DIY Classroom Alphabet {Tutorial}

One of my favorite parts of the summer is preparing items for my classroom. Last summer, I spent a lot of time creating, buying, and making classroom essentials for my HOLLYWOOD theme. I loved my theme. However, I wanted to switch things up for the new school year.

While spending countless hours on TeachersPayTeachers, I decided on a new classroom theme. I’m going to have a NAUTICAL theme. I love everything about the ocean and beach, but I didn’t want to see a “Beach” theme all year. Although, I don’t mind looking at cute anchors, lighthouses, and sailboats.

The first thing I needed to do was find a new alphabet. My previous alphabet was red and black polkadot, and it was not going to match 100%. I looked for my perfect nautical alphabet, but I had no such luck. There are several nautical alphabets that I could have used, but I always found something about each one I didn’t like. I was tired of looking, so I decided to create my own!

I have several programs that I could have used to make my alphabet. However, I ended up creating it using the familiar program…PowerPoint! Do not ever underestimate the possibilities of PowerPoint. It is simple and gets the job done.

How to Create Your Own Alphabet Posters Using Microsoft PowerPoint

To create my alphabet, I deleted all of the text boxes. I used a blank slide to begin my creation. I wanted a mini poster alphabet, so I created two posters per slide. I used the shape tool to draw two rectangles. You can use the “format shape” option to create a frame or background for your posters.

Two Rectangles copy

I knew I wanted a navy and red alphabet, so I browsed through my files until I found the perfect background. (I bought a digital file pack previously, and it included several electronic patterned papers, so I used those. I’m sure there are free patters that you can download for personal use only.)

Background copy

To add the electronic paper to the image, you click “Format Shape.” Then, there is an option called “Fill,” this is where you can decide if you want to add a solid color, texture, or image. Simply upload the image from your computer.

Next, I added the cursive letters. I downloaded this awesome free font called, SchoolScriptDashed by Donna Young. You can find the link HERE. I added a text box and typed in the capital and lowercase form of each letter.

Font Added

After adding the cursive letters, I needed to add a place for a corresponding picture. I used the “Insert Shape” and drew a circle. Select “Format Shape” to customized it to your needs. I made a white circle with a black outline.

Alphabet

Next, I wanted to add an extra nautical detail to my alphabet. (This step was my personal preference.) I found free nautical rope frames in navy and red. I downloaded them from ClipartsCo. Click HERE for a direct link to their website. I added the frame by selecting the “Insert Picture” option. I adjusted the size to fit inside of my white circle.

Adding Inside Frame

Then, I wanted to add a cute banner on the top to match my theme. I was going to make my own, but that requires a lot of time. I was working “smarter” not “harder.” One of my favorite places to buy clip art is Etsy. I bought a set of nautical banners for $3 from ValerianeDigital. Click HERE for a link to her shop. Simply download the file of your choice and click “Insert Picture.” {Make sure the image you select is a .PNG file. If it is not, your image is going to have an unwanted white background color!}

I chose two borders to alternate with each poster.

Adding Banner

Finally, I added clip art for each letter. I found all of my clip art from MyCuteGraphics. The clip art is 100% original and FREE! Click HERE for a link to their site.

Adding Clip Art

The best part about PowerPoint is you can copy and paste slides as needed. Once your first slide is created, the only thing you have to change is the letters and clip art. Then, you can print and laminate your alphabet.

Here is a larger picture of my final product.

Final Product

If you have any questions, I would love to help!

Happy Creating!
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Homemade Chicken Salad Recipe

Since Clint and I got married, we started cooking all the time. We both {really} LOVE to cook. So for Clint’s birthday, I bought him an electric smoker. He loves it! He is researching different ways to smoke meat, and he is enjoying making his own concoctions.

On Sunday, Clint wanted to smoke a whole chicken. The chicken was full of flavor, and it was very juicy. I told Clint that I wanted to make homemade chicken salad with the leftovers. Chicken salad is one of my favorite summertime foods. It is perfect to eat on those HOT summer days. So, I thought I would share my take on homemade chicken salad. 

Ingredients and supplies needed:

  • Chicken
  • Mayonnaise
  • Onion
  • Almond Slivers
  • Black Pepper
  • Grapes
  • Mixing bowl with lid
  • Mini food chopper (optional)
  • Spoon
  • Fork

There are so many different ways to make chicken salad. My version is very simple, yet it is still tasty. You probably have the ingredients sitting in your pantry and fridge already. I did not include measurements for the ingredients. I did this because not everybody will want to make the same amount. Also, everyone’s taste buds are different. Everyone may not want the same amount of mayonnaise, black pepper, onions, etc.

Follow the steps below to make your own savory chicken salad.

