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Getting Ready for Auctions

Auction season is right around the corner, and many of us will be involved in organizing, procuring, and advertising. Auctions are employed by our schools small and large, private and public, preschool and elementary. Not only is it a great way to raise funds for a school, it's also usually a fun way to socialize with teachers, administrators, and parents of the school community. Shane is working on organizing classroom projects for auction at the event:

We are getting ready for our annual auction fundraiser at my daughter's school. Does anyone have any ideas for classroom projects that worked well?

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My mom and grandma are award winning quilters, so one thing we always did in our classes was a class quilt but you need someone crafty to pull it all together. But it's really fun for the kids to participate in--all the kids decorate a block, (including their names and the date, but you could have them do blocks around a certain theme too) and then Grandma takes the blocks and assembles them into a darling class quilt.

Usually, the parents go crazy with bidding for it at the auction, I remember they raised quite a bit of money for the event. And then often times the winning bidder would just donate it back to the school to hang in a special place within the building for everyone to enjoy.

If you are looking for a site to have your auction check out the North Star Ballroom http://www.northstarballroom.com/ I used to manage the events and bookings before I had my son this past summer. The owner Jane Olberding is my aunt and the space is beautiful. There are rooms downstairs for silent auctions as well. Worth checking out. It is also great for weddings and receptions if you know any brides. I have a massage studio upstairs. All of you auction volunteers should call me when you are done. You will need it! In terms of ideas, I have seen painted tile benches, quilts, framed paintings from the kids. Beautiful artwork. It is amazing what those little artists can do. Have fun and good luck!

I just love the classroom projects. From the three auctions we've gone to, we have seen the classroom projects raise lots of money for the schools. One project I love is a tile project. Each child can paint a tile and all the tiles can be used to make a table or a mirror. You can check out http://www.mimosa-studios.com/ for ideas on tile projects. At our auction last year, I believe children also painted a full set of dishware - serving dishes/platters, dinner plates, bowls, saucers, and cups, service for 8.

Another success was a handpainted park bench. The children painted it and decorated with cute fingerprint catepillars and butterflies. Other ideas: quilt with handpainted squares done by the children. One year, there was a coffee table made, the top of which was a collage of pictures of all the children in the class. There was also a toy bench, also with a collage of pictures of the children on top. Last year, a parent at our school spearheaded an amazing project, a preschool-sized puppet theater (or more like a small clubhouse). The parent distributed materials for children to decorate the theater, and I believe parents also contributed to crafting puppets to go along with the entire package. It was a breathtaking project.

We've had our auction at the Northstar Ballroom, and it was a great space for a small- to mid-sized event. It's cozy and welcoming on the main level, and the actual ballroom area is expansive.

We are having another auction in two weeks. I must tell you about one of our teachers (who is quite talented) that created plaster masks of each child in her room. She then painted or decorated each mask according to the child's personality or interests.

One has the Korean flag on it, one has buttons all around (that child must love the Sewing a Button exercise, one has maps, another has planets, etc. I also like how she divided each mask into quarters as she decorated them.

Now she has them arranged 4 to a black panel and posted outside her room so that the parents can gather and try to guess which is their child's. Each panel will sell at the auction for, hopefully, over $200 apiece.
Granted, it's a lot of work, but how unique!

Another idea is to put pictures of the children decoupaged onto a box or chest or something similar.

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