Shiny Happy Spaghetti (It’s FSMas decorating time!)

Monday, December 24th, 2012

2012-12-21 - FSMas Decorations - 0149

 

For several years now I’ve been meaning to do a “31 Days of FSMas” series, with tips and tutorials for giving your holiday festivities a flying spaghetti monster flair. (Two words: pasta and pirates!) Between Vegan MoFo and real life holiday chores, I always run out of time. Sigh. Maybe next year? (Famous last words.)

Instead of a series, a big old roundup featuring pictures of this year’s decorations. I didn’t go all out with a theme like last year, when I made all the holiday tree ornaments by hand (to match Kaylee and Jayne’s Firefly-inspired costumes) – but luckily I had enough existing decorations to deck the house in swag just the same. (…is the understatement of the year.) Lots of sparkle, but not much organization. Just glitter. EVERYWHERE.

So here are my principles of FSMas decorating, in no particular order:

 

1. You can never have too many flying spaghetti monsters.

2012-12-21 - FSMas Decorations - 0074

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"I got heathens aplenty right here!"* Merry CriFSMas from our crew to yours!

Saturday, December 24th, 2011

2011 FSMas Card MAIN

May your holiday be bright and shiny,
and your ‘verse, filled with shindigs and thrilling heroics.
– Kaylee and Jayne
——————————

Happy holidays, y’all! As I said the other day, I’ve been dying to do some holiday cosplay with Kaylee and Jayne ever since we adopted them five years ago, and this year I finally got to it! I decorated the entire tree with pirates in their honor (The crew of Serenity? Space pirates! Totally relevant to Pastafarianism, since doctrine holds that the decline in pirates is correlated with global warming – and thus in order to avert the apocalypse, we have to bring back piracy. Check and mate.), which was no small feat seeing as I made most of the ornaments by hand over a two-month period. I also hired someone to custom-make Kaylee Frye and Jayne Cobb outfits way back in August. Oh, the planning that went into this holiday card!

Unfortunately, my seamstress totally flaked (Updated to add: full story here!), leaving me to cobble together costumes from off-the-rack pieces at the last minute. Instead of a green mechanic’s jumpsuit and floral blouse, Kaylee is wearing her shindig dress – that is, a Cotton Candy Dog Dress by East Side Collection. And while Jayne isn’t sporting a trademark brown Jayne Cobb ringer tee, she does look pretty badass in a green army jacket – really an Army Green Utility Jacket by Zack & Zoey.

Of course, the Jayne hat is the star of the ensemble; I actually had three custom-made for me by two different etsians: Sam’s Crochet (that would be the adorably floppy, Rasta-style hat Jayne and Peedee are wearing) and Whitaker Knits (the smaller hats with the orange tie, as seen on Ralphie and O-Ren, below). Rounding out Jayne’s look is a Browncoats logo pin I scored on Amazon. (It’s on her chest and not clearly visible in all the photos.) I also picked up some cute ID badges on eBay, but couldn’t find a place for them in the final outfits. Instead, they became ornaments for the tree.

Here’s a little character collage I put together for my family, who are not Firefly fans (THE HORRA!) and thus didn’t get the reference. Side-by-side comparison time! How do you think I did?

2011 FSMas Card - Kaylee-Jayne Comparison Collage

All’s shiny that ends shiny, I say.

Outtakes and extras after the jump!

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"Ha HA! Mine is an evil laugh!" (i.e., the shiny-yet-sacrilegious CriFSMas finery post)

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

This year I’d really hoped to do a “31 Days of CriFSMas” series. There was to be tutorials for making ornaments by hand, decorating tips, diy greeting card ideas, menu suggestions – even a list of festive viewing options. (Actually, I’ve planned on doing this for several years now, but veganmofo always leaves me exhausted and burnt out.) This year seemed an especially opportune time, seeing as I’ve been planning it since July and created many of the ornaments on the tree from scratch. But since time cannot be rewritten – that is, unless you are a Timelord or happen to know one – I’ll just have to cram it all into one ginormous megapost. Sound good?

