Super happy nerdy Star Wars May the 4th Be With You Starfest Weekend!

I had an absolutely stunning time at Starfest last weekend.  I’m still reeling over how wonderful it all was.  I had the privilege of listening to some amazing authors speak about their experiences not only as writers but as fans.  I had a lovely time in the costume contest, wearing my delightful Watchful Dress – I wonder if anyone recognized it?

I come back inspired as a costumer, writer, and even as a teacher.  I want to bring these experiences with me into a classroom, because I feel so inspired by them.

I’ve got a lot of things going, and every one of them is exciting.

Old and out of touch…

I’ve been feeling a little bit lately like I’m out of the cosplay loop.  Part of it is just that I WAS out of the loop… getting laid off and finishing grad school and being a first year elementary school teacher and a major 3 month illness will sort of do that to you.  Oh, and getting married and buying a house with said A youthful Beverly in 2002.new spouse, those things will all do it, too.  All of that stuff happened to me in the last three or four years, taking away my attention from a community that’s been changing in major ways, right under my nose.

I never really stopped cosplaying, but it did take a major back seat in my life for a while, and that’s left me reeling a little as I’ve come back to the scene full force.  It’s been good in a lot of ways: I’ve grown in both skill and attitude.  I’ve done more ‘traditional’ costuming, working from a number of different material sources (books, for instance).  I’ve gone to more kinds of cons than just anime cons – I have to say that was a great experience, and I’m really fond of Costume-Con and the scifi-fantasy con scene.

It took me until last year to get up a cosplay Facebook page.  It seems like that really became the thing to do while I was on my not-really-a-hiatus, and I totally missed the boat.  I was surprised to see it a point of contention that how many ‘likes’ you had was so important, as if it was a way to measure your worth as a cosplayer.  Then again, it sort of didn’t surprise me at all.  It was that way for years with photo comments at cosplay.com or comments and friends on Livejournal.  A new method to old madness?  Could be.

The word ‘professional’ is bandied about quite frequently.  There’s no hard and fast definition (because how can you have a hard and fast definition of any job in the arts?) but I love that people are making what they love into a career.  That’s a dream so many have, and I’m impressed that people are pursuing it with such passion.

A more mature Beverly in 2013.My attitude is really different now.  I think that had less to do with cosplay itself than with me learning more about who I am and what’s important to me…  and while cosplay is definitely important, I think I have a better idea of, well, HOW.  I learned a lot about my former bad attitudes – limiting others (at least in my head) by gatekeeping, keeping a list of what the criteria for “good” cosplay was, that sort of thing.  I had my eyes opened to how damaging those ideas are really only within the past year, and I’m proud to have broken those incredibly destructive attitudes.  Unfortunately, I still see it happening in the community, and I feel like teaching more positive attitudes is now a priority for me.  I guess it’s a throwback to my chosen career, education, and how much I want our community to be strong and welcoming.

Cosplay IS mainstream now, there’s no denying it.  When Conan O’Brian uses the word regularly on his show, it’s mainstream.  The definition of the word itself has changed in the last few years – cosplay is a synonym for costuming.  There’s no difference now.  Cosplay is nothing more than wearing a costume, whether you made it or bought it, whether it finds it’s source in Asian pop culture or American comics or English literature, whether it’s a customization or genderbend, whether the design is yours or someone else’s.  It’s all cosplay.  And it’s so beautiful.

I take it back.  I don’t feel out of touch –  I feel inspired.  I don’t feel old –  I feel rejuvenated.  I’m so proud to be part of a growing, learning community.

I’m so happy to be back.

 

Made just for me.

I am a week and a day (officially… of course I was back and forth and into this and that all summer) into my new position as technology teacher for the elementary grades at my school, and I’m finding more and more that it is clearly my place in the universe.

I am incredibly lucky to take two of my deepest passions – technology and education – and blend them into a learning experience that is so essential, so needed in our schools today.  As I’ve told colleagues and even some of my older students, use of computer technology and the Internet has moved so fast in the last 15 or so years that it’s nearly impossible to understand the consequences of it.  It was my generation that developed the Internet as we know it, all the promise and pitfalls, the miracles and bullying, the beautiful and horrifying edges of all of it.  We ran headfirst into the technology without thinking what we were creating; the Internet was – is – my generation’s atomic bomb.

I have been charging my oldest students with using what we’ve created for good, demanding that they learn how to use it well, with grace, for proactive means.  Even the littlest I am pointing in the direction of positivity and understanding: first and foremost, listen.

It’s a transformation for me, too.  In my new position, much of the staff has come to rely on my technology literacy for their everyday uses; even the administration has given me responsibilities that I’m suited for and challenged by.  That’s given me the opportunity to take charge, use my areas of competence, to help others, smooth paths, and open doors.  I feel proud of what I do for students and colleagues alike.

