Sunday, October 19, 2014

how to throw a zombie event

I love Halloween. I mean who doesn't love vampires, werewolf s, and especially zombies. I eventually talked our Saline Music Boosters into putting on Zombie events this year as fundraisers for the schools music department. One at the high school called the Zombie Prom and another at the middle school called Zombie Bash.

Once the decision is made, immediately contact your local facility scheduler and obtained the gym at your school. Once your location is locked down, get to work on your marketing materials. I did several ... a full color image for distributing via email and a black and white for yard signs.

We printed up small coupon-like materials to distribute. The music teachers handed them out to music students and asked them to give it to their friends. You can't promote enough. Contact your superintendents office, they usually have a weekly email blast where you can advertise the event. Check with your local newspaper and community ed too. Have the school put the event on their website for reference.  And of course, the Saline Music Boosters had the information of our Facebook, Twitter, and website.

We set up a spot on our website to sell tickets online. A week before the event, we began to sell tickets at school during lunch hours. The first day will be slow, but as you get closer to the event, you'll sell more tickets. We wrote down names on a sheet of paper and had them at the door of the event.

The price of admission included a slice of pizza, bottle of water, a trip to the photo booth, and a DJ. We found local vendors who gave us a great deal.

We had a variety of other items to sell, candy, chips, soda and Gatorade. Don't forget to have paper plates and napkins available. We borrowed a food warmer from Food Service to keep the pizza warm. Make sure you have plenty of $1 and $5 to make change. Make it easy on yourself and don't sell anything that require change.

We had bracelets at the door that we put on each kid when they entered the dance. Whenever they got a item promised with admission, we used a Sharpie and marked on their bracelet. Worked like a charm and the kids didn't have to carry around tickets or coupons. 

We used SignUpGenius to sign up volunteers to help out at the event. It was free and has a lot of  useful features, like sending out email reminders before the event. Make sure you have lots of parents to help with food and to keep the kids in from leaving the building.

We brought our own decorations and asked our chaperons to bring whatever they had at home too. We ended up with a nice supply of decorations for the event and we didn't have to buy anything.

I borrowed a projector from our community ed department and downloaded the movie "Warm Bodies" on my laptop. I projected it in the very back corner of the gym. The kids that weren't interested in dancing hung out and watched the movie and it kept them from running around.

We had a game available and also a best costume prize. We purchased 4 $10 Amazon gift cards for best costume prizes. The music staff walked around the selected 15 best costume candidates. When it was time we had all the kids line up and the vote was completed by applause. The loudest applause won!

It appears that this event works best at the Middle School level and it was well attended and everyone had a great time! And .... we made lots of money to support our school's music program.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

the giggle box turns 30.

My daughter Jacquelyn just celebrated her 30th anniversary. An amazing feat considering I was only 5 when I had her. :) Ok, that's creepy - I found out I was pregnant with Jacquelyn on my 21st birthday.  She was such a happy, giggly baby - that I always called her "giggle box".

Stacy and Jackie are besties. Jackie graduates this December from University of Michigan and Stacy graduated last December. Their birthdays are just days apart, so we had a birthday brunch for them this Sunday. Jac has a gluten allergy, so everything is gluten free. Pancakes, cookies, muffins .... good stuff.

For months I had been hearing about how everyone has a quilt but Jackie. "Mom, even the guy you work with gets a quilt for his newborn!" she whines. I knew she had a big birthday coming up and now was the time to make it extra special.

King size quilts are not easy to quilt without a long arm machine. I started out wanting to make a double ring quilt for her. I found this video which is a quilt as you go for double wedding ring quilt here. I was very excited about it and went to my nearest Joann's Fabrics to get a template. I started working on it and realized that my measurements were all off. That the template I had did not work how I wanted it to. After messing up several times and wasting a whole day and a yard of nice expensive premium fabric, I abandoned the idea.

Because it is a King quilt, I needed to go with a "quilt as you go" version and I found this video. This allowed me have a reversible quilt and to be able to quilt each block at a time. To give it some more depth, I created some double blocks.

The whole thing took me about 2 months to make and every block is done with free motion quilting techniques. It was nice to not have a huge quilt to push through the machine - doing just a block at a time. I believe there was 89 blocks in all.

And I took the opportunity to embroider some of the blocks with endearing sentiments with her name, date and even embroidered some peacock feathers in it. Peacocks are her favorites and I was super excited to find some peacock fabric.

The thing I love the most about it is that it is reversible - once side is brown tones with her beloved peacocks and the other is more modern with black, blue and a smidgen of red.