Sunday, October 3, 2010

idle hands 2

Back in April (in what I've come to recognize as the hey-day of this blog o' mine) I shared with my imaginary readers my little name-tag making hobby.  I've been meaning to do an updated post with some of the tags I've done since.  Since Shane got his iPhone, I've been relying on him to document the process, but I discovered as I was gathering all the pictures that pictures that look good enough on a smallish phone screen can be a blurry mess in a blog.  But I'm not going to let a little thing like annoyingly bad photography keep me from blogging all my hard work.
In the last post, I showed you the nametags I'd done for Shane up to that point which related to his ESPN Streak for the Cash journey, and I later told you that he had officially won that contest for the month and $100,000.  For several weeks there, Shane's windfall was a hot topic around here, and it found its way into subsequent nametags for a couple of weeks.  Some tags just celebrated the money aspect of the victory.

But I also had fun playing off the name of the contest:

Fans of Ray Stevens will understand what this tag is referencing (I hope).  My favorite part is the censor bar.  I have no idea how to draw stick figure privates.  Plus I was in church.
Jess's nametags even got in on the action for one week:

 I also attempted to draw Scrooge McDuck for him one week, but apparently I can't draw ducks.  It was a tough lesson to learn.  I don't want to talk about it anymore.  During that same time period, I did a few different movie/character referencing tags that had nothing to do with winning contests.
 Please tell me you've seen Shane.  Please.
 Church Josh  (who shouldn't be confused with brother Joshua) dressed up as Charlie Brown a couple of years ago for Halloween, and it was a brilliant bit of costuming.  I like to reference it often.  Josh also works at a boxing gym, so I've drawn his name on boxing gloves multiple times, but when it came time to tie him to a boxing movie, I chose my favorite: Gladiator.  No, not that one.
The week I did some of the movie ones, I was about to leave on my DC vacation, and Jess was whining about being on her own for the week, so she got this movie nod.

More painful than discovering that I couldn't draw Scrooge, I found out that I could no longer easily draw Mickey Mouse, and I used to draw him all the time.  Here's the blurry attempt anyway:

One night as I was searching for inspiration, it occurred to me that everyone sitting on our row was from a different state (except for Shane and me, of course), so I decided that poorly drawn personalized license plates were called for.
  I have no idea what the Connecticut license plate actually looks like, but I'm pretty sure it's nicer than this.
At least some West Virginia plates have this general style, but slightly better craftsmanship.
 As usual Shane got my best effort.
Of course, I know what the Arkansas plate looks like, but I was running out of time by this point.  Jess wasn't there that night, but I might have had to draw the line at a Texas plate anyway.

One night I asked for theme ideas before church started, and Josh wanted me to do the Old West.  When I didn't cartwheel over that idea, his next suggestion was the War of 1812, and comparatively the Old West started looking better.  Victoria wanted bling though, so she got this one.
So I took on various concepts from the Old West for everyone else:

Tumbleweeds and desert for Josh.
A Sheriff's badge for Shane (I used $ for his S for a few months).
No one got this one, but it's supposed to be a coyote howling at the moon.  I think the moon looks like a bowling ball, and everyone things the coyote is a cat, and lots of folks commented on the rain, which is actually just supposed to designate the night-time sky.  The red pen didn't help either.

And I got the easy one and definitely the best offering from this theme.

One evening I did a few animals for folks, including my favorite nametag of all time:
I love everything about this frog and his tongue and those fly letters.  It ranks as one of the best concepts I've ever had, and it's definitely the best execution.  I'm never above bragging, but I also usually am quick to find flaws in work I've done here, but there are no flaws here in this blogger's opinion.  It's the pinnacle of my nametag work.  I should have stopped here.

But I didn't.  The same night as the best. frog. ever.  I also drew some fishies which turned out just all right.
And on another night entirely, when I wasn't doing animals otherwise, I did a caterpillar for Lacey.

Some Sunday morning after the original animal day, I revisited the theme.

Butterfly wings were the only thing I could think of that were big enough for all those letters in Victoria's name.  Her long name can be quite challenging.
A turtle for Lacey--which worked out nicely because Lacey apparently loves turtles.  Now I know.

I don't know why this pig is so angry.  Maybe it knows $hane wants to eat him.
I was running out of animals I could actually sort of draw when I decided I could attempt one last one for Jess:
It turned out to be one of my favorites.
And because I loved Shane's frog so much, I wanted to recreate it for me this time, but I drew the frog's head even more exaggeratedly large than the last time, so I had to adjust.

