The Craft Project

Happy Birthday to Me!

The end of August is always a bit of a whirlwind for me: my wedding anniversary with Tyler is on the 25th (we’re at three years now); my birthday is the 28th (I just turned 29 – as my friend who is a year older than me put it, I’m one year shy of being old now); there’s always some event that requires a bunch of logistics for the Labour Day long weekend (this year it’s my friends Evan and Tara’s wedding in Calgary which is being coupled to a visit with Tyler’s mother, the meeting of my friend Alex’s new little baby, my friends Mark and Keoma’s joint birthday/finished candidacy exam/moving to Winnipeg party, catching up with my friend Kathy who I grew up with in Field, watching my friend Kayla sing and dance around in a musical interpretive extravaganza dressed as a sheep – yes, you read correctly, a sheep, she will also be playing the coveted role of the tick – and finding a very illusive spare moment to thrift store and craft store shop); there’s always this transition zone where some activities are winding down and need to be celebrated (in this case the end of the summer season of roller derby – although we start up again the fall season very soon) while at the same time new things are beginning and start to ramp up alarmingly quickly (this role is currently being filled by my position as assistant stage manager for the Guild Hall‘s new production, the Boys), and of course there’s the chaos of funding proposal mania that all of you working for NGO’s out there know so well – why everyone’s deadlines have to be at exactly the same time I will never understand, but if I have to write about the lasting impact of my project one more time I might throw my laptop out the window.

So with all of that running in the background – or right in my face in the foreground as the case may be – you may be doubtful that I’ve been able to do much in the way of crafting…but you would be wrong!  Mwah ha ha!  I’ve actually managed to eek out a surprisingly large amount of time in the last few chaos filled days to create to my heart’s content (recognize here that I’m a pressure prompted worker and one can always put off that last funding proposal for a few more hours…well, until you can’t that is).

After the stunning success of my first rose made out of ties, I got excited and made a bunch more.  I’m up to 7 now, and I would probably have more except that I’ve run out of ties.  Now don’t get me wrong, I am still in possession of a large number of ties – the issue I’m facing is that I’m saving sets of ties in specific colour groups to make skirts and I’ve now used every single tie in my possession that isn’t already promised to a skirt.  I NEED more ties – hence the thrift store shopping in Calgary.  Regardless there will probably be many more ties in the future – and chances are eventually an Etsy store (once I build up enough stock of a few different items) where you can get your hands on your own rose, if you are disinclined to sew your own that is.

The tie flowers to date

A handful of flowers

It's raining roses!

Speaking of skirts, I’ve been on a skirt design kick recently as well.  The plan still stands to design skirts completely out of ties, and as soon as I have enough in a single colour theme, those will start to appear.  But that isn’t the only skirt plan.  Shauna, one of my amazing roller derby girls, threw it out to me that I should try making skirts out of old suit jackets – which I thought was brilliant and led to me standing in my parent’s living room with the bottom half of an old suit jacket procurred from the Salvation Army sitting on my hips, demanding a design consult with my mom.  My Dad’s only comment was, “wonderful, now she’s cutting up perfectly usable jackets.”  Essentially the issue I was facing is that a suit jacket is cut very straight, and the reality many women (or at least those of us with hips) face is that sometimes a bit of a flare is a lot more flattering than just a straight cut (in fact, as far as I’m concerned if you want to design a skirt or a dress that’s going to make everyone look gorgeous, you should be going with A-line every time).  My mom came up with the solution (not only is she a crazy amazing knitter, she can also sew anything – and I do mean anything) – I’d told her that I was going to do the waist of the skirt with a tie (you may be noticing a theme in my current design tendancies) and she pointed out that I could add a couple of panels into the skirt with ties as well, giving me the requisite flair (did I mention I love my mom).  Anyways – plans are now underway, and I’ll update you on the progress very soon.

My dad, despite his snide comments about my use of unwanted men’s fashion articles, was quite pleased when I next turned to him with a design consultation question of his own.  I’ve been moving my bent fork jewelry concept forward and had reached a point where scary metal cutting and drilling tools were required (the type that can take your hand off if you aren’t careful and shoot of lots of sparks as you use them).  He took me down to his shop (home of every tool known to mankind) and showed me the best ways to cut and drill my bent peices of fork (I’d just like to say that drill presses are very cool things).  I’m excited to have that set of concepts steadily moving forward.

And finally – there was the birthday cake.  You obviously cannot have a birthday without a birthday cake.  Tyler did an amazing job of organizing the party – a bar-b-que, disc golf tournament, and fire out behind Cousin’s Airstrip just outside of Whitehorse, but cake design is not his forte – so after my breakfast in bed, book reading, and nap, he brought out my collection of design tools for me and set me to work.  As most of you know I was recently putting together a series of cakes for the Threadcakes competition, including one rather extreme case that I had planned but not finished (well to be honest, started) in time for the competition close (there’s always next year).  I still really wanted to make that cake, and feeling ready for a challenge I sat down to design “May the forest be with you” while watching the Return of the Jedi for a little added inspiration.  It took a lot of work (Tyler took a time lapse of a portion of the process – he stopped after the first 20,000 shots – which he has promised to compile into a video for all of you to see “relatively soon”).  There was fondant to be sculpted, cake to cut up, and icing to pipe, but the finished product was pretty fun (and delicious) and only casued me several minor heart attacks while trying to get it out to the birthday party site on one of the bumpiest roads within 100 km of Whitehorse.  It made it intact, was covered in candles, and subsequently consumed, which kept me smiling all night.

May the Forest be with you - the design inspiration for this year's birthday cake

Happy Birthday to Me - the completed cake

And now…back to the funding proposals…

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