Monday, November 23, 2009

Art Teacher Blog

I'm starting an art teacher blog at

I'm so addicted to art teacher blogs I thought to myself, why not join in? So we'll see. Don't know when/if I'll have time to post much but it's kind of fun. Come visit me there :)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Much better

Wow, I was really sick. Fever for 10 days. But I'm much better now, a little cough but mostly really good.

Work is going so well, I'm almost afraid to say it out loud! I'm still exhausted most days and feel like I'm not getting all the things done that I need to, but I love it. I really really love it, and I'm so thankful that I'm able to work at what I love so much. Even my most challenging class yesterday was successful. I know their classroom teacher might come to pick them up and think I have total chaos in the art room, but it went so much better than it had before.

I'm hoping to snap some pictures of recent projects today so I can post some of them.

Happy Friday!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

My mommy doesn't feel good . . .

I can't find my socks.

I wish she would feel all better

Those were words from an ad for cold medicine when I was little, said by a sad child.

I've been sick this week, and it feels like things fall apart when I'm not up and around, making sure everything is running as it should. The dishes don't get done, lessons get missed. I don't want to be so indepenisible. I mean, I suppose if I'm being honest, on some level I do, but it feels awful to be sick and feel like your loved ones are missing out on things because of it.

The rest of my family just left for camping at our church retreat. I really wanted to go, but I just don't feel well and I don't think camping would be the thing to do. It was hard for me to watch them leave. But, I know they'll have a great time. And I'll miss them. But they'll be home before I know it.

Friday, October 2, 2009

sober thoughtfulness; pensiveness.

Even though I had a great, relaxing day. Even though I love the colors and the way the sun feels on a cool fall morning.
Fall always makes me feel a little bit melancholy.

I don't think I have a real strong tendency towards depression. Thank goodness.

It might be partly because my grandma died in October and her funeral was on my birthday, probably about my 26th. That was the first time I experienced that kind of loss.
Maybe, too, it's because things are dying all around. I know all about the rebirth that comes after the winter, but the death part of it is still hard. Even though it's a beautiful, often poignant, death.
And it might be, as the years go by, the melancholy of another year past, regrets for what has or hasn't come to pass. Mixed feelings as our children grow away from us and into themselves.

All by myself . . .

Yeah, I got to spend today all by myself. Doing whatever I want. Without anyone getting impatient with me for taking too long. I don't get to do that very often. It's been nice. If it weren't so windy (and if that noisy machinery would get out from in front of my house) I'd say it's an almost perfect day! And now I get to sit at the computer if I want to, for as long as I want (well, at least until school is out :). Here's how I've spent my day.

First, I went to Meridian Market to get some gummy candy corn (Thanks to Beki :). I had to deliver a notebook to my daughter at the high school, so I was on that side of town anyway :)

Then, after breakfast and coffee with a friend, I went downtown to Metcalf Sisters Antiques to browse and I found a number of "treasures" . . .

Electronic Jumbles game for my mom . . .it might not work, BUT, it was only 10 cents. Two bright colored abacus (abacuses, abacai???) and bright rainbow placemats for my art room, a hammered aluminum tray just beause I liked how it looked and it was on sale, and some vintage postcards of places we've been. AND I ran into Megan . . .and I went there partly because she talks about the great treasures she finds there, so it was extra cool that I ran into her!

And then, after a leisurely walk through Wal-mart . . .

YUM. A Chile-Q from Lupe's. My favorite.

AND, when I got my mail I had my new FREE (well, sort of free, I had to subscribe to Knit'N Style magazine) circular Options knitting needles --they're made of rainbow colored wood. I love rainbows!

It's a good day :)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I really feel like an art teacher

Two things today (well, maybe 3) that really made me feel like an art teacher!

First, I painted with my kindergartners at the school where my art room has no water (not even in the same building -- I have to tote it across a parking lot). We drew birds and painted them with watercolor. When I left the building the K class was at recess and one of them yelled at me (at the top of his lungs), "HI MRS. BURNS!!! I LOVE PAINTING AND DRAWING!" How could that not make me smile???

