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Behind the Scenes DIY Production

Make Any Idea Come To Life (Part Two)

The IDEA for the perfect treehouse was alive, excited and nervous. It wanted desperately to move out of the realm of the intangible into the real world but it knew that this was the stage it was most vulnerable, a stage where it could just as easily disappear and be forgotten as come true. As with all dreams in their dream state, this IDEA was warm and fuzzy and full of possibilities, but it knew that in order to move into an actual, tangible play structure someone had to lasso it, pull it down, wrestle and struggle with it, devote time to it and work at it till it actually became part of a child’s life and his future memories. So what was next?

Once I saw in my mind what I wanted the treehouse to be, I realized I had to get that picture down onto paper so its viability could be examined. I knew this next step, called the Design Stage, was critical because once it was completed my dream would be something tangible, something others could see and understand, something that others who knew about treehouses could look at, comment on and offer advice. And so, over the next week the tree house made its way onto paper where at last I could see what would and what wouldn’t work. For example:

The Wouldn’ts

  • No, the hot tub I dreamed about (if only for a second) would definitely not work. There were just a few too many logistical problems 🙂
  • A pole to slide down would be fun, but the branches of the tree didn’t leave a good spot for it to exist.
  • Multi-tiers were out too, the tree just wasn’t big enough.

The Woulds

  • A pirates ship wheel.
  • A silver bucket transport system with pulley
  • And a ladder with a trap door would work nicely

It’s important to note that the Design Stage is a study phase. No matter what your dream is, get it down on paper. Mull over it. See what can be done and what realistically can’t. Let the thoughts/images sit for awhile on the paper and see what pops into your head. I have found that if I give my Dream enough time to sit in the design stage, a lot of new and awesome ideas come about, so don’t rush this! The brain takes awhile to think and process, to ruminate. To allow this to happen, I find it helpful to just sit and look at the design for 15-20 minutes. It’s at that point that my mind somehow kicks into another gear and then the creative ideas come. Many times you may try to rush creativity, and when ideas don’t come fairly quickly you give up and say to yourself, “I’m just not that creative”. Not true! Creativity is often more about patience and persistence than anything else. Give it time. Don’t give up. Something awesome is on the other side of the mental wall.

I also find it helpful to walk away from the thought/design and then look at it again the next day. At that point I re-adjust and massage the ideas from the day before and become amazed at the new things that pop into my head that make the project more exciting.

At this point of the process the Treehouse IDEA was something more than just a Dream. It had form and structure. But, unfortunately, it still wasn’t something that could be climbed into and provide great adventures.

Two more stages would be needed. (To be continued…)

Behind the Scenes DIY ISeeIt! Productions Leadership

Make Any Idea Come To Life

Awhile back a good friend of mine asked me to consider building a tree house for his son. Within a couple of weeks we were standing in his backyard looking at the tree. It was not a very big tree, in fact there was no way it could support a tree house on its own, but immediately the dream of a perfect tree house began to take shape. The little boy in me came alive as we discussed what it might look like and all that it could be. Drew, my friend’s son, added his input – he wanted a rope with a pulley to bring things up into the tree house, he wanted a ladder and a trap door, he wanted to have plenty of room to be able to walk around and use his imagination. My mind began to whirl with the possibilities. Different images filled my head of what this might look like. At that point how it was going to be done didn’t matter, we would figure that out later. Now was just the time to dream. I thought of a pirate ship wheel overlooking the yard, I thought of a pole that could be slid down from the upper deck, I thought of a hot tub (but only for a second), I thought of lights hanging in the tree, a silver bucket carrying up essential supplies from the ground to the upper deck, multiple tiers on the upper level, a sitting area under the tree house that would provide shade from the summer sun. Many ideas flooded into my head, some ludicrous, some simple, some perfect. This was going to be fun.

