Welcome to Chapter Three

Welcome to Chapter Three: Taking Life One Page at a Time -- a space to blog about those things that keep this retired gal from getting into ...

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Teens, Seniors, and Cards... Oh, My!

Whew!!!! I survived Santa Saturday!

  • Santa Saturday at our local library is one of my favorite days of the year. This is my third year to help out with the day's festivities. Being able to volunteer for events like this is one of my favorite things about retirement.  :)
  • The first two years, I helped run the little kid craft activity. This year, the staff asked if I'd be interested in spearheading a holiday card-making service activity, helping tweens/teens make cards for residents of a senior facility.
  • Let's see: making cards.... working with tweens/teens.... promoting community service... and bringing a little joy to local seniors. Yes, Yes, Yes, and YES!!!!

So, here are some notes about processes, organization, and logistics that helped this {first annual?} event go pretty well.

Card Designs

  • The event was scheduled to run for 90 minutes. I originally came up with four possible designs. We later decided to go with three of the four cards.
  • Each card featured a different skill: paper-piecing, working with stamps and punches, and creating texture with an embossing folder.
  • By focusing on three specific skills, I could create stations at which no key tools needed to be shared. For example, the embossing machine was used only at the Santa hat card station.
Card 1 Skill: Paper-Piecing

Card 2 Skill: Stamping and Using a Punch

Card 3 Skill: Embossing
  • I shared card designs at a meeting with the tween/teen library staff members. The conversation included decisions to: limit the number of participants and post an online registration, make labels for card backs, place an order supplies like tape runners, and recruit teen volunteers to assist at card stations.
  • We decided to limit registration to 15 tweens/teens. I offered to prep 18 kits for each card.
  • We also decided to have a make-and-take table for kids who might drop by. One of our uber-crafty librarians took this on.

Card Prep

Now it was time to prep cards. I assumed card-making and crafting would be new to attendees. So, I set out to create card kits that would be as fool proof as possible.

  • Each card's elements were self-contained in an A2 envelope. 
  • Non-featured skill elements were done in advance by me. For example, I embossed all the white panels for the trees card so that the embossing machine would not be needed for that station.
  • I debated about having students trace reindeer pieces but, in the interests of time and quality control, I decided to have these ready for the kids to cut out.

  • After cards were prepped, I prepared tool kits -- one for each card. The post-its on the lids are to remind me of last-minute, day-before additions that needed to be made.

  • I also put together a what-in-the-world-could-I-possibly-need kit of my own. My kit included a folio containing extra papers... just in case.

  • The day before, I boxed up card kits... and purchased some baby wipes. LOL

  • Over the course of a week, I wrote -- with editing suggestions from hubby -- and printed out how-to corrections for each card. If you're interested in receiving these directions, just e-mail me

  • Finally, I added a couple of ornaments and some Ghiradelli chocolates to give to our teen station volunteers.
Room Logistics
  • We chose to hold the event in a self-contained room, a little ways away from Santa. I was able to set up Friday afternoon. 
  • Tables were arranged to seat six people and covered with butcher paper. A table at the front of the room was set aside for administrative purposes and my tool kit. 
  • Card-making tools and supplies were placed in blue baskets at each station. Pencils, scissors, rulers, etc. were borrowed from the library's Homework Help supplies.

  • Card directions were taped to all four corners of each station.
Day-Of Notes

  • I arrived about noon, our two teen volunteers arrived about 12:30, and our event started at 1:30. In spite of all the pre-event prep, I needed all of this time to attend to last minute details.
  • One change I made from the night before was to move the embossing machine to the very front of the room.
  • Our two volunteers timed their arrivals perfectly, about 20 minutes apart. This gave me time to walk through that station's card with each girl. And, we had enough time for each girl to make one of the cards herself.
  • One of our librarians handled the embossing station. I was very thankful for this because we were using a borrowed machine... and some very sharp (twine cutting) scissors here.
  • I was provided with the registration list. I set out a 3-card set for each registered student. This left us with six available cards for any drop-in crafters.

Parting Thoughts

  • All-in-all, things seemed to go pretty well. The library staff  seemed very happy.... and seem interested in a card-making event of its own.  :)
  • We had a few no-shows and, since the cards are going to senior residents, some of the librarians offered to make the leftover cards. 
  • Now, I need to let the events of the day percolate, and come up with a what-to-differently.... provided we do this again. One possible change is to simplify card designs. Our cards were definitely do-able... and lasted about the right amount of time.... but maybe we can simplify things just a little.

Any suggestions for future card-making events? I'd love to hear from crafty friends who have hosted similar events.  :)


  1. Beautiful selection of cards Sybrina, especially the reindeer, I just love him with his glittery nose. Hope you enjoyed your day out..

    Hugs Babs x

  2. What amazing cards Sybrina, and what an amazing event girl!