I’ve had some awesome oh $#@! moments, like this one.  Or that one.  Good times, those.

Last weekend brought another doozy, except this oh $#@! moment was a bit more literal than the others.

[Imagine we’re sitting in folding chairs arranged in a nondescript room.]

My name is Laura, and I’m crafting-deficient.  (There was a time when that description would have been crafting-incompetent, but I’ve recently experienced a mini success so I’m flying high.)

Deep in my heart of hearts, I’ve always felt like I should be able to craft.  I’m not sure why…it’s not like I have a long history of artsiness.  What I do have is a lengthy list of craft hobbies I’ve briefly claimed only to later abandon them: cross stitching, crocheting, cake decorating, drawing, scrapbooking…my storage room is like a tomb of leftover craft supplies.

It’s rather sad, really.

I don’t know why I feel this drive to be crafty.  Maybe I simply figure if I can write then surely that skill would transfer over into some other creative areas.  It’s probably this kind of delusional thinking that keeps Michael’s and Hobby Lobby in business, but whatever.  I’d finally focused in on two of my strengths – writing and photography – and was wisely leaving the rest of the craft arena to the professionals.

But then I got a teacher e-mail.

You know the one.  The e-mail that asks for help with a class project, from the teacher who hasn’t asked for a single thing all year long.  Not. One. Blessed. Thing.

I couldn’t say no.  I mean, I could, what with being empowered and all, but I’d spent all year telling the kids’ teachers to come to me for anything they needed.  Well…it turned out she needed a craft project, so after warning her that she might end up with something pitiful I dove right in, determined to at least give it my best shot.

My best shot ended up involving a glue gun.

Now, for those of you unfamiliar with a hot glue gun (an unfamiliarity that I highly recommend, by the way), it works like this: you insert a skinny rod of glue into the back and plug in the gun.  The gun heats up, so when you hold down the trigger it pushes the glue rod through the unit and out a tiny tip, melting it along the way so you end up with a liquid stream of glue.

Sounds cool, right?  Yeah.  Well, it’s also pretty freaking hot.

Now, this wasn’t my first time at the rodeo.  (Although I can’t for the life of me remember why I previously needed a glue gun.  Best guess?  Probably a remnant from my teaching days.)  Once I’d gathered all my supplies and sketched out a rough plan (hello! type A!), I got to work.

T-man happened to be having lunch in the kitchen when I took the first run at using this thing.

I should point out it says right there on the glue gun that the product gets extremely hot (guess that’s where the name “hot glue gun” came from) and that it can burn you.  I saw it.  I read it.  I was sure I wouldn’t be dumb enough to dribble molten glue all over myself.

Did I mention I was trying to glue a pipe cleaner to styrofoam?  While wrapping it around a cone-shaped piece?  Ummm…yeah.  Okay.  Moving on.

So it turns out that this glue is extremely hot, a fact that I didn’t accurately recall from my previous use, so despite their written warning I might have been a bit unprepared for what happened next.  I’d preheated my glue gun (it’s even the MINI glue gun – so tiny!  so cute!  so non-threatening!) and practiced wrapping the pipe cleaner several times so I’d know what I was doing before applying the glue.

I was all set.  I held down the trigger, laying glue along the first three inches of pipe cleaner, then wrapped and pressed it to the styrofoam.

I’ll repeat…I held the trigger, applying hot molten glue TO THE PIPE CLEANER.

Turns out that pipe cleaners, being somewhat fluffy with a metal filament at their core, might not be the best surface for holding scalding glue.  This fact became glaringly apparent when I found myself wrapping said pipe cleaner onto a cone, pressing down so that they’d stick together.

See, it’s that pressing down part that’s the sticking point (pun intended).  In order to get the hot glue-covered fluffy pipe cleaner to stick to the project I had to squish it, and guess what came out when I mashed on the pipe cleaner?  That’s right, hot molten glue.  ONTO MY FINGER.

There. Are. No. Words.

I mean, I tried out a couple as I was dancing around, holding the pipe cleaner in place so it would stick.  “Ow!  Ow!  Ow!” was my starting point, but after a while that just wasn’t cutting it.  I finally snapped, dropping the S bomb as I sprinted for the sink to run cold water over my hand. (Sure, it’s better than the F bomb, but still…)

T-man was wearing headphones and watching something on his iPad throughout this nonsense. He never said a thing about it, though, which means one of two things:

  1. He still hasn’t turned down those damn headphones and is slowly going deaf from the volume, or
  2. Hearing his mom cuss and run to the sink simply wasn’t that shocking.  Given my history in the kitchen, this option is just as likely as #1.

Lessons learned:

  1. Avoid using the hot glue gun unless absolutely necessary.
  2. If using this tool, apply said glue to the sturdiest material available.
  3. Do not attempt crafting while children are present.