I’ve been fairly curmudgeonly about the holidays lately, but I want to be clear: we love the holidays at our house. We just don’t take them so damn seriously.
Looking over our tree is an avatar of His noodliness .
I think it came out pretty well. If you’d like to replicate this here are some general instructions. You’ll need:
Some 1/2″ Nylon Rope (preferably brown, I used about 40 feet total for this one).
A pair of (old) brown socks and some stuffing (cotton balls, batting or cloth scraps).
Two ping-pong balls.
A handful of zip ties.
Some clear fishing line.
You’ll also need a black marker, something to cut the rope with and some fire (a barbecue lighter works best). When you cut the rope use the fire to (carefully) melt the end of the rope together to keep it from fraying. You’ll be cutting a lot of rope.
First ready his all-seeing eyes. These are ping-pong balls with the blacks added in using the marker. Cut a length of the rope about eight-inches long. Some careful work with a knife (or a couple of reckless stabs with a sharp pencil) to the bottom will give you a hole to insert your rope. Plant your eyes at the ends of the rope (stuffing your eyes with some cotton will keep them from wobbling).
Next we’ll tackle his powerful balls. Stuff the ends of the socks until they’re about the size of baseballs. Cut another length of rope about the same length as the first. Stick the ends of the rope into the socks and use a few zip-ties to attach it (one will slip easily, use at least two or three) then trim away the excess sock. Remember also to trim the zip-ties wherever you use them.
To form the main body create “U” shapes out of the eyes and balls. Set the assembly for the eyes upright against the balls laid horizontally and zip-tie the two together. The rope should be stiff enough to hold the general shape you create.
Now cut four or five pieces of rope three to four feet long. Set these aside for his noodly appendages. If you have a coil of rope you’ll want to cut these from the outer segments as these tend to be less curled than the inner ones. You can hang these over a door or other frame to allow them to relax.
Now comes the messy part: the main body. Cut some lengths of rope maybe five-to-seven feet.loop these around and under His powerful balls lacing through the main frame. Use zip ties (hidden in the back) to complete the attachments but leave things rather loose. Your goal is to bulk up the main body.
Now take the appendages that you cut previously and lace them through the main body letting the ends hang down in an attractive arrangement. He will be pleased. Your creation will be rather fragile so be careful. You’ll find this process easier if you prop Him up – I used a quart paint can.
Now comes the tedious part. To strengthen your creation you’ll want to use the clear fishing line to tie as many points together as possible. You may also cut short lengths of rope to fill in bare spots or gaps or to better hide any visible zip ties or odd knots. Feed the ends of these into the main body to hide the ends and tie them in place using the fishing line. Tie strategically so that the basic shape is strong but also so that there’s a nice feeling of movement and freedom.
When ready you can attach Him to your tree using more zip ties. If you have a small or weak tree, or just want to better represent his holy gift of flight you might also consider hanging him from the ceiling using small hooks and lengths of fishing line.
You now have the perfect accompaniment however you wish to celebrate!