Thursday, 7 June 2012

Days 329-330 Rusty Cars

My nephew, Nat, has loved cars since before he could walk or talk. Even when he was just a few months old, there was always a toy car in his hand. By the time he turned 4 and could speak rather fluently, he was able to identify most cars on the road and tell you what kind of wheels they had. 

Obviously, that meant only one kind of presents for him. Nat has been given all kinds of toy vehicles over the years. I once even spent an obscene amount of money buying him a matchbox Ferrari from Italy. He was however not allowed to play with it. 

This is why. The most fun way for Nat to play with his cars were re-enactments of car crashes. He has always had a morbid fascination with collisions and destruction. Needless to say, his toy cars were pretty banged up after a while.

I remember how outraged I was when I saw the state of these wonderful model cars that my dad had bought for Nat from Thailand. They were rather pricey too and nobody had the heart to throw them out. 

That was when I thought I could save these cars and build a diorama with them. Nat and I discussed  it and we decided it would be a junkyard for broken old cars. It would be our project, something we could do together. That was in January this year. The project never quite took off because I was too busy with work, travels and all sorts of lame adult excuses. Poor Nat would ask me almost every time we met about the  junkyard project and when we were going to start.

It was only on the 14th of April this year when Shir asked if I could babysit Nat that work on the junkyard finally started. Even then, all we did that day was to spray the 1st coats on the cars. Before he left however, we decided that he would come over every Saturday and  continue our work on the junkyard together till it was completed.

2 Saturdays later, on the 28th of the same month, we started the serious painting. Nat worked on the  Mini while I did the Volkswagen.  

This was mine at half time...

Nat's at various times.

At this point, I want to share something poignant that I experienced with Nat. You might have suspected by now that I was not able to teach Nat, my 7 year old and rather impatient nephew, how to weather the car in just that one session. I tried to show him how it was to be done but he just wanted to dip the brush into the colours and start painting immediately. So it ended up with us painting our respective cars side by side, stopping once in a while to share paints or rub more sand into the cars. We went on quietly for about 10 minutes before he suddenly said Ta Ta Ah Yee (nickname for eldest aunt)I am done. I remembered looking up from what I was doing and immediately going Oh, look at what a mess you have made to your car. 

If someone was to teach me the meaning of the word crestfallen, there would be no better example than Nat's face the moment those words slipped through my tongue. He dropped his brushes immediately and said Ta Ta Ah Yee, I don't think I am good at art like you. I am sorry that I made a mess of this car. It is not good like yours. He was fighting very hard to hold back his tears when just minutes ago we were happily chatting about the things that we could do for the junkyard. 

O dear, what have I done?

I thought for a while and then said to Nat, Teedee (nickname for little brother) there is nothing wrong with your car. In fact, you have done a great job. We are making broken and rusty cars, so mess is very good!  Tata ah yee also doesn't like perfect. I love imperfect things.

Why? He asked.  

Because perfect is boring and also in real life, most things are not perfect. And I want to make our junkyard very realistic. I told him.

After listening to my explanation, he took up the brush and dipped it into some green paint and started dabbing it on the back of his car.

Is that moss? Or green oxidation? Like copper rusting? How clever, teedee. You always have such good ideas. I told him.

Now, I might have told a little white lie about the mess bit but I was definitely sincere when I praised him for that touch of green.

That dash of green not only inspired me to finish my car with traces of moss but it also became the theme for this junkyard. 

This is a close up of Nat's mini after I had helped put the finishing touches. Don't worry, Nat knew that he was only to paint the base colour and that I was to paint the rusty bits for him.  

He was very pleased with how his car had  turned out and I didn't let him forget that all the great ideas were his. 

I have really enjoyed rusting these cars. 

Nat has contributed a lot to how interesting the weathering process was for me because what he did with the base colours was unpredictable and spontaneous. He might not have a coherent explanation for why he used a particular color or painted in a certain way but I am sure he did what he did based on his own views of how a broken beat up car should look like. He really is the expert here because of all the you-tube clips he had been watching on car crashes. I am glad I allowed his instincts to guide me through my own painting  because I think these cars turned out just perfectly imperfect.

We ended that day with a trip to the park behind my house to see if we could find more things for the junkyard.

This was what he found to make a tree. I told him it was too big. Nevermind, tata ah yee, he said, it doesn't have to be perfect. 

