My family tree spreads its branches wide and provides plenty of shade for camping under. I always feel welcomed and loved and part of something wonderful when I get together with extended family for a reunion.
Raising funds to put on a family reunion takes all sorts of creativity and finagling.
My mom’s side of the family came up with a fun idea. In fact, it’s one of the highlights of our extended weekend together.
We put on an auction.
We encourage everyone to contribute something for the auction. The highest selling items tend towards handcrafted or sentimental items. A framed photo of Grandma and Grandpa, their kids and the grandparents going back a couple of generations brought in a hefty chunk of change. A pair of earrings Grandma owned and wore went on the auction block one year I couldn’t attend. I had my cousin bid on them for me via text and I won! That’s the most I’ve ever paid for earrings.
To save time and potential heartbreak, there’s a separate children’s table with donated, pre-priced items the kids can simply buy, no bidding required. Candy and whirligigs, water pistols, jewelry, slingshots, whistles, crayons, balls, more candy. Almost anything that appeals to a child might magically appear in the children’s store.
Cousins and Aunts often bring homemade jars of apple pie filling, salsa and pickles. Those sell for way more than you’d ever pay in the store, but are worth the price. Aunt Judy always sews up something fun, like holiday pillowcases or seasonal aprons. Uncle Farrell made a CD of patriot songs he’d written and sold those one year. A cousin brought a freestanding cabinet he made by hand. And arriving by mail from Hawaii, a painting by my cousin’s wife, stirred up quite the bidding war last year. I’m hoping she sends or brings another one this year.
We even auction off the leftover unopened food items. We’re a thrifty bunch. We’re also a crafty, talented, versatile, generous group of people. I love hanging out with extended family.
My contributions are usually less stellar than most, but I try to bring a few handmade items. This year I tried something I saw in the craft store. It’s a tablecloth.
Here it is. Ta da!
Yup, it’s made of bandanas. Cute, yes? Add some denim napkins tied up with twine, and wildflower filled vase and you have a fun western themed table.
I’ve actually made two. The first one helped me use up all the bandanas I had around the house. Yes, I admit it, I had over twenty-five bandanas in a drawer. I’d bought some to donate to a homeless cause one year and missed the drop off date. I also buy them randomly when I’m headed out on a camping adventure.
I didn’t have instructions on how to make the thing, just a picture of what it should look like when finished. As you can imagine I made a mistake or three and had to unpick and resew more than a few times. But it turned out okay. Okay enough for me to use at home, or on a picnic or at the reunion. But not okay enough to put in the auction.
So, I ordered a batch of bandanas from Amazon, washed them up, cut them out and put a color coordinated, pattern matching, auction worthy tablecloth together. Which is the one pictured above. I hope people like it. I hope the bidding gets a teensy bit exciting. If not, I could bid on it myself and give it as a gift, or turn it into a quilt.
If I did this again I’d use whole bandanas and just sew those together. Way easier and faster, although not as cute.
I can’t wait for the reunion. It’s one of the highlights of my year. I’ve got my auction money stashed and waiting. Will there be a painting again? If I win a jar of salsa can I smuggle it home on the plane? Will Aunt Betty’s sayings be memorialized on t-shirts this year?
I’ll have to let you know how it all plays out. It’s sure to entertain us all.