Wednesday, August 28, 2013

DIY back patch

Aside from painting, I haven't been that creative this summer. The idea of sitting in the backyard, reading a book in the sun has been much more appealing to me that dragging out all my supplies. However, I had a request!
As I mentioned before, my boyfriend gets a bunch of band t-shirts. Sometimes they don't fit and I get them, but last summer between the two of us, we figured out that we could keep the shirts and turn them into patches. So I was asked if I could put this t-shirt on this sweatshirt. It was pretty easy, and the extent of my sewing skills, but enjoyable to sit and watch Project Runway and sew!

I had my self healing, green cutting mat. A rotary cutter- if you don't have one, get one! I love it! I also had a t-square and your usually sewing notions- needle, thread and pins.

First I squared off the logo, keeping even on all sides. This is where the combo of a rotary cutter, t-square and mat make things super easy!
Next, I centered the logo.
I am a sloppy seamstress so I then pinned the logo before baste stitching all around.
Since the edges of the t-shirt are unfinished, I whip stitched all the way around. That was the tedious step, but once this is washed again, you don't want it to fray.
I have used iron adhesive before, but for pieces this big, it is really uncomfortable. There's not a lot of give.
This was a simple solution, but I get great pleasure knowing that it is pretty unique. I am even more thrilled when my boyfriend comes home from shows and tells me he got complimented on his sweatshirt. I know, I am a dork and I own it!

Monday, August 26, 2013

New Room

It seems like school is back in session for most of my blogger buddies. I've been jealous looking at photos of cute elementary and middle school art rooms, knowing there is not much I can do with my room(s) at the high school. I think my teens are beyond color coded table buckets, but you betcha I will be labeling supplies!

Above is a photo of what will be my homeroom and where I will teach two classes. My other three classes will be taught in the room in the back. For some reason, that room is bigger by about three feet and actually a rectangle. My homeroom is this weird, uneven quadrangle so no matter how I have tried to arrange the desks so that I am not bumping into them, its going to be squishy somewhere.

I am sure you are wondering what that big, green head is. This room is used as a changing room for drama performances, and is a bit of a hang out spot after school. Our photo teacher also does set design and this year will be the jack of all auditorium needs. The green head is the all powerful Oz from last year's drama production. A part of me wishes I could hang it from the ceiling with the lights still in the eyes. 
I love the high ceilings and the natural sunlight. There is even a skylight (which I am sure will prove to be annoying once we start observational drawing!) This year the art department, if you can call us that, since we don't have a department head, is two full time teachers and one part time. This is the space I set up for the part time and I.

And this is our big project this week as we prepare for school to start after labor day. Remember how I said this room was a hang out spot after school? Yea, kids destroyed the supply closet. That is paint on the floor...
Last year, I left this building at eleven in the morning to go teach at another school. All my classes were in the other room, so while I put my two cents in, there was nothing I could do. I  have my "do not enter" sign from my last supply closet, laminated and ready to go.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Mom's Visit Continued

The rest of the week we took a little easier than Day 1. There were lots of people to visit!
On that Tuesday, I unfortunately had a dentist appointment that I had already rescheduled due to my Nantucket adventures, so I had to go. Trying to kill some time in the morning, I brought Mom to one my of favorite spots along the water. That's Mom's photo above. She also caught me, below.
Afterwards, I took this as an opportunity to go look at some of the real estate on that little peninsula to my right. Mom was an agent when we were kids and I grew up enjoying scoping out new listings and beautiful properties. Who better to go snooping with than my Mom?

After the ever exciting dentist visit, we drove to Plymouth to meet my Mom's oldest friend from high school. She lives on the Cape, so while we didn't visit the pilgrims or the disappointingly tiny rock, the Cabby Shack where we had lunch, was a nice half way point. It was an absolutely gorgeous day to be by the water with clear skies and no humidity. We all caught up over fried seafood, clam chowder and drinks. On the way home, Mom and I did some shopping at our favorite, Christmas Tree Shoppe. We love a bargain!

Wednesday we slept in, grabbed some Dunkin Donuts and went back to the beach for some sunshine. Later in the day we had lunch with my boyfriend's parents and then hopped back on the train for free admission to the Museum of Fine Arts. (I hope to do a stand alone museum post at a later time, since I have visited a couple this summer. Stay tuned!)

When we returned from the museum, my brother had arrived at my apartment a day early to surprise my mom. It was awesome! We sat around my kitchen table, just like we would have at our old house, chatting until we were all too tired to talk anymore.

Thursday morning I brought my mom and brother to a breakfast spot I could walk to from my old apartment. It's across the street from the birth houses of John Adams and John Quincy Adams. Next time we will have to get a tour there, but a cheap, greasy breakfast was more important this time around! Check out all that bacon!
Instead, Mom and I were educated in the afternoon when we went to the John F. Kennedy Library.

