patriotic radish.

I was thinking about problem creators and problem solvers, and I think there is another category of people, we'll call them problem noticers. These are the people who look at the world and find something that could be improved. Many of us wander aimlessly through life, using whatever tools we've always used to do what we've always done. Problem noticers say there could be a better way. Problem noticers say there should be an app for that.

Being a natural problem solver, I'm not sure how much I can really become a problem creator. But I can improve my problem noticing.  Since I've finished with wedding decorations, I was on the lookout for some way that I could use my new-found love of papercrafts.  I noticed that I needed a custom poster frame.

I have a poster that I bought at a puppet show. Not the puppet show at the socialist book store, this was a completely different puppet show that I didn't tell you about. I guess I'll tell you now. It was disappointing. There were not enough puppets. And the script suffered from a bad case of Complaining But Not Saying Anything. They pointed out that a lot of people died in Iraq. I'm not quite sure who didn't already know that, particularly among the people who go to puppet shows. They pointed out that corporate lobbyists wield a lot of power in our government. They pointed out lots of things, and I wanted to say, "Yes, and..." each time. They didn't want to have conversations about anything, just point at things.

Anyway, I did buy things at their merch table, because I like to support live puppetry. I bought a couple of homemade books about making puppets from household items. I skipped the many tracts that continued in the vein of pointing at things. And I bought a poster. It was a colorful picture of a radish, and it said "PATRIOT" at the top. According to the fine print, it was a picture from their 2006 Homeland Security Vegetable Calendar. I think the vegetable calendar said something about sustainability and looking to nature in these difficult times. That is my interpretation, but I really have no idea.

I read up on the radish to try and figure out if there was something patriotic about it or if those guys just stamped words on pictures of vegetables. The radish did not originate in North America, so maybe the latter. But the radish is quite a fantastic little plant. It's a trap crop, which means it's planted next to other crops to lure pests away. The bugs each the radish leaves, but they don't bother the tasty roots. They're very hardy, and you can grow them pretty much anywhere. The seed's oil can be used as a biofuel (possibly patriotic?). In Oaxaca City, Mexico, they celebrate the Noche de rĂ¡banos (Night of the Radishes) every year on December 23, where people get together to eat, dance, and carve radish dolls.

Now we have all learned about radishes.

So I had this patriotic radish picture, and I wanted to hang it up. But I noticed that I needed a frame. Enter paper crafts. I saw some frames on the internet made by taking colorful magazine pages and rolling them up. As usual, it took me a while to get the knack of rolling the pages up tight enough, and I got hot glue everywhere. But at the end, I had some colorful rolls.

Then I cut them into 2-inch pieces. I was not very precise on this step. I chose to do rough measuring, and then that would add some natural variation in the finished product. In art, lazy measuring can be part of an artistic vision, rather than just sloppiness.

I got ahold of a giant cardboard box and cut out my frame base, using the poster as a guide. I attached the frame back to the front, being sure to leave an open edge to slide the picture in. Continuing my trend of using very expensive tools, I went with painter's tape here.
And finally, I glued each little roll to the frame. The rolls overhang the poster about 1/4-inch on the inside. I tried to keep the inner edge even, so that any variation in the lengths shows up as the outer border.
It turned out okay. Now that I've done it, I'm not sure that this poster is really the right piece for this kind of frame. Or maybe two-inch rolls are too wide for such a tall poster. But whatever, I made it and hung it up, because it was way better than the poster drooping on my dresser.

And finally, continuing on this kind-of-all-over-the-place entry, I leave you with something that must be included in any discussion of radishes.

"A radish?"

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