Slip slidin’ Summer….

Hello My Darling DJ Friends!
It’s been a while since I’ve written on my DJ blog.  I really hope you’re having an incredible summer.  It’s seems to be slipping away one hot, sticky, fabulous day at a time.  I just returned from my summer vacation, completely renewed and ready to dive into Back to School smiles for the classroom.   Yeahooo!  Ready or not….here it comes!
I’d love to hear from you if you have a second to drop me a line and let me know what your ‘themes’ and ideas for decorating your classrooms are this year.  Are ‘owls’ still the popular thing?  (Seemed like owls were everywhere I looked for a couple of years?!).  I know many of you have written and asked if I could draw certain ‘school mascots’.  I smile every time I receive a request like that…my elementary school mascot was the ‘Lincoln Elementary Bobcats’, and I drew one in 5th grade that ‘won’ the tee-shirt contest that year.  I was SO proud to be seeing my design on the school shirt.  If I have enough ‘requests’ for a certain mascot or theme, I would love to get busy drawing a download for you.
Again… I’m back in the saddle and rarin’ to go.  I have some fun projects and downloads I’m working right now that I know you’re going to love.  Stay tuned…and do drop me a line here on the DJ blog to let me know how YOU are and what SMILES you need to get your Back to School groove started.
Big heart and more SMILES to you!!
Dianne
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A happy miracle…

Darling DJ Friends…

 

I want to share with you a ‘miracle’ that happened to me this week.

 

It’s been a long (weird?) month.  Busy, crazy schedules, everyone I know seems to have some problems and issues that are difficult and the weather outside in Florida is getting hotter and more humid every day.  Not my favorite for sure.  You know…not really awful stuff…just some ‘life crud’ stuff.

 

And then I received one of those little pink slips saying ‘come pick this up at the post office’ in my mailbox.  Thinking it was probably a free magazine subscription or something, I let it sit on my bill pile for a bit.  Then finally, after a week or so, could avoid it no longer and went to the post office and picked up a box from a name I didn’t know, from a city I’ve never heard of.

 

I hesitantly opened it up.  And what I found inside was nothing short of a miracle for me.  A big box full of projects a fabulous teacher had created with DJ Inker’s art and made throughout her 22 year career in teaching.  I’ve asked her if it was ok to blog about it, and she assured me that it was fine.  Penny…an angel for sure…sent me a letter and project after darling project she had made for her kids, church and school over the years.  And included a letter that had me in tears from the first sentence, and smiles the rest of the time.  I don’t know Penny personally, but I love her.  She is on a mission of kindness and love in her life that just made me stop in awe.  What a blessing to know people like she and her husband are doing.

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I’ve said this many times…no one has a better ‘job’ than I do.  I crazy love my work, the people  I meet and am able to draw for.  I am wildly blessed in this area.  But!  There are some challenges for sure, and one of them is loneliness on this side of the screen.  I spend a lot of hours alone with my work, wondering if I’m doing something that matters, and if I’ll be able to pay the bills.  So that is why… this incredible box from Penny was a miracle.   I could go on and on about the projects she created with DJ Inker’s art, but the heart, time and effort she took to send it to me and share what she made was the miracle for me!

 

I know it takes a lot of time to add heart and smiles to the things we do.  And there are days (many) that we all wonder if it’s worth it.  And I can promise you, for sure…that it is.  What we do matters.  How we care, create and pass along the love and smiles in our lives to those around us truly does matter.  Penny knows this.  I know this for sure about Penny and many of you that care about your efforts to make this world a better place.  One smile at a time.

 

Much love and thank you for letting me be part of your creations and know for sure that you’re in my heart and thoughts as well.

 

Here’s to a fabulous June!!

