i think it is safe to say that i am fanatical about organization. and i adore efficiency. when it comes to organization and efficiency, my art classroom is a work of art. it is also a work in progress. since day one, the scrap paper boxes have been one of the most vexing corners of my room. i try to save as much paper as possible, for use in future projects, but storing it is a constant struggle.

before. blech.

a lot of projects require semi-specific sizes of paper, so i thought it would be perfect to categorize the scraps by size. but then reality hit. do i put the smallish large scrap in the medium or large bin? what about the large small piece? oy yoy yoy.

glum. glum. glum.

and then i saw this.

ms. naples' scrap boxes. (picture from orange beautiful blog.)

oh my mama llama. after i picked myself up off the floor i got straight to work sorting. and sorting. and sorting. i scrounged up some extra boxes, made a label for each color, and dropped the paper into the new boxes. and then i fainted. 



the corner still seemed a bit blah, so i figured i should follow the lead of my inspiration, ms. naples, and make a sign. i am not usually one to toot my own horn, but seriously people, this sign? it is awesomeness. for reals.

love. bring on the scraps.

can i get a hallelujah?


my girl tess.

for the last 5 years, our oven has gone on vacation for about three weeks every august. seriously. sometime in the beginning of august it would post an error message and refuse to operate for about three weeks. and then just as suddenly, it would start working again. annoying, but we just chuckled and waited it out. about two years ago, the broiler went on permanent vacation. last year the broiler was joined by the large burner. and then came the new year. apparently the arrival of 2012 was the last straw for the oven. for six months we were at its mercy. sometimes it would work, sometimes it would not. we never knew. in june it gave up. threw in the towel. so yes, we have been living for three solid months with no oven. no baking. none. sad. and to add insult to injury, the oven could not just sit idle. nope, it had to beep. hysterically, constantly, unpredictably, and psychotically, all day and all night. 

this past weekend we realized we could not put this off any longer. the old girl had to leave. we went on a "quick" let's-just-check-out-the-options browsing expedition. you know where this is going right? exactly. we found the perfect oven. way more oven than we could afford at a super duper clearance price that fit our budget. we visited a couple other stores, but ended up back where we started. so, despite having no intention of purchasing an oven, we did. six hours after we began our perusing adventure, we bought an oven. i was giddy.

never ever in my imagination would i have expected to feel such a wonderful thrill after buying something as rudimentary as a kitchen appliance. but there you have it. i think i am officially domesticated.

here she is, our new girl. her name is tess. ain't she purty? 

she is a lady, so she has her heating coil tucked away somewhere, out of sight and out of range of drippings. dreamy.

she was eager to start baking, so we made some bread pudding. yummy.

welcome to the family, tess!!


día de los muertos.

day of the dead. paint. sugar skulls. art. eleven year-olds. glitter. awesomeness.

for the record, i had nothing to do with the yellow paper and blue borders. standard issue school decor. my classroom is waaaay cooler.


that hat.


once again, it has been forever since my last post. ever since big-E (the baby formerly known as pringle) stopped sleeping 22 hours a day and then became mobile, i never seem to have time to sit down to breathe, let alone keep up with my blog. plus, in the last year, my world has completely shifted. i am now an art teacher and mama to a toddler. not sure what direction that will take my blog, but i am rather certain there will be a lot more posting about children and art.


nothing earth-shattering to share today, i just decided it was high time to stop the blog silence. and i simply have to tell you about my latest sewing project. YES, sewing! it does still happen on a rare occasion. i have a gadzillion projects piled up on my sewing table and i finally determined it was time to tackle the mountain. first up, a hat for big-E. we have misplaced his adorable sun hat and life in florida demands that the kiddo have a sunhat. we cant wait until we unearth the old one and i refuse to pay the big bucks required to procure a cute hate, so i made a new one. 

i found this fabulous tutorial by oliver+S. dug up some lovely plaid material and set to work. first thing, i affirmed that my kid has a giant head. he needs a medium, which is sized for 3-5 year olds. right. i had to add a chin strap, because despite the size of his noggin, the kid is too young for reasoning and simply wont listen to me when i tell him to stop yanking off his hat. i also refused to hand sew the last step, so i machine stitched it. worked like a charm. end result is a totally fantastic hat. and i can definitively recommend this pattern & tutorial. total awesomeness.


the big ONE.

hard to believe, but little pringle is one year old. it has been a crazy wonderful year. and of course the big question was, to have a party or not? we all know he ain't going to remember any of it, nor will he understand what is happening, but we will. so we had a party.
the beginnings of a banner

we wanted to keep it small and simple, but i am me and simple is NOT in my dna. simple design, yes. simple projects, nope. my brain went into overdrive figuring out exactly how to transform our building's blah blah blah community room into the perfect spot for a first birthday party.

the community room. oy vey.

i painted some lovely banners, the mister created gads and gads of strings with colorful squares, we sewed some monster party favors, and we made paper stars and paper chains. we happily, the end result was dreamy.

the mister and his helper making wall coverings.

the food corner.

i love this wall, sigh.

