Friday, January 27, 2012

Today was a very good day.

Today was a very special day! I am truly honored with a special memory that I will treasure forever.

When I arrived at school, my classroom was decorated with paper chains hung from the ceiling, around my door way, and on my desk....

Each class in the school had created a chain, one link for each student, in my favorite colors: turquoise and purple. I was shocked, surprised and touched. Someone went to a lot of trouble to make sure today was special.

Just before my first class, I was called into the big auditorium....and I was greeted with a standing ovation. All 200+ kindergarteners were on their feet, clapping and cheering for ME!

I was presented with a very special book. Each student in the school had created a note+drawing for me. The cover reads: " Whoooo Knew we had the best teacher!', the title is surrounded by little owls holding up banners with 'you're great!' 'Art teacher of the Year!' and 'Congrats!'

My principal presented me with a GIANT cookie cake with 'World's Best Art Teacher' on it and a balloon bouquet for my desk.

Going back through all of the drawings and notes in the book, there are some really cute spellings for 'nice' 'beautiful' 'pretty' and 'artist'.

One of the most special moments of the day was during my second class. A challenging girl, probably one of my toughest students this year (because of her behavior), asked me why I was the best art teacher. I told her, 'I don't know....why do you think?'.....and she smiled up at me with the most unforgettable precious smile, 'Because you love us.'

 This was a day I won't soon forget.

(To find out what all of the hoopla is about, read here:

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Planning another Nelliepalooza

A friend of a friend emailed me to inquire more information about my Nellipalooza scrapbooking retreat and I realized that I do not have a website or a way to share information about the event beyond my Facebook event page. As I was typing out a response to her questions, I realized I was going into so much detail that it would make a great blog post.

This was from the first ever Nelliepalooza!
If you are interested in a wonderful crafting retreat, please keep reading. You can email me or leave a comment below if you would like the link to the registration form. The next event is scheduled for March 30th-April 1st. Registration is due by St. Patrick's Day (March 17th). Cost is $16 per night, you can sign up for both nights, a total of $32. The only other requirement is that you sign up to help with a meal/snack/supply for the weekend. Guests bring their own crafting supplies and stick to their own schedule.

I started Nelliepalooza about 2 years ago for my birthday. I found a local campground...and realized it was really reasonable to rent for a weekend, so I invited all of my scrapbooking buddies to join me for a retreat. I used to sell Close to My Heart so I knew a lot of people from crops and crafting events. I think we had about 13 people the first time.

Everyone had so much fun, that we decided to plan a second event in the fall (in order to include the people that couldn't attend in spring). This will be the 5th Nelliepalooza event.

It is very simple, and easy to plan. I just ask for everyone to pay the $16 per night fee that the campground requires for overnight guests and to sign up to pitch in on a meal. I call everyone who is registered about two weeks before to follow up with them about their menu selections. (If I get too many breakfast casseroles, it is easy to make changes at that point). People sign up to bring whatever they feel comfortable being in charge of.

This year, we will be planning meals for Friday dinner, saturday breakfast, lunch, and dinner; as well as sunday breakfast and lunch. We will depart on Sunday around 5 people can help finish off the leftovers or snack on the other stuff until they go home. This has worked well in the past, some people prepare everything before they come, and some use the fully functioning camp-kitchen to make their meal when they get there. Some people sign up to be in charge of beverages or other supplies (like plates/cups/etc) so everyone is comfortable with what they need to provide.

The campground has a great facility for our activities. They have a big building which houses the kitchen and all of the 'scrapbooking' tables, so we don't have to go far to cook or snack. Just a few paces away is the founder's lodge, which has sleeping spots for up to like 40 people (or more!) in bunk rooms. Basically, just like going back to camp! You have the option of sharing a room with 3 other people, or if you are getting a large group together, there is a large room with more bunk beds. (OR, having a room all to yourself!) The building is air conditioned, has several showers and group-bathrooms...its a great place to stay for a couple of nights.

The camp is very scenic, out in the country so you feel like you are really 'away', but it is located just 6 miles south of the OLD Richardson's Candy House (reddings mill area)....a short drive away from the Neosho Wal-mart (and south Joplin area).

I am expecting about 20 this time around....which should work out well since we are planning lunch on Sunday (which we didn't used to do). People can come and go on their own schedule...stay for one or both nights, and they can even take a nap/craft/read/play on the internet....pretty much they do what they want, when they want....very informal...comfortable clothes, take a walk, watch movies, take a nap.

Hope this answers most of your questions. Please let me know if you have any other questions, feel free to forward the information on to other friends! The more the merrier!

To see photos from previous Nelliepalooza events click here, here, here, and here

Here is the flyer with additional details:

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Fisheye Photo Outing

Even though I stayed in bed past 11 a.m. this morning and could've laid around in my pjs all day, I managed to force myself to join up with a little photo outing this afternoon.

One of my super special Christmas presents this year was a fish eye lens attachment for my Nikon camera. It is just a cheap little attachment, but I love using those kind of lenses because they give the digital a little bit of a lomo feel. I was also shooting with my Holga and Instagram on my iPhone 4.

I am excited to see how my Holga images turn out....I'm always nervous whenever I use 100 speed film.

Below you can see some of my favorites from today's shoot with the fish eye lens.
Machinery on the farm

 As grotesque as it looks, I could not stop filming this deer skull. I even made a little stop-motion video with it....

Robert let me bring it home. It is on the mantle now....should be a great source of inspiration. (A little O'keeffe in all of us, right?)

The hip-hop-hippy on a windy day.

How many cameras does it take???

Interior, old shed

Wasp Nest Bird Cage

Jeepers Creepers, where'd you get those peepers.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Pinteresters Anonymous

******Advertisement Alert********* 


I'm totally tooting my own horn in support of the upcoming class I am teaching at Spiva Center for the Arts in Joplin.

Ages 21+
Cost $20 includes up to 4 projects and snacks.
Saturday January 14th 7-9pm

Do you need a "Pintervention?"

Do you spend hours on your computer 'pinning' projects you would like to do?

Well this your chance!

Bring your friends and enjoy an evening of creativity.

If you are a DIY diva or want to be, this ongoing class offers the best of the projects as seen on

Mark your calendar now for Second Saturday.

It's sure to be loads of fun so sign up early to save your spot. Groups are welcome!!

These projects are tentative and subject to change: Doily Votives Tissue paper pompoms (easy and cheap and everyone should know how to do this) Glass Etching (so you can go home and etch your Pyrex!)

Instructor: ME!!
*To see what I've been pinning, check out my Pinterest page here!

Please contact Spiva at 417-623-0183 to sign up!!

I'm super excited!!