Category Archives: Creating

Crafts, re-purposing, art, doodling and general hands-on activities.

You’re coloring? All the best people are.

Really. The best people are. Coloring, I mean. If you are like me, coloring calms you. After all, “Carl Jung, the founder of analytical psychology, prescribed coloring to his patients to calm and center their minds.” (Click the link for source.) Therapists still prescribe coloring for many patients. Not only can it reduce stress and anxiety, but it also benefits your fine motor skills, helps train your brain to focus, and the new trend, coloring parties, allow you to be more social.

You're coloring? All the best people are. A Propensity to Discuss Review. Wonderland.

Now the question arises of what to color? Well, have I got a book for you!  Wonderland, by Amily Shen, is a coloring book inspired by Alice and her Adventures in Wonderland. Just as the story becomes curiouser and curiouser, so does this book, but in a beautiful way!

There are even chapters in this book, from “Down the Rabbit Hole” to “A Mad Tea Party” to “Who Stole the Tarts” and everything in-between. Each chapter has a short snippet from the book to introduce the drawings that make up that chapter.

The drawings are not the typical Alice in Wonderland that you imagine. They are more defined and refined than that, making this a decidedly adult version of the story. Not saying that kids would not like to color it, as well, but there are many fine, intricate details that might be difficult for small children, but will certainly boost eye-hand coordination and fine motor skills.

You're coloring? All the best people are. A Propensity to Discuss Review. Wonderland.

For my first choice, I hit the “Teahouse in the Mushroom Forest” for this beautiful nest. I love it. I also started out quite literally with a brown nest, but in Alice fashion, I festooned my nest with lots of colors. After all, it wouldn’t be “mad” if it weren’t a little crazy!

There are also pages that have very little artwork, allowing you to add your own touch and flair. Two examples below are the owls, who need more company, and the tea party plates which need cakes and the letter that needs to be addressed.

You're coloring? All the best people are. A Propensity to Discuss Review. Wonderland.

As you can see, the lines and details are somewhat complex, causing you to really concentrate, and therefore helping you to let go of worries and anxiety! I just love it! And an added bonus? Lots of inexpensive, personal art to decorate your space!

If you like to color, or if you are a little stressed out, try Amily Shen’s Wonderland. Because “All the best people are!”

Have you rekindled your love of coloring? If so, please share your stories and your creations!

 

Blogging for Books Disclosure. A Propensity to Discuss Review.

Blogging for Books Disclosure. A Propensity to Discuss Review.

Amazon Affiliate Disclosure. A Propensity to Discuss Review.

Amazon Affiliate Disclosure. A Propensity to Discuss Review.

I've read that book...now what? A Propensity to Discuss Post. Crafting with old books.

I’ve read that book…now what?

As a voracious reader, I always end up with tons of books. What on earth to do with them after? Well, I do NOT cut them up and make crafts out of them. I either donate them to my media center or to a bookstore here that sells used books.

However, old dilapidated books with pages missing are a different story. Those are the ones that I cut up and use for crafts.

Rolled paper roses.

On this video, Misilla uses one piece of paper, which appears to be a thicker type of paper, perhaps the scrapbook variety, for making these. It may look a little daunting, and it does take some practice, but after a few tries, it actually gets really easy. There are some of these at the bottom of this post that a friend of mine and I have made.

I've read that book...now what? A Propensity to Discuss Post. Rolled Paper Roses Crafting with old books.

Planning Ahead…

The next few are from Bob Vila, He has quite a few interesting things up his sleeve with books.

Book Table

Yep, I want to do this. I think it would make a cool addition to a home study.

I've read that book...now what? A Propensity to Discuss Post. Book Table Crafting with old books.

Book Lamp

Making lamps is something that I am very interested in, and yet it scares me for some reason. However, seeing this, I think it may be a craft for me this summer.

I've read that book...now what? A Propensity to Discuss Post. Book Lamp Crafting with old books.

Book Clock

Only time will tell if I make this one! Ha! Just kidding…I love this idea.

I've read that book...now what? A Propensity to Discuss Post. Book Clock Crafting with old books.

