Monday, January 6, 2014

A Church Goodbye

I was asked to do the table decor for a brunch our church hosted this past Sunday as a send-off for our Associate Pastor. I've had a lot on my plate as of late, and so I was a bit hesitant to commit, but a few things in my schedule got jiggered. Which worked out well. I love doing things for my church, so I was grateful that I could say yes joyfully instead of yes with a tinge of stress (and as Harleigh has pointed out on more than one occasion . . . if I'm going to be one of those "yes" people — and I do generally have a hard time saying no, especially as it relates to crafting and events — I can't say yes begrudgingly and carry resentment. Thank you, little wise one).

We figured on (20) 60" round dining tables and (5) rectangular tables for the buffet and the cake. (We had such a huge crowd that we wound up adding 10 more tables as people poured in; alas, those tables, besides a cloth tablecloth, were sans any prettiness) With no budget to speak of, I turned to everything and anything I had on hand at home.

I knew I could put together flowers and/or candles for each table, but I really wanted something personal. I didn't want people attending the brunch, and especially Pastor Sherry, to see the surroundings as just another church potluck. So I decided to gather church-related pictures of Pastor Sherry and use them on the tables. Since I didn't have a ton of pictures — probably one pic per table — I needed something more. As I was going through the pictures, I came to one of Pastor Sherry dressed as Tigger from one of our annual Halloween Trunk or Treats, and that's when it hit me. Quotes from Winnie the Pooh. And as I started searching online, I was able to amass quotes from a number of children's books and movies. It all felt magical and heartfelt, and together with the pictures seemed the perfect way to both honor her and say goodbye.  Here are the quotes I used (some of my attributes might not be spot on, but I think I came close enough):

“If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together, there is something you must always remember.
You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart . . . I’ll always be with you.”
 — Christopher Robin

“If there ever comes a day when we can’t be together, keep me in your heart, I’ll stay there forever.”
 — Winnie the Pooh

“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”
 — Dr. Seuss

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”
 — Winnie the Pooh

“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”
 — Dr. Seuss

“If you live to be a hundred, I hope I live to be a hundred minus one day, so I never have to live without you.”
 — Winnie the Pooh

“Promise me you’ll never forget me, because if I thought you would, I’d never leave.”
 — Winnie the Pooh

“Some people care too much . . . I think it’s called love.”
 — Winnie the Pooh

Piglet: “How do you spell love?”
Pooh: “You don’t spell it, you feel it.”

“Any day spent with you is my favorite day. So, today is my new favorite day.”
 — Christopher Robin

“That’s what friends are for, they help you to be more of who you are.”
 — Christopher Robin

“The most important thing is, even if we’re apart, I will always be with you.”
 — Christopher Robin

Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind.
“Pooh?” he whispered.
“Yes, Piglet?”
“Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s paw.
“I just wanted to be sure of you.”

“We’ll be friends forever, won’t we, Pooh?” asked Piglet. “Even longer,” Pooh answered.

“I wonder what Piglet is doing,” thought Pooh. “I wish I were there to be doing it, too.”

“I think we dream so we don’t have to be apart for so long. If we’re in each other’s dreams, we can be together all the time.”
 — Winnie the Pooh

“You’re off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way!”
 — Dr. Seuss

“Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.”
 — Dr. Seuss

“I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Never, no, never. Your friendship is the best present ever.”
 — Tigger

“All it takes is faith, trust and a little bit of pixie dust.”
 — Peter Pan

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”
 — Margery Williams’ The Velveteen Rabbit

“The moment where you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever being able to do it.”
 — Peter Pan

“If you have good thoughts, they will shine out of your face like sunbeams, and you will always look lovely.”
 — Ronald Dahl from Matilda

“Why did you do all this for me?” Wilbur asked. “I don’t deserve it. I’ve never done anything for you.”
 “You have been my friend,” replied Charlotte. “That in itself is a tremendous thing.”
 — E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web

“The Rainbow Fish shared his scales left and right. And the more he gave away, the more delighted he became. When the water around him filled with glimmering scales, he at last felt at home among the other fish.”
 — The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister

“Anything is possible. Anything can be.”
 — Shel Silverstein

“Little by little, one travels far.”
 — J.R.R. Tolkien

“You’ve had the power all along, my dear.”
 — Glinda, the Good Witch in The Wizard of Oz


The tablecloths aren't in a palette I'm used to working with, so I opted for all white flowers. I use a wholesale florist, and for $65 was able to get 25 white roses, 25 white carnations, 12 tulips and two big bundles of bupleurum (a dainty annual with graceful snaking stems). Used Mason jars and random clear glass bowls as vases. I also made four larger arrangements in white pitchers for the buffet and cake table.

I was a bit stumped as to how I was going to showcase the pictures and quotes. I wanted some height variances on the tables, so I turned to my trusty collection of brass candlesticks. I probably have 60+ of these that I've purchased for a buck or less a piece in thrift stores. I've spray painted them numerous times for different events. They really are one of my go-to resources for table decor. They're currently black, and while I would have preferred them to be a different color, I didn't have the time to repaint them, so I stuck with them as is. The drawing below shows how I assembled each candlestick display.

A) Candlesticks range in height from 3" up to 18". The holes (socket) where the candles go all vary in depth, which posed the biggest challenge when it came to securing the pictures and quotes, as some were pretty darn shallow.

B) I shoved floral foam into each socket, making the foam as flush with the top of the socket as possible.

C) Using a round scrapbook hole punch, I punched out circles using black paper. The circle would cover the green floral foam.

D) Each quote and picture was secured into the candlestick using a wooden skewer. The top of the skewer (blunt end) was pushed into foam core (see F below), and the sharp-tipped end went through the black paper circle and into the floral foam.

E) I printed out two of each picture and trimmed them out (some to size and others with white borders). I cut small strips of foam core, and using double-sided tape I created a sandwich — a picture on each side with the foam core between, positioned well inside the edges of the pictures so as not to be seen.

For the quotes, I glued them onto foam core and trimmed them flush. Would have liked to do them two-sided, but didn't have time. 

F) The skewers went into the foam core of both pictures and quotes. The skewers definitely had to be cut to size depending on the depth of the socket and the size of the pictures. For the quotes, since the skewer was visible, I used a Sharpie marker to make them black.


While the centerpieces weren't the most stunning vignettes I've ever created, I must say that the sentiment trumped all. The quotes appealed to both adults and children. And several people approached me that they were truly touched by the decorations. 

The quote cards and pictures were packed up and put into Pastor Sherry's pile of farewell gifts and cards. The flowers were merged into a few bigger arrangements to grace the church and staff offices. And my vases and candlesticks came home with me, to be used again someday for yet another "yes" moment.

1 comment:

Empty Nest Full Life said...

I know all your hard work was such a blessing to all! You do an excellent job!

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