Taratories Blog

A Tree for Junior Power Kids

A couple of months ago some leaders in our church kids program asked me if I would help create a tree in the new children's wing of our church.  We had a tube to use as the form to begin.  I then had to come up with a plan of how we were going to make the simple cylinder shape transform into a tree.  

First we collected branches to use on our tree.  Then we made openings in the cylinder for the branches to fit into.  Next we spray painted the branches brown to match the same brown color we were going to be painting the trunk with. The branches came without leaves so we purchased silk leaves from the craft store and attached them onto the branches with wire.  We then secured the branches into the "trunk" and made the tree look as if it were going through the ceiling by only attaching a few limbs to the tree.

The easiest way that I could think of to give the tree texture was to use paper mache. We dipped pieces of newspaper in the standard glue/water paper mache mixture and started sticking them to the tree creating textured creases.  It was already starting to look like a tree trunk!

After that part was completed we moved on to the roots.  We twisted newspaper into long clumps taping them so they wouldn't unfold and tapering them at the bottom where the roots would end.  We then taped them onto the trunk and added more newspaper on top of the taped areas where they were attached to give a more gradual, natural slope.  After letting the paper mache dry, I painted the trunk brown and gave it a coat of polycrylic protective finish over the whole thing to protect it from little hands ripping into the newspaper.  Not to say that won't still happen, but it at least will help a little with that!  

I am so thrilled with how it came out!!  It is such a great addition to the new Junior Power Kids wing! My son was thrilled this past weekend when he was able to use it for the first time!

I also painted this cute little train that kids can pose behind for pictures for the "Creation Station" theme they have going on right now.  I was so happy to be a small part of making this new kid space a fun and exciting space to be in!  To learn more about Grace Church's Power Kids program here in Akron, Ohio, click HERE.

Stuff the Bus

This week I helped our church create a bus for our annual "Stuff the Bus" school supply and sports equipment collection. My church, Grace Church of Bath, Ohio, joins with our urban partners in helping the kids they serve head back to school fully equipped with school supplies and sports equipment.  It is a great way to make a tangible difference for inner-city kids and it was great to be a small part of making that happen.  We already had a painted wooden cut out for the front of the bus which was used last year.  This year we decided to make the body of the bus to have somewhere to put the items into.  I worked with a couple of other people to make this happen in a couple hours one evening and it went so smoothly!  We arrived at the church with some boxes, paint and some yellow poster board.  We hadn't planned out how this was all going to come together before we got there, but between the three of us it all came together like clockwork!  After formulating a plan, one person spray painted the bottoms of the boxes black to create the look of a dusty road, the other person helped attach yellow posterboard to the boxes and blue paper to the posterboard to make windows.  I painted the whole time creating the bumpers, wheels, and edges to windows, etc. which was so fun for me.  I love projects where I get to do the "cherry on the top" parts!


The kids had a lot of fun playing in the boxes while we worked and tried out riding the bus when we were finished!  

Here is my little guy with the bus this morning at church.  I'm thinking this would be a good prop for a play or something some day!  I think it was a creative, yet functional, way to collect supplies and I can't wait to see how full this bus gets as it is stuffed with peoples generosity.

Give it Away

Last month I helped out with a painting class for children involved in our church's Power Kids youth program.  They were to paint canvases that were inspired by different kid's programs and graphics associated with our church.  


Our main philosophy in our church is "Know it, Live it, and Give it Away".  This means we want people to know the story of Jesus, live it out in community together, and give the story of Jesus away to our world.  

My son Killian was a part of this class and decided to incorporate this theme into his art and I just love what he came up with!  

It gave me such joy watching his ideas stirring up in his face as he squirted his paints on his plate. I LOVE watching kids' ideas unfold as they express themselves in ways I would have never thought of!  

I thought it was so creative to use the "Power Kids" symbol for the nose and eyes:-)  

These kids were "giving it away" with their time and creativity as they helped serve the church by providing beautiful artwork to dot the walls of our buildings.  

I couldn't help myself from making one myself (center canvas here) and it was so much fun!


All of the canvases came together to make a beautiful statement on these walls and I love how there is such unity because of the repeating color palette.  This was a great way to show kids how using their talents can be used to encourage other people and it can be fun to "give it away"!

Seasonal Symbiosis

A few months ago, our set crew started dreaming up our next set.  We design a new set for our church stage for each season.  Over the winter we had these amazing snowflakes constructed out of wood, and for our next one we were determined to find a way to recycle these wooden diamonds.  We came up with the idea of making the diamonds into stems and leaves forming the base of flowers, which was an appropriate design for spring.  (The person speaking here is my husband ;) )

We started playing around with materials to construct these flowers and tried out lighting parts of them in the prop room to test out how they might look.  We decided to add PVC pipe pieces that would hang behind the flowers in the background to fill in the space and add movement and interest to the back of the stage.  

I did a blog post about the construction of these flower tops back in February because they were such a unique element of this set.  The three elements of the wood, wire mesh, and PVC pipes, although very different kinds of materials, all came together to make a very cohesive and exciting stage!  

I just love the way that the pipes light up, especially against the black background.  This was our first attempt at covering the entire width of the stage with a black curtain to use for a backdrop and the results were stunning!  The black really made everything pop in dramatic high definition and really helped to transform the stage.  I think this set has such an exciting, contemporary, striking look and I just love the way it all came together!

A New Stage for the Set Design Team

Being a part of the set design team at my local church has been a great experience through the years and it is always changing and bringing forth new challenges.  Recently, our church family on Ghent Rd. purchased another church building that we are going to be using as an extension of Grace Church's Bath campus.  There will be a video stream of the sermon during the service there, and by doing this we will free up seats at Ghent Rd.  All this is very exciting as we officially open the doors on October 12th which is days away!  This now gives the set design team another stage to work on which will help set the mood of the service.  This is a new endeavor for our team which will bring a lot of new challenges for us to take on.

Yesterday was the first time we set foot on the stage as we tried to make a smaller, varied version of the main stage set on Ghent Rd.  Because of the reduced size of the stage at the extension, we had to scale down the size of the fabric tubes that we hung from the rafters.  Everything still looked so much bigger on this stage so we had to really scale down how much we put on the stage, etc. to keep it from getting too cluttered.  There were a lot of challenges and things to think through, but I know that in time we will get it all figured out just like we have on Ghent Rd.  The installation is not done yet, but it is definitely headed in the right direction!