Monday, January 10, 2011


It's just an eraser. Right? I mean, what can you do with an eraser? Well, you can erase things of course. And ..... um....., you can... um...

Well, if you're a rather creative Tween with a good imagination, strong engineering skills, and patience for little diddling work, you can ...

Franken-Raser !

Beginning in Kindergarten, Zippy used to regularly bring home erasers that were mangled in one way or another: holes drilled through the middle, broken in half and then stitched back together with staple-stitches, covered with ink drawings, encircled with rubber bands, spiked with thumb tacks, or all of the above.

And then one day a couple of years ago...

... a Ninja.

He has a headband of wire, push pin legs/feet, paperclip arms dressed in tape, a samurai sword, eyes made from tiny scrapbook brads (notice the two-colored David Bowie eyes), and what for all the world looks to be a Japanese Obi.

Almost every day we were introduced to a new character in Zippy's world of do-gooders who were armed to the teeth and ready to right the wrongs of the world.

We started calling her creations Franken-rasers because they were cobbled together- lovingly- from whatever spare parts she found in her desk. Or my desk. Or the sewing room, or in the garage, or on the floor in the science lab at school.

So that year for Christmas we got her what has to be the second oddest Christmas present ever...

.. a tool box full of a variety of erasers, colored tape and wire, brads, rubber bands, paperclips, markers, pushpins, washers, wire snipers, needle-nose pliers, and who can remember what all else. To be honest, it was really fun shopping Lowes and Michaels for all that stuff. We also included cute little compartmented boxes to organize and store all of her supplies.

So much for the idea that it would all be neat and tidy. This should give you a pretty good idea of how her room looks most of the time, but I digress.

Zippy sometimes spends hours in her room working on her creations, humming quietly to herself, before she either throws the latest Franker-raser into the tool box, never to be seen again, or rips it apart and starts on the next. Sometimes a new Franker-raser will magically appear on the end table or the bathroom vanity, waving his sword at us in the most swashbuckling manner. And they almost all have swords. Do-gooders need swords to vanquish evil. That's my Zippy.

Let's take a look at some of the inhabitants of Franken-World.

This one-eyed fella looks vaguely like Plankton on Sponge-Bob.

If Plankton were as well-armed as this, complete with squid whip, he would most definitely get the secret recipe for Krabby Patties

 Serious mask on this guy.

And he is rockin' one awesome mohawk. Very Mad Max-ish.

The Zip made this gal especially for me. She has a cute button nose and looks like she is puckered up to give a big ol' wet smooch to someone. I asked Zip what this gal was doing and she replied, "Nothing, she's just sitting there lookin' pretty." That's what my husband tells me when I ask what I can do to help when we're working on our latest project- "Just sit there and look pretty" he'll say. To which I reply, "Why do you always give me the hard job!"

 Anyway, this pretty little gal has some astounding 1980's shoulder pad action happening. That's kind of how it felt to wear those things.

Here we have a fully equipped warrior with nunchucks and keys on his belt as well as a variety of other secret fighting-warrior-type equipment, plus a canteen for water, and a nice blue shield. And so as not to be hindered by calls from mom in the height of battle-

--- a Blackberry for his ear.


Because you can't do battle, drive, and talk on the phone. It wouldn't be safe.

Some Fanken-rasers are just cute. This cutie has his bow slung around his back but seems to be missing his quiver of arrows. Maybe he used them all up already.

Some just are who they are and sort of defy explanation.

There are Franken-Doggies too because a doggie is a good companion to have after a long day of fighting nefarious characters. His head is made from a clothespin spring.

Life isn't all sword fighting and swashbuckling. On the weekends, our Franken-rasers like to knock off and go to the drag races. Yes- that's the big parachute flying out the back, which you need because when the dragsters are equipped with an array of mini-brads for wheels, they fly across the table. Not kidding- these guys really haul.

After the races our gang likes to put on their matching "E" jerseys, hop in the dune buggy, and head to the beach.

There is definitely a Franken-Heaven because there are ---

--- Franken-Angels.

Even one-eyed angels that are armed for battle. It's true that some folk's guardian angels have to work harder than other folk's angels.

Some Franken-rasers can't be explained or even identified. They are just explorations in object manipulation, exercises in "The Possible".

I've encouraged Zippy to be neater, maybe not so "complex" in her creations (read that as "not so messy looking") but she has apparently been strongly influenced by Outsider Art. She's free-form. Zippy-form. As I was taking these pictures and digging through her Eraser Kit (carefully, so as not to be stabbed by pushpins), thinking about how my kid is, I couldn't help but feel it.

Franken-Love for my Zippy.

(Yes, as a matter of fact, that is how my hair looks.)

Go grab some cheap erasers from the Dollar Store, dig around in your junk drawer, round up the kids, and turn your imagination loose on an unsuspecting world. It's great fun.

So what was the first oddest present we've ever given our Zipster? Another tool box, this one full of big chains and ropes and clips and hooks. She loved it!

But that's another story...

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