who the heck knows anything, anyway

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Peacocks and "Sparkling Elderflower Drink"

Hey all. Yesterday was a nice break from losing my mind over these applications (why is a personal statement really necessary?)--instead of working, which I probably should have done, I made a Halloween costume. Speaking of: Happy All Saints! And Happy Day-Before-Dia-de-los-Muertos! This is my favorite three-day stretch in the calendar, bar none. Go ahead, make assumptions about my character (you're probably right). Anyway, back to my story: I made a peacock costume using (a) clothes that are part of my limited, travel wardrobe, (b) tape, and (c) post-its that I found in the flat. The whole thing cost me 99 pence (the cost of tape from the Grog Shop across the street). Though it was no Wolverine--I totally outdid myself last year--it ended up being preeeeetty awesome. Sure, I was the only person dressed up at Daniel's office party, but whatever. I'm comfortable with this.

So here's how you make The Cheapest Costume Ever (Peacock used for this example):

First, assess the situation. What can you utilize? At home, you have endless resources: construction paper, paint, hair products, a closet full of crap, floss, etc. Use these things. If you're in a hotel (or short-let flat), your resources are further limited to: the clothes you brought, corn flakes, lamp shades, the occasional cooking implement, etc. I was lucky: I have blue hair, so the peacock comparison is already there, PLUS, I found those multi-colored post-it notes.

You can make two feathers from one square post-it. Basically, draw an S diagonally from corner to adjacent corner. Cut them out, and round out the remaining corner.

I had three colors available to me: blue and green (barely a shade apart, which was perfect) and pink. Each pink square made about four ovals for the middle bits. As you can see, I added some feathery details to the blues and greens. For the black feathery middles, draw a rough, upside-down heart. Then use a marker in upward strokes starting from the base to get a nice, varied texture. (I have a few drawing things with me, so I used a bold Faber-Castell artist pen).

Then, tape (or glue, if you have it--they didn't have glue sticks at the corner store) the pink middles to the base feathers.

Arrange them into a nice, tail-y shape!

Though the initial assembly was pretty time-consuming, it was super easy. The most difficult part (and it wasn't really that bad) was going from the un-taped tail shape to the final, taped one. This is the pile of loose-but-arranged feathers:

This is how I got them to stick together and, subsequently, stick to me: I made a T shape from thin cardboard (the sort used to make cereal boxes, etc) and began with the top feather. I then slid each layer of feathers underneath the previous, one by one, taping each feather into place (on the back--it was definitely slow, tedious work) as I went. The T slid nicely into the belt loops on my skirt, but wouldn't stay without a little extra help. I had a black belt with me, so I slid that over the top and it worked like a charm.

Finally, wear a lot of blue and use some eyeshadow to make yourself extra mysterious/bird-like.

"Okay," you're thinking. "That's cool and whatever, but what is that 'Sparkling Elderflower Drink' you mentioned in the title? That actually sounds interesting."

Sparkling Elderflower Drink is a phenomenon that I have encountered in every shop, from the co-op to the corner store. I bought this at the Grog Shop. It's delicious, and pretty, and I'm going to buy more to bring home with me:

First, I'm a sucker for things that look pretty, and also compliment me. More importantly, I love the light, floral flavor of elderflower. This drink is fairly soda-like, but not overly sweet or at all syrupy--in the same vein as those Dry sodas that are really popular right now, except it's delicious on its own*. There's also a lot of elderflower cordial, but I don't know how to drink that properly. All those Redwall books I read as a kid (and Mary Poppins, too!) left me under the impression that it was a kind of digestif, but the labels gracing the bottles suggest it's a liqueur only meant for mixing into other things. Imagine my dismay! I was pretty dismayed. Oh well. Plenty of time for learning about cordial after my grad applications are done.

Speaking of THAT nonsense: my list of schools has risen from four to the final count of six, which is pretty exciting (Mills and Pacific--the Pacific in Oregon--are the two newbies). Means yet more paperwork for me, sadly, but it's nice to have both a Low-Residency and a Bay Area school, just in case. The conjoined future of Daniel and I is full of mystery right now--where will we be in a year? We have absolutely no idea. Sometimes this air of the unknown is exciting, and sometimes it gives me a headache.

I'll have Daniel post about more of his adventures soon! He took a bunch of pictures of our temporary 'hood and his normal walk from here to FHI, which will be pretty fun to share with y'all.

I'm off to go eat some dubious English Chinese food, so, in the immortal words of Levar Burton: I'll see you next time.

*Pro tip: do not drink the Dry cucumber soda on its own. It is not delicious.