Wow, these last few weeks have been absolutely crazy. I have tons of posts that I need to write about things that have gone on lately, but I’m going to start with this one ’cause it’s actually pretty fresh (as in, recent). Two weekends ago, my church, Irvington Covenant, had an outdoor festival for the community called Celebrate Kids. Then last week we had Vacation Bible School (VBS) every weeknight from 6:30 to 8:30. I was involved with both events to different extents. For VBS I was just helping my friend Cindy teach the 5th and 6th grade class. We had an average of about 3 kids each night, so it wasn’t too intense. Cindy did most of the work. I was nervous about it ’cause I was so tired from the work I did on Celebrate, but it ended up being really good and I got the opportunity to get to know the kids from our church and a few from the neighborhood who came as a result of coming to Celebrate. I used to work with kids a lot in Seattle, but this is the first time I have at all since then. It was kinda fun. :)
So, back to Celebrate. My friend Ariel and I were in charge of games. We had four carnival style booths and were also planning a couple of events that were to happen at various points throughout the afternoon. So, we had to gather the supplies for the games, recruit volunteers and all that as well as plan the events. We ended up having a ring toss, a bean bag toss, a fishing game and a balloon darts game. They all went really well and the volunteers who ran them did an excellent job with the steady stream of kids that kept them busy. I think the kids had a really good time.
Of the three events we were supposed to coordinate, one was a wheelchair race, and a young lady named Angel ran that. She is (or used to be) the events coordinator for Irvington Village, a retirement community adjacent to and affiliated with our church. She enjoys giving the kids an opportunity to interact with some of the residents of the Village. We didn’t have to do anything fort hat part, but it looked like it went really well. Then the second event was a cake walk! It was pretty fun stuff. We asked people in the church to sign up to make or bring cakes or other desserts and whoever wanted to could walk around the circle and if their number was called when the music stopped… free cake! Pretty good deal, eh? The third event was a set of team relay races that Ariel and I had planned, one of which involved filling up a ton of water balloons at 1:00am the night before!
The idea with these was that we would close down the carnival game booths and have all the kids come over and split up into two teams and compete in a series of events. Because of how much stuff was going on and a little bit of last minute planning on all of our parts, we ended up deciding to skip the team events and just keep the game booths open a little later. At about the time when we were going to have that last event our youth pastor Sahaan got in the dunk tank, and for $1 toward the youth ministry anyone who paid had three chances to dunk him. Therewere a lot of takers. Needless to say he got dunked many times. So, trying to compete with that was a lost cause. I think it was a good decision to cancel the group games.
So, other than games, there was free food for everyone who came, crafts and play areas (sand and water, etc) for little kids, and great music going on the whole time. It was definitely a success. A lot of people came, and even thought I was working most of the time, even I had a blast. You might think that helping to plan that stuff would take some time and could perhaps be sort of tiring, but the main thing that made me really exhausted in the weeks before and after Celebrate was something else I volunteered to do that I just went a little overboard on. My friend Vanessa was in charge of registration for the event, and Toby, the guy who was in charge of the whole thing had asked her if she could make name tags for the volunteers to wear. I heard Vanessa mention that in a list of things she had to do, and I offered to take that over for her, ’cause I like creative stuff like that. So, as with many things I do, I kinda went over and above unnecessarily and decided to hand paint and laminate each one. Everyone thought I was crazy, but it was a fun process, if extremely tiring.
So, I’m not sure exactly how many days I worked on it for, but I know there were at least five late nights, four of which I had friends helping me considerably.The first night was with my friend Heather, who I hadn’t talked to for maybe four years. She called me up because my dad had called her work by coincidence, and we decided to hang out and in the process she would help me with the project. So, we got dinner, went to a couple different stores and bought the supplies we needed and headed over to Fireside Coffee Lodge to get started. I started cutting out name-tag-sized pieces of card stock and as I got them cut Heather started painting backgrounds on them in watercolor. Once I was done with the cutting I started painting as well. Heather set the standard really high; I was just going to do abstract stuff or solid color backgrounds with gradients or something, but she started actually painting images. So, I followed suit, and everyone that helped me thereafter did the same. I think the results are a lot cooler than they would have been because she did that. Granted, it took a lot longer! So, that night we stayed up until maybe just after midnight I think.
