Artistic Things are Happening!

With the help of Labor Day I have a three-day weekend!! Woo hoo!  These are the times that you look back and say “Oh how I love my job… the job that allows me to have absurd amounts of holidays”.   So far the three-day weekend has been eventful.  We went to an apple festival, possibly will go to the Renaissance Festival tomorrow, and I have been creating some artful things!  I try to take as many opportunities as possible to craft and create.

Today I began making owl cake toppers for weddings.  I will be putting them on Etsy once they are complete.  (If you are interested let me know!)  I am very excited about them…. so cute!  I am not yet done, but I included a sneak peek in this post.

I also started working on my Sketchbook Project journal today as well.  I had drawn a picture of our dog, Moose, but then school started and I lost some time as I was preparing for the coming of the students.  I love the page that I started today.  Again, I am not done with it, but I think that it is hilarious so far!


Room is ready… but am I?

ImageWell… It is ready (the classroom that is).  Both of my schools are set for the new school year, but in my mind it is kind of a dream.  It feels a bit surreal actually.

I might sound a little bit crazy, but I am really excited about being organized this year.  I made a HUGE data notebook for myself for one of my schools (complete with art progress sheets, behavior management sheets, attendance, seating charts, etc). I also made each student their own notebook for warm ups with the art room rules inside and their reward sheets for daily classes.

Image In an attempt to keep the room clean and the materials organized, each table has their own bin for supplies and pencil box for their colored pencils and #2 pencils.  I also created an “Artist of the Month” wall as well!  My principal at one of my schools had given me this giant frame last year randomly and I had no idea what to do with it…. so it lived in my small storage closet all year.  This year that was not an option for me, so I decided to do something with it!  I am pretty happy with my decision.

ImageNot only did I add an “Artist of the Month” wall…. we also got a Promethean board!!  It was a huge surprise when the music teacher and I saw it this past Monday.  It will be a great tool to use for both art and music.

Although I am excited to be organized, I am nervous that my organization won’t last because of everything that I will be doing this year.  Dan and I are planning our wedding, I will be teaching between two schools every day again this year, and I just found out that I will be presenting at the MAEA conference this year in October! AH!  (Just a little stressed.)


So it Begins…

Our new Promethean Board!!

Well, it is that time of year again when all good little children must return to school and teachers must also go back.  Unfortunately this also means that summer break is over.  It is also unfortunate that I am so not ready for the year to begin again.

Last year was my first year teaching and I am not going to lie, it was difficult.  I am hoping that this year will not be quite as hard since I have one year under my belt and I know what is expected of me/ what to expect from my students.  Today was my first day back, but this week is Pre-Service week in Montgomery Co., so the students have not come back yet.  They will all start back next Monday.

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss

I am currently in the process of organizing myself and my classroom.  The key to success for me is definitely ORGANIZATION.  Last year I really tried, but everything just kind of got away from me.  This year I will be more focused and try my hardest to stay organized at both of my schools (if you don’t know, I teach ceramics at a high school and general art at a special needs school- every day).  Wish me luck!

Bins, Boxes, and Books…


Eggplant Parm… Yum!

Giant Purple Eggplant.

A follow-up to the farmer’s market post… what to do with the giant eggplant.

I had attempted eggplant parmesan before with a smaller eggplant from Wegman’s, but I don’t think that I made it correctly (Dan liked it of course, but I didn’t).  So, I wanted to give it another shot with the eggplant from the Oakland Mills Farmer’s Market.  The eggplant was seriously giant, and it made a ton of food in the end.  I ended up making dinner for my entire family and brought it to my parents house to feed them.

When I decided to make the eggplant parm, I found a recipe from and loosely used it.  Here is what I ended up doing:

Coated Eggplant Slices ready for baking.

Prepare Eggplant

– Peel and slice eggplant into 3/4 in pieces (width) and sprinkle each side with salt.

– Place paper towels onto a cookie sheet and lay a single layer of eggplant onto paper towels.

– Lay a single layer of paper towels on top of slices and press with something heavy (ie. iron skillet, heavy pan).

– Press for 20- 30 mins.

– Remove eggplant pieces and rinse with cold water, dry.

Bake the slices at 350 degrees.

Bake Eggplant

– Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

– Make a mixture of bread crumbs on a large plate (I used plain bread crumbs, garlic powder, salt, and italian spices).

