Monday Made It: Desktop Backgrounds and Buttons

We have found our way from the mountains of Colorado down to the coast of Texas. And even though we are dripping with sweat, we are having a really great time! Galveston is beautiful, and the kids are loving it. Right now I'm loving the AC in our hotel room. I grew up in central Texas, but lordy, lordy! This heat and humidity is not something us Coloradans are used to.

I did manage to sneak some time away for this week's Monday Made It. I love linking up with Tara from 4th Grade Frolics for this fun, weekly party! Make sure you head over to her blog and check out all the other great "made it's"!!!

Traveling makes creating a little bit difficult for me. All I have is my computer, and all the other fun crafting Silhouette, sewing machine, glue gun...all stay at home. Bummer, but I did make this fun desktop organizer and new buttons for my MacBook Air...

I'll walk you through the very simple steps to creating your own. First, like I said, I have a MacBook, so this tutorial will use PowerPoint for Mac. 

Step 1: Open PPT. Change slide size to 17" x 10.6". Click OK when it prompts you to "fix" it. 

Step 2: Use digital paper to create a background. You could also change it to a solid color.

Step 3: Add clipart, shapes (I inserted rectangles), and text to meet your needs. I left room around the edges to accommodate my app bar at the bottom of my screen. 

Step 4: Go to your Powerpoint preferences and change your graphics size to 1280 x 798. This will only be a temporary change until you save your file, so make note of your original graphics size. 

Step 5: Save your file as a PNG file. I would also save it as a PPT file...just in case you need to make any changes!

Step 6: Go to your System Preferences, and then Desktop and Screensaver. To add your image into your library, click the + sign at the bottom. I clicked "fit to screen", but you can see which option works best for your image.

Easy peasy! Click HERE to download a fun editable desktop background.

What fun would a new desktop organizer be without fun buttons to go along with it??? They're super easy. Usually I just find a fun picture I like online and use it, but I decided to give it a go at making my own. 

Step 1: Open a new presentation in PowerPoint. (Again, this is using a Mac!) Insert any shape you'd like. I did a circle because I liked how it looked. Then I added text.

Step 2: Select the ENTIRE IMAGE and click COPY or Command C.

Step 3: Find the folder you're wanting to replace. Click "Get Info".

Step 4: You're going to click on that little folder at the top ONCE-just to highlight it. 

Then-click Command and V to paste the image where the folder is. The image should change immediately.

There you go! Now you know how to make your own desktop background and fun buttons! It is super easy and the possibilities are endless. Let me know if you have any questions.

As for me, I think my 3 year old is rested up from a much-needed nap and is ready to hit the beach. Have a great week!

Mountain State Meet-Up Wrap-Up & Giveaway!

On June 4th, I had the fantastic opportunity to meet up with other Mountain State TpTers and Bloggers. We had an awesome time! I had never been to a meet up like this before, but I recruited my BTF (best teaching friend), and we had a blast! Where there are teachers, there will definitely be lots of fun.

We had some great round table discussions about Pinterest, Instagram, TpT, and blogging. I learned so much! Pinterest was definitely a hot topic. If you're not already on Pinterest, you should get there stat! Head over to our Facebook page to see our poster notes from the discussions. 

I was lucky enough to help organize this event with 3 other awesome TpTers-Ashley from Teaching in Bronco Country, Kristin from Holmquist Homeroom, and Nichole from Craft of Teaching. It was so much fun getting to know each one of these fabulous ladies better. I can't wait to start planning for next year together!

Here's just a quick snapshot of our adorable name tags, awesome door prizes, super swag bags, and fun meet ups!

Of course, I had to get a picture with my fellow Colorado Springs TpTers and bloggers!

We definitely want to thank all the people and businesses who donated to our meet up.
I was lucky enough to snag an Erin Condren Planner set and a free year on ESGI! Woohoo! 

But...we want to continue sharing the amazingness with you! We have 5 swag bags and 5 subscriptions to to giveaway to 5 lucky winners!

All you have to do is enter through the Rafflecopter below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks again to all our fabulous donors and to all our attendees! See you next year!

Lightboxes: How To Make Your Own Slides!

