While everyone continues slogging through the interminably long Oscars telecast, I’m casting my mind – and with this Tickle Trunk-inspired manicure, my nails – back to a beloved Canadian children’s television show, Mr. Dressup. Often compared to Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood for its general tone and vibe (despite actually airing first) Mr. Dressup was a show that ran every day on the CBC (our publicly-funded broadcaster, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) starring a man by the name of Ernie Coombs, or as generations of Canadian children came to know him, Mr. Dressup. Starting in 1967 and running until 1996, Mr. Dressup was a welcome daily visitor in countless Canadian households, leading children like me through a half hour of imagination games, arts and crafts and the basics of early socialization. He had a couple of puppet friends who lived in a treehouse in his backyard, Casey and his dog, Finnegan, and a kind of study/playroom where he’d dash together the most amazing drawings, paintings and other crafts. But perhaps best of all, he had the Tickle Trunk, a giant red steamer trunk adorned with flowers and butterflies that seemed to contain a nearly limitless number of costumes, from firefighter to wizard to chicken. Mr. Dressup would don the costume and then we’d all get a little lesson in what it was like to be firefighter or a wizard or a chicken. The Tickle Trunk actually always sort of reminded me of Oscar the Grouch’s trashcan on Sesame Street – a sort of trans-dimensional space that goes on for infinity. And may house elephants.
This manicure, which I love far more than I expected to, is inspired by the floral print on the outside of the Tickle Trunk. I love the random flowers in simple, primary colours, and I’m hugely proud of the little butterfly on my index finger. My butterflies typically come out looking more butt than fly, but this wee guy looks like the real deal, or at least the real deal as seen floating across the arched wooden top of the Tickle Trunk (an artifact you can see on display at the CBC Museum in Toronto, Ontario, should you be at all interested. And you should; this is quality Canadiana I’m dropping on you here!)