 Not much had changed since I was there in middle school. I found it to be really well done and from a student's point of view, the exhibits peaked my interest just enough to want to know a little more.
When we were outside the building, we were back on the Harborwalk I mentioned in the previous post. Only this time we were on a different side.
 Afterwards we drove over to that sandy patch straight ahead, called Castle Island. It doesn't have a castle, nor is it an island anymore, but there is a cool fort and the parks department has done a nice job keeping up the walkways and playground. Lots of people were out and about, enjoying the weather and a nice, open place to play. Mom and I enjoyed some soft serve from Sully's. You know it is officially summer when this place opens, it's usually a story on the local news!

For dinner we went to Patriot's Place in Foxborough where the Patriot's play. Over the last few years stores and restaurants, even a hotel, have opened next to the stadium, right there in suburbia. We met Mom's girlfriend's from the church we grew up in, and caught up over bowls of pasta, salads and glasses of wine. It really felt like home being with those wonderful women, even though we were in the middle of the Olive Garden!

Friday was the big day! I had scoured the internet for weeks trying to find just the right Red Sox tickets. I had looked forward to this game before school was even out!
We headed into the city early, boarding a train for Harvard Square. Walking around Harvard on one of the first sunny days of spring is up there with showing off my city. We went to Charlie's Kitchen for lunch and sat in the beer garden. Its definitely a dive compared to other places in the area, but the prices are right and there is nothing better than drinking a beer outside and enjoying your company. I then successfully navigated the bus system, a first for me, over to Kenmore where the fun began.

We lost in the end. But what was more important is that we went to the game as a family. Each of us has had opportunities to go on our own over the years, but never together. We had some great fun!

I honestly do not remember what we did Saturday, other than sleep in! We must have gone souvenir shopping, we most likely got Dunkin Donuts and probably relaxed. It was Mom's birthday after all!

For dinner, my boyfriend graciously borrowed his parents mini van and chauffeured my aunt and uncle and the rest of us to one of my Mom's new favorite restaurants in the city, the Sunset Bar and Grill. Parking can usually be a pain, but the gods shone upon us with a spot right out front.
This is probably one of my most favorite photos from the whole week.
It was so nice to have a week full of family time. I was exhausted in the end, but as Nana always says, its important to make memories.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Mom's Visit Day 1

One of my favorite things is playing tourist in my own city. I love when people visit from out of state because it gives me an excuse to go to the attractions and show off my knowledge of Boston. Plus, I didn't grow up here, so I am particularly proud of being able to navigate the subways, how to drive on the roadways, and how to walk from place to place. As much as my New York family may tease, I really don't have an accent though!

For the third summer in a row, my mom has taken a trip up from Florida and stayed with me. This year we crammed in a bunch of of sight seeing, visits with friends and family, some quality talk time by the beach and even a Red Sox game. 

We started the week with one of my more crazy ideas. I would have never followed through with it on my own, so I was happy to share the experience with my mom!
Here was the crazy idea: Our local independent record shop, Newbury Comics, was hosting a free performance by Frank Turner. I actually won tickets to his show at the Museum of Fine Arts the last time he was here, but I couldn't go (because it was during the school day). So I really wanted to go to this one. In order to go, you needed a wristband. The store opened at 10 am. Mom and I were on the train around 8 in the morning and were in line for wristbands, eating our bagels from home, by 9 am.
Check out the line!
Only 100 wristbands were given out and Mom and I were #56 and #57.
Only slight problem was that the show didn't start until about 5:30 and we were expected to line up, back in number order, around 5pm.
We knew this, so we had planned to walk around and my goodness, we were all over Boston.

The Newbury Comics we were at was in Faneuil Hall. There are shops on both sides of Quincy Market, so we started there.
Who knew there was so much Ben Franklin beer paraphernalia! Upon further research, Ben Franklin did not say that quote, but that's your tourist store for you.

Outside the Marriot on Rowes Warf

The Courthouse from the water. The side the news usually casts from is not as pretty.

After shopping, we ventured to Harborwalk. I had heard of it, from having been in the area, but had never taken it before. The walk way literally goes around the harbor. We were later in other areas of the city and could pick up the trail. It was a beautiful day, with gorgeous views. And at the end, there was beer.

A mile and a half into the walk, past the Institute of Contemporary Art, the fish piers and the Bank of America Pavilion, was the Boston location of the Harpoon Brewery. They must have become really popular because since the last time I was there, maybe a year ago, there is now a new entrance and contemporary beer hall (which I was too distracted to remember to take a picture of, but you can see it here). Mom and I had pretzels made with spent grain from the beer brewing process and an amazing, spicy mustard also made from beer. Mom had her first flight of beer too, tasting a variety of IPAs. The tour wasn't as awesome as it was in the past, but still great to have the freedom to try as many of their beers as you can in about fifteen minutes, in what is now the old tasting room.

