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Have Yourself a Merry Little CraftFail Xmas!


Presents I did not wrap courtesy of the defunct Domino Magazine Dec. 2007 issue

One holiday season, many moons ago, a friend gifted me with a lovely, handmade journal. At the time she was teaching a bookbinding class, though she was a painter by trade. The simplicity and joy of the gift gave me a few ill conceived ideas about duplicating the experience for others. The results of my own handmade holiday joy campaign were mixed to awful. As another holiday season begins with shoppers mobbing and trampling each other for blowout bargain bonanzas, once again I find myself toying with idea of engaging in another round of holiday themed craftfail. I am not so much crafty as I am craft aspirational. And like a prom date who decides to color her hair the night before the big dance, I’ve often been felled by my modest skill set, which was greatly exceeded by my ambitions.

Snarky’s Machine CraftFail Hall of Shame

Shiny Happy Metal Folding Chair Ruining Pants

This heartwarming holiday craftfail began as most: too many hours watching HGTV. I spotted a very cool hack of an ordinary metal folding chair. The show’s designers had opted to spray paint the chair and their results were fairly stunning, though personally, there’s nothing one can do to a metal folding chair other than drive over it with a Mack truck that would make it appealing to me. Anyway, the gift recipient loved those kinds of chairs so I figured I would replicate the hack and also make her holiday dreams (or nightmares) come true. Armed with a general design concept and the blingiest silver spray paint in the clearance section of a craft store, I got to work on my metal masterpiece. And it came out okay. It was like the Tin Man in chair form. During, what singleton Bridget Jones terms, “horrible exchange of sealed bids” a.k.a gift exchange, I proudly presented my Trontastic chair to its new owner, who seemed pleased. She even sat down on the chair, as did a mess of other folks. I could tell who had sat on the chair, because their shiny metal asses revealed the overlooked, but crucial step in my design – sealer.

I Don’t Know If It’s Right to Write A Short Story Based on a Disco Song

A friend commissioned a disco themed short story collection for her holiday present, a project I was eager to undertake. I got to work transforming hits like, “Let’s All Chant”, “Born to be Alive”, “I Love the Nightlife (Disco Round)” and “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)” into literary explorations of love, loss and sparkly clothing. And that was cool, except the recipient felt she ought to share these literary explorations of love, loss and sparkly clothing with the very stuffy and decidedly Orange County (CA) family she was visiting for the holidays. I’m pretty sure by time she got the to story entitled, “I Don’t Know If This Is Right” – about a pair of glittery, coked up disco biscuits who share an illicit romance in 4/4 time, my friend had come to rethink her initial enthusiasm with the project. Though, for the record, she did really like the stories.

Decoupage Purses: A Lulz Story

A friend once quipped, “Decoupage is what happens when people are too crafty for their own good and cannot part with a single newspaper or magazine.” But this was well after receiving one of what I believe was my better stabs at homemade holiday joy. Learning from the mistakes of my metallic chair past and its resulting cleaning bills, I was all about the sealant. Sealant a go go. Turns out, no matter how many layers of sealant one uses, it’s no match for the plastic “base” used to create the purse. In addition, the recipient in question remarked, “I really appreciate this, I do, except I’m not really comfortable being a walking billboard for Ladies Home Journal sexual health articles.” Damn, and I thought I was being artsy!a

Tell me of your sweet, boneless craftfails? And if you’re new hotness with crafts, tell me about that too. I need the inspiration! I promise to engage in nothing more complicated than card making and present wrapping.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. hsofia permalink
    12/14/2010 4:34 am

    Hahahahahahaha … still laughing out loud at the image of shiny silver stained bottoms at a holiday party.

  2. Hillevi permalink
    12/14/2010 5:35 am

    I do okay crafting. Last year I sewed Japanese knot bags for people (here’s the instructions: they take about an hour to make and are a great way to use up fabric scraps). Where I’ve run into problems, is with afghans. I crochet ’em. They’re really kinda lovely (pictures of a few of them are here: ). People who get ’em, love ’em. Thing is, they take about 60 hours to make, so I can really only give one each year, maybe two if I’m especially productive, and I’ve gotten in serious trouble when someone gets hurt because someone *else* got an afghan.

  3. 12/14/2010 6:08 am

    At one point I owned some slightly shiny silver/gray jeans (like, half the threads it was woven from were shiny and half were regular gray) that I thought were just the coolest thing ever. I bet a turn in that chair would only have improved them.

    I’d like to think the majority of my gift-related craftfail moments are behind me, ended when I gave up my middle-school habit of making ridiculous numbers of origami whatsits and giving them to my friends like, constantly. Right now I am in the process of making some coasters for a gift exchange, based on this tutorial and since it mostly involves choosing pretty paper and cutting and gluing, all activities in which I am well-versed, it seems to be going well. But I am also busy documenting on my blog some likely-failtastic sweater alterations. The sweater’s meant for me though, so even if it ends up hideous I can wear it when I clean or engage in further messy craft adventures.

  4. 12/15/2010 2:07 pm

    The silver chair story makes me LOL.

  5. Q.V. permalink
    12/19/2010 7:33 pm

    I wish I could go back in time and tell the chair story to my sister when she was 15 and really liked Silverchair. It would have really annoyed her and amused me.


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