Book Charging Station

Absolutely making some of these this summer. I hate seeing wires all over the place. Books lying around, however, are a completely different story!

I've read that book...now what? A Propensity to Discuss Post. Book Smartphone Dock Crafting with old books.

Two Book Coat Rack

Candace’s Rusted Roots has some amazing transformations for well-used items that have seen better days. I have to say that I love this book idea! But check out the site…tons of ideas there! She even has a shop in Hillsborough, NC in case you find yourself up or over that way!

Book Spine Bookmarks

These are from Crafts A La Mode and they are so cool to me and I will be making some of them this summer. I just have to go thrifting to find a few old books. Or maybe I’ll just draw/write the spines of my favorite books some on cardstock. There are so many other things on her blog and it is well worth the visit.

I've read that book...now what? A Propensity to Discuss Post. Book Spine Bookmarks Crafting with old books.

Book Covered Dresser

Can we agree this is adorable? How cute would this be in a nursery? I’m in love! This one is from ModPodge Rocks. I would love to make one of these. I may even make a smaller version for my craft room.

I've read that book...now what? A Propensity to Discuss Post. Book Cover Dresser Crafting with old books.

Past Projects…

The following things were all made for a staff Christmas party at my school. All items were made by V (who suffers through working with me 🙂 ) and a few students and myself. The party was a success, the decorations were beautiful and we had so much fun making them. Quite a few of them now decorate our houses.

Book Page Wreath

The first two are the same wreath, the lighting makes them look different. These are just tubes made from large book pages and hot glued to a round cardboard disk. Simple, but very effective.

I've read that book...now what? A Propensity to Discuss Post. Book Wreath Crafting with old books.

After these pictures, we hung it on the wall. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture of that.

I've read that book...now what? A Propensity to Discuss Post. Crafting with old books. Book Wreath

Rolled Paper Roses (Again)

Below are our versions of the rolled paper roses like in the first part of the post. These are made with three book pages per flower. Since the pages are thin, it helps to have multiples for each one. Oh, and a little glitter is always a plus!

I've read that book...now what? A Propensity to Discuss Post. Crafting with old books. Book Page Flower

This one got a simple help for its display: A $1.00 Dollar Tree candle votive painted with mercury glass spray paint, and a “flower” made from toilet paper rolls covered in glitter.

I've read that book...now what? A Propensity to Discuss Post. Crafting with old books. Book Page Flower

If you have a WHOLE LOT of time on your hands, you can do a full tree. I mean tons of time! V, my partner in crime for these party decorations, made this one. The base of the tree is a cone made from a piece of poster paper, you can find a good explanation of how to make them here on The Budget Decorator blog.

I've read that book...now what? A Propensity to Discuss Post.Crafting with old books. Book Page Flower

I found a candle holder at Goodwill for $1.51 and spray painted it black. It just happened to fit the base of this tree perfectly. The little pearls are from a $1.00 necklace from Dollar Tree. This is still on display in the media center and we both still are amazed at how beautiful it is.

I've read that book...now what? A Propensity to Discuss Post. Crafting with old books. Book Page Flower Tree Stand

Next is a very old trick that you may have done in the past, but if not, it is really easy! You can see how to do this at the Creative “Try”als blog. The one below is thicker. I used more than 60 pages, but I still did them in 30-page sections and, yes, glitter!

I've read that book...now what? A Propensity to Discuss Post. Crafting with old books. Book Page Christmas Tree Close

We used the poster paper cones to make quite a few other trees. The folded book tree was paired with two cone trees covered with wrapping paper that we attached with spray adhesive. The result, if I may say so, is beautiful.

I've read that book...now what? A Propensity to Discuss Post. Crafting with old books. Book Page Christmas Tree and others

And lastly, if you have a lot of books, you can just stack ’em up and make a tree. Just make a circle, then move in a little with each layer. Put a lamp in the middle (LED light) and LED “old-fashioned” lights – the real ones get too hot and would be a fire hazard. The LED ones don’t get hot at all!

I've read that book...now what? A Propensity to Discuss Post. Crafting with old books. Book Christmas Tree

The two identical pictures above the (fake – made from boxes covered in paper) mantle are poster paper covered in wrapping paper with a star ornament glued on to it and a dear glitter deer on a piece of black poster paper. The “fire” is a battery operated toy.