and then there was the cake. naturally i consulted the internet, but what i found was ridiculously intimidating. there are some seriously overachieving parents out there!!! i am not, nor have i ever been, known for my baking, so trying to make a dump truck sculpture with cake was definitely beyond my skill level. but i still wanted it to be special. i had it in my head that i would make the entire thing from scratch...cake AND frosting. of course, my kitchen is not equipped with any type of electrified mixer and apparently these gadgets make the process a whole lot easier. right. oh well. i decided to make a "trial" cake for our little family-of-three celebration that we had on the little guy's actual birthday. the cake was bright green. delicious, but seriously crumbly. the frosting took three tries. the final version was chocolately goodness, but hard. of course, pringle was delighted with the result. in fact, he got upset when we took it away. 

numero uno.

even though it was yummy, the mister and i decided that the cake for the party needed some improvements. enter betty crocker. in the end i made a four-layer cake, with blue and green layers. and white frosting with orange decorations. the design was simple, simple, simple, and it turned out sooooooooooooo pretty. so so pretty. i kept opening the fridge to look at it, because i was so surprised that it turned out so glorious. and the taste..well, betty crocker did a fabulous job, so the cake was scrumptious. and did i mention it was pretty? it was.

i adore this cake. it makes me giddy.

staring down the cake.

monster party favors!!

all in all, it was a delightful party. and pringle had super much fun.

the birthday boy.


art. not the garfunkel kind.

okay, i know i am a little gung-ho with the student artwork these days, but i cannot help it. i adore kids art AND i love my job. yes, i said it again. i love my job. for reals people. for five years, i worked my tuches to the bone, slogging through reading, 'riting, and 'rithmetic, so let me bask in this joy for a few months. fear not, i have no intention of turning this blog into a parade of all of my students' projects, but there will definitely be some glimpses into the amazingness that is elementary school art. 

abstract faces. inspired by paul klee's "senecio."


one black dot. (incorporate a black dot into a drawing of your choice.)


concentric circles. inspired by wassily kandinsky's "farbstudie quadrate."



self-portrait collage quilt. inspired by faith ringgold's "tar beach."



fauve fauve fauve.

when selecting projects to do with my students, i have been avoiding painting. why? because the reality of painting with large groups of young children and limited time is daunting. but a few weeks ago, i braved the craziness and took out the watercolors. love. the kids behaved. love. the cleanup was easy. love. the pictures turned out awesome. love.

we made fauve portraits. [fauve: characterized by the use of bright colors and simplified forms.]

seriously people, i love my job.


mr. lorenzo, if you please.

sometime in january, i was driving down the road with my boys and i saw a billboard for the yellow green farmers market. i convinced the mister that our life is not complete without a weekly visit to a farmers market, so the following saturday we checked out the place. i tried hard to see this place as the market of my dreams, but reality won...it is a flea market with a few farmers and a pretty name.

fresh herbs. would you like conventional or organic? exactly.

now i have always dreamed of living in a small town - you know, the kind with a main street actually named "main street", home to a butcher, a baker, and a candlestick maker, where everybody knows my name - so, no surprise that i was itching to include a farmer's market in my weekly grocery shop.

maybe it is the palm tree, but this picture disguises the dinginess of the building.

enter lorenzo's farmers market. a squalid peach-colored building next to the railroad tracks. not exactly the open-air stalls of beautifully laid out produce from my dreams, but i am willing to sacrifice decor for the amazingness that is lorenzo's. a time warp that takes you back thirty years to the days before computerized inventory. here the prices are hand-written on signs and the cashiers have them all memorized to type them into the register. want to change a price? walk to the front of the store and tell the cashiers the new price. wow.

baskets and baskets of deliciousness.

on one side of the parking lot is lorenzo's farmers market. a tiny market bursting with every fruit and vegetable you can imagine and some you cannot. i have found things in that place that i have never heard of and it seems that every trip, there is something new at which to look. golden beets? check. fresh bay leaves? check. fresh garbanzo beans? check. black radishes? check.


and the prices. oh my god, the prices. 99¢ for a pint of grape tomatoes?!? what? 79¢ for an avocado? who are these people? $1.19 for a bag of basil? puh-lease. last saturday i walked out with my three reusable grocery bags bursting at the seams, for a mere $23. heaven.

such an unassuming little place.

across the parking lot is the big daddy market, lorenzo's italian market and restaurant. looks like a whole lot of nothing from the outside. inside it is dreamy. upon entering, the first thing to greet you are two cases of homemade pasta. yum.

fresh, hand-made pasta. oooh la la.

wander around the little store and you will find a restaurant/café alongside several aisles of groceries. wrapped around this is the bakery, deli, butcher, and seafood counter. that is right kids, i found the little market from main street, usa, plopped in the middle of bustling miami. amazeballs.

an aisle devoted to pasta. both sides. dreamy.

and like its little farmers market cousin, it is bursting at the seams with yummy goodness. lots of things i know and a whole lotta craziness of which i had heard, but had never seen and certainly would not know where to buy. 20 pound bags of couscous? check. grape leaves? which brand would you like? pasta? there is an entire aisle!!! tomatoes in every form you can imagine? got it. cardamom pods you could not find anywhere else? check. and while the prices at the italian market are not jaw-droppingly low, they are no higher than the regular grocery store.

grape leaves, if you please.

whoa, olive oil. no joke, somewhere in that collection is a $58 bottle.

it only took me five and a half years of yearning for a farmers market, to discover that all this time, the little shop of my dreams has been 0.8 miles from my house.

p.s. yes, i plan to blatantly ignore the fact that we missed the entire month of march. details.