World on Fire

My college-aged son suggested I could increase interest in my paper mache and my blog by creating Donald Trump. After all, he said, “Donald would be easy; an orange face, small hands with pointing finger, classic blue suit, red tie and golden cotton candy hair.” He added, “Everything Trump attracts attention.” I agreed because deep in some dark part of me I harbor a strange, horrifying fascination with the man.

My Donald  has been featured on this blog in an article, Trumpster Perfect for the Dumpster. For those of you who haven’t read that blog (probably most of you based on  the low number of views), my paper sculpture of Donald is fabricated on a toilet paper roll, stands about 6 inches high on a 2 inch gold platform with the slogan “Trump, Make America Great Again, is pasted across the bottom.” Donald didn’t draw the number of blog views my son and I expected when he was posted, possibly because I emphasize I am a Blue Girl in a Red State in my writing. I even drive a car with a novelty license plate, Blue Girl. My readers may not like everything Trump as my son and I projected or may have better impulse control than I do about voyeuristically checking in to see what tweet he has sapped off at three a.m. this day.20160823_164603

Once Donald was created and unappreciated online, I came up with the idea to burn him and film it in a YouTube video, after all he is only paper, flour and salt. Donald should burst into flames easily. My seventeen-year-old daughter absolutely forbid me from going forward with this project.  She told me I had no idea how vitriolic Trump supporters would be. My humor at burning the paper mache, would be lost in the flames of his supporters who might track us down and firebomb our house.  The paper mache Donald bonfire was nixed.

One of my friends suggested a house party of “Nasty Women” after the election where we could burn paper Donald assuming Hillary won.  Since Hillary didn’t win, I am left with disposing of Donald in a peaceful manner.  I thought of donating him to the Youth Ranch. But my husband suggested that should my paper sculpture capture an audience (highly dubious but one can always hope), Donald might have some future historical value. I personally doubt that given the low quality of the product, after all Donald’s hair is made from my sheltie’s fur died bright yellow.  For now, I have moved the Donald out of my husband’s office where he was on prominent display to an upstairs closet where all of us can peacefully co-exist (hopefully the country can too for the next four years).

20161112_154912
Donald in our closet, hoping for peaceful coexistence

I am extremely disappointed by the violence in Portland instigated by Clinton supporters. The irony of Democrats objecting to Trump’s election through violent protest should not be lost on anyone.  Much of the campaign banter circulated around Trump’s encouragement of his supporters to outrageous acts.  Clintonites are participating in the very activities that we feared would erupt from Trump supporters if Hillary Clinton was elected President.  I have also heard that Trump supporters have seen Trump’s election as a license to bully refugees and non-white Americans.  This is also unacceptable.

protestors-in-portland
Saturday protests in Portland led to someone  being shot.

My spiritual foundation and fundamental belief in America’s system of rule of law requires that I give President-elect Trump and his team a chance to govern now that he has been chosen as our President.  I plan to approach his presidency cautiously with an “open mind” but I also plan on being courageously out-spoken when I see injustice and incivility. Our country protects the right to free speech. Nonviolent civil disobedience has led to great change in our nation, just look at Rosa Park’s refusal to move to the back of the bus. But I also know, our current political climate requires us to be thoughtful about how we express our political opinions.  We are not in the sixties where burning effigies and American flags was frowned on but seen as symbols of  protected free speech.  One did not have to worry about personal safety when expressing themselves non-violently i.e. my daughter’s concern that our house might be fire bombed if I  chose to post burning paper Donald. Unfortunately, in 2016, we find ourselves in a world that is constantly fired up and always on the verge of bursting into angry flames.

 

Advertisements

Repeat Offender

shanti
Shani, second offense, misdeameanor for destruction of personal property

Over Labor Day, my Sheltie, Shani carried out a successful panty raid on my daughter’s slumber party (greatly angering my daughter).  Shani’s most recent offense was much closer to home. I have been working on paper mache hands for Ms. Bewitchingly Boo-tiful  described in last week’s blog.  I placed the hands outside on the three-feet-high fire pit to dry in the sun.  The height of the pit provides a convincing alibi for Violet, the rat terrior, nicknamed the Terrorist for her ability to shred anything in a matter of minutes.

When I came home to check on the drying progress, the hands were missing. I was mystified. At first, I thought the wind had blown the hands off the granite ledge. Afterall, what could be appealing to a dog about something made of flour, water, and paper, surely this combination does not emit a wafting odor tantalizing a dog’s olfactory lobes. But alas, the wind was not the culprit.  I wasn’t going to be given the gift of finding intact phalanges. My search through the yard  uncovered a few small remnants

20160919_163325
Remnants of paper mache hands found in yard.

I was very surprised that both hands were gone. I mean one good chew and yuck! But this is where the accomplice comes in. My rat terrier, Violet, gets great joy in tearing up anything. Shani has been very discriminating in her destructive tendencies,  limiting her tastes to extremely expensive Victoria  Secret panties. Violet will grab whatever is handy and shake it violently while growling and then shred the with her teeth. I vision the hand dismemberment as a two dog crime. The dog with superior height and  extremely long snout identified and retrieved the hands. The terrior gleefully shredded them as the sheltie ran in circles joyfully barking and egging Violet on.

violet_mugshot
Violet, accomplice to crime. Armed with sharp teeth to annihilate  almost anything.

 

The crime set back the paper mache project three days:

  • One to recreate both hands.  I start with pipe cleaners and cardboard.
  • Two days for drying.
  • Two more days for painting and decorating.
  • Three days for Marine varnish to paint and dry
  • Final three days for varnish to cure.

