Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Mojo? Mojo? Come here, Mojo!

I'm beginning to think that when I cleaned up my craft room a few weeks ago, I cleaned my mojo out too.  I haven't been very prolific on the cardmaking front over the past few weeks and I haven't even felt the urge to go create.  Of course, my inspiration is bound to return when I start back to work this week and have less time to devote to crafting.  I actually got a good burst of inspiration last night when I started working on a special project, but I have to wait until next month to share that one.  I do have a few cards to share from recent days. :)  These all make use of stickers as their main image.  My favorite is definitely the fish! 






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Cards shipped to OWH in 2012: 928 blank and 215 AnyHero (as of 6/26)
Cards shipped to OWH in 2011: 1695

Check out OWH at www.operationwritehome.org to learn more about its mission and how to get involved.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Back to school

It's the most wonderful time of the year according to Staples.  Deep down, I feel that way, too, even though I am not excited at the prospect of a week of meetings prior to the start of the school year.

My 8th grade team has 14 teachers.  This year, we're welcoming 4 new teachers to our team and we have a long term sub in for a teacher who had surgery and is still recovering.  I wanted to make some cards that the "old" members of them team could sign.  They're pretty simple, but they get the message across!





  

The patterned papers and stickers are from Colorbok.  The border punch is EK Success.  Stamps are Inkadinkado (school girl and "welcome"), See D's (owl), and Imaginesence (bus). Coloring with Copics.
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Cards shipped to OWH in 2012: 928 blank and 215 AnyHero (as of 6/26)
Cards shipped to OWH in 2011: 1695

Check out OWH at www.operationwritehome.org to learn more about its mission and how to get involved.

Tutorial: Tool Organizer

Inspired by a clutch I saw on Pinterest that was made by TidyMom, I set out to make an organizer with elastic loops to hold my crafting tools so I can easily take them along to crops.   I thought the plastic bags in the inspiration were a recipe for disaster for me- they would certainly make my sewing machine spazz out and I knew I'd destroy the bags if I ever got them stitched down properly.  Elastic loops sounded much more promising. 

I purchased a printed pot holder with a pocket.  The pocket is optional but gives an extra storage space and a convenient way to hide your stitches. 

I cut a length of thin elastic the same length as the potholder and I sewed it down every 3/4" or so by hand.  I would recommend that you choose the objects you want to store first and change the spacing of your stitches accordingly.  I would also recommend 1/4" or 1/2" elastic instead of the slim elastic I used if you're storing heavy things.  I chose to sew this by hand because I wanted to hide the stitches inside the pocket.  
 


Finally, stitch a button in line with the hanging loop so you can close up your organizer.  Not bad for $1.50, right?  It was a very quick project, less than 30 minutes start to finish! 
The button is on the back!  Small scissors easily fit in the pocket.


Potholder: Big Lots, $1.50
Elastic, Thread, and Button: from stash 

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Cards shipped to OWH in 2012: 928 blank and 215 AnyHero (as of 6/26)
Cards shipped to OWH in 2011: 1695

Check out OWH at www.operationwritehome.org to learn more about its mission and how to get involved.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Like a bowl full of jelly

I was happy to get to share a short tutorial on OWH Stars and Stamps today featuring how to make a Santa card.  The version here is slightly different from the one in the tutorial.  I used buttons instead of brads, white ribbon instead of black, and a metal slider instead of a soda tab for the belt buckle.  I also added two vertical score lines on either side of the buttons; they may not show up well in the photograph unless you click to enlarge it.  I made this kind of card last summer and had some fun with them, so I wanted to make a few more this year.  You can see my original post from August 2011 here.  If you want to see a similar card, check out OWHtv episode 29 from September 2011 where Sandy shared some cards in this same style minus the beard. 

