Friday, February 28, 2014

A Customized Spring Wreath

Last week, I shared a tutorial for The Secret to Making a FLUFFY Burlap Wreath. Shortly after that, I received a special-order request for a personalized fluffy wreath as a house-warming gift. So I thought I would share that finished product with you here today!

To create this wreath, I followed the same steps described in my tutorial. I added a bow at the top, and for a personalized touch, I attached a curly wooden letter "T" in the center.


What do you think?

As always, you can visit The Tally Tales Etsy store to view current projects, but I am always taking special orders through messages on Etsy or the contact form here. This special-order is my current favorite. :)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

TPT: 3 Million Teachers Strong Sale


250 × 120Hey everyone! Don't forget to shop around Teachers Pay Teachers this week (February 27-28) during the "3 Million Teachers Strong Sale." The Tally Tales is participating, so visit my TPT store for special sale offers!


Also, a little end-of-the-week humor here…
Source: Unknown
Have a great Thursday! :)

Monday, February 24, 2014

Wooden Crate Project: A Little Stain Goes a Long Way

I like crates. A lot. I actually stumbled upon this one at Wal-Mart recently, and I snagged it immediately. Sweet and simple, right?
Lately, I've been in more of a stain-rather-than-paint mood. So I selected this red mahogany wood finish stain and went to work!

It turned out like this…


What do you think?

Sunday, February 23, 2014

It's Monday! What are you Reading? 02-24-14

Here's my weekly dose of book love...

This Monday reading-list blog link-up is available through Teach Mentor Texts. This event was originally hosted by Book Journey, but I also love the idea of establishing a link-up with a kidlit focus. Therefore, I am linking up with Teach Mentor Texts and sharing my recent "must reads," but I will also link up with Book Journey  since some of my texts fall outside the kidlit genre.

Just Finished

I know I sound negative, because I did not have the highest praise in my "just finished" review last week either, but this book was a bit of a disappointment to me. After reading the rather heavy, intense-in-context book The Shack, I wanted to switch pace a bit with an easy read that would also be fulfilling and maintain my interest. I thought a Nicholas Sparks novel would be perfect. Maybe it's been too long since I last read a book by Sparks, or maybe this one just really is a bit out-of-the-ordinary. Regardless, it wasn't what I expected. There was a bit more action that I originally anticipated from the plot, but at the same time, it was rather surreal and unbelievable most of the time. Not only that, but the ending seemed very strange to me. I don't want to give away too much information for anyone who is interested in reading this text, but I will say that I thought the outcome was predictable and, at the same time, a bit creepy. In the past, I have usually enjoyed reading Nicholas Sparks's novels, because he is an excellent storyteller… but this one let me down. 

Currently Reading
This will be an ongoing read for a while.
This will be an ongoing read for a while.

To Read:
 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Five for Friday: February 21, 2014


I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs again!
Happy Friday!!!!!
  • So this is not technically a "this week" thing, but I had to share my recent Valentine's treat for the husband. This was his "gift," and I was so proud of myself. If you like strawberries, and you like pie, then you will love this strawberry heart pie. It's ah-mazing. I can't take credit for the recipe, but I can certainly share it. Hop on over to Miss Buttercup and check out her easy-but-delicious recipe. Please don't judge; my pie does not look nearly as good as hers! I will definitely make this pie again soon; no Valentine's Day excuse needed for this lovely treat!

  •  We are all wrapped up in penguins in one of our centers this week. My kiddos are having a blast with this "Penguin Math and Art" activity, compliments of Erica Bohrer at Erica's Ed-Ventures. If interested, you can access her product here
Isn't it so neat to see the differences in creative expression among your students? I absolutely love this activity because it allows them to create something while seamlessly integrating math into the activity. I have had so much fun watching them work on this. It's also interesting that my kiddos are particularly fond of doubles, apparently… hmm. Doesn't that make those fact families easy?!? ;)

  • In honor of dental health this month, we also added this little spelling activity into one center. The students make a paper-representation of their own toothbrushes, substituting their spelling words for the bristles. Then, they create a large tooth (using a stencil) out of notebook paper, and create a writing sample using their spelling words on the tooth as well. Some of my students are writing sentences with their words, but some of them are working on writing stories. 


