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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Christmas Cage Car (Sept. 23, 2012)


The day after I posted about fab birdhouses, I happened to see a bird cage car. Coincidence? Yes, most likely. But an awesome one, and a sign that I should keep blogging about the wonderful and wacky things I see.

The birdcage car is one I’ve seen before although never up close. But two mornings ago, I saw it parked on a street I frequent. After my meeting, I double-backed to see if it was still there, and Yippeee! It was, so I took a few photos so as to share the wonder with the world.
This minivan certainly is eye-catching. At first I thought it was simply a moveable sculpture paying tribute to birdcages. Up close, I realized the birdcages weren’t the whole story. The cages are decorated and filled with Christmas items galore. This is a Christmas car worthy of Santa Claus himself!

The cages are draped with the twinkly white lights people put up at Christmas. The whole van is a canvas for wintertime celebration. There are bells, red ribbons, angels with trumpets, snow-covered trees, ornaments, snowflakes, reindeer, three Frosty-the-Snowmen, a model-sized snowy village, wreaths and candy canes bedecking nearly every surface of the van. Art car indeed.

I loved the coincidence of blogging about a birdhouse on Thursday and seeing a bird cage car on Friday. I pondered the notion of birdhouses vs birdcages. Houses can be entered or exited freely, whereas cages keep an animal inside. Houses are more cozy while cages are more airy. Are cages a luxurious jail? Perhaps, but maybe a bird finds that a worthwhile tradeoff (although now we are assuming the bird knows of his/her options and can weigh the pros and cons before making a choice). If you make a bird house for a bird, you’re not supplying a nest or food, whereas someone who buys a cage for a bird nurtures the inhabitant with food, water, a swing, and a stick on which to perch. The perks of prison?!

As I walked away from the car, my mind buzzed with many thoughts, many questions. Who is the owner? A sculptor by trade, or someone who so loves Christmas that s/he wanted to drive a Christmasmobile 365 days a year? When, how and why did s/he create this? Is it dangerous to drive this car on the freeway? Is it legal to embellish a car to this degree? Can s/he park in parking garages or is the height too much? Why cages? I may never know the answers, but I suppose I’ll survive without them. This car has sparked yet more creative instincts within me (which may be one of the goals of the owner). That alone is something to celebrate.

I was sweating by the time I walked back to my car. It was a hot, muggy morning and I was amused by the irony of studying a snow-covered Christmasy car while I dripped with sweat. Yesterday was the first official day of fall, so although we have the ceiling fans going, let me embrace the spirit of the Christmas Cage Car and be the first to wish you a happy holiday season!






Thursday, September 20, 2012

Fly Away Home (Sept. 20, 2012)

Birdhouses. Some people collect them or make their own. I don’t make or collect them but recently one practically leaped into my path, inspiring this blog post.
I was walking in a neighborhood of older houses, an area where people express themselves through how they paint or accessorize their homes. I saw something from nearly a block away. Was it…a birdhouse? Yes, yes it was, but this was no ordinary birdhouse. I charged across the street to investigate.

This was the biggest, most imaginative birdhouse I’d ever seen. Clearly, someone had designed and made it by hand (and that alone is criterion enough to become a Sarah blog post). It seemed to be a bird castle, complete with turrets, flags, battlements and tiny trees. Majestic. Someone had built and hand-painted this palace for feathered friends, placing it atop their roof as a welcoming beacon for birds. I was enchanted. This kind of fanciful project is exactly what calls to me. There are my people, the ones who dream up something fun, something that will add delight to the neighborhood.

At home I Googled unusual birdhouses. Apparently there is a wide array of quirky birdhouses out there. Some are made from old license plates. Others are shaped like gingerbread houses or cowboy boots. (As you know I’m also charmed by life-sized houses in the shape of giant shoes or hot dogs. But not everyone wants to live in eccentric buildings. Perhaps for some people, buying or creating a birdhouse with a playful shape is an opportunity to be spirited without committing to life in a house with curved walls.) Online I found other creations that fit with today’s theme of whimsical birdhouses. An artist who calls himself “Funky Randy” (see? These are my people!) creates birdhouses that evoke the colorful architecture of New Orleans. He uses salvaged lumber, paint, collage, beads and Mardi Gras throws. Each birdhouse also has a solar-powered porch light to help guide birds back after hours. Charming!

Why are birdhouses appealing? Is it that I’m a creative homebody, so a small, colorful house for birds taps into my obsession with feathering my own colorful nest? Or is it that creating a birdhouse is a way to nurture animals, so it appeals to those of us who nurture? Or is a birdhouse an excuse to make something wacky and imaginative?  D: all of the above? Yes, I think so.

The discovery of this rooftop birdhouse is another example of how many surprises are out there waiting to be found, often when you’re not looking for them. So remember to look high and low when you’re out walking your neighborhood. Delightful details await your discovery…