 

Dianne

 

P.S. Speaking of SMILES… did you know we’ve got a CONTEST going right now?  Yup… Just by taking a few minutes for your creative soul to make someone smile… you could WIN $25 to spend at DJ Inkers!!!

winsmiles

It’s easy.  All you have to do is create a ‘Smile Today’ card (a little note to make someone smile).  Click here to see the daily smiles that we have created for some inspiration!  Your ‘Smile Today’ card must include:  a happy thought or quote, 1+ DJ image, and 1+ DJ font.  Please size approximately: 3.5″ x 5″ (or 500 pixels x 700 pixels), wide or tall… in jpg or PDF format.  Email your entries to smiles@djinkers.com by: June 10, 2014.  Limit 3 entries per person.

 

TWO LUCKY WINNERS will get a $25 DJ gift certificate!  And your friends will be the official judges!!!  We will post all of our entries on facebook and pintrest… and let the voting begin.  The 2 entries with the most likes/shares/comments in a week will be our winners.  :)  Winning entries will also be featured on next month’s Digital Crafting & Home Creations Email.  :)

I’m not sure when I got hooked on DJ Inkers…

We are so happy to introduce our guest blogger, Patty Rutenbar! Take it away Patty…

 

I’m not sure when I got hooked (Ha! No pun intended!) on DJ Inkers, but I do know it was a long time ago.   (The DJ behind DJ Inkers is Dianne Hook!)

 

When I first started blogging and creating things the only clip art I had was DJ Inkers.  I knew that they would allow me to make anything I wanted with their clip art and use it with my class. But in the beginning, I really want to start sharing what I made to see if others might like my work. I spoke with the staff from DJ Inkers several times to be sure that I was doing the right thing. At the time, their rule was that if you made something with their clip art you could only give it away for free. That was fine at first, but then I realized that if I could sell it, I might make a bit of money too.

 

Not long after that, DJ Inkers introduced their commercial licenses for people who wanted to sell things with their clip art or fonts. I picked up their license right away. Again, I asked lots of questions and they were always, ALWAYS very easy to talk to and had answers for me. I never felt criticized or shamed because I asked a silly question or if I needed to make some changes to something I was doing.

 

I always encourage others to pick up their license if they want to use DJ Inkers clip art or fonts. You can read more about it here.

Fraction Frenzy

 

If you go to my store, you’ll see that I do have a lot of their clip art and fonts in my work. I’ve also been fortunate enough to have them buy some of my work.

 

(There’s a boost to my morale! Thinking that THEY like MY stuff was so exciting!)   The first thing they bought from me was Fraction Frenzy.  They even bought a few others too!

 

I want to show you how I recently incorporated some of their clip art with that of some other artists.

This is actually something I made last year, but it needed to be updated. It’s funny how I just loved it when I first made it, but now, I love it even more.

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(Click the picture to go directly to my store.)

 

Because DJ fonts are so popular & great for making projects for school, we’ve decided to give away one ‘DJ Fonts for Teachers’ download!!! Hopefully this will help you with your creations.  Enter below…

 

Smiles to YOU…

Patty Rutenbar

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Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!!!

Dear DJ Friends…

 

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!  It just makes me smile to type that out.  I know we sound like a broken record here at DJ Inker’s for our love of teachers (the many various sorts).  But…truly… we’re so grateful for the many teachers we’ve worked with over the years.  Your support and creativity with how you’ve used DJ clipart and fonts over the years inspires us and keeps me going.  Really…I can’t thank you enough!

 

Going to drop into the ol’ memory bank here for a bit and tell you about my first grade teacher Mrs. Merrill.  In my seven year old mind, she was the prettiest teacher in our elementary school, smelled like jasmine and spoke in a quiet singsong voice.  She was the teacher that when it was her turn to be the teacher on the playground, all we wanted to do for recess was hold her hand and listen to her stories about when she was young.  She also used a lot of Carson-Dellosa art work in her room and that’s when I fell deeply in love with big bold colors and cute smiles on the bulletin boards she decorated our room with.  I can’t thank Mrs. Merrill enough for ‘planting the seed of creativity’ in me at an early age.  And I wish I could buy the perfume she wore every day!  I know we all have that one special teacher that made a huge difference in our lives and sent us on a path we would have never gone on if they hadn’t presented a new way of learning and taught us the skills to achieve it.

