Make the red velvet cupcakes according to a recipe that will yield two dozen. A normal cake recipe should suffice.
Once they have cooled, smear the tops with rose syrup.
Cream the butter and cream cheese together until well-blended.
Add 4 cups of the powdered sugar and the vanilla extract.
Set aside some of the frosting for decorating the tops of the cupcakse.
Add the black food coloring to a portion of the frosting, and set aside enough to frost the tops of the cupcakes. You'll half mostly black and a little white frosting for your design. (See photo above).
Add the Campari and the rest of the powdered sugar to your original butter/cream cheese/sugar mixture. It will be liquid-y, but add more sugar if it gets too runny.
Spoon the poison filling into a plastic bag fitted with a clean anal douche pipe. (e.g., enema or douche bag).
Use the pipe to inject the cupcakes with the poison filling. (See photo at left).
You make need to poke several holes, but be careful not to fill the new holes too quickly or the frosting may blort out the preexisting ones.
Once the cupcakes are sufficiently "poisoned," frost and decorate as desired.
When your guests have complimented your cupcakes, be sure to let them know how they were made. Enjoy the priceless entertainment.
Before I started sewing, I thought a “stash” was a secret bag of illicit drugs. An ounce of pot, two tabs of something psychedelic, the hash oil lint from a Navaho rug... that’s a stash.
Now that I have an an attic, a closet, and the floor under two beds crammed with my guiltiest pleasure, I know differently: Fabric, not weed, is the devil’s worst temptation. Those silks, crushed velvets, buttermilk knits, and bouclé remnants will be the death of me.
I have enough patterns and fabric to clothe the world and hoist a circus tent, but it’s still not enough for me: “My name is Susie and I’m a stash-a-holic.” My hoard of yardage makes a lifetime of prescription, OTC, and recreational drugs look like a pitiful bump.
This is how it started: It was all Aretha’s fault, my daughter. We took our first sewing class together, when she was ten. I knew no more than she did; I couldn’t have told you where to plug the sewing machine into the wall.
Aretha took an in-depth look at the pattern books our teacher offered us. “Let’s make mommy and daughter dresses that match!” she said. She was mesmerized with one of those McCall’s Stepford Duo photographs of a mother clutching the hand of her daughter in identical pink shifts, like Balthus Meets Barbie. What empty-eyed phonies!
But when your own child asks you, with stars in their eyes, if the two of you can make matching costumes, to parade through the streets as perfectly-synchronized beloveds, do you know what really happens?
You tear up, you clap your hands with joy, your voice scales up a full octave— “Oh goodie, let’s do it!”
We started combing through the color-fields of cotton prints at our local fabric shop. Aretha pulled out a bolt of tropical and dark green forest leaves, against a black background— a jungle print with a hint of abstraction.
I loved those colors, too— “Let’s get six yards!”
But then, shouldn’t we also have a Plan B, in case we screw up our first pattern? Or what if we change our minds in the middle of the night?
After all, there was a whimsically-Eloise at the Plaza print of pink poodles and Eiffel Towers that caught my eye, that I immediately dubbed “French Bitch.” I can’t resist a fabric with a sense of humor— one of my favorite dresses is made from something called “Rocket Rascals”: an Apollo-11-era design of little boys and girls running around the ether in naughty cunning space suits.
The two of us took no chances; we got everything: the Plan A fabric, the Plan B, and the Plan C. My teacher applauded our choices, as did all the other students. It’s like being in a bar at 6 AM with all your friends. Have another yard!
There are, actually, sensible reasons why serious dressmakers accumulate fabric faster than they can stitch.
Number one is, you are dealing with limited quantities of unique designs that often cost a small fortune.
If you can get lightweight sky-blue linen that feels like heaven in your hands, for under $10 a yard, you HAVE to buy it, even if your sewing machine hours are booked up until The Rapture. You are quite right to think you will never see a deal like that again.
