Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Several weeks ago I was lucky enough to attend a wonderful class taught by Tracey The class was so informative and I learned so many new tips and techniques for making a simple gift a work of art. She taught us how to make torn paper bows, that I would never in my life have come up with such an idea. Her example was a true work of art, and she made it all look so easy.

Well, my son turned 21 this week, so I finally had no excuse not to try this form of bow. Let me tell you I must be getting old because I had a heck of a time trying to remember what she did. Then I remembered, duh, she gave us binders with photos and instructions for future reference. Thank you Tracey, you saved the day yet again! So, off I went to my trusted wrapping paper stash, searched high and low for the tape and scissors, waded through bone crushing mounds of ribbon, bravely searched the bottom of the closet ( you know the one that if you dare open it begins a land slide of monumental proportions?), and set down to begin wrapping.

Now, silly me again thinks, geez, tear paper into strips, not rocket science, I can do this. WRONGO BUDDY! Now, if again I had paid closer attention in class, she did say to use heavy paper for this. Not me, pick up the only paper you have that doesn't scream Christmas from "the closet", and of course it is very thin and coated with God knows what that makes it slick. So, let the tearing begin. Disaster I tell you. I have a college degree and I can't tear a strip of paper from the role in a semi uniform fashion to save my soul! Now, I'm running close to the end of the roll of paper and freaking out. By now the animals are "helping" with tearing, I'm pulling out my hair, and my husband is giving me "the look". Lucky for him he knows NOT to say, "I thought you paid money to learn how to do this." or "For crying out loud can't you just use the plastic store bag and a stick on bow like everyone else?" LUCKY for him, he's well trained for situations like this and simply stares at me and the pile of growing torn paper shreds now scattered through the living room, kitchen, hallway, and bathroom.

So, after consulting my expert advisor (Mr. Jack and his partner Coke) I know I can do this. I do have a college degree. I operate best in a crisis and have been known to save a few lives in the course of a day. Back to the pile of prior attempts for another go-round. The light bulb moment occurs! Idiot, the box is only a small-former-jewelry-gift-now-recycled-to-hold-gift-card size, you don't need a strip of paper 3 feet long! DUH! OK, so just tear the damn strips in half and even them out. Assemble bow as instructed, etc. etc. etc. Thank you Mr. Jack! You are always the best advisor!

One down, one to go! Now, I think I'm getting the hang of this. Again begin tearing, swearing, and general chaos! More advisement with Mr. Jack, and at last

Ta Dah! Two pretty packages for the birthday boy. Off to the dreaded post office for mailing. Wait in nerve wracking suspense to hear that they actually arrived where I paid for them to go this time (yes, Mr. Postman and UPS have been known to completely lose many a gift box).

The call comes, "Mom! The package came today. Can I open them?"

No, you must wait for the birthday dear child.

At last, the big day arrives. Another call. "Mom, I can't open these packages."
What, are you drunk?
"No", he says, "they are too pretty, I don't want to ruin them. I've never seen anything this cool!"
Exactly how many times did you consult Mr. Jack on this your 21st birthday? You must be talking about a present from Ms. Cowgirl sitting next to you?
"No, Mom, the presents you sent are too cool to open. We just want to look at them."

Wait, hold the presses, news flash alert! Checking caller ID display, showing number of MY son- the number that appears on the bill that I pay monthly (yeah I know, he's old enough to pay it but I do it so I can still talk to him since he lives way too far to drive and knock on the door to check for a pulse when I don't hear from him). Same son who knows he is getting a gift certificate (IE bucks to spend immediately during hunting season) from his favorite sporting goods store because mom is too lazy to shoot for surprises anymore. THAT SON, is on the phone with me, now, saying he doesn't want to open a present containing more money than he ever has in his wallet, even on pay day Friday, BECAUSE IT IS TOO PRETTY????????

