Sunday, December 29, 2019

December’s Paper Pumpkin - Outside the Box

Playing more with the December Paper Pumpkin this time playing outside the box!

The great thing about the Paper Pumpkin is that while a great resources for the 'beginner' crafter as it comes with everything you need to create stunning projects is inside the box they are also a lot of fun for the 'avid' crafter ... like myself to play. When I am in rush for quick and simple card I can play within the box and just follow the instructions but when I am looking to PLAY I can have some fun playing outside the box by adding some of my own stamps or accessories from my stash to the mix. This allows me to 'stretch' my box making far more projects than the 12 that typically come with it

So the other day I played and made the 3 projects that come with the instructions and today I used 3 of the card fronts and adhered them to a whisper white card stock base and than played with some of my Sale-abration Stamps.

The first card showcases the Happy Birthday to You Stamp set from the Sale-abration set shown here ... earn it free with a $60 order during Sale-abration. And the great thing is that you can choose to purchases prepaid Subscriptions towards Paper Pumpkin and than choose a Saleabration reward with your spending so you can have additional stamp sets or paper to stretch your box too!

I just LOVE the use of white on white embossing powder shown in my Celebrate words to create a unique texture to the background. I used a strip of the yellow polka dot from my Paper pumpkin as well as some gold foil and rhinestome embellishments for a pop of color behind my Birthday cake which is colored with the Stampin' Blends. I cut around the Birthday cake image by hand - but keep an eye out in February for the release of coordinating dies for this stamp set! The sentiment is embossed with white embossing powder on black paper and fussy cut as well. .

 The next card features the Lily Pad Stamp and coordinating dies that you can earn via Sale-abration as well.

For this design mounted the two strips of floral patterned card front from my Paper Pumpkin on a sheet of Old Olive card stock adhered on a whisper white card base. For a frugal tip - before I mounted the patterned paper I cut a flower, pedal and lily pad from the coordinating dies and than the floral paper covers the wholes these cuts left so you cannot tell as the only thing you see of that paper is the 'edging'!

I also used my leaf punch to cut some additional gold embellishments off the edges of the embellishment sheet in my Paper Pumpkin as well as made use of the little scrap of gold paper that the spiral embellishment left behind and stamped it with Stazon ink to make it into a shiny lily pad - waste not want not!


The final card was inspired with the Painted Poppies bundle from the new mini catalog.

I just love this bundle in fact I bought the whole suite cause I loved it so much ... all coordinating stamps, dies, paper and embellishments - I am excited to make many more projects with it!  

For this card I again mounted a portion of the front of the patterned paper from my Paper Pumpkin and some gold embellishments onto the front of a white card base. I stamped the poppies in Memento Black ink and colored with the Stampin' Blends and popped up on front. I stamped a coordinating envelope from my stash because no envelope should go out naked!  

I saved all the scraps from the 3 cards I cut apart hee from my Paper Pumpkin and did not use in these particular projects and plan to use them to make a Scrapbook layout in next few days to show just how far you can 'stretch' the Paper Pumpkin outside the box - so come back to check out how that project turns out! 

Happy Stampin'

Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much
Be Totallyawake4-life

 *this post contains affiliate links

Friday, December 27, 2019

December’s Paper Pumpkin - Inside the Box

I love waiting for the Paper Pumpkin to arrive ... it is like being a child again where you buy those 'surprise bags' of candy at the store and anxious await until you can get some place to open it up and dump it out and see what goodies you landed! Decembers did not disappoint - you can see here how the kits come in the mail, contents and this months quick stunning designs coming together!

 Card 1
Card 2

Card 3

Quick easy and stunning - perfectly relaxing way to spend tie in the craftroom!

 If you would like to check out the Paper Pumpkin starting January I will be offering Paper Pumpkin classes! A great way to 'try before you subscribe' as well as for subscribers to make their Paper Pumpkin more 'social' by creating kits together!

Happy Stampin'

Live Well, Laugh Often Love Much
Be Totallyawake4-life

*this post contains affiliate links

Monday, November 18, 2019

Give the Gift of a Paper Pumpkin this season

Christmas is just around the corner and the Paper Pumpkin makes the perfect gift to either yourself or the paper crafter in your life! Who does not love the option of HAPPY MAIL!

I love the Paper pumpkin kits because they remind me of my favorite childhood past time of saving up my loose change I found to buy the 'surprise candy bags' at the store. You know the ones where you bought one but did not know what was going to be in it until it came - the Paper Pumpkin kits are like that - they arrive monthly and contain a surprise paper crafting invitation for you to create and share with others. From home to decor to seasonal gifts to all occasion greeting cards and more - it is always something beautiful when your done!

