Friday, November 30, 2012

Favorites Four Friday.

I've come up with a new goal in life to try something new on a weekly basis.  It happened a few weeks ago when I went a little crazy pinning some stuff on Pinterest and wanted to try about 10 new recipes all at the same time. And I thought to myself, 'hmmm I really should try stuff more often.' My husband is always telling me how I'm stuck in my routine and don't like to try new things, blah, blah, blah. But it's completely true.

I. Love. My. Routine.  

Really, when I think about it, it is healthy to try new things, branch out and explore.  So I'm going to try it and watch my life improve before my eyes!

So, every Friday I'm going to highlight my four favorite things from the week, at least one of which will be a brand new thing that I have never tried before.  The others may just be some of my absolutely favorite things that made me smile that week.

I'm thinking this will be informative for readers - like if I share a new recipe or something - and it will also make me try something new and different every week!

So here's my first ever, Favorites Four Friday! Enjoy!

Numero Uno:

New educational term - I'm sure it's going to be hitting the professional development scene any day now - Snack Hands.  As in "Michael, please don't put your snack hands near the computer" or "Sarah, touching other people with your snack hands is rude."

My Special Education partner-in-crime actually coined this one just the other day so I can't take credit. She said it without even thinking about it and I literally laughed out loud on the other side of the room.  Unfortunately my kids are too old to eat snack, so it will be a rare occasion when I can use this baby.  But you can trust I'll find a way to work it in as often as possible.

Numero Dos:

It's clementine time!  I love this time of year because I eat clementines all the way through the winter.  I got my first box just last week and I was happy as a clam!

Numero Tres:

Christmas music is back on!  My favorite this week is Deck the Halls (Welsh Ayre) by Mannheim Steamroller.  Admittedly, I've been on a kick with this song for about four years now.  I grew up with Mannheim but it wasn't until the past four years that this song really hit me.  It just knows the right way to get me pumped up for the holidays!

Finally, Numero Quatro:

Favorite new craftable: christmas aprons! They are in the works now and will be hitting the blog within the next week.   I'm excited to see how they turn out!

What were your Favorites Four Friday this week? I'd love to hear.

Friday Letters.

I've seen a lot of bloggers doing Friday letters and I love the idea!  So I've decided to go ahead and give it a shot! Here goes nothin'.....

Dear Husband, I love you more and more everyday. You make me so happy and I couldn't be happier to be your wife.  Dear Orion, believe it or not, we actually do notice when you jump on the bed at 4 o'clock in the morning and I would just like to say that you are still not allowed on the bed at that time.  Dear Sirius, you're perfect in every way - just kidding - please stop barking at every noise you hear.  It gives me a serious headache (ha! pun intended).  Dear Christmas, I love you.  Please get here faster.  Dear Snow Storm from Tuesday, what was that?  You call that a snow storm? Try harder next time. Dear Family, I can't wait to spend time with you this weekend being full of holiday cheer. Dear Clementines, how come sometimes you have seeds and other times you don't? Dear Students, sometimes you make me want to pull my hair out but you also make me smile on a daily basis and I'm happy you're in my life.

That's it for this week!  Happy weekending everyone!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thriftable Thursday!

It's Thursday and that means it time to share some siriusly thriftable stuff.  This week I'm showing off one of my all time favorite thrift store purchases.  It's a white knit slouchy hat.  Here's a shot:

I love this hat!  I bought this a Goodwill for just $1.  Yup, you heard me right.  ONE DOLLAR.  I know what you're thinking - hat shopping at a thrift store? Gross.  People can have lice and dandruff and who knows how often they cleaned their hair - but this hat was brand new.  Never worn.  Which makes the fact that I paid just a buck for it that much more amazing.

So this is what happened.  Several of the Goodwills in my area often have Target products in their stores.  I did a little research on this and found out that Goodwill will buys from Target's salvage materials. The salvage materials are things that are damaged, had the box open or the left over clearance items they can't sell.  Needless to say, this stuff is all brand new and perfectly useful.  I've spotted a ton of Merona (a Target brand) stuff in my area and I come across other Target brands every now and then.

Anyway, when I got my hat I was looking through a giant bin at Goodwill full of target items.  This is one downside to thrifting - you really have to be willing to dig.  So, I was digging and digging and I stumbled upon this hat.  I had been looking for a slouchy hat for a while and hadn't had much luck so I grabbed it right up and tried it on.

It was love at first sight but I had one problem.  The Goodwill tag said it was $6.  Sadly, that's a lot for me to pay for a hat, especially when it's from Goodwill.  But it didn't matter.  I had already made up my mind that I was getting it.  I couldn't part with it.  Then, a true miracle occurred - I went to the register to check out and my hat rang out at $1.  I was over the moon excited.

