sheets: birthday banners

22 Sep

I love transforming the seemingly ordinary into something wildly special. Take a twin bed sheet for instance: with a little acrylic paint and the grandeur stroke of a paint brush, this stretch of cotton boasts a message far more alluring than, “it’s time to make your bed”. Even more enticing is the familiar nod towards tradition. I fell into one such tradition 4 years ago and have steadily been increasing the creativity behind these public displays of birthday well-wishing. Each year hosts the opportunity to hang these colorful bed sheets from the fence or bridge surrounding a neighborhood middle and high school, where two very lively and incredibly special girls who’ve stolen my heart attend school. Shockingly (not really), my “dream-big” idea for each sign steadily increases every year- as does the amount of time it takes to complete the aforementioned project.

I have learned, through one almost disastrous occasion, the required set-up one of these ventures:

Take a step back to May 14, 2008 with me… a night my mother would probably love to forget.

Art studio: the clean, beige carpet in the upstairs of my parents’ house.

Canvas: you might think it was the sheet, however you and my parents would be wrong.

Masterpiece: Many of my projects come down to the last-minute (credit this to my best-work-happens-under-pressure mantra), in this case I knew I had to have the sheet painted by the next morning but my week had been filled with packing and preparing for a 14 hour drive to Rhode Island. Anticipation for my summer in New England crowded out all reason and practicality- leaving only the midnight hour with which to complete said birthday sign before waking up around 6 am to devotingly drape the bridge. After multiple hours and lamp-lit design inspirations, I finally crossed the end-product threshold. Eyes heavy and brushes cleaned, I innocently peeked under the sheet- however, to my confusion and dismay the sheet wasn’t exactly separating from the carpet. Slowly and a little against my better judgment or will, I continued to pluck the sheet away from the floor to reveal an exact replica of the bed sheet design on my parents’ upstairs floor. I could pretty much reason on my own that my parents had no interest in outfitting their bonus room with the adolescent message “Happy 8th Birthday Ally”. Maybe I cried a little (or a lot) or maybe I considered running away (yes at the age of 21) to avoid my parents’ backlash after waking up in the early morning hours to find a custom pink and yellow motif covering the bonus room. Soapy bucket and scrub brush in hand, I set out to wearily wash away all evidence of my careless, yet entirely innocent charade. 2 hours and a handful of blisters later I had successfully rid the carpet of any and all evidence alluding to the incident at hand, shamelessly hoping that my parents’ older eyes wouldn’t notice the slightly less-beige carpet. Let’s be honest- I told my mom the next morning all about the previous night’s antics, she expressed her curiosity as to the damp state of the floor. Not to worry- we had 14 hours to talk it over. So problem and future precautions exhausted, I arrived in Rhode Island and quite possibly confirmed those Northerners’ suspicions about Tennesseans disregarding the use of shoes and attributing my blisters to roping the cattle or tobacco farming.


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