"Mom? Are you still there?"
Yes, I'm still here. Just open it already.
"But Mom, it is too cool. I have never seen anything like it. How'd you do it?"
Oh, just open the damn box. The silly wrapping is so easy, you can wrap it back up after you open it and do it yourself!
"Seriously, you have to show me how to do this. Ms. Cowgirl sitting next to me wants to learn too."

BE STILL MY HEART! My son, Mr. WyoTech graduate, who is never happy unless he is covered in grease, paint, mud, or other oozing bodily fluids found after a successful hunt-is impressed with a package presentation. The same son, who sat in my living room this past Christmas, beaming from ear to ear showing me his newly wrapped packages that he proudly exclaimed were custom decorated with colored duct tape! This son- is now telling me he wants to learn how to make a torn paper bow!

Sure, I'll teach you. It's so easy!
(SHH! Don't tell him! Mothers are entitled to a certain amount of revenge for 21 years of sleepless nights, countless ER visits for stitches, x-rays, and crutches, trips to the principals office to lend support to the newly suspended student, broken windows from baseballs, soccer balls, and blow-gun-darts, cleaning the 3-pound tub of butter from the carpet after it was used for a monster truck race course, beginning drivers accidents totally smashing two cars paid-4-by-Mom aren't we?)

I'll be happy to show you next time you are here. It isn't rocket science my dear boy. Happy Birthday son! Have another consultation with Mr. Jack for me!

Hang up phone. Run to bathroom. Shut door. Bawl your eyes out while doing the happy dance. My son, is now 21, and just spent 30 minutes drooling over a package! Not the contents, THE WRAPPING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Does this mean that he's growing up? Does this mean that MY SON is turning out to be the exact man that I hoped he would for all these long years?

Blow nose. Wipe away the tears. Open door. Return to living room with smile from ear to ear.
"Did Zachary like his presents?"
Yes, Prince Charming, he said thank you very much.
"What did he say about the crazy-ass wrapping you spent hours on?"
Oh, nothing. You know him, he just rips into presents before he even knows who they are from. I'm sure he didn't even notice dear.
"Sorry. I thought it was cute anyway. Wanna watch Dancing with the Stars? Can I get you a consult with Mr. Jack?"
Sure honey, that would be great.

Thanks Tracey! Bet you never knew you were a rocket scientist did you? Thanks for sharing your creative inspiration that just made my son's 21st birthday one I will never forget!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I wanted to share my latest craft project. I had seen a similar project in one of the many magazines I read and had to give it a try myself. The original was done with real pumkins, but I have never been able to simply follow directions and recreate an original idea. Instead, I used the foam craft pumkins for a more permanent display. Luckily, my Prince Charming was able to give me a hand when I was ready to scrap the whole project as I wasn't finding any form of glue that would hold the pumpkins together.
I used wooden skewers to hold one to the next with a touch of superglue for good measure. Then he used the wonderful power tools to drill a center hole in the bottom of the two closest to the basket. A wooden dowel was screwed to the basket and inserted in the bottom pumpkins. Now, it was top heavy, so we resorted to needed some form of weight to stabilize the bottom. My Prince Charming wasn't going for my ideas, and instead turned to his trusty pile of old horse shoes (that are/were destined to become my garden arch and gates but that's another story). He found several that fit perfectly in the basket around the dowel. I filled the entire basket to the rim with floral foam, covered and pinned on spanish moss. Still wasn't quite right, so added some moss to the attachment point of each pumpkin. Better. Painted on the welcome greeting, and behold-the best fall welcome sign on the block.
Now, if the wind would ever stop blowing 4o MPH every darn day, I could set it outside for all to enjoy. Not that I don't trust my own creation to Mother Nature, but well...I don't! So, for now it is tucked in a corner of the entry to avoid the inevitable use by the cats for a new climbing adventure. Luckily, so far they are only fixated on trying to remove all the moss.
Pretty darn cute, if I do say so myself!