Crafting it Up

As a child I loved to draw and make things. Nothing overly spectacular; I remember the most advanced item I attempted to make was a hovercraft from a lump of polystyrene, some small batter powered motors and fan blade – it was a resoundingly poor effort really but the feeling I remember most is that I bloody well enjoyed the process. I used to tinker with electronics too, again small things with lights and switches. I’m always astounded when I happen to be in a branch of Maplins at the array of electronics component you can now get that the younger me would have loved to get his hands on.

But, the modern and grown up father that I am no longer tinkers with such things. I miss that creative process, that experimentation and sense of achievement when something works. Of course my jobs allows me that kinds of feeling when I use computer technology to solve problems and gain efficiencies in my business, but written code isn’t a hovercraft, is it?

Things brings me to the “theme” for the week in our household – World Book Day (worldbookday.com). Harry Potter is a popular chap with our girls and the older two are dressing up for school on the days in line with the schools chosen ‘magical’ theme. So, what to do? Should be buy some costumes on eBay, or do we make our own? We resolved to make our own, but nothing could prepare me for the work involved in such a snap decision. The clock is ticking and there is much to do.

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The slight issue with making, what I think, are brilliant fully linked cloaks for the two older girls, is that the next one down also thinks the same, and then decides that she wants a cloak too. Now, she is dressing up as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz and as far as I can remember she did not wear a cloak. But, a cloak she would like so a cloak she shall have. Luckily we had some, almost perfectly sized off-cuts from the resizing of my wife’s bridal cloak and with that off I set on another production.

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Wednesday night turned into a serious crafting night. Me making wands and cloaks (more about the wands in a moment), and Helen working away of the finishing touches to the older girls cloaks. I have to admit that using a sewing machine for the first time was a great experience, and not as difficult as I had imagined. I’m not saying I am about the apply for the next series of the BBCs Great British Sewing Bee but I can now hold my own with a basic stitch. But, my evening started with wands – in fact my day started with wands.

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I was simply not content to pick up a couple of twigs and expect my witches (by that I of course mean beautiful daughters) to go to school wielding an inferior magical device. No, no, no! So I did pick up a few robust twigs whilst walking the dog after breakfast and then set to work. Trimming, stripping (bark), sanding and more sanding – I had the making of two wands to rival even Mr Olivander. I opted for unicorn hair in one and dragon heart string in the other, just in case you were wondering. After work there was a little more sanding before using liberal amounts of PVA glue and string to make some pretty damn good handle ends to the wands. I chose two separate handle designs so the girls could tell them apart as, they would otherwise look very alike and of course you can’t see the unicorn hair or dragon heart string in the core. Acrylic gold paint for the main stem and my own concocted brown (I’m calling it dark tan leather) for the handle and they’re almost done.

I’m thoroughly enjoying this creative period. It’s good to try news things and develop new skills and this is a trait I want to instil in our girls. I suppose the one failing here as parents is that the girls have not really played any part in the creative process. But, as most of this has been done late into the evenings when they are in bed it has been an unfortunate omission. Not to worry, I have two bikes to rebuild at the weekend, one being daughter number two’s so they can help with that. Oh, and it’s Comic relief next week, there’s bound to be a cake sale to bake cakes for! 

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