– Coat each slice with egg (I use egg beaters), lay slices on bread crumbs and coat each side thoroughly, and place a single layer onto a greased cookie tray.

– I bake my slices for about 10 mins on each side, but they should looked a little browned when they are finished.

Eggplant Parmesan over noodles.


– After removing baked slices from the oven, leave the oven at 350 degrees.

– In a glass pan (size of pan and amount of ingredients depends on how much eggplant you have), pour tomato sauce/ pasta sauce to coat bottom.

– Place single layer of baked eggplant slices on top of sauce and coat with cheese (I used a mixture of grated parmesan and mozzarella with italian spices mixed in).

– Cover with more tomato/ pasta sauce and top off with cheese mixture.

– Bake at 350 degrees for 30 mins.

– When the Eggplant Parm is done, you should be able to stick a fork into the slices easily (they should be squishy).



Farmer’s Market Finds!

Market Sign.

Dan and I have been going to the Columbia Farmer’s Market at Oakland Mills on and off since last summer.  We went a week ago and made a few purchases.  We really like this particular market because it happens every Sunday from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm May 4- November 23.  Many of the other markets are during the week in the morning, so those of us who work are unable to make it to these. We love supporting the local farmers and businesses, so the market is the place to go!

Apples at the market

There are about seven vendors at the market, so it is not huge.  However, the vendors that do sell their goods at Oakland Mills are very nice, and their produce/ goods are delicious!

We bought only a few things on our last visit.  Dan and I decided on buying a cucumber, a very large eggplant, a cantaloupe, and a really yummy loaf of country white bread.  All of our purchases went quickly and so now we need to visit again this Sunday!!

Country White Bread


Cucumbers and squash

Pub Dog Review… Again.

So I know that I had already posted about Pub Dog in Columbia, but I just had to do it again.  I mean we LOVE that place so why not, right?

Dan and I visited Pub Dog this past Saturday before a round of Disc Golfing (the usual).  Business was pretty slow in there considering it was only noon and who drinks at noon? (Whoops.) So, anyway we were probably only the third couple to walk in the door.  We DID NOT sit at our usual table… as Dan decided that we needed to spice things up a little bit.. boo.  Our server was very nice.. I do not remember her name, but she was friendly and quite the jokester.  She did seem a little weirded out that I kept taking photos of our beer and the food, though, and asked us if we were texting each other from across the table.  Oh well.  Such is life.


When she asked what we wanted to drink of course I ordered my usual- Blueberry Dog.  The server then proceeded to ask if i had ever tried their Blueberry Dog and Raspberry Dog mixed together (not on the menu)- a Schnozberry (sp?).  “Well, no.  I haven’t.  I will try it!”  Let me tell you…. it was delicious.  This is now my new usual.  Dan decided on their seasonal beer- Belgian Shepherd.  He said that it was good, but prefers the Brown Dog.

Belgian Shepherd.

In lieu of “spicing up” our Pub Dog experience, Dan ordered their Caesar  Salad.  I, however, stuck with the Spinach Pizza.  YUM.  When the food came out Dan’s salad actually looked very good.  It is funny because they serve it in a metal dog bowl (theme?).  It came with their homemade garlic sticks on top instead of croutons which looked good.

Caesar Salad and Spinach Pizza.

While we were eating I noticed a sign on the wall that said “Thirsty Dog Sundays”.  Of course this peaked my interest and I read on… “Sundays from 12-8PM you can get a 22oz Thirsty Dog Cup filled with our beer for $6. Bring the cup back any Sunday and we’ll refill it for $3!”  Well of course I was excited and we planned to visit the following day.  Unfortunately this did not actually happen, but we will one day!  I also found out while we were there that Pub Dog has Trivia on Mondays, so we might have to move our little tradition to the beginning of the week… what a great way to start my work week 🙂

New Etsy Listings! Check ‘Em Out!

I recently posted some new listings on my Etsy shop and wanted to take a chance to promote them.  I know that I listed a sneak peek in a previous post, but I wanted to show them off a little bit more!!

