Beginning Writing and How to Document a School Year

My 6 year old is a great storyteller and now a budding author and illustrator. I just LOVE how far she has come with reading and writing since beginning Kindergarten. Last week after finishing her homework for the day she said, "Mom, I want to write a story." I didn't think too much of it but helped her find the materials she needed. She even brainstormed a list of what people and things she wanted to include in her story. 

Then she set to work. Here is what she came up with all on her own! For anyone familiar with little kid writing you'll get a kick out of the words she sounded out. {The translation is also included in case you get stuck!}

The Princess and the Superhero

Once upon a time there was a princess who was stuck in a tower by a witch and a dragon and...

... one day the princess saw a superhero and he saw the princess and they talked and talked. Suddenly the superhero saw the witch and the dragon and ... 

... the dragon started breathing fire and the superhero brought out his sword and threw it at the dragon and he was dead. But the ... 

... witch was making a magic potion and when the witch looked like the princess and told him {the prince} that she had a present for him. He looked and ran ...

... and the witch looked at him and she was good and they lived happily ever after. 


It is seriously the cutest most creative story I have ever read by a 6 year-old. {Not that I'm biased or anything... haha!}

Her teacher asked her to bring it in to share with the class, so I scanned a copy really quick before letting her pack it in her back pack tonight. 

I have been secretly hoarding holding on to most of the school papers that my daughter has been bringing home all crumpled up in her backpack each day. One of my summer projects is going to be scanning a bunch of them and compiling a photo book with the scanned images. I would LOVE to do this for each year {of at least elementary school -- but at least these first couple of years} for her and her posterity {someday} to look back on. 

Plus, it is a fun way to just show her how much I love and appreciate everything she does and the value that we {as her parents} place on getting an education. Anytime I can find an extra way to show love to my kids I will! She will be able to see how much she has really learned and progressed this past year. Any photos, including her first day of school and last day of school photos, will be added to the book. Then I will also add an "All About Me" page as well as space on the first page for her to write her name. 

What a great way to document it all!! 

What do you do/have you done to record your child's school year!?! 

Teacher Appreciation Gift Idea - Free Printable Tag

I know for most of your this is a little late... but my school decided to celebrate Teacher Appreciation week at almost the end of the school year. If you have already had yours this year, Pin this idea and save it for next year! 

As someone who spent two years working in an Elementary classroom I know how good it feels to be appreciated by both parents and students. I would get all kinds of fun and interesting gifts. 

BUT... the all-time best gifts were those I could use in the classroom! Hands down! 

Now that my oldest is in school I get to show my appreciation to her teachers. Here is what I came up with for this year. 

I bought one of those clear, plastic paint can looking things at Michael's. I know JoAnn's has them too, although they are slightly different in size. I'm sure you can pick one up at any major craft store. 

Once I had my container I went school supply shopping! One of my f-a-v-o-r-i-t-e things to do! YAY!!!!  I bought crayons, pencils, and glue sticks -- the most requested, and most USED items in my child's classroom. 

Now comes the fun part... getting it all to fit in that container. I found that the packages that the pencils came in didn't fit in the container... which was honestly okay by me since I like to cute things up a bit. I opened the pencil packages, tied the pencils together with some baker's twine and they fit PERFECT! 

Then I just arranged the crayons, and glue sticks so that you could see a little bit of everything as you look in the container. Then I kind of stuffed the other stuff into the middle. 

I used my Silhouette (which I love) and some vinyl that I purchased from Pick Your Plum to create some cute vinyl letters for the outside of the container. 

Once I had it all done and ready to go I put together a cute tag for my daughter to sign. I am currently debating whether to tie it to the handle or attach it to the lid.... jury is still out on that one... but it's printed and waiting for her to sign in the morning! I punched two holes in the top and tied some baker's twine to it {you can see it on top of the lid in a couple pictures}. 
I have also made this printable available to you guys! So, be sure to Pin this post so that you can save this tag for the next teacher gift you are giving!!

