Monday, September 21, 2015

Hotel Guest Gift Bags

I got so many compliments on these out-of-towner hotel guest gift bags!  I ended up with enough supplies to make sure that my local family members got one too.  The key was customizing the bags to our great state: Maryland!  I selected some local favorite foods, added in some tubes of gumballs to represent the Bar Mitzvah boy's chosen entertainment of paintball, and topped it off with a Maryland post card.  I wrapped some duct tape around bottled water to include a drink.

DIY Mitzvah Crafting: Centerpieces, Place Cards, & More!

This time around we went for a non-traditional reception - barbecue, grilled food, paintball, s'mores, and even some deep fried Oreos!  More on that later, though since the most important part is obviously the part where our son becomes a Bar Mitzvah.  Chanting from the Torah is no easy task, especially not when you're only 13 years old, and performing in front of your family and friends!  Chanting from the Torah involves using the Hebrew text of the Torah with no vowels and no musical notations, and for our son, he made it look like no problem!

We figured if we was going to follow in his sister's footsteps, we could at least try actually making the tallit (ritual prayer scarf), as well as tying the tzitzit (ritual fringes found on the four corners of a tallit).  We used this video as instructions for tying the tzitzit:  We thought it would be nice to find a unique way to use the principle of "Hiddur Mitzvah", or beautifying a ritual object, in connection with the themes of sports and paintball.  We used a basic tie dye kit in an unconventional way.  We placed the tallit in a plastic bin that is typically used for under-the-bed storage.  We put the bin on the ground below our deck, which is one story above ground level.  Then we turned our son loose with the squeeze bottles of dye, working from the lightest to the darkest, to create a paintball splatter look.

We also made a special "yad" (Hebrew word for hand, used to describe the pointer that is used to keep your place while chanting from the Torah).  This was very easy, using a kit from:

In keeping with the paintball and sports theme, we made place cards using food-grade plastic tubing from, and gumballs from, which look like paintball ammo.  The label had a sports ball of some kind, along with the guests' names, so that they would know which sports ball table to look for. The labels were purchased from, and printed at home using free clip art found online.

I had more than enough gumballs after purchasing them from a bulk supplier to fill some $1 glass bottles for use on the tables.  I had always wanted to try the popular craft of chalkboard painting on various surfaces, so I also used some of the $1 glass bottles for that.  I glued wooden clothespins onto the caps of the gumball-filled bottles, and onto the necks of the chalkboard painted bottles to hold the sports ball cutouts I purchased from the teacher supply store.
E6000 glue, and clothespins for sign holders

I primed the chalkboard painted bottles by covering them with chalk and rinsing them off (after plenty of time for the paint to cure). The easiest way to prime them was actually to use the chalk on the eraser, and then rub the eraser onto the bottle.

I wrapped twine around the chalkboard painted bottles just to cover the threads of the bottle, and to tie chalk onto, to make it easy for guests to help decorate and leave messages!
I also happened to have some $1 wooden picture frames that I spray painted purple.  I then used what was left of my chalkboard spray paint to paint the glass of the picture frame.  These were great to have for labelling things at the party, and for guests to leave messages on.

Chalkboard vinyl removable labels were great for the gumball filled bottles too.

The silver glass vases were spray painted with a hammered metallic spray paint in case I needed more containers.

More to come soon on this special and fun day!!!