Category Archives: classroom

Dish Babies



Gratitude is in abundance in November.  It is in the air we are breathing here in Syracuse, New York  The cold air that is making its journey across the ocean as I write this, which may actually bring with it a snow day or at least a two-hour delay on Monday (according to my meteorologist friend), is actually clearing our sinuses of the allergens from last season with every breath we take.

We are grateful for the freedom from headaches and nausea associated with said allergies, lol.  By we I mean specifically me, but I assure you, there are many who share the same sentiments.

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, we (again me, lol) are all more keen to bring conscious awareness to our love and appreciation for our lives – our families and the pets we love, our friendships both near and far, and all of the things we love (yes! like art!).


I hosted a dinner party last night along with my friend Bobbi Rock Petrocci – Friendsgiving 2017, our 3rd annual and the biggest to date with thirty people dining together in the private room at Grover’s Table in Fayetteville, New York.  It was a blessed evening.  I just feel so overwhelmed with gratitude and love for these amazing people.



Last week, I met Bobbi at the Half Moon Bakery & Bistro in Jamesville, New York to assist her in installing her latest exhibition of Christian Brothers Academy student artwork.  I did very little.  She is an epic installer, equipped with level, hammer, tiny nails and the perfect plan to display these very special diminutive plates.  I just provided the oh-that-looks-so-goods, and was the first to make a purchase.


They were made by CBA art club students in grades 7 – 12 for the purpose of fundraising for Hope for the Bereaved, a grief counseling group.  These dishes are infused with color and spiritual messages, and/or delicate imagery meant to allow the flow of positive energy to encompass the viewer and subsequent owner.  They are priced at $10 each.  You put your money in a jar on the counter and write your name on the accompanying master grid to secure the one you want.  A butterfly sticker is then placed under the purchased piece until November 30, 2017 when the show comes down and all the artwork are released to their respective new owners/homes.


These dishes epitomize kindness, the idea that we help each other heal; that children are just as capable as adults are to feel, express and share the positive vibe of love.  Each piece is unique.  I am sure that you will find one that speaks to you.

And while there, give thanks to amazing proprietor Debbe Titus who has been busily creating, crafting and baking pies to sell for Thanksgiving, as well as offering daily specials of breakfast and lunch – soups, salads and sandwiches that are very, very yummy – and of course, desserts like half moon cookies and pumpkin bread, cupcakes and all things deliciously amazing!  So grateful! ❤


Pigs for Sale



You may have noticed the development of pig sculptures – I’ve had them on the counter as background in my #ootd pictures.  The project had a couple of components.  Students created armature with paper towels, masking tape, aluminum foil and a recycled bottle of juice or iced coffee (I have tons!).  The sculptures were engulfed in Pariscraft then painted.  Once they were done, the artists took their pigs to a secret location somewhere in the school and using their I-Pads, photographed them in a composition.  It was a really fun project.




My Facebook friends inquired if the sculptures would be auctioned off.  I mentioned that to the students and a few got the professional artist bug, lol.  So, some of the pigs are for sale.  Proceeds will teach students a valuable lesson about their time and effort.  All pigs are priced at $50 each.


These eight pigs are available.  Artwork can be collected at Chittenango Middle School.  Email me at to make arrangements to purchase.  All proceeds will go to the budding artists.
















School Fair 2017





Last night Chittenango Central School held their annual School Fair at the high school.  Each year, my colleague Katy and I spend several hours installing the middle school art show on the walls of the hallway between the two gymnasiums.




Then at 8:00 pm we take the whole thing down and pop the art into our cars to return it all to the middle school on Monday.  We displayed around three hundred pieces of 5th – 8th grade artwork.




This was my twentieth year of said fair.  Here are the pictures I remembered to take!  It is pretty cool to see this visual representation of what we do all year.








Banana Republic cardigan, Free People top, BCBGMaxAzria leggings, BCBGeneration sandals
Banana Republic cardigan, BCBGMaxAzria top, Trina Turk pants, BCBGeneration sandals

If you search Instagram for the hashtag #fashionintherealworld, you will find all of my posts.  I invented it and #fashioninrealtime, and #fashioninreallife.  I just checked them; I think there are only two or three posts on them from random fashionistas.  The rest is all me.

