Last Friday night we went to a neighborhood party where, in the spirit of the maker revolution, it was encouraged to bring some sort of game or activity that you made yourself.
My friend, the host, had made a giant Jenga game, and another friend was making felt hats that you could throw velcro balls at. So the bar was high, and I was definitely expected to bring something. The pressure! I came up with a bunch of ideas, but they were all too elaborate to accomplish in time for the party. Finally, at the last minute, I got a crazy idea. I would be a velvet painting.
I had just gotten a velvet dress at a naked lady party. A naked lady party, if you didn’t know, is a party where a bunch of ladies get together and swap the clothes they no longer want. It’s pretty hysterical drinking wine and trying on all kinds of whacky garments, and I always go home with a few gems. One thing I tried on was a really pretty and form fitting long black velvet dress. Even though I knew I would probably never have an occasion to wear it, I took it anyway. I could always bring it back to swap at the next naked lady party. Little did I know that I’d have an occasion to wear it so soon, and in the middle of summer no less!
So early Friday evening I packed a bag with a muffin tin, a bunch of paint brushes, and a slew of neon acrylic paints, then put on my dress, put up my hair, packed my family into the car and headed to the party. I wasn’t sure how this was going to play out, and I have to admit, I was a bit nervous.
When we got to the party it was already hopping. Giant Jenga was in full swing, as were balloon races, a monkey ball game, a graffiti wall, ping pong, and lots of fun food and fancy drinks. I got some nice compliments on my dress, but mostly a lot of confused looks. This was not a formal occasion and it was way too hot for velvet. If somebody asked, I simply explained that it was my summer velvet dress. So my giant Jenga opponent started calling me “Summer Velvet” which was kind of nice, although it did kind of sound like a hooker name.
I wasn’t sure when to get the velvet painting started, but fortunately my ‘get things done’ friend just started squeezing paints into the muffin tin, had me stand on the parking strip (a seemingly safe place to be with all that neon paint), and she and Nadine started painting me. Before I knew it, there were several kids and a couple of adults getting super into it.
I couldn’t see how it looked, but the paint was going on liberally and I could feel it seeping through the dress. One little girl painted on my butt and, very pleased with herself, told me she had painted a butterfly. Very funny. So I just stood there, with a beer, as it got dark out, and the kids continued to paint me until their parents had to take them home. People were commenting on how good it looked, but I had no idea until someone took a picture and showed it to me. And wow, those kids did an amazing job. There was practically no ‘black space’ left on the dress, and the neon paints looked amazing.
At just about the same time the kids were finishing up my dress, the DJ was getting things started, and I hit the dance floor. I just can’t resist that Macklemore song “Can’t Hold Us” and I started dancing all around with Nadine, my favorite dance partner. But then I realized that this was a precarious thing to do, as my dress was still juicy with paint. So I went inside and Nadine and Todd helped me get the dress off, and I changed into shorts and a t-shirt, then continued to dance and even played a few more games of giant Jenga. What a super fun way to spend a summer evening!