  • Just a twinge of excitement to see our Tally Tales Twitter followers growing a bit. We finally broke through the 200 followers mark this week! Yay! Thanks so much, friends. 

That's it for me this week, friends! I hope you have had a great week and enjoy the weekend ahead!

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Secret to Making a FLUFFY Burlap Wreath

This may be my favorite tutorial yet. You know wreaths are very dear to my DIY heart. I love helping others create their own wreaths, and I am so honored that my previous tutorials have been helpful to some of you. However, I have noticed a recurring question among fellow wreath-makers… "How do you make the burlap wreath look so fluffy?"

After recently helping a friend make a wreath, I noticed something that I think may be a common problem for many people. Today, I'm here to share a trick that just may solve any of your frustrations with this seemingly-simple process! After this tutorial, I can sincerely hope that it really will be that simple for everyone to do this!

I have previously posted a wreath-making tutorial, so this tutorial is focusing on one particular step of the process, which I have noticed is often missing from tutorials - my own included. However, if you really want that "fluffy" look, this step is quite necessary.

I am using the following materials to create the wreath. This burlap is not the wire-edged ribbon, and it is approximately 5 1/2 inches wide. I will use the plain burlap to create the wreath; the chevron ribbon will be used to make a bow embellishment.
 I always begin a wreath by pulling the burlap through one of the center spaces on the wire frame. You create the wreath by weaving the burlap back and forth through the spaces.
However, this is the tip you need to know…
After you pull the burlap through the space, cinch the material together on the back side of the wreath...
 and twist the burlap once before inserting it back into the next space to pull through.
After that little twist, you will notice that the burlap naturally stands, creating fluffier loops. Personally, I have also noticed that this extra detail in the technique creates a much sturdier wreath, without the use of hot glue or another type of adhesive. 
Continue weaving the burlap, twisting the ribbon once on the back each time you pull it through. The front of your wreath will begin to look like this...
and the back of your wreath will look like this...
Isn't that neat?

Best of all... that's it. That's the big secret to making a fluffy burlap wreath. No extensive materials needed; just one little "twist" on your technique. 

This is what my finished wreath looked like with only the burlap.

 To finish it off, I made this sweet bow and attached it to the top of the wreath.

 I may be a little partial, but I think it looks beautiful on my front door… ;)


So, how do you feel about wreath-making now? Will this little tip be helpful for you? I certainly hope so! Good luck! :)

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

It's Monday! What are you Reading? 02-17-14

Here's my weekly dose of book love...

This Monday reading-list blog link-up is available through Teach Mentor Texts. This event was originally hosted by Book Journey, but I also love the idea of establishing a link-up with a kidlit focus. Therefore, I am linking up with Teach Mentor Texts and sharing my recent "must reads," but I will also link up with Book Journey  since some of my texts fall outside the kidlit genre.

Just Finished

The Shack by Wm. Paul Young
It's hard to write a review for this book. I hope none of my comments here will be taken in an offensive way, but I have to be honest in sharing my thoughts. First of all, when considering the writing style alone of this text, I am not impressed. The dialogue often seemed very bland and predictable, and I found myself frequently "skimming" portions of the text just because they lacked the depth to really hold my focus on an intense level. So you have to take the writing technique and style very lightly when reading this text. That being said, the content of the plot (not necessarily the way it was written) was thought-provoking for me at times. This story does push you to stretch your theological perspectives a bit, and for that reason, it did fascinate me in a way. I alternated between feeling convicted that my view of God is apparently so shallow as to deem the situations in this text implausible and feeling a bit offended that a mere fictional text presumed to adequately "capture" the identity and thoughts of Almighty God. So where do you draw the line? At the end of the day, no one could write a story that altogether depicts God and answers all unanswered questions, simply because no human has that depth of understanding. Still, I have to appreciate this author's attempt to write a story that does challenge readers to reconsider their own approaches to a relationship with God.
Currently Reading
This will be an ongoing read for a while.
This will be an ongoing read for a while.
To Read: