Thursday, October 31, 2013

Jo-Ann and Tim and Me

I was in Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Store the other day when I came across this printed material. It mimics the look of scrapbook paper, and is, in fact, a Tim Holtz product. (If you peruse the scrapbook and craft aisles much at all, you're sure to see inks and all kinds of other goodies Holtz has created for us artsy-types. Well, when I saw it, I literally stopped in my tracks. I'm not sure if any "oohs" or "ahhs" escaped my lips, but I'm sure if someone were nearby they would have heard that sharp intake of breath when I first spotted the fabric.

So, yes, I bought some. Just a little bit from two different bolts of cloth. I had been looking for a bird of some kind for one of my mixed-media girls and decided then that I would create my own. I know it looks a bit amateurish, but that's okay. I like the look of uneven stitches. There's no doubt when someone sees my bird that it was hand made. I'm good with that.

I haven't finished the canvas yet, but I hope to soon. Right now I've got a little pumpkin-carving to do and some candy to stay out of.

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Inspiration and a Card for Kelly

This river is not too far from my home. When people drive over the bridge, you can usually see their heads turning left, then right, to catch a glimpse of the view. Sometimes I walk down to the river to see it and take pictures. Today, I was a little on the lazy side. I drove down and parked not too far away. I was glad I did. It was cold! My hands were freezing by the time I got back into my car and cranked up the heat.

It's a quiet weekend here. My husband took a friend to a college football game. He likes to indoctrinate people to his way of thinking when it comes to football. My daughter was up early for the ACT. And other than my little trip to the river this morning, I've been pretty quiet, too. There's plenty to do around here; I just haven't quite gotten into the mood to get things done.

Several blogs have been inspiring me lately. One is Jennifer Belthoff's blog, Giggling in the Rain. In this post, her poem asks those of us who consider ourselves writers, artists, or photographers if we are "living it." Since I'm also a teacher, it's difficult to live that life 100% of the time, but I'm trying. Yes, I'm a writer; I've been a writer for as long as I can remember. And although I enjoy photography and creating art, I don't feel comfortable calling myself a photographer or an artist. Not yet. After reading her poem though, I feel a little closer to claiming one of those.

More inspiration comes from Caroline Manrique, a photographer whom I have followed for years. Her beautiful photographs are like eye candy, and her posts dig deep making me stop and think a little deeper myself. She is also posting inspirational photos and quotes on Tumblr. I know some of you know Caroline, but if you haven't visited her before, you're missing a good thing.

After visiting Caroline's Tumblr, I decided to create something for another blogger who is going through a difficult time. I searched around for a quote until I found this one. It spoke to me, and I hope it will reassure her that time does heal our wounds and that we never lose the memories and love we have for our mothers.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

I love autumn months.
I love the slight chill in the air,
the smell of burning wood
and the sight of golden leaves 
littering the ground.
I love long sleeve t-shirts
made of soft cotton
and socks and real shoes.
Not those flipflops
that scream of

I love hot chocolate
with mini marshmallows
floating on top
and sweet potato casserole
with its marshmallow topping darkened
by the warmth of the oven.

I love hearing the crunch of leaves
as I walk through the woods
and seeing how they swirl and dance
in the breeze as they
pirouette to the earth.
there are leaves
with kamikazi attitudes.
Darting toward
my windshield
with reckless abandon.

I love early nightfall
and how it practically demands
that I settle in early for the night.
With lights shining through windows
and dogs curled up at my feet.
 Food baking in the oven
steam rising off the river.

Colorful world
at my fingertips

Friday, October 11, 2013

I Met Him and ...

he stole my heart
It was this little fella
at the fair
who did it.

It was during the fireworks display
when the loud noises were scaring him.
He nestled down into the hay
to get away from the sounds.
 My daughter nearly cried.
 I talked to him and said
everything would be alright.

Yep. I'm the crazy lady
with the camera
who talks to
At the fair.

Friday, October 4, 2013


It's been a week, and I have to say that I am ready for this weekend. Teaching can be so taxing sometimes. Dealing with all of the different personalities that come with the kids we teach.... Managing paperwork, planning lessons, grading papers, meeting with teachers about the kids we teach. Yep, it's time for the weekend!

Funny how certain students can work their way into your heart though. They don't even have to be the sweetest, best, or brightest, it's just something about them that makes you want to see them succeed. Not just in middle school but in life.

I have one student now who wants to become a counselor, and I can so see her in that role. Unfortunately, she has a long road ahead of her because, from what I can tell, there will be little family involvement and encouragement to get there. It's going to take her own intrinsic motivation and determination - perseverance - to make it.

Another student is the embodiment to me of the book, "Reading Don't Fix No Chevys." This particular student has helped roof houses and wants to work in a field that requires physical labor. He wants to go home at the end of the day with that feeling of accomplishment you get when you work hard and have something to show for it. So, of course, I have him reading poems and discussing theme and figurative language.

He was a little late getting an essay turned in and had to finish it today during a time set aside for completing make-up work. He was working in another classroom, and I had two students in my room whom I don't teach and who are anything but motivated. I finally told one guy (who had been looking at the partially-completed page of a late history assignment for at least an hour) that sometimes we just have to do things we don't want to do. And that it will happen when he gets a job, too. Enter my "Reading Don't Fix No Chevys" kid with essay in hand.

"I'm finished," he said as he waved the paper in front of me.

"Great!" I said. "Now, I want you to be honest. Was this something that you WANTED to do? That you just couldn't wait to jump into?"

"No, Mrs. Johnson, I did NOT want to do this."

"But you did it anyway," I said.

"Yes, I did."

Note to guy looking at the partially-completed page of the history assignment for the 65th minute. "Chevy" finished his work, and he didn't actually want to do it.


It's nearly fall break. (Did you hear that sigh?) We have three days of testing and shortened class periods. Three mornings of not being in my own classroom but on the 7th-grade hall (gasp!). And then, then fall break.

*sigh* I'm ready for that.