Saturday, April 24, 2010

idle hands

Back in another blogging life, I once wrote about how having something to do with my hands helps me to focus or pay attention better.  There's more to the story, of course (isn't there always?), including the fact that I sometimes do sudoku in our Wednesday night Bible study.  My friend Jeff called me on what he saw as not paying attention, and for the better part of two years, he's given me a weekly quiz after class to test my listening skills.  He conceded long ago that I really am listening when I work on other things (more recently, I've taken to knitting instead of doing sudoku during class), but we keep the quiz alive because it's fun, and we're both ridiculously competitive.

But I've never brought my sudoku into "big church."  I'd like to be able to tell you that it's reverence that's holding me back, but it's probably something more like fear of judgment.  So when I need something to do with my hands, I have to turn to other sources.  Fortunately at PV, we have member and visitor cards with nametag stickers that have provided an outlet for my fidgeting and occasional creativity.

(Insecure blogger's note:  some of these look really messy in these zoomed in photos.  The tags are about 2 1/2 inches long, so when you're standing a respectable distance from a person's chest, they look pretty fantastic.  Up close, an occasional mess.  Also some of the photos were taken with camera phones, and those pictures are sad and blurry.  But the real deal was impressive.  Trust me.)

It started fairly simple . . . with the same block letters with shading that I first started making in junior high.  What is it about junior high girls and writing names with fancy letters?
Sometimes I do use capital letters, but the problem is that I saved very few of those early, more ordinary ones because I didn't realize the blog fodder for what it was.  I also make name tags for Jess and Shane, and if I have time, other folks who are sitting nearby.

Shane especially loves it when I do cute, girly letters for his name.
This is a pretty standard fall-back style when I don't have a better idea.  Sometimes the letters aren't filled in, or they have polka dots or checks or stripes instead.  But I don't have a pictorial example of any of those fun things.  This one is stuck on my Daily Bible so I can tell it apart from the thousand other Daily Bibles floating around PV right now.
I did one of these fake-calligraphy ones for Lacey too, and I wish I'd gotten a picture of it.  Maybe if she still has it stuck on her Bible I will.

But things in the nametag world got interesting a few months ago when I started doing theme tags instead.  I think Christmas was my original inspiration, but don't quote me on that.  One night I made this . . .
 . . . and I think it's safe to say that all our lives were changed.  I love these snowpeople.  In that same time period, I did a few other seasonal tags:
Pardon the blur.

For a while I was sticking my cute ones to the bathroom mirror in my old apartment, and my greatest regret in life is that I didn't take pictures of them before I had to scrape them off when we moved.  I had a snowflake one that would make you weep.
In addition to seasonal themes (and there are some unphotographed Easter ones that I miss--I made a duck into an S for Shane's Easter tag), I also took to making name tags that connected to the wearer in some way.  This has been the most successful with Shane, who apparently has a lot of easily drawable interests.
Perhaps you can't tell this, but those are comic book covers.
I'm especially proud of making an H out of a baseball bat and a hockey stick. 
Shane gave up meat for Lent.  I made him an all meat tag the week after Easter.

In case you haven't heard, Shane currently has the highest streak in ESPN's Streak for the Cash, and I made him this tag when his was about 21 games in.
I was trying to recreate the style of letter used in ESPN's logo from memory.  It was only marginally successful.  His streak ended almost a week later at 25 (but he's still got the longest streak for the month, so he might still win the cash), and that Sunday I made him the bad luck tag to commemorate the loss.