There might have been one more from the Sunday morning set, but I can't find any evidence of it photographically, but that night, I continued the animal theme.

 For the record, it's supposed to be a cub, not a grown-up bear.
 A single fish this time, though I don't know why I decided to make him sort of plaid.
I love monkeys, but I don't know that I've ever tried to draw one before.  Maybe I should practice.  I was running out of animals and time, so I went against every principle that I profess to have and drew a cat for Lacey.
 Elephants are one of my favorite animals, and my love of elephant feet was the basis of a post-zoo trip nametag that I showed you last time, so I mistakenly assumed that I could draw elephants.  I can't.
For those of you who weren't in Arkansas this summer, it was hot here.  Really dang hot.  As I sat melting in church trying to recover from walking across the surface of the sun (at 8:15 a.m., mind you) to get into the building, all I could think about was summer.  I tried to stay positive with this sort of fun summer-themed tag for me:

But then I was struck with the best concept in nametag design ever.  Remember this guy who sorta started it all?
Meet chapter 2:

I was working from memory, so I actually got some of the hats and accessories out of order, but it still ranks as the best idea I've ever had.  Now the two live together in Shane's Bible forever.

The week of Amanda's birthday, she got a special birthday tag:

And because Shane's birthday was on a Saturday, Sunday was Rob's actual birthday (and because we had celebrated Rob's on Shane's birthday the day before), I had to poke a little fun with his birthday nametag.  Pardon the blur.
For the record, $hane and Lacey have the most representation here not because I do my cutest work for them (or at least not on purpose).  But they save all the good ones I've ever made them (and a few of the bad ones), so they even if I forgot to take a picture that night, I can get documentation from them later, where other folks just peel my hard work off and throw it away--sometimes even before we go to dinner.  Ouch.

Here's the best nametag I've ever made for Josh (who has a serious aversion to going to restaurants that aren't in west Little Rock, as he deems them too far away).
It makes up with cleverness what it lacks in artistic merit or cartographical accuracy.  For those that don't know, this is a very sketchy map of Little Rock that places Josh safely in west Little Rock protected by I430 from anything that might be too far away.

And here's a hodgepodge of non-themed tags that I've collected from my biggest fans:

Allegedly I think this was a bible rather than just some ordinary book.
This is the one I did for Easter for Lacey--I didn't know she still had it until we helped her move in July.
I somehow thought I was going to think of how to do flowers in the shape of all the letters, but I had to give up on the ones in the middle.  The flowery Y is my favorite.
Lacey hates fruit, and I'm a mean friend.  But the tag is still cute.
Sometime early in our life with the Daily Bible, Lacey asked me to do a nametag for her that she could put on her Bible for easy identification.  I couldn't settle on one style, so I gave her options.  She used them all, I think.

Shane is mildly obsessed with Words with Friends right now, so I attempted to honor that, but I think I got some of the point values wrong.  And I definitely had a harder time than I should have making the tiles uniform in size.
I think I mentioned in one of the vacation diary posts that Shane had recently repainted his bathroom.  I did this tag the night he came to church with blue and yellow hands.

I mentioned last time that I occasionally run out of time before I get a chance to make a tag for myself.  One week when everyone else had gotten some pretty elaborate and time-consuming ones, I made this one for myself.  It reminded me of an ever-so-lame nod to M.C. Escher.

During Beckypalooza, I did this nametag for myself and a visitor nametag for Beck.

And one day when I was short on time but long on conceit, I did this one.  (I think it was the day I made the streak tag for Shane and the gold digger tag for Jess, and I was quite impressed with my wit.)

I know there have been a few other worthy offerings that disappeared without being recorded, but last Sunday night (the only grown-up church service I sat through the entire month thanks to nursery and family in town and backpain), I made sort of matching tags for Shane and me, but I only have a picture of mine.

I have retired from the nametag business.  I'm officially out of ideas, and the pressure to go bigger and better every week has exhausted me.  It's not fun anymore.

But it has certainly been pleasant to stroll down memory lane with you, imaginary readers, and relive some of my finest moments in nametag drawing.  Thanks for playing along.


  1. Ellen, you got the state name in the wrong position but other than that it was a pretty good representation of how the CT license plate looked the year I was born.

  2. All of your nametags amaze me!! I'm completely impressed!!!! ---And I recognized the coyote, the moon, and the nighttime sky long before you described them.

  3. That was a perfect nighttime coyote picture! I'm sad that it's the end of an era and happy you didn't get your drawing abilities from me. Love them all


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