Friday, February 28, 2014

It's All Up for Interpretation

Some people live life taking everything so literally and personally, and I can't help but feel sad for those people. It must be painful to walk on a path of broken glass all day long--and why would you when there's a perfectly nice sidewalk paved alongside it?

There's no need to take daggers from words that aren't meant to hurt you! You just have to install the right filters in your ears. If you're going to twist people's words, at least twist them into rainbows instead of lightning bolts. Understand how impossible it would be for someone to word all of their phrases so specifically inclusive of every one of seven-point-zero-five billion individuals' beliefs. Of course, people should be careful what they're saying or doing--but sometimes you need to protect yourself. Hear what you want to hear. Besides, a lot of things are not meant to be insulting, but we still feel them like sticks and stones thrown at our heads, and then we might fire back. Meanwhile, all of that energy we waste feeling hurt and firing back could be used trying to politely explain why our feelings could be hurt by certain statements or actions, and potentially even changing someone's point of view in the process.

Your heart does not have to go through half the trouble it does; you need to know that. Tune into a different radio station and let your ears listen to sweetness, for once. Step off the broken glass and give your feet a break. The world is meant to be up for interpretation, and it's a lot more tolerable--and enjoyable--that way.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Happy Wagon (Inspired by Stargirl)

Stargirl is the book and the character I fell in love with years and years ago, even though I read the series backwards, which I think I was pretty fortunate to have accidentally done because it was so much better that way. The character, Stargirl, is the sweetest Earthling, though her name and adorableness would suggest other-worldly origins. The first book is from the point of view of somebody wondering about her and getting to know her, and then the sequel is from her point of view as she writes a letter to the somebody in book one. I was only a couple pages in to Love, Stargirl when I realized how much I wanted to be Stargirl--or maybe I was her already? She was the Me I wanted to be. I took note of all the things she did throughout the book that gave me butterflies so I could live on with part of her inside me. One of my favorite quirks of hers was her Happy Wagon, which Silkworm and I decided to finally recreate for ourselves--and teach you how to recreate, too!

Collect overflowing handfuls of pebbles from somewhere like the beach or a park. If you'd like to, you can paint them. Put them next to some kind of small container (a mini bucket, a mason jar,...) sitting in a readily accessible spot. You'll probably want to drop your first pebble into your Happy Wagon because you're probably quite happy about your new project, and that's what you do when happiness bubbles up inside you--anytime you feel happy, you drop a pebble into your Happy Wagon, and when you feel sad, you take a pebble out. When it fills up, you turn into a unicorn. I'm speaking from experience. Okay, okay, I'm kidding, but you'll feel like a unicorn knowing you've been so happy lately that it filled your Happy Wagon full, so that's cool.

In the book, Stargirl doesn't put a list of things to do when she's sad next to her Happy Wagon, but Silkworm and I thought it would be a nice touch, so we wrote down the things below and tucked it under our bucket for reference whenever we have to take a pebble out:

1. Read our Emergency Joke Book.
2. Watch videos of dogs eating with human hands.
3. Play a silly game.
4. Go sailing in our walnut boat.
5. Sketch or paint.
6. Make a garland.
7. Take a walk or go for a bike ride.
8. Play with Hadley and Quibble.
9. Build a fire and roast things.
10. Play guitar and sing.

Let us know if you make a Happy Wagon for yourself, and tell us how you did! And if you've ever read the Stargirl books, tell us if you fell head-over-heels in love with Stargirl, too!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

An Ode to Sunrises

People say sunsets paint magical skies,
But magic is more than a flashy reprise;
The rise of the sun makes a more charming show,
For it fills up the air a hushed sleepy glow.

You see, sunrises paint with a warm hopeful hand,
Inviting all Earthlings to make the day grand
With whispers of hope and encouraging things
And secrets about how to sprout hardy wings.

Not many will see them at such early hours--
They're almost too stealthy with their superpowers--
But those who wake up and look up to the east
Are welcome to treat their weary souls to a feast.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Sleeping Under the Stars

Every night before bed, Silkworm and I leave our string lights on to charge the glow-in-the-dark stars on our ceiling so by the time we're ready to go to bed, we can turn out the lights and fall asleep under a sky full of glowing stars.

We have an overwhelming fascination with the sky no matter what color it is or what it's filled with, but stars have always held a special place in our hearts, so having our own little personal sky makes it hard to keep from melting when we look up at it. It makes the bedroom feel like our kingdom.

Friday, February 21, 2014

An Ode to This Winter

We haven't seen the ground in a while--
White stuff keeps falling with wintery guile.
Just when we think it's about to warm up
Another storm comes to fill up the cup!

We've made a few snowmen and skated on ice,
We've admired the stars on the clearest of nights.
'Twas fun while it lasted, the snow is a friend,
But we do wish the season would come to an end!