Coach hat and jacket, Bailey 44 top, BCBGMaxAzria leggings, Karl Lagerfeld Paris boots
Free People cardigan and top, Calvin Klein jeans, Karl Lagerfeld Paris boots
Free People cardigan, BCBGMaxAzria top, Banana Republic skirt, Ralph Lauren boots

Here are my outfits of the day from the last two weeks.  The landscape of my background keeps changing as I shift student work around the room.  All of my clay projects are complete.  The last batch went into the kiln today.  The 5th graders are currently working on a three-dimensional wood sculpture, my Studio in Art students are learning watercolor techniques and the rest of the 8th graders are immersed in the various SLO test projects:  Statue of Liberty paintings, “under the sea” landscapes with fish (mixed-media lesson), Japanese fan project (also mixed-media) and abstract paintings with realistic horses thrown in.  So four additional different lessons for the six classes.

Banana Republic suit and leather shell, BCBGeneration sandals
Free People cardigan, BCBGeneration dress, Nine West booties

There is a lot going on, which will culminate in the School Fair set for May 12, 2017.  I will have my hands full preparing for that exhibition and hopefully even with the upcoming state math tests looming, we will get everything accomplished.

Jcrew cardigan, BCBGMaxAzria dress, Nine West boots

But first – Spring Break!!!  I will be working on the business of making art as soon as tomorrow.  Can’t wait.  Watching students make art is clearly a fun job, but nothing beats the guilty pleasure of creating my own artwork – even though it is super messy and therefore cannot be done in designer clothes.  So…I will be sacrificing fashion for my art.  I did buy a new dress for Easter though.  It is Halston Heritage. ❤ OMG, I love it!

Michelle DaRin Jewelry ring, Banana Republic top and Free People top, BCBGMaxAzria pants, Guess sandals


Going Gif

JCrew cardigan, Bailey 44 top, Inc pants, BCBGeneration sandals


BCBGMaxAzria cardigan, top and leggings, Ugg boots


Here are my most recent outfits of the day.  We take a bunch of photos every day in order to get one decent one out of the bunch.  Google photos has been animating the lot to produce these hilarious gifs.  You can see how far away Katy is when she takes the pic.  We do that to insure I can get my body to fit into the square dimension of Instagram.  Should I begin to add these silly things to my Instagram account every so often – just because they are sooo stupid funny or are they just stupid?  I have lost perspective.

Free People cardigan and top, BCBGMaxAzria pants, Nine West booties


Honora necklace, Banana Republic cardigan and dress, Karl Lagerfeld Paris boots


Banana Republic cardigan, Trina Turk top, BCBGMaxAzria pants, Nine West booties


Bailey 44 top, 7 for All Mankind jeans, Nine West booties

20170324_083050-ANIMATION (1)

Free People cardigan and dress, Hue tights, Nine West booties


Chan Luu necklace, JCrew cardigan and T-shirt, Banana Republic pants, Nine West booties

20170323_084127-ANIMATION (1).gif

Baublebar choker, Banana Republic suit jacket and pants, BCBGMaxAzria tank and T-shirt, Coach booties


Bailey 44 top, BCBGMaxAzria leggings, Karl Lagerfeld boots


Lord & Taylor cashmere cardigan, Banana Republic and Bailey 44 tops, BCBGMaxAzria leggings, Karl Lagerfeld boots



LOL & Art (& Fashion)

Michelle DaRin jewelry choker, Free People cardigan, Banana Republic leather top, Trina Turk leather skirt, Hue tights, Nine West booties

Today I tripped over a drawing board that was leaning against my classroom desk.  I proceeded to totally wipe out in a sort of Chevy Chase circa the ’70s Saturday Night Live skit way.  My students just shrugged it off, as if it wasn’t the stupidest thing they have ever seen a teacher do.  I don’t know how to explain why I did not rip my tights except to say that Hue brand are amazingly durable.  So stupid funny.  I couldn’t stop laughing and even now hours later the laughter is bubbling up inside and…OMG!  Here it comes again!

