The Tale of Two Hats

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Our neighbors down the street commissioned me to make them some crazy hats for a charity dinner party they are attending that happens to have an under-the-sea theme. They knew I might be up for the task based on my paper-maché-snitch-piñata-making skills. Of course I said yes. How fun would this be?

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For the man they asked for an angler fish hat. Great idea, right? Sadly, this monstrosity fell very far short of my imagination of what it should be.  It looks pretty scary but there are so many things wrong with it. Firstly, I had to figure out a way to make the teeth (that I bought off amazon) splay outwards in a big bulbous way. The only way I could figure to do this was by paper-mache over a balloon. That worked but then I had to attach my bulbous shape to the hat somehow.

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I ended up cutting the dried ballon so it lay over the front of the hat and then I attached it to the hat with wire that I had wrapped in newspaper for bulk. Then I had to cover up the wire and the balloon so I used black crafting foam. I think ideally I would have paper mache-ed the whole thing but I didn’t want the hat getting too soggy and I was running out of time.

Black crafting foam is a great medium that can be cut in all sorts of fun spikey ways but wrapping a flat square piece of foam over a round shape is challenging! I could have improved my pattern A LOT but you know me, I just forged on like non-perfectionist that I am. So that means the underside of the hat (the part you see the most when you are wearing the hat has this awkward open space under the mouth. It’s all spray-painted black but it looks like a hodge podge quilt. I guess angler fish aren’t the prettiest of fish anyway so we’ll just embrace it. Then I couldn’t get the foam to match up to the mouth so I cut these strips of spiked foam and wrapped them around like lips. I also forgot to spray paint those strips so they are matte while the rest of the fish is properly slimy looking. Groan.  I think overall it works if you don’t think about it too hard.

BUT! The noodle-y thing that angler fish use to catch their prey does light up! That’s why there is a pretty big opening between the teeth. That’s where you can squeeze your hand inside the mouth to switch the lights on and off. I used the cork fairy lights that I had used for our fairy jar craft. I just covered the lights along the string with masking tape spray-painted black.

It’s a big mess. But you wouldn’t know if I didn’t tell you, right?

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So you would think that this sea-foam under-the-sea woman’s hat would be a piece of cake, right? Compared to the angler fish hat this should be something I could do in my sleep. What could possibly go wrong?

Plenty! I did everything wrong. Firstly, I decided to add these really cool octopus tendril finger puppet things to the front that should be the back. Yep. I squarely did everything backwards on this hat. The front is the back and the back is the front and there is a big ol’ visible seam on the front. I always do everything wrong first. Except this time I couldn’t go back and fix it second time around because the tendrils were good and sewn and there was no ungluing the tulle and sequined fabric that I wrapped around and glued to the brim. But really, that’s not my first mistake. My first mistake was to buy the hat in blue and purple instead of just blue.

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I ended up hating the purple so much that I spray-painted the top to cover it up. I wish I would have spray-painted the whole thing because the spray paint actually looks pretty good but by the time I figured that out I had already glued dozens of shells and bubbles and pearls and sequins to the hat and they would look horrible turned all flat blue.

So that’s that! Pretty cool but riddled with problems!

Thankfully the recipients will probably neither notice nor care! And now I know how to do it right if I ever need to make these again.

Summer Download

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Summertime and the livin’ is easy…

You know what is NOT easy during summer? Working. Especially when you are your own boss and you make your own schedule. I am at constant odds with my boss. She says I need to work to pay the bills. I say I need to take the kids swimming because it’s hotter than dogs breath and their brains are rotting from Minecraft. We spend a lot of time at the pool but my boss keeps me up all night with fun games of anxiety. It’s two am, have you thought about your debt lately?

I swear I am getting nothing done the weeks I have kids.

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But I get tons done when they are gone! Sort of. Well, mostly.

The last two weeks I have been into spray-painting backdrops for parties. It’s my new thing. I think mostly because I am so tired of trying to find a blank wall in my house to shoot photos against. I’ve created my own walls! It’s amazing what kind of creative break throughs you can have just walking down the aisles of your local hardware store.

For example, paint drop cloths are CHEAP! Ten bucks for a huge canvas. Twenty for a cloth one. A roll of brown paper is nine. You don’t have to use them to protect your floor while you paint. You can paint on them!

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I made this orange Wonder Woman background out of a paper drop cloth. I’m not super excited about the fold lines but it covers a big space and it only cost me ten bucks. Instant wall. Just blur the background a bit and focus on your subjects.

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The following week we had a Pampered Chef party and I decided to make my own fake Mexican restaurant. I’ve always wanted to do that. Restaurant designer is on my list of coveted careers, right next to set designer and cake decorator. I love designing businesses. Running them not so much.

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Of course we had Brendaritas at my restaurant, in pink plastic glasses no less. It’s funny the things that inspire you sometimes. Now we have a zillion pink plastic glasses leftover. Maybe I’ll let the kids have a sassy pink lemonade stand with them. Wouldn’t that be cute?

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Speaking of kids, we are on a mermaid kick lately. Unicorns are so early 2017. We’ve moved onto mermaids.

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Have you guys seen these bubbles at the fair? They are so cool.

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What is especially cool about these bubbles is that they saved my day. I was having such a bad day the day we went to the fair. It was the end of a bad week. I’d gotten no work done and every day it seemed like all I did was shuttle kids between camp and swimming. I was out of sorts. Payam almost turned the car around to take me home. But I rallied.

Mostly I was just sad that we were getting to the fair so late. Same song, different day. All I really care about is taking pictures. I thought it would be stupid with blaring music and blinky lights, gross fried food, kids begging for money for dumb games that you can’t win and if you do you end up winning you get a 99-cent stuffed toy that cost you twenty bucks. I sulked like a spoiled brat.

But then we got there and the sun was setting right behind these bubbles. We were the only ones there and the kids got to go free because it was kid free Thursday or something crazy. The light was golden and the kids were having so much fun splashing around pretending to be hamsters. My bad mood dissolved with every picture I took. Click, click, click. I was so happy! It’s funny the things that cheer me up.

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And then the rest of the “stupid blinky lights” and blaring music, smelly fried food and cheap toys seemed so much cooler. I may have even eaten a bacon wrapped hot dog and let Bug go home with a stuffed donut that ripped at it’s seam before we even left the fair.

So yeah. Happy Summer. Good luck with working!