Gone skiing/boarding

See you in mid-January 2012, super Upcyclist!

All the best to you and your family,

PS - Remember how I upgraded to the premium Picnik?  The premium version let's you make nifty collages like the one above in less than 2 minutes!  I am madly in love with this feature :)  Try it out before we see each other again in 2012, ok?

Odosketch for Tech Tuesday

Let's face it.  The holiday season can be kind of stressful.  Visit Odosketch to exercise your creative side and relieve some stress.  Creating a sketch is free, plus the color palette is soooo soothing.

If you have family members to entertain - like Grandma or Cousin Joe - set them up on Odosketch while you go for another glass of egg nog.



Cake Style - Wish list

The past two days, I've featured monthly subscription gift ideas for kids (Kiwi Crates) and the men in your life (Manpacks).

Now, it's my turn!

All I have to say is "Yes, please."  My college students will attest to the fact that I have zero style. I might even be in the negative.  With Cake Style, you Skype with a personal stylist, so the stylist can get a feel for your style (or lack thereof).  Then, voila, a box arrives at your doorstep filled with clothing items chosen just for you.  I have no idea what it costs, but returns (for items you dislike) are free.

Sounds dreamy, yes?


Monthly subscription for Mr. UpCyclist

Since yesterday, I posted about Kiwi Crates for kids, I thought in all fairness, Mr. UpCyclist (and the fellas) deserve a monthly subscription gift idea, too.

What man doesn't deserve a Manpack?  Ha!

I love Manpack's tag line, "Manpacks...More time to slay dragons."

I am laughing.


PS - This would mean less laundry, though.  Hmmm.....

PSS - My monthly subscription desire is coming tomorrow.  Be ready, ladies.

Kiwi Crates

(From Kiwi Crates - Sample Crates)
If you need a last minute gift for a child, consider a monthly subscription to Kiwi Crates.  For $19.95 a month, the child receives a crate (a uber-cool lime green box), filled with materials and inspiration.  The sample crates online show a dinosaur, garden and color crate.  I haven't seen a Kiwi Crate in person, myself, but the idea of a child receiving a box filled with creative inspiration is right up my alley and certainly lil O's.  For just an additional $7.95, you can add a sibling and more materials will be including in the box.

(From Kiwi Crates - Sample Crates)
I noticed Kiwi Crates has a fantastic blog, too, with lots of great kid ideas. 

Plus, how about this sweet logo?  Who doesn't love a chubby, little kiwi?


PS - Was I the only one who thought kiwis were just fruit and not birds?

DIY Glass Magnets

Need an easy gift for a friend or colleague?  Or how about your students?  Lil O and I used this tutorial featured on Mod Podge Rocks to make our own DIY magnets.  We bought our gems at the dollar store, used scrapbooking paper and magnets from AC Moore, Mod Podge (of course!) and jewelry glue to secure the magnet.  If I was going to make 50 or more, I think I would buy these super strong and tiny magnets instead.  We did not use any clamps to hold things in place as described in the tutorial; the glues just worked on their own to adhere with a little bit of finger pressure.  One caution:  The magnets love to attract to each other (as you know).  Thus, make sure your magnets are spread apart while they dry, otherwise you'll learn, like we did, the magnets will fly off the gems and stick together quickly foiling a great, easy and kid-friendly project.

I love craftucation.


Word cloud gifts

Do you remember this old-school, Tech Tuesday post on Tagxedo and Wordle?  If not, click here to (re)visit it.  If you need a personalized holiday gift, Tagxedos and Wordles look super-duper snazzy when they are framed.

I bet you know who got a gift related to the Tagxedo above.  I wish I could say I made it, but I found it in the Tagxedo gallery.


{Free} December Calendar

Scout Creative does it again with this free, super cute, 3-D, printable, December calendar.  I may have to print one for lil O as she is a toy soldier this year in her school's holiday program. 

Did you see November's calendar?  I'm a little sad I missed that one.  I've got a thing for toucans after my year teaching in Quito, Ecuador.  Actually, anything jungle I've got a thing for especially mischievous little monkeys.  But, wait, I've got Mr. UpCyclist and lil O to make up for it. Ha!

Enough of my babbling....My new Jullian Michael's DVD is waiting for me.  Yep, Ripped in 30.  Watch out, Santa!