Then, there’s the serious sewer’s tool chest. You’re going to need silk, cotton, and rayon linings in neutral colors— there’s no escape from it. If you buy a pattern simply because it has a unique scalloped collar on otherwise plain bodice, you are saving yourself many hours from drafting that collar yourself. And it’s uncanny how scallops work their way into your life!
You do need tulle— you can’t get through the holidays without it. You’d better grab it in turquoise, as well as the ivory and black. You need velcro fasteners, and 20” zippers in every shade, and polar fleece in every solid color. You do.
What is the most frivolous fabric in my stash right now? That’s hard to say.
My sweetheart just started working in hospitals, where he wears scrubs, and he noted to me that other nurses and techs show up in all kinds of conversation-worthy printed fabrics.
The traditional pale green and blue is completely out of fashion now on the ER floor— you get to express yourself! There’s a great Kwik Sew scrubs pattern that has pockets galore, so I made him an offer; “I’ll get some cotton prints that’ll make you proud, and your patients happy.”
This is what I came home with: Brokeback Mountain cowboys striking soft-porn Tom-of-Finland poses against a rodeo background. It’s cotton! It’s apparently from a whole line of “Village People” prints of hunky dudes vamping around in blue-collar poses. The store was sold out of the construction workers print, and the firefighters. I bought the last five yards of “Do-Me Cowpokes” they had left!
Can Jon wear this to work? Probably not, though I swear it’d give his terminal patients a well-needed laugh. Does he still want me to make them up? Hell, yes! He’ll be able to dine out on this outfit for years.
What’s the most expensive unused fabric I have in my stash? Italian cashmere, embroidered charmeuse silk, and some crazy scarlet faux-lamb-fur that seemed critical one winter. I haven’t used them out of sheer intimidation: “I can’t screw these up, it’s so expensive, one day I’ll be ‘good enough’ to take a scissors to it.”
Rationally, I take a dim view of these excuses. If I buy it, I need to have the nerve to cut it out. I learned that lesson after two years. All my most ridiculous purchases were made when I was a new sewer, and my eyes were bigger than my stitches.
Organizing your fabrics and patterns is the first note to the stash-a-holic that they are unequipped for their addiction. I put a floor in my attic to hold my inventory. But how to organize it all? I’ve photographed it, labelled it, and alphabetized— cut out samples and stapled bits to index cards with cunning descriptions.
But my attempts to act like I’m a lady of leisure who can spend every waking hour running a “fabric museum” is a joke. When push comes to shove, you’ll see my legs sticking out from under my bed, stuffing in another Trader Joe’s paper grocery bag of unmarked yardage.
My general system, which has survived my folly, is to use file drawers for patterns. Since most of my office work is digital now, it freed up a lot of hanging file folders for my precious out-of-print Vogues and Christine Johnson’s.
For fabrics, I separated the wovens from the stretchies, the linings and the novelties, the cottons from the wools— just the basic categories— and it really helped. It’s grotesque to go through forty boxes to find one Hawaiian print that burns in my memory, but I can stand to go through two or three. Just don’t let anyone else in my attic, because if they move one thing, my entire mental architecture will collapse.
I took myself off email lists for sales atJoAnn’ s and other fabric emporiums. I don’t let myself web-browse at EmmaOneSock unless I’m sick in bed with the flu. Until I’ve made pajamas for everyone in the Yukon Territory, I am not allowed to buy another inch of flannel, not even the “French Bitch.”
It’s hard... I still remember the innocence of the Mother-Daughter outfit days. When we put on our leafy-green shifts, people gasped, and said, “Oh my god, you’re wearing matching marijuana-leaf dresses!”
I put my hands over Aretha’s ears and shot them a dirty look. We picked our jungle print in the purest spirit of color appreciation and delight at the artist’s tropical spell. It felt great in our hands. We thought we looked so cute. No one can ever take that away from us!
This story is reprinted from Craft 08, where I am the reigning sewing columnist— yes, you read that right. I have a life outside of sexual politics and chicanery. You can see all my back issue of quarterly Craft columns indexed here. I'm working on my Xmas column right now...