 

All this has led me to develop the Pinocchio Theorem:

If you have a long nose, be careful it doesn’t lead you astray.

.

How Barbie became Bewitchingly Boo-tiful

While innocently reading my email, I opened a challenge from the Idaho Botanical Gardens to create scarecrows for their annual scarecrow crawl the first weekend in October.   Since retiring last year, I have been expanding my craft activities.  This email literally shouted at me, “Do it! Make a paper mache scarecrow!”  The Botanical Garden Theme was Idaho history and I immediately thought to make Sara Palin.  Ms. Palin attended the University of Idaho so met the Idaho history criteria.  But farther down in the rules, it stated scarecrows would not be allowed that had any political theme or were derogatory.  I don’t have an expansive enough imagination to link scare crow, Palin and paper mache into any type of positive image. I immediately rejected the Palin concept and moved on to a scarecrow witch.  I thought I could handle dressing some type of large doll and making a paper mache face and hands.  The real challenge was getting the doll to stand up on a pole. The entry materials warned that the scarecrows would have to last seven weeks through potentially vile weather including rain, wind and hail.  The apparatus to support the doll had to be substantial.  Fortunately, I have a friend who does wood working and agreed to help me suspend the doll once decorated.  So my entry went in as “Bewitching”.  As the project grew in scope and scariness, I later added Boo-tiful. My final entry was the Bewitching Ms. Boo-tiful!

I researched online “big dolls”. I discovered there are many variations of inappropriate life-sized sex toys.  I also discovered much to my delight that Mattel makes a My Size Barbie which stands over 3 feet tall, the perfect form to make a paper mache witch. I ordered my used Barbie princess on EBay. The big doll came in a golf clubs box. The shipping cost more than the doll.   My daughter, Kayla, informed me she didn’t like large dolls and didn’t want the doll in the house.  So when Barbie arrived, I invited her to sit with us for dinner a few nights in my son’s seat (he’s away at college).

20160910_165003

Kayla was incensed to have Barbie sitting across the table at meal (this just proves that I am fundamentally a wicked mother).

I had planned on dressing Barbie in a black plastic garbage bag because of the weather concerns. I had years of 4-H many moons ago so I felt I would be able to sew a credible dress from a plastic bag.  However, I discovered at Wal-Mart that My Size Barbie fits perfectly into size 2 toddler clothes.  I bought her black hot pants, silver Lycra leggings, little tiny, black leather boots and a black lace shirt.  A black cape, red wig, Halloween socks, black children’s mittens all came from the Dollar Store; as did glittery orange and black spiders and a flying bat.  I ordered online a child’s witch’s broom for the cross bar of the scarecrow along with child’s witch’s hat.  The broom arrived all bent up with the straw broken but it was too much bother to return so I taped on the little pieces of straw with black masking tape.  I learned on this project that masking tape is a cure all for all sorts of production problems.  When we had a week of rain as the project was coming together, I cut an orange cape out of an old plastic table cloth to keep downpours off Ms. Boo-tiful’s back (only the best for my witchy fiend).

20160912_152152
Barbie dressed for Halloween

 

Ms. Boo-tiful’s face and hands were the reason I started this wacky project to begin with. I wanted another venue for my paper mache crafting. The big concern was how to keep paper mache from dissolving when it has to be outside for seven weeks.  Of course, the internet is full of advice on how to sustain paper mache.  My favorite video was a research project conducted in England by a man who made paper mache creatures out of balloons, coated them with different varnishes  and placed them outside to see which if any of the balloon people could survived England’s’ notorious wet climate. Regular varnish vanished into a caved in puddle of cardboard within a week but the balloon man coated with marine varnish (used on boats and quite expensive) made it through England’s winter looking largely the same only a little more yellow with age.  Ms. Boo-tiful’s face and hands were coated four times with marine varnish and left to cure 4 days.  Hopefully, this keeps her together through October.

The most enjoyable part of the project was assembly. My friend, Henry Reents, mounted Ms. Boo-tiful on a 4 foot pvc pipe using a large toggle bolt in the back.  Her broom stick was also screwed into the CVP pipe.  Her paper mache hands were screwed into the broom.  She is wired at the waist to the PVC pipe.  Her wig is screwed on and her hat is held in place with push pins Henry pounded into place with a hammer.  We spent two delightful afternoons assembling Ms. Boo-itful.  We found ourselves giggling evilly together as Henry continued to put screws and wires into the transformed Barbie.  Who knew creating the perfect witch could be such devilish fun.

Ms. Boo-tiful went out to the Idaho Botanical Gardens on Thursday, September 29th.  The Garden provided a rebar pipe in the ground and I just popped Ms. Boo-tiful on it.   Sue and Henry Reents and my husband and I went out to see her at the Botanical Harvest Festival on Sunday.  It was a beautiful fall day. There was music, arts and crafts booths, food vendors, and a beer garden. The place was packed with little children, running wildly about.  A couple accidently tumbled into us as we strolled.  There were 16 scarecrows entered in the Scarecrow Crawl. They were eclectic group and ranging from objects made by kindergarteners to gorgeous displays from Boise’s largest family-owned garden shop. After viewing Ms. Boo-itful who truly is a fantastical, scary, scarecrow, we spent time sitting in the shade watching all the activities.  The Harvest festival is a “must do” for families in Boise the fall.

Ms. Boo-itful has to be removed between November 1 and 3. At that time, I’ll get to see up close how the marine varnish worked.  I will hazard a guess now that she will be frightening indeed after being out in the Idaho fall weather for six weeks.

julie-and-boo
Ms. Bewitchingly Boo-tiful and me