Her reception was at Memorial Stadium and so she asked Rob and I (mostly Rob) to make a bags (or cornhole) set so their guests could play as entertainment.
We used the website www.cornholehowto.com as a guide, and Rob made a set fairly quickly and easily. However, he wasn't happy with how it looked. That's how we ended up with a cornhole set of our very own.
In his second attempt at Erica's bags set, Rob used his table saw to cut into the edges of the 2-by-4 frame so the plywood top of the bag boards is inset. These are called rabbets (no, I didn't spell that wrong) and make the result look much more polished. He adjusted the measurements accordingly, to make sure the set was still the right size.
After he finished building the boards, we filled the seams with wood putty and sanded the whole thing down. I used stain-killing primer and semigloss white paint to finish them up. Milou wanted to help but wasn't allowed to get close until the paint dried. He then took full advantage.
Erica suggested that she might like initials on the boards and I found an inspiration photo online. I couldn't find any instructions for actually painting the initials on the boards, so I turned to my friend Erin Lippitz, of DIY computer room and cake-baking fame. As a day job, Erin works in marketing for The News-Gazette and other local businesses and has a background in graphic design.
Erin was able to modify two print letters to look like the font on Erica and her new husband, Chris's, wedding invitation.
Erin printed out 11-by-17 versions of the letters for me, and I used spray adhesive to attach them to some foam core I had on hand. (The blue in the photo is the spray adhesive, which hadn't dried when I took the photo.) I used an X-Acto knife to cut the letters out. I used the forms that resulted as patterns.
I measured the letters and boards carefully to center the initials near the bottom. I then used a pencil to trace the letters, then pulled off the stencils to make sure the penciled-in initials looked OK. After making a few minor adjustments, I re-attached the stencils and used acrylic paint to finish the job.
The initials are in Erica and Chris' wedding colors, purple (well, more of a lavender) and a lime-y green. I mixed a few yellows with some kelly green paint to get the right green color.
After my first coat of acrylic paint, the letters were a little wibbly, so I free-handed the second coat to make the edges look smoother. I'm pretty happy with how they came out.
To make the actual bags, I used the above website to read up on how to make them and got to work. I used green fabric I already owned and some cool purple fabric from The I.D.E.A. Store. I cut/tore the fabric into 7-inch squares while Milou helped.
I then sewed three sides of the squares into pouches, stitching each seam twice to make them more durable. (Shoutout to my neighbor, Sarah Curtiss, for letting me borrow her fancy sewing machine. Mine somehow only runs in reverse. Gotta get that fixed.)
We bought seed corn to fill the bags. (If you are making your own bags set, please let me know before you buy seed corn. We could only buy it at our favorite rural supply store in a 40-pound bag. That means we have plenty of corn left to share. Seriously.)
My mom used her sewing machine to sew up the stuffed bag - she's an expert and I'm a novice, hence asking her help. And voila - the bags set was complete.
The photos I took at the reception came out really dark - if any one who was there has a photo of the set that isn't so dark, would you be willing to share it with me? But you can at least see the sets in the photos I took. We played, and it a fun way to interact with guests we didn't know beforehand.