Hand Drawn and Hand Stamped Stationary and Cards:

I have been drawing and creating cards for friends and family for a very long time now.  Dan asked me why I wasn’t selling them.  Well… I didn’t really know how to answer that, so here are some card creations!  I hand stamped some of them and drew the others.  I am currently working on a custom stationary card set for a friend (Hand drawn Lotus flowers).  These are great for gifts, you can use them for weddings, use them for thank you cards, birthdays, you name it!  I love custom orders, too!!


I wrote about my thumbprint tree book that I drew in a previous post on my blog.  I had really wanted to do this for our wedding for some time now, and after I made ours I realized that people were selling them on Etsy.  I decided that I would put mine up just to see if I could get any sales.  I love drawing trees!  I love weddings!…. What could be better?  I am hoping that someone would be interested in purchasing one of my hand drawn trees because I think that it would be wonderful to be a part of someone’s special day.

I also have been making little rose earrings for brides and their bridal party.  The pair of earrings that I have listed are white roses with blue ribbon.  I can also make roses with ribbon to match the wedding colors.  Smaller earrings can also be made for your flower girls.  These are great gifts for your bridesmaids and flower girls, or if you need a little gift for your bride… this is perfect!

I have listed these plumeria clips (and I have earrings listed) under wedding.  I thought that these would be wonderful to add to the theme of a tropical wedding, or they would be great for a tropical destination wedding.  I use Sculpey polymer clay and chalk dust.  I paint the uncooked Sculpey with the chalk dust to add the color.  I can make them to fit our wedding colors!  Wonderful for birdal wear and bridesmaids alike!

Dog Days:

Some of my more unique pieces that I am currently selling are my dog leash bracelets.  I have two styles listed on the shop page, but I am also accepting custom orders.  People can send me their dog’s leash (as long as it is 1 inch wide) and I can make a bracelet for them.  This is great if you have a dog like mine who chews through every leash that you buy for them, or if your beloved pet has passed on and you would like something to remember them by.  I am very excited about my recycled dog leash bracelets and I hope that other people will be, too!

Octopus Arms:

The last things that I wanted to show off is my Octopus arm necklace.  I wanted to promote these because they took me a very long time to make, and I think that they are really quirky and unique.  Again, these are made from Sculpey Polymer clay.  This clay has a little bit of a sparkle to it.  The suckers on the arm is really what took the longest to do.  Each sucker was created by rolling tiny spheres and using a paper clip to attach them to the arms.  It might sound easy, yes, but it is extremely tedious!  Again, great for a gift for a friend… or even for yourself!!

Check out all of my other listings on my Etsy Shop Page:  Oak Leaf Crafts!

Ramen Stir Fry. Spruce It up!


Pretty much everyone has either heard of or tried the packaged instant Ramen noodles sold in virtually every quick stop hop or grocery store in the U.S.  (If you haven’t, I am not really sure what to say to you.  Perhaps you should go try some.)  Ramen/ Oodles of Noodles is pretty much the camping/ college food.

As much as I like Ramen on its own, I do try to figure out ways to spruce it up from time to time.  A couple of nights ago, Dan and I realized that once again we had some vegetables that we needed to use up and I didn’t have a lot of time to make a fancy dinner.  So while browsing the pantry I came across chicken flavored Ramen.  First thought- gross with veggies.  Second thought- oh. Don’t use the flavor packet. Duh.

I cut up some yellow onion, half a clove of garlic, diced carrots, a portabella cap, and half of a yellow squash.  I found some Soy Sauce and sesame seeds.  In a my deep frying pan (I do not have a Wok), I sauteed the veggies, onion, and garlic (using some soy sauce and oil).  While doing that I cooked the Ramen according to the instructions on the packaging, but I did not use the flavor packet.  After the veggies were soft, I drained the Ramen and added it to my pan (med.-low heat).  As I cooked them, I added a little more oil and more soy sauce for flavoring (the oil helps the noodles not the stick to your pan).  I added the sesame seeds at the end.

Stir Fry!

This is very quick!  You can use up some of those veggies in your fridge/ counter without having to spend a lot of time cooking! Yum!

About Me.

Oh hi.

My name is Allison.

I am an art teacher based in Maryland.

I enjoy art, ceramics, sketchbooking, dancing when no one is around, singing in the car, decorating.. and redecorating, cooking, people-watching, and random music.

I am engaged to the love of my life... I can't wait to be married to him.

I like learning about new things.

I find people to be interesting.

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