  1. I start out by shredding the cooked chicken with a fork.
    {It is completely up to you on how you would like to season and cook the chicken.}
  2. Place shredded chicken in large mixing bowl and add mayonnaise.
    {I start with a small amount of mayonnaise. I do not like a lot of it, and I can always add more later if there is not enough.}
  3. Chop onion and add to mix.
    {I used a yellow onion, but you can use any kind. I chop my onion using a mini food chopper because I like onions chopped very fine. However, if you like larger pieces of onion use a knife.}
    Here is a picture of my mini food chopper. You can find them in the appliance section of most department stores.Mini Food Chopper
  4. Chop almond slivers and add to mix.
    {I LOVE almonds! I use the mini food chopper to cut the almond slivers even smaller. I like having a taste of almond in every bite.}
  5. Add whole grapes or sliced grapes to mix.
    {I use red grapes in my chicken salad. It gives it a sweeter taste. I slice my grapes in half, but you could leave them whole.}
  6. Add black pepper to mix.
    {I love black pepper, but its flavor can sometimes be overpowering. I only add a little black pepper to my mix. However, you can add as much as you would like.}
  7. Stir the mix until all ingredients are combined. Serve immediately or let it chill in the fridge until it is time to serve.

Chicken salad can be served in many different ways. I think that is why it is so well liked. My favorite is to eat chicken salad on a croissant roll, but toasted bread is a good alternative too. Here is picture of my chicken salad sandwich.

Chicken Salad Sandwich

There is so much more you can add to chicken salad, but I like to keep it simple. Celery is usually found in chicken salad, but I leave it out completely. I have also heard of people adding apple slices, pecans, boiled eggs, and more.

How do you like to enjoy your chicken salad? I would love to hear from you!

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Binding Tutorial {Quilting Event}

Just a quick update on the queen-sized quilt I am making, I have finally finished cutting all of the squares needed!

Squares

That was one of the longest processes I have ever completed. However, I did purchase a rotating cutting board to use for this task. It made the cutting process much easier to finish. Here is the rotating cutting board I purchased!

Rotating Mat

After I finished cutting all those squares I was ready to do something different! Two weeks ago, I ordered the fabric for the binding! It was so hard to find the binding that I wanted. Ultimately, I wanted a thin, navy blue and white striped cotton fabric. Doesn’t seem too difficult to find, right? WRONG! I looked everywhere! Hobby Lobby and Joann’s is my go to place for fabric, and neither place had what I was looking for.

I immediately started looking online, but was hesitant about ordering from somewhere I have never ordered from before. I found striped fabrics online, but some of the pictures looked worrisome and other fabrics were very expensive. However, I did find a tiny navy blue and white chevron from Fabric.com that was 100% cotton. I ordered 1½ yards of the fabric, and waited patiently for its arrival. When it was delivered, I opened the package and it was exactly what I expected it to be! I couldn’t have been more pleased with my purchase from fabric.com. Here is a picture of the binding fabric.

Chevron Fabric

One of my best friends, Angela, has a wonderful tutorial on creating bias tape needed for machine quilting. I actually followed her tutorial while making mine. You can find her tutorial, HERE!

The first thing I did was pre-wash the fabric! Then, I used my 2 1/2 binding buddy to cut the fabric into strips.

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After cutting my fabric, it was time to sew it together into one continuous strip. You over lap two strips of fabric (right sides together) like this…

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Some quilters have said that you should line the corners and sides together to form a perfect square, and others have said it doesn’t matter. I tried both ways and they BOTH work. So, it’s up to you how you would like to complete this task! The IMPORTANT part at this step is making sure you sew a 45 degree angle. I used the grid on my cutting mat and a straight edge to achieve the angle measurement. I drew a line from corner to corner to make sure I sew it exactly.  I used the Dritz Marking Pen with Water Soluble Ink. I LOVE THESE PENS! The ink comes off so easily! If you are interested in these pens, you can find them HERE!

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After marking my line, it was time to sew the two strips together…{Sorry for all the pictures! I got a little picture happy while making the binding for my quilt!}

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After sewing, you will cut off the extra fabric on the right side of the seam. Then, press open the seams so the fabric will lay flat. Then, you repeat this process for the next strip.

After sewing all of my strips together, it looked like this!…

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Next, I folded and ironed the fabric in half.

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According to Angela’s post, she recommends new quilters to roll the fabric into a jelly roll. Now my bias tape looks like this…

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I love the way it looks when it is all rolled up! Angela goes into wonderful detail about the steps to binding your quilt by machine with the bias tape. I  made a sample quilt sandwich to see how the fabric, batting, and binding was going to turn out. I snapped some pictures while sewing on the binding so you have an idea of the process…

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Please visit Angela’s tutorial for a detailed description on the process and application of machine quilt binding. It was so easy to follow!

Here is a picture of my final “sample” sandwich with the binding!

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Now that my binding is made, it is time to sew all of my squares together into rows! Stay tuned for another update!

Do you have any tips or suggestions for machine quilt binding? I would love to hear from you! Comment below.

With love,

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