December's Paper Pumpkin sneak teaser has something for everyone from the beginner to the avid stamper and features 12 cards for your to design and comes with everything you will need from the stamp, ink, embellishments and coordinating envelopes! All you need is adhesive and scissors. 
You can subscribe yourself or you can buy prepaid subscription gift cards for loved ones! No long term commitments either. If your life gets busy and you need a break from your monthly crafting box you can also choose to start and stop your delivery each month by logging in and choose to skip this month before the 10th when they ship them out or you can even order extra if your having company visit and want to share your crafting with others rather than miss out.

Subscribe to have the Paper Pumpkin delivered to you here:

To purchase prepaid subscription cards please visit my online website choose the shop now button and than the Paper Pumpkin link on the side bar will take you to subscription options!

Here is a little sampling of November's current paper pumpkin that subscribers are enjoying right now! 

A demonstrator I am here to help if you have any questions about your Paper Pumpkin subscription and can introduce you to other products and techniques. I can be involved as much or as little as you would like in order to help you have the best creative experience possible. 
As of January I will be adding the option of a Paper Pumpkin 'kit class' to the calendar at the end of the month - leaning towards a Sunday afternoon  - so for those who want to try the paper pumpkin out but are not sure they are wanting to 'subscribe' they can secure a spot in the class by sending me an EMT for $40 for the class fee BEFORE the 8th of the month.  Class fee includes all the contents of their own paper pumpkin kit plus there will be some 'add ons' from me during the class to show how class participants how they can create just with their kit but also use our other products with their kit to stretch its use and creativity. 

If you are interested in joining us around the crafting table the spaces are limited to RSVP early! 
Happy Stampin'
Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much
Be Totallyawake4-life

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Are our kindergarten robbing our children of creativity?

As an educator and an artist seeing posters like this in a KINDERGARTEN room breaks my heart ... this was shared by a parent in a group on Facebook with a parent questioning her child's kindergarten teachers use of this chart and sending home coloring and art work with 'star' ratings on it based on following these 'rules'.

 In my opinion when we draw/colour/paint we follow our heart and do what we are feeling there is no right or wrong with art ... it is not something that should be pass or fail or 'graded' with stars unless one is older and taking a professional 'art class' and has already developed a strong sense of artistic expression and is looking to take a class that critics and takes their art to next level professionalism!

Staying “in the lines” is developmental skill and children will be motivated to do that and increase their fine motor skills on their own with practice there is no need for “shaming” they by awarding star points to their efforts! There if you've ever watch a sun rise or set there is not 'right' color for the sun it contains ALL the color spectrum's!

Sometimes I am feeling angry and I just want to scribble or throw my paint around when doing art and that’s OK it’s still art and self expression!

All preschool and primary school teachers should be required to read this story during their teaching practicum before being thrust into practice and REMEMBER what it means to explore ones creativity in mediums like colouring and drawing and painting! 

While I totally get that in certain circumstances you need to be able to have your pupils show understanding of 'true' when it comes to representational depiction or retelling of a story it is not developmentally appropriate curriculum to expect all children do this and 'grade' them with stars accordingly in KINDERGARTEN - what a way to turn children off learning as well as artistic expression when we use ART mediums to test this. 

It is one thing to have a 'goal' for children to be able to color within the lines, to show their understanding of colors and to follow directions when creating HOWEVER it is another to 'test' them on it or publicly make charts that shame them if they cannot yet do it.

As educators I also get that FAR TOO OFTEN our administration sets out expectations for us that are not 'realistic' however I guess I am one of those educators who would do my damnedest to 'educate the admin on developmentally appropriate practice' verses embracing what I know to potentially do more damage than benefit to children in my charge ... so sure I am going to encourage children to practice fine motor skills so they can master staying in the lines and sure I want them demonstrating understanding retelling of popular stories but there are BETTER ways that THIS style chart! 

When we KNOW better we should DO better ... it is time for educators to look past the way we 'used' to do things like these behaviour reward charts and focus on teaching to the child, meeting them were they are at and inspiring them to be life long learners who want to build on their skills and knowledge because it fills their internal cup not for some 'external reward or fear of punishment' system! I challenge us all when we come across these 'old school' practices to question and dig deeper about is there a 'better' way to seek the outcomes we need to meet admins demands while still keeping children's love of learning and creative expression alive? 

