Monday, June 27, 2011

A Personal Teacher Gift

Every year at this time I try to think of what to give my children's teaches to say 'thank you" for all their hard work. Now in grade 1, my daughter now spends more time each day with her teacher than she does with me, a hard realisation for both of us. We are fortunate, both my kids have amazing teachers and I want them to know how much we apprceiate them.

I really wanted to involve my children in this gift to make it more personal. So, I decided to try my hand at creating a unique and useful gift for my kids' teachers based on a blog posting I had seen about a month ago.

Following the directions from Sun Scholars on Come Together Kids my kids and I made personalized book bags for their teachers. I bought 2 plain white tote bags and transformed them using permanent markers, my kids' artwork and some embroidery thread. It was easy to create the notebook look for the bag using a ruler and sharpies. My kids wrote their teacher's name and drew a picture of them with pencil and I then went over their drawings with embroidery thread.

Personal Teacher Gift - Hand-drawn/Embroidered Tote Bags

I think they turned out great! The embroidery took a while and I had to beg my daughter not to draw eyelashes, earrings, etc. because I'm a bit rusty in the embroidery department and let's face it, there are only so many hours in day. We baked some cookies and the kids drew personal cards to enclose in their bags. They are so excited to take them to school tomorrow. I hope their teachers can really feel the love that has gone into making this gift!


How I Made Them:

I bought 2 plain white tote bags and transformed them using permanent markers. The plain bags were bought in a 3 pack at Michaels but I've seen them at Walmart too!

* If you aren't an embroiderer, no problem! Go over the drawing in permanent marker or have the kids draw them in marker from the get-go (only problem with this method, no room for error).*

Tools Needed:

  • Plain Tote Bags
  • Blue Sharpie
  • Red Sharpie
  • Black Sharpie
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Embroidery Floss & Needle or multi-coloured Sharpies if you choose not to embroider.

  1. I took a ruler and drew blue lines horizontally every 1/2 inch or so, leaving a 2 inch space before my first line.
  2. Then I took a red marker and drew a vertical line about 2 inches from the left of the bag.
  3. I then took a black marker and drew the three circles that represent the holes in the paper.
  4. I had my kids draw a picture of their teacher and the teacher's name on the tote bag using a pencil.
  5. I went over my kids' artwork with embroidery thread.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

SchoolBox - Making Education Possible

I was just driving home this afternoon when I heard an ad from a national mattress company talking about Cycle for SchoolBox. A man named Ilan Levy is riding 8000 km across Canada to raise money and awareness for SchoolBox, an organization building schools and providing school supplies to children across Central America. Cycle 4 SchoolBOX aims to raise over $100,000 in order to purchase 8000+ educational packages and build 8 classrooms across Nicaragua. How is it that I had never heard about this charity before???

Photo from
In my previous life before marriage and kids, I lived and taught in Mexico for two years. I taught at a private school where it seemed that children had everything. Needless to say I was a bit surprised upon arrival as this did not match my perception of a third-world country. I soon learned that these children were in the minority and I witnessed first hand the extreme contrast between the have and have-nots. I couldn't get over the difference in resources available to children in the same country and was always amazed at the number of school aged children I would see playing outside during school hours. While living there, my fellow teachers and I did some charity work in smaller villages where money was literally non-existant but the reality is that we may have brought some happiness for a day or two but I doubt there were any long-term effects.

I think my experience in Mexico is why this charity is striking such a chord with me. It is so easy to make a difference. By giving a child access to Education the impact can be limitless. I believe this is a perfect match for my company, one that creates products that I hope inspire kids to dream, be creative, colour and write. I am going to set up a campaign for COLOURS TO GO to raise money for I'll keep you posted as I work out the details. In the meantime, take a look at their site and see what a difference even a small donation can make!

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