The Starter Mom: Embracing Your Bad Side

by Nicole Loughan

I always have high hopes as I flip through Pinterest. I think sure I can make a 3D shoe cake, or a sculpture of a car with realistic wheels and even doors that open. How about a dress out of a pillow case? Looks easy.

Then the reality sets in. Take for example my milk jug pony house. I saw this project, to reuse an old milk jug to make the perfect pony house for my daughter’s “My Little Pony” figures. It had little pony windows and a picket fence, curtains made out of napkins. I showed it to my daughter and she thought it was the best thing ever. We decided we were going to make it.

I grabbed a jug out of my recycling bin, rinsed it to within an inch of its life and drew a template with a pencil. I grabbed my best pair of scissors then started cutting, or rather stabbing out my design. It turns out milk jugs are very hard to puncture. It’s also hard to cut a straight line on a plastic curved jug. I was instantly baffled. I wondered how the milk jug artist on Pinterest was able to intricately cut out a white picket fence, with tiny hearts on each post no less. My picket fence did not happen. I just made a hole, then two more roughly square holes for windows.

My pony jug looks like a milk jug with holes stabbed in the side of it. I tried to jazz up the finished product by putting stickers on it. However, without a smooth surface the stickers all wrinkled and buckled.

The Starter Mom with her failed Pinterest project

The Starter Mom with her failed Pinterest project

I presented the monstrosity to my daughter with an apology, but she loved it. She squealed with delight and added her own stickers to it. We went on to make an equally silly pony silo with a Quaker Oats can.

My next Pinterest project was a necessity. My daughter had a birthday party and we had some major allergies to accommodate. I wanted to make a cake that all of the kids at the party could enjoy and my daughter wanted a “Frozen” princess cake. If you have a daughter under the age of ten there is a good chance you are in the throws of Frozen mania just like us and can’t find an Anna or Elsa to save your life. I tried for a month to find a figurine cake topper but never had any luck.

Finally, I saw that the local grocery store makes “Frozen” cakes and I asked them if they could give me the cake topper they use, it’s a sugar sheet printed with the characters, they gladly obliged and for $7.00 I had my “Frozen” cake topper.

Then I went home and referenced my Pinterest picture for what to do next. I saw that the Pinterest cake maker had placed the image in the center and surrounded it with a beautiful seashell like border and snowflakes. I didn’t know how to do a seashell border. I tried a few times and wiped away my mistakes. Then I called on my craftier neighbor to make a dot border, which she did and saved my skin, because things were looking pretty dreary. My frosting was melting turning my snowflakes south, literally. To make matters worse the cake topper kept peeling up around the edges, from lack of the weight of that pretty seashell border.

I did my best with it, patched it up threw some sprinkles on the mistakes and put it in the cake carrier. I crossed my fingers hoping for the best. When we opened it at the party at the zoo, one of the dads at the party asked if I had paid for the cake and laughed. He was promptly slugged by his wife. It was obvious I had not paid for said cake and if I had I would be asking for a refund. But my daughter took one look and could barely catch her breath she was so excited, “you got me my Frozen cake!”

She did not know it wasn’t at all like the one in the picture, but she loved it anyway and I felt a sense of accomplishment as each and every kid at her party got to dig into my not so pretty cake. The taste reviews were all a thumbs up.

I know I don’t have an eye for art or crafty projects and often fake my homemade wares with Etsy, but every once in a while I like to get my hands dirty and see what they can do. I don’t always like the results but my kids are at an age where they think most of what I make is the greatest. It’s easy to look like I know what I am doing today. I can cut a straight line and reach the knobs on the oven. I think back on projects I have made and some of the best memories and stories come from the failures, such as the time my nephew poured salt on the cookies, thinking it was sugar, or the time my sister and I started a baking project without knowing the difference between powdered sugar and regular and went to our neighbor’s houses looking for a cup of it. For anyone else thinking of dipping a toe in the waters of Pinterest projects, your art probably won’t be as awesome as the picture, but at the end you might have a nice project or a holey milk jug, but you will have definitely made a memory.

Looking for some ideas to get in touch with your crafty side?
Pinterest is always a great site for trying new crafts but in case you need more face-to-face and hands on learning check out Ornamentea, Gifts with a Heart or Pullen Arts Center!

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