craft business

Crafty STEM, Part Deux

Since we have to share the library space with another club, I decided to limit fall semester club projects to weekly make & takes. Near the end of the session, we’ll pull out the sewing machines for a very basic project that can be completed in a single session.  Our spring rotation will be strictly sewing with the goal to have each student create a 16-1/2″ block for the East Cobb Quilt Guild Show.

My mission is two-fold:  (1) to divest myself of my rather oversized craft supply inventory at school and (2) make things easier for my club co-sponsor and me.  I plan to move on to other things next year, so several machines will also be “re-homed” at the end of May.

What kinds of projects to we make in clubs?

Pom-poms, Perler beads, Slime 3 ways, papercrafts (bookmarks/origami), photography (digital & instant), Felt stuffies and mail art postcards (machine project).

My total investment for this round of clubs was less than $50, including snacks.

These types of projects lend themselves very well into a library makerspace or crafternoon type of activity for elementary and middle school students.  Normally, I have all girls in my club. This time, it’s about half girls and half boys.  The girls want to make kitty ear headbands. The boys didn’t look too pleased with that idea. Hopefully, the duct tape wallet kit I found will be an acceptable substitute.

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Stress and creativity

Class samples to make…

Quilts to complete….

Personal sewing projects still not finished…

Guilt for being so far behind, but not one bit of inspiration to step into the studio.

Does this sound familiar?

It’s called stress. Mine is directly attributable to the day job. Today, I got to be 3 people – librarian, teacher and parapro because they pulled my parapro to act as the receptionist. (Never mind there are four ladies in the front office.)  As an introvert, I need 10-15 minutes of quiet time after the morning class block to chill and put my game face back on for the next round of classes.  I literally did not get that until I walked out the door at 3:45 p.m.

I’m all for pitching in and helping out in an emergency. But it is getting to the point of ridiculous. The fantasy flex library schedule has collided way too many times with fixed library schedule reality since school began. The admin team is also under the assumption that we still have 3 people working in the Media Center. News Flash! There are only two of us because we lost the allotment for our part-time person. Remember?

You make a big deal to tell me I matter, then treat me like I don’t. 

So, before I say or do something I might regret (like writing a check for $1,000 to get out of my employment contract), I have elected to utilize one of my sick days tomorrow for some extreme self-care.

Oh, and one more thing. That little girl who came in with shadows under her eyes and was sent to the library because she was late for testing? She was starving. The cafeteria couldn’t get her breakfast because they were busy getting lunches for 200+ kids going on a field trip. I took the time to fix her peanut butter toast in the midst of all the craziness because I could hear her tummy rumbling.  I know I matter to my students, but do I really matter to administration?

Tomorrow is a SEW day.

craft business

A small, but significant, step

I chose to keep my weekly sewing club over starting up the new video production club. 

In the day job, there was a “realignment of responsibilities” based on my decision; however, I have zero regrets about choosing to keep the sewing club.

It also marks the start of a conscious shift to focus more on the things I want to do and less on the things others think I should be doing.  I am learning to stay in my lane at school and I try not to worry about things which are out of my control.  Yes, this is easier said than done, but I’m trying!!

Priorities:

  1. Health (lose weight, improve sleep, exercise, meditation)
  2. Relationships (outside of work and family)
  3. Improving skill set in both the day job and the side hustle

As I sat at Panera Bread tonight, I drew out a life bubble map that encompassed different areas of my life and where I want to be 12-18 months from now.  (Don’t feel like sharing all the details here, but suffice it to say that I am making progress toward those goals.)

The catalyst for all this:  I started doing WW Freestyle in late June.

Today, I am 15 pounds lighter and about 1/3 of the way down to where I want to be on the scale.  I have more energy and self-confidence, which set the wheels in motion for improvements in other areas of my life.  I also added some “mindful living” podcasts to my podcast feed. They have been helpful in my learning to let go of things at work. I don’t let stupid stuff get to me as much anymore. Friends and coworkers are starting to notice.

The surprising thing my bubble map exercise revealed was how closely intertwined my goals are and how change in one area impacts the others.