To teach is to touch lives forever

As I’m sure every teacher has heard a million times, “to teach is to touch lives forever”.  It’s an old quote, but a true one.  One week during a year doesn’t seem like enough time to thank the teachers that have changed our lives forever.  So it’s my sincere hope that this week is a fabulous one for every teacher, parent and educator!

 

Our way of thanking you is putting the entire DJ Inker’s store on SALE.  Every single smile your heart desires at the DJ store is 25% off (excluding commercial licenses).  And we have a bunch of ‘freebies’ and thank you gifts as well.  It’s our way of saying how much we appreciate working with each of you.  Stop by our website before the end of the day May 7, 2014 to enjoy the sales & smiles of Teacher Appreciation Week!

 

Huge heart and THANK YOU for being a teacher!  You are so appreciated.

 

Dianne

Our Family Recipe Book

Dear friends…

 

Alix here… happy to be guest-blogging again.  :)  With Mother’s Day coming up, my siblings and I have been brainstorming some fun ideas for Mom.  After 30 years, it’s getting hard to continue being creative… coming up with new ideas & creations to impress Mom & let her know just how AWESOME she is!  But, it’s totally worth it… and we always think of something.  After having my first baby last year, I am constantly asking my mom how on earth she managed all 5 of us hoodlums.  What a brave soul.  Nothing makes you appreciate your parents like becoming one yourself.

Hook Family Recipe Book

 

So last year, before I gave birth to my now-very-busy son (that time long ago when I still had time on my hands to really get creative)… I did something pretty cool for my mom.  (It was for our entire family, actually.)  I made the ‘Hook Family Recipe Book.’   Hopefully reading a little bit about this will give you some ideas of your own!  Maybe you can use this concept for YOUR recipes!  Make one as a wonderful Mother’s Day gift idea this year… or as a Christmas gift for the entire family.

 

What gave me the inspiration was actually my Grandma (my mom’s mom).  She gave a book of her recipes to my mom many years ago.  To this day, it is one of the few items my sisters and I all want to call DIBS on to inherit someday.  It is such a treasure.  It’s handwritten, and full of not only incredible recipes… but also pages and pages of stories!  She wrote about her kitchen experiences growing-up… learning to cook for a house-full of boys (10 brothers!!!).   There were so many difficult things that she had to figure out (like how to kill & pluck a chicken) in order to cook.  Things that we take for granted as we run to the store for a package of chicken that’s clean and ready to go.  Phew.  Well, I talked my mom into letting me borrow the book for a bit so that I could scan in all those priceless stories and select a few recipes to add to this recipe book I was making.

 

From there it was quite the collaborative effort.  I dedicated the whole first section to my grandma, and then gave every member of my immediate family a section too.  I asked everyone to hand-write (if legible) a few of their favorite recipes and add a story about why the recipe was a favorite.  So, everyone knew what I was making (sort of), they just didn’t know the details of what anyone else was doing.

 recipes

I used adorable DJ Kitchen Doodles’ clip art to create the cover and the section pages for each person.  Of course, DJ fonts are used throughout the book for the table of contents, index, a dedication letter from me AND for those few members of my family with doctor-y handwriting.  Haha!

 

more recipes

 I must say… it turned out really neat.  I wish I could post the entire book for you to see.  The gals who helped me print it at the copy-shop were even asking me for details.  I refer to the book often and I hope my family does too.  It’s been fun to try out everyone’s different recipes and learn more about them through reading the stories we shared & our fun little doodles.  (We are our mother’s children.)  It is a project that I will always hold dear… and hope that someday, my kids will beg for a copy.

 

Should you decide to make one for yourself & your family, I give you fair warning… it was a LOT of work.  Far more than I ever anticipated.  But, again, totally worth it.  And it definitely made Mom smile… which was why I came-up with the crazy plan in the first place.  I love you, Mom!  :)

 

Serious kudos and major respect to ALL the dedicated mothers out there!  I hope you are spoiled rotten on Mother’s Day.

