Construction Paper part 2, Fifth Grade Memory Books

Working as an Instructional Aide last year, we had a weekly “Star of the Week” activity wherein one student would bring objects and pictures that told a lot about them, and share, and in turn the class would write a letter and draw a picture on a half sheet of paper. The teacher I was working with, Danielle, asked me to put together a cover so that we could bind the pictures and I started making them in the evenings while watching a movie or TV with my wife. After about 3 of these book covers Danielle realized there was more to it than anticipated in what she had asked me to, and we added a class photo, an “about me” info page and even some samples of writing and drawing from each student. The final product was a 5th grade memory book for each student, totally unexpected and unanticipated. The turned out great and said a lot about each kid.

 

My current project- The New Scooter

I got this after someone made me an offer on my motorcycle I couldn’t refuse that included this scooter in the trade. It was plain white and totally stock when I got it to weeks ago and immediately started making modifications. I wanted a custom cargo box that wasn’t the Vespa brand plastic bubble, and was given an immaculate condition vintage suitcase that I decided to mount to a chrome rack.

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The case was nice an sturdy, complete with leather corners and vintage travel stickers, and Mod Podged them and hit it with about 10 coats of lacquer.

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Next, I wanted to add some color, and thought the colors of the Sicilian flag would be appropriate given my ancestry and the scooter’s heritage. I did a mock up and bought some striping decals spent the morning yesterday making it happen. I think the final result (for now) is pretty righteous; I’ve got a lot left I want to do, but I’m digging it so far.

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“Hasta La Pasta”

Up until about 6 months ago, I didn’t know a thing about bicycles. My dad being a mechanic and a very project oriented person himself, I’ve always been familiar with at least the maintenance on my cars and motorcycles, changing oil, brake pads, etc. I became intrigued recently with the recent rise in popularity with fixies and single speeds, and realized this was just another thing that I could learn about, tinker with and customize to my own specifications. I started with this bicycle as a donation from a friend, a French racing bike with a great degree of surface rust and old, crusty grease.

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I took it apart, piece by piece until nothing was connected to anything else, learning how everything was supposed to go together in reverse, hoping it would all make sense when the process was to go the other way. Since it had a French threaded bottom bracket and headset, I had to refurbish it with new bearings and grease and then systematically began converting into a single speed with virtually all new parts. It could have been easier (or even cheaper) to simply purchase a bike, but oh man, not as satisfying. I sandblasted the paint and rust down to the metal and gave it a rattle can paint job, some component swaps via eBay and shady, back alley deal on a brand new wheel set got me where it is today.

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It had to be Italian themed in keeping with virtually every project I did with my dad growing up. The meatball on the head tube gets a chuckle when it’s noticed.

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Not actually a bad looking bike. It’s crazy fast, too.

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I’m actually impressed with how it rides and feels and hasn’t whimsically fallen apart on me yet. Above all, it was very gratifying to start with virtually no knowledge and very little to work with and make something all my own. Booya.

 

In our house Valentines, Christmas and Anniversaries are always celebrated to an extent, but we certainly never go crazy with gifts, if any. We figure we don’t need a holiday imposed upon us to show our love and adoration for one another, and are very lovey-lovey EVERY day.
Birthdays, however, are a very different matter for me. I always insist, much to my wife’s chagrin, on doing something big. For the previous year I threw a very unexpected surprise birthday party for her with all her friends after the end of a long and difficult week. On top of that, I had all her friends pitch in on a shopping spree at Target (her favorite store, by far) and got her the weekend off from work so we could spend it with her sister a few hours away. Home. Run.
This year, though, with both of us student teaching at the same time, funds were limited and I needed to do something special as it was her 30th. Planning more than a month in advance, I emailed all her friends and family that lived afar and motored around town to those that weren’t, and collected videos wishing her a happy birthday. It was ready to play on her computer with a little “Play Me!” sign on the morning of her birthday. Waterworks ensued, the video was a success. Here it is in all it’s glory, one of my favorite brainstorms and projects ever. It’s got a 2 minute photo intro and is a little bit long, so feel free to invest some time. There were a lot of loved ones and well wishers to include.

Construction Paper, Part 1

Construction paper is my medium of choice.

I’ve always been a fairly artistic person and having worked in a few classrooms on my way to becoming a teacher myself, I have developed an appreciate for cutting and pasting colored or textured paper to express myself creatively, and the kids dig it as well. As you saw from my work-in-progress post yesterday with the wall clock, I have fun with. Below are some signs and designs I’ve done in the last year.

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Currently working on… Wall Clock Part 1

I had some cigar boxes lying around from something else I’ve put together (you can get empty ones from tobacco/cigars shops for about $3-5), and made this for my wife for valentines day as a gift: ImageImageImage

 

And recently saw and was inspired by this Pinterest.com post:Image

 

So I made this out of a lid:

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I’ve decided to make an entire clock like that one with my own art in cigar lids. We’ll see how it goes.

 

RIP- My Triumph

Its not dead. Its just gone on to a better place. This was my 2004 Triumph Bonneville, the object of my desires, the 2nd love of my life. I got it from a guy who never rode it and made it my own. Through it’s tenure it saw new pipes, new handlebars, new fenders, new suspension, seat, signals, custom painted side covers (by me), knee pads, and had the airbox removed. I even made a leather tank bag for it.

The nice part about this process was as I replaced a part from the bike, I’d turn around and sell the stock piece on eBay for half of what I paid for the new part. Eventually, I realized I needed something new and just as my wife turned me on to scooters, someone made me an offer I couldn’t refuse that included a new scooter, the same model as my wife’s. That’s the new object of my affection and you’ll see what I am doing to it as it occurs.

Enjoy the pics…

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First REAL post- art around our home…

Here’s some things we have up on the wall around our house. The paintings are mostly stenciled or taped off canvases that I’ve sprayed for fun and to occupy our apartment wall space. The blue frames (below) were a Pinterest.com inspiration were we took old, thrift store frames, removed the glass and backing and rattle canned. I hammered up small binder clips so that the art and photos in the frames can be interchangeable or seasonal.

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This is a new blog…

…It is as much for me as it is for you. I realize that I am a very “Project Oriented” person, always focusing on the next thing to create, design, build or simply customize. As soon as I finish one thing, there are twenty more in it’s place- things to build, art to make, compositions, little tweaks, big investments of time, etc. Couple this dynamic of my nature with the fact that I work with children for a living, and there is an unending slew of things to be done in my house.

My wife is obviously a very understanding and patient person.

With the internet being the unfathomable resource that it is, I figured one more site devoted to being creative and making the most of what is afforded to you couldn’t hurt. Take five minutes with the blog and you’ll see a lot about me. I’ll start with things I’ve done, and update the things I’m doing. So hear it is.

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