So, if you, like me, love to read and you have a lot of books hanging around or if you hit thrift stores, yard sales, and Goodwill and find really old, shabby, books and make something really cool with them so that everyone knows that you are a reader and you have great tastes in decor! 🙂

I've been enlightened and Illuminated. A Propensity to Discuss Review. Beginning Illumination

I’ve been enlightened and Illuminated.

The truth of the matter is that I had NO IDEA what illumination was before I received this book. Quite honestly this book, Beginning Illumination: Learning the Ancient Art, Step by Step by Claire Traverswas one that I literally chose because of its cover (and the description) but the cover got me first.

Come on, admit it! You choose books by their covers sometimes. Everyone does. That is why on sites that offer pre-published books generally want you to judge the cover. As the old saying goes…You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Especially on a book cover!

Illuminated Manuscript. I've been enlightened and Illuminated. A Propensity to Discuss Review. Beginning Illumination.

When I read the description I was a bit intrigued.  Being a book lover and an art lover, I did just enough research to find out that illumination is about the drawings at the beginning  of paragraphs in old manuscripts. I also learned that the illuminations were to show the start of something new in a book because there were no periods or punctuation marks.

Example from book. I've been enlightened and Illuminated. A Propensity to Discuss Review. Beginning Illumination

Example from Beginning Illumination

Books, which I love. Art, which I love.  How much better could it get? The answer? A whole lot better!

This book is truly educational. It begins with a short very interesting history lesson about illumination and manuscripts. Not the movie kind…the  earliest books that were hand-written by scribes.

Beginning Illumination Muller. I've been enlightened and Illuminated. A Propensity to Discuss Review. Beginning Illumination

Beginning Illumination. Muller and pigment

As you move further in the book Travers explains the materials needed, how to mix the materials, and how to create your own illuminations. Not only does Travers show you how to mix your own pigments, Including using a muller (pictured above, right) to grind them, but also how parchment is made and how it should be fastened to a board. Trust me, people, this is not paint-by-numbers!

Parchment. I've been enlightened and Illuminated. A Propensity to Discuss Review. Beginning Illumination

The illustrations are really good quality and quite helpful. That being said, the technique is not for the faint of heart.

As a testament to how much I enjoyed this book and how well I believe it is written, I will be purchasing the hardcover edition for my media center and for my school’s art teachers. I love the idea that this beautiful art form will continue hopefully at least in a small part because I have passed it along to someone who will enjoy it and has the talent to put it to great use.

Yes, I will try it out on a much smaller scale, but I just am not sure I am up for stretching parchment and mixing pigments just yet.

 

NetGalley Disclosure. A Propensity to Discuss Review.

Amazon Affiliate Disclosure. A Propensity to Discuss Review.

Amazon Affiliate Disclosure. A Propensity to Discuss Review.

Blogs that have enamored me…

Here are a few of the blogs that I read regularly and that I really enjoy. These are my go-to sites when I want a little inspiration, something to read, want a laugh, or want to just dream a little about projects that I may or may not complete.

Blogs that have enamored me. A Propensity to Discuss Post.

The Handmade Home

The first time I went to this site was because of The Dollhouse Diaries. I have loved dollhouses since my Uncle Joe made me one when I was a little girl. A couple of years ago I was trolling Pinterest and found tutorials on dollhouses and my love affair with them resumed. So this post certainly piqued my interest. Not only does this site have tons of DIY projects, (not just dollhouses) they also have a shop so that you don’t have to be quite so handy. There are also gift ideas, some of those being DIY ideas like this Giant Instagram Frame.  And that egg painting shown above, left, is awesome!

Blogs that have enamored me. A Propensity to Discuss Post.

I Heart Organizing 

You may not always be able to tell it from my home, but I love to organize things. I love baskets and bins and everything having its own little space. If you feel the same way, even though you may struggle at keeping things that way like me, Jen’s site is one you should check out! Her home tour can be found here.  Not only do I love her organization, but her style and colors are my favorites! Navy blue, gray, greens…love, love, love! She has projects for every room in your house by category and topics from your nightstand to pantry to organizing on a budget. If you are into organizing, this is the place to start!

