DIY Valentine's Day Ideas

I only celebrate Valentine's Day because of Lil O.  Mr. UpCyclist and I rebel.

But.....I do like this wreath we made in the past out of conversation hearts......Find the post here.

For my coffee and tea drinking friends.....This printable to make hot beverage sleeves is a winner.....

These Glow Stick Valentines were a hit at Lil O's school....

As was this paint swatch garland ala Valentine's Day.....

....So, I guess Valentine's Day isn't that awful....



TinEye Labs {for Tech Tuesday}

How am I supposed to get anything accomplished with TinEye Labs (multicolor search) hanging around?  Since last week, I featured Photo Pin for Tech Tuesday, I thought you'd get a kick out of TinEye Labs.  TinEye extracts colors from over 10 million Creative Commons Flickr images and allows you to search images up to five different colors at a time.

In the photo collage below, I searched for images with blue, green and semi-lime colors.....

For this photo collage, I searched for pinks, light reds, blues and purples....

Lil O made a special request for reds, so I searched for images using five shades of reds.

Once you search, you can then click on a photo and it hyperlinks directly to Flickr where you can decide (or not) to download the image (of course, using Creative Commons parameters).  

See what you think of TinEye Labs.  I have a feeling you are going to smile and be unproductive like me.



Present for Mr. UpCyclist (or Jedi)?

Mr. UpCyclist has a birthday coming up.  Do you think he might like this Sphero as a present?  It isn't a bike, but really, how many bicycles can one human have?

Plus, if he doesn't like it, I think Jedi would :)  And PS - You only need to watch the first minute of the video above to get an idea of what playful Sphero does.


Love. This. Quote.

From this Pinterest Link

Need courage and time.  

Want this quote to come true.

Have advice to share with me?  Where to begin?  How to make time?  How to muster courage?

Will 2013 be the year I start writing?  Would this be better as a group effort?


I love this quote and idea.  Love. LOve. LOVE.


Creating an Innovator in Lil O

So, I need your help.....

If you follow Upcycled Education on Facebook or Instagram, you know I was reading the book, Creating Innovators by Tony Wagner.  I finished the book a week ago and I am now in the processing stage post-read.  Yep, I am one of those folks who needs a bit of time to process and make sense of a book's message.  It generally takes me several weeks to make sense of it all.

Creating Innovators Tony Wagner

So far I can say, Creating Innovators is a thoughtful book - ideal for parents and teachers (and assorted allies).   Though there are several take-home messages in Wagner's book; one stands out to me immediately.  Overwhelming, it seems, most creative and innovative children and adults become passionate about something as a child.  Wagner's advice is to let kids "play" with that passion and to fuel the child's natural desire to learn more about their interest (without judgment).  

With that being said, I am looking for opportunities for Lil O to see real fashion design in person as you know that is a top interest of hers.  I've already contacting a local design and manufacturing company who specializes in women's clothing; Lil O and I are meeting the head designer and taking a tour of their factory in mid-February.  I would love to expose her to more of those real fashion opportunities.

If you have a lead, contact or "know someone" in the fashion industry in the Mid-Atlantic region, would you please share this blog post with them and/or share their contact information with me?  You (or they) can email me directly at jen at or you (or they) can leave a comment below.

As I continue to process Wagner's work, I will share more so we can all create more innovative children and students.

My best,

PS - If you have a budding fashion designer in your class or home, Lil O really enjoys this sketchbook and stencils pictured above.

A Statuesque Occasion

Lil O, Mr. UpCyclist, Puppy Jedi and I recently went to Arlington National Cemetery to celebrate a new statue that was unveiled.  The statue is of our friend, J, who you might remember from this post and his hot pink fairy wings.

Right now, you are probably wondering, what?  A statue?  Here's the quick scoop.  The Arlington National Cemetery recently commissioned a new statue.  They wanted a bugler player from the Army Band to be represented.  Our friend, J, is not only a trumpet player in the Army Band and lovely human being - full of life and good will - but evidently, also the perfect size and proportion to be made into a statue.  See for yourself....

Here is our friend, J.....

Here is his true-to-life statue......It has eyelashes, his facial lines, a replica of his wedding ring, and all!

Need a backside-by-side view?

Crazy, isn't it?  And look how proud he is and how proud his family is of him.  I must say, our family - who adores J - is soooo proud, too.  And really, could this family be any cuter and prouder?

 The girls were happy to celebrate....

And since it was our first time to Arlington National Cemetery, we took advantage of looking around.  We saw JFK's gravesite, the eternal flame, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and friend J arranged a special time to Q and A with the tomb soldiers - those soldiers are so dedicated.

Puppy Jedi was thrilled that "well behaved" dogs are welcome at the cemetery.  He was a model dog-citizen that day and only gave the cemetery squirrels a hard time once or twice.  Is it just me, or is Lil O an illusionist with those twisty legs below?

And I must say, had I been alone at the cemetery that day, I would have cried a river.  All those tombstones.  All those soldiers who fought for freedom.  It reminded me that there is so much to be grateful for.....



Photo Pin {for Tech Tuesday}

It's tough, these days, to not "take" images off the Internet that are copyrighted.  Photo Pin solves that dilemma.  Just go to Photo Pin and search their image database using keywords.  All the photos are from Flickr, yet have a Creative Commons license that gives you permission to use the image and not violate copyright regulations (you just need to credit the image source).

