Thursday, September 17, 2009

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Keepsake Books: The Greatest of These Is Love

Another project, another amazing story.

T and L were step-sisters from age six to eleven when their parents divorced. They are very different and live thousands of miles apart, but have stayed in touch all of these years. L and her husband were struggling with infertility and realized that their only chance for a successful pregnancy was invitro fertilization using donor eggs. T offered to donate eggs and both of their families started the long, complicated and ultimately successful process. L's beautiful son and daughter were born earlier this year! T wanted a keepsake for L (and for her niece and nephew) to celebrate this labor of love and explain the reasons "why" both families went through this whole process.

T gave me the link to L's blog and I literally spent days reading and rereading L's posts on her journey towards fertility. I really wanted to get a better understanding of how she felt and what T's egg donation meant to her. I was so moved by L's honesty and openness about a very private topic. I came away from reading her blog filled with how much love was both given and received throughout this process. I also felt that I needed to know more about T's side of the story in order to finalize my proposal. T has a very deep and powerful testimony of God's love for her and L and shared how much her trust in Him guided her decision to donate her eggs for L. T's faith coupled with the love that both of these sister had for each other kept bringing to mind the scripture in 1 Corinthians 13 about LOVE (NIV) / CHARITY (KJV). The inspiration for the page designs came from L's nursery: pink/brown/blue polka dots, tic-tac-toe quilts and beautiful prints from Mary Jack Studios. Photos of T and L, the egg picture and wonderful baby photos by Tamera Eagars Photography.

Fun Facts
It always fun (and a little crazy) to add up all of the hours and materials to produce each keepsake. T's book for L required the following:
500 - glue tabs (at least!)
171 - digitally cut polka dots
121 - digitally cut letters / embellishments
110 - handcut pieces (flowers, diamonds, etc.)
98 - feet vario double stick tape
80 - panels (bases, mats and text)
42 - inches of checkered ribbon
37 - hours production time for the finished product
35 - sheets 80 - 110 lb. linen / smooth card stock
24 - digitally cut designs (harlequin background, tree foliage)
18 - inches of fossil broadcloth
18 - mitered border pieces
17 - stitched items
10 - yards quilting (and finish) thread
7 - hours for the mock-up
5 - inches muslin for binding
1 - yard 1.5" wide chocolate ribbon for the closure
... and a partridge and a pear tree!

Keepsake Books: Administrator Guy!

Faster Than A Speeding 206-er ...
This project was a blast! I had so much fun working with the parent/teacher group (PAC) for CER High School to create a mixed media comic-style keepsake for out-going principle BK. Principle BK was loved by the teachers, staff, students and community. After six wonderful years, he was leaving to accept a position as superintendant of a small school district along the Washington coast. The PAC members wanted something funny and poignant--sincere, yet light-hearted--to celebrate their time working with B and wish him well on his new assignment. PAC member S said that because Principle BK was very athletic and funny, other PAC members and staff had joked that they should send him off with a speedo and sunblock! Instead they opted for a sand bucket, shovel ... and a Nike Peterson Designs keepsake.

PAC members emailed me links to the district website for information on the school and pictures of BK. I also found photos online of the front of the school, school activities and spirit wear retailers. I was inspired by commercials in recent years that have used mock-heroes and plastic dolls. After submitting sketches to PAC member S, she approved the idea of a mixed-media comic style book using pop-art renderings of a "Pseudo Hero." The title came immediately-- ADMINISTRATOR GUY--balancer of budgets, defender of discipline, master of staffing! To create B's keepsake, I printed off images from plastic dolls and layered them with printouts of CERHS spirit wear and Principle BK's head. The look was deliberately over-the-top and chronicled the adventure of Administrator Guy (AG) leaving his current position to rescue a school district in peril. The pages in the keepsake show AG flying past notable state landmarks on his way to his new assignment. The final page included a tribute message from PAC with space around the edge for all of the members to sign. The finished keepsake was presented to Principle BK at a going away banquet. BK loved his keepsake and read the whole thing to the group during the presentation.

Fun Facts
Ah .... the good stuff. The tab for Principle BK's keepsake was:
250 - glue tabs
41 - ft double stick tape
32 - hand cut doll characters
28 - sheets linen cardstock
23 - text panels
21 - hours production time
18 - background panels
10 - finished comic book pages
2 - yds. black quilting thread
1 - custom made AG mailing pouch
1 - inch industrial black velcro for closure
1/4 - bottle Elmer's
1/4 - inch finished width + cover

(Complete project pictures available in the Private Client Gallery at Nike Peterson Designs.)