Then, at the other school, I have all my classes draw something when they first come in. My "entering art class" ritual. Today it was scissors. The point is to really take your time and observe what you're drawing, and then draw what you see. My 4th graders were AMAZING. Their drawing is improving. They are really OBSERVING. I asked if they noticed that their drawing was getting better and they all happily agreed.

Oh, and then I taught my first drawing lesson about the elements of art and principles of design. And I really felt like I knew what I was talking about. Wow!!!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Might as well face it . . .

I'm addicted to blogs. If you were around during the 80's, Robert Palmer is playing in your head right now. Well, he is in mine anyway. I'm addicted to many blogs, but the ones I'm most addicted to right now are art teacher blogs. Thanks Kristen :)! She turned me on to some great ones, which in turn led me to other great ones. Lots of great inspiration. I don't even pretend to be a great art teacher (yet), but here are some projects I've done with the kiddos so far, and one I'm going to start next week. With the middle schoolers. Who are my greatest challenge.
Exciting . . . my name is above the door!!!
Graph paper designs.

Turtle directed drawing line/pattern study with K & 1st grade.

Kandinsky circles with Kindergarten.

Name line study - 4th & 5th grades

Project starting next week with middle school. I had fun starting this one! It's a color-wheel, color-mixing mandala. FUN! Can't wait to see these completed. I love color!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

It flies

Time, that is. Seriously.

I have no time, these days, it seems. At least no time with much energy.

I love my new job.

I really do.
But I'm exhausted when I get home.
And I only do it 4 days a week!
The pictures above are of a fishing trip in early AUGUST! Yes, I have been so busy they have just been waiting on my camera for me all this time. It was before school started. Just before.
Last weekend we went on our first college visit. KU. This is at Emporia State.
I am so not ready for this. Time flies with kids too.
We got together with my sister. This is my pitiful attempt to take one of those self-portrait picture all the kids are so good at. Pretty good huh?

Monday, September 7, 2009


I got some new books to use as art class inspiration. They're by Peter H. Reynolds and they're really good. "Ish" is my favorite. You should find it and read it (I could loan it to you unless I'm using it in class :). I like "The Dot" too. I just found out tonight that he has another book called "The North Star" and you can read it online here. I'm not a big fan of reading online, but it's nice sometimes. It's a great book encouraging kids to follow their own star and take their own journey through life, not just follow the crowd.

*This picture has nothing to do with this post, but check out those clouds! It's from the week I cooked at Camp Mennoscah in early July. The last night, the kids were doing skits and that cloud bank started showing up. I went to listen to the radio and there were big storms in Wichita and home, but nothing at camp. Thank goodness. Cabins full of freaking out youngsters isn't fun!

Monday, August 31, 2009

A good mother

"She loves them so, she could be such a wonderful mother if only her children were always still like this, and lying sleeping."

from The Ladies Lending Library by Janice Kulyk Keefer

I almost woke people up laughing out loud when I read this last night.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

August stars

When I was growing up in Iowa, we moved to the country when I was 11 or 12. We weren't farmers, but we lived about 10 miles out of town, about a mile from the country church we attended. I loved living in the country. At our first country house, I had a favorite abandoned hog feeder. It looked a lot like the one below except it was all silver. I liked to climb on it and sit and watch the sun set.

I enjoyed the quiet, peaceful country life. I loved the country sounds. Crickets, locusts, frogs, tractors. It took some getting used to though. It also took getting used to when I moved back into town as an adult.

One memory that is especially vivid is lying in my bedroom at night, looking out the open window at all the stars. There was very little light in the country then, and the stars were incredible. I remember seeing lots of falling stars. As I think about it now, it was probably the August Perseid meteor showers, but at the time I didn’t know about that, and it was incredibly magical to see falling stars. I spent lots of time lying there in the dark thinking about the mysteries of life, faith, and what my future would hold.

I also remember loving it when we would get snowed in. I’m sure for my parents it wasn’t nearly as much fun, although my mom tells me they made the best of it and enjoyed it. But no heat, no lights, no water (our well/pump was on an electric switch or something) couldn’t have been that much fun for them. I loved it though.

I hope my kids have magical memories from their childhood like I do from mine.

