Jewlery Alcemchy or What to Do With Bendaroos

First, a news flash:

Yesterday, Subway called to see if I would come in two hours early. I said no. But after one of our employees walked out and we had a steady night, I ended up staying an extra two hours, just to make sure that store didn’t look like utter chaos this morning. The bad news is the closer will likely be in serious trouble for how late both of stayed that night. (What are you talking about, two people can’t clean the whole store and make near 30 sandwiches an hour?) The good news is (no matter how self-centered and mean this sounds) there is nothing anyone can threaten me with. Because tonight is my last night. And any reservations I had about leaving that built up the last two weeks just flew out the window.

Next week, I start work at a local pizza parlor. I am so excited I could jump out of my skin. I already like the folks there a whole lot, and I’ve been vying for a part time kitchen job. (Okay, I don’t know if it’s all kitchen. I think there’s a lot of cleaning–sweeping and mopping type stuff as well–but at this point, that’s semantics.) And whenever my pocketbook worries about the part-timeliness, I remind it that (1) if a full-time job got in the way of my schoolwork, I wouldn’t be going to school anymore and there would be no need for it anyway, and (2) I’ve applied for a substitute position (since I’ll be working in the schools anyway, under the same volunteer teaching status) and that will make it a little bit happier.

In other news, I go to Carthage, MO tomorrow to visit Annie and to attend the Vietnamese festival, which is apparently when about 3,000 Vietnamese people descend on a small Missouri town. I hear it’s a rally spectacular cultural festival. I’m stoked.

Now, on with the Bendaroos:

I love making things out of junk. When I was eleven, I built a whole living room set of doll house furniture out of toothpaste boxes and thread spools and stuff like that. As a result, I’ve collected rather a mish-mash of art supplies over the years. So when I was challenged recently to create a totem representing myself, I got to dig through it.

I already had a pretty strong idea of what I wanted to do. I wanted to make a necklace out of this lump of amber with a compass that I had bought in Lithuania last year, in a fit of inspiration by Kathryn Shulz. But after several moves and lots of rearranging, I’m not sure what I did with that lump of amber. I went to our storage shed to see if it was in there, but I had low expectations.

As expected, I did not find my compass, but I did find several other things that I had almost forgotten about, like this bag I made at my friend’s birthday party in second grade, and all my medals from solo and ensemble festival during the seven years I spent in band. And my Big Brothers Big Sisters pin. I thought about making a big banner for my wall, containing various pieces of my life: my brownie (Girl Scouts) sash, my band medals, my peer mediator pin, my honor cords… But I kind of wanted something small I could wear or carry. And if I made a banner, I would have to go on a whole nother search for the brownie sash and the honor cords, etc. And then I found my Order of Pan pin.

The Order of Pan used to be the name of the teenagers’ section of the Peter Pan Children’s Fund, an organization that donates money to children’s hospitals (because Barrie gave the rights to Peter Pan to the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children). The founding concept of the organization is that children, instead of receiving gifts on their birthday, ask friends and family to donate money to a local children’s hospital. I found out about it just before less than a year before my sixteenth birthday. If I remember correctly, my little party raised around $200, and I ended up with a certificate and a lapel pin, but the pin got damaged in the mail. When I received it, the pin part was bent and had busted through the back. So it sat in a box for a while, until I decided to something with it, and asked my dad to break the pin part of. We got as far as getting the back dislodged, and then I was told “you just need a new pin back for it now,” so it sat in the box for several years more… until now.

My disappointment at losing my compass reversed into elation at a new idea. If I could get the pin off, I could make a necklace out of this. It was everything that represented me–my love of Peter Pan, my passion for storytelling, my desire to do what I can to improve the lives of others, and a reminder to maintain a child-like outlook on life. If I could get the pin off, I could make a necklace out of this. I had plenty of embroidery thread to make a cord. I just needed to tacky glue some kind of a loop on the top… somehow.

For the second time, I asked my dad to get the pin off, and this time, we succeeded. But due to having a pin in it, the back wasn’t flat, so my original plan to make a loop out of thread and tacky glue it on, covered by a piece of tagboard was shot. The tagboard wouldn’t stick if it wasn’t flat. So I headed for my box of art supplies to see if I could find anything useful, and again, I was surprised my Bendaroos.

For those of you who don’t know, Bendaroos are essentially yarn, covered in wax. This means you can bend them into shapes and sculpt them around each other, and stick them to things. I always wanted them when I was kid, so I got really excited to win them in a white elephant a couple of years ago. But after making all of my residents Bendaroo door decorations, I had run out of ideas, so they’ve mostly been sitting around. But now I needed something thick and bendy. I was able not only to use the Bendaroos to make a loop for a string, but sticking them to the back of the pin, I created a flat surface on which to stick a re-enforcing piece of tagboard. The best part is that since the Bendaroos are designed to stick to stuff, I didn’t even need to use the glue (but I still glued a couple of tagboard pieces together to make the back a tad more stable. Thus, I have learned how transform a pin into a necklace. Voila:

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