Sunday, September 2, 2018

Nature - Real and Faux

We have deadlines for certain things at work and when it's something that I have control over I like to add a little incentive to it. 

Our staff gets a certain dollar amount to spend on "extra" items they might need for themselves/their classrooms.  Things like holiday pencils for the students, special borders for bulletin boards, extra staplers, electric pencil sharpeners, pretty post-it-notes, purple gel pens (yes, there seems to be a cult of purple-gel-pen users in my building), etc.  

When I distribute the ordering materials, I give them the deadline (usually a week or two before it is actually needed, shhhhhh!) and tell them that the first three orders in get a special prize.

Now, they get about a month to put their orders together and of course, there are the ones who hand them to me almost as soon as I hit send on the e-mail. (These people tend to order the same thing year after year so it's no wonder they already have them done.)  So the #1, #2, and #3 persons get a little extra $ to spend - I split my allotted $ amongst them, so it's not costing the district anything extra. 
 For those that haven't secured the top three places, there is another way they can win a prize.  Anyone who places an order for the exact amount that they were given gets a prize.  

This may sound pretty easy but it isn't.  They use catalogs to pick their items, however, we use a statewide bidding system, so the price in the catalog is usually a bit less.  So there's a bit of trial and error with this.  

Still, I usually get 2 or 3 staff members that "hit the nail on the head" and lot more that are "close but no cigar".  
Since I don't have any more funds to use, what I do is give them something handmade by me.  

I have given live plants before in a variety of containers, but this time, I was inspired by something I saw on Pinterest that used a piece of birch as the container.  During a snowstorm this winter, our neighbor's birch tree was so laden with snow that it was hanging precariously into the street.  The snowplower reported it and the road crew came and cut the tree down.  (Really, shaking the snow off the branches would have been effective and our neighbor could have put restraints on it, but he wasn't there when the chainsaws were.)

HWNSNBP rescued some of the cuttings after he determined our neighbor did not want them.  
I added a section of a styrofoam egg to the top of the wood, covered that with some reindeer moss, and added a raffia bow.  Then I used some paper succulents in varied colors that I had created with dies.  

I'm thinking that I want to add some Spanish moss to these so I may be making some changes when I get home.

Oh, and I put some self-sticking cork on the bottom of these so they don't weep onto anything.  

Stay tuned.


  1. These are great Lorraine!! What a great idea, and I bet everyone who receives one just loves it! Well done:-)

  2. Lovely prizes, great idea for incentive!

  3. How beautiful! Those paper succulents are wonderful - and I like that they are everlasting. I used to have much greener fingers but something happened to them. The birch makes a lovely way of displaying them. My Christmas "tree" last year was a birch branch which I saw a neighbour trim off his tree as I was going to work. I just had time to bring it home and get the next bus, and it had enough branches to hang all my most special ornaments on. Your neighbour's loss was certainly your gain - and your lucky prize-winners'.

  4. I was absolutely convinced those plants were real!!!! I had to read the part about them being created from paper twice to be sure I was understanding it. Gorgeous!


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