The worthwhile news is, when it does melt away
And spring comes along to rescue the day,
The bugs will have trickled and won't be around
And we'll worship the warmth with spirits abound!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Dare Jenga

I'm not sure who invented it first--whether it was the company or the customers--but there's a Truth or Dare version of Jenga out there, for sale in stores and improvised by people who use original game blocks to make their own (usually minus the truth, because dares are more fun). Being that it's a way of spicing up the traditional way of doing something, Silkworm and I are charmed by the concept. Since the store-bought one is expensive, if you want to play and you've got an original game to spare, I think the people who improvised have the right idea--you might as well make your own!

We've only ever seen people write out specific dares on the Jenga blocks, but if you want to play with different dares for every game or dares that are too long to fit on the blocks, it might be better to write a number on each Jenga block (on one of the longest and widest sides where it won't be seen while it's stacked in the tower) in permanent marker, and then take a sheet of paper to make a list of dares coordinating with each number.

Once you've numbered your blocks and wrote a dare list, stack the blocks in a tower and take turns between yourself and one or more other people pulling blocks from the tower, just like you would do if you were playing ordinary Jenga. Then, there are two ways Silkworm and I incorporate the dares: 1. Everybody has to accept the dares on each block they pull from the tower; 2. Only the person who finally knocks the tower down must accept the dare on the block that caused the downfall. I'm sure there are dozens of other ways to play that you could come up with, but however you play, I hope you'll let Silkworm and I hear about it!

Dare Suggestions:
- Each player, including you, shall write down a food ingredient without knowing what the other players wrote, and you have to mix them together somehow and eat the recipe.
- Tell someone who never hears it how much you love them.
- Give somebody an awkward hug for 10 seconds.
- Communicate only with barks and/or meows.
- Make a weird face and let someone snap a picture!
- Sing a song about the first thing that comes to mind.
- Close your eyes for the rest of the game. (No peeking to take blocks from the tower!)
- Breathe a sigh of relief; you got a freebie! (You don't have to do a dare!)
- Tongue kiss a pet!
- Do a trust fall with another player.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

February 14th's Full Moon

At 2:45 in the afternoon, (since the moon's peak was earlier than the last few times, at 6:53 PM), Silkworm's loss of mental control was observable. Come 3:00, the only peculiar thing seemed to be his unforgiving moaning and groaning. I was a little worried to see how uncomfortable he appeared, but I crossed my fingers and warned the moon. I also brought up a bowl of soup, but he pushed it away and demanded pickles with mayonnaise, of which we have neither nor. I apologized, but there was nothing else he wanted (cuddles, a bedtime story, to play a game...), and he regressed to rolling around on the floor clutching his stomach and groaning some more.

I'd been keeping us both locked up in my bedroom, just in case anything went wrong and because Silkworm has been known to lose his instinct to hide from humans during full moons. By 6:00, the apparent pain only seemed to be affecting Silkworm worse, and all I could think to hope for was for the moon's peak to be the climax and after it passed, Silkworm would start to feel better.

...That's somewhat how it happened.

At exactly 6:53 PM, the peak of the full moon, Silkworm coughed up a tiny egg. He was perfectly painless after that, but relief couldn't reach me seeing as there was now a mysterious egg on the floor and who knew what that would entail. Silkworm rolled around playing with it until a crack appeared on the side a few minutes later, and soon enough, there was a dragon hatchling popping out of its shell.

Slime dripped from the critter as it stretched its sage green wings. It opened its mouth wide for a yawn, showing off razor sharp teeth, though only a squeaking noise came out. Two dull horns were poking out by its pointy ears, and a set of four short claws jutted out from each of its four feet. It looked a bit disproportionate, but I figured it must be because it had yet to grow into its big head. Within seconds of hatching, it took to the window with a few ungainly flaps of its wings. Silkworm climbed up the radiator and sat on the windowsill to open the window for the baby dragon, and out it flew without so much as a snuggle goodbye.

Silkworm didn't seem phased. I'm sure he would have been if he was conscious, but the moon still had him hostage. He climbed up onto the cat tree in the corner of the room and curled up in the lower cave. He slept until 9:30 that night, unfortunately missing the rest of Valentine's Day, and woke up right as I was getting ready for bed, but I made time for story time. He felt quite violated.

We don't know what to think. First of all, if a magical creature hatches into the human realm, can it go back to the magic realm? And secondly, why in the world would the moon give it to Silkworm to cough up and hatch in the human realm--and does this make Silkworm its mother? Who knows? Questions seem irrelevant when answers aren't around to be found. We are wondering if the dragon will ever show up again, though. It seems like a plausible thought.

Read about how full moons affect Silkworm here, and read more full moon stories here!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Our Interview at Busy Weekends

The lovely Michelle from Busy Weekends interviewed Silkworm and I over at her blog today! She's put together a new feature called Create Speak, and we were honored to be her first interviewees. Check it out here!

Pipe Cleaner Crowns

A lot of crowns Silkworm and I make are generally simple piece-a'-cake projects with room for creativity, but I have to say this is the prettiest, most straightforward, most artistically-roomy crown we've ever made. It takes no more than a few minutes, so if you're late for a royal meeting and you've misplaced your crown, you can whip up one of these! On the other hand, if you've got time to spare, you can make yours as intricate as you want. Silkworm and I wrote a little step-by-step tutorial for the quick and easy one we usually make, but we'll also leave links at the bottom for inspiration.