Lightboxes from Heidi Swapp seem to be all the rage in the teacher world right now, and I can see why. They are sooooo fun! When I picked up my own Lightbox, I also picked up some accessories to go along with it. But, I quickly noticed if I wanted to use it A LOT, I was going to have to get creative!

So, with a lot of trial and error, I finally figured out how to make my own slides for my Lightbox. They turned out pretty cute!!!

Once I mastered it, I was able to make them really quickly! If you're more of a reader, I have listed step-by-step instructions and pictures for you just below. However, if you're more of a watch and learn person, scroll to the bottom for a screencast video.

Here's what you need (well, this is what I used):
A Lightbox! (I mean, I guess you don't HAVE to have one, but...)
transparency sheets (make sure they are compatible with your printer)

**Just a quick note to start: Your Lightbox display space is bigger than your allowed print area, so we will create the original design on one slide in PPT, and then we will split the design later for printing.**

Step #1: Open Powerpoint. Change your page settings to 11" by 9". To do this, click on Themes, Slide Size, Page Setup. It WILL give you an error message and will prompt you to "fix" it. Just click OK to retain the dimensions you entered. 

Step #2: Insert a rectangle. Adjust the size to 2.87" by 11". Copy to create 2 more identical boxes.

Step #3: Line up the boxes vertically so the edges are touching.

Step #4: Create your design. Make sure you leave a little bit of space along the side edges. Remember-you're working about a half-inch outside of the print zone. Save your work as a PPT and as a picture.

Step #5: Open a new presentation in PPT. This time, change the slide size to 11" by 8.5". Ignore the error message to fix, and click OK.  

Step #6: Just like in step #2, you're going to insert rectangle that measure 2.87" by 11". You only need 2 this time! 

Step #7: Insert another slide into your Powerpoint. This time, you will only insert 1 rectangle. Remember the size is 2.87" by 11".

Step #8: Insert your picture into the first slide (the one with 2 boxes). This next part is VITAL to your slide. You MUST change the HEIGHT of your picture BACK to 9". The width will adjust accordingly.

Step #9: Adjust the picture so the top of your design matches the top of the first box. The corners should line up perfectly.

Step #10: Copy and paste the adjusted image onto your second slide, then go back to the first slide. Prepare to crop the image. You want to crop the image so it fits perfectly within those 2 boxes. (Now, I purposely left the lines on my designs to help guide me during cropping.) 

Step #11: After you crop, take note of the current height of the image. In order to crop the second picture, you will crop the DIFFERENCE between the original height and the new height and then move it into the third box. So, if your cropped image in your first slide was 5.74", then you would crop your second image to 3.26". That totals the original 9". (I hope that makes sense!) Crop the second image to fill the 3rd box. 

Step #12: Your 2 PPT slides should look like this. Now you can Print! (If you choose to save as a PDF, make sure you ALWAYS select to print "actual size" in the print box. Otherwise it will be too small for your Lightbox.) 

*Something I do is go back and reorder my layout. I want my image in the back and the boxes upfront so when they print, I can see the lines to cut.

And that is it! I know the steps seem overwhelming, but once you get the hang of it, it is SUPER EASY. I saved a blank template so I wouldn't have to keep creating a new one every time. 

If watching and listening is easier for you, here is a screencast of me making my slides. 

I hope this tutorial has helped you learn how to create your own slides for your Lightbox. You can check out my GROWING BUNDLE of Lightbox Slides on TpT by clicking HERE on on the picture below.

Please email me at if you have any questions. Have fun creating!

Monday Made It!

Has another week of summer already flown by??? How can it be??? I go back to work in 5 1/2 weeks, so I need to make the most of it! Of course, that means getting down to some serious "stuff" makin'. And who better to link up with than Tara at 4th Grade Frolics for her weekly Monday Made It link up? You can click the button below to head over and check out more fantastic ideas!

Probably one of the most fun things I've made this past week has been slides for my new Heidi Swapp Lightbox. Once I figured out the template, inserting the pictures I was making and cropping them to fit each slide was pretty easy. My head is currently exploding with ideas for slides in my classroom. 

