Most people do not know this about me but I have a secret passion for things that glitter and shine. It’s not overt, like my friend Olivia who has her own tiara she wears when she’s at home (which I admire her for). For the most part my penchant for glitter has been something only my closest friends and family knew about, well until now that is. Some of you know that one of my guilty pleasures is watching Dancing with the Stars. For my birthday this year Shawn and the kids made me my own set of vote-at-home glittery paddles, and after six years of watching the show I can predict the judges scores 96% of the time, even if I don’t always agree with them. I may not be able to rumba but I do know which paddle you’ll use Len Goodman!
So when I was asked to help with the food for The Academy at Charlemont‘s semi formal this year I decided to add a little sparkle by building another Hershey’s Kiss Chandelier. About twenty-five years ago I had made a chandelier out of Kisses for an Aids benefit auction. The winning bidder donated the chandelier to a local hospice house and when it had been stripped of kisses they gave me back the forms, which have languished in our barn ever since. The Academy is very small so rather than have a senior prom which would consist of 17 kids and their dates, the entire school is invited to “Semi”. Each year the juniors are in charge of decorations and food with the knowledge that A) they will never have to do it again and B) next year’s juniors will do it for them. Normally the refreshments consist of bowls of candy, a few platters of cookies from a box store along with a never-ending supply of punch. While the bottomless bowls of punch seemed like a good idea, the only thing I bought at the local box store were three gigantic bags of milk chocolate kisses.
Parents of 11th graders were willing to contribute platters of delicious home-made food for semi, while a small band of us made over 100 fruit kabobs from watermelons, cantaloupes, honeydew, red & green grapes, and blueberries. The kabobs turned out to be as popular and as thirst quenching as the punch.
The glittery Hershey’s Kiss Chandelier was a recreation of one I had made many years ago. As with many of my projects I didn’t have pictures of the finished product since I typically run so close to my deadlines. My memory was a bit vague about how long the strands of kisses should be or how the kisses had been arranged but I did remember each strand was anchored with a small plastic pearl. I bought some spray paint to spruce up the form and Isabelle invited a few intrepid friends over (thanks Arcadia and Richard) to pull the little white kiss papers out of ten pounds of Hershey kisses. The three of them took turns drilling holes in each de-papered kiss. Then the threading began.
For one afternoon Stephen’s mom Heidi came over and helped me wire on glass chandelier pieces that I’d been hoarding for a day when I might need them. Since I anticipated the chandelier being denuded during the dance I didn’t want it to lose all its sparkle before the dance ended.
On the day of the semi I strung kisses along with Vickie and Jackie, two other 11th grade moms. With just a few hours until the dance started the chandelier got packed into my car and off I went to the dance site to set it all up.
Things got a little dodgy when we realized the chain cutters Shawn had given me were unable to cut the chain we’d brought to string the two levels together with. Either we didn’t have his superhuman strength or we needed a slightly more formidable set of cutters. My two helpers Richard and Patrick were real troopers as we duck taped, sticky puttied, and basically jerry-rigged the chandelier onto a beam (we weren’t allowed to screw in an eye bolt either so we had to use a clamp instead). Finally the chandelier was up and looking very sparkly indeed. A little crocked perhaps, but sparkly nonetheless.
The dance was wonderful, and I didn’t come home with a single kiss except the one on my cheek from Isabelle.
Thanks again to everyone who helped put the chandelier and all the food together. It was a deliciously rocking semi!