Beginning of the year teacher gift

A fun blogger turned me on to the idea of a beginning of the year gift for teachers.  http://brenbearcreations.com/2013/08/23/back-pack-to-school/  It’s such a great idea and my boy’s starting a new school this year so I thought it would be a great new tradition.  His teacher even sent us letters, one addressed to us and one addressed to him, to introduce herself and let us know about the supplies he would need.  She also included a “wish list” for her classroom, so we’re putting together a little care package for him to bring on the first day.  I’m starting it out with a little Thank You card I made.  I’m thanking her for the letter and for her service as a teacher, in general.

ImageI just picked up these cute letter stickers at Michaels.  (They were on sale because two of them were missing.)  They remind me of a circus, so I’m entering the card in the Simon Says Stamp Blog’s Carnival Challenge this week:  http://www.simonsaysstampblog.com/mondaychallenge/challenge-carnival/

I’m also putting some of the supplies she requested into a little basket we’ve had kicking around for ages (from the raffle at our Jill and Jill, I think).  We totally scored with the post-its at RRIE yesterday (check-out my post about that awesome place here: https://craftymadre.com/2013/08/25/heaven-im-in-heaven/)  I hope she likes it (and I hope our boy likes her)!

Image

Heaven… I’m in Heaven

Mary, of Be Creative Mary fame, posted about this amazing place a couple weeks ago and I’ve been planning a trip every since:  http://becreativemary.wordpress.com/2013/08/14/day-226-goodwill-hunting-reusing-and-recyling/

The Resources for Rhode Island Educators, http://www.rrie.org/, is an amazing non-profit that takes materials from manufacturers to sell to the public for pennies a pound.  It can be anything from finished products (there were a lot of Martha Stewart Office things) to random do-dads used to make things.  For a $10 donation, we got a one day membership (a full year is $60, but it’s about 1 1/2 hours away so I’m not sure how often we’ll be going), and then most of the stuff they have is 40 cents a pound (some things are priced individually, but not much).  It was a veritable cornucopia of stuff for upcycling projects.

Image

There are some samples of things, here and there, that people have made, but there wasn’t much fancy about this place.  It just leaves everything up to your imagination.  The staff was nice and it’s amazing that so many business are willing to participate.  It was really stocked to the gills.

Image

So, for the unbelievable sum of $12.50 (plus the $10 I gave them for the try-out membership and a little extra I gave for a donation), here was my amazing haul:

ImageImage

I don’t really have specific ideas for a lot of it, but here’s what I was initially thinking when I saw some of this.  The tiles and glass are sure to become some kind of mosaic.  I’m going to give a lot of the sticky notes to my boy’s teacher (they were on her classroom “wish-list”).  I’ve been wanting some of those tags for ages and there was a whole bin of Martha Stewart Office stuff- I wonder if her company donated them or if they came from a retailer who hadn’t been able to sell them.  I’m thinking of making something for a friend of mine who loves horses out of some of the ribbon- it was from a huge barrel that seemed to have come from a company that makes prize ribbons.  I got a ton, so I’m sure I’ll donate a lot of it to my favorite local upcycling store, Knack (http://www.knack.org/) (if you didn’t see my post about it, please check it out- it’s my absolute favorite place in the world: https://craftymadre.com/2013/07/19/knack-my-new-favorite-place/)  I’m also planning to donate the conical spools to Knack.  They have kids craft workshops every other weekend and I was thinking these would make a great Christmas tree project.  The random knick-knacks and bottle tops were mostly my boy’s idea.  He kept picking up things out of bins and saying “I could use that.”  (A boy after my own heart.)  I did pick out the gold bottle tops to make Christmas ornaments for family this year (based on a craft workshop at Knack that’s in the above post).  And the sheets of paper are absolutely awesome.  The silver is sticky on the back (if I’d realized it, I probably would have gotten more).  I’ll have wrapping paper for a year.

My boy had as much fun as me, finding random things and suggesting what he would do with them.  This is my favorite find of his, a piece of clear plexiglass with a blue rectangle across the middle, which I’m going to try to make into an outdoor gardening bench (he calls himself “Luigi-Sam” in this picture:

Image

There was so, so, so much more that I wanted and my amazing wife gave me $60 to spend.  But, I knew I’d have no where to put it when I got it home.  I’m sure that we’ll be back again soon, though.  The bonus- there’s a Dave and Buster’s nearby, so I can always promise my wife a trip there when we go (which is where we spent the rest of the afternoon as a final hurrah before the boy starts school).  I’m so glad I saw Mary’s post about this amazing place!

End of the school year!

20130623-105752.jpgI realized I wasn’t using my “with the boy” category too much. Don’t get me wrong- we do things together all the time. We just don’t MAKE a lot. He’s not a big “maker”. But when he is in the mood to make something, it’s always really interesting!

I brought a few random supplies to church last week for him to make end of the year thank you cards for his teachers. I just grabbed a handful of stuff out of his craft basket: pipe cleaners, stickers, markers, tape, wooden stars, and construction paper. He loves manipulating things with his hands, so he spent a lot of time making things out of the pipe cleaners. His other mom had the brilliant idea of making a sword, so they had a little sword fight during the sermon. I’m sure the people sitting in back of us appreciated that.

20130623-110028.jpgWhen I finally got him focused on the cards, he decided to tape some of his creations down, decorate a little, and call it a day. I got them both Starbucks gift cards (not very creative/original, but it was a last minute Hail Mary play). I also wrote them nice, personalized notes. When I was a teacher, the hand made cards and gifts were, hands down, the best. Gift cards were used and forgotten, but I actually have some of the things kids made and the school pictures they gave me from 10 years ago.

20130623-105858.jpgThey were really amazing with him this year. They helped him get the right accommodations and by the end of the year he was thriving! All “As” and “Bs”- and this from a kid who they were talking about holding back last year.

What do you do for teachers at the and of the year? Or, if you are a teacher, what have been some of your most memorable gifts?

20130623-110240.jpg