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A bowling ball with a history, and big plans

A few weeks ago, I picked up an old bowling ball for two bucks at a thrift shop. It was battered and dented, and clearly had a long history. I decided it was time for the unassuming little ball get a new lease on life.

Similar to this one, mine was less shiny and more beaten up.

Similar to this one, mine was less shiny and smooth.

I do crafts with a young friend, Hailey, every week, and am always on the lookout for thrifty materials to work with. I thought the bowling ball had the potential for a dramatic makeover. The first week we worked on it, we gave it several coats of flat white craft paint. The plan was to transform it into a garden ball using glass beads, and we didn’t want the bowling ball’s original colours to detract from the bling.

Later that week, I had an idea: Sharon’s birthday was coming up, and I decided I wanted to surprise her. Sharon shares a birthday with my mother, and I had been unable in recent years to focus on doing something just for her. This year, the first birthday after my mother’s death, it was very important to me that it be distinctively about Sharon, and not a sad day in any way. I decided to throw her an Angry Birds party. That may seem like a strange decision when planning a birthday event for an adult. Pinterest is full of ideas on how to throw Angry Birds parties for kids, but Sharon is an unusual adult, and I knew she would be tickled. So the next time Hailey came over, I asked if I could borrow back the bowling ball, and if she would go in cahoots with me on planning the party. Hailey’s a good sport, and entered into the secret planning with gusto.

We looked up Big Red, the game’s main protagonist, and Hailey made me a sketch to work from. It looked something like this:

Big Red. It's pretty easy to spot how the bowling ball's properties lend themselves to this transformation.

Big Red. It’s pretty easy to spot how the bowling ball’s properties will lend themselves to this transformation.

We gave the ball a few coats of red, and during the week I painted on the face and then a couple coats of clear glaze. I also painted several soup cans green, and printed off “bad piggy” faces from the game and glued them on to the cans. The goal of Angry Birds is apparently to knock the mocking pigs down from various shaky-looking structures, which forms the perfect basis for a game of indoor bowling. The piggy cans became our pins. I’ll go into the rest of the party in another post, as this one is devoted to the journey of our little bowling ball.  Suffice it to say that the party, indoor bowling and Big Red himself were all big hits:

Sharon with Big Red

Sharon with Big Red

Big Red, in his newly battered glory

Big Red, in his newly battered glory after the game

Although a bit sad to see him go, Hailey and I prepped Big Red for his next incarnation the following Wednesday. Once again he was painted white, though faint outlines remained of his facial features despite numerous coats. We then got distracted by making Halloween costumes, so it wasn’t until last week that we were able to begin transubstantiating his ghostly form. We hot glued him to a glass candlestick and then Hailey attached the decorator glass beads in a pattern she had painstakingly worked out. Currently we’re adding little beads between the big ones, to fill up every iota of surface space.

Big Red is no longer red!

Big Red, no longer living up to his name. You can see where we’ve started filling in the spaces with beads, working from the top down.

Here, showing his potential as a future suncatcher

Here, showing his potential as a future suncatcher (please don’t judge our bedraggled garden! This was the only patch of sun I could find.)

Isn’t he beautiful? He’s still a work in progress, needing more little beads and a couple of coats of glaze. He’s going to be a Christmas present for Hailey’s dad, Bill, to put in his absolutely gorgeous garden. That will be the subject of another post down the road, hopefully with some lovely garden photos.

And that is the story, though it’s not over by any means, of the bashed and humble bowling ball that made a complete U-turn.



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