I uploaded a growing bundle of Lightbox slides to my TpT store. It's 50% off for this week only, and designs will continue to be added until it is full! You can check it out by clicking HERE or clicking on the picture below.

You can also download this cute freebie that can be used for the days of the week. It's a pretty simple design, but it looks super cute on the Lightbox. Click HERE to download it or click on the picture below.

I plan on doing a more in-depth blog post on how I make my slides, so check back!

I had seen the pictures of the ABC Kraft Mac & Cheese floating around Instagram, so when I saw them at Walmart, I decided to pick up a box to use for my 3 year old. The letters were a lot small than I thought they would be, and I knew she would have a hard time manipulating them. So, I tried to come up with a way to use them in my classroom. I had my teenagers sort them into vowels and consonants for me, and then decided to dye them red and blue-like the magnet letters we have in the classroom. 

I used a 1/2 cup rubbing alcohol and SEVERAL drops of food coloring.  I did mix the food coloring and alcohol together before pouring it in the bag. I read somewhere that it helps distribute the color more evenly (because you know...second graders totally care about that!). About every 30 minutes I would flip the bags, and after about 2 hours I poured the liquid out and put the pasta on a cooling rack to dry. They came out so vibrant and nice!

I plan on using them as part of our spelling station this year. The kids will love them!

I love using community supplies in the classroom. I know a lot of teachers (and parents!) don't prefer it, but it saves SO MUCH TIME. Over the years, I have accumulated more than a class set of scissors. That is what went in the community supplies at each table. If the kids brought their own scissors, they kept them in their personal pencil boxes. But...I started to notice that scissors from the community bucket would *disappear*. I really didn't have a way to hold tables accountable for their supplies because all the scissors were mixed up. 

Until...I saw this Instagram post from Carolyn at A Primary Kind of Life. Her scissors match her table bins! Come on, Lori!!! Duh!!! What a great way to hold my tables accountable! If I gave each pod their own color, they couldn't accuse another table of stealing their scissors. I had enough scissors in my personal collection to give 4 tables their own colors. Two tables will have share red scissors. Bummer for them.

So...where is the "Made It" in this, you ask? Well, I added silver duct tape to the handles to mark them as "Property of Mrs. McCoy" because it is HARD to peel it off. Sure, washi tape would've looked prettier, but they can peel that stuff off pretty fast. We'll see if the scissors stay put a little bit better this year! (Oh! I made the handy label on my supply bucket, too. All my overflow supplies have their own buckets int he cabinet like this.)

This is a more personal made it, but isn't it cute??? I made it using my Silhouette Cameo. Can't wait to put it on my girl.

It's the first day of summer, and I hope you find a great way to enjoy it! See you next time!

Monday Made It!

One of the best things about summer is linking up with Tara from 4th Grade Frolics for her summer Monday Made It! Click on the button below to head over to her blog and find some other great ideas!

It hasn't been that productive of a summer...yet. But I'm off to a good start!
My daughter loved these craft sticks from the library. They were great for making shapes, and I thought they would be perfect for my geometry unit next year.

Before we even made it home that night, I dropped by Joann's and picked up some jumbo craft sticks and some small velcro dots. I picked small because I was trying to get more bang for my buck...well, more velcro dots for my buck!

Assembling them was really easy. You put 2 fuzzy dots on each end of one side, and then 2 rough dots on the ends of the other side. I would let them adhere for about 24 hours before you mess with them. I was really pleased with the finished product. And my daughter loved them! I can't wait to use them next year in the classroom.

Last summer, I jumped on the Teacher Tool Box train. I had so much fun making labels for my own tool box and my friend's tool box. My new teammates have decided this is a must have for them, too...and I volunteered to make their labels! Aren't these so cute??? I was trying to give some font choices. I can't wait to see the finished product. I might even end up updating my own labels!

You can click HERE to see my video tutorial from last summer on how to make your own labels. 

If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know that I love sending postcards to my students over long breaks. I whipped this one up today to get into the mail this week. 

You can download an editable copy to use for your own students off my Google Drive. Just click HERE to head over there!

I have lots more on my Monday Made It to-do list for the summer. Make sure you check back every Monday for more fun ideas! Have a great week!