Blogs that have enamored me. A Propensity to Discuss Post.

Infarrantly Creative 

I only recently found this site, but I find myself going back to it over and over. From Roadkill Rescue (found and repurposed items) to Pennywise  Presents (inexpensive ideas) and lots of DIY tutorials, if you like crafty, out of the ordinary, off the beaten path projects, decorating and ideas, this is a great website. And teacher that I am, I did check, infarrantly is a word Beckie made up to suit her blog using her name. And boy does it work for me! I have to say that the yardstick wall is my absolute favorite on the site!

Blogs that have enamored me. A Propensity to Discuss Post.

The Literate Housewife

Pretty much if you can name a book, Jennifer has read it and reviewed it on her site. I am amazed at how many reviews she has here! There are over 400 and climbing. In her “about” page she states: “The next best thing to a good book is sharing and discussing it with others.” and that pretty much sums up exactly what I feel about reading. Books are wonderful, and they are made even more enchanting by talking about them and sharing them with others! And her reviews are not short and sweet. They are thoughtful, well written and just plain good. Check out this one for Matt Ruff’s Bad Monkeys, which is a book I also really like!

Blogs that have enamored me. A Propensity to Discuss Post.

LK Herndon (Ladybug & Lulu)

Full disclosure. This is the blog of a great friend of mine. It is wonderful, just like she is! It is full of funny yet inspiring posts about her life and her family. She has written quite a few articles for Moms Magazine and they are always insightful, witty, and hard-hitting, just being honest articles, just like her! Tell it like it is, no holds barred. Titles such as
YO! Mom at the playground – Watch your damn kid! and Someone has to bring the juice boxes.
I love it. And I love her! I hope you will, also.

And a shameless plug! She has written a 3 book series about a whale named Petunia who is bullied a bit and learns to take back her life. Inspired by a situation one of her daughter’s experienced, these are worth reading and sharing!

Blogs that have enamored me. A Propensity to Discuss Post.

The New Oregon Trail

I have to go with full disclosure here. While I am extremely intrigued with the idea of converting a bus and taking off for a summer, the reason I am most intrigued with this site is that the bus they refurbished and redesigned is from my Alma mater. Yep. I went from 1st -12th grades at Southwest Georgia Academy in Damascus, GA. So this website is a little bit of nostalgia for me.

Blogs that have enamored me. A Propensity to Discuss Post.

Nerdy Book Club

Where do I begin? Ahhh…how about with Donalyn Miller: Teacher, author, reader, along with Katherine Sokolowski, Cindy Minnich, and Colby Sharp, who are amazing at stirring up interest in reading, have created this blog for books and nerds like me who love them and love to read anything and everything. The premise here is that there are many people who contribute, but those 4 maintain the blog and keep everything in order. A really good site to find things to read for yourself and for any readers you may know.

Blogs that have enamored me. A Propensity to Discuss Post.

Planted By The River

This blog is extremely near and dear to me. It is written by my daughter, a college student with a heart for Jesus and a life for missions. I once had someone ask “Wow, did you know you were raising a missionary?” No. I raised a daughter. God raised a missionary. With words of wisdom far beyond her age, her posts inspire me in ways she probably doesn’t realize. I hope they inspire you, as well. I love you, P!

Blogs that have enamored me. A Propensity to Discuss Post.

Single Dad Laughing.

Dan Pearce is hilarious. And sometimes serious. But even the “serious” stuff is funny. This blog has every topic from ear hair, to parenting advice to how he screwed up in his marriage and of course funny kid stories. The first one I ever read I really enjoyed and learned a good bit from was 16 Reasons Ways I Blew My Marriage. You Just Broke Your Child, Congratulations is by far my favorite and one I think every parent in the world should read. And one more…50 more random things I did not know I did not know. 

Blogs that have enamored me. A Propensity to Discuss Post.

Teen Librarian Toolbox 

Anything and everything for librarians/media specialists serving teens. Book reviews, information on maker spaces, space planning and relating. Even if you aren’t a librarian, if you want to connect to a teen through reading, check out this site put together by School Library Journal!

