Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Call me crazy, but I've spent my entire summer in a relaxed state of anxiety. Oxymoron that this state is, it's a result of knowing that I have an entire classroom, one that is in dire need of cutification, to set up and a new curriculum to plan for. The curriculum part is not really stressing me out, but the classroom cutification is.

It's stressing me out because I can't do anything about it until a) I can get into my classroom, and b) my classroom has been cleaned by the district Maintenance Engineers. I'm hoping that this will all change on Monday when the school secretaries report back to work. Crossing fingers.

Everyone knows that the school Secretary is the one with all the power, and above all, the person who must be slathered with respect, love, affection, and appreciation. Next to the Secretary is the Maintenance Engineer aka Custodian. These are the people who make things happen.

Since I've been locked out of my classroom all summer, I virtually decorate it in my mind all day long and even when I'm sleeping. It's a special kind of purgatory which is constant and pulsating. Teacher friends, am I right here, or am I crazy?

Okay, I am crazy, I'll give you that, but right too. Right? Validate me, please.

In my relaxed state of anxiety I shop. And craft.

And create large messes.

While trolling for classroom treasures, I scored this excellent bookcase. It was buried in my Mama Llama's garage and being used to house a small family of creepy spiders.

I quickly evicted the multi legged arachnids, and loaded this baby into my van. Let me tell you, it barely fit. I had to pack everything else I acquired on our trip to California (yes, our second trip this summer) into all the nooks and crannies and atop the bookcase. Plus our luggage.

With the help of all of this, the bookcase went from the picture above . . .

to this . . .

and finally to this. I love, love, love it.  The best part for me is that binders fit perfectly on the bottom three shelves, leaving the top shelf for doodads.  I have some serious binder love going on in my classroom, so this is going to come in very handy.

The background pattern I used is simply scrapbook paper that I adhered with Mod Podge and then coated with four or five more coats over the top. I tried very hard to find a pattern that I liked and that repeated, so that the paper would match up. Each section took three 12x12 sheets of scrapbook paper, and the pattern doesn't line up perfectly, but I don't think it's too obvious.

Either that or I'm just blind.

This is one of the spoils of my shopping. It's a 31 bag and I got the idea from Tiffany over at the Nest Effect. Girlfriend has some awesome ideas, let me tell you. 

I didn't get my bag until the last week of school, so it's not completely set up the way I'm going to use it, but it does have pretty colored hanging files in it. My favorite part.

Rainbow vomit and I are super tight.

On my last trip to California I got to go to IKEA twice. In the same week. How cool is that? I bought these awesome wood magazine files, two per pack. I'm afraid that my two cans of spray paint might not completely cover them.

The plan is to paint them black, then Mod Podge some colorful scrapbook paper onto the spines and some labels. I'll keep you posted on that.

I've been going through the Mod Podge like crazy lately, and the memory of my faux pas haunts me. After two years, I still cannot reconcile it in my head.

Anyway, the plan is cutify, I said C-U-T-I-F-Y, Auto-Correct. Leave it.

As I was saying, I will cuteify them, and use them to hold math journals. I can't wait until this project is done because I'm going to loathe every minute of it, I'm sure.


  1. LOVE the bookcase! I had big plans to repaint a few from my classroom over the summer, but, well...I never got around to it. And then I snagged a few chairs that the office was going to get rid of, so now I have to paint and reupholster those puppies. Someday I'll learn that my classroom is only so big, and that not everything I see needs to be added to it. Sigh.

    Will Grade For Coffee

  2. Your bookcase is adorable!! I just finished organizing all of my books, so it looks like my shelves will be staying the same this year!:)

  3. Great bookcase, Jill! I love the color and the paper you used on the back. I didn't know Ikea had wood magazine holders!! Love 'em! Now I have another excuse to make a trip to Ikea.

  4. I am totally at the same spot as you with shopping and creating. Great job on the bookcase!
    I love the tote! Did it come with the file holder or did you add it and if so, where did you find it? I NEED one of these cute totes :-)

  5. ROTFL at the "MOD" podge scandal! Your bookcase is so adorable. I can't wait to see your room once it's all set up.

  6. What is in your 31 tote to hold the files? I have that exact same tote and would love to organize the same way. Good luck with your cutification!

  7. Your bookcase looks great. As a retired teacher, I still remember the anxiety about getting my room set up. It really is a big deal. Good luck. I'd say you've made a good start with that bookshelf.

  8. I LOVE the bookshelf!! I can't wait to see how your IKEA magazine holders turn out.

  9. Thanks for the shout out!

    I am in L.O.V.E. with your bookcase.

    I, too, have been dreaming about decorating my classroom. I thought I was crazy - nice to know others do it to. It's going to KILL me to be away for a week and a half with its current condition. Perhaps it will give me time to really think things over before I just do everything, not like it, and feel the need to change again. Hmm...

    Thanks for the inspiration. Can't wait to see your finished classroom!


  10. You are so right, and not the least bit crazy. You couldn't have described it any better. I, too, am planning, crafting, and prepping for my brand new classroom and new curriculum. My dining room table looks exactly like yours. Now that I think about it, I might be a little crazy. But at least I'm in good company. :) good to know I'm not the only one in a mysterious mix of heaven and hell.

  11. The medium Open Top File Box from The Container Store is holding the hanging files in my 31 Tote.

  12. School starts in two weeks, and Hubs has just informed me that I don't have time to cutify my bookcases. I'm thinking there must be a way....

  13. LOVE the bookcase! LOVE your blog! Please come visit/follow mine! I'm just gettin started.

  14. Why not try wrapping paper?!
    That way you can cut pieces as long as you would like and it stays all one piece. No trying to match up the edges!

  15. LOVE your bookcase it is incredible and I too have had that anxiety about needing to get my room set up and ready to go before I can even begin to look at curriculum or plan anything! Have a great year!