Using Photo Pin would be a great lesson for our preK-16 students - how to use images that do not violate copyright (not to mention, great lessons on Creative Commons licensing, citing sources, selecting appropriate images, etc.).



Love. This. Quote.

Love. This. Quote.

I saw it on Crafterhours Facebook page.  Want to like Crafterhours, too?  Click here to like Crafterhours.

Or here to like Upcycled Education.

Or here to read the article from NPR that includes this awesome quote.  That's a lot of places to click, no?

Happy weekend, Upcyclists....You'll be missed, Dear Abby.


Cheating or Not?

I found this on Pinterest eons ago.  If a student were to do this on exam day, would this be considered cheating, not or just plain clever?

Brush up on your French skills and find the full tutorial here.

Special note to my students: Feel free to do this on a non-exam day, ok and make sure you show me :)


QR Codes {for a Tech Tuesday Flashback}

It isn't too late to lace all your school syllabi, documents, assignments, business cards, and desserts with QR codes.  Really, it doesn't get any easier than Delivr.

See the instructions here for this Tech Tuesday flashback.

And if you scan the above QR code, it will take you right back to Upcycled Education.  Ha!

We just can't get enough of each other, can we?


Life Updated: Early January Edition

I am already liking 2013.  

Our family's usual ski lift photo.....

I think Lil O's legs are growing again.  Don't they look so long here?

I'm 100% certain my parents will appreciate this photo taken by a real photographer and not my iPhone via Instagram.  Happy, parents?

I could cry I love these sled dogs so much.  I wonder what they think about being in the Ullr Fest Parade.

It's tradition for Lil O and Mr. UpCyclist to climb snow hills during our breaks from skiing.  I love their silliness.

Speaking of love, I love going to Colorado and spending time with our friends there.  Special Note: The name tags the adults are wearing were crafted by Lil O and her local friend, R.

Ahhhh, 2013.



Time to Make Your Textbook Quotes

If you are like me and haven't started classes yet, you have time to prepare your textbook quotes for this activity from Professor KP - who is a busy bee working on her doctorate.  Yay, Ms. Smarty-pants, Professor KP!

Click here to see the original instructions.  Her idea is such a clever way to make the most out of those expensive textbooks students are forced to buy.

All the best,


PS - And yes, I struck-through the are forced to buy part on purpose.  You know how I feel about expensive textbooks.  I wish all students, who need textbooks, would use the frugal, discount buying options here.

Ways to Connect with Upcycled Education {for Tech Tuesday}

All this talk about connection and quotes the last few days has me thinking about our connection.  You know?  Me, you, and Upcycled Education.  

For Tech Tuesday, here are the simple ways to stay connected to Upcycled Education in 2013.  If you read other blogs (or want to start reading more blogs), all of the ways to stay connected apply to most blogs in general.

If you peer to the left side of the blog, you will see all the easy icons to help you stay connected.  If right now you are reading this on your mobile phone, scroll all the way down to the bottom of the mobile blog roll and click on "view web version" to see the real web layout.

Now, that you can see all the web version features, you can easily stay connected by choosing one or more of the following:

  • Facebook:  Easy peasy.  Become a Facebook friend of Upcycled Education and you'll be notified in your FB stories when a new blog post is available.  Plus, from time-to-time you'll get "behind the scenes" posts about Upcycled Education that are FB only.
  • Twitter:  The majority of my college students and colleagues who read Upcycled Education do not use Twitter, so it isn't the top social platform I currently embrace.  However, if you actively use Twitter, follow Upcycled Education and you will be notified when a new blog post is available.
  • Feed Subscribe: If you are like me and use Google Reader to catch up on your daily blogs, then, you can easily feed subscribe to Upcycled Education and it will appear in your reader's line-up.  This is my preferred method, but I also read about 10-20 blogs daily.  Google Reader makes that process easy and enjoyable.
  • Pinterest:  If you enjoy using Pinterest, you might know I do, too!  Thus, follow Upcycled Education and we can enjoy our pinteresting finds together.  Yay!
  • Email Subscribe:  This is my second favorite way to stay connected and get notified when a new blog post is available.  The new blog post is delivered right to your email inbox.  This can't be any easier and it is my Mom's preferred way to stay connected to Upcycled Education. Hi, Mom!
Let's stay connected, yes?  2013 is a going to be a stellar year.  I can feel it.


Join me?

That's me for 2013.

Will you join me?



Because You Care

What are you doing to connect with students?  Do your students really know you care?

If you need help in this department - the department of caring - read this, this and this.  The last this is one of Upcycled Education's most popular posts.

My best,


Love. This. Quote.

Maxwell quote - Upcycled Education

This seems fitting on a day where most college students (taking winter classes) and preK-12 children go back-to-school.  Don't you agree?



PS - Dr. Maxwell is former superintendent of Anne Arundel County Schools in Maryland - in case you were wondering ;)

Happy 2013

Lil O and Mr. UpCyclist join me in wishing you a fantastic 2013!  

Our absolute best,


PS - Lil O and I made the above subway art using Ribbet - thanks to a tip from one of our beloved Upcyclists!  Yippee!