Friday, September 19, 2014

Awesome Guitars! From Cool Centerpieces to Fundraisers for a Great Cause

Photo credit:  Josh Barry Photography ©2013
Wow, I have so much to catch up on, I'm just going to jump right in with what's going on  now...  Well, it's been a while since my son's bar mitzvah, but we are finally following through with his mitzvah project.  This weekend, we are donating five electric guitars to a wonderful organization, Guitars Not Guns.  In a few weeks, our family will be volunteering at two fundraisers for GNG, where they will be raffling and/or auctioning off those guitars.  (See more about events below.)

So how exactly, you may ask, do we have five extra guitars to donate?  Well, for my younger son's bar mitzvah, we had a guitar-themed party.  He's been playing guitar since he was seven years old, so this was a no-brainer.  But as I'm not a big fan of styrofoam centerpieces that just get tossed after the event, I decided we would collect used electric guitars to add to my boys' small collection of electric guitars and bass guitars.  We would use those real guitars as centerpieces and then donate them to charity after our event.  It worked out great!  The guitars, which are really works of art in themselves, looked awesome on the tables lit up on shimmering CDs scattered with custom picks.

Photo credit:  Josh Barry Photography ©2013
I can't tell you how excited I was when we found the DC chapter of Guitars Not Guns.  This was just the perfect organization for us to help.  With locations across the U.S., they provide free guitars and lessons to foster kids and at-risk youth. In their words, "Using music as a catalyst we encourage children and teens to use their creativity to foster personal development and to help divert them from self-destructive influences such as drugs, alcohol and gang-related activities. By providing free guitars and lessons we hope to engage their creative potential and help them achieve their dreams."  How awesome is that?  As if that's not enough, please watch this video about their amazing DC director, Gregg Hammond, and then go to their website and make a donation!

GNG's great work was inspiring and got me thinking -- what else can we do to help?  Someday, my son hopes to volunteer for GNG giving guitar lessons.  In the meantime, we had plenty of guitar-themed stuff from the bar mitzvah that we could sell to raise money.  Most fun of all for me, I made pick jewelry for party favors for the bar mitzvah, and I had plenty of leftover supplies.  So for these upcoming fundraisers, we will also be selling some unique pick jewelry, with all proceeds going to GNG.  We also have some cool guitar pens and inflatable guitars that I'm hoping will be a big hit at street festivals.

Assorted handmade (by me) pick jewelry with my custom Rainbow Rock design, along with resin guitar pens.  The black picks have my son's name on the back (also in a unique design) and were used for the party favors. I made sure to order extra picks (all from Pick World) for GNG fundraisers.  Designs © Jill Newman 2013.  

So if you're in the DC area, come out to one or more of the GNG fundraisers this fall.  On Saturday, October 11, 2014 at 7 pm, a benefit concert will be held at the Howard Theatre in Washington, DC.  Three bands will be performing, and we'll be there selling raffle tickets and pick jewelry and taking donations. Click for details.  On Sunday, October 12, 2014, we will be at the GNG booth at the Courthouse Arts & Craft Beer Festival, a music and beer fair in Clarendon, Virginia.  We can't wait!

For those considering a guitar-themed party, here are a few more photos to give you some ideas.  Feel free to ask for more details.   I had fun doing it and would be happy to share my experience. :-)

I got a few miniature replica guitars -- this is Joe Strummer's "Trash City" Telecaster--
to decorate the cocktail tables.  Photo credit:  Josh Barry Photography © 2013
I made this sign out of plywood, enlarged prints of my custom pick designs,
rope lights, and a styrofoam guitar.  Yes, I caved and bought a few foam guitars from www.guitarcenterpieces.com to decorate spaces where real guitars
wouldn't work (and because how many guitars could I buy?!).
Pick designs © Jill Newman 2013; Photo credit:  Josh Barry Photography © 2013
This was clearly overkill, but I got little prints of famous guitars (also from guitarcenterpieces.com) to decorate the favor bags. I'm quite sure the kids barely noticed!  And yes, those are paper coffee bags, which were the perfect size.  I got them from one of my gift wrapping suppliers, Nashville Wraps.
I painted a replica George Harrison "Rocky" guitar for
 my son.  But that's a whole other post for another day. ;-)
Photo credit:  Josh Barry Photography © 2013

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