Friday, October 5, 2012

Almost a Leaf Peeper

I have rarely taken vacations just for fun.  Living most of my adult life away from most of my family has meant that vacations usually involved packing up the kids and dogs and heading off on road trips to stay with the family I moved away from! When my kids left home, vacations became me hopping on a plane to fly to wherever they were. And while I have loved those visits with family and wouldn't have missed them for the world, I have watched and listened while other friends described cruises, camping expeditions, trips to England, Hawaii, Borneo (ok, not Borneo). I have oohed and aahed over photos and videos, shown on Mac TV and set to music just to rub it in that they HAVE TRAVELLED and I have not.  Yes, I know that wasn't their intention, but still. 

Last Spring I was complaining to a friend in Seattle that I never go anywhere, to which she whined "me, either" and before we knew it we were planning a trip to Las Vegas.  We stayed in that wonderful pink paradise, The Flamingo, ate great food, drink a lot of Cosmopolitans and played penny slots.  Bliss.  We found out that, even though we had only met once before in person (we are e-business buddies), we travel pretty well together.  It helps that we are both easy going about travelling. Of course it also might be that we are both so pathetically happy to be going anywhere that we could have stayed in a linen closet and called it a wonderful, relaxing vacation.  The fact that we stayed in a hotel room that had a TV in the bathroom mirror was just frosting on my cupcake. So this Spring when she mentioned she was thinking of visiting friends in Vermont during the Fall and would I like to tag along, I didn't even hesitate.  After a few glitches coordinating her flight from Seattle with my flight from Los Angeles, we were set. For 6 months it was a giddy topic between us, where would we go, what would we do?  We started the count down at about a month, eagerly ticking off the weeks, then days, then hours before the BIG DAY.  I am generally a not-much-for-planning kind of girl, and I was a little worried that we would talk up the trip so much that it couldn't possibly live up to my expectations.  Boy, was I wrong.  BEST. TRIP. EVER. It was my first time in Vermont and exactly the kind of vacation I love....nothing much to do and a bunch of time to do it.  I saw amazing scenery (you don't really have to search that out..it's just kind of there), met some great people, had fabulous wine, did serious shopping and took a bunch of photos.  I didn't wear my watch the entire time and that alone was worth the price of the ticket. 

But the most important thing I brought back from VT is not the cheese, the cool Dartmouth sweatshirt or the handcarved wine stopper.  It's the memories. Sitting on a deck drinking craft beer while watching 2 cows and a horse meander lazily down to where they know their dinner is waiting.  Power walking with an amazing lady up and down hilly country roads as she tells me the history of the homes we pass.  Eating breakfast at the airport almost comatose from traveling all night but happy to be anywhere but work. Waking up in a room filled with antiques, snuggled under a down comforter with the windows open for the fresh air. Gathering around the kitchen table of new friends, drinking wine and admiring what they have created out of a sugar house. Eating blue birthday cake  in the shape of big truck, at a birthday party for someones grandchild, having had just enough wine to wonder if our poop will be blue. And spending time with my good friend, Cindy, catching up in person on all the gossip that didn't fit into our many emails.

As it turned out, we were about a week short of prime leaf peeping time. The tremendous colors for which that whole area is so famous were just beginning to make their appearance as we left.  But I didn't care, because this vacation was exactly what a vacation should be. Whether you go to Vermont, Hawaii, Borneo or just around the corner, it's all about making memories.  The kind of memories you hold close and replay over and over.  The kind you sit around a kitchen table and say "remember when we...." And you know the great thing about memories?  You can add to them and add to them and still have plenty of room for plenty more.  And add to them I will.  We are already planning our next trip.  We'll talk about it for 6 months,plan it to death, email back and forth about it and then enjoy the heck out of it when it arrives. 


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Don't you just love the Internet?

