Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Craft Room organisation - Die-cutting heaven

I've been busy again re-arranging my craft room, to try and make it as friendly for my uni/teaching work as well as my stamping.  So far,  I think I have managed to improve both!

When I tidy up a bit (cos I've already messed it up doing some assignments), I'll take a pic of the new layout, but for now I wanted to show you my new solution for all my die-cutting gear that came about because of the room reshuffle.  This is a bit of an epic story, but I hope it explains my thinking process about my room, and how you might apply the same principles to better arranging your own space.

A few years back, I bought a butcher's trolley from Aldi, and this same trolley was in last Saturday's catalogue too, $149, so if you like the idea it would be worth giving your local Aldi's a call to see if they have any left.  It was tucked in a corner before, and held all manner of bits and bobs on the shelves underneath, as well as the drawers and providing a handy worksurface to boot. But, it wasn't exactly mobile, and I could only access the shelves from the front side.

As part of the room reshuffle, I wanted to get an inexpensive glass top desk to fill in a 'dead corner' where all my bags and totes were stored, the bags would still be underneath it and visible, but there would be a work surface over the top that would effectively extend my desk into a U shape around three sides of the room..  At Officeworks, I found a glass desk that fitted the bill, just $55, but when I went to get it, I spied another variant, with twice the surface area, designed as a corner desk but able to be assembled as two individual desks as well.  At $68, it was a bit of a no-brainer to get that instead.    Because of this unexpected extra surface, something had to give, so I stripped the butcher's trolley bare and had it in the centre of the room waiting to be moved elsewhere.  While preparing for my Stampin' Crop day last Friday, I moved the various equipment onto the trolley to wheel it out and it dawned upon me that I could  free up quite a few of the cubes in my Ikea Expedit bookcase by having all my big shot, sizzix and other die cutting stuff stored on the butcher's trolley itself.  It also occurred to me that it would save a bit of setup time for my Stampin' Crops - just wheel the fully laden trolley out, ta da!  While not in use, it lives against my Expedit, and provides a work surface for my uni/teaching stuff, since the Big Shot fits underneath on the racks.

Phew!  Did you get that far?  Can you picture what I've done yet?
Here's the trolley:
On the bottom shelf are my Sizzix original dies and embossing folders, alphabets etc, and on the upper shelf are my gorgeous Stampin' Up! die storage boxes - a very neat fit for 2 x medium and 2 x large boxes.  In the drawers I have all the cutting plates and shims and my spare trimmer etc - things I use on the work surface.

Hope you find it inspiring, check back in a day or two to see the rest of my revamped space!

Friday, 17 February 2012

An apple for the teacher? Well, a cherry is close :)

Oh. My. Goodness. !!!
What a week!  During the intensive month of teaching methodology subject we were all placed at a random school for 8 days of "In School Orientation Program".  It's sort of a 'thrown in the deep end' approach, as after the first three days, you are teaching solo (while being observed, and rescued if needed).  I took a Year 8 science class, and a Year 10 class for the last 5  days.  Today, in our Year 10 class doing a genetics unit, every single bench successfully extracted great spool-able globs of gorgeous DNA from wheatgerm.  It was a prac usually done (with less success apparently) with Year 12 Biology, so it was sort of a 'proud mummy' moment watching them get great results.  I ventured outside into the playground with Year 8, looking at the effect of light on grass growth, and it was interesting to see their behaviour and engagement change over the days as they got to know me.
My conclusions:
1. I've never rushed from place to place so much in any job, I was totally whacked by the end of each day!
2. I've never had to cart so much paperwork and books from lab to staffroom and back again, and then to and from home
3. Lesson planning takes hours and hours!  Especially if you make the effort to make their lesson engaging and appealing.
4. It is hard to predict what is going to happen next - there's always something happening to throw a spanner into the lesson plan.  In the space of the 8 days I encountered Year 12 boys dressed in feather angel wings and red satin boxers delivering "Hug-a-grams" on Valentines Day, "mufti-madness", special assemblies, to motivational media presentations and more.
5. Seeing adolescents start to trust you and work for you is worth every bit of the above.  Bribing with lollies and stationery items helps here... ;-)

So, thank your kids teachers!  They sure deserve it.

I have one more week of intensive methodology, and then an exam, and then things will settle to a more 'leisurely' routine.  If you'd like to offer your group of friends for me to practice my newly polished teaching skills on, I'm totally itching to do some Stampin' Up! workshops for Sale-a-bration, I'll even bribe you with lollies!  First to book will get an extra prize from my stash!  Give me a call, 0403 175 790 or send an email and we can compare diaries to find a suitable day and time.

Above is a card I made with the "Button Buddies" stamp set, coloured with markers, and stamped onto a Whisper White panel.  I matted it with Pear Pizzazz, and then Whisper White again, and put it on a background of Riding Hood Red stamped with the sadly retired "Polka Dot" stamp. I used some of the extra wide striped grosgrain as a hanger, and played around with a bit of narrow taffeta Old Olive ribbon to secure a knot at the top.  A sentiment down the bottom from "Just Believe" and it was all done.  If you wanted to dress it up even more, you could add a couple of buttons over the cherries, for a 3D effect.

Have a good weekend everyone, also a reminder that the next Stampin' Crop day is Saturday 25th February, from 10-5, details as usual.  New people always welcome, just call or email as above for more info.