The next late night event was with my friend Audra and my sister, again at Fireside Coffee Lodge (a good place to do stuff like this). They agreed to help me out with painting more backgrounds and we got the majority of them painted that night. Actually, we got all the ones I had already cut out done. Their help was greatly appreciated and they too came up with some great backgrounds. Then, the third and fourth nights were hanging out with my friend Phil. The first night was on a Monday and we started out at his place, setting up a document on the computer with everyone’s names in a font I liked and printing those out and cutting them to the appropriate sizes. Once we had all the names printed out and cut to the same size as the painted backgrounds, we also cut out equal sized pieces of carbon paper, and began transferring the outlines of the names from the print outs onto the painted backgrounds. We got all the outlines of the names transferred by maybe 11:00 or something, but we hadn’t started painting them in yet. I had so much to do and so little time that I wanted to get a lot done that night, so Phil was willing to stay up late and keep working on it with me. He and I used to stay up all night in high school working on projects like this, so it was kinda fun in a crazy sleep-depraved way.
Phil’s wife was going to sleep and he needed to go grocery shopping still that night, so we embarked on our crazy plan. We went together over to Winco and did the shopping, came back and unloaded it all, and then drove over to Fireside Coffee Lodge once again. This was Phil’s first experience working at a coffeeshop, as he’s not a coffee drinker, but I think he enjoyed the atmosphere (if not the lack of large quantities of readily available and cheap caffeinated soda). Anyway, while we were there we painted in all of the letters on all the name tags we had transferred the outlines for using some acrylic paint that Phil supplied. This long night had my neck killing me as we finished up at nearly 3:30am. But we had the name tags almost done! As we finished each one we put them up on the ledge by the window, and Phil took this cool photo right before we left.
After that I took a break (well, from name tags at least) until Thursday when Phil and I normally hang out during the week. He graciously was willing to help me finish them up that night at his place. That night we added about five names to the list that we didn’t have before and did the whole process for those five. Then we did the outlines for all the ones we had painted. For this Phil had suggested using “paint markers” and he bought some from his work, C2F, for this purpose. This was the first time I had used them and they worked really well. After we had finished the outlining we laminated them in sets of five using Phil’s laminating machine, and then cut them out individually with X-Acto knives. We finished all of them that we had to do at around 2:00am that night. It was a good feeling. We took this second photo of them all spread out on our cutting boards. They look pretty cool all together like that.
So, after that night I was almost done, but the next morning I received or just thought of a few more names that really needed to be done, so I did about four more myself the night before Celebrate–actually with the help of my three year old niece, Allie. I was painting the backgrounds when she came in, and of course she wanted to paint too. So, I let her try, and I think she made two of the best backgrounds of the whole set. :) Anyway, that night I finished those four by driving to Kinko’s at 11:00pm to have them laminated. And as I was driving there, I got a text message from my friend Ariel asking if I was still up. “Yep, I’m driving to Kinko’s right now.” was my reply. So, she called me and wanted to see if I could come over and help fill water balloons. See, water balloons won’t fill unless you blow them up with air first, so that was my job. We filled a huge bin of them until about 1:00am or so. Then, I went back home and made the cords for the name tags by cutting lengths of black nylon rope and melting each end over a candle until 4:00am. I never get any sleep the night before anything big. Oh well. They turned out really nice and the volunteers appreciated how much work went into them. It was a fun project. :)
Phil wisely suggested that I scan each name tag before laminating them and giving them out so that we wouldn’t loose all that work forever, so we did that. (I forgot to mention, we did that on that second night at his place as well, and I scanned the last four in at my house on that Friday night before the event). So, if you’d like to check out the fruits of our labor, click here to see them all, along with the credits of who painted each background and who painted each one’s lettering. :) Hope you like ‘em. Also, Phil wrote a blog entry about our nights working on this together and you can see all the rest of his photos of the process there. Thanks for reading.