Friday, 12 December 2014

How to | Make A Book Fairy

I know that I shouldn't enjoy dragging the carcass of an innocent conifer into the living room and wrapping it in sparkly bondage.

But you know, I really do. Perhaps the Christmas Tree ritual just indulges the dominatrix princess in all of us? Take that UK Porn Laws, we up in yo living rooms under the tinsel!

Anyway, in previous years we haven't had a fairy on top of our tree. Most of my decoration needs have been filled by Poundland and Princesses in there are all twirling around the floor, not sitting on the shelves. It really is a place of wonder*. Angry birds and inflatable parrots have been perched upon our tree but nothing without a beak.

This year though we have a Christmas fairy! Here she is, with her wee smiling face and her Raspberry beret.

Do you too want a smiling wordy humanoid to top your tree corpse?

Then read on friend! 

I should say here that I wasn't planning to make an fairy. I was just messing about with some wire of an evening (as you do) and made some fairy wings. And then had to make a fairy to go in front of the wings. Obv. So these instructions will not be what you might call comprehensive, but she's really quite easy (chortle) and very adaptable to what you have hanging around the house. I mean, I assume she is. Either that or I have a very strange house. 

You will need

1mm craft wire (thickish wire)
0.5mm craft wire (thinnish wire)
Flat nose pliers and snippy pliers
Two paperback books (these will need to be the same height / width)
A bauble / polystyrene ball / vaguely head shaped object (preferably not an actual head)
Fairy accessories (chic!)
A permanent marker
Needle and thread
Glue (I used both superglue and epoxy resin, but I have to say that if you have a hot glue gun then a lot less swearing will likely be involved in your Fairy's birth)

So! To make the wings you just snip a length (I used about 75cm) of the thicker wire and bend it into a wing shape. Um. This was when I was just mucking around with wire. So no helpful photos. But the shape you're looking for is beautifully depicted in the top left of the collage below. Thank you Open Office Draw. Then take the thinner wire and coil it up and re-straighten it to give it a bit of texture. Fill in your wing shape by passing it from side to side, wrapping it once or twice around the thicker wire as you get to each side. This is solo-chuckle-brother fairy stage. Feel free to hum 'To-me-to-me' as you do this.

Next she needs a sexy body and what could be sexier than the florid prose of Mills and Boons? You can pick these up at charity shops for around 50p and (after a quick search on eBay, cos certain titles are worth megabucks) they make excellent crafting fodder. They are the original pulp fiction and at the end of a print run, unsold M and Bs are carted off, pulped and used (among other things) in road building materials! You could be driving on engorged members! That's a misandrist's dream right there. A fairy is a much more dignified end. 

Take a book, remove the cover, and fold the bottom corner of page one up to the spine. Keep doing this for the whole story and you'll get a beautiful full skirt (see below). Massacre another book, pop them back to back and you have a body!

Staple the wings to one book-half-body, and glue the other book-half-body to the resulting anatomy, leaving a wee jacksie for the tree branch. 

Discover that if you plop the head like object straight on top of this, it gives your fairy terrible posture. Decide to make a muff out of tinsel to help a fairy out. Snip a wee length of tinsel, coil it up and fix together with needle and thread.

Your fairy's head can have whatever accessories fit her personality. Mine got a wee Raspberry beret because I had a bit of crochet lying around but yours could have hair ribbons! Or an earring tiara! Or a Harry Potter scar! You should give her the dignity of a permanent marker face though.

Now you just need to stick it all together. This is where I need a hollow laugh sound effect. Ahem. Like I say, I think this would be a truckload easier to do if you have a glue gun. But it is possible with some Epoxy resin, superglue, determination and a lot of swearing.

And now you have a Christmas fairy! After an undignified wrangle with a tree branch she can preside on high over your festivities! 


*It should be noted here that Poundland really does have a special place in my heart, particularly for their Christmas decorations. LOOK AT THE SPARKLES! 

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

10 things I have learned in 2014

Happy December! I'm sure that there's some kind of mass-participatory festival approaching with the speed of a sparkling red truck. Can't for the life of me think what it is though. Something to do with John Lewis, perhaps? Is it the most wonderful time of the year... for advertising executives?