Donor Fullfilment: Two Sisters One Heart Foundation

Conjoined twins Emma & Taylor Bailey

Amazing Story x3

Emma & Taylor Bailey are conjoined from the belly button to the collar bone and share a common liver and single, seven-chambered heart that is failing. Most conjoined twins don't survive pregnancy, and those who do die within minutes or hours. While most families plan for a baby shower, Emma & Taylor's parents planned a funeral. After the miracle of the twins surviving birth, the family brought them home for what little time they had left. Three years later these girls have defied odds and despite their failing heart, are happy, beautiful children. Their parents decided to start the Two Sisters One Heart Foundation to both help with their daughters' medical bills, but also help families of other conjoined twins with burial costs.

Enter the Broadway Palm West Dinner Theatre in Mesa. Each year this theatre donates part of the proceeds of one of their productions to a local charity. In March they decided to dedicate their run of the musical Singin' In The Rain to the twins' foundation, planned a gala event for more fundraising and even brought in Debbie Reynolds from the original MGM movie Singin' In The Rain to be the honorary chairperson. The OneHeart Umbrella Campaign was born.

OneHeart Gala, April 4th
Left: The Baileys w/ The Duttons
Right: The Duttons & Debbie Reynolds

Photos courtesy David Spindel

To go along with the "Raining Love" them, the staff at the Palm set out to get umbrellas autographed from celebs in TV, theatre, sports and entertainment to auction as well. The response from celebrities was overwhelming with word of mouth bringing in more donations than anyone imagined. When Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner heart about the umbrella event, he invited staff from the OneHeart Umbrella Campaign to stand on the red carpet at Muhammad Ali's Celebrity Fight Night and collect additional autographs. The umbrellas from Josh Groban, Reba, Michael Phelps, Vince Young, Gov. Jan Brewer, Forest Whitaker and others came from that event. Thank you Mr. Warner! Nolan Nissle of Nissle Photography graciously covered the event for the campaign and David Spindel created stunning collages for each donated umbrella for the auction listings. Over 140 umbrellas were donated by celebrities and auctioned off on eBay to benefit the Two Sisters One Heart campaign!

I knew immediately that I wanted to create large, pop-open umbrella cards for each of the donors. The family and campaign staff loved the idea. The challenge, though, was how to make 150+ personalized umbrella keepsakes out of paper that looked just like the donated item: some umbrellas had been decorated with paint, flowers and messages, others were fun patterns and many were in classic single/double color design. Once I was able to see pictures of the donated umbrellas, I designed each keepsake to either mimic the donated piece or represent the donor.

Polka dot pattern on the mock-up below closely mimics Ms. Kanakaredes' umbrella. The Beijing logo was added for Olympian Michael Phelps' appreciation piece.

The mock up for Hugh Jackman's donation used the same colors and design. The ASU umbrella piece was rendered in burgundy w/ gold accents and featured the school mascot.

Mock up design below for the cast of Shrek the Musical and Sutton Foster.

Mock ups for the cast of Phantom (mimicing the shows Playbill rather than the donated umbrella) and Arizona Sheriff Joe.

The next challenge was how to send them. After several designs, I adapted a triangle envelope template and created a handmade matching or coordinating envelope for each piece.

Left: approx. 100 completed umbrella appreciation pieces ready to ship.
Right: Close up of the envelope for Gov. Jan Brewer featuring elements of the Arizona flag.

The inside of each umbrella had eight panels that contained a hand signed, personal message to each donor, pictures of the Bailey family and twins, thank you message from the Broadway Palm and OneHeart Umbrella Campaign staffs.

Left: approx. 75 partially completed umbrellas. The stack was eight inches tall. Right: Completed umbrellas for the Broadway Palm staff. Each umbrella has a personalized panel showing a photo of the donor and was hand signed by the Bailey family.

Fun Facts
2100+ - hand cut text panels and embellishments
1760 - hand scored folds and panels
1060 - the number of panels DH hand cut for me (thank you!)
785 - sheets white card stock (3+ reams)
392 - sheets 12x12 linen cardstock
340 - die cut umbrella handles (a few had to be cut twice
285 - feet of double stick tape (vario/scotch)
200 - hours productions time (I lost count after 200 ... it was three months of work)
166 - total shipping labels for entire project
160 + - number of umbItalicrellas made for donors, campaign staff, local businesses and sponsors plus custom envelopes to match
17 - trips to paper stores
9 - trips to the printer
6 - friends from church who helped cut out umbrella bases and envelopes
3 - reams white card stock
3 - seperate shipping boxes for delivery
2 - sets cutting and scoring blades

Final Thoughts
From my note to the Bailey's in the final shipment:
"For three months our family has thought constantly about yours. Each night after work when the kids went down, I spent a few hours working on this project, constantly looking at your family picture and photos of the girls. It has been a privilege to be part of this event."