Tuesday, August 27, 2013

DIY: Refinished Dresser/Entertainment Center

A few of you may have read my recent Step-by-Step Pallet Tray Tutorial. If so, you may recall two of the products I used for that project, the Sedona Red Chalk paint and the Lustra Finishing Wax.

I decided to put those materials to use for this project as well. I apologize that I don't have a "before" picture. I got a little excited and completely forgot my camera for this one, so you'll have to use your imagination a bit. 

For this project, we started with a basic, old dresser. The picture below shows the dresser after we applied the first coat of chalk paint. This is the basic frame, with all drawers removed. 

We applied a second, think coat of chalk paint and then used a damp cloth to sparingly streak various portions of the paint throughout. Then, we applied the wax overall in a streaky design to give it that distressed finish. (If you want a bit more detail about using this type of technique, you can visit my previous Pallet Tray Tutorial.) The following images show various angles after we applied the wax finish.

If you look closely at the middle section, you will notice that we removed the center frame pieces that served as bases for the original drawers. We decided not to use the middle drawers in the finished product. We needed that space open for the cable box, dvd player, etc. Russ drilled holes in the back for cables and wires from the appliances.

This is really the only before-and-after option I have for you. This is one of the original drawers from the center, which we decided not use. You can see the original finish on the furniture compared with the new look after the chalk paint and wax. That's a pretty drastic change, right?
I removed the original drawer handles and purchased new ones at Hobby Lobby. The drawers originally had long, slender pulls. I chose individual knobs to mount. two-per-drawer instead. I also added a basket in the bottom to complete the look. This is the finished product, as it now looks in our living room. All in all, the whole project took about four hours, start-to-finish. I'm now obsessed with it.
 A couple of close-up images...

Note: Please visit my "Let's Party" page to view blog link-up parties where I will share this tutorial.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Math Tubs: Clip-and-Add!

I cannot take credit for this idea, but I do think it's a fabulous activity to share with you here. One of my fellow first-grade-teachers shared this with our team as a math tub activity for this week, and my students have really love it. They have a blast with those clips, and I'm a fan of any activity that takes very little time to prepare, explain, implement, and clean up. What teacher wouldn't like that?!?

To prepare this activity, you simply write numbers on clothespins, one number per pin. I prepared my tubs to include all numbers 1-10, so students who were ready to add those larger numbers would be able to do so. With each set of clothespins, you include a popsicle stick that contains only a + and =, with space in between each to attach the clothes pins. The students draw two clothes pins and attach them in the appropriate spots for addends on the stick. Then, they write their number sentence on paper and solve! When they are finished, they remove the clothespins and draw again for new digits.

How simple is that? I was a little concerned that my students might get bored with it, it has actually been one of their favorite math tubs this week. I was also afraid I might have clothespins "accidentally" snapping up into the air, but we talked about the appropriate way to use them beforehand; so far, there have been no flying clothespins in our classroom. Fingers crossed that the positive trend continues. ;)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

A Few things on a Thursday

** I am constantly amazed by the generosity of others. However, I must say you can certainly tell when a teacher hosts a blog giveaway because the best ones take time to make it so stinkin' fun. 

If you haven't done so already, you need to check out The 3AM Teacher for the Who's That Blogger Linky. Massive potential for rewards, but even more potential for linky fun. It's open through midnight tomorrow, so make sure you join in before the giveaway closes!

** If you are looking for a brief but inspirational read to hep jump-start you school year, please take a minute to visit the following link for Kylene Beers's explanation of why she hated her daughter's first-grade teacher. Okay, before you get too offended, you should know that she didn't really hate her. (I don't think she did, anyway.) This article just captures a mother's struggle with releasing her young child into the big, chaotic, there-is-a-method-to-my-madness world of a first grade classroom. Considering the fact that the mother was also an educator herself, I think this is a powerfully inspirational read for all you teachers out there who are trudging through the back-to-school grind.
So kick your feet up for a minute, (I know that's all you have to spare!) and check it out here.

For those who want a sneak peak, here you go...

Though I had been a teacher for years before having Meredith, before sending her off to first grade, I had never truly understood the power of a teacher in a child’s life. We give our most precious and priceless to you – dear teachers – each year, knowing you will teach them, but also hoping you will care for them, help them discover how very much they matter, watching over them, and being there when they have been hurt by the ones who won’t let them sit at the “popular” table – and then you do just that and they fall in love with you. It shows up in different ways, as they grow older. But it’s still there, this deep affection and respect.

