Ornamental Plaster Sculpting, Mural Painting, Faux Finishing, and Imaginative Interior Design.

Ornamental Plaster Sculpting, Mural Painting, Faux Finishing, and Imaginative Interior Design.
CLICK ON THE RABBIT ( yes, those are cabinets) TO SEE MY PORTFOLIO, AND LEARN MORE ABOUT MY SERVICES...theartofthehome.com

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

An independent celebration

Ever wonder what Santa Claus does on the Fourth of July?  Do not seriously expect the guy to go along with your plans for his appearance at your Christmas in July sale.  He has places to boat, and fish to catch!  Yes, that's my dad, and yes, he really is Santa.  Wanna make something of it?  Too skinny?   The belly is a myth.  How would he get down a chimney packing a paunch like those department store guys?  Sheesh.
Today, along with most of the United States, I celebrated Independence Day, but in my own way.  I celebrated my personal independence by painting my back screen porch floor purple (multiple shades), and planning how to fluff the space. This used to be bike storage and McKinley the Malamute's domain, but now that I have room to park my bicycle in the garage, and Mac sleeps in the great dog bed in the sky, I decided to create a place to write and meditate in the mornings, or enjoy refreshments with friends later in the day, safe from the notoriously nasty Minnesota mosquitoes.  I would show you this tonight, but the paint is too fresh to place the furniture, and drag in ladders to hang the light cover and wall stuff, so watch for it later in the week.

Instead, here are some photos from the "archives" (a.k.a. the box in the closet), of how I spent the holiday in earlier years.

1969, the last year I watched the Kiddie Parade from the sidelines.
I haven't managed to ransack Mom's albums for photos of the first few years of parade costumes, but I remember my first was a dog costume, with a sandwich board sign that read "Hot Dog, It's the 4th of July".  It was very hot.  It won the "Comic Costume" division in my age group.  I thought the pink ribbon for participation was prettier, but the blue was good, too.

A few years later, my friend Teri and I, having done a few parades together, planned a beautiful swan costume that would be sort of like a mini float, akin to the ones in the Rose Parade.  My oldest brother, Ramon, helped us give it a neck made from a bamboo carpet pole that could bob up and down, and shoulder straps, so we weren't carrying it on our heads.  The bird's head was papier mache, and lacking anything else, we made the feathers from grocery bags cut into strips of fringe.

Alas, it did not match our swanly vision.  Sigh.

Out of time and resources, we had to figure out how to salvage it.  After a bit, we decided it actually was a pretty good chicken, so we set aside our visions of elegance, put a sunbonnet on it's head, practiced strutting and pecking, and when an old neighbor surprised us with giant styro eggs, we created an egg-laying routine.  The judges loved us, the crowd roared, and we realized that a dancing chicken was a lot more fun for everyone than an elegantly gliding swan.  Blue ribbon in the "Comic Costume" division looked pretty good hanging around Henrietta Cluck's neck, too.
1975, Tiger tamer with tiger and beautiful assistant.
The next year, undaunted by the swan turned chicken, I planned another beautiful float.  This one involved my friend (now sister) Kelly, an abandoned wagon with a wonky wheel, one of the neighbor's new kittens, another neighbor's hamster cage (returned before the photo was snapped), one roll of green crepe paper, and when that ran out, a roll of green toilet paper (remember when it used to come in colors?).  At that point, we (officially) abandoned glamour for humor. The sign below the kitten read "Wild Tiger.  Please Don't Feed!"  

Once again, the blue ribbon was for "Comic Costume", not "Most Beautiful", but the minute the parade turned onto Main Street, our disappointment was forgotten, as people laughed and pointed and clapped.  Thus cheered, we put on a great show of whip cracking and bowing (me) and graceful posing like a model on the "Price is Right" (Kelly).  It wasn't about getting attention, it was about creating something that made people happy, and we knew even then that the elegant float we had planned wouldn't have done that.

Robbing the Sumpter Valley Railroad with the Baker Community Repertory Players and Dance Company, 1980.
 By 1978, I was too old for the Kiddie parade, and though Kelly was still my bestest, I had a new crowd of friends, in the form of a dance company.  We did  parades as can-can dancers, with a group of gunfighters, and at festivals, did a whole wild-west travelling variety show, which at some point usually included a gunfight or train robbery.  I was given the belly dance number "Little Egypt", partly because all the other girls had very religious parents, and partly because I was just enough of a clown to knock the sexiness down to acceptable levels.

So, while my work is usually about creating beauty, my way of being apparently always has been (and surely always will be) more about seeing and sharing humor.  If I had to choose just one?  Well, it was a blue ribbon day a few days ago, when I ran into my chiropractor, whose office I've decorated from front to back (and his home from top to bottom), but whom I haven't been in to see in awhile, and he said "We've missed your laughter".  I hope your 4th of July was filled with laughter, mingled with moments of beauty, and gratitude for the freedom to enjoy them both.

Need a decorator with a sense of humor?  All the info on how to hire me, along with my portfolio, is on my website theartofthehome.com.

Need advice on a DIY project, or your latest parade costume?   Email me at dawnmariedelara@gmail.com, and I'll answer whatever questions I can.

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