Monday, October 31, 2011

Thou has brought me to this place...

Hither to thy love has blessed me
Thou has brought me to this place
And I know thy hand will bring me
Safely home by thy good grace
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Bought me with His precious blood.

Thankful, for 

- being "brought and rescued and bought"
-making it through a longer week than usual
- my sister-in-law, coming to hang and help (with lunch and bread and apple tarts)
- a rollicking barn dance and both of my handsome partners
- tutor meetings and encouragement
- "costume day" fun
- getting back into knitting, with vengeance
- a new "Book of Common Prayer" in the mail
- beautiful perspective drawings by my high schoolers
- an unexpected "snow day"!
- leafy autumn mosaics...

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Sub

P.S. Can you guess who won "Best Faculty Costume"?  
Yeah, that's right. Booya. :)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Old Homestead Retreat 2011!

This past weekend, we enjoyed our annual small group retreat at the Old Homestead in the Berkshires. As always, it was packed full of  good friends, warm stews and pies, autumny adventure treks, good chats, rousing games, singing, praying, pipes and yarn. And of course, everything is at least twice as fun with a new baby boy in the mix. 

...I'm pretty sure you couldn't ask for anything more from a crisp and colorful, New England weekend in October. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Art Room Diaries - Crushed Can Watercolors

I did this project while student teaching and loved doing it just as much, if not more, than the kids did. I recently taught this to my middle school class along with a lesson in Pop Art.  
It's a great way to practice observational drawing in a safe setting. If you don't get it just right, it doesn't look too bad, since it's a drawing of something that is crushed already! It is also a good observational drawing exercise, since in order to draw the can, you can't easily draw a pre-concieved idea of what a can looks like; you are forced to look carefully at each line, shape and plane in order for it to work together as a whole.  Even though we were essentially drawing a piece of "trash", they ended up being such beautiful works of art! 

Materials: pencil, ink and watercolors

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Woven Trees

I recently found this little project on Pinterest*. This spring, my school is having a fundraising auction so I've been on the hunt for projects that the kids can make to compliment this year's theme: "like a tree firmly planted". So, I've been "pinning" tree art and crafts like crazy. 

Although it was a lot of fun, I kind of thought this craft would be easier to make than it was. I'm thinking maybe my 4th and 5th graders could handle it.  Kinda cute, no? Check out the full tutorial at Family Fun.

*If don't "pin", you gotta start. Beware. It's addicting. Don't say I didn't warn you. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Streams of mercy

Come thou fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing your praise
Streams of mercy never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet
Sung by flaming tongues above
Praise the mount I'm fixed upon it
The mount of thy redeeming blood

Singing His praise, for..

- our stay-at-home days
-when Levi naps in my arms
- yet another October weekend away, at the Old Homestead, no less!
- our small group
- a new art project
- Brian's middle-of-the-night help; refilling water bottles, fetching excedrin, warming neck wraps, diaper changes
- snuggly rainy days
- sunny adventure days
- Levi's special early morning joy
- streams of mercy, never ceasing

Friday, October 21, 2011

Thursday, October 20, 2011

DIY Birth Announcements

When I started looking at options for birth announcements, I was surprised at how expensive they were. Even pre-made designs printed on regular photo paper are often over a dollar each.  That seemed a bit excessive to me, so to save a little lot of mula, I decided to design my own using the free photo editing/organizing program, Picasa.

Here's a quick tutorial:

First, I chose a picture that had some space for the name and all of the info that I wanted included.  Next, I selected the picture in Picasa and hit the "collage" button.  Once you get to the collage screen, make sure you have the right dimensions selected. I chose 4x6 since that is the cheapest size to print.  I then chose black as my background color, sized the photo to almost fit the space, making sure to leave a thin black border.  Next, I hit the "create collage" button to get back to the normal editing screen. Then, I used the "text" function to add Levi's name and other birth info.(Note: I download free fonts at and Fonts for Peas, they have tons of nice options) Once I was happy with the design, I saved the file and downloaded it to Snapfish.  I decided to use Snapfish to print my birth announcements because they have a great deal on new registrations (20 free prints and 9 cents each for the rest) and I was also able to print them on matte paper, which I tend to prefer.   

So, for 100 birth announcements (much more than enough!) I paid a little under $8!  Not bad!

Here's the photo/design we chose...

Some other options we were considering...
(this was initially my favorite, but I ended up deciding that it was too "winterish" for my August baby.)
Now I just need to get my act together and send them out! 
Never has addressing and stamping envelopes ever seemed so difficult. 

Oh babies. :)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Farm Day

This past weekend, our family enjoyed some much anticipated autumny goodness at Ingalsby Farm*. We enjoyed walking through apple orchards, corn fields and pumpkin patches and Levi loved watching the rabbits, goats and peacocks. Of course we indulged in some cider, honey sticks and cider doughnuts and we even picked up some gourds for the window boxes. A warm October day well spent.   

*For you locals, Ingalsby Farm is in West Boxford and was recommended to me by one of my art students.  It's a great alternative to Russell Orchards, in case you aren't in the mood for crowds!)