Tuesday, May 31, 2011

School's Out

Today was the last day of school for me, 
and I did something I always do 
when the room has been cleaned,
and everything is just so,
and I am literally about to close the door on another year:
I stop and stand in silence, 
looking around at a room in which I did not just teach, but learn,
and I take a moment to appreciate all that transpired there. 

The reaction that follows varies from year to year. 
My first year of teaching, I cried -- oh, I cried -- 
surprised to realize how much I loved my students,
saddened by the fact that I only had a year with them. 
Another year, I put my head down on my desk, exhausted. 
One year I laughed and shook it off, relieved, needing the summer.
This year I smiled, a bit beside myself.  How lucky am I, I thought,
to have known them, even if only for a short while. 
And then my mind went where it always goes: it's not enough. 
I'm not enough. 
I need to try harder. 
I can be a better teacher. 
And then, as always, the thought inevitably dawns,
reenergizing me even with summer yet to officially begin: 
There's always next year. 

Earlier today, the faculty and staff ended the year with a prayer service, 
reflecting on the following verse from 2 Timothy:
"I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith." 
The more I think about it, the more I realize that the "race"
is more of a relay, and I have only finished one leg of an ongoing journey. 

Each year, I think about what I have passed forward to my students,
and I wonder what they'll make of it, 
what they will carry with them, what they will pass forward to others. 
Sometimes a selfish question pops into my head: Will they remember me?
In fact, it doesn't really matter if they do or do not, 
as long as I have remembered who I am in the course of their lives,
and I have done my job.  
Reality has to trump sentimentality sometimes. 
Above all, I hope they have learned to be good to each other. 
Sometimes that is the hardest lesson to teach and learn,
as it can be undone so easily,
but I have finished my leg of the race, 
and I need to trust that they know where to go from here. 

Of course...
as schmaltzy and wistful and self-reflective as the last day of school makes me, 
there is the promise of SUMMER to get me supercharged! 
I actually started cleaning my desk tonight,
in the hopes that I'll be messing it up again on a daily basis.  
Summertime is scrappy time, and I loooooove it so.  

I think I'm off to a good start already, 
care of the AMAZINGLY beautiful June JBS kit
(which features the new "Haven" papers),
and the "Atrium" add-on: 

I have a feeling that this is one of those kits,
the kind of kit that makes any page possible,
and I think the gallery proves this!

Here's to the last day of school,
and the first day of summer! 

Saturday, May 28, 2011

At the Moment

I'm feeling lots of color...
For more details, see this week's "Tuesday Tutorial" post on the October Afternoon blog. 

For more details, see the "Heating Up May" tutorial on the JBS Inspiration blog. 

and lots of excitement and hope for my graduating seniors...

and lots better, even though I'm still dealing with the remnants of a not-so-fun stomach bug...

and lots of happiness, because summer officially begins for me in a few days!

Monday, May 23, 2011

I Spy

A Lucky calendar card, a double circle punch,
a JBS rub-on, a pattern that's been crunched;
a blue-handled scissors, a Paul Frank clothing tag,
some October Afternoon ribbon, and a plastic bag,
unopened Thickers and a string of pearls,
pennant stickers and red tape, unfurled;
a happy face ticket and a number four,
a strip of lined paper and SC stamps galore;
a hot pink envelope and a blending tool,
a corner rounder and grid tape on a spool;
there's so much more, you can hunt for the rest,
I'll be busy searching for my desk.

Monday, May 16, 2011


Firstly, I'd like to give a HUGE thank you to all who stopped by to visit and to leave some really quite charming comments during the October Afternoon blog hop.

Secondly, the winner of the OA rubber charms prize pack is...

Congratulations, Jennifer!  (P.S. I just discovered your blog, and whoa, am I loving all of that color on your  layouts!  You're a girl after my own scrappy heart.) 

Thirdly, I would like to mention that even though my summer begins in just two weeks, it's still so farrrrrrrrrrrrrr awaaaaaaaaaaay.  I know, I know, I should just stop whining and suck it up.  Not everyone gets two months off from work.  That's why the teachers make the big bucks, I guess. :) 

Supplies:  Studio Calico May kit, Jenni Bowlin paint dabbers, and a funkload of October Afternoon labels.  

Actually, I'm not really taking the summer off.  I'll be taking an online course, and I'm really excited about that.  As much as I love teaching, sometimes I really do miss being a student.  

Saturday, May 14, 2011


It's been a whirlwind week, a week of long days and late nights, what with my daughter's dance and choir concerts, my seniors getting ready to graduate, and the grading period shortly coming to an end.  It's that crazy time of year when I lose myself in towering stacks of laundry (oh, I wish that was an exaggeration), when my scrap desk is more scrap than desk, and when home-cooked meals are a faraway dream, because time just functions differently in May.  It's kind of thrilling, actually, accelerating toward the end of all things, and being so very close to the beginning of something new.