I hope you try your hand at some Santa cards!  Thanks so much for visiting if you came over from the OWH blog.  I'm happy to have you here!  
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Cards shipped to OWH in 2012: 928 blank and 215 AnyHero (as of 6/26)
Cards shipped to OWH in 2011: 1695

Check out OWH at www.operationwritehome.org to learn more about its mission and how to get involved.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Cards with Aimee and Sketch #132

One of my best friends visited me yesterday and we spent just a little time making cards.  Today, I took the scraps from what we made and whipped up several more cards.  These patterned papers are from DCWV's 2011 Fall/Halloween stack.  Unfortunately, I didn't take a picture of Aimee's card.  She'd never used Copics, but her coloring was fab.  She is, after all, an art teacher!
Made with Aimee.  She picked the stamp by Unity for us to use.
Changing the papers of the card above.
Lots of scraps on this card.  Stamps by Hampton Arts. 

OWH Sketch #132.  Stamps are Inkadinkado scrapbooking captions.  At first, the purple paper was plain but the card looked unadorned, so I masked off the other papers and stamped the vines.  This is why you should glue last!

First time I inked up this kitty from Unity.  More scraps!
It's so nice to have friends who enjoy the same hobbies as I do.  Do you have friends who like to craft with you or are you a solo crafter?  I find I get more done alone, but I have lots more fun with my friends!

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Cards shipped to OWH in 2012: 928 blank and 215 AnyHero (as of 6/26)
Cards shipped to OWH in 2011: 1695

Check out OWH at www.operationwritehome.org to learn more about its mission and how to get involved.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

ABC....123...

Remember when I said I didn't need any more paper?  No?  Me either.  There's always something new out there to try.  I was excited to see a DCWV pack (A Type of Art) that contains all different sizes, fonts, and colors of text.  Near the top of the stack were sheets with the alphabet and numbers up to ten and cute "A is for..." type sentiments.  In Googling to find the name of the stack, I'm tickled to find out that I got it for a mere $6 at JoAnn on clearance when it was just released about 6 weeks ago!  That must have been a mistake.






I made twenty-some of these cards using the various sentiments.  Only a few of the squares were illogical for card making and had to be left out.   The colors in the stack are fun and I even think I'm going to save a few of the pages for scrapbooking.  It's got a design with text from Huckleberry Finn and I've yet to scrapbook the trip my family took to Mark Twain's house in CT over Christmas vacation.  There's also some great Shakespeare text, but I already scrapped my trip the the Globe and I missed this summer's Shakespeare on the Green in my town.  That might become cards! 

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Cards shipped to OWH in 2012: 928 blank and 215 AnyHero (as of 6/26)
Cards shipped to OWH in 2011: 1695

Check out OWH at www.operationwritehome.org to learn more about its mission and how to get involved.

Fabric on a card

This is my first attempt at using fabric on a card.  I've used plenty of ribbon and even a good deal of pre-cut felt, but never honest-to-goodness fabric.

I had some scraps left over from covering my stool cushion at work and I thought the vibrant pattern and corduroy texture would work well on a card.  I trimmed a strip of fabric freehand and layered ric rack over top so the raw edges wouldn't show.  A simple stamp by Unity and this card is ready to ship out.  



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Cards shipped to OWH in 2012: 928 blank and 215 AnyHero (as of 6/26)
Cards shipped to OWH in 2011: 1695

Check out OWH at www.operationwritehome.org to learn more about its mission and how to get involved.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Treats for someone sweet

One of my coworkers and her husband hosted a party at their house for a lot of people (friends, family, coworkers) over the weekend.  I wanted to take them a little gift in addition to bringing something to share at the party.

I dug through my stamps and found seven stamps with the word "sweet" before I came across this one with the sentiment I wanted.



Made with a combination of Studio G and SU stamps, Copic markers, assorted cardstock from my stash, random ribbon, and lots of white chocolate!  That's right, the mix inside is Alton Brown's White Trash.  Scrumptious! 
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Cards shipped to OWH in 2012: 928 blank and 215 AnyHero (as of 6/26)
Cards shipped to OWH in 2011: 1695

Check out OWH at www.operationwritehome.org to learn more about its mission and how to get involved.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Building Vocabulary with a Word Wall

I think most teachers are familiar with word walls.  I've seen elementary teachers organize them alphabetically.  For my math students in middle school, I organize the walls by unit theme.  Each unit we study is assigned a color so students can look for related words in the group.  We make use of our word walls in countless ways, but here are just a few:

1. I place all of the words for a new unit on the wall.  As we work our way through a unit and learn a new concept, students try to guess which word could have that meaning. 

2. Students refer to the wall for spelling and to help them recall words that have slipped their minds.

3. Because I am lucky to have metal walls, my words are most often individual strips with magnets on the back.  We take them down and use them for games.  One favorite game is the fly-swatter game.  Give a representative from each team a fly-swatter (clean, of course), scatter the vocabulary words on the board, and give a definition, example, non-example, drawing, etc that the students have to match to the correct word.  It's fast-paced and they get to smack the board, so they love it!

4. Review/Study.  I give a final exam so I encourage my students to use the word wall to identify their weaknesses.  They can read through the words and decide what to study based on what vocabulary is most difficult for them.  I also find my students using the word wall when they help each other.  They are frequently overheard asking each other about the words and the responses typically include the related words.  I love hearing my kids use their vocabulary! 

I have experienced a few set-backs with my word walls in the past.  First, the words get a glare once laminated so they can be hard to read.   Sometimes I end up with students who have trouble reading at a distance even with really large font sizes.  So, readability is a big problem in my classroom.  Second, the students can't take the wall home so they don't have that resource when they are completing assignments outside of my room.  In response to those issues, I decided to do a little more with vocabulary this year. 

New to my class this year will be personal word walls.  Hooray!  I designed a template to look like a brick wall complete with a graffiti title.  Kids will be responsible for adding words to their wall when we first learn them in class.  Each unit will be written in a different color and the kids will be able to place the words how they want to on the sheet though I'll encourage them to group like words in some way instead of randomly scattering them.  I'm going to have the kids lightly shade or outline the boxes with colored pencil when they feel they have mastered the term.  To me, that means they can describe/define it clearly, draw it accurately, and spell it correctly.  I think we'll need two or more copies to fit all of our words depending on the course as each size holds about 75 words.  When I taught Geometry in the past, we had nearly 300 words, so we would have needed 4 of these.  I'm going to make this double sided and copy it on cardstock.  They'll keep it in a sheet protector so they can use it to quiz themselves by marking things off with a dry erase marker. 
 
If you would like to use this with your class, leave me a comment with your e-mail address and I'll send you the file.  

For my regular readers who are here for cards, fear not!  The cards will return soon and these pesky school posts are going to find a new home on my new blog, i is a number where I will discuss all things middle school math.  I took the plunge and decided to set up yet another blog!  Come on over and follow if you like.  I know several cardmakers who are also teachers or homeschoolers.  :)
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Cards shipped to OWH in 2012: 928 blank and 215 AnyHero (as of 6/26)
Cards shipped to OWH in 2011: 1695

Check out OWH at www.operationwritehome.org to learn more about its mission and how to get involved.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Classroom update

I know my readers don't come for school-related photos, but I can't help but be excited for the upcoming school year.  Our kids will be back in three short weeks and I only have two weeks left to call my own.  Of course, I'm already back at school setting up and planning things.

A few days ago, I shared some things I'd been working on for my room.  Now I have them up on the walls!

Here's my Homeworkopoly game board.  I made a magnet for each kid, but they're definitely too big for the board.  We'll deal with it!  They're numbered with the hope that this is a successful enough that I do it for several years so I won't have to swap out kids' initials.  Each class period has a different color sticker.  I also added a small dry erase board so that kids can work out their Chance problems there if they want to.  I found some great Brain Teaser flashcards from which I extracted the math questions to be our brain teasers.  Interestingly enough, while the age listed on the box is 14+, almost all of the math standards represented should be well understood as the kids enter 8th grade.  Most of them won't seem like brain teasers at all, but like problems we do on a regular basis! 

 I'm going to use these pocket charts for cooperative grouping.  Each child will have a card and I can mix and match them into groups as needed and not hear, "Who's in my group?" or "What group number am I?" again.  At least, not as much! 

