Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Upcycled Coffee Containers

Top of the Tuesday morning to you and yours! I decided to take a little break this summer and get my craft on...

If you're like me, you have hundreds of little odds and ends that need to be contained in your classroom. I happened to inherit a bunch of craft items from my predecessor that I just didn't know what to do with last year. No matter how many times I organized that little makerspace, it just looked messy. I finally decided that part of the problem, at least in this adult-onset-ADD mind, was seeing all the "stuff" in the clear plastic containers. It was just sensory overload!

I decided to go with an "out of sight, out of mind" approach and look for uniform plastic containers that weren't transparent. After scoping out the local stores and some online, I concluded I was too cheap to fork out the kind of money to do the job right.

Hmmm....what to do, what to do.

Then I happened upon these babies...

Apparently, I feel a need to hoard hold onto empty coffee containers...or any container, really. I either inherited that tendency from my mother, Queen of the Margarine Tubs, or it possibly came with my teaching certificate.

But I digress.

Gazing at that FREE source of containers made the wheels of my mind start to turn. I didn't want to use them as-is, although you totally could. I was hoping for something a little more polished looking. 

And then I recalled seeing something on Pinterest about spray painting these little jewels to look more upscale. 

The game was on!

I headed to the kitchen and started removing labels...

I'd like to publicly thank you, Folgers, for making my life easier by just having one strip of adhesive to deal with.  Have y'all ever tried to peel the label off a jar before? Not fun!

Being the delicate creature I am, I can't use anything like Goo Gone--it makes my heart race--and not in a good "Oh-look-it's-George-Clooney!" kind of way. Instead, I've learned to simply swab some vegetable oil over the adhesive, wait a little bit, sprinkle some baking soda over the oil, and scrub. Any remaining residue can be taken off with a Brillo pad. 

Anyway, after washing and thoroughly drying the containers, it was time to head outside!  I broke out a can of ivory satin spray paint and the fun began...

We happened to have this can in the garage, leftover from another project. Whatever paint you decide to use, make sure it is formulated for plastic or it will just flake off.

I gave each container two or three coats to totally cover the red.

While the paint dried, I went through my label stash and found this package...

I think I got these from the Walmart craft department a couple of years ago, but obviously you could use any labels you have on hand.

Once the containers were completely dry, I put the lids and labels on, and voila!

That's all there is to it, folks! A farmhouse inspired craft that requires you to drink coffee...or at least befriend people who drink coffee...and people who drink coffee are the best kind of people, in my opinion. Totally a win-win in my books!

Whether you decide to get your craft on or just sit around drinking coffee today, I hope it's a terrific Tuesday for you!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Yield the Field

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding."

The irony of encountering a yield sign right next to an alfalfa field was not lost on me. I'm still learning to "yield the field" to Him.

I hope your Sunday is full of rest, relaxation, and meaning. 💗

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

God Bless America!

Did you ever have a memory from long ago that popped into your head for no apparent reason? A memory that sat dormant in your mind for decades without any recall whatsoever until some minor thing triggered it?

That happened to me this week.

Perhaps it was all the Fourth of July decorating everywhere or the patriotic magazine covers at the grocery store. Maybe it was the blazing summer heat that set it off. But when I recently heard someone say, "God bless America"...

I suddenly remembered.

I first met him on the first day of my freshman year in high school. Oh, I'd seen him before, everybody in the building knew who he was because he had such a presence about him. 

I can still see him now in a light blue leisure suit, a patterned butterfly collar folded out from under the top of the jacket. With his slicked back hair, long sideburns, zip-up boots, and tinted glasses, he made quite the lasting impression. 

But it was his voice that was most memorable.

"All right you bunch of hoods! That's the bell--get to class NOW!"

He was Mr. Jones, our typing teacher, and he scared the snot out of me.

I know I made quite the impression on him, too. That first day of my official high school career, I dressed for success. I got up two hours early and curled my newly permed hair a la Farrah Fawcett, and ever so carefully applied my baby blue eye shadow. I don't mean to brag, but I had. it. going. on!

For about five minutes.

And then life happened...specifically my life.

My Farrah hair had wilted in the August humidity (curse you, Aquanet, and your empty promises!)

My seven coats of Maybelline mascara had somehow clumped together and I had to open my eyes WIDE to pry the lashes apart.

The pleated full skirt of my dress-for-success dress was horribly wrinkled and unbeknownst to me, see-through. Apparently, at my last stop in the ladies' room, my slip had conveniently gotten tucked into the back of my pantyhose and was quite the conversation piece...

But the conversation was about to get even better.

Mr. Jones's class was my last class of the day and it was located on the third floor. The third floor of a very hot building with no air conditioning. The third floor of a Mount Everest to a young girl with melted hair, goopy eyelashes, and sore high-heeled feet.

A girl who couldn't get the combination of her locker figured out and thus had to carry every. blessed. book from the whole day up those three flights of stairs.

I had missed the warning call of "All right, you hoods..." and everyone was already seated when I entered the room.  In desperation, I frantically looked around and spotted an empty seat in the far corner. Between my terror, my gooped up eyes, and my tall stack of books, I didn't see the box fan in the middle of the room...

Until I fell over it.

Books flew across the floor, my full skirt went over my head, and a collective gasp filled the room.

And then I heard it.

"God bless America! Are you okay, Gracie?"

Slowly, with my face on fire, I picked myself up off the floor and whispered, "Yes, sir, but my name's not Gracie."

"It is now, " he replied. "You earned it!"

And yes, I was Gracie for the entire year. I would also discover that he would ask God to bless America for most of the time we were with him.😉

It was God bless America! when somebody dropped her chewing gum into the keys of the electric typewriter during a timed test.

He had God bless America when we complained that our pinkies couldn't push the keys on the manual typewriters.

It was definitely a God-bless-America moment when somebody's onion skin paper got tangled around the typewriter roller and Mr. Jones got carbon paper ink all over his suit trying to free it.

Why, we must have been the most patriotic classroom in America that year! :-)

During the course of the year, we learned that Mr. Jones had been in the military (shocker!) and had never married (double shocker!).

We learned that he could easily type over a hundred words a minute...which put our measly 8 wpm to shame.  I can still see him standing at his roll-around cart demonstrating his typing skills...while talking to all of us...and chewing gum...and walking around.

We learned how to look at a document while typing and not the keyboard.

We learned how to count letters in titles and backspace to get perfectly centered titles.

We learned that strict is not the same thing as mean.

And probably most importantly of all, we learned that first impressions aren't always correct.

Years later, I was in the grocery store with my baby daughter. We were strolling through the cereal aisle when I spotted him. Tentatively, I pushed the cart over to him and quietly said, "Mr. Jones?"

He looked over at me and said, "Why, Gracie! Who do you have here?" 

He admired my baby, and I told him that I had become a teacher and that I still used my typing skills every day.

He smiled and told me he was proud of me, and then we both turned to go. I said to him, "Could you say it just one more time for me?"

He laughed and in his sternest voice said, "Okay, you bunch of hoods, get to shopping! God bless America..."

This Independence Day may God truly bless America.

And may God bless you, Mr. Jones, wherever you are.