Saturday, February 8, 2014

Staff Appreciation Week

Sewing aptitude does not automatically mean design or crafting aptitude.  For me, that means I need to STOP volunteering to do cutesy things.  I suffered an unfortunate bout of helpfulness (Help? You need help? Can I help? I love to help! Helphelphelphelphelp!) at the beginning of the school year and volunteered to be the AST Leader (basically a room mom on steroids) at Blue Eyes's school.  That means I'm in charge of coordinating the efforts of the other parents to be of maximum usefulness to the teacher.  That's not so bad until something needs to be done and there are no volunteers...then it's my job.  Crap.  No wonder I was the only sucker to sign up to be AST Leader.
Some people have the time and inclination to put this together.  Me?  Not so much...
This next week is Staff Appreciation Week at the school. I'm in charge of gifts for the teacher and her aide, as well as decorating the classroom door. Bother.  I didn't make it to any of the planning meetings, so I didn't know I was supposed to coordinate those. It wasn't until I got a call about the upcoming festivities that I realized I should probably do my job and that the excuse of my daughter having been in the hospital doesn't work six weeks after the fact. I sent a desperate email out to parents asking for help decorating the door because, as I said in the email, that sort of thing is totally beyond me.  When the response was a chorus of crickets I had a mild panic attack about what on earth I could possibly do for the door.  After a quick Google search I decided to just do a plain background in yellow (teacher's favorite color) with a massive green (aide's favorite color) book in the middle.  I would use my trusty marker to write "Once upon a time there was Mrs. T and Ms. H's class...and they learned happily ever after."  Easy cheesy.  Two people actually emailed me back to say they'd be there to help after I'd settled on an idea.
Also from
As I arrived at the school I was feeling self-satisfied that we would be able to bang out this little project in half an hour.  I gathered the necessary yellow butcher paper from the cart and happily made my way to the classroom.  I found one of my two helpers there.

Me: Hi!  Thanks for coming and helping!  Did you have an idea for the door?
K:  No.  I didn't really think about what would go with the theme.
Me:  With the what now?

Theme?  Theme?!  Crap.  The school-wide theme for Staff Appreciation Week is Hollywood.  As it turns out, I'd have known that had I attended the meetings.  Anyway, the Hollywood thing kind of tossed out the book idea.  The panic attacked again as I looked around to see all the other moms with the beautifully crafted, thoughtfully designed, themed motifs they were joyfully attaching to doors.  They had come with stars, Oscars, popcorn, and individualized pictures.  I had come with a Sharpie.
This is an acceptable design for a teacher door, right?
image via
Creativity isn't always my strong suit, but practicality and pressure are my allies.  My helper, K,  and I stood, open-mouthed, trying to figure out what to do.  Enter my stream of consciousness:  Hollywood.  Okay.  Well, we've already got yellow paper. What's yellow?  Yellow brick road.  Emerald city!  Yes!  My helper suggested lettering for "There's no place like Mrs. T's class" and having her husband Photoshop a picture.  It could work!  It had to work!
Cutest Dorothy ever!
I sent K off to enlist her graphic designer husband's help while I covered the door.  Not as easy as it looks, folks.  Especially when you use the wrong tape the first time around and have to take it all down.  Then I pulled out a yard stick and started drawing the bricks for the road.  When K came back she had shapes for the Emerald City, a Photoshopped picture of Mrs. T as Dorothy (see above), and a print out of the words.  We lucked out even more when our door-decorating neighbor gave us punch out letters to use.  We were pleased with the result and basked in the praise we received from others who peeked in the door.  I went out looking for the right tape to put the paper back on the door and missed when someone came in, looked at my yellow brick road, and asked my helper, "She's OCD, isn't she?"  Maybe...
Yay for a door!
Not too shabby for a full 30 seconds of thought, eh?  It took way longer than my intended 30 minutes but the result was worth it for such a great teacher.  It was also nice to spend three and a half bonding with another mom that was freaking out as much as I was and doing what it took to get it done.  We joked about putting the teacher's face in as the Great and Powerful Oz.  My favorite idea (had we had more time, thought, desire, etc) was to get the students pictures and put them on the bodies of the flying monkeys.  That would have been awesome.  For now I'm just good to sit back and enjoy the victory of making it work when it just wasn't going to.  Take that, creative mommies!

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