DIY Artwork

Want a customizable gift for a colleague or loved one?  Visit the tutorial on DIY Artwork here.  In our ski bungalow in Colorado, I made a completely customizable DIY piece just for there - it hangs in the lou and another mini-one embellishes our ski locker.

Too fun,


Subway Art {Free Printable}

Fun gift-giving doesn't get any easier than this!  Simply print and frame (remember to use a 40% off coupon at Michaels or Joann's to purchase your frame).  Heck, even a Dollar Store frame would do!  Go to this generous blog, Smile Like You Mean It, to download your free subway art for the Christmas Holiday.



{A Month Long Series}

DIY Ski Magnets

This project follows the same steps and requires the same materials as yesterday's DIY Textbook Charms post with two additions - magnets and a ski map!  Yay, for skiing and snowboarding!  And yay for using two different Mod Podge products - regular Mod Podge and Dimensional, again.

You know how I adore Colorado and our cozy place there; Breckenridge is perfect for winter activities and craftucation, in my professional & personal opinion.  Since we like to keep the condo tidy and fresh for ourselves and our renters, these magnets will be great for holding notes, reminders, welcome information, and to-do lists.  Right now, this is the only magnet on our fridge.  You Michigan State fans will be proud.  Funny story:  One of our first renters emailed me from the condo and asked, "Did you go to MSU?"  Evidently, we were in college there at the same time!  Small world, isn't it?

Our new magnets will be helpful to keep me on track while we are there to ski, board, craftucate, snowshoe, shop, swim, hot tub, chow, pretend to be locals and basically frolic. 

Do you see the magnet with "Kids Castle?"  That is lil O's favorite ski trail at the resort.  It literally is a kids castle with a dragon and everything.  You ski (or board) through it!  We easily do that run five, if not ten, times a day and never get bored.

Yay for skiing, boarding, crafts and Mod Podge products again!  See yesterday's post on Textbook Charms for step-by-step directions.

All the best,


{A month long series}

Textbook charms

What to do with all my old, out-of-date textbooks?  Repurpose them into gifts, that's what.

Today's DIY project uses not one, but two Mod Podge products.  Remember, Mod Podge is a craftucator's be-fri.

1.  Gather your supplies:  Wood alphabet tiles, old textbook, scissors, bail, necklace chain, Mod Podge (regular), Mod Podge Dimensional, jewelry glue, and small paintbrush.  I bought my supplies at AC Moore and Michael's, but just about any major craft store will do.  Actually, finding the bails was tricky; AC Moore had them in stock, whereas my local Michael's did not.
2.  Decide which part of the textbook you'd like to use; I made a guide to help me visualize the charm.
3.  Trace the alphabet tile on the textbook page and cut out the paper square.
4.  Paint a light coat of Mod Podge on the alphabet tile and adhere paper square.

5.  Turn over alphabet tile and trim off excess paper.
6.  Seal all edges with Mod Podge.  Let dry for at least 20 minutes.
7.  Cover entire front surface with Mod Podge Dimensional.  Do NOT shake your bottle of Mod Podge Dimensional as you want to keep the air bubbles to a minimum.  Mod Podge Dimensional makes the surface of your charm glossy and raised.
8.  For air bubbles, either pop with a small pin or carefully slide the bubble off the side.  Both techniques worked for me.  Let the Mod Podge Dimensional dry overnight.

9.  For added flair, add small designs before you use your Mod Podge Dimensional.  
10. I bought this particular faux-silver chain at Michael's.  It is 24 inches long, but with scissors, you can cut it to any length.
11.  Using jewelry glue, glue a bail to the back of your charm.  There is no picture of me gluing the bails.  I forgot to take one!  I let the bail dry for two hours and then, added more glue to double-secure it.  I tried just gluing the bail once and the bail popped right off when I was showing off my charm to my college students.  I immediately looked uncool.  Let the bail dry overnight to regain your coolness next time you show-off.
12.  Add your finished textbook charm to a chain and you are ready to go.

Yay for Mod Podge products, craftucation and gifts for any occasion!  If you like these, check back tomorrow for DIY Ski Magnets.  You skier, blog readers will be happy :)



Scholastic Book Fair {Warehouse Sale}

What?  All items at the Scholastic Book Warehouse Sale are discounted at least 50%?  Count me in!  And you - as the sale is open to educators, homeschoolers, school volunteers, etc. 

The warehouse event is going on this week and next, nationwide.  Click here to find a warehouse near you.