I've lived all over the US, born in New York, raised in Southern California, with stays in Illinois, Alabama, Wisconsin, Montana, Georgia and Arkansas...all before I was 5 years old.  As an adult I have lived in California, Oklahoma, Texas, Washington and Montana.  Thru all the moving and changing, one thing has remained constant...crafting.  Some crafts I have only done in certain states.  Leaded glass in California, wildlife sketching and woodburning in Montana, quilting in Oklahoma.  I didn't plan on a single craft/single state concept, it just turned out that way.  Now that I have pretty much settled in Southern California, I find I suddenly want to do everything I have ever done again and some things I have never tried.  In the dark days before Al Gore connected us, people like you and me would have to gather in shops or living rooms or unused band rooms at high schools to share what we love.  Don't get me wrong, gathering with your girlfriends to exchange ideas, eat brownies and gossip is great, but sometimes life gets in the way of the gatherings. Kids get sick, your day job wrings you out, you have too many demands and not enough hours, or you change states and can't find like minded crafty folks. But right this minute, all I have to do is google 'crafting' to open up a world of artistic possibilities. I have been searching out sites that have crafts I have never tried before.  Things like making paper or soap, weaving, batiking. As I click thru the sites, I am in awe of our creativity, not just in the crafts we do  but in the lovely, complex, completely navigat-able sites thru which we share those crafts. It's like being at the largest, best run, most gorgeous craft show ever!  And it's all available to us in our bathrobes while we are eating breakfast, on our couch as we catch up on Days of Our Lives (it's later, that same day), on our phones while waiting for the nurse to take our blood pressure. For those of us who find it difficult to share our love of button collages with others who might possibly find our craft a little odd, the Internet is a mecca of anonymous opportunities.  No matter how obscure the craft, I can guarantee there is a site with instructions on how to do it and do it well!

Here are a few from a basic craft google. 

http://craftingagreenworld.com/  This site has a ton of eco friendly resources and some great tips on crafting green.
http://www.recyclethis.co.uk/ Tips for up and recycling just about anything
http://www.instructables.com/ How to's for a bunch of cool stuff
http://www.nearseanaturals.com/blog/ I love their tag line "creating the world around us, one stitch at a time"
http://whipup.net/ Quilting and related thready crafts
http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/craftybastards/ CraftyBastards...best name ever!
http://www.glueandglitter.com/main/ Eat, Drink, Craft!
http://www.cranberrylane.com/soapmaking.htm Soap making made easy, which is probably a contradiction in terms!

I'd share more, but where's the fun in that?  Google-out your own crafty sites and see what you find.  You might decide to try your hand at upcycling vitamin bottles or garden hoses, or you might just enjoy a why-in-the-world-would-anyone-want-to-do-that moment.

So, thank you, Internet gurus who created this amazing, all encompassing craft lallapalooza. I salute you with my coffee that I don't have to drink out of a go cup, in my own living room with my two dogs snoozing at my feet.  I just love the Internet, don't you?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Summers End

