My latest obsession is faux taxidermy. I love the ridiculousness of the designs and the ability to be creative outside the box.
These are a few of my latest, and definitely not the last, faux taxidermy projects.
I love all kinds of jewelry--fine, fashion, costume, handmade, novelty...there is literally no kind of jewelry I don't love. At the core of my love for jewelry are those pieces that I can wear all the time, without taking them off. They are a subtle reminder of a person or place that is special to me.
A few of my favorite jewelry staples came from my college years. My junior year, I spent the summer in Duluth, Minnesota. We went to Thunder Bay, Ontario one weekend and ended up at a video game arcade. I used all of my tickets to buy these glitter gel bracelets that I liked. And then I ended up wearing them for a solid year (only taking them off once for a work function where I had to really dress up). The next summer, I spent in Juarez, Mexico, and I ended up giving my bracelets to some of the children who lived at the school we worked at. I also picked up a blue handkerchief necklace one of our participants made me and wore it until it broke later that fall. Those are the kind of pieces I love the most--ones with a story that I am reminded of every time I feel and see them.
This past year, I fell in love with two pieces of jewelry, and I have worn them non-stop since I got them.
Those are my favorites right now. I'd love to see what pieces you love--feel free to share in the comments below.
Here are a few of the craft projects I've been working on for my office this summer
I did a lot of crafting for my day job during the month of December and wanted to share a few pictures of what I was up to.There were two major projects I completed.
The first was to deck my office out in Christmas decorations (all homemade) for the annual Office Decorating Contest. My theme this year was candy since I am known throughout the school for always having a desk drawer full of candy.
This is the view of my office when you walk through the door. The small green tree on the left side of my desk was painted, decorated with various candies, and lights up. Its my favorite.
The stockings on the file cabinets have the name of all of the faculty that work in our department.
This is my candy tree and I think it might be my favorite Christmas tree yet. All of the ornaments were kinds of candy--Dots, hard candies, candy canes, green army men...the candy you would find in my desk at any given time.
The tree topper was created from a massive box of Dots (which I happily ate before decorating).
Also worth mentioning are the Santa and Mrs. Clause trolls from my mom.
Close up of the tree. And yes, I did eat all of the Dots myself. I enjoyed it.
Treats for the judges to sample. Gummy Green Army Men, Cinnamon Bears and chocolate balls.
These "hard candies" were made from styrofoam pieces that came from the new copy machine packaging. I gave them a little coat of paint and they were ready for candyland.
The second project I worked on in December were creating Christmas presents for a friend. She wanted to give all of her work study students a meaningful present using their favorite Bible verses. We hand painted each background and then paired them with the appropriate verse.
I think they turned out magnificently. I'm also happy to report that no hands were dyed during the making of this project! (That's a first for me!)
After 3 years and almost 200 classes, I have decided to take an indefinite break from my seniors jewelry making classes. I have enjoyed teaching them and have really learned alot from them, but I am in need of a serious break, both physically and mentally.
During the last 3 years, there have been hundreds of stories that I have wanted to share, but haven't, because I wanted to be respectful of the people I was working with. I wouldn't want someone else talking about my family on the internet, so I have refrained from sharing details out of respect for them and their families. I would, however, like to give you the highlights of what I learned during my 3 years of teaching.
1) Every person has worth. Even the ones that push your buttons and drive you to the brink of your sanity. Those are usually the ones who need to be loved the most. And its usually the hardest to love them. But when you do, and they realize that you care, amazing things happen. I have seen some of the crankiest people come out of their shells and become some of the sweetest, most wonderfully caring souls when they realized they were loved and that I would make time for them. Alzheimers and Dementia are terrible diseases that take lots of things away from people but treating them with dignity and respect is an amazing way to give some of that back to them.
2) Every person has some kind of (physical) limitation they are working with. Learning how to work with it is half the battle. Learning how to adapt and work past it is the other half. Treating someone with dignity and respect despite their limitations makes all the difference. Just because a body part doesn't work, doesn't mean that the mind doesn't work. And just because the mind doesn't always work, doesn't mean a person has lost their worth (see #1 above).
