Spring Cleaning Time...Hardwood Floors

Vinegar cleans hardwood floorsWell, today Geoff and I worked in our yard....I'll post pictures of our progress soon.  Then we are in the process of cleaning our hardwood floors.  When I bought this house my father and I tore up the gross blue carpet...and scraped up the spilled paint...and tore out the huge nails...and refinished the gorgeous floorboards beneath!
Anyway, this is MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE time of year.  Wipe off those winter cob webs, roll back your sleeves, take your allergy meds, and take in a deep breath! I have used the following process for a couple years and I LOVE IT....I recommend this to anyone with hardwoods! It makes the process easier if you have two people (little children work too!!)

To clean your hardwood floors using vinegar, follows these simple steps.
  • Remove any objects from the floor. If you can easily move furniture or scatter rugs out of the way, do so.
  • Block off the room so that pets and children do not walk across the wet floor. While vinegar is non toxic, footprints and paw prints on a clean floor do not add to the d├ęcor!
  • Vacuum or dry mop the floor. It's critical to remove all the surface dust, dirt, lint and hair before mopping.
  • Fill a clean bucket with a solution of white vinegar and warm water. Use a half a cup of white vinegar to one gallon of warm water.
  • Immerse a clean mop into the solution and wring it until it is damp-dry (I use the swiffer dry mop). Never use a soaking wet mop on the floor--especially hardwoods..the wood will swell!
  • Mop the floor, starting in one corner. Mop with the direction of the floorboards. If the water dries with a bit of a streak in it, if you've mopped in the direction of the floorboards it will not be as visible.
  • Rinse the mop head frequently.
  • Change water if the solution begins to look very dirty.
After mopping your hardwood floor, you can use a soft, clean towel to dry it or let it air dry. If the floor looks very wet, you may wish to use a towel (This is where a second-in-command helps, I mop and my 2nd stands on the towel and follows behind). While a bit of water won't hurt most finishes, it's never a good idea to leave a lot of water on wood products.
Once the floor is dry, you can put the furniture and rugs back in place and open the room back up to the pets and family. Vinegar is safe and non toxic, and there is no need to rinse it from the floor. The hardwood floor should have a nice shine to it once it's mopped.

Now there are LOTs of products out on the market for cleaning hardwoods, I find this leaves streaks and a residue on the floor....not good old vinegar and water---HOWEVER...

While vinegar is an economical and safe solution to use for mopping hardwood floors, it may not be able to cut through extreme grease or dirt. If you have a particularly dirty floor or a nasty spill that needs to be cleaned up, you may want to try a special wood cleaner, like Murphy's Oil Soap. It's a bit stronger than a vinegar solution yet still safe to use on wood products. The vegetable-oil base cuts through grease and dirt and leaves the floor squeaky clean. Oil soaps are also safe to use around pets and children. Do not try to make your own vegetable-oil based cleaner and don't mix such a cleaner with other cleaners, like vinegar. Use according to the directions on the bottle.

I'll post pictures soon....right now we've just picked up objects off the floor and swept/vacuumed three times!  Hope our start to spring cleaning inspires you to do the same...it is just good for the soul and will clean out all those mental cobwebs as well! Anyone else doing some FABULOUS spring cleaning...with great tips?!


luck o' the irish

Happy St. Patrick's day!  "If you are lucky enough to be Irish, you are lucky enough!"
Kate and me before school this morning!


Rainbows, pots o' gold, shamrocks, and green!

potato people.

THE blarney castle. The Binegar family went to Ireland last year together. We love our Irish heritage!

Beautiful Ireland.

I heart student art!

In celebration of Youth Art Month, I (Tracy) wanted to share a couple of my favorite art lessons that my students created this year. I teach first grade through six grade visual art and love every minute of it! My students are so inspiring, creative and talented.
nylon wire sculptures inspired by Chihuly.  Beautiful.
My sixth graders built these and did a fantastic job!

milk jug lid mona lisa. 10 feet x 8 feet.
various grade levels worked on this together.
impressive, colorful, and recycled.

elements of art sculpture.
created out of paper. the students reviewed all the elements of art including: line, color, shape, space, form, and texture.

 detail of fabric mural inspired by van gogh.

fabric mural.


Money Tree Tutorial

My (Kate) brother, Chad, turned 30 this month as well, and lets just say he isn't the easiest to buy for; therefore he didn't get this treatment!  Anyway, I did want to do something that has a little extra spunk to it than just giving him cash/gift card.  Chad is a lover of nature and this is what I over time and inspiration came up with...

