Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Art of Basket Making

When I think "basket making," I think looney bin recreational activities, a la "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest." But for the last two days, I've been knee deep in making baskets for Carlie's school auction, the "big event" for her school's annual fundraising efforts.  

The auction is a combination of live and silent auction items. Off track for a moment here, but I will snap a picture tomorrow of our kick ass class project, the tile top patio bar. It is truly awesome and a work of art. And a bar! Win Win!

Back to the baskets. Here's how the auction works. People donate stuff. Lots of stuff. As of right now, 669 items. An "item" can be anything from a week at a vacation home to a $2 box of golf tees. My job as an auction volunteer this year has been to package the items, which as of right now we have 391 packages. A package can be a single item, like that week at a vacation home, or a collection of items, like that $2 box of golf tees combined with a pack of golf balls, golf club covers, a golf shirt, a gift certificate for an hour at the driving range and a "Chicken Soup for the Golfer's Soul" book.

And here's where the basket making comes in.

All of those combined packages of items need to be merchandised for display in such a way to bring in the big money bids in the silent auction.

When you have a collection of cool items, like golfing stuff, it's pretty easy. The items have some value, they will appeal to someone who golfs. Put them in a basket, wrap it up with a bow and call it a day.

When about half of the packages have been created, things start to get creative. Because the items? Not all of them are anything that anyone anywhere would EVER WANT IN A MILLION YEARS. Seriously. For the hundreds of generous donors that give great items to the auction, there are a handful of cheap bastards who think this is a great opportunity to unload any crap they have lying around the house. And I get to try to make lemonade out of their funky old lemons. 

Some of the lemons this year: a dog sweater, complete with dog hair on it; broken porcelain doll; unbelievably scary plastic alarm clock with a horrific japanese anime face on it; 4th of July plastic picture frame. And the list goes on.

I went through the database and put together items that seemed like they'd "work" together and turned the 669 items into 391 packages.

Yesterday I joined the in-progress basket making crew at 11 a.m. They started at 8:30. We went at it until 3:00. And today I made baskets from 7:40 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.

And I've yo-yo'ed back and forth between WOW, THESE BASKETS LOOK GREAT and WHAT THE HELL AM I SUPPOSED TO DO WITH A THREE-FINGERED DOLL? Because we try to use EVERYTHING that gets donated. Because? If we deem something unworthy, we lose a future donor and end up with parents and parishioners with hurt feelings. Thank God there is a paid auction coordinator who actually gives a shit about the hurt feelings part, because I've been on the verge of tossing shit in the garbage without remorse.

But the bulk of the physical work is done, and now it's time to put together descriptive placards and bid sheets. And Saturday will be an all day affair of setting up the ballroom, transporting the items from the school to the Hilton, arranging the displays and decorating.

Then zip home, shower, glam my ass up and head back to the Hilton to par-tay like a rock star.

Have I mentioned that I am so over this project?

1 comment:

Keetha said...

First, Mom of the Year award to you and your basket-putting-togethering.

Second, pictures! Need photos. I can see this stuff in my head - the tacky crap - but seeing an actual photo of it would be so cool.