12 Questions With Happily Ever Elementary
Posted by Jenna Cicero on Mar 20th 2023
Stephanie Osmundson and Loreal Hemenway are two Las Vegas art teachers and the creators behind Happily Ever Elementary. The best of friends for over twelve years and teaching together for nearly eight, Happily Ever Elementary started as a simple social media page to share classroom ideas with other teachers online. Now their social media has well over 150 thousand followers combined!
When our team at Carson Dellosa reached out to Stephanie and Loreal about creating a decor line, they wanted to stay true to their niche while striving to produce a colorful, textured, realistic-looking aesthetic that made certain styles more accessible and affordable for teachers. The Creatively Inspired collection does just that: it’s a line of functional décor that helps foster a positive and creative environment where teachers are excited to teach and students are inspired to learn. Learn more about Stephanie and Loreal’s journey, their excitement for the Creatively Inspired collection, and why you should be, too with 12 fun-filled questions with Happily Ever Elementary!
What made you both want to become teachers?
Loreal grew up knowing she wanted to be a teacher. She comes from a family of teachers and played “school” in her mom’s classroom for a majority of her childhood. She was born to teach! It was Loreal who convinced me, Stephanie, to switch my college major to Elementary Education during my freshman year. She shared a video of teacher-gone-poet, Taylor Mali, performing his famous poem “What Teachers Make” and the rest is history. Teachers make a difference. That is the driving force for Loreal and I.
How long have you been teaching, and which grades do you teach?
We have been teaching together for nearly eight years! Although we both have a background in primary education teaching kindergarten and first grade, we are now art teachers.
How did you ladies start Happily Ever Elementary?
Happily Ever Elementary started as a simple social media page to share classroom ideas with other teachers online. It soon turned into a chance to create classroom resources and decor for others who appreciated our colorful, engaging, and often, over the top, lessons and student work displays who also had a flair for bulletin boards, fun activities, and classrooms that feel like Disneyland!
Where do you both find inspiration?
Everywhere! Whether we are reading, shopping, or playing with our kids at the park, we are always finding the most random and unexpected sources of inspiration. Once we discussed how we had both seen the new packaging on Wendy’s kids meals and were blown away by the graphics and vibrancy. If we are moved or excited by something we see, we will more than likely try to create a teacher resource or product to emulate that feeling.
Favorite part of the Creatively Inspired collection?
We are beyond smitten with the open-ended functionality and the three-dimensional depth that the graphics capture. We have always enjoyed the “do it yourself” approach to decor and renovating on a budget… However, it has meant that our projects or designs may not be achievable or realistic for others to recreate. The Creatively Inspired classroom theme allows everyone who wants a stylized, organized, and beautiful classroom, to have it! With affordable resources and trendy elements, Creatively Inspired has delivered the classroom decor of our dreams!
Favorite border combination from Creatively Inspired?
We are BIG fans of the black and white border with the rough arches. It reminds us of a raw scallop and it fills us with so much joy! That paired with the blended the rainbow border that is wonderfully vibrant and has a stunning texture is perfection. It is a great balance of color and design. That being said, you really can’t go wrong with the birch AND rainbow print border. That is a “two-for,” where you get “two for” the price of one!
What tip(s) do you have for teachers that want to transform their classroom but don’t have a huge budget to change everything?
Start with the areas that will give you the best bang for your buck! Our front white boards are always the first space in mind because that is where we lead our instruction. We need that space to not only operate well for us, but it is usually the first space that grabs others’ attention. We want borders, alphabet lines, calendars, objectives, reference posters, vocabulary, and schedules to be organized, clean, and, of course, cute! Oftentimes, if those things are bright, colorful, and dimensional, you don’t need to spend a ton of money on extra decor from the store or on pricey furniture.
How long have you two been best friends?
We have been the best of friends for over twelve years!
What is your go-to Starbucks order?
The Stephanie special would be a Trenta Iced Green Tea with 4 Splendas, and of course a Grande Iced Vanilla Latte for Loreal!
Favorite color combo?
Oh boy, it’s easier to say which colors we aren’t fans of… red and dark purple! Our go-to color scheme is usually a bright and airy rainbow with a neutral pattern (birch wood or black and white muted prints).
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Food! Salty OR sweet depending on the day. We both really enjoy a “mommy’s night out” over some loaded fries and a sweet margarita. If it’s been an especially long week, cookies will always fit the bill.
What are three words you think your students would use to describe the both of you?
We are lucky to be so incredibly close in every way and to split our teaching contract, so it’s not that surprising that our students often mix us up! They might use these three words to describe us… FUN-LOVING, CREATIVE, and ENCOURAGING!
From three-dimensional classroom accents to vibrant bulletin board sets, Stephanie and Loreal can’t wait for educators everywhere to get their hands on the products in this collection to create learning spaces that are beautiful, creative, and functional. Check out the Creatively Inspired collection—available now!