Blogs that have enamored me. A Propensity to Discuss Post.

Unskinny Boppy 

How to photograph your Christmas tree was the post that I found on Pinterest that drew me to this site. What keeps me coming back to Beth’s blog are the really good photography posts such as What’s in my camera bag, as well as tons of posts for decorating in a classy farmhouse way. Beautiful! To get a full idea of her style, check out her entire home!

Blogs that have enamored me. A Propensity to Discuss Post.

View Along The Way 

Decorating and projects for all of us who love DIY. Kelly’s home “tour” has tons of images with links to all the projects that were done throughout the process of decorating her home. She also has great tips like How to search Craigslist and decorating on a budget. One of the greatest pieces of advice ever comes from “Decorating 101…Or: Put down that paintbrush!” Not to mention the built-in bookshelf wall and the lighting for those shelves.  And one that I am so ready to try…painting linoleum flooring.

Blogs that have enamored me. A Propensity to Discuss Post.

When Crazy Meets Exhaustion

Stephanie’s post “The worst mother I’ve ever seen” went viral, no doubt because every mother in the world can see herself in that post at some time or another. Then she shocked the world with another post titled “Why I put my husband (and sometimes myself) before my kids.” Yep. Viral. I love it! It reminds me of what I researched and wrote about helicopter parenting.  With posts from Family Stuff to Funny Stuff to Fixing Stuff, there is plenty of information here to keep you informed and highly amused for quite a while! Oh, and she’s a teacher, so there’s stuff for me on that end, as well. Love it!

I hope you find these interesting. I hope you find something you like. I hope that you are enjoying Propensity to Discuss. I certainly am enjoying writing it!

17 Holiday Science Labs

As I was looking, I also found so many different Christmas Labs that would be so great to complete in science classes. Here are a few of my favorites:

  1. Candy Cane Goop from Science Sparks.
Candy Cane Goop. 17 Holiday Science Labs. A Propensity to Discuss post.

Candy Cane Goop.

2. Play Snow from Huckleberry Love

Play snow. 17 Holiday Science Labs. A Propensity to Discuss post.

Play snow.

3. These Window Gel Clings are explained by Science Kiddo

Window Gel Clings. 17 Holiday Science Labs. A Propensity to Discuss post.

Window Gel Clings.

4. Who wouldn’t have fun with Melting Snowmen from Fun at home with kids?

Magic Foaming Snowmen. 17 Holiday Science Labs. A Propensity to Discuss post.

Magic Foaming Snowmen.

5. I want to be a part of the Dancing Candy Canes lab from Inspiration Laboratories.

Dancing-Candy-Canes. 7Holiday Science Labs. A Propensity to Discuss post.

Dancing-Candy-Canes.

6. While I’m there, can we also make the Snow Slime from Growing a Jeweled Rose?

Snow Slime. 17 Holiday Science Labs. A Propensity to Discuss post.

Snow Slime.

7. Santa Foam – Also called Santa Toothpaste from Creating a Jeweled Rose.

Santa Foam. 17 Holiday Science Labs. A Propensity to Discuss post.

Santa Foam.

8. Dissolving Candy Canes seems like a waste, but it’s for a good cause from Lemon Lime Adventures.

Dissolving Candy Canes. 17 Holiday Science Labs. A Propensity to Discuss post.

Dissolving Candy Canes..

9. This Chemistry Creation from Beyond Bones makes a Crystal Ornament.

Chemistry Creation. 17 Holiday Science Labs. A Propensity to Discuss post.

Chemistry Creation.

10. Poinsettia PH Paper can be found

Poinsettia PH Paper. 17 Holiday Science Labs. A Propensity to Discuss post.

Poinsettia PH Paper.

11. You can even chemically Grow Your Own Tree like this one from We Made That.

Grow your own tree. 17 Holiday Science Labs. A Propensity to Discuss post.

Grow your own tree.

12. Or make some Crystal Frost Window Paint the way About Education shows you.

Crystal Frost Window Paint. 17 Holiday Science Labs. A Propensity to Discuss post.

Crystal Frost Window Paint.

