Thursday, February 23, 2012

Army Spouse Events: Creating Nametags

It's nearing Welcome and Farewell season in our unit again so spouses are busily planning events for incoming and outgoing ladies. A big part of one of these events is the nametag. It usually matches the theme of the evening, is generally hand-made, and encompasses everyone that RSVPs for the event (plus a few blank extras just in case someone shows up that didn't RSVP or was missed on the RSVP list). I have a dear friend who believes whole-heartedly in the "nametag of shame." If you don't RSVP, you get a substandard nametag. =) We joke that she'll just scribble your name on a post-it if you show up without an RSVP, but it's usually just a hand-written version of the pre-printed originals.  *Note here that it IS proper protocol to RSVP for every event you are invited to within 48 hours at best, but at least by the event start time.  Hosts have worked hard to make each event pleasant for their guests and it really is the least you can do to let them know if you plan to be there or not.

When I arrived at Fort Hood in 2005, a wise friend advised me to keep the invitations and nametags for the events I would attend  to have a collection of ideas and inspiration when I was tasked with planning these kinds of events myself.  It was sage advice.  I now have a folder of various nametags and have learned from the events I have attended.  Now, when it's my turn to plan, I have a place to start.  And now, dear readers, I am happy to share this collection with you.  I would love to hear about your events and see your inspirations, too!

My bag of invitations and nametags for inspiration.

This is my most recent creation ... and a collaboration of about 5 ladies working with a Cricut for the first time.  Red for artillery and black/gold for CAV and our Black Jack brigade.

This nametag was for a Bunco-themed Coffee.  Fun!

Red and gold for field artillery.

Unit name was added since I was a guest at another unit's spouses' welcome.

The addition of "Special Guest" kept people from wondering who I was in their unit.  =)

This is my favorite CAV themed nametag.  Velvet ribbon with a silver star!

Just learned how to use my Cricut, which is likely how this cute nametag was made.

Fun summer welcome event with a funky floral theme.

Cute ivy paper with the 4ID stamp and a ribbon.

This was a Farewell for a wonderful lady whose favorite drink was Diet Coke.

Truly Texas and CAV ... another favorite of mine.

Back to School theme so a simple 'chalkboard' look was used.

There's so much you can do with a Cricut machine.  Love this shape and the fun handwriting, too.

CAV theme with a wildflower touch.

This might be my all-time favorite ... a wine-themed nametag (complete with a wine cork!) for a Welcome at the Salado Wine Seller.  The green and purple were so pretty together.

This is the easiest and most popular way to make the nametag complete.  You can find these stick-on pins at most hobby and craft stores.  Try looking in the jewelry section since they can also be used for making brooches.

I learned this little trick from a friend several years ago.  She adds a metal embellishment to the front of nametags (silver star, metal brad, etc) then uses a magnet to attach the nametag.  It works great since it doesn't require a hole in clothing (like pins do).  Be sure to get the strongest magnet so that it holds throughout the event.

The plastic sleeve is my personal least-favorite way to attach the nametag (since it's not as pretty), but it works if you don't have the alternatives handy.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Who Do We Think We Are?

In today's society, everybody has an opinion on ... well, just about every imaginable topic.  With the help of blogs, Facebook, Twitter, surveys, comments, and posts, we can declare our opinions on everything from Whitney Houston's death to troops in Afghanistan to child-rearing to product reviews.  We like things on Facebook, we retweet on Twitter, and we comment on blog posts, news articles, and video clips.

These constant opportunities to share our opinions have caused me to wonder ... who do we think we are?  Why is it that we even have an opinion about, let's say ... Whitney Houston?  For the vast majority of us, we don't know her.  We've never met her or held a conversation with her.  We may have seen her in concert or in a movie or read about her in those oh-so-reliable tabloid magazines, but really ... Why would we ever presume we could voice a reasonable opinion about her?  Yet post after post on news articles about her death proclaim loud opinions on who she was as a person, the actions she took during her life, the cause of her death, and even the reaction of the public to her passing.

And the funny thing is, we're so very definite about our opinions.  We speak as though we know.  And what we know, even though it generally only applies to our very limited view of the situation, we present as gospel fact.  After Madonna's Super Bowl half-time show, for example, strong opinions were running rampant across the world wide web ...
The whole halftime show was a bunch of crap, like most American "entertainment" these days...
I believe that she is the least talented yet most (in terms of dollars) successful entertainer in history - with perhaps the exception of Mick Jagger, whose Stones continue to rake in millions despite not having done a decent album since Beggars Banquet. Yet another stupid half time show. 
Personally, I think she did a good job performing the halftime show. Yes, maybe she is trying to do things that she did 25 years ago but what the heck, doesn't everyone try to turn back time at one point.  
This was the most excellent and unexpectedly subversive Super Bowl halftime show in years.
Again, who do we think we are?  After the hours of rehearsals, thousands of dollars, and the collective energy of hundreds of people who put so much into this twelve-minute performance on national television ... how can we have the gall to definitively state whether it was good or bad?  Especially while sitting on our sofas, enjoying football food, and having absolutely nothing to do with any part of the production?  It's not the "I enjoyed it" or "I didn't care for it" opinions that get to me, it's the ones that state with such confidence, "It was crap."  Really?  What qualifies us to make such a statement?

It seems to me that we've lost the art of being polite, politic, and knowing our place.  If we don't know Whitney Houston personally, we therefore shouldn't comment on her personal life.  If we have no idea how a major entertainment production is put together, perhaps we shouldn't judge it as fully 'good' or fully 'bad.'  But, most of all, we should know our place.  There was a time when everyone in society knew their place.  We spoke of things that we were knowledgeable about and listened to others when they were better informed.  We would never dream of offering an opinion about something that in no way concerned us.  And it wasn't considered unpatriotic to keep our opinions to ourselves; it was considered polite conversation.  Do we even have 'a place' anymore?  And if we do, would we even recognize it if we saw it?

Just because we have the right to free speech doesn't mean we are obligated to spew every thought that enters our heads.  And why must our opinions so often be negative to the point of scathing?  If we don't like something ... well, okay.  Could we just not like it without declaring it (and everything associated with it) complete crap?  Is our need to express our opinions so strong that we completely negate the need for civility?

In my happy place, sharing opinions would be reserved for times when they would be helpful, insightful, or otherwise informative.  Our likes, retweets, and comments would be utilized to empower, encourage, or educate.  We would reserve our passionate responses for things that matter ... civil rights, stopping abuse, hunger, illness, and other societal issues that warrant passion and action. And patriotism wouldn't be measured by how loudly we express random opinions -- just because we can -- but by how we represent the country that gives us those freedoms.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Valentine Locker Box

My 3rd grader was asked to create a box at home to collect his Valentines during his February 14 classroom party. He was reluctant to get started, envisioning pink frothy boxes and glittery hearts. So we looked around online and found this super cute idea from Family Fun ... a Valentine locker! He was immediately motivated and even decided to add a few glittery heart stickers just to top it off.