Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Inexpensive and Innovative Island Invitations

Introducing.... Whack-i Wednesday with an interesting twist. Involve or incorporate "i" in as many instances imaginable. Ok... I'm done. That's way too much work.

Today we'll do two things. First, since I happen to be working on Matthew's birthday invitations yesterday and invitation starts with the letter "i", we'll briefly touch on that. Then, we'll stay on his birthday theme and see if we can apply today's Whack on the Side of the Head to planning his party. I love it... built in party consultants.

A little background. My in-laws have a beach house in Key Largo. Each year all the boys in the family plan an annual "Guys Weekend in the Keys." As a side note, I LOVE this idea. As a woman "boy-trapped" in her own home, a guys weekend in the Keys means a week of solitude in Dallas. The rule, however, is you are not invited until you are fully potty trained. Matthew missed it by the skin of his teeth last year, so he has spent the year day dreaming and obsessing over going to Florida. In January he announced that he wanted to spend his birthday in Florida. Our schedules don't allow for a trip in April, so instead the idea for his party is to bring Florida to Matthew. Thus his party will be Florida-beach-themed.

I thought about recreating airplane boarding tickets, but I thought that would escape most of the four year old children invited. Instead, I decided on messages in a bottle. I love mailing irregularly shaped items in the mail - simply because most people don't. From a child's perspective, it's a thrill to get anything in the mail... never mind something 3-D. It also made involving Matthew in the project much easier. All I needed... old water bottles, stickers, sea shells, a little bit of yellow shred, construction paper, and of course - the ever essential - hot glue gun. We wrote out the invitations and then Matthew decorated them with beach-themed stickers. Once done, we rolled up the invitations, put them in the bottles with a little bit of shred and some sea shells, sealed it up with a cork and a hot glue gun, and made cut-out shapes for address labels. One final treatment of stickers on the outside of the bottle and we're off to the post office.

Incidentally... because I like to send 3-D mail, I have been the recipient of some great and interesting mail myself... a coconut from Hawaii, a plastic barrel of fun filled with treats, a American Airlines barf bag, empty but with a handwritten letter, and a painted piece of wood with a letter on the back... to name a few. Try it. See what the whackiest thing is you can send through the mail.

Now onto the business of whacking ourselves on the side of the head. Today's card was picked only because it was the card with the title containing the most "i"s. Imagine You're the Idea. Imagine that you're a parking meter. How does it feel when coins are inserted in you? What is it like when you're "expired." how could you be easier to use? Imagine that you're a box of cereal on a grocery shelf. How can you be more attractive? What can you do to force the grocer to give you more shelf space? How would you feel if you were the idea you're developing?

The idea I'm developing is Matthew's birthday party. I'm hoping by doing this I can make his "trip" to Florida more authentic. How would I feel if I was Florida? What can I do to make party-goers feel like they have left Texas and arrived in the Sunshine State for a couple of hours? If I was Florida, I would be sunny and warm. I would be relaxing with the sound of waves in the background. Oranges would be plentiful, sand would gently move through my toes, and their would be a yummy drink in my hand. Tourists would be enjoying themselves while fishing, swimming, and cruising the ocean on boats. Beaches would be filled with beach umbrellas, suntan lotion, bright beach towels and chairs. Young children would be looking for sea shells or building sand castles; older children would be combing the sand for metal treasures or playing Frisbee; and adults would be sunbathing while reading a book or magazine.

I have to go, Micky... I mean Ricky is calling me. You take a turn. How would you feel if you were Florida?

Signing off until tomorrow when we'll ooze "o" in order to develop an original, or otherwise outrageously obscure and overboard idea...worthy of an ovation!.. OK?

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