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Page 7

MAKING PLANS

(PART 2)

MAKE A BANNER FOR YOUR MAILBOX OR STREET

WHEN: One week before the event
WHAT YOU NEED: Muslin or jersey fabric, family logo, fabric transfer sheets, or label paper

Transfer your family reunion logo to an 18- by 30-inch piece of jersey or muslin fabric, or a piece of bedsheet using iron-on transfer sheets. You can add text, such as the family name, the word Reunion, or simply a phrase like The Party's Here.

Again, fabric transfers will look best, but sticky label paper is an acceptable substitute. An 8H- by 11-inch logo is fine, but for maximum effect, use the tiling feature in your drawing or paint program to print a larger image to several transfer sheets. Tiling lets you create a large printed image by breaking it up into tiles that you print on standard-size paper. You then line up the tiles to create the oversize image. In our case, the banner was tiled into six 8H- by 11-inch sheets. The trick to making this look neat and professional is to trim and place all the transfer sheets at once, before you iron. Then heat the iron and transfer the sheets in sequence, being careful not to touch the iron to places on the cloth that have already been transferred. For a longer-lasting banner, use pinking shears or turn the edges of the material.

If you live in a rural or suburban setting, consider draping the flag over your mailbox. The fabric we used is 15 by 40 inches; you may need to size yours proportionally for your box. Turn the narrow ends back to form pockets three inches deep, to hold small weights that will keep your flag in place. Apply a transfer to each end of the fabric, which hangs like a saddlebag over your mailbox.



CREATE A FAMILY TREE

WHEN: At the party, as the guests arrive
WHAT YOU NEED: Family photographs, scanner, family-tree software (either Family Tree Maker from Broderbund or Family Gathering from Palladium)

Remember those photos you asked all your guests to bring to the reunion? As the guests arrive, help them scan in their photo and fill in information in either Family Tree Maker or Family Gathering. Guests will need to enter their birthdates and indicate who their parents and children are. You can also get them to add an anecdote or memory about the family if they've got the patience (and a story worth telling). You can either print the entire family tree at the party or "doctor it up" after the party and send a copy to each guest as a memento. You can add to the family tree during the course of the year.



CREATE TEAMS

WHEN: Before the party
WHAT YOU NEED: White or light-colored T-shirts and plain hats, your family logo, iron-on transfer paper

Putting your family logo on T-shirts and hats is a great way to create lasting party favors. If you get two colors of T-shirts or hats, you'll also be able to use them as team markers for your family reunion games. Instead of defining teams by family membership, try to equalize the sizes, ages, and skill levels of the teams -- teaming young kids with a parent or big brother or sister will guarantee fun for all. Iron-on transfer papers make it relatively easy to print your logo onto many kinds of fabric objects. The idea is to print the logo on the iron-ons and then iron them onto the T-shirts and hats.

Reunion games are a great way to shake off the effects of all-too-good eating. Remember all the favorites? Capture the Flag, Blind Man's Bluff, Red Rover, Simon Says, Red Light/Green Light, Mother May I? Kids love the movement and activity of these classic games.

If you want to add an official look to your games (from wheelbarrow race to sack race to three-legged race), add a special touch with those big pin-on numbers that marathoners and bike racers wear. You can use any word processor. Just select an easy-to-read font like Helvetica and the largest point size your word processor can produce, up to 400 point. Type in a number, and surround it with wingdings, mini-logos, or other decorations. Save the file and print in black and white. Select the number, replace with another, and print again. Use safety pins to attach the numbers to the game participants' clothes.

FAMILYPC TIP
If you're tight on time or budget, just make badges or name tags with your family logo and forgo the T-shirts and hats. Use your logo and print the badges on two colors of card stock, one for each team. Seal the card stock between sheets of Avery self-adhesive laminate. Use a paper punch to make holes, and use large brass safety pins or diaper pins to fasten the badges to hats (the way you do fishing licenses) -- or pass the badges out for people to pin where they choose.