Books make the perfect holiday present for kids.  Well, that and craftucated gifts, too :)

Cheers and join Upcycled Education all month for Craftucation Nation,


{A Month Long Series}


Dear Crayola - a follow-up

Dear Crayola -

Have you heard of Emily Post?  Well, it's rude to not reply to a letter that was written to you.  I'm not saying my feelings are hurt or anything, I'm just making an observation, that's all.

In fact, I'm so busy with teaching, blogging, and parenting and trying ever gingerbread flavored product at Trader Joe's that I didn't even notice you hadn't written back.  Seriously, who has time to watch a mailbox?

I mean big-whoops that the letter was sent in April just 219 days ago; it's not like I am counting, geez.  Wow.

Just in case, my letter did get lost in cyber-space, here it is one more time.  Just click on the image to link to the original letter, if that's not asking too much of you.

Whatever.  It's not like I care. 

I need to go check my Facebook status, anyway.  I'm sure all my friends are looking for me.


Upcycled T-shirt Flower Pins

Today begins a month long celebration of
crafting + education = Craftucation Nation
Join Upcycled Education all month for interesting craft & gifts ideas
for your friends, colleagues and students

Tis' the season to show off your craftucation skills.  This uber-easy tutorial from Emily's Little World upcycles unwanted tees into useful pins, headbands and hair clips.  I used my hot glue gun for this entire project and on a three hour conference call, I cut out all my flower shapes.  I love how the tee flowers turned out.  I made certain to leave some of the graphics from the tees as I thought the graphics added flair.  I hot glued pin backs from the craft store on the back of each flower - perfect to jazz up a winter coat for a friend or colleague.

Happy craftucating,


PS - If you missed my guest appearance refashioning tees on Crafterhours, check it out.  No tee is safe from me!

PSS - If you like the graphics above, I used Picnik (from Tech Tuesday last month) to alter them.

Container Store - Organized Teacher Discount Program {Yay!}

Tomorrow starts a month long series called "Craftucation Nation."  It is where crafting and education intersect.  In order to prepare for your projects, you will need some organizational help.  Voila, the Container Store.  Have you been?  There is a Container Store near me and when I am there, I imagine it is what my heaven looks and feels like - tidy and organized.

If you are an educator (or college student in training to become an educator; remember college students - own it!  It is time to start calling yourself an educator), you can apply online for their "Organized Teacher Discount Program." Automatically, you will be emailed a card for 15% off your entire purchase at the lovely, amazing Container Store.

Now, you are ready for Craftucation Nation - a series by Upcycled Education - to begin tomorrow.

Happy (and organized),


Embedding YouTubes into PowerPoint

Are you one of those folks who hyperlinks from PowerPoint to YouTube when you want to share a video with your class?  And do not say, you are one of those schools that disallows YouTube.  If the Smithsonian can have its own YouTube channel, certainly you should be able to access it, right?  I think that is in the United States Bill of Rights.  Or, it should be.

Anywho, this 4+ minute video will teach you (or your students or colleagues) how to embed YouTubes right into PowerPoint 2007 so you look uber-professional (if you have PowerPoint 2010, try one of these tutorials).  Can you believe this particular tutorial above has over a million views!  Most of those views came from my amazing college students. Yep, future tech-savvy educators.


A Thankful Thanksgiving

This was my busiest Thanksgiving, yet.  Busy, in a good way.  Ever since I finished my training for the TTCT (The Torrance Test of Creative Thinking; more on that another day), I've shifted how I see things.  Even how I parent.  I can't quite put my finger on what has changed, but I know the TTCT training and understanding creative thinking more has inspired me, which is why I think we jammed-packed our long holiday weekend with so much fun.

Here's a peek at the weekend.....

Polka dancing with Mr. Upcyclist and lil O.  We all go to bed so early that we literally were home from polka dancing by 8:30pm and were exhausted.  Our family loves to dance.  Did you know Mr. Upcyclist and I met salsa dancing?  Sounds steamy, no?

A very yummy cranberry apple cake (for the recipe, scan the QR code from this post).  I adore that wavy chopper lil O is using.  It was the best buy from this Montessori catalog a few years ago.  Yes, I just snuck Montessori in a post!  Sneaky me.

Don't you adore dear friends?  Here is lil O with two friends who happen to be brothers.  Their mom and I are super friends from grad school.  That day, my gradfriend and I talked and talked and talked and talked while the kids played and played and played and played.  It was sooo nice to see them; it had been a while.

