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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Smurf’s Up

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for anything blue

I attended a meeting of our six-year-old's school PTO (Penalizing Their Offspring) meeting. I figured I would score some brownie points for future use. The topic was the upcoming Fall Festival. It used to be called a Halloween Carnival. I guess to be politically correct the name was changed to downplay witches, goblins, and ghosts. Did I mention the school mascot was the Blue Devils?

Besides the usual assortment of booths for dunking, pie throwing, food, and games of chance, there would be a table set aside for silent auction items. As I had no desire to be dunked and felt all pies should be taken internally, I quickly volunteered to create an item for the silent auction. But what?

I glanced at my last blog post about handcrafted memories and decided I would make a quilt. Ok, "quilt" is like saying you want a coke with that burger when you really want a Dr. Pepper. It was two weeks till the festival, so there was no way I could actually quilt a quilt. I opted for a combination of tacking and quilting. I needed a gimmick to get people to bid on my project. Sometimes my quilting can be like my cooking…got all the required ingredients but it doesn't look like anything edible.

My six-year-old is in the first grade, class of 2023. I would have all the first graders put their handprint on quilt squares and then sign their name beneath the handprint. With eighty-two first graders, that should get at least eighty-two parents submitting silent bids. If there are a lot of divorced parents, I might even get a hundred bids. Factor in grandparents, ex-grandparents, and warring grandparents, it might even evolve into some kind of bidding war. My one quilt could be responsible for adding an entire new wing to the elementary school! The Jody Worsham Wing! I was excited!

First I had to get material. Six yards should do the top plus six yards of blue print for the backing, then batting, paint, and paint pens. I carefully figured how much space to allot for each handprint. I should get this out in a couple of hours. Now, I admit I have only fed, clothed, and signed report cards for eight first graders. I've never actually done anything with 82 of them. I wisely visited with the first grade teacher…first.

"Paint pens are not a good idea. Blue Sharpies are better." Ok, I could swap the paint pens for Sharpies at Wal-Mart. "Oh, and I'll bring soap and paper towels." Ok, I hadn't thought about getting the paint off their hands. "And you should paint their hands with a sponge brush, don't put the paint in a paper plate." Ok, I'll return the paper plates and get a foam paint brush. "And I'll send them to you a few at a time so you can supervise hand-washing at the sink." I have to supervise hand-washing? How quickly I forgot my one day as kindergarten sub .Ok, I'll supervise hand-washing.

On hand printing day, I would have made the FBI proud. I was organized. I was prepared. I was clueless.

First, I quickly discovered that the name should be printed BEFORE you do the handprint. Some archeologist will discover this quilt a thousand years from now and will offer it as proof that the hand had evolved to seven fingers. Unless the parent of my seven fingered print thinks their child is really special, I don't think they will be bidding on this quilt. Second, the longer you hold a Sharpie to fabric, the more the ink will spread. Some first graders write more slowly than others. That is why some names will appear as a big blue blob. My number of potential bidders is dropping. Third, the child with the smallest hand will have the longest name printed in the largest letters. Fourth, a lot of names were spelled with backward letters, thus dropping my pool of bidders even further. Fifth, you do have to supervise hand-washing. Evidently you should not leave a bottle of blue paint next to the bottle of soap at the sink. "Blue Paint" and "Soap" are not on a first grader's sight word list. Ruined shirts on Monday will not encourage bidding wars on Friday.

After eight hours of printing, painting, wiping, and washing, all eight-two Smurf marked children had been hand printed. I spent the next three days trying to transform blobs of paint into actual names, performing finger-ectomies, and offering to replace ruined shirts. It took two days to assemble the quilt

I fear that the bids on this quilt will be silent and absent. I may have to buy my own quilt. At least if Ruby Lee dumps my sweet six-year-old in ten years, I can point to this quilt and say "See, you are better off. Look at how her hand had seven fingers back then and she wrote her R and B backwards."

Ok, maybe I won't.


mybabyjohn/Delores said...

What a brave soul you are to tackle 82 little kids in one room with paint and sharpies....yikes!!! You'll be having nightmares after that one.

MissedCongeniality said...

WOW! Love the story, and the piece was VERY well written. My kids have all long since outgrown elementary school festivals, carnivals and pageants.
You brought back a lot of wonderful prozac inducing memories.

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

You get the Medal of Honor for your effort. I am sure you will have many bids, especially from grandparents. They are the ones who usually put out the big bucks.

Anonymous said...

Jody, you are the bravest woman I know. Amelia Earhardt's flight to her demise was nothing compared to what you just tackled. I would have quilted a pot holder and been proud.

Marti said...

Wow! What a domestic diva you are! (Dropping to my knees to thank God that my kids are grown and I don't have to do this kind of thing anymore *grin*)

Great storytelling, Jody - loved it!

Elaine Williams said...

Love it! You've got blackmail material on 82 future adults!