My captain, my muse.

Teedee might not have learnt how to paint rust that day but I believed he finally understood how things don't have to be perfect to be great.


Piikko said...

Sans and Nat!
What have you done???
A perfect job!♥
Kisses to both of you, piikko

Eliana said...

I loved to know Nat, and this incredible team work as well. The junkyard is the best!

Margriet said...

We can learn so much from children :-)
My daughter and I sometimes craft together and at first I wanted to show her how to do things....but soon I learned that she was so capable to make her own things...and it was much more fun when I stopped trying to teach her to do it my way LOL
I love the both did a wonderful job!!!

Sans! said...

Haha Thank you, Piikko :):).

My commitment to Nat has made me neglect my own haveli (maybe just an excuse) and the remaining giveaways (more excuses) :)

Sans! said...

He's a great kid, Eliana and of course I am the no.1 bias aunt :).

The junkyard is still not finished though and it is many Saturdays after :).

Sans! said...

Thank you Margriet and I agree with you completely on the joys of crafting with children.I really love working with kids. More often than not, I learnt from them instead of them learning from me. I am not just saying that you know. I am sure you know what I mean, being the mother of a talented little girl :).

Teedee may not be born to paint but neither was I. His ideas however are often very good. He really knows his cars well and that helped. :).

Minnie Kitchen said...

The car is genius, and he's so good looking ;)

Susan said...

What a gorgeous story about your time with your gorgeous nephew! I wish I had been there to humbly learn from both of you.

Sans! said...

You think so too MK? And I thought I was a bias aunt :):)

Patty said...

Sans, Your nephew is adorable. How funny that he is fascinated with car collisions!! Maybe he will be a stock car racer some day!! I love how the cars have turned out and how the project will be when completed! It is so unique!

Sans! said...

Susan :) my namesake again :) I always love your visits and sweet comments. You are way too kind and generous, like always :).

Sharing these tidbits about my journey in miniatures has become such a pleasure for me. I am thrilled that you have enjoyed these stories :).

Drora's minimundo said...

An adorable boy and you two worked very well together the imperfect cars look perfect!
Hugs, Drora

Sans! said...

Patty, 2 years ago, Nat went on the Rainbow Warrior and since then he's switched from cars to ships. Just make a guess what's his new obsession?


TITANIC of course!

I don't know how many million times he has seen the many sinking of the Titanic on youtube, from all the angles, animations, documentaries, movies. As far as he's concerned, he will never get on a ship because they all collide into something and sink. I mean of course he will think that if that's all he watches right?

Anyway, when he was a car freak, he did want to be a race/ stock car driver or a F1 car mechanic :).

Sans! said...

Thank you Drora and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!

Ara said...

Nat must be the cutest little guy I have ever seen! I love the process photos and the story. I feel I too will have to watch what I say when I start doing projects with Bella some day! I know she will have her own creative process unique from my own. You are the perfect Auntie to do this junk yard with! Love it! hugs, ara

Maria Ireland said...

I love what you both did with the cars. Children can teach us so much :) Looks like you have a very clever cute partner lol.
Hugs Maria

The Old Maid said...

Oh Sans! What have you done? You woke up an ARTIST in him I am sure of that!

I LOVE your project!! This is awesome idea and I can't wait to see MORE!!!!!!!!! Cars are looking GREAT now!

Nat remides me of my Brother - he still collects models of cars He too knew all their names long time before he knew anything else. But he never was a car-crusher.;D

And seeing Nat's and yours photos I am sure your famlly must be the most pretty family of all!!
He is soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet!!!
You were saying something about European BIG EYES????;D

This hat suits him so well, Ta Ta Ah Yee.:D

Dark Squirrel Victoria said...

Sans, I think this is my favorite post so far. I can relate to Nat, he is so like my grandson. I have dreamed of the day we could do a project together.

You and Nat did an awesome job on the cars.

Perfect is boring, I couldn't agree more.


Maria said...

Oooooooh, i love your story!!! Nat and you will treasure this Saterdays forever.We can learn so much from children. I like how the cars are looking now, you both did a great job.

BiWuBär said...