 

Smiles to YOU!

~Alix

 

Enter below to win your own copy of DJ Inker’s ‘Kitchen Doodles’ clip art!

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30-40-50 and almost 60

Dear Friends…
I just got home from an incredible journey (it took me 10 minutes to think of the right ‘word’ to describe this journey).  Incredible sort of describes it.  Exhausting and overwhelming and magnificent also somewhat come close!

 

A couple of years ago…my daughter suggested that when she, her husband, and I all turn 30,40, and 50 (in the same year) that we go on a trip to celebrate the decades we’ve all been alive and very blessed to be on planet earth together.  Being as my sweetheart is ‘almost’ 60 he was coming too.  Fortunately (most of the trip) my ‘almost 1 year old’ grandson came along as well.

 

We went to the Netherlands, Germany and Austria.  Having never been to any of those countries before I gotta say that I was only ‘very‘ excited to see where the Sound of Music (favorite film of ALL time!) took place and NOT eat sauerkraut.  Ohhhh how wrong I was.  Two weeks, roaming around from train to train with my loved ones and seeing some of the most beautiful places on planet earth (that I’ve ever seen in my entire life!) was just about too much happiness.  I was on beauty-stimuli overload!  The people, history, art, cobble-stone streets, the fantastic food (don’t get me started on how amazing french fries are in this part of the world!) and the sheer stunning-ness of the locations we went to was….well, I’ve already use all the words I know how to use to describe it.  I’m just now, after being home for a couple of days, catching my breath.  Let me just add a little p.s. to this….if you’re in Salzburg Austria, go on the Sound of Music tour.  I cried like a baby over every song and gazebo I saw while on it.  And…go to Hallstatt Austria for a look at what I imagine heaven to be like.  Send me a postcard when you do.  I’ll completely understand how it’s difficult to come up with the right ‘words’ to describe it.

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It’s good to be home, and not smell like a street urchin and have Wi-Fi available anytime I want.  And to be with my loved ones here whom I can describe with the same words as I did the trip. I guess always the important lesson to remember is… love exactly where you are and who you’re with.  Life and trips of a lifetime go by so quickly.  I can’t remember who said “be here now”.  But what a good statement to live by.

 

I love traveling.  Always have.  Near or far…I’m a gypsy at heart it seems.  Traveling has been the best education of my life.  It changes and inspires me to draw and write more and to just be a better person towards all people.  I believe with all of my heart that around the world, we pretty much want the same thing.  To be happy and have our loved ones happy as well.

 

I’m back to the drawing board for DJ Inkers to share with you what inspired me on this journey…and throwing in another load of wash right as soon as I send this off.

Here’s ‘to 50′ being the BEST year ever!

Big ALPS smiles and heart….
Dianne

Let the MAGIC begin!!

My Magical DJ Friends!

I finally did it!  I’ve had ‘draw SUPER HEROES’ on my list for far too long now.  Ohhh my gosh…it’s TOO CUTE!  I love love LOVE it.  Seems like when I’m creating designs that I can find bazillions of ‘uses’ for and are fun to connect with, the creation process is even more magical.  I certainly appreciated the inspiration friends, family and YOU provide me with.  I have many SUPER HEROES in my life and with each little character I drew, I would smile and thing “that’s perfect!”.  Hope you enjoy and create super smiles with the new super hero set!  (Wham POW Zing!).  I know it will be a hit at your home and classroom.  (You can even use the bonus papers & blank comic strip to really let loose!)

SuperHero clip art

And what I know for sure….creating anything is a magical process!  And to help you out we have all kinds of MAGICAL designs on sale this week.  The Fairytale Collection is available now for your DJ Magic sampleimmediate  downloading pleasure as well as our BORDERS CD (a customer favorite!!).  You’ll find hours of fun creating projects for spring with these great collections.