Photos, from top:
1. Stitch 'n' Bitch in progress at my house with me, Lulu, Shar, and 'Retha.
2. One of Tom of Finland's "rough riders" which is exactly what this great fabric is based on... yes, I will eventually finish these scrubs and post a photo.
3. Me in skirt made from polka dots and pirate fabric. I can't resist a polka dot.
I first met Jack Davis when I was a frequent visitor to a lesbian brothel commune in Santa Cruz, circa 1981. He lived in the basement.
The first time I visited Jack, he was crocheting a penis, and like everyone else who entered his lair, I was hooked.
Since then, Jack moved to San Francisco where his fiber arts are legendary. I'm just one of many collectors in his cult.
So far, I have a cunning Valentine-doily penis in black and red— and a big knotty bruiser pierced with many amulets, including an old-time New York subway token.
And yes, if you're nice to me, I'll let you touch it.
It's difficult for me when Jack has a show, because if I get around a new crop of his penises, I Want Them All. But I can't stay away... and I like to meet the other devotees!
Here, Mr. Davis answers every question I have on my mind:
Why did you start making penises?
I got my M.S. in Art, focusing on Fibers in 1975. I was in college in the 60s, and graduate school in the '70s— and was influenced by the aesthetics of the period. Women in my weaving and textile classes were making wall hangings that looked like vulvas. I wanted to make things that would help men feel good about themselves, and at the same time I was coming out as a big fag.
Three hours for a simple one, up to several months for a complicated one.
Are they knitted or crocheted?
Crocheted. Knitting is done with two needles; crochet is done with a single hook. What materials do you use?
I use yarns that are cotton, silk, wool and synthetic. Sometimes I recycle yarn from by taking apart thrift-store sweaters. A few yarns are hand dyed. Some penises are crocheted from found string.
In the past I have crocheted with sewing thread and colored telephone wire. Sometimes I use beads and other found objects for embellishment.
Are they cut or uncut?
All of the penises have foreskins.
How do you put one on?
You don't; they aren't penis warmers. They do open, however. There is a drawstring in each foreskin. So while they are not designed to be worn on a penis, you can put other things in them.
Did anyone model for them?
What do you stuff them with for display?
I use plastic Easter eggs. They're the right size and weight.
How are your penises hung?
I use sturdy push pins in the back. It's easier than using nails. I usually hang them in a grid. There is a group of pink ones that I hang in a triangle.
How seriously do you take your work?
There's an element of humor in my work; how could there not be? Whenever I talk about my work with people, it isn't long before they start laughing about questions like, "How are your penises hung?"
But I do take my work seriously. It comes from being an art student for seven years. I use the word penis, instead of dick or cock, specifically because it's a more serious term.
Any interesting stories about your penises?
One of the earliest stories occurred during my graduate exhibit. A straight male graduate assistant was taking a beginning art class through the university galleries. He stopped by my work, and picked up on of my penises to talk about it with his class. When he realized what it was, I guess he didn't want to be seen holding a penis, and dropped it instantly.
Back in the old days when I entered art shows using slides, there were several times when I was accepted into a show, but my work was rejected after it arrived. They realized they weren't crocheted abstract forms; they really were penises.
I once accidentally stabbed my finger with a fine-gauge crochet hook. Joe, my boyfriend at the time— and my roommate, Sue— took me to the hospital to have it removed. The emergency room staff couldn't believe I had been crocheting. They wanted to believe that my female roommate had stabbed me with what they assumed was her crochet hook.
What do people do with your penises after they buy them?
A friend of mine uses one for a change purse; it gets interesting comments in gay bars.
I know a lesbian who used one for packing.
My grandmother used to crochet cotton animals with a drawstring; you would put your little end pieces of soap inside one and use it to wash with in the bathtub or shower. So, yes, I know someone who uses one in his shower.
Some people put them on their altars. Since they have drawstrings, they lend themselves quite well as ritual objects. Some people put them among their plants.
But mostly people display them on a shelf or on the wall. They look good in a group. While there isn't a right or wrong way to display them, I prefer that people not put them in display boxes.