TeachersPayTeachers paid for my Fluevogs. Now they shall pay for dance lessons….!

A few years ago, I was about as close as you can get to getting a book published by an actual publisher. *thisclose*  But, it didn’t happen.  I sulked about it for awhile before I went the self-publishing route.  I went through iBooks for my hit, “Your Art Room’s A Mess" and went with TeachersPayTeachers for my colossal success “The Art Teacher’s Substitute Notebook.

It sounds like I’m being a sarcastic jerk - but one thing is true - TeachersPayTeachers paid for my Fluevogs.  I joined in May of ‘13 and by May of ‘14, I earned enough to purchase some lovely Mini Zaza’s on International Fluevog Day.
Brand new right out of the box.  I was so excited, I photographed it. 
A stupid thing to spend my money on, but at the time, I looked at it as *free* money.  I hadn’t actually done anything to earn it.  Not anything recently anyway.

Now, on to my second year with TPT.  I’m what they call a premium seller.  I honestly still get super excited when I get the email that something has sold!  Plus, I have every intention of adding new resources, and earning more money for “doing nothing”.  This year however, that *free* money will go towards two little girls dance lessons.  Let’s just say it’s a lot more than a pair of Fluevogs.  Just think, every time you purchase something off of TeachersPayTeachers, you could be helping make two little girls’ dreams come true, or outfitting an art teacher with a ridiculously awesome pair of shoes.

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if someone gave this to me i would die

(Source: therealheirofslytherin)




"We could be Sleeping in the Flowers. We could sleep all afternoon."
Just a small picture I did for one of my favorite TMBG songs.

Ahhh! Corner sun!


"We could be Sleeping in the Flowers. We could sleep all afternoon."

Just a small picture I did for one of my favorite TMBG songs.

Ahhh! Corner sun!

Teaching Art at the Park District: How I got that gig and why I love it.

Do yo want to take an art class?

I wrote an email in the winter to the recreation supervisor and my local park district.  I asked if I could teach classes there.  I didn’t get a response. So, I went one town over.  I wrote asking if I could teach art classes this upcoming summer, and got a reply right away.  That was my “in” with parks & rec.  I was feeling like a real Leslie Knope.

I had no idea how people were chosen to be part of a park district brochure.  I didn’t know the criteria, or how you’d get paid.  I did know that I wanted to teach private lessons, I wanted to get my name out there,  I was on a mission, and it seemed plausible.

First, I was organized.  I came up with a list of about 10 different classes I could teach.  I formatted the list to look like how the classes would be listed in the brochure.  Catchy titles, descriptions, age ranges, and class time were included.  I tried to think of projects that were successful in my public school teaching, and I tried to think of tools and media that would not be too expensive.

If you want to teach at a park district, you are hired as an independent contractor.  You are your own entity hired by them to teach classes with your own expertise and supplies.  They provide the promotion, registration, and space.  You are responsible for everything else.

I had nailed down a summer schedule with the supervisor - but before it became official I needed to supply her with a current resume and references.  This was easy for me since I am currently employed in a school district and have two principals who were eager to let anyone and everyone know how fabulous I am. (I’m sure that is how it went down.)

Second, insurance.  I needed to provide proof that I had professional liability insurance up to $100,000,000.  I think this could be done fairly easy, and I’ve learned that many people can get this for about $200/year.  However, I ended up with the fanciest, most premiumist, most bestest insurance in the world - and I’m paying a lot more.

Third, how will you get paid.  I looked at all the surrounding communities and saw what other franchise programs were charging for their classes.  I had an idea in my head how much I’d like to get per hour/student.  I just didn’t know how these would come together.  I would have to purchase supplies and I figured classes wouldn’t be that big.  I learned that the park districts take out a flat rate per student/class.  I’ve also learned that this is negotiable and could vary.  In the end, I figured the amount families were being charged and the amount to the park district was worth it for the publicity, and experience.

Fourth, planning the classes.  I’ve had some experience with teaching art in weird places before.  I used to teach through the youth department at our local community college.  I didn’t have to provide my own supplies, but my classes would be set up in a teacher’s lounge or lecture hall. I have experience schlepping supplies too.  I co-lead my daughter’s Daisy Troop and invested in a wheely suitcase from Goodwill to bring crayons, markers, sharpies, glue, scissors, etc. to 15 antsy girls 2X a month. And who could forget about my Art-on-a-Cart experience that lead me to this experience?  I’ve become a pro at teach anywhere art classes.

