Tuesday, October 25, 2016


I am very excited to have moved my blog to https://paintbrushrocket.com/.  Why have I done this??? Mostly, I am getting ready for some change in my life. This is my last year teaching elementary school, next year I will be teaching at my school district's brand new 5th/6th grade Intermediate School.  After 18 years in my current classroom, I am ready for the change.  While I plan to continue blogging, I have had a dream or organizing my art photos into art gallery's.  I can do this with a website, (not ready yet... still working on it).  I want to get all my elementary lessons organized before my momentum switches to Intermediate. 

I also want to start being an artist again.  I am a painter, I want to PAINT!  I plan to have a Studio page with some video and how to's of my personal painting style.  I may sell something at some point, but for now, I am letting it evolve one day at a time. I hope you get in the routine of visiting my site.  Now that the walls are all framed in, I can really start building! I hope to see you there! Thank you for checking in! xoxo

Sunday, May 22, 2016

When Cats Fly! An Homage to Laurel Burch Mural Painting 2016!

I LOVE this time of year! I am seriously as excited as my students to begin the annual Spring mural painting!  I am lucky to have this very large space in the halls of my building covered with bulletin boards.  I staple up large banner paper, draw out a HUGE drawing and number it by color.  This year, our paint by number mural has 28 colors! I LOVE color, love mixing colors and seeing it come together before my eyes! This is my second year creating a time-lapse video documenting the masterpiece!  ENJOY!!!

Here are the finished photos...

The next three paintings are at the end of our academic wings...

Monday, April 11, 2016

Art Scouts 2016!!!

There are now 2 Art Scouts Summer Camps for you to choose from!!! 
Bowling Green, Ohio in June or 
Franklin, Tennessee in July!!!

I am very excited to be collaborating with this very talented group of ladies! Are you wondering... what do the 4 of us have in common??? We are passionate MESS MAKERS!!! We like our students hands to be dirty with paint, pastels, clay, and printing ink!  We like to get tangled up in yarn and stab at some roving! We like to make stuff!!!! Here is a little more about us...

I have been an elementary art teacher for 18 years.  I love giving my students experience with as many art materials as possible in a school year, much like the other 3 ladies.  I am a studied painter and ceramic artist but I love it all!  I consider myself a life long learner, always interested in experiencing new things. Presenting workshops and sharing my methods with other art teachers is fun and exciting! When you give, you receive... I always learn when I am sharing!

Laura Lohmann and I have been friends for years.  She is my local buddy, how lucky am I??? She teaches in a district next door to mine. We "crash" each others arts festivals every year, a great way to borrow ideas! We have presented at our state convention several times and twice now at NAEA.  I have watched her family grow, I taught her son and daughter for most of their elementary years..... a pleasure! Those Lohmann kids were a couple of my all time favorites! Laura is in a constant state of creativity.  Even when she is exhausted, nothing left to give, she comes up with the best ideas that are totally unique! Need a theme? An idea, a vision??? Ask Laura aka www.paintedpaperart.com

Cassie Stephens is someone I have known of since 2009 when I started using Flickr to look for art lesson ideas, (pre- Pinterest!).  I started noticing this art teacher dressing in supercool vintage outfits, sweaters and skirts with funky shoes and things in her hair!  Soon, her blog was born and the rest is history! Our friendship has grown over the last couple years of chatting online and hanging out at the NAEA conventions. She is the real deal! Talented, full of personality AND has a SUPER big heart! I am sure you have seen her wonderful work at www.cassiestephens.blogspot.com.

Jennifer Alvarado is the Jonna Gaines of art education! Super cute style and sweetheart personality, you want to be her friend immediately! She is teaching her first year in Franklin Special School District, TN after teaching several years in Florida.  Jennifer is a talented elementary art teacher and especially likes the "littles", the youngest in the building.  Bless her heart! She is new to entering the online Art Teacherin' world, but is someone you want to follow!  Look for jennifer_alvarado_art on Instagram.

We ALL are very excited with the response we are getting from many of you!  These workshops will be A TOTAL HANDS ON ART MAKING EXPERIENCE! We know this will be something you will love, we have designed it to be an experience WE would want to have ourselves.  If you are not able to make it, or we fill up and you can get in, PLEASE do not be discouraged! We are planning more, please stay tuned!

Friday, March 4, 2016

4th Grade ipad Pouch Weaving!

My students love weaving, boys, girls, they ALL love it! I highly recommend weaving a pouch with 4th grade and up... That is, if you have nice class sizes, (less than 25) and a group of DOERS!  You do not want to do this project with whiney, slow procrastinators.  You always have a couple of those even with the best groups, but the doers get them going!

If you have NEVER taught weaving on a loom with yarn, start small.  Flat looms first, then maybe circle looms and then move to small pouches, ( 4"x 6").  The weaving is the easy part, especially if students are doing it well and not making too many mistakes.  I have woven for many years with students and have seen EVERY tangly mess you can imagine!  You have to be prepared to have some serious mistakes, and ready to handle them.  Then YOU will enjoy the weaving as much as your students.  

Here is how I get started...

The best materials for making the loom is either cardboard, or heavy chipboard.  I made mine this year with a heavy poster board... I regret it. I should have taken the time to have the kids bring in a cereal box, which works great! Or pizza box cardboard, single layer.  Double layer is too thick.  