The mile and a half walk back was not going to happen! We boarded the bus that stops right outside the brewery, and although we got off onc stop too early initially, we had a nice walk from Downtown Crossing, through Government Center, back to Faneuil Hall. As we walked out of the subway, we were confronted with the demolition of Filene's Basement which was a Boston landmark.

We were in line for the show in time, but the weather decided not to cooperate with us. A little after 5, it didn't just rain, the heavens opened up and pour on us. I was so thankful to have bought a raincoat the week before and stayed dry expect for my feet. Mom had her umbrella so I passed mine to the poor folks in front of us with nothing.

Thankfully, the store took pity on us and started to load us into this small section of the store. 100 wet, smelly people, packed in by number order! I thought Frank would be done after four songs tops, but he kept on playing. I loved every second.

This is one of the first songs he played that day, and one of my favorites off the new record.
The rain had stopped after the show and Mom and I walked back to the train, exhausted. We had a very full first day!

Friday, August 16, 2013


This is not a lesson plan... yet.
Over the last few months, I have acquired a good handful of band t-shirts, but I have not gone to see a single one perform!
My boyfriend is in a local band and frequently purchases records online from other bands and various artists. He recently returned from a few shows in the mid- Atlantic and came back with a bunch of shirts from a swap. Sometimes the bands that send records will send some merch as a bonus. That's how I got the two white shirts. I also inherited the top left shirt from the swap since it shrunk. Plus, who can resit Grumpy Cat? I got some bonus points for knowing that the image references another album cover too. I hardly have the encyclopedia brain my boyfriend has for music, books and movies. That was a huge score on my part!
The Mean Jeans shirt at the top right very much reminds me of one of my students' style and got me thinking. I wonder if somehow I could turn this into a long term sketch book assignment or lesson about illustration and marketing. I am sure my high school kids would be totally into it.
To be fair, the Wolves and the Radio shirt at the bottom right is mine. However, it doesn't fit,  I just wanted to support the band. Since I bought it, the guys have gone their separate ways, but are playing a show together next weekend and I am super excited.

So what do you think?
Sketchbook assignment
Illustration lesson
Screen printing with an art two or art club level
Other ideas?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Summer Time Management

I feel very accomplished today.
As a teacher, do you ever feel like you leave everything you personally need to take care of until the summer?
This week alone I went to the dentist, ordered new contacts and refinanced my car loan.
Sometimes I wonder how I could take care of life if I worked a regular 9-5.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Painting at Home

So I live in an 800, maybe 900 square foot apartment. It's small. Our living room is long enough for a chair and a book case that acts as a tv stand and record player shelf/ storage. We opted to put our bed set in the smaller bedroom so that the second bedroom could be the "rumpus room," equip with guitars, amps, art supplies, desk and futon.
After having free reign of a field station (!) coming home from my Nantucket class was an adjustment as far as painting was concerned.
And it was a concern! I had another two weeks to complete my paintings. However, we had a lovely trip to the Philadelphia area, which I posted about previously, between my return and my due date. I had to figure out a way to paint in the short amount of time I had AND contend with the weather.

Pretty much as soon as I came home, I ordered an easel online. Jerrysartarama carried the one we had been using in class, and it was on sale! So I bought one for myself. In the mean time, I attempted working in the backyard. I set up the stool I bought for class, my Adirondack chair to hold brushes and a folding table for the canvas. It wasn't ideal, but it got the job done.
When we returned from Philly, it was rainy and humid, so I was forced to work indoors. This is a panoramic shot of our "rumpus room." I am standing in the doorway. To the left, there is another bookcase full of records that is also our bar. Followed by the amps and musical paraphernalia, window, desk, art stuff, bookcase and closet (the door is open). The futon has been covered in a black bed sheet as not to get paint on everything. I also have a 5' x 5' drop cloth on the floor. Since I am working with oils, I have both windows open and the one with the fan in it has the fan sucking out the air. There is another fan in the doorway. This helped with circulation. 

It was an intense couple of days.
The humidity made the paintings dry really slowly. I like to layer so this was an issue. Overall, I am happy with my four paintings, but want to work more on this first one... I wasn't happy with the layering and texture.

However, may I present to you, Elemental Nantucket:





Fortunately/Unfortunately, all of these images were captured on my iPhone in the corner of the rumpus room. The lighting is just ok. I hope to create a light box for my classroom this year, so this white corner was the best I could get for my own images.