Fifth, teaching the classes.  This was the best part.  My classes this month are small, but the children are wonderful.  Every single one wants to be there and has a real passion and talent for the subject.  It makes steps 1-4 worth it.  I felt like I was really teaching and that my students were really learning.  I had not realized how tense and on edge teaching in the public school had felt lately.  Discipline, Common Core, differentiation, modifications, technology, STEAM, PBIS, and interruption after interruption, after interruption,  - it’s stressful!  Teaching with the kids in the park district was what I needed to remember what it feels like to be teaching. To ACTUALLY be teaching.

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July & August Events at No Corner Suns Art Studio



Paint, Drink, & Be Merry! Our philosophy, “Drink a little wine and learn while making art.”

June 4th was No Corner Sun’s Art Studio’s first Paint, Drink, & Be Merry Event!
Wine & Paint events have become very popular… but I wasn’t happy with what I was seeing produced in these 2 hour mini-franchised-classes.  Overwhelmingly every adult student copied line for line, color for color, what the teacher demonstrated, or a masterwork the studio chose.  I searched several local studios and Google, and I kept coming up with the same results.

No Corner Sun’s sought to change that.  I went about designing the lesson just as I would for my elementary students.  It was a challenge.  I knew I would have students who had not had any sort of art class since they were in elementary school, I would have art enthusiasts, and I might even have some serious artists.

Here is our Flickr slideshow from the event.

My co-teacher and I spent an afternoon practicing the lesson, rehearsing the information, and noting difficult or confusing things that may cause speed bumps.  I was nervous about the information being vague or watered-down for more experienced artists, but I was also worried that it would be too much information for a newbie.  We put together packets, prepped visuals, and were able to successfully teach a lesson for everyone.  Adults need differentiation too!

The lesson was well received.  Several students commented that they enjoyed choosing their own subject within the theme. Many students remarked how much they had learned and asked about our next event.  That was all the motivation I needed to set up another one… or two!

In August, No Corner Suns will be hosting two Paint, Drink, & Be Merry events.  Both will be hosted by The Sweet & Savory Spot in downtown Westmont, Illinois.  Classes are limited to 20 people and guests must register online in advanced.

August 13th, 6:30pm - 8:30pm Thiebaud, tints & shades

August 27th, 6:30pm-8:30pm Kandinsky, complementary colors

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Easy & inexpensive projects that bring art to the streets: Make Music Day guitars, drums, & maracas.

June 21st was Make Music Day.  My husband’s music store hosted an outdoor event consisting of a group ukulele class, ukulele circle, and guitar play along all for free.  No Corner Sun’s Art Studio was on hand for the kiddos to help make music too!

I have been bringing art class to the community in an effort to promote my private classes.  This event was a lot of fun and very successful!  Here are some pictures from the event:

We made drums!

coffee cans, protein shake canisters, and baby formula cans
thin vinyl cut into circles (about 2” more than the opening of the canister)
rubber bands
Sharpie Markers
scrap paper
14” dowel rods
7” square pieces of fabric
duck tape

Believe it or not, the only thing I had to purchase were the dowel rods for the drum sticks.  Everything else I had… ugh.
I made sure all my canisters were clean.  If they had a label I could peel off, I did.  If the label did not come off, I covered the canister with a decorative paper. I prepared enough supplies to make 20 drums!  And we made them all.
I screwed a hole into the end of the corks, and stuck the dowel rod into the end.  The children covered the corks with fabric, and used rubber bands to fasten them.  Feathers were added for fun!

We made box ukuleles!

cereal, cracker, cookie, boxes
wrapping paper cardboard tubes
decorative paper
x-acto knife
rubber bands

This one, I did most of the preparation ahead of time.  I covered the boxes in decorative paper. I cut all the holes in the center of the boxes, and slits at the top to hold the “neck”.  The kids only had to decorate and add the rubber bands for it to make a sound.

And we made more maracas. Great day!

