Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Little UU Craftiness

One of the mistakes I made when I joined the UU congregation was blithely checking so many boxes on the interest survey. I like all kinds of things! I like crafts and design and teaching and the internet and oh, so many things!

I got tapped for no less than 4 committees (3 of which I turned down), am now one of the preschool Sunday School teachers and was asked, since I liked crafts, to redo the chalices and flames for the kids' Sunday School classes. Actually, the RE head asked me to do the flames, and then added if I felt like it, I could make new chalices. Like I'm going to turn THAT down.

At the beginning of each Sunday School class, each student takes a "flame" and says his/her name, and puts the flame on the chalice (an upside down can) in a symbolic lighting of the chalice. Then they say, "This is Unitarian Universalism, the church of the open mind, helping hands and loving heart."

I'm not great at designing things from scratch because I have many ideas and it takes me a really long time to settle on anything. I tried drawing my own "open mind, helping hands, loving heart" graphic but that didn't work because I can't draw. I also couldn't find good, free clip art that fit the theme and didn't look stupid. And there is a dearth of good UU crafts on the internet. (Although I did find Alice the Chalice amusing).

Finally I settled on using a digital scrapbooking kit ("Dia de los Muertos" by Tangie Baxter and SherrieJD, also available here - awesome kit). I came up with this simple template and just moved the background paper up or down a little so each chalice was a little different:

I made a photoshop document that fit the dimensions of the coffee cans (obtained from a freecycler - yay freecycle!). The copy guy at Office Max gave me some 8.5 x 14 paper for free since I only needed about 5 sheets - yay Office Max! Once printed out on regular paper, I sprayed a couple of coats of sealer on each so the ink wouldn't run.

Then I used spray adhesive to affix the paper to the can. Two coats of Mod Podge later, the chalices were done.

I made flames out of clip art on the internet, printed it out on Shrinky Dink paper for ink jets (the hardest part was running out of my stash and trying to find a Michael's who had a pack left - this stuff can be hard to find).

Cut them out, shrank them down and clipped a small binder clip to the bottom to make them stand up. Then I removed the silver thingy and used a piece of self-adhesive magnet tape on the bottom to make them stick a little to the can.

The binder clips ended up being a little big for the flames, but I couldn't find any smaller and I had to make the flames small enough so that at least 10 could fit on one can. If I had more time, maybe I'd look for a different stand option. But these will work for now. I have to say I'm pretty happy with how they turned out. And, there aren't nearly enough UU crafts on the internet.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Now You're Really Pissing Me Off

OK, y'all are starting to piss me off. (No, no, no, not YOU. I'm talking to the people who aren't reading this).

How exactly is a U.S. President's speech to schoolkids encouraging them to work hard and stay in school indoctrination? What, you think there's going to be some socialist subliminal message sneaking in underneath your hearing level? Nixon addressed the schoolkids about the war and no one had a problem with it. I'd venture to say that the benefits of staying in school are less controversial than war.

And if there are problems with the national health plan, let's have some intelligent discussion about it. Let's not paraphrase and tell the public that there are "death panels" and "bonuses for doctors to encourage patients to end treatment." I have not read every word of the proposal (and I'll bet you haven't either)...but I've read enough to know what the gist is of each section and I have yet to hear any intelligent counter-proposals or arguments. I have heard lots of conservative pundits and politicians talk about stuff THAT IS NOT IN THE PROPOSAL.

All I hear is "blah blah blah he's terrible, he's a socialist, he's going to brainwash our children."

C'mon conservatives, you can do better than this. I'd like to listen to your opinions, but you're making it really difficult. I KNOW there are some intelligent conservatives out there. I also know that the liberal agenda is not perfect and I really would like to hear the other side. You have a responsibility to make your voice heard because really, some of your fellow conservatives are making you all look pretty freakin' stupid.

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