Thursday, August 6, 2015

#Reflect31 Day 5

My experiences and knowledge from being a student, educator, and teammate in different fields are all interwoven, like the crocheted blanket here. My goal as an educator is to be like the crochet hook; I strive to be an educator who empowers students to stitch together their knowledge and experiences. Sometimes our connections -- whether it be of knowledge, with people, or to other aspects of our lives -- can feel like the tangled knot of yarn here. It's important to remember that our students often feel this way, too. Untangling a knot is hard, but when we draw on our knowledge and support network, we can work through the knots and create masterpieces.

A teeny bit of insight into the symbolism pictured above:

  • The graduation pendant represents my own experiences as a K-12 student
  • The paintbrushes to represent art
  • The coin purse was a gift from my mentor teacher during my provisional teacher program
  • The book represents my training & experience in Higher Education (Marcia Baxter Magolda is my favorite Student Development theorist)
  • The roller skate wheel represents roller derby; my roller derby families have been some of the most supportive people in my life post-college
  • The background is a baby blanket that I am crocheting for the child of a friend from college

While I was editing the image above and adding text (on twitter I posted a version of the pic with the text in the image), my cat decided to take over my carefully planned display:

What a little knucklehead

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Ms. Walker Makes: DIY Vanity & Organizers

Sometimes when I'm not teaching or lesson planning, I like to make DIY projects. I know I have found a lot of inspiration for my home decorating projects online (hello, Pinterest!), so I have decided to share my results and products... Starting with this nifty piece of furniture that I transformed last summer.

I moved back to NJ from Massachusetts, and in my new abode I needed a new way to store my shoes and makeup. The piece of furniture that I desired needed to have a narrow depth -- only about as deep as my foot is long -- in order to not block a set of drawers positions perpendicular to it. And it needed to fit under my window.

An old twin-sized headboard with shelves turned out to be the perfect base for this project!

I used the instructions from this blog post to paint and finish my my particle board/laminate headboard with great success! If you want to refresh some cheap furniture, this is the  method to use.

While the existing structure provides shelves for beauty products, I need to add some additional shelving for my shoes. Enter crates from the craft store!

I used L-shaped brackets and a power drill to attach an additional shelf inside of each crate, then had my dad (best dad ever!) cut a board of wood to rest on top of the crates for the long shelf.

Of course, having this awesome piece of furniture to hold my stuff was all well and good, but let's be real -- I also needed to be able to organize my cosmetics! This is where things got crafty...

I had already purchased a few rolls of cute-printed wrapping paper from the Dollar Spot at Target (Shoe boxes of supplies look much nicer when wrapped). I used some of the paper to wrap a clementine crate as my base container and a toilet paper tube (yep, keepin' it cheap) for eyeliner pencils. I had a few pastel mini Chinese food style take-out containers leftover from my cousin's bridal shower, which nicely held individual eye shadows & chap sticks. In my search for little open-top boxes, I found containers intended to hold sugar packets at Christmas Tree Shop. Throw in a couple glass jars, and I had a very accessible, useful way to store my makeup!

I've used this cute method of storing makeup brushes since college! All you need is a clear container (mine is a candle holder) and some plastic beads. [Shout out to RDs Treya & Janel from William Paterson University circa 2008 for teaching me this trick.] The organizer tray that holds my hair products & deodorant, etc. was from Michael's arts & crafts store.

So, of course, my vanity isn't always styled this neatly. I went minimalist for the photo shoot... my version of minimalist.

When I get a chance, my next DIY project to share will be my jewelry organizers! (Or maybe the hand-dyed duvet cover & curtains that I made last summer... we shall see.)