*This post isn't as good as the first one was, but it's as good as I can do tonight :)

Friday, August 28, 2009


This is how Fridays feel to me. They're my day off. I get a three day weekend, every week. I know how lucky I am to have that.

Today wasn't totally relaxing. I had to testify in court (!!!) for a friend in a custody suit. That was stressful but truth will prevail.

It's so nice to have a day that just is. Reminds me of one of my favorite Dan Fogelberg songs "To the Morning".

It's going to be a day -- really nothing left to say but come on morning.

Good week in art class. Wish I had pictures. Maybe next week.

Friday, August 21, 2009

One week down

I don't have any great pictures to share. I have to admit I'm kind of wiped out, after 21 different classes this week. Normally I'll have 24, but no Kindergarten at SC this week. Next week I'll have two of the three K classes. Won't have all three in one week until all day kindergarten starts. Anyway, it went well. Better than I expected. What a relief. I was so nervous, excited, scared, thrilled. I appreciated so much all the good thoughts and prayers sent my way. I'm so thankful to be doing what I love to do and getting paid for it.

I have middle school grades at one of the schools. I have to admit it's not my favorite. I student taught in middle and high school, but I always knew I wanted to teach at the elementary level. Middle schoolers are a different breed, and I salute those who are called to teach that level for sure. I will muddle through, but I know it's not my calling. As they went out my door yesterday, one of them said "so, what do you think of the new art teacher?". Thankfully, I didn't hear the response :)

A funny story from my week (sorry Facebook friends if you've already seen this one). At the school I'm less familiar with, I gave out nametags to help me put names with faces. In the Kindergarten class, I had a nametag with the name M-I-C-K-E-Y. That's how the name was on my roster. So I called out Mickey (like Mickey Mouse). No answer. I said it again. The kids responded "Mickey isn't here". I asked if he was absent and they said yes. I then spied one little boy with no nametag and asked him his name. He replied, "Mikey (as in he likes it, hey Mikey)." LOL. They then proceeded to tell their Kindergarten teacher that they had 20 in the class, not 19 like she had said (because Mickey was absent). She had no idea what they were talking about until I explained it to her at lunch the next day. Too funny.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Art room!

No time to do much posting but had to share some photos of the art room! First classees on Monday. Excited, anxious . . will only get worse as Monday approaches. Can't wait!!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The most beautiful bead EVER

Ellie and I were creating with polymer clay last night and I made a bead that made me exclaim that it is the most beautiful bead EVER!

This is the flipside. Can you guess which one it is (the most beautiful bead EVER)?

Ellie was creating these light switch covers covered with clay.

This is the cane that my "most beautiful bead EVER" was created with.

This is the flipside of the cane. It was created using the Klimt Cane, made using instructions in the book The Art of Polymer Clay Millefiori Techniques. I made it using my extruder that I pined for so long and finally bought early this summer.

Check out this awesome website Art Lessons for Kids
She has incredible ideas for art classes and I have gotten so much inspiration from her site!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

I can't believe it

Family photo at Garden of the Gods (need to lighten it some)

Family photo at Black Canyon of the Gunnison

Family photo at a roadside park in Alamosa, CO, after trekking in the Great Sand Dunes. \

Loved the action in this pic I took of Ellie at church camp (I was a cook for the week she was there)
Summer is winding down, for my family and I at least. It's been busy. Busier than I expected. Faster too. Our vacation was great. I'm posting a few photos from it here. All of them are on facebook (yes ALL of them) if you're interested in seeing more.Our older two girls will be gone for the next two weeks, home 1.5 days in the middle before leaving again. One of the days/nights they'll be home I will be going to "Mall Night", a Girl Scout overnight event, with Ellie. I can't wait (read this with very sarcastic inflection). It starts at 9 PM and ends at 5 AM. Why did I agree to that???? It will be an experience, that's for sure. Two days after that event I start my new job. I already have butterflies. I'm excited but nervous at the same time.
So many transitions. Not only am I starting a new job, but our oldest is starting her Senior year in high school. Yesterday was her last MAYB tournament. It's not so much that I'll miss the tournaments, but just the ending of things is hard. I've never been good at endings or goodbyes. I'm anticipating more of them, and thinking of sending her off to college in a year is almost more than I can even wrap my mind around. When your kids are little everyone tells you "enjoy these years, they'll be gone in an instant" and when they say it, you think yeah yeah yeah, I'm so busy but I'm enjoying it all I can. And you are. But then all of a sudden, you see that they were right, and the years have flown. And you enjoyed them so much, but you're not ready for them to be over.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I was thinking . . .

