I attended my son's contraption fair this morning-first graders displaying proudly what they'd made from stuff bound for the trash pile, junk drawer, or recycling bin...inventions so clever and sweet, they got me thinking: is there anything more satisfying than duct tape? From a homework machine and makeshift movie theater with hand-drawn projections, to my personal favorite-- the pregnant robot, each was bound together with loads of adhesive and imagination. So inspiring-and as one teacher explained-so natural for children. They haven't yet forgotten how to make something from nothing. It's the parents, she said, who become anxious about this project. Too open-ended, perhaps? No directions? Maybe normal families don't have junk drawers?
Well. One reason to keep a good stash of stuff on hand is this: Recycled Barbie® Valentines. I grew up with the dolls-some vintage, some bought new-all of them engaged in the late 1980's version of Peyton Place I created in my mind. For me, the fun was in setting up Barbie's housekeeping, weaving her complicated social web, and if given time, wrangling that massive head of hair into an elegant chignon that would have dwarfed a real-life woman with her proportions. Barbie®-she could handle it. What came next was best-the clothes. With both relationships and hair in place, the cruel hand of fate was free to intercede in any number of life-altering events, each with its own costume change. Barbie's finally ditching that no-good Ken--should she wear her reversible hot pants or the baby-blue halter dress with shoulder-length white gloves for the drive to Mexico? And when her pink Corvette tumbles over the rocky ledge (back of sofa) into the river below? There had to be a faux-fur stole involved, and a teeny-tiny pair of un-sensible shoes.
The point is, I took no wardrobe decision lightly, and have to believe I'm in good company. Somewhere in your basement, or your parents' basement, there's a long-forgotten pile of polyester must-haves longing for new life. They aren't worth much, but they've got to be good for something, right? I recently uncovered the mother-lode, quite by accident, and had all but designated them for the nearest Goodwill donation center, until...lightbulb! All that lace, those layers....the sparkle and frill...the abundance of pink....could these garish relics from Barbie's heyday be reincarnated as...Valentines?
Glue gun, scissors, a raid on the button box, and voila: Barbie's back in business.
They also make a lovely hat: