Wait – what? toilet paper?

In preparation for this blog post, I sat down in the living room with a stack of twist ties and a roll of toilet paper (a measured and precious commodity in this house) to remember how we made the paper carnations that I told you about in yesterday’s post.  As I tugged and pulled at the work in progress, I thought about how everyone else would see toilet paper flowers, but I always saw flowers then toilet paper. I struggled how to normalize putting toilet paper on a christmas tree – how to make it a hopeful and happy thing – I’m still struggling with that.

At the end of the story yesterday, I’m sitting with my brother happily admiring the tree – because I didn’t want to end the story with how we really felt.  I’d like to say that I totally understood why my parents chose to never buy us presents but spent all their money at the bar and the casinos – but I was a child.  And they didn’t let us have access to the media or the outside world – so we knew nothing of popular toys or other kids.  We were heartbroken that there were absolutely no presents that christmas – not even socks or underwear or angel-tree or toys for tots or salvation army or anything.  Nothing.  And every year – I’ve begged, borrowed, and bartered to make sure my kids never ever know that feeling.  I am not proud that most the gifts I’ve given my kids in the last 10 years were all thrift store finds or dollar tree junk.  I can’t remember the last time I went “Christmas shopping” in a real store with brand new products.  This year, it’s going to be very, very tight for christmas – And the toilet paper just makes me feel more lousy – worst parent ever – can’t even make Christmas for her kids.

I thought about hauling out all the scrapbooking supplies and old wrapping paper and making flowers out of that for the tree – a higher quality paper would truly make it look less like an economically, emotionally, and mentally spent mom trying to put pearls on a pig.  The bigger question is why I have 2 containers full of scrapbooking paper that I haven’t looked at since before my late husband passed – and I’ve carried it with me every move we’ve made – and I’m just now wondering why.  I decide not to haul out all my paper products and manically produce several short films on how to make paper carnations.  That would involve major redecorating and rearranging of most of the house, securing a free recording system (computer/cam/soundsystem etc) and the floorspace to house it – and suddenly – the whole point of making the toilet paper flower is lost in my urge to shine up the shit-childhood I had  – guild it up as if it wasn’t so bad and I’m so okay with it.  I’m not okay with it.  I haven’t been okay with it for more than a few decades.  That christmas sucked and so has every christmas since.

So – Here’s my tutorial about making paper carnations.

You will need:

Paper.  (Figure it out.  You can do this.)

Twist ties or string or ribbon or something that won’t break when you put a knot in it

Colorful markers or paint pens

1 bottle adult beverage ( You’re an adult – figure this part out too) with smaller container (cup, glass, chalice, stein, bowl, shoe, whatever you drink from)

Table or sturdy work space

Comfy chair


Sit in Comfy Chair.  Pour some of the adult beverage in the smaller container.  Set aside for a moment.  Open Youtube on your smart-phone or tablet and search for “Paper Carnations instructions”  Select the “continuous auto-play” feature, turn it to Landscape, full screen.  Crumple up all the paper and use the binding thing to make a stand to prop your smart phone up on so you can see it clearly hands free.  Hit the “Play” button.  Turn up the volume.  Do something fun with the markers and paint.    Lean back in comfy chair and enjoy the adult beverage from the smaller container until the urge to craft passes.

I’ll post up pictures of the flowers I make for the tree.  Thankfully they aren’t the only homemade ornaments this year.  I think I’ll put this roll of toilet paper back in the bathroom where it belongs.





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Pearl Manhattan

Life interrupted - this space is changing - stay tuned

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