Sunday, March 13, 2011

School projects...

Since we live in a sort-of-on-vacation-but-still-must-maintain-a-real-life state, we still have the normal part of life that involves school for 3 kids. Anyone with 3 kids in elementary school knows a cornerstone of the curriculum is the school project with a costume thrown in for good measure.

This week my oldest hast to be a bird and a viking, and make a display of viking weapons for good measure. You know, just to keep life interesting.

Without JoAnn's or Michael's I was on the search. And let's all remember I'm not my mother; I'm not crafty. If you take out JoAnn's/Michael's where do you buy supplies? What do I need? How do I do this?

Well, I first took the easy way out. For the love of Google I searched for a viking costume and ordered one from the U.K. I know, I know, a real mom wouldn't pay a ridiculous amount in shipping, but I do. With the other costume to make I knew I'd have 50 euro in fabric let alone the production of actually making real viking clothes. Check that one off the list.

Next, a friend and I decided to go to a fabric store for supplies for the bird costume and her daughter's viking costumes (there were viking ladies, too, you know). Let me back up, there is an actual fabric store district in Paris (it's also where the strippers shop but that story is for another time). However, it's on the opposite side of Paris from where I live and you have to take the train because it's impossible to park. We were making costumes for kids. A decent selection is nice, buildings and buildings of fabric is overkill considering I just wanted felt -- a day trip just seemed so unnecessary.

I should have known.

She found a fabric store relatively close to where we both live and we were on to our adventure. We found the street but after driving around for an hour we still couldn't find the shop (address numbers are rather arbitrary around here). We called another friend who suggested a store in the completely opposite direction, but we didn't care about back tracking if we knew there was an actual shop. We found parking, we found the store. It was an interesting place with everything from clothing to lingerie (after all this is France) to home accessories to fabric, all the way on the top floor.

To get someone to cut the fabric instead of taking the bolt to a cutting table you have to politely wait around hovering to find a salesperson who will acknowledge that you're breathing to walk over to what you want. To get someone to help you is a small miracle of miracles. You tell her how many meters you want and she roughly measures the fabric with a meter stick, makes a small cut and RIPS the cloth in one swift motion. It's pretty amazing how straight of a side you get. You then take everything back downstairs to pay.

Time tally to this 4 hours from when we left my house to buy fabric. Yes, it's getting to the point going into the fabric district would have been just as fast. How long does it take you to run to JoAnn's to get fabric?

A few days later I decided to venture out to get the other supplies to make the viking weapons. I mistakenly leave it to do on the day I have both little boys home with me. We go to the "Macy's meets Home Depot meets Hobby Lobby" store and I have to spend 56 euro on foam board, spray paint, paper and wooden dowel rods. That's like $67! Yes, I bought a few sheets more than I needed (mostly to save another trip when the next school project comes along) but come on...

Oh, and I still can't find any sort of Styrofoam to make the heads of the weapons.

Today my son made his weapons using some of the random craft items I packed while I made the bird costume for him. The weapons are fine but until he gets his grade we'll see if they are what his teacher expected. All that production to get supplies and I ended up taking a triangle of felt, sewing onto a shirt and gluing feathers. All I needed was a small piece of felt and feathers.

Well, at least I have a jump on the next project. Someone had better need to be a bird.

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