Sunday, June 7, 2015

WAND-ering up some magic

Let's get one thing straight: I am a man.

Furthermore, I'm a US Marine. Implications there include toughness, brutishness, and no nonsense.

The image inspired should have nothing to do with fairies or magic.

However, I swim in a sea of estrogen. Until the recent acquisition of the guinea pig, all the members of my household were female. Waves of touchy-feely drama wash through periodically. Tears are a fairly common occurrence.

Every now and then I have to explain why there's glitter on my uniform.

Brenda and I have striven our whole stint as parents to make a home that inspires creativity, one where fantastic stories and out-of-the-box thinking are as usual as the mundane, day-to-day matters of life.

Whether it's the constant stream of Tolkien's work, indoctrination into Frank Hurbert's Dune, a steady diet of Monty Python, or eating dinner with T-Rex arms as an etiquette lesson in keeping elbows off the table, we're doing a lot to raise two creative girls.

That, or a couple of nut cases.

So when the request came in for magic wands, I was all over it. New territory for me, I plunged in and left lots of scrap on the workroom floor before coming up with something nice.

The original idea was to make something simple to keep the kids entertained while the parents perused other items at my craft fair tables. True to form, I can't do simple and my first wands featured shaping, stain and inlaid acrylic. One of them even had a chamber in the handle with "mermaid hair" inside.

I'm currently using some glow in the dark acrylic I found, which I think the kids will like, and for one I shaped acrylic into a blue talon and embedded it. Adding wood burning helps customize each wand, too.

But honestly, my favorite part is the stories that go with each wand. They're each accompanied by a unique 500-word fantasy story on how the wand came to be. We've done a gnome vs. a bear, a desert boy turned mermaid-lover, a war between goblins and fairies, a woman who turns into a fish, and a few more.

You know, I once fancied myself a writer. I've had a few things published online. Best of all, when I read the wand stories to Hope and Grace at bedtime, there's always a pause, followed by "Oh, that was great! I loved that story."

And that's why I do what I do.