Over the years I have developed a passion for very sharp things. I don’t think it’s an unhealthy passion – although my friends and family may beg to differ. It’s just that I like to make things and making things requires the use of sharp “other” things. I am at my most happy when I am making something. Any kind of something – well almost any something – as long as it involves my hands. I am stunningly happy when it also involves something sharp and pointy. In fact, just last night, during a phone call to a friend, I created a holder for my X-acto knife blades out of popsicle sticks and wire. (See attached photo for proof of my clever creation.)
My friends and co-workers judge the success of my vacations by the number of Band-Aids I am wearing at the conclusion of my time off. I have become a connoisseur of band aids – knowing which will hold when sweaty, what works best in water, and which will be the least noticeable (the latter being the best when trying to hide an injury from a spouse or boss.) I also have my favorite aquarium inspired band aids given to me as a gift from my nieces and nephew.
In all fairness, it isn’t that I am clumsy or careless – nooo. It is just that I am willing to do more and try more things than most women my age. (At least that’s what I like to think.) My husband has come to understand the fine distinction between a normal, everyday, just-needs-a-Band-Aid-or-maybe-some-glue type of cut, and the ones that require an urgent care visit. When he hears sh*t, d*mn, cr*p, or other unladylike word coming out of my mouth, he doesn’t worry. Those are the ones that I can tend to by myself. Maybe just that flexible fabric, stretch over the knuckle, or butterfly strip closure needed to fix the boo-boo. In fact, my first aid kit has a picture on it with the saying “Ange’s Repair Kit.” And I have gotten pretty good over the years at repairs. It’s when he hears uhhhhhh (translation: a quick inhalation of breath) that he comes running. Those are the deep, long, fatty-bits-sticking-out cuts that require someone besides myself to fix. (Just to put your mind at rest, I do still have all my fingers and toes, and most of my fingernails, and not too many scars, and… well, maybe more scars than most.)
Perhaps the best way to understand my need for the sharp and pointy is to understand the variety of sharp and pointy things that I have. Let’s start with the tools of the trade as a custom seamstress:
- The Rotary Cutter: This is a circular razor blade in a holder that allows for the quick cutting of long fabric pieces. It comes in 2 sizes – small and jumbo. The small takes off little bits of finger, the jumbo removes parts of fingernails. Just a side note here: after the 2nd visit to the doctor in 2 weeks, he asked Mike why he hadn’t taken this particular item away from me… silly man – as if he could.
- The single sided razor blade: Extremely useful when taking apart seams, removing buttons, generally quickly cutting off excess stings – much more useful and diverse than the seam ripper. Also quite useful for the occasional long slice through the thicker part of the thumb.
- Of course, there are a hundred different types of scissors, but in the attempt at brevity, we will stick to the sharp and pointy true blades.
As a paper crafter, you now get into adding things like the fabulous X-acto knives. Ohhhh, (sigh of deep seated pleasure) these are marvelous items. They are useful for so many things, come in so many shapes and sizes, and can do such a marvelous array of different damage.
Things I use an X-acto knife for:
- Cutting out intricate details in pop-up cards (and the sides of fingers.)
- Slipping in-between layers of paper to separate them from each other – and separating the top few layers of skin.
- Cutting through plastic (when heat is applied to the blade) – just don’t drop it on your foot – somehow it always manages to land point down in the soft part of the instep and involves a double whammy of including a burn.
- The beautiful art of Kirigami, which is origami that involves cutting! The perfect marriage of two of my favorite things. (Cue the rolling hills and music.)
- And finally, the X-acto knife is perfect for slipping into that really tight space and prying something apart, or digging it out, or generally gouging out a hunk of flesh. (Sorry – too gross?)
Then there are the sharp and pointy things needed for wood work, jewelry making, carving out the underside of a cribbage board to store the cards, sharpening pencils, blending stubs, and erasers, trimming custom envelopes, and general cutting whatever it is that needs to be cut. This tends to be where the bad cuts occur. I know that you always cut away from yourself – and you want to make sure there are no body parts or small dogs or cats in your line of cutting – and you certainly never, ever, take your eyes off what you are doing – but inevitably the thing in need of cutting also needs just a little bit more pressure, or maybe a tap with a hammer, or oops, I just took my eye off it for a moment, no really, I promise, I was being careful honey – honest.
From here we can begin to discuss the fixed blades, the folding blades, and the sliding blade knives; the dagger, the bayonet, and the Rampuri; the bread, the chef, and the cleaver; the machete, the palette, and my favorite, the pocket knife. Each knife unique in both design and purpose – and equally unique in the accidental oops, ouch, honey-are-you-busy, ability to require a trip to the emergency room.
I love my blades, some for the look, feel, or just general uniqueness of them – there is nothing like the gleam of oiled metal. I have carried a pocket knife with me since my high school graduation, when I received one as a gift from my aunt and uncle. And truly it is the most useful thing in my purse. But it also it the thing that brands me as just a little bit odd from the rest of the female world. Especially since that same purse had no lipstick what-so-ever in it. It isn’t that there aren’t other knife wielding women out there – they just aren’t as common as men. But I wouldn’t be caught dead without at least one or two on me at all times. You just never know when you might need it – or is it them – or … well, you get the picture. In fact, from where I sit, I can count 7 different blades (8 if you include the letter opener – and really, why wouldn’t you?)
Now, if you will excuse me, I have some work to do – if only I could figure out where I left that Bowie of mine…