I saw a similar version on Pinterest and LOVED it so I created my own! 

Download yours here.
{This printable is intended for Personal Use Only.}

•  •  •  •  •

What did you do for your children's teacher(s) this year!?! 

Designer Pillow Cover Tutorial {beginner level sewingl}

It seems like almost everyday those deal websites (ie. Groopdealz, Very Jane, Zulilly, etc.) are running deals on designer toss pillow covers. Even at $10.00 plus shipping they can still be pricey. But they are so gorgeous! 

Right now is that time of year when I get a little antsy to do my spring cleaning and update my decor to be in line with the changing season. So this week I decided to spruce up my home for spring and summer and add a *pop* of color by making some of my own designer pillow covers for cheap! I'm talking like $4 for the cover... total! 

Want to learn how to make your own?? It is a beginning level sewing project. If you know how to measure fabric, cut fabric, iron frabric, and sew a straight line this is the project for you!

Here is what you need:
{These instructions are for ONE 16"x16" pillow. Be sure to adjust your fabric measurements accordingly}

• 1/2 yd home decor weight fabric (50-60" width) - I bought mine from here (If you order more than $35 they will ship for free!!)
• measuring tape
• cutting mat and rotary cutter {or just fabric scissors}
• iron
• thread and sewing machine
• serger {optional}

I know my pillow is 16" but just to be extra sure, go ahead and measure the length and width of your pillow. Mine was 16" on the dot! 

Time to cut your fabric. I added 1" to the measurements I took (16"+1=17"). You will need to cut three pieces:
• 17"x17"
• 17"x12" {2 of these}

**HINT: If you are using a pillow of a different size just add 1" to your length and width measurements. Then subtract 5 inches on one side to get the measurement for your two rectangle pieces. 

Be sure your iron is nice and warm {and set to manufacturer recommended settings} and take one of the rectangle pieces. Place it right side down and fold over one of the long sides (17") about 1/2" and press. Because of the weight of the fabric I was using it wouldn't really stay down. So, I used a quick spray of starch to keep my ironed folds in place. 

**HINT: If your fabric has a definite top and bottom to the fabric you will want to fold over the top of one of your rectangle pieces and the bottom of the other. 

Then fold it over again and press. {repeat for the second rectangle piece} 

Again, if you have a pattern with a top and bottom your pieces will end up looking like this once they are both ironed. See how the folded edge is on the top of one of the patterns and the bottom of the other.

Next, take your pieces to your sewing machine and run a straight stitch about 1/4" from the folded edge. I chose to add a second stitch next to it for a decorative look, but once stitch is totally fine. 

Grab your square (17"x17" piece) and lay it face up. Then take your rectangle piece that has the bottom edge folded and lay that face down on top of your square piece matching the top two corners.Then take your other rectangle piece (with the top folded over), lay it face down on top of that and match up the bottom corners. Your two rectangle pieces will overlap a couple of inches. 

{I goofed on my first one and switched which rectangle piece was on the top -- you can see it in my picture. When you do it like my instructions say, when your pillow cover is done the top flap will lay over the bottom flap on the back of your pillow -- one of mine is the opposite. Really, it's okay either way.... so if you goof on your first one don't go ripping out all your seems!}

Pin all the way around your pieces. Yes.... ALL THE WAY AROUND. The part of your cover where your two rectangle flaps overlap is how you will be turning your cover right side out. 

I chose to serge around the edged of my pillow cover because it is easy and gives a great finished look to it. If you don't have a serger, just sew a straight line around your pillow leaving a 1/2" seam allowance. Be sure to snip the corners a little before turning it right side out but be careful not to snip through any of your threads. 

Here is how the back side of your cover should look once the edges are sewn. 
Use your iron to press the stitching around the edge. 

Turn your cover right side out using the opening between the flaps. Press the sides with your iron. 

Here is how the back looks now...

... and here is the front. 

Now, just make a few more!

The envelope opening in the back makes it easy to take off and clean, or take off the cover entirely making it easy to change up your decor every now and again!