 

We have a longtime, darling friend of DJ Inkers named Weezie that created a family storybook for her grandchildren with the Fairytale collection designs which absolutely melted my heart.  She was generous enough to send us a copy.  I can only imagine how much her children love it.  What a fun thing to make for your family.  I’ve got to get busy making one for MY grandbabies now!

fairy book

I absolutely love seeing what you’re creating with DJ Inker’s art. It’s what sharing a smile is all about.  Sprinkle some fairy dust on your imagination and enjoy!!

 

Hope your weekend is filled with springtime MAGIC!

Dianne

Smile today!

Hooray!!  The weekend is finally here!

 

And to kick it off ‘right’…I wanted to send you a happy little thought we’d like to call:  ‘Smile Today.’  I’ve posted a few of these DJ Daily Smiles to our gallery, Facebook and Pinterest.  (I know the word ‘daily’ is deceiving…but DJ whenever-I-can-get-to-it just didn’t sound right!)  It makes me SO happy when I can pass on a smile and see them pop-up DJ Smile Today 5on all the social media places. I created this one with DJ Early Years Art (which is, happily, on SALE this week! Yeahoo!) and our NEW DJ Simple font.

 

Will you help me out?  Please leave me a comment on the DJ Blog with your favorite saying or quote. I’d love to use some of YOUR inspiring words to create future DJ Daily Smiles.  There’s a CONTEST below with a great prize involved if you DO!  ;)

 

If you want to create your own DJ Daily smile with your favorite DJ clip art and DJ fonts (ohhh please do!!), simply save it as a jpg and email it to smiles@djinkers.com.  We will share it with the whole fabulous DJ world!

 

May your weekend be restful and full of whatever helps your recover from a long week!

 

Big heart and smiles to YOU!

 

Dianne

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Decorate your kids bedrooms, nursery or playroom with a DJ smile!

Hello DJ friends…

I’m Alix (office manager, director, Dianne’s daughter etc. at DJ Inkers)… and I’ll be your guest blogger for this evening.  :)  As some of you may know, I recently had my first baby… 9 days after my sister, Abby had her first baby.  Yep, these 2 adorable boys have made DJ a grandma.  (And let me just say, she is GOOD at it!)

 

Well, naturally, as we were preparing for the boys to arrive, I began to do a little nesting.  (OK, a lot of nesting.)  My hubby and I went crazy coming-up with new ideas & decorations for our fun pirate themed nursery.  Suddenly, I began to see DJ Inker’s clip art in a whole new light.  It is PERFECT for making customized & ridiculously cute things for my baby boy.  I could go on about all of these ideas for pages, but I won’t.  Today, I just want to focus on using our cute clip art and fonts for decorating your kid’s rooms!

 

We decided to use ‘Pirate’s Plunder’ to make some cool pictures & a custom name sign to frame-up for Jackson’s wall.  It was truly the easiest thing… and we get compliments on these all the time.  Pick a theme, find some art & a font that you LOVE, then play!  Once we were happy with the layout, we got some inexpensive frames at the craft store & voila!  Customized, unique decorations in my theme.  Have a look:

 

Pirate Room

We had so much fun, we couldn’t stop there!  My mom also continued the theme & the fun piratey ideas for our baby shower invitations, thank you notes & more!

Pirate baby shower

It was such an amazing experience to go through pregnancy with my sister.  We went through all of the ups and downs together, shared ideas & advice & whined on each other’s shoulders about ‘WHEN will these boys finally come OUT?!?!’  So, of course, I had to make a little something for my nephew using DJ clip art too!  Abby had a jungle theme going for her nursery, so I busted out ‘Critter Craze.’  This project, again, was really FUN to make, perfectly customized and looked quite professional finished-out in a basic black frame.  (Note, for this project I also used a few images from my personal favorite collection: ‘Kidoodlez: Wonder-Full World.’)  I’m pretty proud of how this turned out:

 

Critter Craze name sign

The possibilities for decorating are truly endless.  We’ve got sweet, cute or playful clip art for just about any theme you can come-up with.  If you’re ever looking for something specific, don’t hesitate to email us & ask (smiles@djinkers.com).  We love helping you with your projects and, even MORE, we love to see the things that you create.  It’s truly inspiring.  Seeing your creations makes our art come to life and reminds us why we do what we do here at DJ Inkers.  I hope this post gives YOU some fun ideas for projects to make… and a fun new way to look at clip art.