I love this second imagery someone shared in response to this first one  in the comments - kudos to the original teacher hopefully more will follow suit! Be the change in education we want to see!


Be inspired
Live well, Laugh often, Love Much
Be Totallyawake4-life  

Saturday, September 28, 2019

So what if Greta Thunberg ... insert the numerous rebuttles used to discredit her

So many claims going around social media lately trying to discredit Greta Thunbergs work and message!
photo credit BBC

For argument sake I will asl the following .... so what?

So what if she is being paid in some manner to speak?

So what if she is being coached by experts in the field she is speaking about to ensure she is speaking ACCURATE FACTS backed by SCIENCE? 

So what if she practices her speeches so she can give them with flow and remain composed?

So what if she is 16 years old and not in school? 

So what if her parents are supporting and encouraging her passion?

So what if she has Asperger's? 

Show me one adult politician on a campaign trail who is NOT being paid to give their speech to the masses - yet we listen to them.
Being paid does not invalidate ones work or the facts or science behind what they are speaking about!
If that is true than we should be expecting ALL our politicians to work for FREE when they are out campaigning and spreading their messages of why should vote for them ... they should not be being paid one penny by anyone to fund their camppaigns including lobbyists, unions and big corps via their huge 'campaign donations' to be able to travel the country speaking about how they plan to change our lives for the better ... they should fund that out of their own pockets that way there is no concern that they are being paid to say something verses actually passionately believing what they are spewing based on their own research and values.

Show me one politician who has not been coached to say what they do during those speeches - and typically by those paying them via campaign donations in order to help them 'win' the election so that they can continue to curry their favor with the policies they make.

Show me one politician who does not either practice their speeches so they flow by heart OR uses a teleprompter to read them if they loose their place or BOTH? Show me one person who can stand in front of the nation and WING an eloquent speech that supports statistics and laws and research findings!

Show me that 'being in school' at her age would be supporting her to learn any BETTER the than she is in her travels of the world, networking with so many amazing leaders and experts and meeting so many people in different cultures? Speaking publicly about something she is passionate about and making a difference.
As an early childhood educator it is my role to encourage children to peruse their interests, to realize that 'learning' occurs best when children are passionate about their topic and when they can embrace their topic hands on with all their senses. We are taught that our role as educators we are to be researchers and collaborators along side our students and sometimes that means taking children 'outside the formal classroom' ... and this is what Greta Thunbergs parents are doing - allowing her to engage in her learning hands on, in a meaningful way pursuing something that she is passionate about. All the 'academic' lessons she would learn in a traditional classroom are MORE than being covered during her travels around the world - the world IS her classroom! I honestly wish that MORE children had a chance to get out of the traditional classroom and learn hands on doing what they love! What she is learning now will stay with long after any 'assignment' she did when in school!

Show me any parent who can not financially support their child in a way that allows them to thrive and excel and make a difference in the world because they do not have the means and I bet money you will see parent who WISHES they could be in Greta's parents position to be able to support their child in such a manner and at such a young age. Those who are naysayers are just jealous and trying to use Greta's parents affluence against them turning it in to a negative! People who have money in today's world can not win in the court of public opinion because if they do nothing with they are hated for being greedy self centred egocentrics but yet if they use their wealth for doing good than they are hated for having some sort of ulterior motive verses applauded for using their wealth to do something good in the world!

Show how any other activist with a disability is discredited for attempting to make a difference in the world by sharing something they are passionate about ... when Terry Fox ran across country to raise awareness for cancer no one said 'but he only has one leg'? When Michael J Fox gives a speech about Parkinson no one says 'but he stutters' .... why is it ok to attack this activist because she has Autism? She shes her autism as gift not a disability - it allows her to see outside the box, to have a fixated passion about something she believes strongly in and to not be affected by the 'haters' in the world the way your average 16 year old girl would be! Kudos to her and others like her who have the courage to take on the big boys on the global stage and hold them accountable at such a young age!

IMO the only difference is that Greta is not seeking POLITICIAN POWER through her speeches like the politicians she is speaking to on the national stage right now! She is seeking to encourage those who lead via political power to CHANGE the way they are doing things. to open their minds and listen to the research and statistics and stop 'denying' science in face of all the propaganda from big oil and other vested parties in the status quo ... she is sharing statistical information, science and facts with them to encourage them to stop doing the bidding of those large corporations that put these politicians in power whose profits are at risk because for years they have engaged in practices that are putting the climate and humans at risk of extinction! She is encouraging them to do RIGHT by the planet and those who inhabit it at a time when she should be attending prom and worried about what color dress she should wear not worrying about what kind of planet will be here in 20 or 30 years from now! She is asking for nothing in return - her and her family seem to be all about giving BACK to the planet!