Summer was supposed to be, going to be, meant to be . . . slow, relaxed, restful. Hmmmm. So far, not so good. But, we've had lots of adventures. I guess that's maybe what summer is supposed to be.
The birthday king with his court
I had a big, long to-do list to start out my week.
My big girls had their hair straightened and cut (it didn't last)
But then: My neighbor/friend had a major crisis, Ellie had day camp, Erin got sick, Emma had a birthday, we had a Sunday school class farewell for a member going to Colombia for 3 years, Everett & I had an anniversary, I had a t-b test for my new job (!!!) . . . oh, and the van had an oil change.

Emma decided to manually move the fan while the electricity was off

So, one little thing has gotten crossed off my big, long to-do list.

Tie-dying adventure (not on the list :)
But right at this moment. I'm at peace with that :)

Our table during the electricity outage . . peace!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

My Favorite Things

I think I'll do a weekly post, for the summer anyway, called My Favorite Things. I have lots of favorite things, depending on the day. Today is my husband's birthday, but my post has absolutely nothing to do with that, although he is definitely right up there at the top of my favorite things list. (I was going to post a photo of him, but blogger doesn't seem to want to put photos in right now). I'm not really thinking people-"things" though.

Anyway, right at this moment in time, the recipe below is one of my very favorite things. Our kids, especially the youngest, love sub sandwiches. They like going to that restaurant that specializes in sub sandwiches, but it hurts me to pay almost $4 for a turkey and cheese sandwich. Plus, when we had a garage sale last summer, my sister was selling this cool baguette pan and it works great for this recipe. Anyway, I tried buying lunchmeat and "sub" shaped bread at the store, and that was somewhat successful. We found a bread called Sweet Italian Subs at one store and the kids loved it, but it wasn't always available and was, again, kind of expensive. So, I found the recipe below at Recipe Zaar. It's a hit, and it's so easy! If you have a bread machine with a dough setting anyway. Give it a try. I'm going to use whole wheat flour next time (to which the kids yell NOOOOOOO, but I'm going to do it anyway :).

Sweet Italian Bread

1 cup water
1 T. olive oil
7 T. sugar
1 egg
3 1/2 c. flour
2 t. yeast

Put all ingredients into bread machine. Mix on dough setting. When cycle is complete, put dough onto greased surface and let it rest for 20 minutes. After dough has rested, cut in half (or however many loaves you want . . I made individual sub loaves). Form into two long loaves (I like to cut little slits along the top of the loaf to make it more like that sub restaurant). Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes. Brush with butter.

Yum. It's even good by itself.

Monday, June 8, 2009

It was!

Fun, that is. Everything didn't go exactly as I thought it would in my head.
But I think everyone had fun. I love the group color experience paintings. We used only yellow, red and blue. And we got messy, very messy. There is carpet in the room we used. It has paint on it now. And some of the walls do, too.
The chalk balloons . . . fun. I'll do it again. It, also, didn't go exactly as planned. I would do it a little differently next time. Cars had some chalk on them :) It'll wash off easily.

We made most of our own liquid chalk. Very fun. Equal parts water and corn starch. Mix well and add food coloring. We used neon and regular food coloring. Filling the balloons with chalk was a challenge . . we ended up using bicycle water bottles and stretching the balloon over the opening and sqeezing. It was pretty messy, especially when the balloon broke or there was a weak spot. I'd recommend doing it outdoors, although we did it at our kitchen table after it started to rain. It washes out easily. Not sure how I'll get it out of the kitchen carpet, but I really hate that carpet and want to pull it up anyway. One more reason to do it sooner rather than later, right? I'd also recommend not filling them as far ahead as we did as the chalk all settled and the balloons needed to be shaken well before throwing, otherwise they were chunky. I think the kids had fun, which is what it was all about (the grown-ups/big kids having fun was just an added perk). It's all about the process.