But in this stage, there is a problem. The first step of any dream is coming up with the IDEA itself, but many times the IDEA never makes it past the Dream stage, it just stays up in your head – happy, lofty, exciting, ready to drift off with the clouds it co-exists with. But we can’t allow this to happen or it will drift away and amount to nothing. We need to grab that IDEA and pull it down from its lofty heights and wrestle with it. Dreams are tough, they take a lot of effort to subdue. Pulling an IDEA into reality is also scary too. What if I get started and can’t see it through? What if I’m not up to the task? What if my abilities won’t take me where I need to go? And the biggest…what if I fail? Ideas are fun to live with when they don’t threaten us and push us to actually do something. But few things in life are worthwhile without ideas that become dreams. Over the years I have found that GOD is a GOD of dreams and that when He gives you a vision He will also provide the resources if you’re willing to take the next step. And this can even apply to something as small as a tree house.

And so, we decided to take the IDEA of this tree house and give it a chance. But, in order to fully pull it down from the clouds to begin wrestling with its possibilities, a few more steps needed to be taken.

(To be continued…)

DIY Uncategorized

How To Build a Spinning Wheel

Why Build a Spinning Wheel?

For our recent reboot of the Elevate series, Berry Blast Theme Park, our staff and volunteers took time and effort to make a “point system” that would energize the kids and match the theme of our environment in FC Kids. The result: The Berry Blast Spinning Wheel! Our kids loved getting to come up and spin the wheel when their team won. It also gave them motivation to participate. Below are the instructions to make one for your environment, though you can adapt it for your own purposes.

BBTP Spinning WheelMaterials Needed (and found at your local hardware store):
1/2” Sheet of Plywood or MDF
4×4’ Post
2 2’x4’s
BBTP Spinner Art (optional)
8 1/4” dowels
A Lazy Susan with the top removed
3/8” x 5” Bolt with a lock nut
3/8” Washers
Wood Trim
Thin Piece of Stiff Leather or Plastic
Box of 3” Philips Wood Screws
Plastic Screw Head Covers
Nail Gun and Nails for Nail Gun (optional)
Wood Glue
Wood Puddy
Drill
Paint and/or Print Pieces for the wheel
Paint for the base and trim
Pencil

How To:

1. Use a 1/2” sheet of plywood or MDF to create a 30” circle, with a hole in the center of the circle for a 3/8” bolt.

2. Divide the circle into 20 ‘pie’ wedges, more or less, for the points. (Note: There are twenty wedges exactly on the BBTP Spinner Art). Mark with a regular pencil.

3. Drill twenty holes for the 1/4” dowels about an inch inside all around the edge of the circle and evenly spaced apart. They need to be aligned with the edge of each ‘pie wedge’.

4. Cut the 1/4” dowels to about 4” long and glue them in the holes you just drilled. We used wood glue. These dowel rods will be used as handles to spin the wheel, as well as the stoppers for the flapper.

5. Paint the circle and the stoppers the same color. We used Behr® Ultra, Satin Finish “Glidden Fresh Tangerine”.

6. Print the “BBTP_Spinner_Art.jpg” from the Environmental Graphics folder (available when you purchase the series) and adhere to the inside of the circle with screws. We used plastic screw head covers to disguise them. You can also create your own art. You can decorate your ‘pie wedges’ with different colors, different point amounts or whatever you are having the kids try to win. You can do this by painting, or by printing pieces, to adhere to the ‘pie wedges’.

7. To mount the circle to it’s stand, use a 4’x4’ post that’s at least 4’ tall. Mark a hole centered 20” down from the top the post, and drill a 3/8” hole all the way through the post. This is for the bolt that goes through the post and the center of the circle. We used washers to create space between the post and the circle so that the wheel can spin freely. We also used the base and ring with ball bearings from a lazy susan to help the circle spin. So the end result on the bolt went in this order (from back to front):

Bolt -> Washer -> Post -> Washer -> Lazy Susan base (with ball bearings facing the circle) -> Circle (with Art Attached) -> Washer -> Lock Nut

Note: Do NOT screw the Lazy Susan Base to the circle, instead, tighten the Bolt and Lock Nut just enough so the wheel spins freely and the ball bearings stay inside the Lazy Susan Base.

8. Use 2×4’s to create a base for the post and spinner. Screw the 2’x4’s to the bottom of the post first, in a radiating pattern. Then attach MDF around the edge in the form of a box. Then use the remaining MDF to form the top of the base. Finally, attach the trim with a nail gun, or other method, around the sides and edges of the base.

