One of my favorite things about fall is the state fair. Granted, the food on a stick is hard on the body... not to mention the budget. And the crowds are even less appealing now that hubby and I are toting a toddler and a stroller. But I'm particularly fond of the fair's creative arts competition.
I've been entering my handmade goodies in local fairs for as long as I can remember. In fact, I'm pretty sure I still have each of the ribbons I won when I was a little girl (though I'm afraid they may be in that box that's molding in the corner of the garage). The thing that appeals to me about the contests now, though, isn't necessarily winning. It's two things: having an excuse to create, and having a deadline. I don't have to worry about whether something is commercially viable, or whether it's something I can easily create a tutorial for. It's an chance to try out those things that have been tumbling around in my brain, just to see how they turn out.
As with most things I get excited about, I go a little overboard. The deadline's in 9 days, and I've finished exactly 0 of the 6 things I signed up to do. It's not unusual for me to be putting the finishing touches on an item while hubby drives me to the drop-off location 15 minutes before they close. So he kinda sighs when he finds out I've turned in my state fair form for the year. It's the same sigh he uses when I tell him we should do all handmade Christmas gifts. After 10+ years of marriage, he knows me pretty well.
So anyway, one of the projects-in-progress is a birdhouse, and I thought I'd give you a little sneak peak. I'm eager to see how it turns out.
There's a bit of a story behind that birdhouse.
I didn't originally post photos of the birdhouse online, because I made it as a Christmas gift. Or at least I thought it was supposed to be a Christmas gift...
My mother's side of the family usually does a Dirty Santa-style gift exchange for Christmas. And two years ago, my mom informed me there would be a theme for the gifts: New Beginnings. Seemed like an odd theme, but I put together a couple of themed gift ideas with handmade items in each. One was a "new diet" themed gift: a diet book with some teensy-weensy polymer clay dishes for practicing portion control. The other was a "new hobby" themed gift: a polymer clay birdhouse with some birdseed and a book on birdwatching. I was up most of the night before our trip finishing these and various other handmade gifts.
Did I mention this was Christmas two years ago? Ya know, when I was seven months pregnant with my little guy? Well, I hadn't wanted to make a big deal about it, but it kinda made me sad that no one had offered to throw me a baby shower. Pregnancy hormones may have had something to do with it, but I was pretty sure it was a sign that nobody loved me.
You probably see where this is going.
There was no gift exchange that year. It was a surprise baby shower, ya know, with a New Beginning theme. After I got over my initial anger — that they'd let me think there wouldn't be a shower, that I'd gone to all that work to make the gifts — I realized the whole thing was exactly perfect for my family. (BTW, the gifts I'd made were used as door prizes, so the effort wasn't completely wasted.)
So that's the story behind the "Birdhouse of New Beginnings" that's in the latest PolymerCAFÉ. I should note that both the birdhouse and the rusted inro are also included in tejae floyde's Polymer Artists Showcase.
Hope all's well wherever you are. Would love to hear what creative things you're doing as fall approaches...