I've just got used to the clocks going back and we're hurtling towards the shortest day of the year here in the good ol' United of Ks.* And so, as the sky rests its grey belly on the rooftops and we wrap ourselves into private universes of knitwear, thoughts curl inwards. It's been a funny year here at HeavyFroth towers, and I have learned:

  1. I am much more of a cat person than I thought I was. You may have read about my boy Kitten in a previous post. Since then, things have gone downhill. Kitten has left the indifferent embrace of the fridge and joined me in non-white good world several times. I am now pretty much a woman possessed. Possessed by the twin demons of Whiska's crunchy treats and the most beautiful green eyes ever seen outside a Dolce and Gabbana advert. A large portion of my free time is devoted to hopefully shaking a cat-head-shaped box of treats. Come to think of it, is it threatening to keep treats in a box symbolising his decapitated fellows? Must look into less threatening treat receptacles. 
    But how could you not adore that face? 
  2. Politically it matters what you vote. Personally it matters why you vote. This is the first time I've been in a position where I've felt radically different to the vocal majority of my peers on a political matter. And oooeeboy was it a biggie. For anyone outside of Scotland, it's probably difficult to understand just how large the independence referendum was writ in the national consciousness. The decision I came to was one that I felt comfortable with, but it came with a whole truckload of emotional baggage. I had to take a step back and remember that a political decision didn't change me as a person: I will always be an oversharing, overfeeling, compassionate ball tied up in optimism and inappropriate puns. I will walk my own mental paths and what I find at the end will be because of, not in spite of, who I am.
  3. Fairy make rose-scented washing up liquid. This basically turns doing the dishes into a bubble bath for your hands. 
  4. You can't correct everything that's wrong on the internet. Nor should you. Sometimes I forget just how much stuff there is on the internet. Some of it is going to be factually iffy. People will take a weak argument which supports their position over a strong argument which contradicts them, cos the latter comes with the cognitive load of having to adjust their viewpoint. This isn't a bad thing necessarily, it's just a human thing. So by arguing with someone on the internet, you're more likely to annoy them than change their mind. Plus, you've just wasted the whole day on Facebook / Twitter / It's ok to take your foot off the pedal and let things slide. And look at a video of a cat in a box. And breathe.
  5. The sickness and the pain aren't my fault. You have NO idea how much lighter this realisation has made life feel. I spend an unseemly amount of time in pain / being sick and no-one seems quite sure why. The realisation that it's not my fault doesn't stop it being unpleasant, but it does mean that I don't combine that joy with berating myself for being useless and weak. Well. most of the time anyway. The pain is a lot easier to deal with when I stop viewing it as a character flaw. This might seem painfully (hah!) obvious, but it didn't really click into my thought patterns until recently and it's made a massive difference to my overall confidence and happiness levels. On a related note...
  6. Mindfulness helps. Or at least my home cooked recipe of mindfulness, which involves calmly noting pain and just letting it do its thing without resistance. Following the waves of pain like this is a lot easier than tensing up as the pain batters against you. I intend to learn more about mindfulness and general brain jiggery-pokery in 2015.
  7. It is always a good thing to have gin in the house 
    Incidentally, if anyone has any tips for getting straws out of gin bottles, come at me! (Just don't ask how it got in there)
  8. Writing makes me happy. I can actually feel my mood darken if I don't write for a few days. Writing is one of the strangest impulses. It's a deeply private and intimate process, but words want to be read. Luckily I have a long suffering partner who's always willing to listen and read. Thank you internet.**
  9. Bath Pillows are almost enough to make me question my atheism. If anything qualifies as a gift from the Gods, these do. 
  10. I have much to offer the world. I intend to offer a lot more of myself in 2015. Ooer Missus.
What have you learned in 2014? C'mon people, we've got to pool our knowledge if we're to stay one step ahead of the robots...

*is it just me who finds the ebb and flow of daylight hours a constant and delightful source of small talk material? I could happily guddle about in that conversational hole for hours. The dark has a remarkable capacity to shock me given that I see it everyday.

**Oh. Yeah there's the man too.***

***Don't tell anyone, but without his unquestioning support I would flounder about a zillion times more than I do. He's alright really.