January 29, 2012

The Stripes Collection

I have been working on a different post for what seems like weeks. Deciding what to say and then erasing it. Ever go through that?

Anyway, I have had a pretty rough month of sickness. Between losing my voice (completely) twice this month and feeling really run-down, I just needed a break. I have been struggling a lot with creative energy--finding it, keeping it, using it. There are times when I'm so inspired it stops me in my tracks. Of course, this always happens when I am not around any materials in which I can "make something" with. I record all my ideas in a handy notebook, but hours later the notebook just sits in the same place I put it before; therefore, not much is getting accomplished around here.

Heading into this weekend, I wanted to feel like I was on the mend. On the mend from these pesky sicknesses that have been exhausting me, on the mend of creative energy, and just trying to balance my spirit. I needed to re-fill my well. My body was screaming for rest, so I went to bed before 9 p.m. on Friday and pleasantly slept until 7:30 a.m. Saturday morning. It was so blissful and I felt so rejuvenated that I jumped into my car and took myself to Columbia (about a 30 minute drive) to do a little leisurely shopping at Hobby Lobby, JoAnn's, and Old Navy. I never go to Old Navy (we don't have one in Frederick, which is sort of weird to me)--so I was really caught off guard when all their merchandise was for spring. I took a look at their brightly colored skirts, dresses, and tanks and finally realized that while I had been yearning for a snow-filled winter, I wasn't embracing the warmth and sunshine of this unusual January. It was just what I needed. I didn't buy anything, but I felt a lot better. Last night, Cory and I went out for a quick bite to eat and a drink, just for a change of scenery. We had the best time, just talking and being with one another. It was just what I needed. Long story short, this weekend has been really helping me get over this funk I had found myself in for so long.

Without realizing it, throughout the day I had been working on some crocheted pieces that were inspired just by the colors of the yarns. I had a heap of yarn sitting in a crate before me, and I just naturally saw these color combinations that made me really happy. One thing led to another, and I ended up producing a collection of cowls that I really love. I introduce you to the Stripes Collection.

These cowls are one of a kind and will never be made again. I enjoyed making each and every one of them, as they offered a sense of serenity to my work. That is why once February 29th rolls around, they will not be available again. The Stripes Collection is just me working through whatever I'm going through right now, trying to find a way to transition between winter and spring.

These cowls are only $25 and are only available until 2/29!

I hope you have a lovely rest of your weekend.

January 17, 2012

Yes! We're Open! Come on in!

Just wanted to pop over and let ya'll know that Donna's Decembers is back open for business. I'm still working on getting my new pieces photographed and posted (will probably happen this weekend), but there are still many more pieces available! In fact, here's a look at my favorite pieces (and colors) for January!

January 16, 2012


I'm in the process of having my blog re-designed (yay!) and I needed to add a few more photos to help match the style I am going for this time around. I figure the more specific I am, the better out come it will be, right? So, Cory and I both have the day off, so after we met with his family for breakfast, we headed out around town to snap some shots. 

I'm realizing this is more of an outfit post, so the details for the outfit are listed below. It's a little weird to think of me having an outfit post. Why? I don't really take what I wear too seriously. I do find it very important to look nice and have a personal style, but I'm not one to document something like that, even though I enjoy looking at other people's. Anyway, I just feel sort of weird about it?! hmm..

Here are few left over shots for you :)

(outfit details: teak bangle/thrifted, jade ring/Sky's the Limit, pom pom brooch/DIY, tweed coat/Guess 2008, floral bow top/Forever 21 2009, yellow cardigan/H&M 2009, navy pencil skirt/thrifted, brown booties/Nordstrom Rack Fall 2011, orange tights/Target, brown vintage purse/my grandma's)

It's been a pretty busy weekend over here, so I'll be back later with a weekend recap. It sure is nice having today off to catch up on all those little projects!

How was your weekend?


January 14, 2012

Field Trip: Library of Congress Part 2

Where did I leave off? Oh, yeah. We had just finished touring the main floor of the Library of Congress on Friday. Our next stop was the Reading Room. This room is pretty much world famous as it has been in scenes of many, many movies (like All the President's Men, National Treasure 2: The Book of Secrets, and Born Yesterday). Unfortunately, I wasn't allowed to snap any photographs in this room, even though it was absolutely gorgeous. So I'm going to borrow some photos to explain it's structure for you.

Main Reading Room  

Each time you visit the Library, the clerk will assign you a specific desk. When you find the material you would like to use, you will request it, and then a clerk will bring it to you. The Library is not a lending library, so you must do all your research within the Reading Room. Isn't it gorgeous?
Each pillar has been designated a particular field of study (e.g. philosophy, poetry, science). Above the designated label is a statue that personifies that field of study. Between the pillars, the dark figures you see above, are statues of "great thinkers" like Newton and Plato. I thought my students would be most impressed with this room--and don't get me wrong--they were impressed, but it wasn't their favorite room on the tour. More on that later.

