The Official Magazine Fundraiser Rant

Consider yourself warned. I am about to make full use of the "it's my blog, I'll scream if I want to" clause.

I detest the annual magazine fundraiser that our school conducts. Wait. Detest may not actually be a strong enough term to adequately describe how much I loathe this concept, but my thesaurus us downstairs, so detest and loathe will have to do.

Grey is 7 and in the second grade. He loves his school. He's a good student and is truly enjoying his educational experience at NCS. This is his third year there. 

On the third day of school this year, the talk of the big magazine fundraiser started. He came home chirping enthusiastically about the prospect of prizes and rewards that could be achieved by selling magazine subscriptions. He was hyped, thanks to the school-wide pep talk that had happened that day. This is my first and second complaint to the existence of the magazine sale and to fundraisers in general--Objection #1--precious school hours are wasted on this endeavor, hours that could be used for far more vital, useful, *educational* things. Objection #2--the hyping of students, especially the younger ones on the *stuff I can win* mentality. Stuff stuff stuff. I need more stuff. Must have stuff.

No. Don't squander the time my child should be using to learn educational concepts.
No. Don't bribe him with stuff. Don't dangle "rewards" in front of him and make me be the bad mom who won't let him "achieve".
Selling magazine subscriptions does not an achievement make.

Objection #3--the competitiveness...the pitting of friends and classmates against each other for the title of "who can bully the most people into buying magazines". Really? Is this the picture of Christ's love we want our youngest children emulating? All for the purpose of magazine sales? Really? I think not. (And for the record, I do believe that competitiveness has it's place...just not here.)

Objection #4--the use of students as fundraisers. My child is not a salesman. I do not want him thinking it's his responsibility to contribute money to his school. I do that. His father does that. It's not his responsibility. He is a child. He will feel financial pressure soon enough in his life and it's our role to prepare him for handling it properly. We will do that, in our own time, without school.

I also don't want him trading on his cuteness. Who can look at a second grader who loves his school and not want to say yes. It's an unfair advantage. :)

Objection #5--The fundraiser primarily supports the magazine company...we're supposed to be impressed that a whopping 40% of the proceeds of this sale actually comes to our school. Really? I'm supposed to ask my friends and family to purchase a product to support my school and then I send more than half their dollars to the company providing the magazines. Wouldn't it be more fiscally responsible to ask them to make a smaller donation and actually *use 100%* of their money to better the school, instead of bettering a magazine subscription company?

Objection #6--Magazines. I don't know about your house, but in my house magazines become clutter. They can be recycled...something we do often, but in an economy that's questionable, is this really the best use of our money?

Objection #7--Ask your grandparents. After all, grandparents are a goldmine, and should never say no to the angelic grands requests for fundraising support. A good grandparent always has an open wallet, right. Um, no. Supporting my child's schooling is not the responsibility of his grandparents...all of whom, I might point out, live in different states. And all of whom have other grandchildren. I sincerely doubt that the grandparents in this family *could* support the many fundraisers that *all* their grandchildren are possibly participating in...not that I would put them in that position.

Objection #8--Parents can easily ask friends and co-workers to support our fundraisers. While this may be true for some, it's not true for us. Most of our friends have children and those children come with their own fundraisers. (It's a vicious cycle.) Participating in their fundraising becomes this big reciprocating money buy from mine, I'll buy from yours...yadda yaddah yada. Hate that. Not doing it.

Those who don't have children--well, about this time every year, they get bombarded with the office, in the neighborhood, etc. Sorry. Not doing that to my friends who don't have children either.

Neither Joal or I have "an office" or traditional "co-workers".

Objection #9--Responsibility. Greyson belong to Joal and I, and the continuing responsibility for his well being falls squarely upon his father and myself. His schooling is part of that responsibility. We pay tuition for the services of this private, Christian school. That's our choice and our responsibility. We take that very seriously, to the point of sacrifice, at times...we don't pawn it off on others.

Objection #10--Citizenship. "Mom, I love my school, I *have* to sell magazines to make it better." His little heart was aching because I had declared that we would not be participating in the big magazine fundraiser and he was striving to reconcile how to be a "good school citizen" without pissing off his mom. This is precisely why children have no business being bombarded with the issues of fundraising. It's stressful for him...his value in the school community should not be based on what he brings into the school in a fundraiser. He should not perceive that he is less than a good school citizen because he doesn't participate in a magazine sale, but even at 6, he felt the pull of divided loyalties. And knowing that made me ill.

