their logo, but when I went to get my camera, this is what I came back to:

The only souvenir Jonesie needs is this plastic bag.

Purchased their kitty tea towel (which matches Jonesie's food and water bowl, purchased last year), three polka dot nut bowls, and a clever spoon rest. Was definitely eyeing their cake stands... that purchase can wait til next year, when the wedding is a tad closer :)

Perhaps the most exciting purchase of all, my early Christmas gifts from my parents:

A new iPhone, in a polka-dotted (surprised?) case from Kate Spade. It was funny because my mom also got a new phone at the same time, so we wandered out of the store, onto the Manhattan streets, having no experience with how to operate our new cellular devices. But guess what? We survived! Obviously, you don't need that technology... but it's such a security blanket. Our insecurity was definitely palpable as we continued the rest of our trip, haha.

This is my first smart phone! I can finally catch up to my twenty-something counterparts! You better believe that my first downloaded app was Instagram :) Expect more pictures as I get more comfortable with documenting life on the fly!