Looking back, looking ahead -- I'm trying to find my bearings.  Maybe that's why holding up a stop sign to the hustle and bustle and just taking a little time out to be creative and focused is so important.  Everything changes -- that's inevitable -- so it's important to hold on to what we can, while we can, and to remember what we can, while we can.

With that in mind, I created this mini-album using the JBS May project kit, which includes these amazing 7Gypsies portfolios. It brings together photos of my daughter from over the past few years with my thoughts about "growing a girl."
 Time to take another deep breath and plunge back into May!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A Really Quite Charming Blog Hop

Happy Wednesday, and welcome to yet another blog in the October Afternoon blog hop!

If you just found out about the blog hop at this very moment, then you will want to check in at the October Afternoon blog first.  If you're stopping by -- or hopping by, har har -- after visiting Kinsey's blog, then you're definitely in the right place.  If you're here just to lurk, that's fine, too, but let me try to make it worth your while with a scrappy share:
Yep, that wild little chick is yours truly.  Even then, holding a baby while riding horseback and sporting an awesome haircut, I believed a woman could have it all.

This layout contains so many of my favorite October Afternoon goodies from the 5 & Dime and Rocket Age collections, including one of these cute rubber charms.  The teddy bear was perfect for this page, don't you agree?
I've been feeling the charms a lot lately, as you may have noticed on this layout that I first shared a few days ago:
This page features a few of the 5 & Dime rubber charms:
If you, too, are feeling charmed by all of these charms, then today could be your lucky day!  By leaving a comment below, sharing at least three things in this world that you find charming, you will be entered to win a rubber charms prize pack from October Afternoon.  The winner will be posted on Monday, May 16, so you have until then to leave a comment.

To sweeten the deal, you also have chance to enter on the other participating blogs in this blog hop. Your next stop is the incredibly, wonderfully, how-does-she-make-my-jaw-drop-every-single-time talented Wilna Furstenburg.  Happy hopping!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

NSD! NSD! NSD! ...and JBS!

Happy National Scrapbook Day!

With all of the on-and-offline events going on today, and with the age old "To scrap or not to scrap?" dilemma facing you at every stop, NSD can take a toll on your scrappy sanity, I know.  Poor you.  You've started fifteen different projects since sunrise and completed none, or you've stumbled onto a message board and got roped into a heated debate about adhesives, or you've started going through your stash to gather supplies and ended up cleaning instead, or -- and I've been here before on many a NSD -- you've been sitting, paralyzed, wondering just where to begin.

What you need is to return to a hallowed tradition that crafty folk have perpetuated and passed down faithfully for at least the past decade:  the scraplift.   If you take a gander over to the JBS Inspiration blog today, you'll find this panacea for NSD Overload Syndrome waiting for you.

So...what's in it for you?

Well, you can add a finished layout to your collection, or you can try some of those adhesives you've been raving about on that message board thread, or you can use some of those supplies you've been hoarding (now that your cleaning has unearthed them), or you can beat scraparalysis...AND win a $25 JBS gift card in the process!  

Thursday, May 5, 2011


Lately I've been...

...reading Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried with my juniors and Aldous Huxley's Brave New World with my seniors.  I've never taught these books before this year (though I have taught O'Brien's "How to Tell a True War Story"), and it has been a refreshing experience to discuss them with my students for the first time.  Both books seem to speak to Ezra Pound's view that "properly, we should read for power.  Man reading should be intensely alive.  The book should be a ball of light in one's hand."   

...listening to Eliza Doolittle, Lenka, Grizzly Bear, Athlete, The Strokes, and The Naked and Famous.  I heard Grizzly Bear's "Two Weeks" for the first time the other day and had one of those epiphanic, oh-how-I-love-this musical moments.  

...reveling in the loveliness that is May at JBS Mercantile.  In just the past few days, the gallery and the blog have been bursting to full with gorgeous layouts and projects. This month there is also a special stamping emphasis on the blog.  We started on May 1 with a feature about four different ways to use the JBS butterfly stamp, which is easily one of the prettiest pieces of acrylic I've ever held in my hands.  I took a vari-colored approach:  

...trying to make more home-cooked meals, attempt new recipes, and eat healthier.  On the menu: baked salmon, green beans, cherry tomatoes, and brown rice.  I've been kind of blah lately, and I think that a change in diet is in order.  I can't wait for summer, so that I can start exercising more regularly, too. 

...celebrating my daughter's graduation from the eighth grade.  She's had an amazing year, and has grown in immeasurable ways.  It was a lot to ask of her to switch schools this year, but we definitely made the right choice.  

...having a blast working with my October Afternoon goodies and Kinsey Wilson's GENIUS sketch.  I finally got around to scrapping my photos from our visit to Savannah, Georgia.  

...watching Community.  Paintball!  It's on!  No really, it's on -- right now. I'm off! 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Is It Just Me...

or does this make you want to pull out the art supplies and camera, too?