I've worn this hat countless times and I get tons of compliments on it.  People ask me all the time where I got it and I tell the truth as well as how much I paid for it.  I LOVE to see how people react when I tell them I only paid a dollar for it.

So, that's my thriftable Thursday this week.  My $1 slouchy hat from Goodwill, brand new originally from Target.  I'd call that a thrifting win.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Oh, Kohls, How You Make My Christmas Merry.

I got word today from a reliable resource that Kohl's was having a 50% off sale. I checked the flier and it was true! Normally, this wouldn't excite me all that much because 50% off is still too expensive for this cheap girl but we happened to have tons of Kohl's cash from black friday shopping.

Needless to say we were out the door after reading the flier in less than 5 minutes.  So here's what we ended up with:

Shopping Haul!

Jeremie only got 2 pairs of pants because none of his items were clearance.  I was able to get 6 shirts, a dress and a pair of slippers.  And do you wanna guess how much we spent?  17 dollars!!! I added it up when we got home just for haha's and we would have spent over $400 if we purchased everything at full price.  But thanks to some Kohl's cash, a 50% off sale and a 20% off coupon we spent less than 20 bucks!

After thrifting, Kohl's would be my next stop shop.  Mainly because you can get some awesome deals. The thing is, you can't go in and go straight to the full price items (Jeremie).  You have to go to the clearance rack first.  I got 4 items tonight that were less than $4 each.  

Kohl's really understands me.  They know the perfect way to start off the holiday season!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thrifting is the Name of the Game.

I've been thrifting for a while now.  So much so that it's become a verb to me.  It's something that I go out to do, usually with my thrifting partner in crime, Courtney. It's truly become an art form and we've become pretty darn good at it.  We've actually had the cashiers at some stores comment on the awesome finds we've picked up.  But where did the love of thrifting begin?

It was in college, but we never went and took it seriously in college.  We were usually in the thrift shop around Halloween or if we were having a theme party like this:

Beauty and the Geek Party - Clothing brought to you by Goodwill

In college, we were too cool to think that thrifting could be beneficial and that we could get tons of great clothing.  No, it wasn't until after college, when we were truly poor that we began taking it seriously.  Soon we were hitting up Goodwill and Savers like nobody's business.  On top of it, we were stopping at random thrift stores we came across to see what they had available.

And then it got really serious.  We weren't just going to thrift stores for clothes anymore.  We were looking for shoes, purses, furniture and whatever else we could find.  It's gotten to the point where I usually check a thrift store if I'm looking for something before I go to Target or the mall.

Now it's a way of life.  I would say between 50 and 75% of my wardrobe is from thrift shopping and I get tons of compliments on the stuff I've gotten.  There's never a time when I say that I got something at a thrift store and people aren't surprised.

So, why do I think that thrifting should be about 75% of your regular shopping? This is why:

All the clothes you see here, I got in one thrifting trip and I spent less than $60.  To be honest, I only ended up spending that much because I tend to have expensive taste (which is awful when you're a super cheap person).  I always pick up the 7 and 8 dollar sweaters in the thrift shop while Court happily wanders around picking up everything that is 2 and 3 dollars.  I dunno how I do it, but it never fails.  Hopefully this isn't the story for you. 

I know $60 might sound like a lot but let me break this down for you (I know the picture might be hard to see).  I purchased three shirts, a sweater, a cardigan, 2 pairs of pants, a belt and 2 scarves - 10 items - for $60!  How can you beat it?  I'm gonna go ahead and throw some designers out there, too.  The blue collared shirt you see here is American Eagle as well as the tan corduroys.  The pink sweater is J. Crew and it's awesome!  And as you can see it's all high quality stuff. Lot's of people have this picture in their head that thrift store items are crap, but look at this stuff.  It's great!

This is why you should thrift more often.
You get twice as many items as you would get at a regular store for the same price.

Seriously, I can buy 10 things at Savers for $60. That's 6 bucks an item!  How many things can you get in a department store for that much?

It's recycling!

You don't want your old clothes anymore?  Send them to a thrift shop.  If you throw them out, they are going directly to the land fill.  The last thing we need is more stuff going into our landfills.  The clothes that are old and boring to you are new and exciting to somebody else.  There's no need to throw them away.  Recycle your old clothes and buy recycled clothes! 

