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DIY: Hate those vinyl tiles? Paint over ’em!

I love our expansive, sun-filled kitchen.  There’s plenty of room for all my dishes and cooking gear. But that awful, grey vinyl tiling was getting me down. I had already painted my bathroom floor, so I knew I could do it. I used porch and floor paint from my local hardware store as i knew the finish would be durable and lasting.  Here’s what the kitchen looked like before any floor paint began to fly.

Kitchen Floor Before:

The old floor was a giant roll of old vinyl in a hideous grey speckle tone.  I could never ‘see’ the dirt and hated that gross feeling. I wanted a fresh look.

Step 1 Preparing the old vinyl: I sanded the vinyl floor tiles with a 180 Ct sandpaper.  After sanding I vacuumed the whole area.

Step 2 Creating tooth on the old vinyl: I deglossed the vinyl floor with a deglosser liquid.  This is is a somewhat caustic process, so be sure to wear protective eye wear, gloves, and be sure the area in which you are working is well ventilated.  I had floor fans running the whole time and opened all the apartment windows.  The deglosser is applied with a clean cloth and removes any gloss finish the sandpaper didn’t get.  Steps 1 & 2 creates the ‘tooth’ from your old vinyl tiles and prepares the surface to accept the new primer and paint.

Step 3 Painting prep: I used painter’s tape and taped off the areas I didn’t want the paint to adhere to. You know around the kick board and edges where the old vinyl met the wood floor.

Step 4 Priming the vinyl: Primer is then applied. I used 2 coats and laid each coat on somewhat thinly. It took about 45 minutes between each coat to dry. Check the label on your printer and follow those steps.  The primer is an important step that prepares the vinyl surface for painting.  I used disposable sponge paint brushes, however you could use a roller or traditional brush.

Step 5 White base coat: Since I wanted black and white squares, I next painted on the white base color, over the primer. This time I used a disposable sponge brush and a small roller. The white paint took 2 coats and I allowed 45 minutes between coats for drying.

Step 6 Creating the black squares: Taping off the squares was the most time consuming process.  I followed the old tiles, as my guide, and have to admit, I needed to pull out my old T-Square to get all the squares ‘squared’.  Then, I taped ‘off’ the tiles I wanted to maintain the white color.

Step 7 Painting the black squares: Next I applied the black paint with another disposable sponge brush.  In order to get the density of black I desired, I applied 2 coats of black, put floor fans pointing directly onto the drying paint and waited 30 minutes between coats.  After the second coat of black paint went down, I waited another 30 minutes, more fans, then pulled up the painting tape.

That is all that is needed.  Except I did go in with a small paint brush and touched-up a couple of areas where the black paint had seeped under the painters tape.


I’m a big sucker for black and white tile and for under $100 I was able to give my kitchen floor a fresh, clean look and feel.
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Design*Sponge Summer Party

To me, an ideal summer party = brunch on a lazy Sunday morning. I’ve been adding my ideas to a Pinterest Board and I’m hoping to use some of these and invite some guests to drop by, enjoy libations, food and festivities in my urban loft space.

There’s something about brunch where guests can swing by, enjoy some great food & company and then get on with their day. Brunch isn’t a huge commitment and allows everyone to have the fun of a party and also have the rest of Sunday to get other things done.

Something simple for the table, like kraft paper and some strokes of white acrylic paint, along with white plates would allow the food to pop. Or this grouping of plates, cutlery and flowers would be even easier.

I’m thinking something with salads like this spin on eggs benedict or this lovely white bean and radish salad.

I’ve created these tomato pops for a bridal shower and they were a
huge success. And of course, there needs to be a nice summery drink. With splashes of vodka.











And I think something comfy, yet festive to wear.  So, stop on by my Design*Sponge Summer Party Pinterest Board for more ideas.

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I’ve been on Google+ for about a year now and recently at PodCamp Western Mass #5 I attended a couple of Google+ sessions which renewed my interest in this social media.

Google+ helps you in many ways:

  • It’s part of the Google Suite of productivity products that can work together to help you keep your digital life organized and in the long run more productive.
  • Google ‘notices’ when you are using Google+ and will assist with Google rankings
  • Google can get into the private areas of FaceBook
  • Google+ allows for deeper conversations, more thought.  Think Science, artists, creatives, and thought leaders…don’t you want to be a part of that crowd?

One big take away, from PodCamp Western Mass #5 is that Google+ is = to ‘What do you think?’


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TiE2013 Conference

Since last fall I have been organizing a TiE2013 Technology in Education Conference with The Collaborative for Educational Services. Last week the conference was held at Holyoke Community College and by all qualitative evaluations it was a roaring success.  The conference was attended by 250 educators and administrators, 10 vendors and 2 keynote speakers. Our quantitative evaluations go out this week….another item on the extensive To-Do list, along with the formal De-Briefing Meeting.



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Happy Holidays

Over the years, we’ve had a strange mixture of Winter Holiday traditions…from candle lighting to trees to feasts to travel to parties to…you get the idea.

These cookies kind of represent our traditions.  I hope you and yours have a fabulous, safe holiday season filled with love, cheer and warm, happy feelings.








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The B Calendar Binding

I had been struggling with a binding method for a project I’ve been working on.  I needed something similar to a 3-ring-binder yet, something easier to use.  I came across a couple of binding systems implementing discs to hold pages enabled by a special punch.