13. If red is more your color, make some Santa Slime from Growing a Jeweled Rose.

Santa Slime Recipe. 17 Holiday Science Labs. A Propensity to Discuss post.

Santa Slime Recipe.

14. Carolina shows you how to Solve the Mystery Lab and Make a Silver Christmas Ornament. 

Solve the Mystery Lab and Make a Silver Christmas Ornament. 17 Holiday Science Labs. A Propensity to Discuss post.

Solve the Mystery Lab and Make a Silver Christmas Ornament.

15. Want to know What’s So Special About Fudge? Go to Exploration and find out.

What's So Special About Fudge? 17 Holiday Science Labs. A Propensity to Discuss post.

What’s So Special About Fudge?

16. About Education will teach you to make Candy Glass Icicle Decorations.

Candy Glass Icicle Decorations. 17 Holiday Science Labs. A Propensity to Discuss post.

Candy Glass Icicle Decorations.

17. Head to another page on About Education  to find out how to make these Peppermint Cream Wafers. 

Peppermint Cream Wafers. 17 Holiday Science Labs. A Propensity to Discuss post.

Peppermint Cream Wafers.

If you decide to try any of these, let me know how it works! I’d love to see pictures!

 

 

"ChemisTree" aka Chemistry Tree. Bringing the holidays to the classroom. A Propensity to Discuss post.

10 “ChemisTree” aka Chemistry Tree Ideas

Recently one of the teachers at my school came to me with a question. Once asked, I knew I would have to answer it. I knew also that it was going to be one of the most fun answers I’d been able to give in a while.

You see, she is a chemistry teacher. The question she asked was if I could figure out how to make a “Chemist Tree” for her classroom. Absolutely! I am sure of it! And boy, oh, boy have I had fun researching this!

We also discussed some chemistry experiments for the holiday season. Oh, yeah. I’m on it!

Below are a few of the fun things I have found from the “Chemist Tree” to holiday science. I hope you find some inspiration in this!

The first I one found is a Beaker Tree and it was on quite a few websites, including Never Lick the Spoon.

"ChemisTree" aka Chemistry Tree. Bringing the holidays to the classroom. A Propensity to Discuss post.

“ChemisTree” aka Chemistry Tree. Bringing the holidays to the classroom. A Propensity to Discuss post.

And this Atom Tree from The Chemistry Jokes of the Day page on Never Lick the Spoon

Atom Tree. "ChemisTree" aka Chemistry Tree. Bringing the holidays to the classroom. A Propensity to Discuss post.

Atom Tree. “ChemisTree” aka Chemistry Tree. Bringing the holidays to the classroom. A Propensity to Discuss post.

Another take on the Beaker Tree using garland, this one is from Bored Panda.

"ChemisTree" aka Chemistry Tree. Bringing the holidays to the classroom. A Propensity to Discuss post.

“ChemisTree” aka Chemistry Tree. Bringing the holidays to the classroom. A Propensity to Discuss post.

Add a few tubes to the Beaker Tree and this is what you get from ReSyn Biosciences Facebook photos page.

"ChemisTree" aka Chemistry Tree. Bringing the holidays to the classroom. A Propensity to Discuss post.

“ChemisTree” aka Chemistry Tree. Bringing the holidays to the classroom. A Propensity to Discuss post.

Then there is this Gumdrop Version that could be made to look like atoms and chemical reactions. This is from Left Brain Craft Brain

"ChemisTree" aka Chemistry Tree. Bringing the holidays to the classroom. A Propensity to Discuss post.

“ChemisTree” aka Chemistry Tree. Bringing the holidays to the classroom. A Propensity to Discuss post.

This Periodic Table Chemist Tree is a picture of what could actually be done on separate sheets of paper. For a project, I would give every student an element and have them draw or paint an example onto small squares of paper and them paste them onto a larger sheet. This one is from Science Notes.

Periodic Table Tree. "ChemisTree" aka Chemistry Tree. Bringing the holidays to the classroom. A Propensity to Discuss post.

Periodic Table Tree. “ChemisTree” aka Chemistry Tree. Bringing the holidays to the classroom. A Propensity to Discuss post.

