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Visual

Toy Story

A DIY Adventure

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Speaking both as an incurable outdoors crusty and a consummate artiste, I cannot, for the life of me, think of a more suitable home than Bellingham. From tide pools to tree lines, there is an awesome convergence of energy in this place. It slants down off the mountains. It washes in on the tides. It sprouts and it sings. It raises its wings and goes flapping around all over the place. It nurtures my urge to create.

Meanwhile, back in Minneapolis, my younger brother—a fellow artiste—continues to play the big-city game. From skyscraper to suburbs, his surroundings move faster. And so does his life. 

Fortunately, City Mouse knows how to unwind. Whenever the day-to-day grind of the Upper Midwest starts getting to him, he zips out here to the City of Sublime Inspiration for a quality dose of brotherly Pacific Northwest adventure. 

Mostly, I let him know what he’s in for ahead of time. But sometimes I like to surprise him—and the bigger and weirder the surprise, the better.

Not to toot my own horn, but a few weeks ago, during his most recent visit, I managed to devise an activity that proved to be, in my bro’s own words, a “real shocker.”

We spent four days making our own action figures. 

We didn’t build them from scratch, but we did go rummaging through various local thrift shops looking specifically for whichever secondhand action figures seemed most closely to approximate the general dimensional anatomy of the specific characters we intended to create and scooped those puppies up for a song. 

Then we set up a serious repurposing laboratory—including, but not limited to: scissors, X-Acto knives, bailing wire, modeling clay, paint, markers, sand paper and a flat file—on the dining room table and commenced experimenting zealously and with reckless abandon to our boyish hearts’ content. 

On our first day, doing Michelangelo proud with the clay, my brother managed to flesh out the sleek, futuristic body of a Mighty Morphin Power Ranger we picked up at Value Village into a scruffy, plaid-shirted mountain man he named “12-Foot Davis.” 

And on our second day, exhibiting surgeon-like precision with an X-Acto Knife, he whittled down the hard plastic, swivel grip likeness of pro-wrestler John Cena into a distinctively more plebian-looking yeoman hero named “Meat Fist.”  

Meanwhile, although I did manage to transform a rather plane-Jane-looking plastic horse into a character called “Dynamite Mule,” the effeminate, Barbie Doll-like proportions of the Justin Bieber figurine I scored at Goodwill ultimately proved completely inadequate in my repeated attempts to conjure forth Meat Fist’s yeoman partner—a squat, super-brawny lunkhead named “Gronk.” 

Thus, the lion’s portion of day three was consumed by an extended foray into the deepest depths of Bellingham’s O’Donnell’s Flea Market where, after almost a full hour of studious searching, we considered ourselves fortunate to find an Incredible Hulk.

After working late into the night under a heat lamp on the backyard picnic table, making Gronk out of Hulk, we promptly lit out into the wilds of Whatcom Falls Park for a photo shoot of our newly hatched creations early the fourth morning.  

“Please, don’t take this the wrong way,” my 37-year-old sibling said as he struggled through misting rain to stabilize Gronk in the stump moss. “But this seems like way more fun than we should be having.”

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Events
Today
A gold medal standard

