Custom boots for Christmas

I’ve been off my skates since last…Saturday I think. I really had to think about that. As I get fatter my mind gets slower, in direct proportion. While my skates may collect dust, my passion for skating doesn’t. I’m always thinking ahead to the next practice, and now even more so because I can’t skate. I really want to go Saturday, even if it’s just to loop around the rink on this inside track…I hate being sidelined!   

Off skates one week, Chelvis ballooned like a...camel?

I read a great blog this morning. Here’s a quote from it:   

As you get ready to lavish your gratitude and gifts on those in your life, remember that sometimes the most special gift is the one that comes out of your own life, not the Hallmark aisle at the grocery store.   

The gist of her post is that commercialization and consumerism undermine our humanity. I totally agree. While HorseyPants and I have done a lot over the last 10 years to beach ourselves from the Sea of Consumerism, I constantly struggle to be free of the undertow. It’s a battle I acknowledge, because I want my kids to know that I’m human. I’m not immune to marketing, or the blind desire to just want cool stuff. It’s not wrong to have these desires. It’s not even criminal to give in now and then, but I refuse to keep up with the Jones’, because it’s hard to sustain without acquiring a toe-tag from the Bank of Massive Consumer Debt, NA.   

You may ask, “How is this related to inline skating you blowhard?”   

Here’s how:  

My daughter's mini Luigino Victory

The kids & I made salt dough skate ornaments for our Christmas tree this year. It was  last Sunday when HorseyPants laid down the law regarding my need to rest and let my rib heal. As I was bemoaning the fact that I couldn’t skate, we started our custom boot making session. It was while we were working on them that we had a great discussion on sports, arts & crafts, and how important they are to us as a family, and to our culture. But we really got off on talking about arts & crafts, and how much fun they are, especially when we do them together as a family.  

It’s really appalling when you stop to think about what we lose at the altar of cheaper, faster and more convenient. Arts & crafts are a great example of this. Flipping through a book of traditional holiday craft ideas published in the early 80’s, HorseyPants commented that all of the craft projects featured in the book are now things you’d just go buy at Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, JoAnne’s or any other chain “craft” type store. But she wasn’t talking about buying the raw materials to make these things, which you could get at all of these stores, she was talking the finished items which they also sell. And it seems that the stores are devoting ever more shelf space to cheap, imported finished craft goods, and American’s continue to buy them up at an alarming rate – even in a recession!  

What do you lose by buying something that you could otherwise take time to make yourself? Particularly crafty things you could give as gifts, or use to spread holiday cheer. We came up with a short but very important list: deeper connections, physical and mental skills, creative impulse, togetherness.   

To me, one way relationships are strengthened is by quality time spent together actively engaged in creative pursuit. When you buy your crafts what are you really doing except freeing up more time to spend in front of the television or the internet, where “crafty” marketers can work their magic on you to get you to want more and buy more, feeding the machine and robbing your evolutionary relatives of generations future of the motivation, skill and natural instinct to make themselves better by using their minds and hands to create works of their own.      

My daughter, she’s 9, she really got it. She wants to start a magazine called “Kids For Real.” In every issue, she wants to feature craft projects for the whole family, as a way to bring everyone together and keep people engaged in creative arts.  

In the spirit of keeping it real, we thought it would be cool to share our Christmas Skate project with everyone.  

First Loser's Luigino Attitude

Here’s how we did it…  

What You’ll Need:  

  • 500 mL (2 cups) flour
  • 250 mL (1 cup) water
  • 250 mL (1 cup) salt
  • Approx. 30 mL (2 tbsp) vegetable oil

 What To Do:  

  • Combine the flour & salt in a bowl.
  • Slowly add water & oil.
  • Mix until smooth. 
  • Flour your work area. A cutting board is ideal.
  • Form frame and wheels by pressing a 1 inch ball of clay flat and make outline of 4 bottom half wheels across the bottom with a knife. Make top straight.
  • Take 1 1/2 ball of clay and form boot in your hand.
  • Blend frame/wheels.
  • Bake 45 min. to 1 hour at 250 degrees.
  • Allow to cool.
  • Be sure to have the skate you want to miniaturize with you for detail.
  • Paint as desired.

These make great gifts for your skater friends. Heck, if it’s as cold where you are as it is here, you may even want to get together at someone’s house and make a party of it. Just think of me when you hear Elvis sing “Blue Christmas.” Thankyouveruhmush.  

Heat molding!

12/1/09 Training: Still letting the rib heal.  

12/2/09 Training: I hour on the elliptical. Not that rewarding and a little difficult. No pain though!  

12/3/09 Training: Nada – want to be sure I can go skating Saturday.

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