Money Tree Tutorial

~Used can good (cleaned out)
~Corrugated Cardboard
~Filler (beans/rocks...)
~Hot glue
~$$$$ (I used $30...for 30th birthday)

How To:
1. First, find a branch or two outside.
2. Tape/saw and create your 'look' with your branches.
3. Base: a.Clean up a used can good.
             b.Cut your cardboard to preferred size
             c. Rip the outer layer of cardboard off to reveal inner layer
             d. Hot glue your corrugated cardboard to the clean can

             e. Place branch in base, and fill with 'filler' to the top.

             f. Accent 'base' with twine/ribbon....whatever you are feeling! I left it plain...(more of Chad's style)

Frog Origami:
Now that your base and tree are ready, time to create your money decorations! I have seen many different origami options, but I went with the good old nature frog.  Seemed fitting for Chad and they are super easy, and actually quite adorable (in my opinion).
I watched this You Tube video on how to create the origami frog and really got a hang of it......

my little army...adore them!!!
up close and personal!
------Tie your little froggers to the tree limbs sporadically-----
side note: I did have an assistant (my mom helped for some, husband for others) who aided in holding the frog on while I tied ~ thanks! Using tape or glue will damage the $ potentially......so pick your poisen...  ;)

------My mom and I were discussing how it stinks if you want to actually use the money....so #31 frog was created out of fabric by my magnificent mother......and I LOVE the little guy!  This is so if the $ needs to be used at least you'll have a mini memento!  How cool would it be to make them all out of fabric?!

fabric origami frog (by: Kristy Goodin Soard)

Happy 30th Birthday Chad
Now go create your own masterpiece.....upload pictures because we'd love to see them! This was way more fun than giving a gift card, and the reaction you'll get it is priceless.

.be inspired.


30th Birthday Celebration

Tracy turned 30.....quite a fabulous milestone! I was brainstorming on what to get her....and well....
30 ideas later:

Gift #1--Homemade French Bread




#21-#30 (took this pix early before school..whew)
Now, I don't want this to set a precedent to all my friends and family that still have to turn 30....or anybody else's milestone birthday! Not that I don't love you all, just this idea could only work for either a 10/20/30 (40 and up is just way too much in my opinion).  I just believe in personal birthday gifts that contain a meaning.  Tracy and I both cherish the little things and I know her (I think) VERY well, so coming up with 30 things that Tracy loves was simple.
Here is the list of what was contained in each of those wrapped present of joy!

1.  French Bread-Homemade
2.  Small pencil cap squirrel
3.  Glitter Foam finger ornament
4.  Skittles Candy bag
5.  Glow Sticks
6.  St Patty Lantern
7.  Green binder clips
8.  Asian red/black bowl
9.  Yellow small stove pot
10.   Numbered mug
11.   Squirrel Dental bag/magnet
12.   White bill envelopes (because Tracy embraces old mail billing)
13.   Flower bud vase-mini
14.   “H” iron on
15.   Green file folders
16.   Rainbow bow tie pasta
17.   1st wrinkle cream (which she DOESN'T need...)
18.   eStand (glass)- to hold her new android phone or ipod!
19.   Red dot bowl
20.   Wish orange/yellow candle
21.   Cup of French Vanilla Coffee (to start of her Birthday morning)
23.   Iron on flocked letters
25.  Shreck Valentines
26.  Wine Bag
27.  Green/Orange/Glass pieces cup/vase thing!
28. Big Ben clock (travel)
29. Earring holder (black/sticks)
30. Penny for your thoughts Glass Vase!

I, of course, didn't write down 22/24...and I forget...(Tracy: do you remember..ha)
She received gifts from Monday-Wednesday, Wednesday being her actual birthday. 
Three gifts @ 6:45AM, three gifts @ 9:10AM, two gifts @ 11:45AM, and two gifts @ 3:00PM each day!
It was really fun to bring her the next group of gifts!  I just adore making people smile :)

I wish Tracy nothing but extreme happiness and I know her life will be full of sweetness, kindness, and everyday she will embrace "Carpe Diem"...

Happy 30th Tracy-love you!

#30...tried to get rid of glare...didn't happen...

"Everything I know I learned after 30"
"Penny for your Thoughts"

Happy Birthday Tracy!


Color Theory Inspired Portraits

It is my favorite out of ALL the elements of art.  I (Tracy) love wearing bright colors, teaching my art students the importance of color theroy in their art work, and actually just living colorfully every day!

When it was time for my sixth graders to create their self-portraits this year, I wanted to combine graphic design, color theory, and portraiture with an emphasis on IDENTITY. As a class, we have been exploring this big idea all year. They took their pictures with a digital camera. After uploading it to the computer, I had the students make the photograph black and white and at the  highest contrast. Then I printed them off for the students and using the value scale they "plugged in" their colors ( monocramatic or color families). They ALL turned out beautifully and successfully! I was so happy for them and my new lesson!

I created this lesson in autumn when Kate and I were starting to think about christmas gifts for our friends and family. I adapted the lesson into a fun art project for us and we had a great time creating the following paintings for our family members.  Inspired by children, color, and pop art, these portraits simplify and emphasize at the same time what is important.  There is a beautiful saying, " sometimes less IS more!"

My ( Tracy) brother, Timothy.
I wanted a bold, masculine feeling so I chose a raw black and white value scale.

My brother, Timothy and me (Tracy).
This was a gift for my Mother for christmas. It was an oblong canvas which added to its uniqueness. It was 2' x 6' and I chose the red tones to coordinate with my parents' living room.

My ( Tracy) Papa, Thomas.
 I found a picture from his yearbook when he played basketball at Xavier University. I gave this to him at christmas time, too and the reaction was priceless. Xavier basketball and his experience playing on the team holds a special place in his heart.  I choose Xavier blue, of course! I like the emphasis of his hands on the basketball.

Kate and Gizmo
Kate painted this adorable portrait of her and her dog, Gizmo for her husband, Geoff for christmas. It turned out beautifully! She chose red tones for their 'red room' and it looks amazing in there.