Tag Archives: summer

August Card of the Month: Change of Address Card

Summer is peak moving season.  After moving last winter in 8 inches of snow and again this summer, I can definitely see why most people in their right minds choose summer over winter to move!  So just under the wire before summer wraps up, this month’s card of the month is a change of address card.  (It’s also this month’s card because I finally got around to finishing and mailing my change of address cards!)

We chose a light blue background because we liked the color – it’s actually about the same color as our new art room.  So I started with an 8.5″ X 5.5″ piece of light blue card stock folded in half.  I stamped little houses with a Stampin’ Up stamp and colored them brown to match our new house.  I punched them out with a coordinating Stampin’ Up arrow punch.  Then I cut squares out of brown card stock and stamped them with another Stampin’ Up stamp that says “handle with care” to make them look like moving boxes.  I glued the punched out houses peeking out the tops.  I taped a bit of leftover tissue paper from our move to the back of each box.  I attached the whole thing to the front of the card with pop up dots and added a “We’ve moved” printed label.  I then included our new address on the inside.  And the best part is I managed to finish them and get them in the mail before the end of summer!

Late Summer Decorations

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about my new found love of August.  Yet another reason I have learned to love this time of year is getting to decorate our kitchen for the season I have named “late summer.”  Somehow the red and blue berries and white daisies I have out earlier in the summer just seem a little tired by the end of July, but it’s also still too early to put out apples and pumpkins for fall.  Even though late summer is a season I kind of made up on my own, the decorations I use for this time of year have become some of my favorites.  When I think of late summer, I think of bright colors like hot pink, purple, orange, yellow, and red.

Late Summer Decorations

Late Summer Decorations

So I gathered up artificial flowers in these fun colors, placed bright yellow artificial lemons in jars, and put them around the kitchen starting at the end of July.

Late Summer Kitchen

Late Summer Kitchen

I will leave them out until mid September when I switch to fall decorations.  My late summer theme is so bright and cheerful, and I just love it!  My husband even told me the other day that it’s also one of his favorite times of the year because he loves having the bright late summer colors out in the house too.

Late Summer Table

Late Summer Table

It’s a nice way to wrap up summer and look forward to fall!

Monthly Themes for the Classroom

Doing seasonal activities in schools is frowned upon these days.  However it was always my experience that whenever I would change my bulletin boards at the beginning of each month, the kids would rush in the next morning and crowd around the new decorations in the room.  I never once pointed them out – the kids always found the monthly decorations on their own and got excited about them.  Even if it wasn’t purely academic, it made the students excited to come in the classroom, and in my unscientific, not researched based opinion, enthusiasm definitely boosts learning.

To make it easy on myself, I collected 2 complete sets of monthly decorations. (Since we looped and I had the same kids for 2 years, 1 set wasn’t enough.)  I got 1 big bulletin board set, packs of small accents, and 1 medium sized wall hanging for each month – mostly Carson Dellosa, but I supplemented with homemade stuff when I couldn’t find what I needed from the store.  I would put the various decorations up on a wall by themselves or add them in with the calendar or other year round bulletin boards.

August Suns

August Suns

November Turkeys

November Turkeys

I found that the following monthly themes worked well – although as I look at current teacher catalogs it’s harder and harder to find seasonal decorations anymore.  It’s worth it if you can find them though!

Year A:

August – Suns

September – Apples

October – Pumpkins

November – Turkeys

December – Snowmen

January – Snowflakes

February – Hearts

March – Shamrocks

April – Butterflies

May – Racecars (we are in Indiana, after all!)

December Snowmen

December Snowmen

Year B:

August – Sunflowers

September – School Supplies

October – Scarecrows

November – Fall Leaves

December – Mittens

January – Penguins

February – American Flags

March – Rainbows

April – Flowers

May – Bees

April Butterflies

April Butterflies

August: The Month of Nothing

First of all, this is an ode to the month of August, not an episode of Seinfeld.

Today my friends in the school district where I used to attend as a student and later teach elementary kids went back to school.  I wish them all the luck in the world while simultaneously offering them my deepest condolences that they are missing out on the wonderful new discovery that has come with my current job: I have discovered… THE MONTH OF AUGUST!