3) It is imperative to learn how to "work on the fly." Some of my best, most creative work came from learning to use what I had on hand to create a masterpiece. I am a better designer and teacher because of it. I feel like MacGuyver would be proud of me.
4) It is also imperative to learn how to handle emergency situations...and right hooks. I took more punches than you would believe during the last three years, but I wouldn't trade one of them for the experience I gained. Life has a way of coming at you fast and you have to learn to deal with it.
5) You never know when you will be entertaining angels in disguise (Hebrews 13:2). You never know who you will meet, or where your path will take you. Never pass an opportunity to be nice to someone, or to extend kindness to someone. You will never regret it.
6) Everyone has something to share / teach. I learned as much (if not more) about life from my students than they learned from me about making jewelry. For example, I now know the hierarchy of bling and glitter (glitter is the highest form of adornment, bling is at the bottom...who knew?!)...all about Ralston cereal (it was the bee's knees)...which gang belongs where...all about Tiffany windows...and so many more things I can't even begin to tell you about. People love sharing their story and I love listening to them.
Thank you my dear girls for sharing your time with me and for allowing me to be a part of your world.
I am looking forward to the next chapter of my jewelry journey, and I hope you will stick along for the ride.
If we are truly lucky, our lives are touched by those rare people who are so amazing and so wonderful and so brilliant that we leave changed for the better. I, like thousands of other high school students, had the honor of having Renee LaFever for a teacher.
She wasn't just a teacher. She was a friend. During my high school years, a lot of really hard stuff came my way--my dad had open heart surgery, my beloved grandmother died--and Miss LaFever was right there walking through it all with me. Her prayers and words of encouragement meant more to me than I will ever be able to tell you. She never judged, but taught me how to deal with it, prayed with me, and taught me to laugh at life--a skill I am eternally grateful for.
She was known for her bright sunny personality and her love of Diet Coke and pugs. Of the many memories I have of her classes, one that really sticks out was of being chosen to sneak down to her car to sneak her precious pug babies Daisey Mae and Keeper back into class. And of course they were in their Halloween costumes--a bumble bee and an angel--because that's how she rolled.
She was never afraid to push the limits and loved telling us about how she got caught showing Dateline in one of her classes, and the principal walked in right as they were showing a big pile of maggots (it sounds gross, but to hear her tell it always left tears in our eyes from laughing so hard). We all wanted to be just like her--she was the epitome of cool.
She was the teacher who pushed us to dig deeper, to study harder, to live life bolder. And I will always be grateful that I was able to have her for a teacher. I am sad that we have lost her, but so very thankful that God allowed us to know her and to learn from her. I can only hope that my life has even a fraction of the impact that her has had.
I was infinitely blessed when I was growing up. God placed so many amazing people in my life who have helped shape me into the person I am today. Two of those people were Gene and Lorri Maynard. They were the pastors at our church when I was about 12 or 13. They were very instrumental in helping me not just know who Christ was, but to know Him personally, and that is something I am eternally grateful for.
This past weekend, they were passing through town and we were able to catch up over a cup of coffee. It was great to see them and hear about their recent travels (they just got back from doing El Camino de Santiago in Spain) and their current ministry. And of course we shared lots of funny stories. In case you didn't know, laughing is my favorite thing to do, and I was in heaven. I don't know the last time I laughed that hard.
I am thankful for this family and the impact they have had not just on me, but on my family and on countless others. And I am looking forward to working with them in the future, hopefully on one of their mission trips to Nigeria!
Thanks Gene and Lorri!!
This is the place that makes me the most happy in the entire world.
(It is in Kansas if you are wondering)
It seems like forever since I have added new items to the store...probably because it has been forever since I have added new items! I have been creating lots of new items and hope to have them listed soon. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy a sneak peek of a few of the new items I have been working on.