Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Deliberate Tackiness

A friend of mine was talking at dinner Monday night about how she needed to find the tackiest, most awful Christmas sweatshirt or sweater for a Christmas party contest... granted, SHE was the hostess, and contest was her idea, but her competitive nature was such that she really wanted to win the prize she had bought as an award!

Well, I immediately got inspired. There's just SOOOO much you can do with the massive quantities of stuff available to decorate with in December... Jo-Ann's Etc. Craft Store is just lousy with junk! So I begged to be allowed to make her a new sweatshirt, and she said "I'll pay anything. Cost is no object," or words to that effect.

I started with a mustard-green, long-sleeve t-shirt... I was afraid with the quantities of stuff I was thinking of tacking onto it, that it would get really hot. I was almost paralyzed by the sheer volume of choices available to me, but finally decided on using those cheap red velvet bows you put on wreaths as the primary decoration. My "theme", if you will.

I started by hot-gluing small bows on each sleeve.

I had also purchased a bunch of the most appalling glittery Christmas picks - you know, the little cluster decorations you spike into centerpieces and wreaths. But upon closer examination, they were too bulky and difficult to attach to the t-shirt, so I eventually returned them. But in the meantime, I wanted to get some more work done on the shirt until I could get more junk, so I started stamping gold paint snowflakes on the front, and putting dots of puffy glitter-paint on the edges.

I discovered to my dismay that this was actually quite pretty. It's a lot harder than you might think to achieve deliberate ugliness; my natural instinct on a craft project like this would be "what would look pretty?" I had obviously had a little too much rum & diet Coke which had impaired my judgment, and had fallen back into Pretty mode.

I let the paint dry overnight, and went back to Jo-Ann's (which, BTW, is ALREADY selling Christmas decorations at 50% off. And is beginning to shift them back from the front of the store to sale racks. And there is a shelf or two of VALENTINE'S DAY stuff. Sheesh.) and bought some more junk.

I sewed a band of tinsel garland around the neck, which did a lot to dilute the effect of the pretty gold snowflakes.

I then sewed on three large, thick red felt snowflakes under that, and glued two big puffy red bows on top of each shoulder. I swirled some of the puffy glitter paint in red and gold around each wristband.

I had some jingle bells that I had intended to sew onto the sleeves between each bow, but ran out of time.

The crowning accessory to the ensemble was the addition of a HUGE red velvet bow. I had initially intended that it should be on the front of the shirt, but the thing was so enormous and heavy that the shirt would have sagged badly. So I took the ribbon along and told her to wear it around her waist attached to a belt, so the bow would sit like a bustle in the back.

I also took 2 garish silk poinsettias and sewed them to barrettes. You know, for her hair! And I took along 2 little white birds on clips, and told her to attach them on the big-ass bow.

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