Politicians have no business throwing accusations around 'motive' at this poor teen and those who do feel the need to take a long hard look in the mirror about why they are so afraid of a 16 year olds voice that they need to discredit her!

We need to BE THE CHANGE!

Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much
Be Totallyawake4-life

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Annual Learning is Growing Conference

Learning is Growing Conference is held annually each Fall in Stratford
This year's theme for the conference is FUNdamentals. Participants were invited to come and explore our “inner child” and reflect upon the FUNdamentals in teaching children. To reflect on what attitudes we hold about the value of fun, why is fun necessary, and how does having fun impact learning?

Key note speaker was Marc Battle who spoke to us about reflecting on why childcare programs seem to place so much focus on 'measurable' indicators of success such as checklists for the ability to recite the ABC, 123 and matching of colours. That despite years and years of existances childcare programs today seem to be more mediocre than ever before and places of stress and discomfort for both children and staff.  To reflect on the reality that we seem to see the lack of value in the most important part of child development and why we chose to enter the field in the first place - our desire to have fun with children and to support the healthy development of the whole child in regards to self while instilling a sense of a joy of learning and having FUN in their early years!

My morning workshop a Beginner's Mind: Finding Fun and Zen

The workshop was a reflection on the 'rules' we have in childcare and how sometimes they distract from the overall purpose of our role as educators which is to ensure that children have fun in their early learning journey because when we enjoy ourselves while learning we are more likely to retain the knowledge! We need to constantly reflect on 'rules' as our practice evolves and changes and ensure that our rules evolve along with our increasing knowledge of how children learn and what they need in order to truly thrive. 

We started the workshop getting silly and having fun with some music.

 We than delved into memories of our own childhood and play and what use to be 'typical' in our play.
 Marc shared a story around the benefit of 'risky play' and allowing children opportunities to play in risky spaces.

 Expanding more on the role of 'fun' in learning ...

 What we know know about the 'brain' and the role of fun.
 Defining fun.

We looked at the history of early learning programs from way back to now and reflected on how little so many things have changed despite how much more we know about brain development and how children learn!
 Marc shared a story about how sometimes we need to push back around some of the 'rules' because children do not need to spend their days all day everyday in the 'institutionalization' that photos like these represent .... they need to be free to move and to be close and to interact with each other. One of the things he use to do in his program with preschoolers is instead of using the cots that were spaced so many feet apart at quiet time he would allow the children to grab their blanket and pillows and come to the carpet area. To lay down and snuggle up and he would read to them and they would fall asleep in a little 'fox huddle' of warmth and comfort soothed to sleep by the sound of a loving adult reading ... it created a sense of connection in the group and the children often slept longer than on the days they were kept separated as the 'rules' required. For Marc in his practice the benefits of this little 'huddle' in the quiet room far outweighed any concerns over head lice or germs or whatever rationale is around the rules of having so many feet between resting children as they lay perfectly still on cots lined up around a room.
 We talked about how children 'learn' and the joy and excitement that comes with having a 'beginners mind' when looking at the world around us.

 We reflected on the 'rules' around gun play in the early years as Marc shared his story of a project he engaged with with school age children around their desire for gun play in the childcare setting.

I will admit that while the documentation of the learning and collaboration that unfolded when they embraced children's interest in gun play I still REALLY struggle with allowing this in the preschool age groups when the children do not have the same level of understanding between fantasy play and real life. When we live in a culture with so many accidental shootings by children who pick up a real gun and play with it and end up harming or killing someone. Guns are not 'toys' they are tools that are used to hunt or hurt and I struggle with wanting to embrace such tools in an early learning program when we have no need to 'hunt or hurt' it just seems like there is no place for guns in education setting that is not a extra curricular firing range or other venue around hunting. I understand that children need a chance to explore concepts of good and bad and gun play can be an avenue for that however I feel that there are other ways to explore these concepts while still standing by the value that guns are not toys, they are not something we play with and we do not need to encourage young children to do this it just does not feel developmentally appropriate in the preschool years.

My afternoon workshop Waterfalls in your Playground 

This workshop was AWESOME ... a very hands on opportunity to explore how easy it can be to create moving water walls with children that they can create using simple everyday items in a way that the water wheel can be constructed and reconstructed with ease. 

Have an amazing day

Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much
Be Totallyawake4-life