After a 10 minute stop in the Reading Room, our tour ventured to the other side of the main floor. When my students saw how bright and lively the building was after being in the dark Reading Room for so long, they were truly in awe. I overheard many of them say (especially my history-lovin fellas), "this place is beautiful." That made the entire trip worth it.

 We peeked at the Capitol building across the lawn on our way down the stairs. 

And then their minds were blown. Our last stop was visiting how the Library originated: Thomas Jefferson's personal library. Even though photography wasn't allowed in this room, I asked if I could photograph the ceiling, and my tour guide said yes, so I just snapped a shot really quickly ;). It was incredible. My students were essentially scouring the shelves to see "what Jefferson was reading." I think many of them are interested in politics, but I know for sure, many of my male students are very curious about how historical figures earn their way into those positions. I wouldn't be surprised to see many of my students in political office. 

After we toured the Jefferson room, we headed to the Gift Shop to meet with the other group. The students had worked up a hefty appetite by that point, so we wondered down the block to give them a few options for lunch. Understanding they needed to be with a chaperone at all times, they had a choice between Cosi, Subway, or Burrito Hut. I stayed at Cosi with the majority of the students and they were happy to try something they had never had before (even though Cosi isn't exactly out-of-the-box). It's really important that when you're on a field trip with high school students (I would say 10th - 12th grade) that you afford some free time for them. They are really great at staying inside parameters, so long as they are clear and they don't feel as if you're hounding them. I decided to give my students a choice for lunch, since they had to stick to their tour groups all morning. They appreciated the freedom and choice.

All in all, I had a really wonderful day. I am so sad to think that after this coming week, I will not see many of them every day. It has been a pleasure getting to know each of them throughout this semester. They have worked so hard to become better writers, and I truly believe they are well on their way to academic success.

If you have never been to the LOC, I strongly encourage you to sign up for a tour (they're free)! You will learn so much more about the history of the building, our country, and Congress than if you were to just visit it yourself. My students had a really lovely time, and I think, they realized they're just as big of a nerd as I am :) 

Have a great rest of your day! 


Field trip: Library of Congress part 1

I have had a really amazing first semester at my new school. Even though I was a little petrified about teaching both seniors and a composition course over the summer (I was incredibly inexperienced with both), I found myself loving nearly every second of each day in class. Not only did I have to stretch beyond my comfort zone (which is more reading based) to teach writing, but I had to work pretty hard to ensure my students were getting the most out of the class as possible. It felt good to work hard. I absolutely adore my current students. They are the sweetest, most loving teenagers I have worked with in my 5 years of teaching. They have been so eager to learn and so comfortable talking with me and seeking advice, I just consider this to be a match made in education heaven (if a place were to exist..). 

Realizing our time was coming to an end in December, they made a furtive request to attend a field trip as one last hoorah! together. Sure, I've taken many classes on field trips, but it was beyond me where we would go that was writing related and also cool. Writing isn't exactly fun to watch. So, I passed the baton to my students. What is a place that is writing and research based that would be cool to visit?

You know teenagers, for better or worse, they always have answers. One male student in my third mod class said, "hey, what about the Library of Congress?" I was instantly on board. Somehow it all worked out perfectly and we reserved a tour date for January 13th. As you know, Cory and I like to soak in as much of the metropolitan area as physically possible, but many of my students have only been to Washington, D.C. once or twice. I'm really hoping the more I expose them to it, the more that will change, considering it is only an hour away from where I teach. 

We had a breezy, but wonderful January day. We left school promptly at 8:45 to ensure our arrival to Capitol Hill for our 11:00 A.M. Thomas Jefferson Building tour. I reserved our tour online and you can, too. It was fast and easy. The Library was readily accessible for me to email and call with last minute questions about what my students could an could not bring along with them. It was so easy to plan, I was astonished. 

Here's a look at the first part of our tour!


The Library is actually comprised of three buildings, each dedicated to specific functions and facilities. It is the biggest library in the world as it contains both published material and maps, but also some fun memorabilia as well. For example, did you know that the $5 bill President Lincoln had in his pocket the night he was assassinated is kept at the Library of Congress? Nope. I didn't either. 

 After they split my students into two groups (thank goodness for parent chaperones!), my group began by touring the main floor of the building where a Gutenberg Bible is kept. They have very strict regulations as to what you can and cannot photograph, so I wasn't able to snap a shot of that; however, the architecture kept me fairly occupied. The best feature of our tour was that much of the building's structure and architecture was thoroughly explained. Many of the ceilings are covered in gorgeous Italian mosaics or hand painted murals. The colors were so rich.

After being in the main level for just a few minutes I was overcome with inspiration and clarity. It is such a beautiful structure. 
I'll be back soon with the second half of the tour! 

Have a great rest of your day! :)