I’m excited to see what Fall 2019 has in store!

 

 

 

craft business

Fabric Snobbery

Fabric snobs must be first cousins of the Quilt Police.

You know, those people who faint at the mere thought of using fabric from a chain or big box discount store instead of fabric purchased from the local quilt shop.

The key is to use QUALITY fabric in your projects. Price and retail location aren’t necessarily the best indicators of quality.

My philosophy is – if you love the fabric, then use it.  After all, it’s your quilt.

‘Nuff said.

Kid's Sewing, craft business, sewing classes

Look, Mom! I made a skirt!

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Yes, these young ladies made their very own skirts at the most recent Kid’s Club at Stitch N Quilt in Mableton.  The girls chose the Roxy Skirt Pattern from Simplicity. I dusted off garment sewing skills learned long, long ago to teach these eager stitchers how to read a pattern, the importance of grainline and how cut out pattern pieces. Fortunately, each girl had an adult (grandma or quilt guild volunteer) to assist her.  I’m so proud of them!

 

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Why I Matter

Each year, we are required to write a personal narrative in response to question posed by administration. Our response, along with our picture, is posted outside our classroom (or library in my case) doors for the world to see. Here’s mine. 

  • I am a person who is uniquely made.
  • Boomer chose me as “his” human.  Together, we have made 200+ visits as a pet therapy team to area libraries, schools, hospitals, nursing homes and events.
  • Sewing is my superpower. It feeds my creative soul and geek girl tendencies while providing the opportunity to share my love of making things with others. (Backpack and uniform repairs included.)
  • As a librarian, I introduce kids to the magic of books and the joys of reading.
  • In the library, I offer a safe environment for kids to explore what interests them and “windows” to take a peek at the outside world.
  • As a librarian, I guide kids through the inquiry process (aka how to find answers to their burning questions) by modeling search strategies, showcasing resources and demonstrating my own critical thinking steps during the process.
  • Here at the RIVER, the library is often the first stop many students and staff make when they have a question or need something (even if unrelated to the library). Simply put, we are the hub of the school!
  • While often found behind the scenes (where I prefer to be), I work hard to find solutions to challenges and figure out ways to get the resources we need.
  • I care – sometimes TOO much – and willingly share my time, talents & resources with others.
  • Finally, I come to The River every day where my kids show me how much
     I DO MATTER.

This year’s essay was particularly vexing for me to write. You see, my day job title is that of Media Specialist. It seems like this year I am being asked to do everything but that. The school district’s library department has issued one set of criteria for libraries and my administrative team seems to be doing the exact opposite. It’s extremely frustrating, especially when you feel your concerns are falling on deaf ears. And after the tense meeting on Friday afternoon, I truly felt as if I no longer mattered as a person to certain individuals or added value to the school as a Media Specialist. Instead, my value to the organization seems to lie in having a big library space and in supervising students to provide teacher release time. As one of the other specialists said, “Welcome to the Babysitter’s Club.”

No, thank you. 

I hold value as a person, creative, librarian and entrepreneur.  The essay I posted here finally came about after I snapped out of my pity party.  If this organization doesn’t appreciate what I bring to the table, then it will soon be time to find one that will.

 

craft business

Finding your happy place

My happy spot right now is the kitchen table.  A sewing machine sits on one end flanked by my Martelli turntable cutting mat on one side with the pressing pad and iron on the other. Yes, I have a beautiful sewing studio in the basement, but I like to sew where I can binge watch TV on the big screen when no one else is home.  The project I’m currently working on is portable – lots of Flying Geese blocks that I cut while at the ILA Conference in Austin a week ago.

It’s helped get me through a rather rough start to the new school year. I came back from the conference excited to really work on reading and literacy skills at my school. Instead, I find myself trying to figure out exactly what my role is. Let’s just say that it’s been a week and leave it at that.  I do know, however, that my elementary school librarian days are numbered. It’s time to move in a different direction.

So, I will focus on some extreme self care and sewing this weekend.

Happy Sewing!