What a wise boy and so quick at learning - it doesn't have to be perfect... That's so true! I loved your story from the bottom of my heart, I hope you'll share many more Saturdays with your lovely nephew inspiring each other. And the result is simply fascinating. I love how those cars turned out - from boring massproduction(please forgive me, Nat) to pieces of art rustique. Don't know if you remember, I've told you about one of my favourite movies which is "Greenfingers", inspired by a real story about prisoners becoming gardeners - and their first show garden at the Hampton Court Garden Show was a project with wild flowers - and a rusty, mossy Volkswagen... ;O)I truly hope we'll see more of this beautiful project soon!


Daydreamer said...

Oh Sans! What an Absolutely Beautiful Story! Of Course it takes precedence.... if you are not quick he will be all grown up.... driving real cars...! (I know this happens too fast!) I think it is Perfect beyond words.... the bond and shared creativity between you two! And that isn't even considering the Gorgeous Ruination of the old cars!!! You are making MAGIC Again!!!!
And sharing it with us all... Your Handsome and wise Nephew.... your creative Talents.... and your Love... of Minis... of Family.... of Rust...!
Thank you.... it brings tears to my eyes.... :)

Sans! said...

Ara, I was really quite careless with those words :). I am glad I recovered though because after he regained his confidence, he did come up with even better ideas. Every Saturday, he would bring me something new. You will see :).

This junkyard is very much Teedee because I am executing his ideas. 4 Saturdays later, he's already telling me "I am also good in art " :):):).

I know they say we shouldn't pamper our kids because they are so easily bruised now they are nicknamed "the strawberry generation" :) but I think encouragements are how we flourished. I know because I am the recipient of similar encouragements from you all :).

Kids are so amazingly creative because they have unfettered imagination and wild beliefs. Sometimes, we get really lucky with a kid as special as Nat who really goes deep into the subject he's obsessed with. In that respect, he is just like his tata ah yee :). If I want to build anything revolving around cars, Nat is the true expert in this field :). So yes, we are the A Team for this project :).

Sans! said...

Maria Ireland :):) Thank you !

Nat is indeed quite a clever boy and has been likened to an old man :). I really enjoy hanging out with him because he's like a breath of fresh air after a week of adults only.

Sans! said...

heh heh Ewa :). I am sure you think he looked extra sweet in that Kapitan cap. :) You know the coins that Papa J gave me? They have the galleons on them? I gave them To Nat that day I gave him this cap. Now the coins are in his treasure box :).

I am afraid though it will take much more to make an artist out of him. Although he did draw something quite extraordinary when he was just 2 . I will see if I can dig it out and post it :).

Nat's just like any other regular kid who loves computer games and whine when he doesn't get what he wants :). His sisters never let him get away with that though so he's really happy when he can come to spend time at my place. He's the only child when he's with me and get what he wants. Our Saturdays are beginning earlier and earlier :).

By the way, I have to tell you this about Nat. He didn't begin to talk till quite late like almost 2? In fact his mum was worried about him. Even at 2, he was jabbering a lot and we didn't understand him at all. We always joked that he could speak but in Korean only :).

My dad had told my sis not to worry because once he learnt how to talk, he would do it non-stop. True enough now, my sis couldn't get him to shut up :).

I hope you will meet him soon before he gets too big. :)

Sans! said...

V, :)THANK YOU! I'll have to say, these cars are my favourite rusting work. Thanks to Nat, I think I may have achieve a new level at weathering. I definitely prefer the mini to the Volkswagen.

The pleasures from these Saturdays meet with my nephew truly beggar words. That's why I really wanted to share them. I love that we have our project :).

Life is made special with moments like these. :)

V, I hope it will be soon that you enjoy them with your grandson.

Sans! said...

Maria :). I will remember these Saturdays till I die :) but I don't know about Nat. :) He can't even remember what he had read just 30 seconds ago! :) (We begin our Saturday with reading 1 chapter of The Invention of Hugo Chabret) :)

Just the other day, my sis asked Nat to tell her the story of Cinderella. Of course he got quite a few of the facts wrong. So my sis ended up reading the story to him. When she reached the point when the clock struck 12 and Cinderella was running away from the prince, she asked Teedee, what did Cinderella left behind in her haste to leave? Teedee promptly answered: Her Dress!


Sans! said...

Hey Birgit :) can I tell you something about Nat that will endear you to him even more? Guess what's his favourite flavour? Strawberry of course :). I don't quite understand that about him because I thought boys usually prefer anything but strawberries :).

Apart from that, he is also quite definitely Generation Strawberries! :):) Easily bruised :).

