Track 5: This Christmas – Donny Hathaway
Do Not Try to Make This Gift By Joni Hilton
Would you like a truly insane idea? Are you a masochist who thinks you don’t have enough to do at Christmastime? Or are you smarter than me and would never attempt the following craft that’s guaranteed to drive the Christmas spirit right out of your home?
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, I immediately thought this would be a darling Christmas gift for all ten of my friends, with whom I exchange presents.
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 of 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 neighbourhood store, so instead, drive across town to buy an actual sheet of heavy copper that’s waaay more expensive than its equivalent weight in pennies. It’s also waaaay thicker than flashing and waaaay harder to cut.
Find out you cannot use household scissors. Buy tin snips. Ka-ching, ka-ching. Decide to cut out the wings and stars separately from the bodies and attach them later so they can be a different colour. 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 Dremel tool and some sandpaper and go to work for several hours. Discover that rough burrs cut your skin quite readily. Expand your vocabulary, and make note to repent of this.
Cover cuts with bandages, and continue sanding. Hammer bent areas and hit fingers a number of times because you’re 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 colour and turn the star and wings the familiar oxidized copper green. Bake bodies in oven. Find out the oven is not hot enough. Use a crème brûlée torch, run out of propane, buy more, and finally get some swirls of colour.
Decide you 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 the hot sun. But it’s winter, so the hot sun is not available. Decide to smear paste on wings and stars and bake them. Ammonia odour fills the house, the smoke alarm goes off, eyes burn, and choking ensues. Make a mad dash to open all of the 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 you’re unwilling to become a welder. Check out copper stakes/tubes at the hardware store, and discover they are more expensive than a semester of college tuition. Learn of a welder supply shop across town in a bad area, and go buy the stakes there anyway.
Come home, cut them, and glue them on as well. Tie them with sparkly copper-coloured ribbon, realize they still look like a kindergarten project, and purchase three-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, it is Christmas.
Make that your next project