The Pirate Tree

2011-12-05 - Pirate Tree - 0001

What better place to start than the tree? Whereas in years past I’ve gone heavy on the pasta-themed ornaments, this year I decided to do a full-on pirate theme – with a special focus on Firefly. Space pirates are totally relevant when you’re a Pastafarian, yo! Also when you’re the guardian of two dogs who are named after characters on the show! I’ve been dying to do some holiday cosplay with Kaylee and Jayne ever since we adopted them five years ago, but this year I actually took the initiative and did it! (Hence the early planning.) I’ll post photos of the dogs later this week, but suffice to say that their costumes directly influenced the look of the tree. Since I’ve never done a pirate tree before, almost all of the ornaments and decorations are new this season.

The decorations are mix of re-purposed items (pirate toys from the Dollar Store; some cool and inexpensive pirate and nautical wood party favors from Jo-Anne Fabric; glass bottles that look as though they might hold messages from castaways, also from J-Anne Fabric; “gold” skull & crossbones metal charms found on eBay), Firefly merch (ID badges for Kaylee Frye and Jayne Cobb; a Serenity keychain), and diy ornaments made by gluing pirate stickers and photos onto bottle caps and card stock.

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2011-11-22 - Pirate Ornaments - 0013

It’s this last group that I wanted to make a tutorial for but really, it’s all very simple. Throughout the summer I saved up whatever bottle caps and lids I could (the flatter, the better) and when I had a pretty good collection going, I laid them all out on the floor of the barn (on top of a drop cloth, natch) and spray-painted them black. Since you’re likely to have collected lids made of variety of materials – plastic and metal, mostly – make sure you buy a spray paint that’s suitable for each.

Then hit the internets and gather up as many pirate-y pictures as you can: google Firefly/Serenity (the art produced by this fandom is both plentiful and delightful!), Pirates of the Caribbean, pirate Amy Pond, women pirates (girl power!), etc. (Though that last search term turns up some rather depressing results. To cut down on the number of sexy pirates, search for historical woman pirates. You won’t get many results, but the hits you do get will be awesome!) Next, resize ’em so that the portions of the photos that you’d like to use are similar in size to your caps and lids, then copy and paste them onto 4×6, 5×7, and/or 8×10 canvases (depending on the size, you’ll be able to fit between one and five images on each), and either print them up at home or order them online at Sam’s Club or similar.

The hardest part is cutting the images to fit snugly inside the lids. Cutting a circle freehand is pretty much impossible, as I quickly learned. Instead, try to find a circular item – a cup or bottle, for example, or even another, slightly smaller lid – and use it to trace a circle on the image. Though still difficult, the guide will help you to cut a much rounder circle. (Just go slowly!) When done, simply glue the photo into the lid. (A heavy-duty, acid-free glue stick works well for this.)

If you can find circular stickers – I happened to have some 1.5″ round skull & crossbones stickers left over from last year – these are a nice option too. While they don’t offer a whole lot of variety, they do come pre-cut. Score!

For hanging, you can either glue a jump ring (used in jewelry making and available at craft stores) to the back of the lid or, if it’s made of plastic and thick enough, drill a small hole into the “lip” of the lid. Either way, string some curling ribbon or a pipe cleaner through the ring or hole to make a loop that can then be used to hang the ornament from the tree. (Curling ribbon is much easier to work with, imho.) We stuck with black to match the tree’s color scheme (namely, black and gold).

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Wishing you a delicious (vegan!) holiday season.

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

Since I’m a grumpy, grinchy atheist, the husband (also an atheist, though not as grumpy and grinchy as yours truly) and I celebrate as different kind of winter holiday. Based on the teachings of her Noodleleyness, FSMas is all about pasta and pirates. Which goes a long way towards explaining the cards below.

We’ve been sending out custom holiday cards 2002. For the first few years, we included every animal companion in the photo; easy when you’ve one cat and one dog, right? Once we added Peedee to the family, Ozzy got bumped from the card; and, with the adoption of Kaylee and Jayne, group shots became an impossibility. So we’ve been rotating ever since. (So sad!)

While every dog-kid got his or her due in 2009, Ralphie & Rennie took center stage: they were our cover-doggies, complete with a fierce “Booty & The Beast” theme. I’ll let y’all figure out who is supposed to be “Booty” and who is “The Beast.”