I think Nat will adore you. I can totally see how you guys will click immediately. Him with his chatty and curious character and you and your quiet and patient nature, both your love for Disney and bears and fantasy.

I MUST try and find Greenfingers and watch it. I definitely remember you telling me about the show but you didn't mention the Volkswagen I think. I am beginning to think I have psychic powers where me and my mini friends are concerned :)

Sans! said...

Betsy, your comment nearly made me cry! Right here in my office :):)

I truly love being an aunt. For me, there are very few things in life that can beat quiet and creative times with children. Except maybe conversations with them. My nephews and nieces never fail to surprise me. Nathaniel especially is quick witted and extremely funny. He's told me many times he likes making people laugh :) and boy do the kids make me laugh, even when no one else could. At my most down, it was the children who brought me much needed cheer and taught me life couldn't be that bad if they were in it. I continue to tell my sister to this day :your children saved me :)

carmen said...

Nat tiene un talento natural que ha debido heredar de ti....

Ascension said...

Nat es un chico guapo, inteligente y muy simpatico......solo hay que ver esa carita.
Al final es el que te enseña a ti con su naturalidad jejeje
Habeis hecho los dos un buen trabajo, sois un gran equipo y seguro que esa chatarreria quedara fantastica......por cierto teneis que poner ese arbol jejeje (quizas no sea a escala......pero que hay a escala?)
besitos ascension

Amy said...

Sans, I love this story, not just because I LOVE the project, which is genius, but because it was so moving and true. I always have wanted things to be just so, I think I might have inherited some of this, and the rest I've done myself. I keep thinking about that episode of Friends, the one where Monica inherits a dollhouse, and wants to keep things just right, perfect scale, perfect detail, nothing to disrupt the illusion. Phoebe kept putting things in it that were completely wrong, wrong size, wrong style, some of it completely inappropriate. And she was really enjoying it, making up stories, shaking it up. I remember watching it and wanting to be like Phoebe, but knowing that no matter what, my natural inclination would keep me like Monica. But despite that, I try every day to let something happen that I didn't plan. Doesn't always work, but sometimes it does! Nat is a very special boy, he already knows this very important thing. My hero!

By the way, the cars that I have owned the last ten years were VW Beatles and a MINI Cooper! This is what they would look like in a few more years, I'm sure!

Susanne said...

Green is a must making things look old, I recognize that. Please tell Nat that I like his car the best. Hope you will forgive me ;-)
Love, Susanne

Sans! said...

Awwwww Carmen, eres muy amable! Soy una persona muy orgullosa tía :)

Sans! said...

Ascensión, sabes que Nat se reunió con el hijo de Eva :)? Jugaron muy bien juntos a pesar de que no hablan el idioma del otro. Antes de Arnau a la izquierda, Nat le dio uno de sus coches, creo :) :). He cortado el árbol grande en unos pocos árboles más pequeños. Incluso puede poner uno de los árboles en la casa del gnomo.

besosss y abrazos

Sans! said...

Amy, I thought I have watched every single episode of Friends but I guess not. O my, I will have loved this one you just told me about. That episode so accurately reflects the divide in the doll house world :). I remember how my own journey began with the wavering between strict to scale masterpiece-ridden realism to no breaking of illusion to how could I have a dollhouse without dolls :)!?! Now I just hope to be able to weave a world where disbelief is suspended even if it's just for a little while.

2 Saturdays ago when Nat was here, he once again surprised me. He was playing with the cars (crashing them into the tray we used as the junkyard and overturning them) when he saw parts of the plastic wheels showing through. He showed those parts to me and told me that the we had to paint them over or it would not be realistic :). Maybe he's a perfectionist after all :).

I love the mini and Volkswagen beetle. The new cooper is so ludicrously expensive here otherwise it's definitely my vehicle of choice. My sis had the old mini once when she was in her 20s. It was an antique! Once , halfway on the road, the bonnet flew open suddenly blocking her view, she had to drive the car to the side of the road with her head outside the window!!!Another time, the gear stick came off in her hands! It became so dangerous she had to give it up. I too love old cars and owned a Austin Healey frog-eye sprite years ago. That was my last car :). Gave it up because it broke down more often than I could drive it. Once I had to travel at only 10km/ hr because of some malfunction. Took me 1 hour to reach home from office. If I had walked, I would have taken half the time! Still love that car though :). So I can totally understand why you will still want to drive a rusty pain in the butt old car like a mini or beetle.

