Letting Life Lead
Envision this: It is September 12, there are plenty of other things on my list to do, and the birthday party is in ten days.
After the papier mache was dry, I was feeling very accomplished, proud, and considerably tired. Making the frame took longer than expected, but the second stage went rather smoothly even if a little messy. This project has eaten up a lot of my soul already. If you are just starting in on the story, you can catch up with Part 1: A 20% Cooler Frame and Part 2: A Papier Mache Cast . A lot of my inspiration and lessons came from A Rainbow Zebra project from the Pinata Boy.
I have bought about six rolls of lavender crepe paper that I had to traipse across the city into the next town for because there was none to be had at the closest stores to me. This part was quite easy and cost about a dollar a roll. I’d done my research prior to this whole project, so I knew that the easiest way to cut strips was to cut them right on the roll in a big chunk and fringe them together. This means that the first ones you cut are always longer than each one thereafter, but that would work to my advantage because of the various surfaces on my pony. This was the most stress free part of the process.
Because I have never before fringed something, I wisely paint the pony purple with a cheap bottle of washable tempera paint to ensure any gaps will not be as obvious as white. Every thing seems sturdy and secure.
I begin with the hooves and leg by using a two inch brush to cover the working surface with watered down PVC glue. The glue I am using is horrible! It stinks as much as it was cheap (50 cents each). Do yourself a favor and spring the extra for Elmer’s glue or a more expensive brand which won’t smell like turpentine.
The crepe decorating is taking a lot longer than I had anticipated. It’s not hard, but it is going to take a lot longer to finish this thing than two days. I’m stooping, so my back is hurting. I’m having a fringe panic attack–fringipanicking.
I’m starting to see purple dots everywhere when I close my eyes. The cat, I think, sees my weakness and stalks me. I fringe in between breaking up Minion fights, feeding them, other preparations, doing laundry, and crying. Okay, not actually crying. I was definitely having the sweats, a backache, and aching butt from doing the squats. It is taking a lot of fringe to cover that pony badunkadonk. I take a break.
My nearly five year old minion wants to help baddly and we do need a pinata stick. I remember that we have an old, dirty, broken broom handle outside in the wood pile. Finding it took a few minutes digging through rotting wood and leaf litter. It’s the perfect length and weight for our purposes. Electrical tape presented itself from my tool box (My tool box, not my husband’s toolbox–he has his own to leave out in the rain. He’s not allowed to touch my tools, and I only fetch one for him to borrow under threat of bodily harm if he doesn’t put them back.) I tape up the end and it is ready for decorating. Cost $0.00!
I grab two more colors and start to cut smaller fringe for the stick. At this point, any color other than lavender is candy for the eyes. The cost tally so far with the two additional colors, plus the glue, and the paint I used was about $12.
I show my daughter how to apply the glue and how to face the fringe. Her brother helps by handing her pieces and there is peace and quiet for quite a long time.
I give suggestions now and then and replenish the paper supply, but other than that the pinata stick was not my work.
Back to my task, finally, I reach the head. So far there have been no major catastrophes and no notable incidences. I am sick to death of fringe! The day is done and the children need feeding again. I am sure that my husband is laughing at me, but he ha shown considerable mercy and a sense of self-preservation in not making fun of me during this delicate stage.
How can the head and chest take so much longer than the rest of it! I am about ready to take that pinata stick and smash it right now. I try not to curl up into a corner and hug myself.
I stick on the last bit on the snout and go to find my husband so he can give me the praise I so deserve. He is a bit less enthusiastic that I think he should be, but at this point I’ll take anything. When he leaves I am looking at my handiwork, and I smack my hand on my forehead when I realize what I’ve forgotten. The hanging hook! That was supposed to be done during the papier mache’ phase. Daggnabbit!
Okay, okay, I can fix this. I’ll just put it into the candy door and poke it up through the body then bend it. Breathe.
I sacrifice an old wire hanger, grab a piece of scrap cardboard, and what’s left of the tape. I need something that’s pretty sturdy to handle the weight. In my earlier research, hangers taped to cardboard was a popular solution to give a lot of weight distribution.
Door too small, hook too big. Okay, Fates, you’ve had your fun. Give a mom a break!
I rework my design and discover how much my wire cutters suck. Really, they suck. I had to use scissors and a lot of bending to get the hanger the way I wanted it. I run out of masking tape and switch to packing tape. If this thing doesn’t go in I will not be happy. NOT happy. I might be so unhappy that I’ll need to eat a whole coconut cream pie by myself.
Luckily, my hands are pretty small so as long as the hanger contraption fit I could manipulate it inside to the right position. I got pretty close jamming it up through the back on my first try, but it wasn’t quite balanced right. I adjusted the position then applied an appalling amount of hot glue to get it to stay where I wanted it. I had my husband bend down the hook for me because I just couldn’t do it without putting a big dent in my fingers.
It is getting later in the day and I have averted a major design flaw. The tail now needs attention, but it wouldn’t look right if I used fringe. After all this work, I can’t just scrimp on such a prominent part of the whole thing. I look at some drawings of her tail and free hand some color guiding lines with a sharpie. I cut long strips and use an accordion technique. It actually goes pretty quickly. My body is aching from all the stooping and squatting, but there is no raised surface big enough to accommodate Twilight.
I am quite exhausted but feeling very proud at how the tail turned out. The glue was giving me a little bit of trouble and a few times I over wet the paper so it was sliding and sticking. Once it dried, however, everything was fine.
I pause to make dinner and then finish side two. I almost forget myself and start celebrating.
I bet you are thinking it is time to show the finished product. Well, you’d be wrong because there are finishing elements still missing which my daughter so often reminded me over the several hours of the project. What does she think I am going to do? Pull wings and a mane out of my butt like a Sim? Oh, my friends, did you forget about all of those finishing touches? Pony’s have a mane and a face. Princess Twilight Sparkle also has wings — and no five year old is going to miss that important element on her party pinata.
Are you tired yet?
Stay tuned for Part 4
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Willie Gordon Suting | poet | writer | freelancer | bibliophile | crooner | fashionista | Shillong,Meghalaya,Northeast India
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