CREATE THE PRIZES

WHAT YOU NEED: A word processor, desktop publishing program, glue, paper plates

Even those of us who want to encourage cooperation rather than fierce competition love to win "prizes." Use the computer to create some one-of-a-kind prizes.

One idea is to create silly awards, such as "Giggliest," "Most Energetic," "Most Relaxed," "Best Sport," "Best Party Spirit" -- whichever are relevant to your family members. Be sure to select some categories that kids or older partygoers are likely to "win."

Again, use your family logo. Purchase paper plates in a solid color, any size, to match your decor and logo. Use your paint or drawing program to create a circular golden medallion outline that will fit the base of the plate. If your program has a symmetry tool, use it to make a multipointed star or pattern. Size your logo to fit just inside the emblem's border, and save it as a template.

Then, using a font like Calligraphic, type in "Presented to the Most Graceful Jumper," draw a line for the winner's name, and add your party particulars ("Sunday, July 21, in the Year 1996"). Save the file, print it, and keep making new awards by substituting the title for the new award each time you print. Take each printout, cut out the award medallion, and glue the medallion to the center of a plate. For extra flash, take an 8-inch piece of ribbon that you've doubled and stick it under the edge of the medallion as you glue it on.

FAMILYPC TIP
Create "funny money" for race and game winners. Draw a rectangle and place the party logo in it, framed by decorations or denominations. At the end of the party, use the money to auction off leftovers or decorative elements you're willing to part with -- the tablecloth, table decorations, puppets, and so on.

SHORTCUTS
Purchase preprinted certificate paper and print ready-made awards. You can use a desktop publishing program like Microsoft Publisher CD Deluxe for Windows95 (Windows95 CD-ROM, $74.95 street; 800-426-9400 or 206-882-8080), or you can go with less powerful but easier-to-use programs like Print Shop Deluxe Ensemble II for Mac and Windows (CD-ROM, $80 each; Broderbund, 800-521-6263 or 415-382-4400).

If you just want to make a few quick certificates, look in the Borders section of your clip-art collection. Print your selected border as large as possible on a full sheet, type in the presentation information, save as a template, and then re-enter just the award title for each prize.



THE PUPPET SHOW

WHEN: At the reunion
WHAT YOU NEED: Dolls from table decoration, impromptu puppet theater with sheets

It's time for the foam-board characters you made for table decoration to do double duty as fantastic puppets. For an impromptu theater, tip a table onto its side or stretch a bedspread between trees. Suggest a familiar fairy-tale story line to be acted out by your family puppets -- Grandma playing Red Riding Hood and little cousin Will as the Big Bad Wolf.



THE FAMILY TRIVIA CONTEST

WHEN: Prepare questions one week before the event
WHAT YOU NEED: A word processor, printouts of documents, some pencils

Think of some things that would really get the relatives talking to each other and finding out things about each other's lives. What piano piece is cousin Julie studying now? What colleges did Harry apply to? Who's the youngest in the room? Who's the oldest? Who's lived in the most places?

Type your questions on a page, leaving room for answers, and print a copy for each guest. Give each person his own sheet and send the guests off to find the answers. (Read the page aloud once for young ones or pair them with a reader.) You can give everyone a sheet at the beginning of the party and have guests work on the answers throughout the party, or you can set aside a specific chunk of time to complete the contest. Make sure to review the questions aloud once the contest is over, as everyone will be interested in the answers. This is a great icebreaker if your relatives haven't seen each other in a while.



THE FAMILY REUNION RECIPE MEMORY BOOK

WHEN: After the party's over
WHAT YOU NEED: Desktop publishing software, binding tool, family recipes

Remember those recipes you asked for in the invitations? Use them to create a family cookbook, with photos and family anecdotes. Decorate it with clip art, too, and take it to a print shop for professional binding. Your family can add to it every year.