4:00pm

Eat Local Month

4:00pm|Bellingham and Whatcom County

Whatcom Water Week

10:00am|Whatcom County

Little Women

7:30pm|Whidbey Playhouse

The Miracle Worker

7:30pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

The Music Man

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

Wild Things

9:30am|Whatcom Falls Park

Quilt & Fiber Arts Festival

10:00am|La Conner

Parkinson's Dance Class

10:00am|Ballet Bellingham

Spanish Storytime

10:30am|Lynden Library

Ferndale Farmers Market

1:00pm|Cherry Street

Get an edible education

4:00pm

Autumn Celebration Dinner

5:30pm|Bellingham Senior Activity Center

Love, Loss and What I Wore

7:30pm|Heiner Auditorium

Hellingham

8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

Handling the truth

9:35pm

Artifacts Wine Bar Zoots Side Bar
Tomorrow
Whatcom Water Week

10:00am|Whatcom County

The Miracle Worker

7:30pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

The Music Man

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

Little Women

7:30pm|Whidbey Playhouse

Quilt & Fiber Arts Festival

10:00am|La Conner

Get an edible education

4:00pm

Love, Loss and What I Wore

7:30pm|Heiner Auditorium

Hellingham

8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

Handling the truth

9:35pm

Run Like a Girl

8:00am|Fairhaven Park

Cabbage Class

9:00am|Garden Spot Nursery

Model Train Show

9:00am|Northwest Washington Fairgrounds

Mount Vernon Farmers Market

9:00am|Riverfront Plaza

Benefit Garage Sale

9:00am|T.G. Richards Building

Twin Sisters Farmers Market

9:00am|Nugent's Corner

Anacortes Farmers Market

9:00am|Depot Arts Center

Healthcare Film

9:30am|Bellingham Public Library

Fall Fruit Festival

10:00am|Cloud Mountain Farm Center

Fermentation Fun

10:00am|Blaine Library

Skagit Valley Festival of Family Farms

10:00am|Skagit County

Bellingham Farmers Market

10:00am|Depot Market Square

Blaine Gardeners Market

10:00am|Peace Portal Drive

Film is Truth Anniversary Party

10:00am|Bellingham Public Market

Whatcom Artist Studio Tour

10:00am|Whatcom County

Birding Walk

10:00am|South Whatcom Library

Fall Family Fun

10:00am|Glen Echo Garden

Porpathon

10:00am|Salish Sea

Buddy Walk

11:00am|Fairhaven Village Green

National Geographic's 50 Greatest Photos Opening

12:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Lightcatcher Building

Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

Banned Books Week Read-In

12:30pm|Village Books

Intro to NaNoWriMo

1:00pm|Bellingham Public Library

Artist Lecture

1:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Traditional Jazz

2:00pm|VFW Hall

Matched Makers Opening

2:00pm|Museum of Northwest Art

Timber Rose

2:00pm|North Fork Library

Blessing of the Animals

3:30pm|Cornwall Park

Poetry Palavers

4:00pm|Village Books

Edison Opening

5:00pm|Smith & Vallee Gallery

Matzke Art Auction

5:00pm|Matzke Fine Art Gallery and Sculpture Park

Celebrating Jack Prelutsky

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USA Dance

7:00pm|Presence Studio

The Aimees

7:00pm|BAAY Theatre

Fred Morrison

7:00pm|Littlefield Celtic Center

George Winston

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

Folk Dance Party

7:30pm|Fairhaven Library

Tannahill Weavers

7:30pm|Lincoln Theatre

Bellingham Chamber Music Society

7:30pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Mount Baker Theatre Everybody’s Store
Sunday
The Miracle Worker

7:30pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

The Music Man

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

Little Women

7:30pm|Whidbey Playhouse

Quilt & Fiber Arts Festival

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Love, Loss and What I Wore

7:30pm|Heiner Auditorium

Handling the truth

9:35pm

Benefit Garage Sale

9:00am|T.G. Richards Building

Model Train Show

9:00am|Northwest Washington Fairgrounds

Fall Fruit Festival

10:00am|Cloud Mountain Farm Center

Skagit Valley Festival of Family Farms

10:00am|Skagit County

Whatcom Artist Studio Tour

10:00am|Whatcom County

Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

Rabbit Ride

8:00am|Fairhaven Bicycle

Community Breakfast

8:00am|Rome Grange

Fueling Education Fun Run

9:30am|Washington Park

Sunday Market

1:00pm|Alger Community Hall

Walk the Wall

1:30pm|Lake Padden

Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day

2:00pm|Lake Padden Park

Sunday Night Fusion

7:00pm|Presence Studio

White Christmas Auditions

7:00pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Bruce Molsky

7:00pm|YWCA Ballroom

see our complete calendar »

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