Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Tote taming and other debacles [Tutorial]

When I was, like, 8 and enrolled in gymnastics my mom would ritualistically torture me before class by taking me to the side of the gymnasium and tying my hair back into pigtails with those hair rubberbands with the marble thingees on them.

I think the marbles were supposed to make it easy for the mom to make a quick ponytail and less painful for the kid's head due to less alleged pulling and snatching baldheaded as a result.

Um, ponytail FAIL.

That shit always hurt.

I think it was because my hair wasn't thick enough for two pigtails to be made and tamed with the rubberbands so my mom had to be all twisting it around and around until it would hold and in the process ripped free a lot of what we used to call "baby hairs" which were actually just "regular hairs" attached firmly to my 8 year old scalp.

Anyway, that's my association with those marble-studded rubberband things: Pain, the sound of ripping hair, my mom breathing hot and angry on my neck, the subtle creeping of my unitard as it crept up my nubile ass crack.

So, in short - not a good association.

Which is why it's so weird that I've totally been obsessing about those very same hair rubberbands lately. And not in a "keep those fuckers away from me" way, either. More like a "maybe I'll just buy some at Target and wear them when I go running for fun", way.

What's wrong with me? I haven't even blocked out the bad memories and, yet still, I fawn over these representations of childhood torture as though they're my Strawberry Shortcake doll or Rainbow Brite.

Which, for the record, were too very happy associations from my childhood to the point where, when I saw that the woman behind me in line at Target was purchasing both a Strawberry Shortcake toy AND a Rainbow Brite doll, I felt no qualms about pointing out that she had, in her very possession, my entire childhood right there.

And so help me if she didn't burst out with the same gleeful kid-like smile of agreement when I said it. It was like I was back in 2nd grade with my friend Sierra and we were admiring each other's Strawberry Shortcakes to see whose still had the most of That Strawberry Shortcake Smell it its hair.

That was the most sought after thing, you know, The Smell. If you haven't smelled a Strawberry Shortcake doll's hair, I daresay you have not lived.

But that's not what this post is about. It's about the marble hairband torture devices and how, after all this time vividly remembering how much of my hair was left on the gymnasium floor as a result of their abuses, I went out a bought a package of them and it was the most wonderfully indulgent thing I've done in a long time.

And I think it cost all of $1.

But don't you think for one second I'm putting those fuckers in my hair.

Oh noooooooooooooo.

Instead, I hatched a craft with them.

A craft that had been festering in my mind for a long time. Or at least as long as I've been carrying cloth bags with me in my purse to avoid the hated plastic bags so popular on the freeways of California.

Show of hands - how many of you have mistaken a blowing plastic bag for a seagull or other bird and, as a result, have swerved wildly into oncoming traffic to avoid it only to realize that it's a fucking Safeway bag and wow did I almost just cream an old woman in a giant Mercedes?

No one? Well. You're fancy then.

Anyway, this craft.

This craft came as a result of having to contend with wadded up cloth bags messing up the interior of my purse so that when I went to pull them out and fill them with things like Sapphire or Brussels sprouts from TJ's all of my pursely belongings would go flinging everywhere and onto the ground. And then I'd have to hunt all over hither and yon to recollect the contents of my life.


*I could do better than this*

Well, for a while I had a cloth bag with its own stuff sack, which worked fine until the stuff sack had been stuffed one too many times and expired right in front of me in line at TJ's, of all places.

I cried a sad tear of frustration because I knew then that it wouldn't be long before I was flinging tampons all over the cashier's stand again and, somehow, they hadn't turned over cashiers yet, so it would likely happen to the same guy as the first time and WOW did he seem horrified to have a tampon hit his arm.

Dude. It's a tampon, not a boa constrictor. Relax.

Anyway, in my depressed state, I ruminated on a solution to this problem and the solution managed to involve the painful yet adored marble headbands of my youthful years.

Let me stop blathering and just share it now so that y'all can at once; tame your cloth bags so they'll stow safely for shopping, indulge your desires for childhood nostalgia and, perhaps, avoid any faux-seagull induced collisions with expensive German automobiles.

Tote Tamer
By Finny

1 cloth tote bag
1 marble hairband

Sewing machine

To make:
Sewing closely to the metal bracket of the hair band, straight stitch the band next to the inside edge of one of the tote's straps, on the outside of the bag. 

Fold the bag in half vertically, with the rubberband on the outside.

Flip it over.

Roll the bag from the bottom up.

With the rubberband on the outside of the bag, now, wrap it around and close it. 

It's a miracle.

And no flying tampons.


Oh, and if you're into donating to excellent organizations who make it their mission to provide relief to people suffering from horrible disasters, Direct Relief is my org of choice and they can always use your help. 

Just saying. Haiti fell down and it will be a long time before it's upright and Direct Relief has been helping since the get go and they'll be there for a while.


  1. Ahh, memories of Strawberry Shortcake. My memory is of the immense sadness that came from my mom making me put Strawberry OUTSIDE because of the overwhelming strawberry smell.

  2. Very clever Ms. Finny! You could even only use one hairbandy thingy by stacking the bags on top of each other before you roll them. Unless, of course, you frequently only need one bag. ;-)

  3. It's always fun until someone gets their eye put out by a tampon.

  4. I once bought a bra in desperation at Target and the teenage boy just stared at it as if it was the plague. I threw it at him and ke kind of screamed. Was that bad?? It's fucking cotton you freak. Just like your underwear. I hope.

  5. Well, you're kind of a genius, aren't you? This is a really good, simple, commonsense idea, and I salute you!

  6. You are a genius! And I can't wait to see what kind of hits you get from the "nubile ass crack" line.
    Tee Hee!

  7. You forgot about My Little Pony. I bet you had those, too. Mine was the purple one with the pink mane.

    Oh, and Care Bears. I had the yellow one.

    And those ugly-ass Cabbage Patch Kids.

    This could go on and on . . .

  8. genius! LOVE this idea. --kelli

  9. Brilliant! I'm doing it. You are SO effin smart. Not fair. Not even fair.

  10. I took a little jog down Memory Lane earlier this week and bought some of those marble hair thingies/torture devises too. But alas, I actually intend to continue the legacy of torture by putting them in my 4 year old's hair. They're so nostalgic and pretty and shiny though... I was powerless to resist. This Etsy shop has a few more sets:

  11. I LOVED the Strawberry Shortcake smell. I had the Strawberry Shortcake activity book, too (the one with the recipes) and it had scratch-n-sniff stickers.



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