When I was a kid I absolutely hated the month of August.  Back then we started school usually around August 20th or so.  As a result, I just saw August as this long, hot, sticky, miserable period of time in limbo waiting for school to start.  There was nothing to do except organize and reorganize my brand new stash of back to school clothes and school supplies. There was also the pastime of calling the drugstore every few hours to see if the much anticipated back to school issue of Seventeen had hit the newsstand yet and then the adventure of walking to the drugstore to get one (being allowed to walk to the drugstore was the ultimate rite of passage in my neighborhood – in some ways it was a bigger deal than getting a driver’s license).  And then when I finally did get my hands on a copy, I would look through it a million times, dog ear the pages, and have my mom help me scour the city for more back to school must haves that Seventeen told me I needed.  And then back to the organizing and reorganizing of the new clothes and supplies with the ones I already had.  In other words, August was always a time for being antsy and spinning my wheels.

More recently as a teacher, I saw August as a time of frantic stress filled with trying to get my room at school ready before the two so called “teacher work days” at the start of the school year which were full of meetings but completely devoid of time for any actual “teacher work.”  Unless you are a teacher, you have no idea how you can actually feel your blood pressure rise as you watch the clock hands race forward in time as you think about all the name tags you need to put on desks while you are required to do some sort of “fun” activity to build camaraderie with people you already like in the first place and who are every bit as cranky and stressed as you are while you all painfully endure the forced fun together.  Phew.  I feel like I need to catch my breath just remembering all this….

These days though, my job at a preschool that starts the day after Labor Day has enabled me to embrace August for what I’ve recently discovered it should have been all along: The Month of Nothing.  As a remnant of my past life, I am still in the habit of rushing to get my doctors’ appointments and everything else that HAS to get done before school starts out of the way at the end of July and early August leaving the rest of August totally open for… NOTHING!!!  I have actual empty spaces on my calendar – something that doesn’t happen during any other month of the year.  It’s glorious – like gaining a whole month I never knew existed.  I’ve heard that many places in Europe totally shut down during the month of August, and I’m thinking they are on to something!  August – where have you been all my life?!?

July Card of the Month: Thank You Card

My dad’s birthday is coming up, so I was planning to do a birthday card as July’s card of the month.  However when I was looking through my card file to pick one, I happened to come across this Ball jar thank you card I made several years ago.  I had totally forgotten about it, and when I saw it I wanted to make more – especially given my current fascination with Ball jars.  It’s one my favorites and perfect for summer, so I just had to share it this month instead of a birthday card.  Besides, you could easily turn it into a birthday card if you wanted.

I used this great stamp set that Stampin’ Up sold a few years back to make the card.

Jar and Fillers Stampin' Up Stamp Set

Jar and Fillers Stampin’ Up Stamp Set

It has a Ball jar stamp (ok, I guess it’s actually technically just a mason jar, but still) and a baggie stamp and various stamps of items with which to “fill” the jar and the baggie.  They also sold a companion set with more “filler” stamps.  I have used this set in so many different ways over the years.  It’s so versatile and useful, so if you ever see something similar, I would definitely snap it up if I were you.  I have also seen individual Ball jar stamps more recently at places like Michaels so if you don’t have this particular set or one like it, you’re not out of luck.

I stamped the jar in light blue on white card stock then stamped a green stem and a pink flower coming out of the jar.  I bubble cut around the whole thing.  Then I punched a hole in the top of the jar and tied a little “thanks” (or you could do happy birthday or whatever you choose) stamped rectangle on with twisty wire.  I was into using wire at the time I made this card because it looked really cool.  However I have since decided that wire is a pain to work with and tricky to mail because it tears the envelopes, so when I make this again I will probably use twine instead.  I mounted the whole thing on light pink paper with pop up dots, then mounted that on top of matching printed paper, then stuck the whole thing to a piece of 8 1/2″ X 5 1/2″ white card stock folded in half.  It turned out really cute, and I’m looking forward to making more.  I hope you enjoy too!

June Card of the Month: Graduation Card

When I think of the month of June, I think of graduations.  I graduated from high school in June 20 (oh my!!) years ago.  And lots of stores used to run promotions advertising gifts for “Dads and Grads” during June.  Anymore though, it seems like most graduations happen in May instead.  But since for me, when I think of June graduation season still comes to mind, June’s card of the month is a graduation card.  If you’re already done with graduation parties for 2015, you can always just get a jump start on next year’s graduation cards.