My principal sent me an email last week after seeking my advice on a particularly pesky problem, saying that my new position seemed made just for me.  I can’t help but agree.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

But what if it is?  Can you fix it?  Is it worth the DiY?

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This rocker was left outside another teacher’s room with a sign saying it was broken.  It looked in good condition, but after sitting in it (not necessarily recommended…  Please don’t risk injury, haha!), I noted that the only flaw was a loose right armrest due to a missing screw.  An extra screw and 30 seconds later, the chair was good as new and sitting in a place of honor in my classroom!  I’d been hoping to have a rocking chair for reading, and now I got it!

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Then there was this little table, sturdy and in good condition, but the top was a mess.  Even after cleaning, it was patchy and stained.  My solution?  Paint that tabletop!  Now it’s a great extra addition for the classroom, useful for students to use as a group learning area (also it fits neatly under one of the other tables, storage win!).

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What DiY projects have really paid off for you?

Two weeks later…

I’ve been steadily working on my classroom, and I’ve just about got it where I want to start out.  Furniture is in place, number and alphabet lines are up, library is.. well, halfway sorted.  Now all I need is kids!

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2011-08-04 15.51.40  2011-08-04 15.51.47  2011-08-04 15.51.53

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A lot of the walls are still bare as we’ll be creating charts with students.  I love the bunting, and I’m planning on having the kids create more for the rest of the room.  I’m so excited!  Just two weeks until school starts!  Wow!

Alpha-bunting!

I’ve been at it all week decorating my classroom and have come across a need for an alphabet line.  My students will mostly know their letters, but an alphabet line is useful for creating alphabetized lists.  I decided to keep on with the bunting idea!  I went ahead and created both upper and lower case letters in a PDF file that I will printout on colored paper and trim to the right size.  It’s easy to do on your own, just make sure your top margin is as small as possible!

source: ruffled

Need an easier idea?  Try the bunting printable with these cute patterns over at Ruffled!  It’s so cute!

What make and takes have you found additional uses for?

Here it is!

OMG you guys, I can’t even contain myself.  THIS IS MY CLASSROOM.

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It’s a great 30’x26’ space, and I’m expecting about 27 kids for my very first class!  I’m mapping out my arrangement of the room, but I’ve got a great blank slate to work with!  What should I do?  Throw your ideas out, I’d love to hear them!

Back to School?

Holy cow, is it really that time?  Sure is!  Most schools will be starting in just a few weeks, about halfway through August, and we sure are close to that!  In celebration, here are some fun projects to prepare for the big return.

source: Dollar Store Crafts

Rhonda of Dollar Store Crafts developed this adorable pencil cuff!  Great for teachers and kids alike, it’s a way to show off one of our favorite classic writing utensils.  Think of all the things you can do with pencils, wow!

source: Factory Direct Craft

This adorable burlap pencil case is printed with a little foam and some paint to create a block print.  Super cute and of course functional!  Thanks, Factory Direct Craft!

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Finally, our own speech bubble chalk boards take nothing more than foamcore, a knife, and some chalkboard paint.  Make any shape you want!  Fun first day photos, anyone?

What are some of your great projects for back to school?

Friday Fi.. more like three!

Even though this is not Twitter (although you can check mine out @charmedseed, of course!), I wanted to share a few of the blogs I’ve been following lately!

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Metal and Mud: Holy brilliant ideas, Batman!  I ran into this blog while participating in Thing-A-Day this year, and this artist is constantly working and creating.  Not only that, but she has a collection of amazing jewelry and art at Etsy, too!  The perpetual calendar project in the photo is simply AMAZING!

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Craftastrophe: Is exactly what it sounds like.  Occasionally NSFW, silly and even occasionally appalled at some of the nuttier craft ideas out there, this blog is sure to bring a laugh or two to your day!  I pity the fool who doesn’t read this blog!

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crafting an education: Here’s where I’m a total tool and toot my own horn.  This is my more education-leaning blog, but with a crafting aftertaste.  I discuss some of my teaching and learning here, but I also identify fun teaching-related crafts, organization, and décor!  I love making this connection between my two passions.

Go for it, share your favorite (or your own!) blogs!

This is all I have today.

Source: weddingbee

Today, in addition to the biggest wedding of the century, was my final day of student teaching.  I’m taking a week off to sleep (kind of, because I will still be job-hunting), subbing for a few weeks, and then starting 6 credits of graduate research courses.  Then I’ll be planning a wedding.  And starting a new career.

So, ladies and gentlemen, good night, and good luck.

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