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Easy & inexpensive projects that bring art to the streets: Cardboard tube maracas

To promote my private art classes, I set out to bring art to the streets during my town’s weekly summer street fair.  In Westmont, IL.  every Thursday night from June thru August, our main drag shuts down and it becomes the Street Fair!  It’s  combination car night, market, & activities.  It’s a lot of fun, and you are sure to see the entire neighborhood, as well as over 100 classic cars.

I already worked closely with the Westmont Special Events Corporation, and I knew there was a need for more kids’ activities.  Our wonderful library hosts a craft, but it is usually kits from Oriental Trading and doesn’t require many higher order thinking skills, or creativity for that matter.  I set out to do something different.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing the projects we made on the street and how I prepared for them.

For all of my projects, the first thing I did was to start saving everything.  I made this poster:

and shared it with many friends and family.  My basement is overflowing with usable recyclables.  It was already overflowing with art supplies.  Seriously, I walked down there one time and thought “I have so many art supplies, I could open my own school….” and so, that’s what I am going to do.

Toilet Paper Tube Maracas:  Our first street fair experience.

I admit - it was a little rough.  I wanted to do something musical to cross promote my husband’s music store.  He would be having an event on that Saturday for Make Music Day - and I thought the combo would be perfect.  But, it was rainy, there was a lot of stuff to schlep, and this project was a little difficult.

I was inspired by this photo, and did a few test runs of the project myself.  I wanted the kids to cover the end of the tube, fill it with rice, cover the other end, wrap it, and decorate it with papers & Sharpie markers.  What I learned was ain’t nobody got time for that.  The kids were fine.  They wanted to trace and cut circles and listen to directions, but my co-teacher and I had a table full of kids and were getting stressed out trying to help each one at different steps, with different supplies, and different abilities.  Yes, all the kids come at once.  When we had a lull, we started to just make the basic maraca so that the kids only had to decorate it.  This worked well.  We would spend 20 minutes making 10 maracas, and they would be gone in five.  It was truly rewarding to have a table full of kids cutting, glueing, taping, and drawing in the middle of the street in summer.

Toilet paper cardboard tubes
masking tape (regular & colored)
rice (I got a 25lb. bag at Costco for about $10)
construction paper (it was pre-cut to fit around the tube)
circles to trace for the ends of the tube
decorations, Sharpies, small construction paper, duck tape

I also had business cards, Summer & Fall class schedules, an email sign up, & a raffle at our booth too. 

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Genetic portraits by Ulric Collette, photographer and graphic designer based in Québec City, Canada. A photographic research exploring the similarities between different members of the same family

Posted to Cross Connect by Margaret



No Corner Suns Art Studio is offering quality art education classes at the Westmont & Clarendon Hills Park District.

In a little less then two weeks, my classes at the Westmont and Clarendon Hills Park district get underway.  There is still time to register and pass the information on to your students!  (If they happen to be in Western Chicagoland!)

Summer 2014

Register for these classes through the Clarendon Hills or Westmont Park District.
Visit WPD4fun.org and Clarendonhillsparkdistrict.org for more information.
 Time Traveling Artists
Travel around the globe and experience
the universal language of art.
Age:                 6-8 years old
Location: Westmont Park District
Day:                 Tuesdays
Fee:                 $60 (n/r $75)
Code                 Date                       Time
2501-2               July 8-July 29        3:30-4:30pm

Art Sampler
Art Sampler will develop your artistic eye for
color, shape, texture and form.
Age:                 9-11 years old
Location: Westmont Park District
Day:                 Tuesdays
Fee:                 $90 (n/r $113)
Code                                                                                                                                               Date                       Time
2502-2               July 8-July 29        4:30-6:00pm

Street Art
Street Art concentrates on the history of street art culture and
teaches the basics without spray paint.
Age:                 12-13 years old
Location: Clarendon Hills Park District
Day:                 Wednesdays
Fee:                 $90 (n/r $113)
Code                                    Date                       Time
2503-2               July 9-July 30        3:30-5:00pm

Water Color
Explore color theory and new techniques with the diverse media of
Age:                 8-13 years old
Location: Clarendon Hills Park District
Day:                 Wednesdays
Fee:                 $90 (n/r $113)
Code               Date                       Time
2504-2              July 9-July 30        5:00-6:30pm

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