Pipe cleaners

Step One: Make a circle of pipe cleaners to fit around your head to act as the base of the crown.

Step Two: Twist the tips of other pipe cleaners onto your crown base and make shapes out of them.

It's literally as easy as that! You can also glue pom poms on, if you think they'd add a nice touch. Whatever you do, if you did have a royal meeting to get to, don't get too caught up swooning over your crown! Off you go!

The Clothes Horse
Starry Eyes + Coffee Cups
Kelli Murray

Monday, February 10, 2014

Mission of Magic: Message Stone Dares

Traditionally, message stones are dropped to inspire strangers with hopeful words. As always, Silkworm and I couldn't help but take our stones one step further.

Our stones are daring strangers! Though we did stick to the simplest of G-rated family friendly dares in hopes every finder would have no excuse not to accept the challenge, I suppose you could dare somebody to hoot like an owl in the middle of Target or pay for another person's coffee. Because of the length of our messages, painting them on such small stones would be virtually impossible, so we typed our messages up and used glue and Mod Podge to stick them to the stones, but nevertheless, they came out pretty awesome, and we're stoked to be able to put them to use.

Smallish stones
Mod Podge (clear-drying)
Paint (optional)

Step One: Wash your stones thoroughly, getting all the dirt out of the nooks and crannies. If you'd like to paint your stones to make them more colorful, do it after they dry.

Step Two: Brainstorm sweet and nice things to dare people to do. (Keep scrolling for our list of dares below!)

Step Three: Type up those things you came up with in size 8-10 of the most readable font you have (we suggest Arial or Georgia). Make condensed paragraphs so they'll fit on your stones, like this:

I dare you to
hug someone.

Step Four: Print out your dares and cut them out so they will fit on your stones.

Step Five: Glue each dare to a stone. Let them dry.

Step Six: To ensure that your dares will stay nicely glued down, coat each stone in clear-drying Mod Podge. Let them dry for a day or two for best results.

Now comes the best part! Scatter your stones wherever you go--in grocery stores, parks, movie theaters--anywhere! You can drop them in plain sight or hide them a little bit so people won't find them too easily. Have fun!

Our Dares:
- I dare you to hug somebody today.
- I dare you to make a silly face for a little kid today.
- I dare you to learn something you've always wanted to.
- I dare you to do something spontaneous.
- I dare you to go on an adventure.
- I dare you to pass this on!

A Blanket Fort a Month: February

This month's blanket fort was pitched last night on the date of the mid-season premiere of The Walking Dead, specifically so we could curl up inside to watch it. It was a really good episode, but I shan't spoil it for anyone who hasn't watched yet and wants to. Let's just say I teared up several times.

We also started reading The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making in the fort. We haven't been up for reading lately, but the fort set the mood and we took advantage of it. I can't say we got very far, but nonetheless, it sounds like it's going to be a magnificent story, if we can settle down to finish it.

The fort already came down as of this morning, though, since I wanted to be able to sit on the bed and see the ratties when I let them out to play. We're thinking of trying to build a blanket fort that's not over the bed next time, but it's tough to find a spot in such a tiny room. We'll see what we come up with next month!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Jumping Frogs

Silkworm and I bought an army of jumping frogs while we were at Walmart the other day. They were 99 cents well spent.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Emergency Joke Book

If you've ever felt a little awkward and needed to hear a laugh from someone, you'll understand the importance of having a handy collection of jokes up your sleeve. I've choked on stuffy humorless air, worried for quivering chins, and been crippled by social awkwardness--and the sweetest cure is almost always being the reason the other person giggles. It's as if you just want to make sure they can still laugh, or maybe you want to clear the stale atmosphere a bit. I know it all happens to other people, too, so when Silkworm and I came up with our new approach, we figured it was necessary to share.

We used the cardboard book we made yesterday to make a book of jokes. The jokes we used were mostly screenshots collected from the clever people of Tumblr, but if you'd prefer to avoid crude or offensive jokes, perhaps a friendly joke book from the library or a specifically safe Google search would serve you better. We printed them, cut them out, and glued them into a handmade booklet made by sewing sheets of paper into a thin cardboard cover. It's still growing, but it's already hilarious! (Thank you people of Tumblr for being the priceless people you are!)

Keep your book of jokes with you at all times and remember to open it up in times of emergency. Blurt out the joke on the page without hesitation. If it fails to crack a smile or if the smile doesn't last, keep going. Tell the whole book of jokes if you have to. Laugh hysterically at the punchline of every one. If not the joke, then your psychotic laughing will surely make your target at least stifle a chuckle. It's also perfect to use on yourself when you're feeling down, or just because you feel like laughing.

(Important! If you're trying to cheer someone up, don't tell them not to feel sad! Sad is a valid feeling and people have every right to feel it. Your joke book is simply for letting people laugh even while they're sad, because sometimes it's nice to get a laugh in there. If the sadness is still there afterwards, it's probably serious, and it's not up to you when to chase it away.)

Let us know if you make your own joke book or something of the sort, and feel free to share photos by sending them to us!
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