Banana Republic cardigan, BCBGMaxAzria dress, Hue tights, Nine West booties
Honora necklace, Banana Republic cardigan, Free People top, BCBGMaxAzria skirt, Karl Lagerfeld boots

This incident happened a few minutes after lunch – I had been making a list of intentions:  things I desire for my life, and one of them is to laugh out loud every day.  That is either totally ironic or I am a fast manifester, lol.  I guess it depends on how you look at things.

Michelle DaRin jewelry, JCrew cardigan, BCBGMaxAzria top and pants, Nine West booties
Free People cardigan and dress, Calvin Klein jeans, Nine West booties

There’s always something funny going on in the art classroom.  I keep saying I will write a screenplay one day.  It is tentatively titled Middle School Musical.  Oh and yes, there WILL be song and dance.

Banana Republic cardigan and skirt, Grant Thomas tie, Bailey 44 top, Hue tights, BCBGMaxAzria booties
BCBGMaxAzria dress, Steve Madden boots

I’m currently wrapping up lessons with my first semester crew.  Starting at the end of the month, I will entertain new students until the end of the school year in all but one class.  My Studio in Art class will remain.  They meet every day for the full year.  Students just finished up a mixed-media lesson.  I will do a post on it soon.  We will keep the materials out and do a mixed-media sculpture/mobile next then on to a portrait lesson, watercolor and finally an acrylic landscape painting.

Free People dress, Calvin Klein jeans, BCBGeneration booties

I didn’t have any Scholastic Art award winners this year (I entered eleven pieces) – a disappointment for sure, but it is not as much a reflection of the quality of the work as it is a particular judges’ whimsy.  I think I entered eleven pieces last year and six won honorable mentions.  The still life drawings we are currently finishing along with the Wayne Thiebaud-influenced drawings are looking very competitive, so I may hold on to some of them to enter next year.

Fossil bracelets, BCBGMaxAzria top and pants, Nine West booties

Meanwhile, students have created the illustrations for the Ozstravaganza 2017 coloring contest and we are exhibiting the Lions Club peace posters in the Community Room of the Sullivan Library in Chittenango, New York through February 2017.

Free People top, BCBGMaxAzria pants, BCBGeneration sandals
Banana Republic dress, Hue tights, Nine West booties

So, it is not all fun and games in the art world (we are working after all).  It is only mostly fun and games, because that is what life should be – creative fun with A LOT of laughing out loud.

BCBGMaxAzria dress and leggings, Nine West booties



Ilene’s Eye



Before the weather took a nose-dive into Snowmegeddon, I visited Ilene Layow’s Eye Studio open house.  It is currently located at 126 Doll Parkway, Syracuse, New York (13214), but it will soon find a three times bigger home in East Syracuse (at 712 W. Manlius Street).  The open house took place this weekend.



There is a kiln room and studio space, a three-bedroom home having been transformed by art and art-making.  Even the bathroom has a magnificent hand-made glass sink and tiles.






Ilene is a teaching artist.  I blogged about her last year when she had a Green Lakes-themed art show at the Manlius Historical Association.  It was there that I fell in love with her glass pieces.  I was finally able to purchase one today!


I bought the above piece – it is glass made with frit, tiny-colored glass bits that allow for dimension.  The glass is fused in the kiln.  This piece has a little shelf in back for a candle.  I love it!



She was selling her wares along with Jackee Johnson and Marcus Acevedo.  Jackee sells artsy fashion including tops and scarves and Marcus, who works out of studio space at Onondaga Community College, displayed ceramic goods.





Eye Studio teaches classes in acrylic painting, drawing, wheel throwing, watercolor, hand building clay, glass fusing and stained glass.  These classes are available to all skill levels and all ages.  Classes take place week day afternoons and evenings, and on Saturdays.  This is such an incredible resource in our community.  Ilene is teaching home-schoolers as well!




Then there is the option of a fun party – like a birthday party or a ladies night/family night where you gather with your favorite people and produce art – glass pieces, clay, paintings…you name it!  Call (315) 345-4576 to schedule yours!




The gallery is open by appointment as well.  For more information, check out the website –