**Last, but not least, if you are a mailbox fan, make sure you check out their amazing sale on theme kits. It is a today only bargain: buy one, GET FOUR FREE! Huge savings. Earlier this summer, I took advantage of a deal similar to this, and I was not disappointed. You can read about my experience and organization of the materials here: The Organization Continues. If you are interested, you can visit The Mailbox Education Center and start shopping!

Happy Thursday everyone! :)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

I'm a Vendor, Baby!

Nice title, right? My husband came up with it, so if it seems a little lamer-than-usual, I can't take the credit for it. ;)

I am, however, pretty excited to share some news with you! You all know how I love a little DIY action, and as of today, I have a wonderful outlet for a little creativity. My custom-made wreaths are now available at The Snooty Owl! For those of you who are not local, northeast Mississippi readers, you need to check out this lovely boutique on Facebook. You can visit their page hereFor everyone else, I highly recommend that you pay them a visit. If you do stop by, you will see a few of my wreaths among their retail selection. I am beyond excited (and grateful) to have this opportunity. Here's a little sneak peak at some already-in-stock and a few soon-to-be-available wreaths. I apologize in advance for the photo overload. I tried to narrow it down to my favorite ones. I think I have a problem... ;)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Classroom Reveal! (Better late than never)

I should have had these pictures posted LONG ago, but better late than never, right? I hope you enjoy this little "tour" of our classroom! :)

Come right in...
Remember this wreath tutorial? DIY Burlap Wreath!
As you enter...
The curtains at the back were also a DIY project. If you missed that one, you can check it out here.
Calendar and supply station to the right.

This center rotation organization system is available in the Tally Tales TPT store here.

File system for tracking students' reading progress.
All of my labels are custom-designed for my classroom. If you are interested, you can access them in The Tally Tales TPT store here.

Computer station and word wall to the left of the door.
Word wall, up close. Words TBA... (to be added)
View from the back.
My students' favorite spot: The cozy reading carpet.

Teacher files and Classroom "Pack of Helpers" chart for classroom jobs.

"Word Station" and classroom library, organized according to AR reading levels 
Well, that's all! Thanks so much for visiting! If you share pictures of your classroom on your blog soon, I would love to stop by and visit. Please feel free to comment and leave me the link... it's always fun to visit other teachers' classrooms! :) 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

DIY: Step-by-Step Pallet Tray Tutorial

I think it's time for a non-school-related post, don't you? ;) Here's a little refreshing, fun DIY project post that I think you'll appreciate. 

I originally saw these lovely pallet trays on ETSY, and I just couldn't resist trying to make my own version for our coffee table. My final product doesn't really look like the original ETSY products (at all) but I was really excited about my little tray when it was finished!

1. Start with a pallet. Cut the boards to your preferred length. (My husband did this part. I'm just not brave enough to use a saw yet...)

 2. Use a sander to create a smooth finish on each board. I love using my little sander.

 3. Paint! I used this ah-mazing chalk paint. I wanted to create the a distressed, rustic finish, and I planned to use this paint to redo another piece of furniture for our house (more to come on that one later!!!). I thought it would be neat to have a matching accessory, so I used this paint for both projects. If you have never used chalk paint before, I highly recommend that you give it a try. It could become your new best friend. Just sayin'. ;) The really neat thing about this paint is that, after it dries, you use a damp cloth to create this uneven, distressed-looking finish across the surface. You simple wipe the cloth in random strokes, and it adds such a neat effect to the overall finish.

4. A little flair... I wanted to add a little detail to my tray. Call me crazy, but I decided to try using fabric as an embellishment. I covered one board with a patterned fabric and the fabric with modge podge. 

5. Add wax for the finishing touch. Once the painted boards were dry, I used this finishing wax as a final coat over the paint. It really brings out that distressed look that was already established using the damp-wipe across the chalk paint. You simply wipe the wax across each board using a dry cloth. A little bit goes a long way, and it adds a beautiful shine to the finish.
This picture really shows a comparison between the wax finish (left) and the plain chalk paint (right).

 This is what all of the pieces looked like after adding the wax.

 6. Put it all together!!! These pieces formed the base of the tray.
From this, I added the thinner wood pieces across the ends and sides. Simply attach those with wood screws through the bottom. The metal handles were added last. (I bought those at Hobby Lobby.)

That's all! What do you think??