Friday, August 10, 2012

Gettin' crafty

Remember when you were a little kid, and you'd have your army men or your Barbies, or your My Little Ponies, or your Matchbox cars?  Action figures?  Muppet Babies?  Whatever they were, do you remember how fun it was to make up little worlds for them?  My best friend in elementary school had this awesome area in her backyard that was like the rain forest for Barbie.  If we turned the sprinkler on there was even a waterfall.  And shoe box villages for Fisher Price Little People were at least as fun as the store bought schoolhouses and things (with the exception of the houseboat, because you could totally play with that in the bathtub!).  In the summers at the Lake of the Ozarks with my cousins, we would build mazes out of Legos and try to make the frogs we caught hop through them.  And who hasn't spent hours building elaborate blanket forts?

To me, there's always been something of that same feeling in maps.  When I unfold a road map and trace my finger along a highway, that whole world of imagined possibilities opens up again.

Map of Missouri, my home state

Probably most trips along the line I'm tracing are just long, tedious drives to get from point A to point B, just like the Barbie rain forest in my friend's backyard was just a tangle of weeds her dad had to deal with.  But looking at the map, reading off the names of towns I've never visited, I can just about feel the wind buffeting my hand as I let it dip and rise out the car window, and I can picture the greasy spoons and the 'World's Largest Somethingorother' in that pretend place in my mind, where everything's like the fun parts of Thelma and Louise.  On a world map, I'm Indiana Jones, my finger tracing flights to exotic adventures:

Or take a globe... I defy you to spend more than 5 minutes in a room alone with a globe without playing the game.  You know the game - we all do!  You spin the globe, you close your eyes, and you put your finger down and see where you end up, and you hope it's Paris, or Tibet, or maybe Alaska, but if it's someplace like Uzbekistan, you make a mental note to see what Wikipedia says about Uzbekistan, because that's kind of awesome too.  Maps let me play pretend, and globes let me dream big, and when I spotted a poor battered globe without a stand on half-price day at Value Village a few months ago, I immediately new exactly why I needed it.

I'm not terribly crafty outside the confines of my skull.  In there, I'm always making stuff, and it always turns out great.  In the real world, I'm like the kid who can't quite cut on the lines, or who glues my fingers together.  But the minute I spotted the globe, I flashed back to a few months prior to that, when I came across a whole bag of Lite Brite pegs at Unique Thrift, and foolishly passed them up.  I picked them up, even put them in my cart, but then I scolded myself and put them back because I had no practical use for them and really, really didn't need them.  And now I had a globe, and an idea, but no Lite Brite pegs to make it happen!

I looked into buying pegs and was not thrilled with the prices, and then the other reason I'm not really all that crafty kicked in.  I'm easily distracted, and generally bad at follow-through.  All idea, no execution.  But after Monday, I feel so motivated, that I did the unthinkable on my lunch break this afternoon.  I followed through!  Well, partly.  I stopped in at Hobby Lobby, and while they don't have Lite Brite pegs per se, they do have these, in the doll house section:

I bought two kinds.

I'm sure by now you've probably sussed out my clever plan.  I'm going to poke these into the globe in places that are significant to me like pins in a map on the wall, and make a light fixture (lampshade? pendant light?).

So here's the before:

Sitting in a bowl so it will hold still.  At half off of $1.51, it was a no-brainer!
I cleaned the price off with a damp napkin and took an exacto knife to Antarctica:

Still not great at cutting on the line, but it's round-ish!

Mary Poppins was intrigued:

Now the problem is getting the pegs into the thick cardboard with nothing but a thumbtack as a piercing tool.  I've got half a dozen or so in, but then my thumbs got tired, so that's as far as I've gotten so far.  Stay tuned! Once I get some sort of actual tool and get all the pegs in, I'll have to come up with a plan for exactly how to make it into a light.  What do you think?  I'm always open for advice!

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