Necessity is the mother of invention. When faced with limited resources or lack of artistic skills, I have researched the heck out of projects. I fine-tuned all the advice from others. I then created my own spin on my experiences in crafting, baking, and teaching at the elementary level. My goal is to help people like me, who are by no means experts, but looking to learn a new technique in a user-friendly way.
So, who is Teacher Baker Maker? My name is Maureen, born and bred on Long Island, New York. Of the three topics in my blog, the first one I developed a passion for was baking. Going back to seventh grade, I took Home Economics during the fall. This means we spent lots of time learning how to bake for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I was intrigued with the idea of baking from scratch, as my family typically made cookies out of store bought dough, and used boxed cake mixes. The only family recipe we have is my grandmother’s Irish soda bread. So this Home Ec course really expanded my horizons! I remember being so proud to bake for my family. I looked forward to the holidays each year so that I could whip up what would become my specialties.
While on summer vacation from college, I started doing some crafting – mainly cross stitching. Now, if you have done cross stitching, you know that it could easily take months to make one project. This is definitely not a craft for someone looking for instant gratification! Once I graduated, I did not have as much free time, so my crafting became limited to stitching one Christmas ornament per year.
I was also interested in cake decorating, so I took the Wilton Courses 1, 2, and 3 at the local Michael’s craft store. I quickly became to the go-to person for making cakes for every family occasion and get together with friends. I would spend hours searching the internet for new recipes, and finding ways to make something that could be transported during heat waves or monsoons to bridal showers.
After working in a hospital for a decade, I decided to make a career change to become a teacher. It was a totally different world from the health care industry. But it opened up a whole new mindset of how I could use my skills with elementary school students.
Being that I was never good at any type of freehand art work, I would dread having to decorate bulletin boards or come up with hallway displays. While the “teacher store” sells a huge variety of premade posters and classroom decorations, it was always encouraged to make your own. That way, they would be more meaningful for the students. I would often make banners on the computer, only to find that the graphics software I used would become defunct soon thereafter. This meant I couldn’t update my work the next year. So frustrating!
I had also ventured into creating some printables to sell on Teachers Pay Teachers. I started up my “Teacher, Baker, Candlestick Maker” store on that platform. (Not that I ever made a candlestick in my life, but I liked the riff on the “butcher, baker, candlestick maker” phrase.)
A couple of years ago, I took advantage of a pre-Black Friday sale and bought a Cricut Explore Air 2. I figured I could use it to cut out bulletin board letters, and possibly personalize some gifts for my students with adhesive vinyl. I really didn’t know much about the range of projects that could be made with the Cricut.
After going down the Pinterest rabbit hole and pinning dozens of ideas, I set up a goal to actually try a bunch of them. I discovered that since the Cricut does most of the “detail” work, the results would usually look pretty similar to the original photo. I felt pretty darn proud of myself!
I started to use the Cricut to make signs to hang outside my classroom. My fifth grade students would ask about what I was making next, and would look forward to seeing what would appear for the next holiday.
After learning how to make giant three-dimensional flowers with the Cricut, I decided I somehow had to come up with a bulletin board theme that could include flowers. That display became an attention grabber for anyone visiting my classroom. This would often result in them asking how to make something like that.
A few friends and coworkers also owned a Cricut, or were interested in buying a Cricut. But, they were apprehensive about learning how to design a project. They asked if I could hold a class showing them how to use the software and the machine. Trying to come up with a time and place that worked for everyone was tricky.
So, I decided to start a blog that would teach beginners how to make projects using the Cricut. While some of the projects are classroom-related, others are for a variety of uses in the home and as gifts. Some of my featured crafts do not use a Cricut at all. Instead, they involve using supplies you might already have lying around your house. Since I also get lots of requests for my recipes, I decided to include those on the blog as well.
The Teacher Baker Maker blog was born in early March 2020. (I dropped the “Candlestick” part of my TpT store name when picking a blog name so as not to confuse anyone.) Learning the technology behind getting this website up and running is definitely challenging, and has inspired me to expand my skillset even more.
Now, when someone asks me for a recipe, how to make a craft, or wants a copy of a resource I use in my classroom, I can tell them to check out my blog, as all of my best ideas are in one place!
So curl up with your device and a cup of tea (or coffee, or wine!) and come along on a journey with me. I am looking forward to sharing my ideas with you!
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