Sunday, December 1, 2013

How I Became a Magician

I take my role of magician seriously....

I take my role as magician seriously. If you stick around long enough, it's likely a new idea will be extracted from a hat than a rabbit, but anything's possible.

If my job's done right, your brain could explode in a shower of vintage german glitter that sticks in the keyboard forever. Every keystroke reinforcing your magical brain splattering transformation.

Make your audience gasp in wonder - 1930 play set

At least, that's what I'm aiming for.

Vintage brownies
It was right after joining that secret sorority of 8 year olds called Brownies, I saw the world was sad, and needed it's magic back.

Brownies included a ceremony involving a giant paper mache toadstool (possibly the start of the paper mache fetish I have now) and a lady who thought she was an owl and kept shouting," To whit to wooohhhhhhhhh!  To WHIT TO WHOOOOOOOOOOO"

beautiful cut out dolls on etsy - sadly sold.

Little humans from another plane of existence danced sunwise around the toadstool. With a show of  mock surprise they dragged me from beneath it to be presented to owl lady for a solemn oath to to do good and be of service and blah blah and then I was a sprite. Not the lemonade kind - the faerie kind.

"What a relief", I thought, "they see things that aren't there too,"  as I busied myself constructing a woodland house for invisible faeries to make them feel more at home.

How to make a fairy garden
Of course, what I was really doing was trying to make myself feel more at home with this wild bunch of owl impersonators, who insisted I tie reef knots behind my back and sew buttons in two different ways.

They also had a crazy eye fanatiscm for the acquisition of badges. Brownie badges. They were an 8 year old's version of the Prada handbag. The more badges, the better you were.

My miserable attempt at the one and only badge I ever got went like this: Me presenting a "collection", badge guy giving me the kind of look reserved for three legged dogs. Guy signing off on my "collectors" badge. Fast.

So it wasn't exactly butterflies or stamps, but I loved that collection. I still have it and will be buried with it. In fact it's quite sought after and usually only boys collect them, but at the time it made badge guy's head explode. No glitter.

Cut back back to the woodland house for fairies under construction.  Eight year olds are very free with cutting remarks and derision. I discovered this in one blinding, all encompassing second. In a flash of  cosmic compassion, I saw these little tender muggles as devoid of anything remotely magical  in their little cereal box lives.

(de)merit badge by grrl+dog

As they made fun of my faerie house, I saw them for the valiant three legged dogs they were and vowed to restore their magic as best I could.

That and make my own goddamn badges.

(de)merit badge I should have gotten by grrl+dog

While there isn't a whole Flickr group dedicated to "merit badges I should have gotten", there is one for fairy gardens, which totally redeems my 8 year old faery house.

 I'm working on a series of (de) merit badges? Stand by for next weeks tutorial.


  1. You do make me laugh! I've had my own week of not-so nice comments about me on Twitter this week, so I've been channelling my inner grrl+dog to rise above it, so thank you lovely x

  2. Love it! I was a Brownie then a Girl Scout but can't remember whether I got any badges or not. Had the complete outfit, though, but we didn't wear white (or any) gloves here in the U.S. Your douche canoe badge looks more like a douche dick -- but perhaps it's supposed to be. xo

  3. Fabulous... as per usual Grrl. Big hello... so distracted away from the blogosphere these days!
    Hope you are going really well!
    S x

  4. Badges We Should Have Earned, oh yeah. I love your badges. It can easily be a new art form. I may try drawing mine before I tackle the embroidery. I was a Girl Scout all the way through high school, one of the girls I'd known since kindergarten. It may well be one of the things that kept me attached to the earth when nothing else really could. I'm not sure about their magic, in the sense I think you and I think of it, but they were real and not mean but kind and I think of them with the smell of woodsmoke and songs around a camp fire beneath pine trees. But back to the merit badges. Since I left home at 18, my sash went the way of so many things, wish I still had it, all those swell nostalgic bits. You've discovered another gold mine. xo

  5. How wonderful. I am now enchanted by the idea of tiny communities of fairies stitching away in to the wee small hours making demerit badges for imaginative (big and) little girls!

  6. I WANT ONE OF YOUR DE-MERIT BADGES!!!! What do I have to do to get one??????

  7. I was a Brownie, briefly. They made me a gnome. I wanted to be an elf. The end. Too whit too hoo!

  8. "We're the ever helpful Imps
    Quick and quiet as any shrimps"
    We used to take the owl off the toadstool and kick it round the room.
    I did quite like shining up my penny for "Thinking Day".
    Sadly you do seem to be stamped by some of their indoctrination… I was but never aspired to the air hostess type uniforms in the pattern book.
    I did not get a single badge myself.
    I do not like badges.

    ps If you have a Kindle, I wrote a book about my Brownie tip years. I can send you the info.


  9. Replies
    1. Love to read it, but no kindle - does it come in non-kindle form?

  10. Now this I love: de-merit badges! I was a campfire girl and the best part of that was two weeks of summer camp in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado with riding horses every day.
    xxoo, sus

  11. Loved this post and the Brownies! You can see me as I was as a British Brownie in my profile pic on my blog (should say exblog... not touched it in far too long!)... I didn't have a lot of badges either, but seem to remember being a gnome, and getting a badge with a fireguard on it, and one with a broom, and having to make a cup of tea for one of them! I am sorry to say I couldn't persuade my daughter of the merits of girl guiding and after trying it for 6 months decamped to the Scouts in the hall next door!! Best choice she ever made ;)

  12. I love your de(merit) badges. Brilliant. You remind me of the subversive stitcher..

  13. I'm intrigued by your 'collection'... the one that usually only boys collect! Puppy dog tails, snails.... sounds like my sort of collection too... I do love your demerit badges..

    1. Hi Annette, yeah, they were the old R&L cereal toys you got in Corn flakes. I had four entire sets, with complete bios I (think) I made up as well as a tiny town to house them all in. I still have my Kingly Critter WITH all his crown, which is worth over $120, but I'd never part with him.

    2. oh I remember those, but as the last of five kids never actually got to have a whole set. Love it, not as smelly as snails.... or tadpoles, or blue tongue lizards (I collected them with our old dog..) still love wildlife.... :D

  14. I was a Brownie -- I think that I was a Sprite.... my badges etc are downstairs, but I am too lazy to look to see which ones I earned :) Knitting was one...I loved getting badges! Part of our uniform was brown underwear. Someone in the group had to check to see if everyone was wearing them. In retrospect, it seems a bit....creepy? perverted? just wrong? that we were checking each others panties to see if they were brown. At least the skid marks wouldn't show :)


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