I also found these awesome Periodic Table of Elements ornaments on Elements Cubed shop on Etsy. These are so cool!

Periodic Table Ornaments. "ChemisTree" aka Chemistry Tree. Bringing the holidays to the classroom. A Propensity to Discuss post.

Periodic Table Ornaments. “ChemisTree” aka Chemistry Tree. Bringing the holidays to the classroom. A Propensity to Discuss post.

These ornaments can be found at KillaKelkule’s Etsy page.

Periodic Table Ornaments. "ChemisTree" aka Chemistry Tree. Bringing the holidays to the classroom. A Propensity to Discuss post.

Periodic Table Ornaments. “ChemisTree” aka Chemistry Tree. Bringing the holidays to the classroom. A Propensity to Discuss post.

Or if you like these, you can find them on Etsy from Whimsical Furnishings.

Periodic Table Ornaments. "ChemisTree" aka Chemistry Tree. Bringing the holidays to the classroom. A Propensity to Discuss post.

Periodic Table Ornaments. “ChemisTree” aka Chemistry Tree. Bringing the holidays to the classroom. A Propensity to Discuss post.

I really hope these have inspired a few teachers to add colorful, fun, educational tree to their room. Or maybe just make or purchase some ornaments for home!

Coming up in the next post will be a lot of Christmas Labs that can be done with science students of all ages. Hope you’ll join me!

You can find these things and many other ideas for science education on my Education Science Pinterest Board.

Which is your favorite? If you were going to make a “Chemistree” how would you make it? 

 

 

 

Life lessons from Project Runway. A Propensity to Discuss post.

Life lessons from Project Runway

I have to admit it. I am an avid voracious Project Runway fan! I love the show. It makes me want to design, to sew (learn to sew…). I love the work these ultra-talented people create. There is also usually one villain that makes you want to throw something and scream loudly at him/her as though you can actually be heard through the TV.

Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum. Life lessons from Project Runway. A Propensity to Discuss post.

Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum. Life lessons from Project Runway. A Propensity to Discuss post.

 

Anyway, I have learned some things by watching all 14 seasons of Project Runway and all 5 seasons of the Project Runway All Stars series. As well as Under the Gunn and Project Accessory. Hmmm, I may need an intervention.  While watching, I have come up with a few life lessons.

 

 

 

Things I have learned from Project Runway

  • Determine your own style/personality/identity.
Bad Style. Life lessons from Project Runway. A Propensity to Discuss post.

Bad Style. Life lessons from Project Runway. A Propensity to Discuss post.

On Project Runway some of the contestants have no idea who they are as a designer. They just sort of make clothes. They don’t have a clear direction of what they want to make or the type of person they want to design for. These designers generally are eliminated within the first 4 or 5 episodes of a season.

In the real world, there are people walking around this way. Confused about who they are and with no clear direction in life. And if you are a teenager, or in your early twenties, that is perfectly OK. If you are still there in your thirties, you need to pull up your britches and find your way.

This may mean changing jobs or careers. It may mean moving somewhere new. Just find whatever it is that gives you a clear direction and hit the trail! Just remember, it is much easier to find a job when you have a job. (Having a paycheck is important, people.) 🙂

In the real world, it can also translate into who we are as people, the friends we have, and the people we connect with on a daily basis. The phrase “You are known by the company you keep” comes to mind. If the company you keep brings you down, get new company. Period. Life is too short to be weighed down by people who don’t help you up. Just sayin’.

  • Don’t let others change your style.
Project Runway Designers and Dresses. Anya Ayoung-Chee. Laura Bennett. Life lessons from Project Runway. A Propensity to Discuss post.

Project Runway Designers and Dresses. Anya Ayoung-Chee. Laura Bennett. Life lessons from Project Runway. A Propensity to Discuss post.

On Project Runway there is always a makeover show. In that episode, at least one of the people receiving the makeover does not like what the designer is doing and will inevitably convince the designer to do something that goes against his or her design style or any style at all. That is usually the person sent home for that episode.

