I‘m a chronic crafter. I need something crafty in my life at all times.
My list of craft habits is long. There’s a huge tub in the garage filled with yarn and buttons, felt and Mod Podge glue, dowel rods, and jingle bells. I have plenty of colored pencils, washi tape, and rubber stamps. I’ve taught myself to needlepoint, decoupage, and embroidery.
I am not an expert in any of these areas. I have friends who are craftier and much more talented than I will ever be. And yet, I continue to craft for no other reason than the happiness it brings.
Scrapbooking used to be one of my craft habits. What girl doesn’t like to play with stickers and paper and fancy scissors? I had scrapbooks of our honeymoon and baby album scrapbooks. Scrapbooks of remodeling our first home and scrapbooks of Derek’s first National Championship win. My husband has mentioned more than once that I could have fed a small country for the amount of money I have spent on scrapbooking supplies.
In the early stages of motherhood, I wandered into a needlepoint store close to my home. I bought several canvases, including a darling Christmas design which I just finished a couple of months ago. I started the canvas in 2004. It turned out really cute. Maybe not 11 years to finish cute, but cute nonetheless.
I convinced my mother to take a knitting class with me once. The knitting students sat in a circle on hard fold-up chairs, very apropos, my mother doing equal amounts of laughing and bitching that she was doing it wrong. I can still knit a square or rectangle like nobody’s business, but that’s the extent of my knitting knowledge. I knitted a sweet baby receiving blanket for one of my best girlfriends once, and have given scarves as gifts to family members who have to like them. Chunky scarves are in style, but unfortunately, I live in a climate where they really aren’t necessary. Not that that keeps us Californians from wearing them. Any temp below 75 degrees and we are whipping out our sweaters and chunky scarves faster than the traffic on the 405.
I recently started making cross-stitch bookmarks. You remember cross-stitch, don’t you? That thing you learned in Girl Scouts or Camp Fire Girls while trying to earn your Creative Arts Appreciation badge? I decided to return to my crafty roots and relearn how to cross stitch. (Although let’s face it, it’s totally like riding a bike. You never really forget.) The best girlfriend I made the baby blanket for had given me and several of our other friends a special bookmark a couple years back. She cross-stitched them with our college nicknames, of which we still call each other, making them even more special. Needing something new to craft, I decided to copy her design and start making my own. Not for me to keep of course, but to give away.
Crafting to me is only fun if others appreciate it, which in my case means giving my crafts away as gifts. I decided to make bookmarks as valentines for all of my son’s teachers (of which he has four.) This sent me on a trip to Jo-Ann’s where I ended up purchasing enough thread, fabric, and ribbon to make bookmarks for most of Southern California. (Bookmarks for everyone! You get a bookmark! And YOU get a bookmark!) I also bought a box in which to organize all of my thread. I spent days winding thread around little white cards, placing them in the box in a beautiful color-coded display. When I say days, I literally mean days. Because if you’re going to make bookmarks for all of Southern California, you need to be organized.
I ended up making really cute Pac-Man bookmarks for the boys’ valentines this year. They have recently gotten into retro, 80’s era video games so I thought they’d appreciate the sentiment. The problem with sentiment and pre-teen/teen boys is that they have yet to develop the sentimentality gene. I cross stitched their bookmarks knowing full well that they might not love them as much as I wanted them to love them.
Did they jump up and down when they saw their bookmarks? No, of course not. They grinned, asked if I had made them, and that was that. Happy Valentine’s Day. My oldest informed me that he wanted to leave his at home, didn’t want anything to happen to it at school. I got it. He did want to be the dork that pulled out a homemade bookmark at junior high that his mother made him. Totally got it. My youngest, however, had no issue taking his to school.
“Mom, I used my new bookmark at school today. I like it. It’s cool. Could you make me one with something about golf on it?”
Bookmarks for everyone!!!