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  • Writer's pictureMelissa Terlizzi

I Now Pronounce You--DONE!

I finally finished the cake topper--and just in the nick of time, too! It's Thanksgiving week, which means it's time for me to drop everything and start scrubbing the house before the holiday guests arrive. By Wednesday I will be able to settle back onto the couch cushions with a glass of wine, and pretend I am someone who doesn't live under a mountain of dirty laundry and cat hair all the other weeks of the year. Once upon a time I was tidy and house-proud--then I welcomed 4 kids into the world, found clay, and let myself get mightily distracted.

But, back to the cake people! They are ready for their Happily Ever After! I know they aren't perfect, but I love them anyway. And frankly, I have stared at them for so long, I now consider these mini people to be the *real* bride and groom; it's the couple in the reference photos who are the imposters. It is such a relief to have finally checked something off my to-do list, but it's a little sad, too. It's been fun tackling clay people instead of animals for a change. Now I'm plotting clay replicas of my kids. My son graduates from high school this spring--wouldn't it be cute to sculpt him in his cap and gown?

Before I start the housework, there are a couple cardinal rules of polymer and paint I thought I'd mention because they rose up to bite me during this project. They are:

1. Your paint job is only ever as good as the clay work it is going on top of.

Polymer clay sculptures are not Kardashians. No amounts of contouring and highlighting makeup will make them Insta-ready, if they weren't already perfect bare. Paint never covers up imperfections, no matter how much we wish it would. It collects in tool marks, and on places where the seams are not well blended. Suddenly a forehead--which you thought was baby-smooth when it went in the oven--is revealed by paint to have all the ridges of a Klingon battle commander. I was not deliberately sloppy. I just didn't SEE the flaws in the clay while I was working. The blah-beige clay I was sculpting in was part of the problem, for sure. (I'm used to the colorful stuff, which is easier to see.) But most of the blame can be laid squarely at the feet of Cardinal Rule #2.

2. Your clay work is only ever as good as your eyes are strong.

I have been near-sighted and worn glasses or contacts ever since I was a kid reading Nancy Drew books 3" from my face in poor lighting. As I have "matured," I have become far-sighted. If you combine my near-sightedness with my far-sightedness, I really have very little sightedness left! I need one of those magnifying visors that will make me look like a welder. Or I at least need to take photos of my work before I bake it--so that I can zoom in for a closer look on my phone. It's an extra step that seems like a pain (which is why I didn't do it), but I spent a lot of time sanding the bride and groom in order to get the surface smooth enough to accept paint. Getting everything just right *before* I baked it would have been so much smarter!

That's all for now! Off to find where we keep the vacuum cleaner. To those of you in the States--have a Happy Thanksgiving!

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