Sans! said...

Susanne!!!! Forgive you?! It is impossible to be mad with you :). This week's reading session with Nat will be this blog post and all the comments :).

Thank you:).

Ilona said...

I LOVE Nat, tell him that, Sans! Because he does what he want to do and that is perfect: children do know what they have to do with art, let them go and you'll see perfect art is my experience ;) You've done great work with him, Sans, the cars are beautifully imperfect, I love the imperfection, you already know.
Send him my greetings, he is quite a fellow, your nephew ;)
Hugs, Ilona

Sans! said...

i always make a good impression. nat

Sans! said...

But i hope girls won't chase me. Nat again.

Amy said...

Sans, I just embedded two parts of the Friend's episode into my blog, you will love Phoebe's house. And your friend's MIN sounds terrifying but much more fun and endearing than my own, which does everything its supposed to do and isn't one smidge of real fun. Not like my first car, a Dodge Colt whose doorhandles flew off whenever I shut the door. That was a car that people would ask me what it was, not because they wanted one, but because they couldn't identify it as a car exactly. It moved, but it looked like a dented shoebox with tires.

Sans! said...

LOL! Amy, when you visit, you will see my housemate's vintage Alfa Romeo. Like yours, the car handle comes off when you use it to open the door. So you wind down the window and open the door from outside :). Funniest is you can only use 2 of the following 3 device at one time : windscreen wipers, air-conditioner and/or headlights. If you are driving Alfie at night and it starts to rain, you will have to choose between soaked or suffocate!

I am running to your blog to watch that episode of friends !

Alexandra said...

How nice!
Sans and Nat you did a great job.
Wat a beautiful story.
What a nice time you have had together.
And Net,I can understand your fun with Sans.
I met her once and that was fun to.
I like the cars so much!
Dear Sans,thanks for sharing this story lots of greetings, Alexandra.

WeeLittleWest / Kathy Olaf-Obrenski said...

Fantastic ! You have done a great job.

rosanna said...

Sans, I am late , I read the post very quickly first time and only now I had the time to go through it slowly and carefully. Then I read all the comments and replies.
What shall I say ? it's true that the best of time is the one we share with our beloved kids, no matter if nephews , nieces or children : they all bless us with the most incredible gift, their ingenuity and imagination unbound by rules .
Nat and you have done a great job, I truly love the cars and I only wish I could do something similar. You must give me rusting lectures next time we meet ;o)and Nat will be co-teacher :o))
You and Amy made me also laugh while talking of your cars. Does a pistachio green Twingo count as one of the funniest , craziest cars in whole world with its frog like big eyes/lights? if not I can throw in a blue 126 Fiat which was so old that the paint could hardly stay attached to the structure. But it worked well and never let me down.
Dearie, I hoe that you spent this Sat with Nat as well, he is a gorgeous, fabulous little man: may I shake hands with him ?
Hugs to you both, Rosanna

Eva said...

Nat looks really handsome...☺
I think that Ta Ta Ah Yee and Teedee have learnt from each other not only that imperfectection is good and necessary in live also to share time together. Kids are always great and you will smile a lot of him
The cars? Just wonderful, I really love them
Tell Nathaniel and Arnau remember him!!

Sans! said...

Eva ! :):) Today I thought of you. Wanted to tell you my sis woke up with a vertigo attack! Will email you :)

I will ask Nathaniel if he remembers Arnau. I am sure he does. But I will test him anyway. :)

Sans! said...

Great to see you here, Kathy O-O and thank you!

Sans! said...

:) Alexandra , you look great in your new profile pic! Thank you my dear for your kind words! I really do love my Saturdays with the kids :)

Sans! said...

Ro , I agree with every thing you said down to the last letter :). Do you still remember the last time you were here at my mum's and Nathaniel insisted you watch him do the Michael Jackson? He's still not shy like that.

We all love our old cars :). You know my very 1st family car was a VW buggy? Those days when it was just me, SuZ and Shir, Mum and Dad :). We outgrew it pretty quickly :).

Sans! said...

Illona :) not sure if you know but Nat commented in answer to your comment :).

Ana Anselmo said...

Sans, I miss my nieces at that age, it was so magic! Both of you will remember those momemts forever with so much love!!!!
For sure you are not a rusty teamm!!! LOL

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