This poster isn't new this year, but was rather one of my favorite things from last year.  I often require all of my students to answer a question by raising their hand to vote.  I like to get them to agree or disagree with classmates or answer my questions this way.  They "ride the roller coaster" if they're not sure.  

My new class store.  We already have a classroom economy in 8th grade.  I am so stinkin' tired of handing out hundreds of pencils, erasers, and the like over the course of a year that I knew I needed to do something different.  Introducing the store!  

My students may not drive yet, but they do have assigned parking spots.  The grid is large enough that students can put a 3x3 Post-it in their square with the answer to a question, a comment, or something else as they walk out the door.  

Some of the best organization I have is for my students to use.  These hanging file pockets hold four things for each class: missed work from absences, tests/quizzes that need to be made up, no name or not finished papers, and papers to be handed back.  I got these at JoAnn in the dorm section and they've been going strong for two years already with no signs of wear.  It doesn't look like they are carrying them this year, however my store is small so a larger store might have them.  

Hello Pinspired stool!  I have a comfy stool from my parents' old basement wet bar.  I was tired of the black vinyl, so I covered it with this cheerful corduroy.  I sort of want to paint the legs, but I'm not sure I really want to paint it badly enough to put forth the effort.  The top makes me happy enough for now.  


Perhaps I'll give you some full classroom shots in a future post.  There's still a little bit of a mess to be dealt with and some chores to be done before I photograph the entire room.  :)  Thanks for humoring me.  I might have to start a school blog, but I don't know if I have enough time! 

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Cards shipped to OWH in 2012: 928 blank and 215 AnyHero (as of 6/26)
Cards shipped to OWH in 2011: 1695

Check out OWH at www.operationwritehome.org to learn more about its mission and how to get involved.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Love!

 This card uses papers from Basic Grey's Picadilly line.  It's also an OWH Sketch! 



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Cards shipped to OWH in 2012: 928 blank and 215 AnyHero (as of 6/26)
Cards shipped to OWH in 2011: 1695

Check out OWH at www.operationwritehome.org to learn more about its mission and how to get involved.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

A little paradise


When I was cleaning up my craft room last week, I found these pieces and scraps and put them together into a simple card.  The image is a cardstock sticker with stitching.

Because of the plaid paper, torn paper, and color scheme, I'm going to link this card up to the OWH ODBD August challenge which is to make masculine cards.  I need to get this one in the mail pronto since it has a summer image. 

Thanks, as always, to ODBD for sponsoring a monthly OWH challenge.  It's been close to a year since the challenges started and we've always managed to post at least 50 cards.  Each month we post 50 cards, ODBD dontates enough money to cover shipping two boxes of cards overseas.  So generous!  And as an extra bonus for the cardmakers, they give out two $25 gift certificates to their online store.  I was lucky enough to win one for August, so I will have to hop over and pick out some stamps soon.  It will be hard to choose, but I know I want some scripture stamps.
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Cards shipped to OWH in 2012: 928 blank and 215 AnyHero (as of 6/26)
Cards shipped to OWH in 2011: 1695

Check out OWH at www.operationwritehome.org to learn more about its mission and how to get involved.

Friday, August 3, 2012

A break from cards...

...but not a break from being crafty!  Yesterday I started to get my classroom set up for the upcoming school year.  It's earlier than I've ever started that process, but I know that there will be lots of changes at school this year, so the sooner I get rolling, the smoother it should go.

Today I've been quite industrious, I think.  Inspired by Pinterest, I took on several projects.  The first project is dubbed Homeworkopoly.  I changed the directions and the board to suit my classroom.  My students will individually earn the right to play on Friday if they have turned in all of their homework for the week on time.  They'll roll just one die since the board is small (and I don't want to hear about taking a second turn for rolling doubles).  The potential rewards are small prizes that are inexpensive or free but are things I know my kids generally like.

