a tiny bit busy

Well things certainly have been busy around here these last few days, and I have neglected my blogging. For good reasons, really.

I have been crafting for Club Little House and as I mentioned before this means enlisting the help of my father, otherwise known in these circles as "The Secret Weapon". Have I ever described his studio? There are simply no words for it. For those who are familiar, I could simply say that an absence from the blog was a result of aimless wandering and creating in "The Dungeon" (as we have referred to it jokingly over the years, training the family wiemeraner to retire downstairs) and it would be believed. It is true, the basement of my parents' house is entirely devoted to creating, craftsmanship and concoctions! The secret Weapon spends hours in The Dungeon, where there is a printing press, a dark room, a painting studio, a wood shop, an area for goldsmithing and electronics... it is an endless maze of wonderment. And the amazing thing is, The Secret Weapon knows exactly where every little item is and can locate the funniest things at a moment's notice!

I will digress for one moment to tell a funny story about the basement and The Secret Weapon a.k.a. "Daddy". For a number of years I was a tree designer for the Festival of Trees. Christmas trees are decorated by professional artists/craftspeople in different themes and auctioned off to raise money for one of our local hospitals. Over the years, I produced trees with Sesame Street, Looney Tunes and Walt Disney characters, Cowboy trees, glittery fruit trees, feathery bird trees (with nests, birdhouses and eggs), old fashioned school house themes (with little desks, slates and apples) and well you get the idea... the list goes on and on.

It became a bit of an obsession for me to decorate those trees and I would trouble the whole family and whoever else was willing to glitter and glue along with us. Most of the ornaments were made from scratch, except for the licensed characters, and even those were tricky because even with the permission of good old Walt Disney, he can be awfully sticky about where you stick that mouse. The tree planning began some years before the Christmas season was over, so I could run around on Boxing Day and load up on the basics I might need for next year's theme. By March we were right into the building and puttering stage, and all summer we would measure and weld and paint and glue right into the fall and usually up until the very late stages of November we would be pulling feathers and ribbon right out of our very hats to finish in time! And sometimes, The Fan, The Secret Weapon and Saucy would have little standoffs about what size to make a little angel or what colour to paint a little ornament. But we always had fun and most of the time we kept the mess in the basement.

One year I decided to go with a circus theme... no small endeavor for a Saucy with severe CLOWN PHOBIA. The use of capital letters here to suggest the gravity of the situation but a circus tree without clowns? Of course. So The Secret Weapon and I set about creating a giant big top as a base for the tree to "pop" out of. I found foam hotdogs and crafted popcorn out of packing material (nothing edible to be on the trees). Things were progressing nicely until I decided we absolutely needed sno-cones. No problem? Problem. With true paper cones from a restaurant supplier, we fashioned a round top with clear plastic balls cut in half. But regular glitter just looked like glitter on a round ball. I was worried the tree, sans clown, would be without enough junk food to be realistic.

Just then, The Secret Weapon went downstairs and shuffled around for a bit and came back upstairs with a shoebox - filled with every teeny tiny package of silica gel from every pair of sensible work shoes he'd ever purchased, or every pair of not-at-all sensible shoes The Fan or myself brought into the house. Hundreds of those little packets. We dumped them onto a cookie sheet and baked them in the oven for a few hours where they dried up a little more and got a little crystally and crunchy. Perfect icey chunks. The Secret Weapon and I mixed a fairly translucent rosy paint colour, swirled it onto the surface of the bare plastic balls and dipped them into the silica gel -- perfect icy snowcones -- good enough to eat and sure enough they looked like they would melt next to the mini lights!

And so, today we were in that same basement, The Dungeon, so ugly but where so many beautiful things have emerged, crafting the littles for Club Little House. Of course, The Secret Weapon had the perfect tiny tools and tiny drill bits and superstrong glue. I do believe I will be ready for the mini-swap deadline as I have to allow a few extra days for shipping to the USA. Photos soon!



Can't wait to see it. I was in the "Early Bird" group and am anxious to see all of the other 12.

Mrs. Staggs said...

My goodness, what a wonderful sounding dad! I imagine your life is very interesting with him in it.
Your job decorating trees sounds like a ball. 'Course I imagine it could get a little stressful at times too. But still...how many people could say they've decorated Christmas Trees for a living?
Can't wait to see the treasures you're making!