Let me paint this picture from the very beginning for you. Three years ago, I received a request from a group asking if I could create name tags for their event shaped in the state where each person was from. Now, at the time, I was four months pregnant with our first child...living on the third floor of an apartment building in Oklahoma City...where my husband was playing Triple-A baseball for the Dodgers. Typically, baseball season meant I was a traveling circus when it came to work. Everything from pens and brushes, to cutting mats and a whole artillery of paper were relocated to our temporary home - - wherever that was at the time. The times we were lucky, it was a cozy little rental, but sometimes it meant setting up shop and working on the hotel room desk. Hey...whatever works! My husband's days were always spent at the field. We'd eat breakfast together and then off he would go come noon, until I would see him again very late that evening after his game. Not to mention that anywhere from every four to eight days or so he was back on the road for a few days. So, I had plenty of time at this point in life to be productive! The hard part: navigating around a new city to locate materials needed to complete the task (oftentimes piecing them together from multiple stores, all in different cities around the area...ah!) and the up and down of the third story apartment building stairs...pregnant...in the Oklahoma summer heat! Again: a big ah!! But, definitely a blessing in disguise, considering it gave me that extra little push of exercise and movement. Especially when I was oftentimes sitting and cutting/writing/assembling for such long periods of time!
Now, before I continue, let's get another thing straight. If I'm given an idea, food for thought...anything, when it comes to a design or making something -- I will try with everything to make that vision come to life! In one way or another, eventually, I will make it happen. And I typically want my hands to be a part of every aspect of whatever it is that I'm creating. When I first got this request, I of course right away without thought, told her that it was something I could do. I put together a cute little visual to confirm it on her end and then thought to myself, "oh boy...this isn't just one adorable little golden backed, hand drawn state -- this is for 172..adorable..little golden backed..hand drawn states" (or whatever the crazy number was)! It was more than 150, let's put it that way.
Low and behold...it was happening. So, on top of the other work I had going on at the time...I brushed up on my geography and the states were created! Below is a picture of the finished product.
Once we were home and off the road after season, I created two official plastic stencils - one for each layer - the white layer which is a more detailed version of the state and where I write the names; and the second layer being the backing/border (which is a little less detailed, more of an overall generic shape of the state).
Being that they are a little larger in size than the name tag states, they really make a statement placed on a napkin at the center of a place setting. A very personal, custom, and unique touch!
Until next time.