It's actually the most creative one yet, but it's a bit hard to decipher.  Clearly there is a black cat crossing the path of the S.  The H is on Hurley's winning lottery ticket.  The A is a ladder that Shane walks underneath.  The N is sitting on a table where Shane is singing (apparently people outside our family don't know the charming rhyme "Sing at the table, whistle in the bed, Boogie man'll get you, 'fore you're dead" which our parents used to terrorize us as children).  And the E is on the handle of a broken mirror.
Jess and Shane save some of their favorites on their Bibles (which is how I've been able to provide you with these photos), but Jess overlaps her stickers, so it was more difficult to get individual shots of some of hers--the fact that she's out of town this weekend and had to send me the photos from her phone because my adoring imaginary readers couldn't wait until Monday for this gem of a blog didn't help the picture quality either.  Here are some of her greatest hits (the coloring we can blame on her camera phone):
That's a scarf.  Jess is famous for them.
She was wearing a necklace that day, but it didn't look like this.  The B was a nod to Ugly Betty, whose cancellation was announced the week I made this tag.
Before Jess got her Droid, she was permanently attached to a laptop.  I guess I need to make her one with the Droid now.
The worst rendering of Jess ever created, but the concept was sound--and oh, so appropriate.
A couple of weeks ago, Jess wore a skirt to church that she hadn't worn since last Spring because she had spilled snowcone on it and stained it.  It was still stained, but she decided to wear it anyway.  I made her a snowcone nametag to hide the stain.  It would have worked if she hadn't continuously peeled it back to show people and tell on herself.  That's my girl.
I'm very proud of this idea, but rather disappointed in my inability to draw hands.  That says Cynthia in finger-spelling.  Cynthia knows sign language. 

Sometimes by the time I'm finished with Shane and Jess's tags, I don't have the imagination or energy or time to do a fun one for me.  But I've had a few good ones along the way.  Here are some recent ones that didn't get scraped off the old mirror (but are adorning the mirror at the new place):
Honoring the blog--I think I did this one when I was on my HGTV-link high.
During my handyman phase since the move.  
I did this one the day after our zoo adventure for Hailey's birthday.  Before you ask, the N is made from the legs of a frog.  Somehow people don't get that one.

Now that I've shared my hidden talent, I may update you periodically on the work that I'm doing in nametags.  I know you're on the edge of your seats now.


  1. Super cute. I saw Shane's tag at Easter, and I was monumentally impressed. My favorite of the above ones was the snowmen. This reminded me of my friend Brian who is famous for two reasons. 1. He was the originator of the Full Nerd Alert (FNA) email ring of which I am a faithful member (and which Shane regularly deletes without reading because he's a big quitter at most wonderful things that I introduce into his life).
    2. He has a very entertaining sketch blog that I read every day.
    I think that I've linked to it before, but I'll do so again today. He doodles on his church bulletins every week and then posts the doodles. It's always fun for me to see, but I sometimes wonder how my friend Will (He's the minister at the trendy Methodist church in Little Rock that most of the FNA methodists attend) thinks when he sees that Brian has been drawing through his sermons. He should be grateful, my best friend generally sleeps through the last 1/3 of mine. He fights it early on, but that Sunday night slot is hard on him.

  2. You are a freak--a really cool freak!

  3. OH MY GOODNESS!!!!! You are so amazing!!!!!! I love each and every one of them!!!!

  4. Mac-a-doodle,
    1. Shane sometimes reads FNA emails because he forwards them to me occasionally when they're about stuff that actually matters--like the link to the hyperbole and a half blog that he sent me this week. But I didn't know that Brian invented it, so that's a nice bit of trivia.

    2. I've been following Brian's sketch blog since you linked to it here several weeks ago. I still haven't gone back to catch up on all of January and February that I missed, but I enjoy it, and the bulletins are some of my favorites.

    For the record, I have permission from my Wednesday teacher (who is also my preaching minister) to do sudoku or whatever else I want while he teaches. I've never asked him about the nametags, but I think I've proven myself capable of multi-tasking.

  5. I think you should have thrown in that you occasionally like to change up your day-to-day handwriting, just to keep things fresh.

  6. I know you will be so overcome with joy and happiness when my special day happens, I want to make my request now that you do a name tag for me on my special day.

  7. You never cease to amaze me! Those name tags are so creative.

  8. My favorite is the animal feet tag. I could totally tell that the N was made from frog feet. :) Glad I'm finally getting to catch up on your blog writing.


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