B Calendar Disc Binding The disc system allows the pages to be inserted [or removed] at any point within the book/journal. The  special punch can put the gripping system into any page and allows the creation of any type of book.

Levenger makes a circa notebook system and discs large enough to hold up to 450 pages-which will work for me.

Arc is a similar binding system, offered at Staples, which also uses a disc and punching system to bind pages together.

I am trying both methods to see which one works best for my BCalendar. Here is a prototype I am working on.  More to follow.

B Calendar Disc Binding B Calendar Disc Binding

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Change: Always the Same

Change: It is always the same.  Things are always changing, sometimes at the speed of light.  In the blink of an eye, our lives change forever.  In fact, change is the one thing that is  always constant.

Recently, I have heard  how people ‘resist’ change. This is nothing new.  People-in general-do not like change.  But recently I have been hearing it is educators that are resisting change.  I have always thought of educators as those on the forefront, people who want to make change-help their students change. Now, it’s the educators that seem to be grinding their heels in and do not want to change.

But in fact, isn’t that what we are always asking our students to do? Change? Change their ideas, change their mind or change the way they approach a problem they are trying to solve. We are always asking our students to change.

So, if we are asking our student to change, why not change our own approach to teaching?  How about incorporating something new into our instruction methods?

Pirates with Passion

Today I read an article mentioning how Pirates are more likely to embrace change and challenge convention. “Being aggressive, egocentric, or antisocial makes it easier to ponder ideas in solitude or challenge convention,” says Dean Keith Simonton, a University of California psychology professor and an expert on creativity. Hum, sounds like a Pirate’s life to me. Dean Simonton goes on to add, “Meanwhile, resistance to change or a willingness to give up easily can derail new initiatives.” This sounds to me like those educators complaining about change and resist any new initiatives coming into ‘their classroom’.

Just as we ask our students to have passion, be tenacious, change-the-game, and embrace new ideas we instructors need to do the same. In order to do this, we need to be willing to change. We need to be willing to try something new. Maybe embrace a Pirate’s life a bit more.

Well-Traveled Pirates

Pirates get around, they are well-traveled.  They are able to synthesize their actions via their experiences, which are usually diverse. And diversity leads to breadth and depth in being able to problem solve.

In Beijing, I taught the International Baccalaureate [IB] Visual Arts curriculum and that curriculum demands the art student breaks out of their molds and seek out new artists to explore and research. I had students who were technically amazing, but had trouble breaking-out of their regular routines and artistic methods.

It was my job to get them to become better pirates; test new techniques, interview a variety of artists, explore new galleries and museums, and take advantage of their travels.  In other words: be pirates and even to be better pirates. The art students who succeeded, inevitably were successful with their artwork and ultimately with their final IB scores.

So, how can you learn to embrace change and have it work for you, instead of always resisting change?  Because, if you don’t-isn’t that just always the same?



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CELT: Connecting Education, Leadership and Technology

I had the pleasure to attend a small, powerful conference at the elegant Hotel Northampton yesterday sponsored by CELT: Connecting Education, Leadership and Technology.


Keynote speaker Kathleen H. McClaskey from Personalized Learning spoke about how to move towards student led learning and how students need: motivation, engagement & voice in their learning.  She emphasized Universal  Design Learning [UDL] throughout her presentation.

Kathleen also suggested to have a look at CESA 1 in Wisconsin and the projects they have been working on. She also talked suggested we look at Competency Works and All4Ed-both excellent sources.
Online learning Implementation Strategies was led by Lesley Professor Joan Thormann Ph.D
This presentation also confirmed some basic strategies for online learning: Joan spoke of pitching online learning to one’s district, building distinct capacity, infrastructure, LMS options, student readiness, observation & evaluations, blended learning, district policies and she mentioned her new book.
E-Rate 2013 update: maximize your e-rate dollars
I also sat in on this session which was quite detailed. Not having an in depth background on this topic, I listened for items emphasized. Primarily the changes for 2013 were discussed.
ITT 46 ends 9/30/2017
Form 471 Item 21 attachments MUST be filed by form 471 (descriptions of services)

Eligible items:
residential locations ( maybe like DYS?)
Community use of services-  the example used was where schools are open after school allowing people from the community to come in and use the facilities.
CIPA Changed- June 30,2012
Updated Internet Safety Policy
– cyber bullying
-public notices or hearings

For More Information:

Flipping the Classroom was presented by Eric Braun of 30 Hands Learning

This presentation focused primarily on the LMS 30 Hand Learning sells which has reasonable pricing and supposedly dovetails with other LMS like Moodle.
Eric Braun spoke about future initiates:

  • Shared Learning Collaborative -SLC
  • Content, tools & solutions – CTS
  • Learning, resource, metadata initiative – LRMI

Eric also spoke briefly about how teachers are paying teachers for the curriculum they build for Flipping Classrooms. Interesting ideas.

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QR Codes Used for Verbal Practice

Imagine a language student being able to listen to pronunciation along with a study guide.  With a QR code embedded on a vocabulary sheet, students can download a mp3 file and listen along as they study.

Audio files can be created for any lecture or instruction where an auditory experience would enhance the learning.

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QR Codes Applied to Further Learning

QR [Quick Response] codes can be applied anywhere you desire learning to occur.  Perhaps out on campus where a QR code could be scanned to link to richer content.

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