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HANDMADE? IT LOOKS LIKE YOU MADE IT WITH YOUR FEET! A chicken poncho. A painting of a corn dog. A clock made out of an old "mostly clean" cheese grater. All this and more await you in the pages of Regretsy, a veritable sideshow of handcrafts gone wrong. Based on the eponymous hit blog and arranged in categories such as Dead Things, Pet Humiliation, and Garbage, Regretsy showcases the best of the worst from Etsy.com, ranging from the hilariously absurd to the purely horrifying. Each page of this jaw-dropping volume features the actual seller's listing with a light coat of hostile commentary to give it a good shellacking. So join us as we descend into handmade hell and gawk, gasp, and marvel at the disturbingly odd artifacts that Regretsy has collected for your viewing pleasure, proving that you can never have too much of a bad thing.
April Winchell has enjoyed a multi-faceted career in the entertainment industry, working as an advertising executive, a radio show host, a comedy writer, and a voice actress. She lives in Los Angeles, CA.
I'll admit it: I'm not as whimsical as I used to be.
And I used to be plenty whimsical, believe me. I had a messenger bag made out of a welcome mat. I had two pairs of the same pumps in different colors, and often wore one of each. I wore a hat made out of a paper bag. Really, I was one step away from clown college.
These days, I just don't have the energy for that kind of shit. Maybe it's a function of aging, but I find myself much less willing to tie birds to my head or wear giant felt pins that look like breakfast foods. So it's kind of a shame that Etsy came into existence as I was already growing out of that stuff, because it truly is the clearinghouse for whimsical fuckery.
As of this writing, a search of Etsy's handmade category brings up more than 33,000 items tagged "whimsical." That's an assload of whimsy. Parenthetically, there are more than 100 items tagged "whimsicle," but that's more sad than funny.
Whimsy, insofar as jewelry and accessories are concerned, seems to mean one of two things: either the proportions are wrong, or the object is made with unexpected materials. Proportional whimsy could mean a twelve-foot scarf or a cowl that obscures your entire head, or, conversely, it could mean an extremely tiny hat. Whimsical materials could mean a necklace of teddy bear heads or a trench coat made of attic insulation. It is important to note, however, that whimsy is not the same as upcycling, which is basically taking garbage and making something useless out of it.
It might seem like a lot now, but at one point in my life, 1,600 pages of whimsy would have been a tease. I couldn't get enough of that smirking, winking fabulousness. I loved the theatricality of it all: necklaces made from Formica samples, vintage men's pajamas as outerwear, piles of costume jewelry from obsessive thrift store scavenging. I adored my rhinestone-studded cigarette holder, my fingerless gloves, my neon socks, my Mary Janes with kitten faces on them. I basked in the wholly unwarranted confidence that anything looked great if you meant it.
And it's true that attitude does go a long way. But as with any road trip, there are markers in the road that keep you from drifting out of your lane and into oblivion. And I distinctly recall a moment in my mid-twenties when I first heard the sound of driving over them.
I was working as a receptionist in a law firm, and I had become friendly with the office manager. Beth was an older woman with a son in high school, and he had developed an interest in acting. While I wasn't pursuing it at the time, it was common knowledge that my mother and father were in the business, and that I had worked as a child actress for a number of years.
Beth came by my desk one morning and asked what I was doing that weekend. For reasons I still don't understand, I said, "Nothing," then watched in abject horror as she dropped two tickets to her son's high school production of The Crucible on my desk. I started to demur, but she quickly said, "Oh, they're free." And, leaning closer, she whispered, "Industry comps."
I quickly called my friend Debi, who, like me, heard "industry comps" first, "Crucible" second, and "high school" not at all. We arranged to meet at her house several hours before the show, so we'd have enough time to get ready.
It was late October, so this event called for a fall wardrobe. I packed up all my sweaters and leggings-despite the fact that it was in the mid-seventies in the valley-and drove to her house with the air-conditioning on full blast.
Anticipating my arrival, Debi had already laid out her entire wardrobe on the bed and stolen a pack of her mother's Parliaments. We began the arduous task of making it work, and if this had been a John Hughes movie, this is where the montage would have gone.
Debi settled on a green wraparound Danskin dress and an enormous antebellum hat, which is a