9. Use wood putty to fill the nail holes. When dry, paint the base and trim.

10. About an inch above the top edge of the spinner, drill a hole in the post for a 1/4” dowel that is at least 3 inches long. Using a jig saw, cut a narrow channel through that dowel and attach a thin piece of leather or plastic that hangs down. This creates the flapper that needs to be long enough to hit each of the dowels on the spinner.

11. Now you are done! Place your Berry Blast Wheel on your stage for the lessons and let the fun begin!

DIY Uncategorized Volunteers

Making a Creative Volunteer Team (Preschool Renovation part 2)

Here’s a shout out to a great group of creative volunteers who make Fellowship Church an awesome place for FCKids. Every couple of years we remodel our Preschool Building to update and re-innovate all of the spaces. Our latest job was to tackle our Preschool Rooms and the North lobby check-in area. As always it was a joy to see volunteers stream in and offer their talents. I am always amazed at the skills people have and are willing to share with the church. Take a look at some pictures I took of the creative volunteer team in action.

Here’s advice I give to people who ask how we get so many volunteers out to do creative projects like this.

First: Start Small but be Visible
1- Find a creative person, or two, who can work on a small project for you, something that will catch some attention.
2- Put on the finished project a sign that says “Done by Volunteers of “Fellowship Church” (your church name).
3- Put the project out where it can be seen by as many people as possible.
4- Have a sign up sheet beside the project that says something like: “Interested in being involved in a creative project like this? Sign up here and we’ll get you started”
5- Contact the 1 or 2 (or more) that sign up and you’ve suddenly got the workings of a team.

Second: Be Bolder and Bigger
Follow the same steps as above but use your newfound people to make an even bigger scaled project. Use it to attract even more people.

Third: Be Patient
Keep this process up and slowly, but surely, you will find a group of people that you can use to do just about anything. Just don’t expect it all to happen overnight. The team for FCKids took several years to develop and we are continuing to grow.

DIY FC Kids Uncategorized

Wonder and Palette's playroom now open!

Wonder & Palette's Playroom

Preschool Renovation: Part 1
What once was a seldom used area near one of our Preschool lobbies at Fellowship Church, is a space that has now become an interactive playroom for kids to hang out while mom and dad chat and check in before services! All themed by Wonder and Palette!

With a week of work and a lot of volunteers, our team transformed the lobby in time for Easter services. First we removed the old walls, created cubby spaces for the window TV’s, reframed and drywalled the area, cut out the foam core graphics, painted the edges, and placed the final touches from our favorite store…IKEA!

These updates changed the entire atmosphere in our Preschool lobby. Now, the 2-3 year olds sit down to color while moms and dads meet other moms and dads, and new families immediately see how important their children are to us in FCKids.

Taking on a build project to change the environment of your church may seem like a daunting task, but it makes a big difference in the atmosphere of your church. Think of it like this: you remodel your home to make it comfortable and inviting for yourself and for your guests. In the same way, we remodel the areas of our church to make them more comfortable and inviting for our attendees and visitors.

Over the next few weeks I will share the details of how we made this project come together successfully.

You can use the same graphics we did to decorate your preschool area too! Visit ElevateAtChurch.com to download the full sized Preschool Wall Art and Graphics.

Behind the Scenes DIY Uncategorized

Building Dinosaurs

One of my hobbies is to dabble in sculpting. I find my creative thoughts come easier when I am using my hands to make something. Some things are small (Winnie the Pooh, Lumiere and Cogsworth) and some are large (the mountain in our CCC building)…

But I’ve never tackled a Dinosaur!

DIY Elevate Production Uncategorized

Elevate: Roanoke Jones Logo Development Process

I thought you might like to see how we create the logos you see for each Elevate series. This is the development process we went through to get the Roanoke Jones logo.

Step 1 – Different logo concepts were sketched out and we chose the one that fit best.

Step 2 – The sketch was recreated digitally.

Step 3 – More detail was added to the logo and different variations were created.

Step 4 – The best attributes of each variation were merged into the final design.

Step 5 – Texture and shading were added to the design to arrive at the final logo.

I hope you enjoyed this look at our development process. I am very excited about the Roanoke Jones Series and can’t wait for you to see the rest of it!