Our school nets $50,000 for the Parent-Teacher organization through the magazine fundraiser. Divided out, that's about $57 per student. Why don't we just tack about $57 onto the tuition bill and be done with this hassle? I would gladly pay an extra hundred dollars to *not* have to think about not have my child be stressed or concerned about avoid having his love for his school called into eliminate the expectation that I enjoy nagging, bullying, harassing my friends, family and co-workers.

Alternatively, give parents the option of mass, non-participation. Make the "write a check" option OK in the community. I require no rewards, beyond the tax deduction. No magazines required. No selling, bullying, coercion, or manipulation required. No hassle. And Grey doesn't even have to know.

For what it's worth, we wrote a check. Made the donation. Covered his "responsibility".
The school gets to use 100% of the donated dollars. Grey was given the "reward" candy, the dollar store glasses, the privilege of wearing jeans for a week and invited to the reward picnic in a few days at a local park. I'm still not sure how I feel about that...

Ahhh, yes, I do feel better now. :)

Coming tomorrow...the Popcorn Rant.

Painting Project--Fireplace

This, my friends, is the most dreadful fireplace and if completely removing it from my living room was an option, I would do it in a heartbeat. Unfortunately, I have to live with I'm on a mission to make it over.

We don't use the fireplace. Never have. No plans to in the future. It's completely "for looks". Afterall, you can't have a 1970's American Ranch-style home without a fireplace. 

There's some damage to the guts that Joal knows all about but I can't desire. It's capped on the roof -- that's all I know. The brick is matte white-ish gray-ish dull and boring. The mantlepiece is painted with a faux finish that I detest. That will definately be the first thing I tackle.

Note: that 1995 called and wants it's brassy gold fireplace door cover back. :) I seriously hate brassy gold. That has to go ASAP! Did I mention that the entire piece is not properly sized to the opening so it's balancing rather precariously...

We've gotten into the habit of making the mantle an annoying catch-all place for things like keys and everyday junk. I hate that. I want a pretty, well-decorated mantle. That's what mantles are for, afterall, right? The painting--a Julian original--needs to move to some other location. I'm attached to the stocky black candle pillars. They can stay. I'm considering an oversized mirror with a black frame, to continue the theme of black frames I have going through other parts of the house. The star is out...

I took the first steps this weekend. The mantle has been painted black.

I think the next step is to paint the brick. White.

After that, I'll have to make sure that the inside is completely sealed against the loss of warm air for the winter. When that's done, I can remove the brass beast and fill the inside area with something...still deciding exactly what. Maybe some Mason jars with candles. :)

As a last touch, I'm considering a quilt folded across the hearth. Maybe. I think it would add a little bit of warmth and softness to the hardscape. The irony of that is not lost on me. :)

Ideas. Opinions?

Happy Tuesday!


The Glorious Uses of Canning Jars

Canning Jars
Mason Jars
Pickle Jars
Ball Jars
Tea Jars

Whatever you want to call them, I love them. Nothing says "down home" like sweet iced tea in a Mason jar. Nothing says "old fashioned" like a vintage button collection in a Mason jar. Nothing says "yum" like homemade pickles canned in a glass jar. Nothing makes you suck in the sides of your mouth like a dill pickle the size of Rhode Island stored in the succulent brine in a Pickle Jar at a high school football game. Nothing says "dad's workshop" like a jar full of random screws and nails. Nothing says "rainy day fund" like a Mason jar of pennies, nickles, dimes and quarters. Nothing says "I hope you feel better" like a big jar of homemade chicken soup. Nothing says summer like two boys giving some fireflies a new home in a Mason jar with holes in the top.

Photo borrowed from Cara

Drop some sand into a glass jar and add a small candle for the perfect inexpensive row of glowing sidewalk lights.

I can't explain the attraction but glass jars of all sorts speak to me. Small glass pint jars house my button collection, sorted by color, of course.

So, with this in mind, you can imagine the sheer delight I felt when I stumbled upon this piece of jar genius.

Happy Sunday!