FSMas 2009 - O-Ren & Ralphie are Booty & The Beast

Ignore the glaring age disparity, mkay? Normally I don’t like pairing a young little lassie with a much older gent – seeing as how it’s a reflection of our sexist societal norms – but there’s, like, zero chemistry between the two oldest dogs, Kaylee and Ralphie. Seriously, I could not get the two to sit next to one another for more than 30 seconds at a time. And yes, I might have bucked the hetero trend with a same-sex pairing, but I thought that might have come off as homophobic and/or mockingly emasculating, given the theme. (Yes, holidays are political for me; what of it?)

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Yo-ho-hum & a bottle of rum.

Monday, April 13th, 2009

Dear MSM:

The pirates who hijacked the Maersk Alabama last week, taking the ship’s captain hostage and demanding ransom for the vessel, its cargo and the captain, are just that – pirates. Call them criminals if you prefer, or armed robbers and kidnappers. International men of mystery. Swashbucklers, if you will.

But terrorists, they aint:

Terrorism is, most simply, policy intended to intimidate or cause terror. It is more commonly understood as an act which (1) is intended to create fear (terror), (2) is perpetrated for an ideological goal (as opposed to a materialistic goal or a lone attack), and (3) deliberately targets (or disregards the safety of) non-combatants. Some definitions also include acts of unlawful violence or unconventional warfare, but at present, there is no internationally agreed upon definition of terrorism.

Emphasis mine, in order to highlight the common conception of the term “terrorist” – think al-Qa’ida, Hamas, Hezbollah (and not the Tofu kind) – armed militant groups, seeking to overthrow the government in order to enforce their own ideology, in part by targeting civilians.

Twist the term as you might

“There are statements in international law that say pirates are the ‘enemies of all mankind,’ and that goes back to the 1600s,” said Linda A. Malone, director of the human rights and national security law program at the William and Mary Law School in Virginia.

“It’s a form of terrorism, but it’s not done for political reasons. It’s done for financial gain, although those lines are starting to blur,” Malone said. “It’s one of the oldest international criminal law offenses.”

– crimes committed solely for financial gain are…well, crimes: murder, theft, kidnapping, etc.

Twist the term enough, and you’ll render it meaningless.

I can see the headlines now: “Sexting Terrorism Paralyzes US Economy.” Mike Galanos will have a field day with that story.

Hugs,

2007-12-05 - Cpt Kaylee's Booty - 0025 [4x6]

A band of merry heathen veg*n pirate/terra-ists.

P.S. For more, see: Best, Steven and Anthony J. Nocella II, eds. 2004. Terrorists or Freedom Fighters?: Reflections on the Liberation of Animals. New York: Lantern Books.

Don’t worry, I’m sure y’all can write it off as a business expense, given how you toss the term around with abandon.

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Doggeh Pirates & Noodle Monsters – It’s FSMas card time!

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008

I’d wanted to feature Ralphie and Rennie on this year’s holiday card, but they weren’t exactly cooperative during the photo shoot; Rennie wouldn’t sit still, while Ralphie, laying listlessly under the tree, resembled a piece of roadkill dressed in pirate gear.

Luckily, Peedee saved the day! While we were taking pictures of Booty and the Beast, we had the office door closed so Peedee, Kaylee and Jayne couldn’t distract our would-be cover dogs. But as soon we finished up with Ralphie and O-Ren, I opened the door and in ran Peedee, who promptly plopped himself down right in front of the tree. First shot, and bam! Perfect. There was our FSMas card:

2008 FSMas Cards - Peedee V.1 [5x7]

Because I had so much fun making Peedee’s card – and I didn’t want to leave any of the dogs out – I created a few similar cards from the “outtakes.”

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It’s beginning to smell a lot like FSMas! (and, reflections on Thanksgiving/living)

Thursday, December 4th, 2008

Adopt a Guinea Pirate!