As summer winds its way into August, I am reminded that this is one of my favorite times of the year.  Spring is great, Winter is very nice and Fall is wonderful.  But this almost Autumn is amazing.  The days are long and warm, the nights cool and breezy. My bird feeders are filled with dozens of daily diners and my resident lizard family just birthed the tiniest little guys!  Tomatoes and sweet corn are at their peak and my basil plant is going crazy.  I have plenty of fresh mint for my lemonade and more cilantro than I can use in this lifetime.  And my zinnias!  Oh my goodness!  In the midst of this abundance I find myself with more craft ideas than I can possibly put into production.  I browse Etsy and see dozens of crafts I want to try.  I page thru jewelry catalogs and want to buy every pretty bead that catches my eye.  I see a leaded glass window and immediately wonder if I can find my old soldering iron and if not, where can I buy new supplies.  I want to sew and paint and throw pots.  I want to knit and crochet and cross stitch.  I think of new ways to use old things, then want to go out and get old things to think of new ways to use. But there are only so many hours in the day, no matter how long the day appears to be.  I am limited by the fact that I grudgingly and out of necessity work full time at a job that has zero opportunities to be creative.  So what to do?  My craft driven side says "Quit that dumb job and there will be lots and lots of time for making pretty things!" My pragmatic side that likes to eat more than Ramen noodles doesn't really respond...it just sort of makes a pfffft sound.  See, my pragmatic side knows that even if I did, indeed, quit that dumb job, I wouldn't really craft all day long.  I would sleep in, read, go out to lunch, pin tons of stuff on Pinterest, and watch Days of Our Lives and reruns of Wife Swap. Then I would stay up crafting into the wee hours of the morning, feeling my creative juices surging and turning out incredible jewelry.  Only to awaken mid-morning to find that the incredible jewelry I so proudly squinted at around 3am is in actuality uneven, mismatched and pathetically crafted. It's really not much fun taking apart jewelry. So I'll work when I must.  I'll enjoy fresh tomato sandwiches with cilantro and lemonade with mint.  I'll listen to the birds sing as they sit at my feeders and I'll admire my zinnias.  And I'll craft whenever I can, but not at 3am!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Delights

I am sitting on my patio enjoying the setting sun, glass of very nice red wine on the table, iPad in hand...life is good. Life is also made up of random little delights that I sometimes forget to acknowledge. So here are some things I find delightful in no particular order. Listening to my dog snore as he naps on my shoes under my desk. Wine. Chocolate. Hummus. Lemon bars. Dinner with my family. Holding my baby grand niece. Talking on the phone with my daughter as she drives home from work 2 time zones away. Making bracelets. Pinning. Junk stores. Thrift stores. The makeup counter at Nordstrom. Watering my plants. Fresh tomatoes. White corn right off the cob. Watching football with my son. Hummingbirds. Born sandals. My new summer purse. Breezes. My Kindle. Farmer's Markets. People who say thank you. My sister in law. White linens. My best friend. Hydrangeas. Ice cream. Petite vanilla bean scones from Starbucks. Starbucks. Rainier cherries. Stone bridges. Pebbles. Patio umbrellas. Dr Pepper lip gloss. Having 500 photos on my iPhone. Seeing the moon during the day. Words with Friends. Realizing how lucky I am to have family I love, friends I adore and the time to enjoy both. My life is full of random delights. I hope yours is, too.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The FixIt Society

About a month ago I wrote about how growing up in the 50s and 60s, my family (and our neighbors) regularly repurposed, recycled and repaired items and how we are moving away from that mind set.  I  recently read a great blog on Etsy called the Emergence of the Fix-it Society, which pretty much agreed with me (!) and summed up the issues.  There was a time, not so very long ago, when if your toaster broke, you fixed it.  Now it seems to be cheaper and less trouble to just throw it away and buy a new, cheap one.  And we wonder what our landfills are full of! I know that there are some people who have continued to repair and reuse items.  My best friend, Marilyn, would never think of throwing anything away until every bit of usage has been wrung out of it.  She routinely shops garage sales for "new" items and never, ever, ever buys anything brand new unless she has exhausted the possibility of finding it on CraigsList.  I so admire her!  For most of the rest of us, though, we have become a throw-it-away-and-buy-a-new-one society. Well, the good news is that people have had enough of that mentality.  The blog reports that in Amsterdam there is a Fix It Cafe where you can bring in something broken and have people help you fix or repurpose it.  What an amazingly creative idea!  I am not surprised that it started in Amsterdam. My niece's husband is from Holland and he is incredibly frugal.  There is a joke in the family about how many cups of tea he can get out of one tea bag before he puts the bag into the compost heap.  The blog goes on to say that other fix-it places are springing up here in America and how we may be on the verge of becoming a society who will fix things rather than automatically throw them away. What a novel idea!  My daughters first tricycle was found by my father in law next to a neighbor's trash can.  He brought it home, hammered out the bent frame, put on a new seat and those plastic things that hang out of the grips (I have no idea what they are called!) and my daughter had a great trike! Naysayers will point out that a few people fixing small appliances, bikes and clocks is just a drop in the bucket toward the big goal of reducing the incredible amounts of stuff we throw away each day.  But isn't that how buckets get filled...a drop at a time?

