Monday, February 20, 2017

DIY Calvin & Hobbes Terrarium... WITH DINOSAURS

I've been brainstorming at the dollar store again, you guys, and BEHOLD:

DIY Progress Goes "Boink."

Inspired by the time Calvin turned a box into a time machine, and this happened:

Like a lot of you I grew up on Calvin & Hobbes, and I still have all the books lined up on my shelves (right next to my Far Side collection). I've read and reread them a dozen times over, and cherish Watterson's blend of imagination, silliness, and philosophical musings.

On a professional note, Cake Wrecks and Wreck the Halls are both published by Andrews McMeel, the same publisher behind the Calvin & Hobbes books. Not only did I completely fangirl freakout over this, Bill Watterson's famously reclusive nature paved the way for me as an author. Thanks to him, the folks at AM didn't make me do TV or live radio interviews (other publishers would have), and were so much more understanding and flexible, having dealt with someone like me before.

So yeah, lots of love for Bill, Calvin, and Hobbes over here.
But enough tangents, back to the crafty goodness:

Oooh, maybe next I should make a Spaceman Spiff version, with lots of sand and rocks. :D

Inspiration hit when I found that plastic terrarium globe next to some fake mossy rocks at Dollar Tree:

Then when John and I spotted those plastic dinosaurs in the toy aisle, I knew exactly what to do.

My total out of pocket for this was about $3: one dollar each for the globe, mossy rocks, and dinosaur toys. (I didn't end up using the loose moss.) Everything else came from the backyard or around the house: bits of gravel, twigs, some walnut dust from the garage, cotton batting for clouds, and the tiniest print-out of Calvin & Hobbes on plain paper.

To make your own, start by hot-gluing the rocks in place:

Friday, February 17, 2017

... Of Sandwiches And Slings!

You ever have one of those times when you're feeling pretty OK in life, somewhat accomplished, reasonably confident... and then you start worrying the cat doesn't like you?

Like, maybe the cat doesn't hate you, but there's a definite chill in the relationship. A snubbed snuggle attempt. A new favorite spot, further away from you. Doesn't return calls as often.

So you start wondering what you did wrong (besides the donut collar for her over-grooming), and if maybe more of her favorite hairball treatment would smooth things over - you know, the one flavored like catnip -  when you realize you're obsessing over whether or not your cat likes you, and maybe this isn't normal?

No? Just me? Good, good. Cool talk, bro.

It's Day 4 after John's surgery, and while I have some fun little crafts to show you and an art roundup to do, I thought I'd just chat for a bit. Because I am tired, you guys. How do all of you do this? You know, make meals and keep house and drive around running errands and still take care of work and family? Plus, you know, leave the house so much? 

John's recovering well, by the way, except for his tongue, which turned an alarming shade of lime green yesterday. When you consider all the colors a tongue might turn on its own, I think you'll agree green is up there with most unsettling.

Turns out it's Thrush, a familiar nuisance from the last time John was in a hospital. So now we have more new meds folded in to our regiment of pills, tinctures, treatments, and therapies, and we live by the alarms on John's phone, and to the drone of his V-pulse cooling machine.

Since I figure you don't want a picture of his tongue. :p

But enough about today. Let's talk sandwiches.

One of my grandfather's birthdays was on Valentine's Day, and I got to thinking about him this week over the sub-par turkey sandwiches I'd made for lunch. Grandpa was a tall, rail-thin Texan who loved sandwiches. Big, layered, decadent sandwiches with exotic things on them, like pimento cheese. As a kid coming from a family where the only things you put between bread were bologna and Miracle Whip, having sandwiches with my grandparents was a bona fide experience. Grandma and Grandpa took serious time preparing their lunch spreads: a DIY sandwich buffet of tomatoes, lettuce, pickles, an assortment of sliced cheeses and deli meats, all the condiments - and of course that tub of day-glo orange pimento cheese, which Grandpa would slide across the table with a conspiratorial wink. "Put yourself some of this on there," he'd drawl.

Then after lunch, Grandpa would lean way down and ask, in a stage whisper, if we kids wanted a Goo-Goo Cluster. I still remember the way he'd say it, all slow and serious. Goo-Goo Cluster. Like something holy and forbidden and irretrievably silly, all at the same time. Of course we'd say yes, and Grandpa would open up the highest cabinet in the motor home - the one my petite little grandmother had no prayer of reaching - and pull out a box from his "secret" stash. He also had Moon Pies and Peppermint Patties and enormous buckets of Tootsie Rolls up there, but the Goo-Goo Clusters were my favorite. More than that, I loved that an adult could relish a piece of candy the way we kids did. I loved how happy it made Grandpa, how happy he was to share and see us happy.

I've never told John this, but the sandwiches he makes us most days for lunch remind me of those times with my grandparents. John is a master at sandwiches. He finds the best tomatoes, just the right toasting level, the perfect ratio of mayo-to-mustard. The care John puts into those sandwiches each day makes me feel valued, makes me feel loved.

I guess I should tell him that sometime.

So what about you guys, do certain foods remind you of loved ones? How about old-fashioned candies, any favorites? (My dad used to go through those cardboard milk cartons full of Whoppers - remember those?) Heck, now that I'm craving sugar anyway, go ahead and tell me any lesser-known modern candies you like, too; I am always open to trying new sweets.

Well, peeps, the alarm is sounding. Stay tuned for either my total descent into madness or my mastery of all things multi-tasking.

And also more craft posts.