Lifelong atheists, the Mr. and I have had an increasingly ambivalent relationship with Christmas. On the one hand, x-mas is undoubtedly *the* biggest holiday of the year – and yet, it’s also a very *religious* holiday, crass consumerism and Santa hats aside. July 4th, President’s Day, Flag Day, St. Patrick’s Day…no secular holiday can compare. Even Thanksgiving and Halloween carry religious connotations. Besides protesting the holiday by spelling it with an “x” instead of a “Christ” (the weakest of protestations, I might add), what’s a godless blasphemer to do, hmmm?

In ’06, we tried celebrating Festivus in conjunction with x-mas. Given that Festivus – having only appeared in one episode of Seinfeld – is a pretty sketchy holiday, our Festivus was “Festivus” in name only: we still decorated the house with a Christmas tree, red-green-gold-silver tinsel, stockings, Santas, etc., dressed the dogs in holiday apparel, and opened presents and devoured vegan eats on December 25th. What were we gonna do – display an aluminum pole and yell at one another over dinner? We weren’t kidding anyone: it was CHRISTmas, more or less.

Last year, I had an epiphany – why not celebrate FSMas instead? We could decorate the house with pasta and pirates, and perhaps even celebrate on a day other than the 25th. And that’s what we did – I made macaroni ‘garland’ by stringing pieces of penne together, hung maroon satin bulbs (soy balls) and red lights on the tree, framed photos of His/Her/Its Noodliness, made a pirate alter in the front window, and created festive mini Flying Spaghetti Monsters using tinseled pipe cleaners, pom poms and googly eyes. We ‘officially’ recognized the holiday on December 24, so we could lounge around and relax on the 25th. (In between phone calls home, of course.) The dogs dressed as pirates, and Kaylee posed for our FSMas card surrounded by gold doubloons and Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum.

We had so much fun that we’re doing the same this year, only bigger and better. I’m reusing many of the decorations I created last year, and hopefully I’ll find time to follow up on some other ideas (especially that Noodle House – like a Gingerbread House, but with lasagna and the like). While the general theme is pasta and pirates, I’ve kind of relaxed the rules a bit from last year. As a for instance, I stuck to red (red sauce) and gold (gold booty) tinsel last year, but am also including green (pesto sauce) and silver (silver booty) tinsel this year…because I’ve got a ton of the stuff. X-mas themed stuffed animals are also allowed out of the closet this year, but only if they agree to wear pirate hats, eye patches, and gold hooks. Pirates are again all the rage, but whereas “pirates” meant eye-patched, sea-faring thieves in ’07, the definition of pirates has expanded in ’08, to include much beloved space pirates as the crew of Serenity. (Where do y’all think we got the names Kaylee and Jayne, hmmm?)

Anyway, I’ll be blogging it all on Smite Me!, so if you’re interested, keep an eye out.

Also last year, we began a tradition of starting the FSMas decorating the weekend after Thanksgiving. Which got me thinking about Thanksgiving, and whether I want to recognize a holiday that commemorates the genocide of millions of Native Americans with the genocide slaughter of millions of birds at all. (Update, 11/30/10: Genocide is “the deliberate and systematic extermination of a” [group]. Clearly, the farming of animals including turkeys does not fit this definition. The attempted extermination of wolves in the U.S. by ranchers, though, is another story…)

I’ve never been a big fan of Thanksgiving; doubly so since I went vegetarian roughly 12 years ago. Those early years, spent at my father’s mother’s house, I was lucky if there was a dish or two I could eat. I was both allergic to milk and ethically repulsed by meat, so there were precious few foods suitable for my diet. Later on, the Tofurky worked its way into pop culture consciousness and onto our table. But even then, my options mostly consisted of the Tofurky, olives (which my grandmother, having lived through the Depression, rationed out as though they were caviar) and salad. Not exactly the stuff of a feast.

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Merry FSMas, Mate!

Monday, December 24th, 2007

Yeah, it’s only the 24th. But the beauty of celebrating a made-up holiday is that you can celebrate it any mofo day you want!

2007-12-05 - Cpt Kaylee's Booty - 0024 [FSMas Card 15]

Only one dog made the FSMas card this year, since we couldn’t get more than three together for any one shot. Outtakes after the jump.

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My dogs hate Halloween. (Or so one would assume.)

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

Just look at the shit I put ’em through:

2007-10-18 - Ralphie the Police Dog - 0024

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