Go earns $50 Cat Cash (money in our grade-level economy).  They'll earn this whenever they pass by Go, just like in real Monopoly. 
Free Reading awards kids with the opportunity to free read instead of doing the math warm-up one day.  They always whine about doing the warm-up, so this might be a good motivator to do homework.
Treasure Chest is just the choice of a small prize (pencil, eraser, etc), piece of candy, or $25 Cat Cash.
Lunch Bunch will be the coveted prize for sure!  It gives kids the chance to bring two friends to eat lunch in my room.  Since lunch tables are assigned and stay the same all year, some kids never get to eat with their closest friends.
When they land on Chance, the kids can answer a math problem to earn extra Cat Cash.

I'm storing all of the cards in plastic index card boxes.  I put advertising magnets on the backs.  I still need to make the game pieces, but I'm going to wait until class lists are somewhat more finalized than they are now.  Clothespins would be great if I didn't teach almost 80 students.  I'm going to do small magnets.   (Update: I actually used Staples page flags and had each class period use a different color.  They held up well and weren't going to move if someone bumped into the board.)  I also need to collect questions for the Chance spaces.  I'm going to aim for 30 questions.   The files for the game board are below.  I removed any references to things specific to my school, but you could also update the spaces with school-specific rewards. 

Update (9/2013)- Homeworkopoly got to be too much work for me after one marking term.  It took about 15-20 minutes of class time per week.  If your students are really good independent workers, this might be an option for you.  I found that my students would have questions about their assignment and that would make this process take even longer.  I couldn't justify taking away from instruction with this system.  It was a good motivator for certain kids, recognized those who consistently do what they should, and I had it well organized, but it wasn't working for my class, so I let it go. 




On to project #2.  Here's our classroom "Parking Lot."   My middle schoolers can't drive yet, but they'll all be assigned a parking space.  When I need to do a quick, short exit pass, I can have the kids write their work on post-it notes and stick them to this poster.  Each kid will use their number (based off my alphabetized list, of course) so I can quickly record their scores.  To differentiate this assignment, I can give out different colored post-its and direct the children to answer a certain question based on the color of their post-it.  Then when scoring them, I can score by color.  Easy peasy!  I think it will be quick enough to score one class's answers while the next class is doing the warm-up. 
Another thing I LOVE about today's craftiness is that I used two hideously old fashioned pieces of scrapbooking paper.  They're great for school but not so hot for my own crafts!    

Sorry for the break from the cards, but I was excited to share some things for my classroom! 
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Cards shipped to OWH in 2012: 928 blank and 215 AnyHero (as of 6/26)
Cards shipped to OWH in 2011: 1695

Check out OWH at www.operationwritehome.org to learn more about its mission and how to get involved.

FWF

Another Friday, another edition of Friends with Flair.  I wanted to showcase this fun paper and just use a simple sentiment.  I got this sentiment in a Unity grab bag and I have no idea what set it's from.  Sometimes it's hard to find them on the website if you don't know what you're looking for!  The hearts are paper pieced and covered with Glossy Accents. 

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Cards shipped to OWH in 2012: 928 blank and 215 AnyHero (as of 6/26)
Cards shipped to OWH in 2011: 1695

Check out OWH at www.operationwritehome.org to learn more about its mission and how to get involved.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Welcome to my Craft Room

My craft room is four years in the making.   This week marks four years that I've lived here and finally finishing this space was one of my 2012 goals.  I've been collecting the pieces in this room over the past four years, searching secondhand stores and discount stores for the most functional items at the most reasonable prices.  Some items are left over from my childhood and others are recent purchases.  If your craft space isn't meeting your needs, I hope this tour gives you some good ideas for how you can improve it on a budget.    

