Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Manliest of Arts and Crafts Projects

It may not look like it, but I still do quite a bit of writing. It's for cover letters, though, so you don't really see any of it.

Yes, despite my Master's degree and my highly relevant workplace experience, I remain a capital-L Librarian without a library to work in. Since this is currently one of the worst job markets of the past eighty years, I figure I can't be too down about it; it helps the ol' morale if I think of it more as a mandatory unplanned vacation, kind of like being a nursing student. So in between applications, I do my best to putter around and maintain a reasonable facade of productivity.

What did you do today? The usual routine? That's cool, that's cool. Not a bad day, then. Me? I made a cape.

How does one just spontaneously come into ownership of the materials necessary for a cape? Well, these things happen, you know. My mother had recently purchased a cottage, so I was given the assignment of going out there and prying loose the inherited decor that she didn't particularly agree with. Antlers above doors, Jesuses in kitchens, that sort of thing. And since my mother is a kindly woman who bears no malice towards fellow mammals, one such item to be removed was a fur of unknown origin -- deer? Cow? Might be cow -- wrapped around and nailed into a support beam, a fur that bears considerable odds of actually being older than I am.

The other items went into a pile for the hypothetical idea of a yard sale down the line, but I rescued the fur for myself because -- well, why not, really? It's not every day that one just happens upon a well-preserved fur one could potentially make a cape with, so I made off with it back into the city and compiled the remainder of the supplies above: a four-foot metal chain ($5.99, Michael's Arts & Crafts Store), a water-bottle clasp (free with many fine water-bottles; I'm not even sure where this one came from) and, of course, a Franklin Badge ($10 + S&H, currently out of stock). Any keyring would do for this purpose, so I figured I may as well go with one that resists lightning attacks. Yeah, that's right. I'm being that guy.

Having never made a cape before -- a statement I believe most people will cop to, if pressed -- I gave the matter some considerable thought to make sure I had the steps straight in my head. Thus, the first order of business: take the fur and put that sucker on blocks.

Arts and crafts is typically considered a female-dominated practice -- mind you, so is librarianship -- so I dare say that making a fur cape is right up there among the manliest arts and crafts projects a dude can involve himself in. To properly weave the metal chain around and through the fur, and to make sure the fold arranges itself into a proper collar, one needs to create and match holes in the fabric accordingly. So what's the manliest possible way to create matching holes in something?


Well, that's basically a cape right there, but in the interest of safety there are still a couple adjustments to be made. You could tie those chains together around your neck, but then if someone yanks on your cape you get choked out and that kind of kills the mystique. Am I right? You've seen The Incredibles, you know how this works. Capes are dangerous; caution is advised. So!

Besides humouring my staggeringly dorky EarthBound devotion, the keyring gives the cape a bit more durability and stability around the neck, also removing one of the dangly chain segments from the equation. And the other dangly chain bit?

I figure I'll replace the big ol' water-bottle clasp later with something that better matches the colour scheme, but this works well enough for a first attempt. (Remember, I'm very much an amateur capemaker, so I'm just kind of winging it at this point.) The first option is to connect the chain around the clasp according to where I want the height set, and the second option puts the clasp right at the end to just weigh it down if I loop the chain over and through to hold it around the neck. Either way, the openable clasp makes the cape a lot easier to remove than a knot around the throat -- and what good is a cape if you can't whip it off dramatically to punctuate your conversation? Man, that's half the fun of a cape!

So, yeah, I made a fur cape. And you can too, with these simple instructions! I'll grant that there are very few times in polite society that it is considered appropriate to wear a cape to an event, but if I'm ever invited to join a league of supervillains--

--I like to think I'll be prepared.

And in the very rare event that a cape alone is not enough to make an impression, what does one do with oneself? I'm thinking ahead on this one; I'll keep the cape stored next to a luchador mask for convenience's sake, just in case I really want to mess with the door-to-door Mormons salesmen that spring up this time of year.

Yes, classy and reserved as always, that's me. Ever the shyest of delicate flowers.

Stay tuned, true believers! I have it on good authority that something of interest should be coming down the pike this Saturday, so I'll see you then. What could it be? What could it be?


Kevin K. said...

Why does it not surprise me that you have a Psicosis mask?

CreativeNige said...

James, your posts are impossibly funny.

Shaun M. Wheeler said...

Pure bloody genius, me lad! I wish I'd thought of it!