I make a loom by cutting 2 pieces the same size and taping the bottom so it can fold shut. 
I cut an even number of tabs at the top on both sides, while the loom is closed. I cut 10 times on this sample, if you cut more, stronger bag. However, more than 10 starts getting a bit complicated for a first time weaver.  Once they finish a bag, if they want to make a tighter woven bag at home, I show them how to make their own looms.  

To string the loom with the warp, tape a LONG length of yarn on the inside of the loom.  Take the yarn and put it through the first tab on the side you taped to.  Close the loom, but try to keep it open with a finger preventing it from closing all the way. Pull the yarn down and wrap the bottom edge, go up to the opposite first tab and loop the yarn AROUND the first tab, then bring it down... wrapping the edge again, going back to the first side to wrap around the second tab. 

When finished, cut a long end and table inside the loom. The loom must be PERFECT!  All perfectly vertical lines!  Outside has the warp, inside has the loops as shown above.

Yet, it should be able to open.

Your ready to weave!  I recommend weaving with JUMBO yarn! It goes much faster and is easy for first time weavers to manipulate. I get mine at our local Meijer's store.  They have scanes of jumbo yarn for $2.99.  I spend about $200.00 on yarn for this project.  It is not a cheep project for a larger bag!  

To tie on, tie one end to the right side for right handers, left side for left handers.  Once you are through... over, under, over, under... then flip the board top continue in a big circle around the loom. 

The first 5 times around are the hardest.  Students are learning they have to pull the slack through each time, sometimes they forget... And they are sometimes pulling too hard, making the warp slide to the side.  You have to demonstrate the do's and don'ts for them.  No reason to push it down until around a good 10 times.  Then YOU become the pusher.... cramming the weft down when they are not doing it very well. 

When there is about 8" or more of yarn left, time to tie on a new piece.  Demonstrate SLOWLY how to tie on... students struggle to do this.  I tie on new pieces a lot, it keeps the weaving going.  They do eventually get it, most of them.  

If you want to weave faster, double the yarn.  Cut off a long length and match the ends, then tie on.  It does go WAY faster to double a reasonable thickness of yarn.  Something that will still go through the plastic needles.  

How to take off the loom...
I like to wait for at least 5 students to be complete with the weaving before teaching how to take off the loom.  Once I teach these 5 students, I give them the responsibility to teach to teach the others.  This makes the process MUCH easier on me, plus it gives this group of students a chance to master a craft!  I tell students... the last couple times around the loom should be difficult slow, that means the pouch is tightly woven and ready to come off the loom. 

The 3 spots to tie-off the loom...

Tie-off the weft to the warp with a SINGLE layer of yarn - Once at the end, you need some length to pull back a loom and tie a knot.  So below, I am tying the white weft to a blue warp at the top.  Double knot.

 Tie-off the weft to the warp with a DOUBLE layer of yarn - Once at the end, pull on of the ends back under one of the warp, knot the two ends together like you would to tie a shoe.  Double knot, very easy.  Trim ends.

Tie-off the warp taped on the inside of the loom - Pull off all the tape and take the ends off the loop on the warp on BOTH sides.

On each side of the loom, tie-off the warp yarn to the least weft yarn by making a loop and tying a knot. Then double knot.  Many weavers will simply weave the warp into the weaving.  For an experienced weaver, that will work. For kids, they feel like the bag will fall apart.  And it might!  they are just learning and there were likely some mistakes that can make the bag weak.  So I tie-off EVERYTHING.  It can be a painful process teaching it, but the students are better for it.  Many do not know how to tie anything!  They learn!  Or you have a couple great helpers help with the process if you do not have the time to spend on tying.  A pick your battle situation!

How to fix two common problems...

1.  A student accidentally wraps the yarn around a side and continues weaving.  If it is only a couple rows down, I would make the student unweave and fix it. 

If they continued weaving, unaware of the mistake, I make a quick fix by cutting the wrapped yarn in half...

 Then, I tie off the mistake on both sides onto a warp thread.  

It looks like new yarn was tied on, looks much better!

2. A student tied on new yarn and did not pull the new yarn through as they continued weaving.  It leaves this large loop. This student did it twice!  It often happens when the knot from tying on new yarn gets stuck on the warp.  They think it has pulled through.  THE NEED TO LOOK until the knot is fully woven through! 

Cut the yarn in half...

Tie the ends together if a double loop.  If not, loop around a warp thread and knot.

Looks much better!!!

How to attach a handle...

Cut the length of yarn you wish to have for a handle.  I suggest a couple extra inches.  It is always easier to cut excess than add.  Tie the handle on to a BOTTOM corner or the pouch.  Double knot, then put a large plastic needle on the other end.

Once tied on, start stitching or weaving the needle up the side of the bag.  It truly does not matter how many times, but I suggest "over/under" 10 times or more.

Once through the top, start back down the other side... Over/under at least 10 times.  WHen you reach the bottom of the bag, pull and end through long enough to tie around a couple weft strands.  DOuble knot.  And now your.... DONE!  

This is what they look like when they are done...

 They are soooo happy!!!! They will say over and over, this is there FAVORITE project they ever made.  Even over clay!  

Here is what it looks like in action!