There is a basket under my desk full of what I like to call my prototypes. Things I am working on that haven’t quite come out the way I intended and need a little more work. Or need to be thrown away. It depends on your perspective. My 25 year old daughter Mary Kate eschews the word “prototype”. She calls them “fiascos that no one in their right mind would ever be interested in buying”.
Fiasco-shmiasco. Everybody’s a critic.
If I am making something and she comes in the room and bursts out laughing, it goes right into the prototype basket. Just hedging my bets.
One item in the basket is my personal favorite, although it is still in the “prototype” stage. I plan on calling it A Heap of Sheep, which I think is endlessly clever and hilarious. Mary Kate says “That is the stupidest thing I ever heard.” Pffft. What does she know?
Anyway, my idea is to have three little graduated stuffed sheep, one on top of the other, as a pin cushion. I sewed them, stuffed them, stitched them together and added two vintage wooden spools instead of legs to stand them on. There is one little hiccup. If you try to stick a pin in them, they fall over. So I’m still working on it. I don’t know how I expect to defy gravity, but I am nothing if not determined.
The other day I was sewing and Mary Kate had nothing better to do than torture me. She rummaged through my prototype basket and pulled something out.
MK: What is this?
Me: That’s my Heap of Sheep (explained what it was)
MK: That is the stupidest thing I ever heard.
Me: No it’s not. It’s clever and funny and practical.
MK: But they don’t look like sheep.
Me: Well, they are representative of sheep.
MK: They don’t even look like representatives of sheep. They don’t look like anything living.
Me: Yes they do, they look like sheep.
MK: But they don’t have faces or ears.
Me: Yes they do, those black pieces of felt glued right there.
MK: You mean the things that look like bullets?
Me: They’re faces.
MK: They are nothing like faces. They’re bullets. And anyway, sheep are soft and fuzzy.
Me: Well those are. (I had used natural cotton batting with brown flecks through it)
MK: No, they’re not. What is this stuff anyway?
Me: It’s cotton batting.
MK: You made sheep out of…cotton?
Me: Well I thought it looked like, you know, sheep covering.
MK: Sheep covering? Do you mean…wool?
MK: ha ha ha ha ha Sheep covering!! ha ha ha ha ha
Me: Go away.
I kept working on them, trying different things. I was in my room the other day and Mary Kate was at my desk in the den. She called out.
MK: What are these things? Finger covers?
Me (to myself): Curses! Forgot to put away my sewing. (to MK): mumble mumble mumble
Me (yelling): sigh THEY’RE SHEEP FACES!!
MK: ha ha ha ha ha ha
Harrumph. I still think my Heap of Sheep is brilliant.
So anyway, I made an Advent calendar for my grandson.
Someone with an ounce of common sense would plan to fill the pockets with coins or Hershey’s Kisses. But not me. No, I planned to make 25 little felt ornaments.
Felt, that ubiquitous material that even three year olds can manage, is very hard to work with. It stretches, it tears, it doesn’t have the give fabric does. It is very unforgiving. I say this in advance, in my own defense.
The little ornaments were not going well.
I finally got a few made when down swooped The Critic.
MK: ha ha ha ha What is this?
Me (grimly, through gritted teeth): It’s baby Jesus
MK: HA HA HA HA HA HA HA What part of THIS is baby Jesus?!?!
Me (weakly): It’s abstract.
MK: ha ha ha ha It’s not abstract, it’s Pac Man. It’s Pac Man gobbling up a Communion wafer.
Now that even made me laugh.
Guess what? Shep is going to have coins and Hershey’s Kisses in his Advent calendar.