When I first moved in, I intended to use this room as my office and left open the possibility of using it as a guest room.  I might have graded papers in here once or twice in four years; I simply prefer to work in my classroom.  At the time I moved in, I was quite used to having a gigantic desk.  Both in college and at my apartment in France, I had a three foot deep desk.  As it turns out, you can't easily find a desk like that on the retail market, but I loved the size.  I bought a kitchen table to be my desk and it's been working out great for crafting because there's so much space.  The table and four chairs was about $150.  I use two of the chairs elsewhere in the house.
On top of my desk, I use a variety of small shelving pieces.  I have four of the Quickkutz Magpie storage units.  I bought these in 2009 for a total of $24 at Big Lots.  Funny thing- I didn't know they were meant as scrapping storage until last year.  I thought I was clever to use them for my punches.  They were displayed with discontinued items from Rite Aid so I thought they were meant to organize cosmetics.  :)  I also have a plastic shelf that was about $5 at Dollar General and some random wood shelves that were between $1-6 at Goodwill as well as some plastic crates from Dollar Tree and even a couple of cardboard boxes.  My Copics are in empty frosting tubs- free!  Under my desk, there's a plastic drawer unit that holds some additional punches, inks, envelopes, and more.  I also have a cork board above the desk with some important info, templates, and a couple of inspirational cards.  My grandmother made a birthday card for me a few months before her severe stroke in 2010 and I proudly display it on my board as a tribute to her.  The other inspirational card is from Sandy of OWH from when I won a prize.  I keep it there to remind me of the great work OWH does. 

My Cuttlebug station sits just behind my desk chair.  It's a computer desk that I bought at Habitat Restore.  It could use new paint, but I would probably just mess it up again while being crafty, so for now I'll just say it has some character!  All of my Cuttlebug supplies fit on the top.  The keyboard drawer holds my glue gun and heat gun along with a craft mat.  Below is more open shelving for storage.  My sewing machine lives at the bottom of this cabinet as well.  Check out that blue beauty! 


I use embroidery floss boxes for buttons, eyelets, and brads but I prefer the old ones to the new ones.  The plastic seems flimsier on the one I just got at the craft store than on the ones I've had since elementary school.  My solution- I bought a few more at Goodwill for the same price as a new one but they were the better quality plastic. 


 I love, love, love using these plastic drawers for stamp storage. I paid $2 each on clearance at Walmart because the color was discontinued, but these are generally available for about $6.  If you want some, look in a few weeks when the back to school items go on clearance.  One layer of wooden stamps in each drawer isn't heavy enough to destroy the unit (though doubling up in all the drawers will cause them to start buckling).  I have my $1 stamps sorted by themes and I use them often thanks to the ease with which I can locate them.  Line the drawers with grippy shelf liner to keep stamps from sliding all around when you open and close the drawers.  On top of these shelves, I have a Canada Dry caddy that was 50 cents or $1 at Goodwill.  It holds all of my pens, tools, scissors, and the like and it's super sturdy. See the serving fork there, ready to make bows? 

Scraps and full 8.5 x 11 cardstock are stored in these two bins.  At about $5 each plus the cost of file folders, they are an inexpensive way to sort papers and remain portable  Nearby, the green plastic drawers hold rarely used tools like a tag maker, large stapler, circle cutter, and more as well as supplies for other crafts I enjoy.  

Most of my storage is boxes on shelving.  This Ikea bookcase has been around for a long time.  I picked it out for my bedroom when I was in elementary school and it's been serving me well ever since.  I have no idea what my parents paid for it, but I know that it's been well worth the price.  The binders hold my stickers.  Paper trays hold cardstock that I've purchased by the ream.  Small plastic shoeboxes hold random embellishments like chipboard sets, extra adhesives, and more.   I keep a ream of 11x17 paper on hand to cover my work space if I'm going to be inky.  Under the shelves, I store my cropping tote. 
My other shelving is a set of 5 cubes for paper storage.   I lucked out and was able to get these cubes at Big Lots in 2009 for $8 each.  Michaels sells identical cubes with white shelves (mine are pink and green, not that you can tell for all of the paper) for $35 each. 
   
A plastic shelving unit holds my lightbox, ribbons, clear stamps, and Stampin Up sets I rarely use.  It was about $11 at Habitat ReStore. I keep cards that are ready to go in a large FRB on top.  This one's about half full. 


