Do you ever have one of those weeks where you ask yourself what else can possibly go wrong? and then immediately regret it because you find out the answer?
Yeah, it’s been one of those weeks. And I’m about to complain about it in hopes that you will sympathize with me, or at least find some sick joy in my pain. Take your pick. I won’t judge.
I had grand plans, friends. I was going to have this great project to show you today. Christmas-themed, and from the Philippines. But… It didn’t go so well.
Let me back up. I help teach at our Kids’ Club program on Wednesday nights at our church. Last night we had a special “Christmas Around the World” where different people from our church came and gave presentations about how Christmas is celebrated in their home countries or their families’ home countries. The kids got to learn about traditions in Germany, Korea, Sweden, the Philippines, and Mexico. People brought in decorations, books, and treats traditional in each country, and it was a lot of fun.
Since my sister & I both teach on Wednesday nights, it made sense for us to present on the Philippines together. When we were talking about what to do, we both thought of making a paról, a traditional Filipino star lantern widely used at Christmastime. The concept is simple. Basic paróls are made with bamboo strips made into a star shape and tied with string or rubber bands at the end. Two star shapes are put together at the points and then short bamboo strips are used to pop the middle out and make it 3 dimensional. Then you cover it with cellophane in festive colors. You can also put tails on the bottom two points. Paróls get much more elaborate than that, but that’s a basic one. You know, the kind that we as kids made at school.
First of all, bamboo strips are not really easy to come by here in Minnesota. In the Philippines, you can buy bamboo that’s been notched at the ends so it’s easier to tie together. We found flat wood dowel-type things at the craft store, which substituted ok, but aren’t as flexible as bamboo, and cost $1 each. Also, it was strangely difficult to find small rubber bands (even at a supply store) and we looked at 3 different stores before finding red & green cellophane.
My sister came over after work on Tuesday, and after dinner & putting Little Man to bed we set to put things together. Well, because of the less-flexible material, it took us longer than expected to put the frame together. Then came the cellophane.
I seriously never ever ever want to look at cellophane again in my life. That stuff is heinous. I looked over some instructions on the internet to get a little refresher, and they all said to use a glue stick to put the cellophane on. Unfortunately, the only glue stick I have a the moment is a really big one that doesn’t easily get into the corners, and ends up leaving globs of glue hanging around. Then we tried sticking the cellophane to it, and it just wouldn’t stay. It slipped around and peeled up and was overall a *joy* to work with. It was starting to get late. I was really tired and my sister was sick and we were getting crabby. If it weren’t for the $10 already invested in the frame, I probably would have smashed it to bits.
The instructions said that after you glue each piece of cellophane down, you cut off the excess. Well, apparently my scissor skills are not up to par because I had a heck of a time cutting straight around the edges of the star, and cutting close enough to the pieces of wood. I tried using my exacto knife, but it wasn’t sharp and so it just shredded it. So I had this *awesome* looking star, covered in glue globs and raggedy cellophane that wouldn’t pull tight. There was weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth… Well, mostly lots of snark. Our conversation devolved into a lot of “YOUR FACE!” and we started laughing hysterically at things that weren’t funny. It was getting really late, so we thought maybe if we waited until the next day and then used a blow dryer, we could get it to tighten up and look halfway decent.
The next day, I tried that out. Since I didn’t buy shrink wrap, but just regular cellophane, it didn’t work very well. I got the center of one side smooth & tight after about 15 minutes of straight blow drying. Then I tried it on another one of the sides and melted a hole in it.
I was so crabby after that.
I replaced the stupid piece that melted and did my best to make it look acceptable, but it’s seriously not worth any sort of tutorial. I’m torn between the urges of throwing the stupid thing across the room and stomping on it, or taking all the cellophane off of it (since the frame is fine) and figuring out a way to make it work. I know, that sounds crazy, right? Clearly this project is cursed and should be burned. But I don’t accept defeat easily.
Maybe by next year I’ll have figured out the secrets to paról making and I can tell you all about how to make yourself a perfect one. Or maybe my neighbors will see me dancing around the fire pit in our back yard laughing maniacally wearing a long black robe. Or who knows– those things aren’t mutually exclusive.
So here’s a list of the other things that have not gone well this week (maybe it will prove cathartic and my crafting mojo will come back.)
-After Kids’ Club, I (along with the other teachers) put up our winter/Christmas themed bulletin board. I stapled up various “Merry Christmas” wishes in different languages and managed to put up the German phrase backwards, despite the fact that there was an exclamation point at the end. Then I made baby Jesus look like a turtle. And then I made hay for the manger that looks like a cross between a hula-skirt and hippie fringe. It’s classy, let me tell you.
-On the way home from church last night someone flashed their lights at me. Then I realized that I hadn’t turned my lights on. Luckily I had just gotten on the road. Goodness.
-I was madly tired last night, and went to bed earlyish. Couldn’t fall asleep for a while and then even when I did, I woke up about 5,000 times throughout the night.
-I’m like the walking dead this morning even after my coffee.
-I got a library fine.
-I went to get a copy of something at FedEx Office today, only to realize after driving away that it printed the wrong size. So I had to go there twice today.
-I FELL DOWN THE FREAKING STAIRS. Seriously. When was the last time in your adult life that you fell down the stairs? Good grief. Now I’m going to have freakishly huge bruises on my elbow and tuchus.
-I went to buy stuff at the craft store today because one of the things I needed was on sale. When it rang up, it didn’t come up as on sale, but my spirit was already completely broken so I didn’t have the energy to ask about it.
-I’m out of dark chocolate. This is a travesty. Also, I can no longer buy non-fair-trade chocolate because of all the child trafficking going on. Stupid conscience. Now I have to make a special trip to the fancy stores for chocolate.
-I seriously don’t care about a darn thing today.
-Wordpress spell-check thinks I’m a flipping idiot. It always asks me if I meant to use a different word. “Manger– did you mean ‘manager’?” “Piece– did you mean ‘peace’?” NO! I know the freaking difference between “manger” and “manager.” I have a flipping degree in English, thankyouverymuch. Stop insinuating that I don’t know what I meant to say. Criminy.
That’s most of it. I finally got all the materials for one of my last Christmas presents I’m going to make this year, but I’m honestly scared to start it. Maybe I should wait until next week. Ha.
Anyone have any tips for turning a bad week around?