Precious Scraps

Two Saturdays ago, I took a little road trip over to Precious Scraps in the booming metropolis of Dover, Tennessee. Dover, population about 2000, and home to one very nice scrapbook store. For those of you who might not know, the greater Nashville area, especially the west side of town, is severely lacking in scrapbook stores...we have exactly zero, much to my dismay, so, whenever I want a scrapbook store "fix", I have to travel.

Dover is approximately 80 miles from Nashville and not located near an to get there took almost 2 hours of backroads country driving. Fortunately, it was a beautiful Saturday morning and while the drive was a bit tedious, it was also enjoyable, in a turn-up-the-radio-and-sing kindof way.

Precious Scraps is a fine scrapbooking and paper arts store. It's housed in a metal building, set upon a hill, off to the side of Highway 79. It opened in February 2009 and is owned by Beverly Nash.

Of course, the first thing I look for in a scrapbooking establishment is great art on the walls, and Precious Scraps certainly did not disappoint in this area. There's an abundance of art hanging around...great layouts, cards, mini-books and other paper projects just waiting to inspire shoppers. It's clear that this store strives to be more than just a scrapbooking store--they are into all sorts of papercrafting...stamping, cardmaking, die cutting, board-books, jewelry-making, altering and embellishing.

PS offers a neat selection of inks and paints of all kinds, including Copic markers. It's the first thing you see upon entering. Turn left and there's an sweet selection of ribbons and cords sold by the yard. The store offers up an array of papers and items from companies such as Bo Bunny, Jenni Bowlin Studios, PaperLoft, Jillibean Soup, Basic Grey and Tim Holtz. There's a large emphasis on Memory Box stamps, which I hadn't seen before, as well as a cool selection of Studio G stamps (that retail for a dollar).

I tend to judge the seriousness of a scrapbooking store on it's selection of 2 product basics--albums and Bazzill cardstock. PS offers up a nice selection of albums on the back wall, in varying sizes and styles. They also stock the famous We R Memory Keepers sub-divided page protectors which I *adore*. (I purchased 2 packs--one of which I'd never seen before.) Unfortunately, PS sells Prism cardstock--and only a very small selection of it--instead of Bazzill. Hmmm. No can that be?

PS offers the newest Quickutz release and lots of embossing folders. I *love* how they showed an actual sample of embossed paper in front of each style of embossing folder. This is probably the best display method I've ever's so neat to be able to touch a sample of what each folder makes...very thoughtful and well executed, with a pretty ribbon hanger. :)

Precious Scraps offers a customer loyalty card and the class schedule looked quite impressive. If it didn't take two solid hours to get there, I would definately try out some of the class offerings. Unfortunately, that's just too far for me.

It was my *lucky day* for a was the day of Precious Scrap's Scrapbooking Yard Sale. I picked up a few super deals at the Yard Sale, including a pink leather QK binder for $5 and an assortment pack of items, because it contained vintage Lil' Davis ribbons, and a pack of those American Crafts Metal letters, all for $2. (Ribbon gets me every time.) :)

Check the store BLOG for details on when the store is open. (They are closed on Mondays.) Precious Scraps is a great scrapbooking store--well-stocked and friendly--and if it were just a little closer, I would go there often.

Also, to see more store photos, check out the end of this BLOG entry.

Happy Thursday!


Enlarging Stamp Images

Stamping...I've loved the idea of stamping for a really long time but haven't always been an active stamper, per se. Funny how that works. Stamping certainly goes hand in hand with scrapbooking.

I'm working the rust and cobwebs out from the blogging if I seem a little lost, you know why. I'm out of practice. The creative side of me is languishing. Sadly.

I purchased this curling wave stamp from A Muse Artstamps last summer and have been looking at it on my desk ever since. It's such a lovely deserves to be used and loved, don't ya think?

I paired it with a HamptonArts Dollar Stamp from Michaels...and did some experimental coloring with the world's most over-priced markers--Copics.

Above is what I ended up with. I'm a firm believer in the rule of threes in design, so I wanted to incorporate the image of the waves on this page more than once...but it seemed a little small. So I stamped it on plain paper and made an enlargement of the image onto white Bazzill using the copier (aka the most overlooked scrapbooking tool around) :)

Enlarged to 200 percent of the original image. Cut out and colored. Happy happy happy.

Here's the stamp next to the enlarged image.

Looking forward to baby-stepping my way into playing with some other images that are worthy of enlarging.