I glanced back through my post and totaled up what I've spent in storage for my room- about $300, half of which was the dining set.  I know everyone has a different budget to work with, and I was hoping this might inspire crafters on a low budget to look into secondhand stores for items that could work.  I am more concerned with function than looks, so I don't mind the mix of colors and materials in my room.   If it's important to you that your space be cohesive, look for items that you can paint and opportunities to pull in a fabric such as on chair cushions, curtains, and wall art.  For now, I will be happy to sink my craft budget into papers, tools, and postage for OWH instead of perfectly matched furniture. 

At four years old, my craft room is finally "done."

What creative storage solution makes your space work for you?

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Cards shipped to OWH in 2012: 928 blank and 215 AnyHero (as of 6/26)
Cards shipped to OWH in 2011: 1695

Check out OWH at www.operationwritehome.org to learn more about its mission and how to get involved.

Goal Update

We're 2/3 of the way through 2012.  Can you believe it?  I know I can't quite fathom the idea of going back to school later this month.  I have to go to training today, in fact, so I guess that will kickstart the BTS season for me.

I thought it was an appropriate time to review my cardmaking goals for 2012 and check my progress.  Copied below in italics are my goals that I blogged about in January.  

My sample for Sketch #104
1. I want to do every OWH sketch this year. Past and upcoming sketches together, that will be just over 150 sketches. 

I'm totally on track with goal #1.  I've finished all of the numbered sketches that have been published thus far and I've done most or all of the bonus sketches.  I just need to go back through the bonus sketch document that has them numbered and check them off.  As a sidenote to this goal, I was honored to make the sample cards for two of the sketches earlier this year, #104 and #120!   
 
Some of my best coloring at this point
2. I want to color at least 20% of my cards because I need to develop this skill. This will be hard to track, but can be a guiding percentage as I craft.
20% might have been an unrealistic goal for me in January but I think I might get there by December.  I still don't enjoy coloring, so it's not something I do that often.  It's also really easy to do multiples with pre-colored digis and sometimes I do like to take the easy way out!  (I definitely made about 40 cards with pre-colored digis this week.) Two things that have helped somewhat in this goal are my growing collection of marker colors and having the correct ink, Memento Tuxedo Black.  My images come out without smearing and match my papers better now that I have a few more markers.  The box that's currently filling up has 155 cards of which 20 have coloring.  That's about 13%.  I still have some work to do if I want to make it to 20%. 
 
Fun AnyHero cards using mazes I bought at the Dollar Tree.
3. I want to include at least 1 AnyHero card for every 50 cards I make. I'm often so into the crafting that I neglect to write special messages for our heroes. 
Yes and no on this one.  As you can see in my signature below, I've sent in 215 AnyHero cards this year.  Of those, about 200 were written by my students at school.  If I count only the cards I've personally written, I'm a handful behind.  Good thing that's this week's Midweek Throwdown! 

 
Just one way I am trying to stay organized- this bin holds scraps and a second one like it holds 8.5 x 11" cardstock.
4. Purge then organize my craft room. I saw my aunt's space over the holidays and was enamored with her very organized space. 
Yes, or very nearly so.  I spent a good deal of time on this task in the past two weeks.  I took a carload of items to Goodwill from all over the house including the craft room, purchased new-to-me furniture to provide additional craft storage and workspace, and now have a much more useful craft room. I moved into this house in 2008 and there were some boxes in my craft room that hadn't been used much or at all in that time.  I also had a much, much, much smaller collection of stuff when I moved here.  I think I had two paper punches, a corner rounder and a fleur de lis.  Now I have well over 100.  Previously, I crafted in my craft room and also in the dining room just to have extra space to spread out and use my Cuttlebug.  Now, my Cuttlebug has its own dedicated space so my craft room is much more functional.  The part that remains to be seen is if I can keep the space neat!  It's not a pretty space (my furniture doesn't match, the walls are boring white, etc) but I intend to post pictures soon in case they inspire anyone else on a small budget to overhaul their space. 
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Cards shipped to OWH in 2012: 928 blank and 215 AnyHero (as of 6/26)
Cards shipped to OWH in 2011: 1695

Check out OWH at www.operationwritehome.org to learn more about its mission and how to get involved.