Start by getting some 8 1/2 inch by 5 1/2 inch card stock.  Personally, I like red for graduations because it reminds me of the ribbons on diplomas, but silver or gray card stock would be nice too.  Or you could even use card stock to match school colors.  Fold the card stock in half.  Then cut a smaller white rectangle for the front of the card.  Get some sparkly ribbon that matches the card stock and wrap it around the white rectangle and tape it to the back to hold it in place.  Attach the rectangle to the front of the card using pop up dots.  Put a black mortarboard sticker on the white rectangle above the ribbon.  Ta da!  A cute graduation card,  whether you end up using it right away in June for the Class of 2015 or save it for next May to celebrate the Class of 2016!

Screened In Porch Season

It’s officially my favorite season – Screened In Porch Season!  Our house has a screened in porch.  It was one of the few extras we splurged on for our new home, but it’s also one of my favorite parts of it!  The builder said that ours was one of the first screened in porches in the neighborhood (evidently most people opted for sun rooms or covered porches instead).  But he was pretty sure that after seeing how great ours is, more and more people would be building them.

The sun room vs. screened in porch debate is a familiar one in my family.  My parents have a screened in porch that we all LOVE, but my mom has always been tempted to replace the screens with glass.  My dad and I always vetoed this idea though.  Sure, you can use a sun room in all four seasons rather than just three, but the enjoyment you get from being outside on the porch sans bugs during spring, summer, and fall totally makes up for losing the time out there in the winter.  In my opinion at least!  Happy Screened In Porch Season to all!

Going Buggy!

A few years ago, I used “bugs” as the theme to decorate our kitchen for spring and summer.  I got the idea at first because I threw a high school graduation party for my very first class of second graders.  (Yes, I am old – my first class of second graders graduated from high school.  In fact I am super old because they have also now graduated from college.  A year ago.  Oh well.)  Way back when they were second graders, our big thematic unit that year was about insects.  We even put on a play for the rest of the school called “The Ladybug Ball.”  So I thought that their graduation party just had to have a bug theme.  We also used the bug decorations for a cookout we hosted later that summer.

The bugs made for really cute spring and summer parties.  They were bright and fun and went perfectly with our checkered red and white checkered picnic napkins.

Bug Graduation Party

Bug Graduation Party

We made bug cupcakes topped with red m&ms with black frosting dots for ladybugs and yellow m&ms with black frosting stripes for bees.

Bug Cupcakes

Bug Cupcakes

We even had bug chocolates on the tables and bug favor bags for everyone.

Bug Favor Bags

Bug Favor Bags

One word of warning though – we (coincidentally?) had more pesky live ants to deal with in our kitchen that summer than ever before or since.  My husband was convinced that the ants mistakenly thought our little ant decoration was some sort of tiny god that they all just had to make a pilgrimage to come visit.

Bug Picnic

Bug Picnic

So decorate with caution… 🙂

Summer’s Last Hurrah – Shop ‘Til you Drop!

One of my favorite days every year is the day my mom and I go on a back to school shopping trip.  Our day always follows the same schedule: We start with lunch at Applebee’s.  Then we head off to the mall.  We usually get a couple of fun outfits or accessories for fall.  Rarely do we have an all out fill-up-the-trunk-of-the-car-entirely shopping spree (although it has happened), but it’s the quality of the time together rather than the quantity of the purchases that makes the day so special.  After that we stop for a cookie at Mrs. Field’s in the mall.  It’s always such a happy, wonderful day together.  It may be simple, but it puts a nice cap on summer and always helps me feel energized for the new school year ahead.  (Energized that is is after getting some post shop ’til you drop rest, of course.)

Summer Berries

Summer time is berry time!  In addition to eating them like crazy this time of year (especially the strawberries and cherries!) like to decorate my kitchen with strawberries, blueberries, cherries, raspberries, etc. for summer.  There is something cheerful and refreshing about these summer treats and seeing them around our kitchen makes me happy.

I searched all over for my collection of various berry accessories and decorations.  Pottery Barn, Target, Michaels, Crate and Barrel, and Sur La Table all had good stuff. I found strawberry placemats and dish towels, a blueberry bowl, and a porcelain berry basket I filled with berry napkin rings.  (Luckily the napkin ring parts didn’t show.)  I used some cherry paper as a background for a picture.  I also got lots of artificial berries to put in clear glass containers.

Cherries Frame

Cherries Frame

Berries Table

Berries Table

Summer Berries

Summer Berries

The best part about using berries as summer decorations is that they are red and blue – ready made for Independence Day!  When July 4th rolls around, I just add in a few patriotic accents along with the berry accessories, and I’m all set.