Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Off work is hard work

It has been a whole month since I last posted. I realize this has been quite upsetting to some of you that follow this blog religiously. But I have been on my time off. A whole 3 weeks straight of glorious time off. During which I was so busy doing nothing that I couldn't bother to post anything on this here blog thingy.
Actually that isn't true at all. We mariners like to embellish the truth every now and then. They aren't called "sea stories" for nothing.

I was actually quite busy during my time off. First of all, my wife decided it would be a good idea to enter The Great Chili Cook-Off. The chili was Great (as you could probably surmise from the event name). The weather, however, wasn't. A full summary of The Great Chili Rain-Out can be found HERE. It's a good read. You'll laugh, cry, want to eat chili, etc.
*** If you happen to be in the area, the chili cook off has been rescheduled for this Saturday, October 13th.

But what kept me really busy this time home was my hobby(?).
I like to make t-shirts. Print t-shirts actually. I'm not one to go out and shear a sheep, spin the wool into yarn, and then knit a t-shirt. At least not yet.
I screen print t-shirts as a hobby. Sometimes my wife likes to tell people I screen print t-shirts as a hobby. Which then leads to, "Can he make me a shirt that says...."
It's fun. Most of the time. Sometimes my hobby takes on a life of its own. This time home happened to be one of those moments.

Last year, I designed and printed up some t-shirts for my son's second grade class. It didn't go as smooth as I would have hoped. There was a lot of indecision. Color choices were a major sticking point. Shirt numbers were all wrong. I was literally printing shirts right up until the time I had to go back to work. As a hobby, it was pretty stressful.
This year, the second grade teachers once again asked if I would be willing to print them some shirts. To be honest, I was kind of flattered that they wanted me to do the shirts again. For one, my son is now in third grade. And secondly, I was thinking I must have done something right last year for them to ask me again. But I was quite hesitant to do the shirts again due to the issues of last year. I've finally gotten my blood pressure down and I didn't feel the need to raise it again.
*** This is the part where I praise the second grade teachers for being so helpful and organized this year. It was truly a pleasure to print the shirts for them.
So I set up a meeting to discuss the particulars of the project with them. And after a very quick discussion concerning shirt colors, sizes, and quantities I was off and running once again. Around 140 (or so) shirts for the second grade. No problem.
Did I mention my wife likes to tell people about my hobby?
After my meeting with the second grade teachers, I went to have lunch with my wife at the preschool where she teaches. Somehow they had found out that I printed t-shirts. And they asked if would I be willing to come up with a design and print some shirts for them as well. So in less than an hour, I had gone from, not really sure I wanted to print any shirts at all, to having to order over 250 shirts for the two different schools. The UPS guy was going to be pissed.
This is what a stack of 140 kids t-shirts looks like.

Sidebar: Our UPS guy is a magician. Or the fastest guy on the planet.
I can be sitting at our computer desk and watch the UPS guy approach the front door bringing his parcels of wonderful goodness. He puts the packages down on the stoop and rings the doorbell. In the time it takes for me to go the 10 feet from the computer desk to the front door, the UPS guy has traversed the 75 feet down the driveway, is back in his truck, and is already driving away. It's magic! Or he is Usain Bolt's brother. Either way, he's quick. Crazy quick. And he's crazy strong too. I've ordered multiple cases of ammunition and he hand carries them all the way up the driveway to the front door. That stuff is HEAVY. I'm almost tempted to just order random, heavy, awkward things for him to deliver just so I can see "What Brown can do for me". 

Okay, sorry, back to the printing of the shirts...

My hobby is a little one man operation. No fancy equipment. No machines. Nothing. Just me, an exacto knife, some silk screens, and a lot of ink. One shirt at a time. And I let the ink air dry.

Not a single place to sit
So the shirts took over the house. They were everywhere. On the couch. On the dinner table. In the bedroom. All over the living room. Not a seat or flat surface was to be found anywhere. Which proved to be an issue when you have two small children. One t-shirt was lost when a child "leaped before she looked" onto the couch where a still wet shirt was drying. Occupational hazard, I guess.

All things considered, it went really smoothly. I got all of the shirts printed for both schools and I was pretty happy with the results. I even had time to do a design or two for myself.
It's a pretty cool hobby. Especially when I get a chance to see 250 different kids wandering around in school wearing a t-shirt that I printed. Who knows, maybe next year there will be 250 more.

A pin wheel of colors
Blue on Tangerine. Order #2
All printed up and ready to go

Here are some pictures of the shirts I have done. Maybe I could sell them if I could figure out how to set up a store or something like that. Until then, if you see a shirt that you like and can wait a few weeks for me to get it made and delivered send me an e-mail. Maybe I'll become the next internet millionaire. Or maybe not. My kids still need some place to sit.


For the kids

You can write in who you want to be with a washable marker.

It's a lot funnier if you know what the code flags are.
That's just good advice

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