Tuesday, December 17, 2013

When Gift-Making Goes Awry

          Would you like a truly insane idea?  Are you a masochist who doesn’t have enough to do at Christmastime?  Or are you smarter than me, and would never attempt the following craft, guaranteed to drive the Christmas Spirit right out of your home?

You know that I'm LDS.  And we LDS women are a craftsy bunch (the scrapbooking craze started in Utah, after all), and whether it’s canning, quilting, or delving into the art world, our sleeves are rolled up and we’re ready. 
So when a creative cousin of mine mentioned that she had made some copper planter sticks shaped like angels, immediately I thought this would be a darling Christmas gift for all 10 of my friends, with whom I exchange gifts.  I was wrong, my cousin was wrong, and these angels are wrong.  But, if you are as hard-headed as I am, here are the instructions, step by step:
First, call and ask your cousin how she did it.
          Hear her say, “Oh, it’s easy. I used copper flashing from the hardware store.”

Sketch out a primitive angel flying along, carrying a star.  Buy copper flashing from the hardware store, bring it home, unroll it, and realize the backing is made from tar, which you spend several hours trying to remove.  Unsuccessfully.   Get numerous blisters trying.  

Take it back to the hardware store and be told there is no other kind of copper flashing.  Call your idiot cousin.  She insists she finds hers in the local hardware store.  But she lives too far away for you to visit her neighborhood store, so instead, drive across town to buy an actual sheet of heavy copper waaay more expensive than equivalent weight of pennies.  Also waaaay thicker than flashing and waaaay harder to cut.  

Cannot use household scissors.  Buy tin snips. Ka-ching, ka-ching.  Decide to cut out wings and stars separately from the bodies, and attach them later so they can be a different color.  Cut out shapes, but get more blisters in the process. Discover you can’t make smooth, curvy lines with tin snips, so get out the dremmel tool and some sandpaper and go to work for several hours. Discover that rough burrs cut skin quite readily.  Expand your vocabulary, and make note to repent of this. 

Cover cuts with bandages, continue sanding. Hammer bent areas and hit fingers a number of times because of doing it outside in the cold where your hands become numb. Begin to think of your cousin in not very Christmassy terms.  Decide to burnish the angels’ bodies a violet color and turn the star and wings the familiar oxidized copper green.  Bake bodies in oven.  Not hot enough.  Use a crème brulee torch, run out of propane, buy more, and finally get some swirls of color.  

Cannot wait years for wings to oxidize into minty green, so look on the web for info about how to turn copper green.  Learn that urine will work and that roofers do this all the time.  Be truly aghast and unwilling to try this method.  Read further and learn there are harsh chemicals that will also do it.  Be unwilling to use this method, either.  Do more research. 

Find that a paste of Miracle Gro will do it, if left in hot sun.  But it's winter, so hot sun not available.  Decide to smear paste on wings and stars and bake them.  Ammonia odor fills house, smoke alarm goes off, eyes burn and choking ensues.  Mad dash to open all doors and windows.  Frigid air rushes in.  Better than poisonous gas.  

Rinse off stupid wings and stars.  Not the green you want, but at least they will look different than the bodies.  Glue them in place with metal-to-metal glue, since unwilling to become a welder.  Check out copper stakes/tubes at hardware store and discover they are more expensive than a semester of college tuition.  Learn of a welder supply place across town in a BAD area, and go and buy the stakes there anyway. 

Come home, cut them, and glue them on as well.  Tie them with sparkly copper-colored ribbon, realize they still look like a kindergarten project, so purchase 3-foot topiaries to stick them in, completing the gift.  Major ka-ching.  

 Mail them off and vow never to work with metal again.  Realize your cousin is not only craftsy, but crafty.  Like people who give you a recipe missing two ingredients.  Realize you must forgive her, because, after all, this is Christmas. 
Make that your next project. 

 Better yet, just give my books for Christmas!  You can order hard copies of my 3 new novels from Createspace, here. Or, purchase Wishes for the LDS Child here. And now your Christmas shopping is done!
          (Portions of this post originally appeared in Christmas Spirit, an anthology published by Covenant Communications in 2012.)

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