 

Smiles to YOU!

Alix :)

Yay for our Guest Blogger! Bringing smiles to teaching the 3 Branches of Government

We are excited to introduce Aris, our first GUEST BLOGGER at DJ Inkers.  :) We just love her ideas… & it’s so fun to see what she’s done with our clip art and fonts!  Plus, President’s Day is right around the corner… so the theme is perfect!  So, without further ado…

 

Hello DJ friends!  I’m Aris Rossi from Sailing into Second and I’m beyond excited to be guest posting for Dianne today! {Holy moly these are some HUGE shoes to fill!} Today I’ll be sharing some mini lessons on the 3 Branches of Government using DJ Inkers Kidoodlez U.S.A Clip Art!

 

In social studies, we’ve been learning about our U.S. Government, specifically the 3 branches of government. I started out with a pictorial input chart (a strategy adapted from Project GLAD)
where I created colorful visuals of information (picture notes) to describe each of the three branches. I drew the picture as I described each of the vocabulary words and concepts. I also used colors to organize/chunk important information. It’s super important to revisit the chart on multiple occasions to add additional information or images.  We always keep our pictorial input charts available as resources all around the classroom. At the end of the unit, I “auction” the charts or KWL’s off to students…they go b-a-n-a-n-a-s over them! It’s absolutely hilarious! Here’s an example of the one we’ve been using during this unit.

One activity I used to help my students remember what each branch does and is responsible for was this fun sorting activity! 

When introducing a new unit (for social studies, math, science, or even language arts) I also like to use an inquiry chart (very similar to KWL) to assess and activate background knowledge, address misconceptions, teach revision and learning as a continuous process, and to model reading/writing skills. I know…sounds like it couldn’t possibly hit up all of that stuff, but it really does! This strategy comes from the inquiry method approach to science to think, predict, and hypothesize. The students also keep a copy for themselves in their social studies interactive notebooks to refer back to after we finish our unit (see below for example). 
 During small reading group centers, I pulled out these informational text reading passages and comprehension activities I created about each of the 3 branches. We spent a few days doing close reads with these bad boys to really soak in all the great information found in each passage!
In addition to all the informational text reading, we dove into all academic vocabulary using my vocabulary matching game and cards! They loved all the vocabulary flip books too!


We even got to create some awesome patriotic stories using picture cards! Isn’t the clip art simply ADORABLE?!?

Overall, I’d say they enjoyed learning about a topic that might not always be a hit with the kids. It really helps to branch out (no pun intended!) and teach this topic across the curriculum. We spent many days focusing on the important aspects of our U.S. Government, but really made it accessible to my students in a variety of ways and activities. DJ Inkers Kiddodlez U.S.A. Clip Art made these activities and worksheets MUCH cuter!  What are some ways you use DJ Inkers in your classroom?  I’d love to hear all about it!

 

And as a special gift, DJ Inkers has a coupon just for YOU to SAVE 25%!  All you have to do is enter coupon code:  DJUSA in the box at the bottom of the ‘view cart’ page, click apply & enjoy!  Just be sure to use your coupon before it expires on President’s Day (February 17, 2014).

 

Sailing into 2ndIf you liked these ideas you can find the full 3 Branches of Government Unit here! I’d also love it if you would stop by my blog at Sailing into Second! 

 

 

-Aris Rossi

 

 

Thank YOU, Aris!   You are adorable.  Teachers like you make us look good.  ;) 

 

If you are interested in being a guest blogger at DJ Inkers, please contact us (smiles@djinkers.com) & send us an idea for what you might like to blog about.  :)