It's guilt-free shopping

I am cheap - with a capital C.  There's no way around it.  I just don't like to spend money on stuff, especially when I don't really need it.  So when it comes to clothing I feel really guilty because if you saw my closet you would know that I just don't need anymore clothing.  But I WANT more clothes....all the time.  When I'm thrifting, I know I'm spending just a small percentage of the amount I would pay in a regular store and I'm helping the environment in a small way.  I also know that when I buy something and only like it for a year or two it's not a big deal.  I only paid $4 for something, so when I don't particularly like it in a year's time, I don't feel awful about packing it up and sending it back to the thrift store. 

So, the moral of my story is, try thrifting.  You don't have to be crazy about it like I am, but just try it once.  It's cheap, it's evironmentally friendly, it's guilt-free and it'll make you feel great!  You just wait until the first time someone says "I love your sweater" and you say "Thanks, I got it for $2."  No joke, there's no feeling like it!

I'll be doing periodic posts about my favorite thriftables and some of my thrifting hauls over time!  Keep an eye out.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Comfy Craftable Outfit - Black Friday Win.

Man, there's nothing I love more than sitting around on a chilly Sunday in a super comfy, super cute outfit working on some DIY stuff.  And when I say comfy, I mean siriusly comfy.

Leg warmers - check.  Leggings - check.  Ski socks so soft you feel like you're walking on clouds - check.  Soft, warm hoodie - check.  And done, outfit complete!  Sadly, nothing I'm wearing today was from a thrift store so I have no thriftables to share with you.  However, I did get a super sweet deal on my hoodie.

As many of you know, there's not a whole lot I won't do for a good deal. This includes waiting weeks, sometimes months for an item to be marked down or put on the clearance rack.  Even if waiting means there's a chance I won't ever get that item, I will generally take the risk.

I will EVEN venture out on Black Friday to score some awesome deals. Yes, you heard me correctly.  I was one of the crazies that was out on Friday.  And not only was I out, I braved the mall to get my hands on this hoodie.

That being said, I've had my eye on this hoodie for about a month and a half now.  It got to the point where I was just going to put it on my Christmas list because American Eagle does not have the greatest track record with their clearance.  It seems like most of their stuff gets sold while it's on the shelf and therefore, never makes it to the clearance rack.  Great for them - bad for Stacy.

I try not to shop for myself on Black Friday because it's really about getting a jump start on your Christmas shopping.  But I got the call that American Eagle was 40% in store and online and I just had to go.  You all know how the story ends since I'm clearly wearing the hoodie. I got it and it's amazing!  Even with the discount it was still over $20 which I would usually cringe at.  But when I've had my eye on something that long I know it's worth it.  Plus, isn't that the best way to do Christmas shopping anyway?  Pick up one gift for them, pick up one gift for yourself?  No? Just me?

Well, let me tell you, next time you're doing some siriusly craftable stuff or some DIYing, throw on some leg warmers and a hoodie and grab a cup of cocoa.  It makes all the difference.

Happy Sunday!

It's one of THOSE days.

We all have those days.  The day before Christmas break, the full moon days, the days where they announce that there will be an early dismissal due to inclement weather, the, ohmysweetbabyJesus I'm going to pull my hair out days.  It comes with the territory of working in a school or with kids.  And it's the reason we're always looking for new ways to manage our classrooms.

Today, I would like to share something I use to manage groups in my classroom.  I personally think it's the most fantastic classroom management technique ever.  I know everyone has their own things they use; some use the red light, green light, yellow light technique, some use colored cards, marble jars...there's a million different things to choose from.  And here's another:

I call them bracelet jars.  Here's how it works.  I work with special education kids in grades 3-5.  I'm basically a resource room teacher, so I see these kids in small groups throughout the day.  When a group comes into my room, all the students are working together to earn enough bracelets to fill their jar to the line, which I place based on the number of kids in a group.
At the beginning of the year the kids help me form some guidelines for earning bracelets. I work it into our school wide behavior plan where our goals are to be safe, responsible and respectful.  So generally, when my kids are demonstrating these things in my room they can earn a bracelet and they get to wear those bracelets until the end of group. When they are clearly not abiding by these rules, I can take bracelets out of their jar. At the end of each group anyone who earned bracelets places them in the jar.

I usually throw a few extras in there for awesome answers, someone who's having a particularly awesome day or whatever.  I use my judgement but I always make sure the kids know why they are getting them.
Believe me when I say, this has been a miracle worker for me.  Even my toughest kids LOVE earning bracelets.  It becomes a quick (healthy) competition to see who can get the most bracelets. And all I have to do to get my students back on track is mutter these ten little words "should I go take some bracelets out of the jar?" and they snap right back into place.  