And let's not forget a good craft session.  You know I adore craftucation.  Wait to you see the posts for December.  Some of you may think I've lost my mind.  This is a gift in progress.

Mr. Upcyclist rarely gets involved in crafts, but lil O and I finally brought him to the dark awesome side.  He pays so much attention to detail, we've offered him an open invite to craft with us at anytime.  What a natural crafter!

Lastly, what is a long weekend without some fresh air and...you guessed it....cycling!  I mean, the name of this blog is UpCYCLED Education - for more than one reason.  Lil O is working on her mountain bike skills.  Me?  I'm just trying to keep up and get in shape for ski season which is right around the corner.

Oh. I. Loved. This. Holiday. Weekend.

Grateful and happy,

Printable Artwork {for your classroom and home}

I don't know about you, but I appreciate easy.  Easy day.  Easy dinner.  Easy gift.  Easy artwork.

Last time I blogged about easy, printable artwork, I ended up printing off a bunch of cool artwork for myself - though I really did plan to frame some of the artwork and give 'em away as gifts.

Anywho, enough of me blabbing on a Saturday, why don't you check out Laura Winslow's Memorable Words Monday - lots of great, free printables for your classroom or home.  I mean, great printables to give away as gifts, geez.

Happy Saturday, Upcyclists,

Dedicate your work {Flashback}

Remember this post about dedicating your work?  Today seems like the perfect day to revisit this idea.  For my USAmerican readers, it is Thanksgiving after all, yes?

Thus to you, fabulous blog reader, I am grateful.  Thank you for coming back to Upcycled Education, reading our sweet blog, and inspiring & encouraging me - with your comments and emails - to stay the course.

This blog post is dedicated to you (and Mr. UpCyclist and Lil O who never give me a hard time when I retreat to our studio to blog).  Who is your day dedicated to?


Are QR codes too much for desserts?

Since you know I love QR codes, I was wondering....is it too much to label the two desserts we're bringing to my in-laws house for Thanksgiving?  Just in case someone wanted to have the recipes, the QR codes would make it easier to share.  My hand model (lil O) and I think the codes are nifty.



PS - In case you want the QR codes for the desserts.  This one is for Ina Garten's Easy Cranberry and Apple Cake.  Yum!

This next one is breaking most Thanksgiving traditions - a Dulce de Leche Flan.  It is a-ma-zing and worth being a T-giving rebel.

Gobble, gobble.....

Visual.ly for Tech Tuesday

We are in an age of incredible desktop publishing feats and access to an exorbitant amount of data and information. There is a new 21st century equation necessary to understand:

Leading the infographic revolution is Visual.ly - both in content and quality.  Not to mention soon (when exactly soon I'm unsure as Visual.ly hasn't announced it as of November 2011), but soon, Visual.ly will offer a web-based tool so you can create your own infographic.  Yippee.  You know, I adore web-based tools.

(Infographics from Visual.ly)

However....until Visual.ly offers the DIY infographic tool, you can still play with Visual.ly.  Here Upcycled Education's tweets are being compared infographically (new word, by the way) to the powerhouse educational resource, EdutopiaYou can see I have much room to grow and I am a poor example of tweeting.

How will you use infographics with your students or colleagues?  Do you imagine students will need to become infographically literate?



Food, again - Infographic

Yes, yes, yes....it's me again.  You know how I despise food in the classroom.  I'm surprised I survived Halloween.  Anyway, since I am on an infographic kick lately, this infographic spoke to me.  Seriously, we can't all agree upon stem cell research, but you want to genetically modify the food I eat and feed to my family and not tell me which ingredients have been altered?  How come 40 other countries either ban or demand their food be properly labeled if it has been genetically modified?

(Infographic from Fast Company)

Very uncool, Business-that-manufacturers-genetically-modified-food-and-sneakily-sells-them-to-families-and-children.

I've got my eye on you.


PS - If the infographic is too small for you, just click on the image above to see a close-up.

Homeschooling - Infographic

Since this tremendously popular blog post about homeschooling (by my dear friend and homeschooler, Mariah), I've been keeping my eye-out for other homeschool-related tidbits.

I am wildly obsessed enamored with infographics lately.  According to this infographic, homeschooled children are out-performing their public school peers.  It seems wise Mariah is correct again.

(Infographic from Cool Infographics)
If the infographic is too small for you, just click on the Cool Infographics link to see a close-up.