Crafting with the Quaids

Love Letter, Straight from My Heart


With the coming of Valentine's Day, I'm inspired to acknowledge that singular stunning person in my life who motivates me to create.  Dante had his Beatrice, John had Yoko, Warhol had Edie and I've got my Amy.

My muse is not a gauzily veiled coquette,  a Helen of Troy with beauty inspiring an armada across the sea.  No, she is my nemesis, a hooded figure who trailing through my nightmares barks at my heels like a rabid pit bull in heat.  Holding a mirror to my shadow, I see her lurking in the dark crusty side of my soul, feeding on spite and malice.

In the past I may have tried to win the affection of a fair beau with my crafty prowessness, but let me tell you friends, these victories come easy.  Sew a guy a pair of mittens, make him a beer cozy and he's yours to keep, it's pretty darn simple to catch a man, you don't even need to knit the net, just put on a tight sweater, toss him a  sandwich and mischief managed!

And while I've given up on impressing my paramour, I still have my frenemy, the woman who keeps me sleeping with one eye open.  She is a craft stalker, plain and simple.  If I make something unique and lovely, I'll see her the next day whipping up some facsimile, a China Town knock-off of my designer original.  To call her a copycat though is a cheap shot, her cunning and quick draw with the pinking shears make her a worthy adversary.  She truly is an artistic genius as demonstrated in her Tornado Landscapes and seminal work in dental implant mock-ups .

Born of Russian aristocratic stock, her kin found her to be such an unpleasant child, they abandoned her in the woods during a spring outing.  Subsequently, Amy was raised by a community of Bush Squirrels.  Ever the traitor, she milled the family tree for firewood, during a winter cold snap.  "She's dead to me" said her cousin, Stumpy, when I asked him about those early days.

randy and evi
randy and evi

My nemesis and I met a few years later, classmates in a "Hand Tools for Woodworking" course that left us both inspired and bloodied.  Bonding over a passion for expensive Japanese saws and a well stocked liquor cabinet we became inseparable until the ugly gorgon of competition reared it's distorted head.  Our feud has been slightly documented, scholars desiring of more back-story should begin with the poignant blog, Remember When We Were Friends where our early correspondences have been cataloged.  The letters are in chronological order so it is best to start with the oldest work first.

Learning that I had accepted the Iron Craft Challenge, Amy had to jump on band wagon too. Her rigorous schedule of prosthesis making, accordion lessons and personal grooming has left her unable to participate on a weekly basis. She was determined to make a Valentine for this week's challenge, and since she's got to worm her way into every facet of my artistic life, she made her own interpretation of a Randy and Evi Quaid love note, complete with an Australian Shepard.

And that, as Stumpy would say, is our relationship in a nut shell. My challenges are not personal ones, they are spurned by knowing there is a devious soul out there trying to best me at my own game.  We run faster when we know we are being chased.

Happy Valentine's Day Amy, you've won my heart, and one day I'll have yours (possibly in a small box that I keep on top of the fridge if all goes according to plan).

No Room at the Inn- Crafting With the Quaids

no room
no room

And lo it came to pass, one Christmas Eve two wayward travelers found themselves exiled  in a strange land.  The comforts of the past -caviar, Belgian endive, bikini waxes, running water- all forfeit for a new life, a life on the run, from the cruel clutches of Johnny Law. It had been a hard year for Randy and Evi Quaid, a media circus born out of desperation, unpaid hotel room bills, lawsuits, and jail time.

As the holidays neared they just wanted to get their heads down, re-group, take stock of meager fare and plan, plan big for next year- the reunion tour, where Randy, re-born bursts naked from the ashes of his old husk of a career, a flaming phoenix of theatrical importance, the next David Hasselhoff.  This time, he'd bag that Golden Globe.  But for tonight?  Any port in the storm of the private hell they'd created would do.  It was a bleak time, we'd been living out of their Prius, me in the backseat with their mouthy Australian Shepard, Doji.  Long days spent driving from one rest stop to the next, playing endless rounds of "What's in Randy's Beard", late nights we'd spoon fighting over who'd cuddle Doji for warmth.

My mission had been to pull these lost lambs back into the fold, convert them with craft, let them find inner peace through self expression and maybe a little glitter.  Crafting on the lamb presents unique challenges, we were hurting for supplies and Evi was in a real bad head space.  One afternoon, I walked in on her in the ladies room, her face smudged with a fine white powder an empty packet of Cremora in one hand, I knew we were about to hit bottom.

On December 24th we drove as far as we could and yet Siberia was no where in site, the Prius finally ran out of juice and we limped to the side of the highway.  In a wild Canadian blizzard we walked from one hotel to the next, credit cards maxed, faces in the news, no one would take us in.  As we sat on the hood of the car, Evi fell to pieces, crying bitter tears, but something came over Randy, a look of divinity if you will and he described a dream he'd had the night before.

An angel had come to him, a sweet radiant creature, who'd said follow that star, the second one to the right.  So convinced of his vision we trudged back into the snowstorm until we found an abandoned mattress store, the back door miraculously unbolted.  Hunkering down for the night, Randy got out his pen knife and our last bar of soap, he fashioned a crude manger scene pictured above, and just for a moment, peace descended on our little tribe.