Once they reach the line on their jar I usually let the kids vote on what they would like as a reward.  For my third graders  something as simple as picking a prize or getting a pencil usually does the trick.  My fifth graders are a little more challenging but they are always able to come up with great ideas.  
I will admit that it takes some practice at first, especially with the younger ones.  But it truly does work and it's fun for the kids, too.  Unfortunately I can't take full credit for this idea.  The school I did my student teaching in used it as a school wide behavior plan.  They worked to fill an entire fish tank!  Now that's impressive and it really goes to show that this can be modified for anybody to use.  I use it with small groups but give it a try in your classroom by using an In and Out jar.  The possibilities are endless!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Merry Music Organization

It's officially the season and if you are a musician or a vocalist you know that the holidays can be a stressful time.  I've played the piano for pretty much my entire life and when it comes to Christmas, I am, REQUIRED to play for family and friends - which I don't entirely mind.  I enjoy entertaining people with cheerful piano music and I love to play during the Holiday season.  What I do mind is lugging 8 or 9 piano books all over the place to play a couple of songs out of each one.  It's a pain and sometimes I forget one and then I can't play one of my favorites.

Here's my solution:

 I put this simple little binder together full of all my piano music. Ok, maybe I got a little carried away with it.  But it looks super cheery and festive!

Anyway, I copied every song I play on a regular basis during the holidays and placed them (double sided) into the binder.  I made sure I put them in an order that I could play from start to finish.

So, all my slow songs don't get played at the same time and all my upbeat songs don't get played together.  This is helpful so that my arms don't want to fall off from exhaustion halfway through the book. I also have a few by the same artists and I tried to make sure they were evenly dispersed too.  This way I have a nice mix of holiday music to play.

To do the outside I used our brown paper wrapping paper.  We got a huge roll of it 2 years ago at Home Depot for Christmas and we're still going through it. If you don't have any you can use a paper bag like the good old days when you were covering text books.  Then, I picked out a pretty ribbon (I got this one at JoAnn Fabrics) and made a bow.  I hot glued the paper and the ribbon to the binder so that they don't slide around or come undone.  And voila!  You have yourself a music binder.

Sadly, it's taken me 8 or 9 years of lugging my music all over the place to come up with this but so far I'm pretty happy with the results. If you are a musician who has to play at a bunch of different houses during the holidays, try this out.  It's pretty helpful!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Who Goes There?

Hi everyone!  Welcome to my blog!  I want to take a minute or two to introduce myself and let you know what my blog is all about.  My name is Stacy.  I'm not really sure where to start so I suppose I'll start with why I started Craftables.  This is the first time I've ever had a blog but my second attempt at creating a blog - if that makes sense.

My roomate and I had planned to start one a while ago and things just didn't line up.  You know, life gets in the way sometimes.  Basically, I have a lot of hobbies and things that I enjoy doing and I think it would be fun to share with everyone and use this as my creative outlet.  So, I'm going to include a little bit about everything on this thing, including all the craftables that I love to make, my life as a teacher, my love of thrifting and so much more.  I'm always looking for new things to do and try so I'm gonna try and document that as I go.

This is one of our engagement photos by Marisa Pellerin Photography
So, a little more about me.  I just got married to my best friend in the whole world and I've never been happier.  I had a ton of fun planning our wedding and trying out a bunch of DIY things for it.  I will be sure to do some posts on my favorites.  Jeremie and I met in college when he was given to me as a gift at my 21st birthday party.  Yup, a gift.  Like, "happy birthday, stace, we knew most people would bring you some form of alcohol for your 21st birthday so we brought you a new boyfriend instead" - that kind of gift.  We all had a good laugh about it, but six years later and married, who's laughing now? So, we started dating and our life in college was pretty typical.....

Go to class, act ridiculous, go to the library, chill in the dorms, sleep, trip to Walmart for poor college student related items, eat Wendy’s, go to class, sleep, maybe study a little, hang out in the dorm, go to a concert sleep, study some more, sleep, chill, sleep, eat Wendy’s, sleep.  Ugh, I miss those days.

I graduated in 2008 when Jeremie was finishing up his sophomore year.  We were pretty head over heals at this point but we had two long years of living in separate states ahead of us.  We took our relationship seriously from the start, we worked hard at it, put it first and it paid off.  We're newlyweds and we've never been happier.  

Now we're living in our newly-wedded bliss with our two dogs Sirius and Orion (explains a little about the blog's title, huh?).  Right now, our dogs are like our children.  They are a huge priority in our lives so you will be hearing about them quite a bit and hopefully I'll be posting some fun DIY ideas that are centered around them.  

So, that's me in a nutshell.  Hopefully you'll keep reading and find out a little bit more about me and my crazy life in the process! Hope you have fun reading about some of my Siriusly craftable ideas!

My cute pups!  Sirius on the left, Orion on the right licking the left over cookies off his nose!