Sunday, March 23, 2014

Goodwill Hunting

I love browsing through my local Goodwill Industries store looking for bargains! If there's one thing I've learned from thrift shopping it's that you have to have time and patience to find the good stuff amongst racks and racks of less-than-stellar items. I usually go through the racks of items twice, in case I've missed something good the first time around.

On my most recent trip, I was looking for some books to style my TV console table in an effort to help the DVD player blend in a bit. Specifically, I was looking for books in the blue/green color family and was able to find three great books that fit the bill for a total of $8!

After perusing the books and home goods sections of the store, I usually hit up the women's clothing section. I really only look for tops, dresses, and skirts and avoid the pant section since pants are really difficult to find in my length (I'm short). Again, my strategy is to slowly go through each section, usually twice, trying to find items that are in good shape and possibly some great brands, too!
 Here are some of my great clothing finds from this trip:

 Find #1: Ann Taylor Loft black lace dress for $7.99
I realllllly wanted this dress to fit but it was 4 sizes too big! I even called one of my friends asking what size she wears so I could justify purchasing this darling dress for somebody, anybody! I thought about trying to alter it at home, which I probably could have done, but alas! She didn't come home with me!

Find #2: Ann Taylor Loft Olive Green Tweed Blazer for $4.99
I love the color, look, and fit of this jacket! It's even a 'petite' size so the length of the sleeves are just right on my 'petite' frame! This definitely came home with me!

Find #3: Cotton Printed Tank from H&M for $2.50

 How cute is this little cotton tank?? I really liked the pattern and it seems to have been barely worn so at $2.50, how can you go wrong? Now we just need some warm weather & sunshine!

Find #4: Striped fold-over skirt for $4.99
This isn't a 'brand name skirt' but again, it seems to have been hardly, if ever, worn and will be perfect for lazy summer days, paired with a tank and sandals! Love the stripes, too!

Find #5: Linen Ruffle Dress from Old Navy for $4.99
OK, so the picture isn't the greatest and the dress is wrinkled, BUT, can you see how cute this summer dress is? If it wasn't too big for me, I would have definitely taken it home since it's so cute and in such great shape!

Find #6: Plaid Sheath Dress for $4.99
This print makes the dress perfect to wear to a winter holiday party or to work paired with black tights and a cardi! Unfortunately, the fit wasn't quite right on me so I didn't buy it! Bummer!

So those are my latest Goodwill finds! In total I purchased three books, a skirt, a tank, and a blazer for just under $25! Bargain hunting at it's best!

Linking up my finds with Lindsay at The Pleated Poppy!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Fun Review Strategies & Games

One of the best parts of teaching high school students is how funny, clever, and witty they can be sometimes! While browsing Pinterest, I came across a review strategy that piqued my interest and I decided to try it out this week with one of my Honors US History classes. Rather than asking the students a question and having them come up with the answer, this strategy involves giving the kids the answer and having them come up with the question. Before we started to review historical content, I told them we would do one 'off topic' round for them to practice the strategy.  The answer I gave them was 'Justin Bieber'...

The responses of these two kids had me in hysterics!! They are so witty and, oddly, both had to do with Canada (I'm half Canadian, FYI)! The kids were laughing, too, which was a great way to get them interested in continuing with the review activity! Posing the question rather than the answer requires them to think in a different way and really tests their knowledge on a subject.

Below are a few other fun ways to review content with students...

Guess Who?: A twist on the board game using pictures of important people, events, etc. Order your own game and rig up your own cards!

Classic Bingo: Create and print your own Bingo cards using your own key terms & content! After 10 years of teaching, this is still a favorite game amongst high school students!

Individual Dry Erase Boards: I ordered some individual mini-white boards from W.B. Mason which are really great to use for review, however, an inexpensive version would be using shiny plastic plates! So clever!

Graffiti Board: Write vocabulary on the board and have students erase a word/concept that they know and explain/give it's definition. Repeat until all the content has been explained & reviewed.

Trivia Egg Hunt: Some time each spring, I fill plastic eggs with trivia questions from content we've learned throughout the year. Then I hide the eggs around the classroom and tell the students to 'hunt' for them! When they've all found one, they open their egg and have to answer the trivia question before they can have the treat inside (usually erasers, small pencil sharpeners, etc.).

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Placemat Turned Toss Pillow

I am sort of in a design funk when it comes to my living room so I decided to head to Target to see what was new for spring hoping to find some inspiration. Well, Tarjay, you didn't disappoint! I found some amazing fabric in the form of table linens! I will write a separate post about the tablecloth I've turned into toss pillows (you can see it peeking out from behind in the picture below) but today is all about this sweet little placemat transformation...

placemat turned toss pillow

The awesome lime green and cream geometric print placemat is only $3.99 as part of the 'Threshold' line at Target.  When I saw it, I looked closely at the contruction and realized that since it was lined on the back, too, I could easily use a seam ripper to open up one edge, which is exactly what I did!

Then I used some polyfill stuffing to fill the placemat-turned-pillow and machine stitched the side closed...this didn't look weird since the placemat already had top stitching all the way around the perimeter.  I think it took me no more than 15 minutes since it really only involved opening one edge, stuffing, and stitching the same edge shut!

Run to your nearest Target and pick up this placemat...or two, or four! Sew easy!! I'll be back to share how I turned a tablecloth into toss pillows! Very affordable way to cut down on fabric costs!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Faux Frosted Glass Privacy Window

Today I'm sharing a project that has been on my 'to do' list since moving into my house 2 1/2 years ago. My conundrum involved what to do to add some privacy to the front entryway door. I didn't want to cover the window with curtains as it would block too much light yet I did want to establish some privacy when looking into the house from the street.

Luckily, I came across the perfect solution when reading a blog post at Seventh House on the Left where transparent contact paper was used as 'window film' to add privacy! I LOVE this idea because it's a non-permanent way to add privacy as well as some visual interest to the entryway!

fauc frosted glass door

The process is pretty easy, but time consuming. Essentially you trace the shape you want onto contact paper, cut out lots and lots of shapes (I used 45+), then apply your design to the window. I downloaded my shape from Seventh House on the Left and then used my Silhouette Portrait cutting machine to do the work for me. This saved me a lot of time and ensured that my shapes were all cut the same. You can used good old fashioned scissors, however!

The transparent contact paper looks like frosted glass when applied to the window. You can pick up a roll of contact paper at places like WalMart, Target, and craft stores. When applying the design to the window, I measured to find the exact middle of the window and placed my first shape in the center then worked out from there.

The design isn't perfect but when the entire window is covered, it's really difficult to notice any imperfections. I did have to make sure I smoothed each piece down really firmly to avoid air bubbles. I cut out some extra shapes so that I could replace any that did develop bubbles that I couldn't smooth. Around the edges I used an X-Acto knife to trim an overlapping pieces.

This project is a really low cost, high impact way to add privacy, design, and interest to any space. A bonus feature is that when the sun hits the door at just the right time of day, a pretty pattern is cast onto the walls of the entryway! LOVE!!