Once you have found your style/place/career/niche in the world, stay strong. Other people may try to dissuade you or convince you that their choices for your life are better. If your choices in the past have been really bad ones, listen to them. If you like the way your life is working, allow them to speak their mind, but then do what you know in your heart to be right. Just remember that sometimes it is OK to “let go of yourself a little to make someone else happy.” (Kelly Dempsey Season 14, Episode 10)

  • Time management is key.

A designer’s biggest hindrance on Project Runway is the amount of time they are given to create these amazing looks. They go from sketching/designing their outfit, to Mood (the most AMAZING fabric store “Bye, Swatch!”) to sewing to runway most of the time in less than 18 hours. If they let time get away from them…well, you get the idea.

I am, at heart, a procrastinator. Since I know this, however, I work really hard to get things done long before the deadline. The only problem with that is that I, at times, continue to tweak the finished product until it is a little over the top.

Swallow a frog. Life lessons from Project Runway. A Propensity to Discuss post.

Swallow a frog. Life lessons from Project Runway. A Propensity to Discuss post.

Scheduling is very difficult for me, but I do find that if I write down what all I have to do in a day, it feels really good to check those items off when they are done. I also try to put the biggest tasks first because I don’t want to be tired when I am tackling a moose or eating a frog.

  • Listen to your mentors.

Ahhhhh. Tim Gunn. I love Tim Gunn. He is a truly gifted teacher. “Make it work.” Often by the time Tim Gunn comes into the workroom for a consultation, the viewers already know what is working and what is not.

Tim Gunn. Life lessons from Project Runway. A Propensity to Discuss post.

Tim Gunn. Life lessons from Project Runway. A Propensity to Discuss post.

Tim has the most amazing way of asking questions of the designers to get them to see their own direction. “Life is not a solo act. It’s a huge collaboration, and we all need to assemble around us the people who care about us and support us in times of strife.” Tim Gunn

I truly appreciate the people in my life who have advice to give. But the people in my life who help me work things out and progress are the people I tend to want to listen to the most. For this, my advice is to look for that quality in people around you. I try to be that to others. I don’t want to tell people what to do, I want to help them see what they want to do and how to achieve it. Teachers, not lecturers. And don’t mistake critiques for criticism.

  • Do your best. Less may be more.

If the seams in a garment are not sewn well, the judges are going to find them and rip the designers to shreds over them (pun intended). Also, over accessorizing a design is often a critique used by the judges. They want the clothes to speak for themselves and the accessories to accentuate them.

Over accessorizing. Life lessons from Project Runway. A Propensity to Discuss post.

Over accessorizing. Life lessons from Project Runway. A Propensity to Discuss post.

In real life this translates to if you find you have so much going on that you cannot do it all really well, you may have to let some of it go. In real life, over accessorizing can be compared to over complicating.

Life is stressful and then we have the tendency to continually add more and more. Yes, I’ll serve on that committee. Yes, I’ll make 2 million cupcakes for the party. Yes, I’ll be more than happy to….. Learn to say “No.”

I know. I know. You can’t let anyone down. Everyone will think you are a horrible person. News flash: They won’t. And even if they do, what does it matter? Have you heard the saying “Those who mind don’t matter but those who matter don’t mind.” It’s true. Except where your family is concerned. They matter. And when life gets in the way of family, they mind.

So the next time you feel “obligated” to serve on another whatever it is, look at your life. Can you handle more and still have down time with your family? If not, say so.

  • “Make it work.”

If you have watched even one episode, you have heard Tim Gunn say this. In his book, Gunn’s golden rules: Life’s little lessons for making it work (2011), he explains that the saying basically means to take what you have, and make something meaningful with it.

How absolutely beautiful is that? How absolutely empowering is that? I have always loved hearing him use that phrase, but after reading his meaning behind it I am taking it now as my mantra. “Make it work.” No matter what.

So, there you have it. My life lessons learned from Project Runway. I hope you enjoy them and I hope they help you in some way. And, if you haven’t seen the show and want to see what it’s all about, this is the link to Season 15 online. 

PS. I just had to throw in this Tim Gunn quote, as it speaks to me in other ways…“Call me a schoolmarm, but few things make me angrier than people not taking good care of library materials.” ― Tim Gunn, Gunn’s Golden Rules: Life’s Little Lessons for Making It Work