Here is the link to the blog on Etsy:
http://www.etsy.com/blog/en/2012/the-emergence-of-the-fix-it-society/

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Crafting or Yoga?

I read an article in a beading newsletter recently in which the author said that, for her, beading was as good as yoga. If the purpose of yoga is to focus the mind and relax, then I have to say she is spot on.  Of course in addition to being relaxing, crafting is also irritating, time consuming, invigorating, inspiring and a bunch of other "ings" including isolating.  I have to admit that I am not a good multitasker when it comes to crafting.  I either want to concentrate on what I am making or do something else.  I just get too involved with the design and complexities of my projects to want to split my focus between what my hands are doing and what my ears are hearing. Sort of like turning down the car radio when you are lost. While I am making jewelry I don't want to watch TV or listen to music or talk.  I especially don't want to talk about what I am doing.  I don't want to explain what it will look like when it is done or why I chose that bead. I don't want to be asked where I got that idea and am I making earrings to go with it.  I certainly don't want any stage of it to be admired...mostly because it might not look like that when it is done.  I break down bracelets all the time and what looks completed right now might be in pieces 10 minutes from now.  OK, so clearly I am a cranky crafter.  At some point I must have been more chatty while doing crafts since my kids have (relatively) fond memories of working with me so I must have talked to them if only to say don't glue your hand to the table.  Those crafts were focused on them, though, and the ones I do now are all about me.  Crafting is my escape, my therapy, my selfish "me" time, and yes, my yoga.  And really, would you be expected to chit chat in the middle of downward facing dog?  Of course not.   That doesn't mean I have to craft in a closet, in the dead of night, when the world is quiet and settled.  I am not waking up at 4 in the morning to string beads by flashlight.  I can craft in the middle of chaos, but my crafting insulates me from it.  So, watch TV, talk amongst yourselves, watch a playoff basketball game.  Just don't expect me to respond when you ask me "Did you see that!!!"  Because, no, I did not...I am doing yoga.

Monday, April 9, 2012

It's a fine line

There is a fine line between enjoying crafting and being obsessed by it.  I know I crossed it several times when my kids were growing up, and they always let  me know when I did.  I vividly recall one Halloween when I was tearing up white sheets in preparation for us to make little ghosts.  I envisioned them poking out of plants, from behind pictures, gazing down from the top of my bookcases.  I was assembling all the stuff at the kitchen table...black markers for the faces, stuffing for the ghost heads, shish kabob sticks to mount them on and orange yarn to tie them up.  My daughter came in, took one look at the table and said "What do we have to make now?" "We don't have to make anything," I replied smugly, "but your brother and I are going to make ghost heads."  That'll show her!  "I don't have to help?" "Nope." "Cool," she said leaving the room.  A little deflated, my son and I made about a dozen of them before he ran out to play.

As I was putting the little ghostly heads around the house, a few things occurred to me. 

1.  It's ok if one or both of the kids chooses not to craft.  Just because I like making things in no way means that they will also like doing so.  Crafting should be something you want to do, not something you have to do. 
2.  Maybe making Halloween ghosts and Halloween candy and Halloween cookies and Halloween costumes and carving jack-o-lanterns was one too many Halloween themed crafts. 
3.  And maybe I should go outside and play with my kids.  Crafts will always be there...kids won't.

A couple of days later I passed through the living room and saw my daughter looking at the little ghost head peeking out from behind the mirror on the wall.  She looked over at me and said "Cool ghosts, Mom." Yes, indeed...and a very cool kid, too.




Monday, April 2, 2012

Reuse, repurpose, refurbish

When I was growing up in the  50's, we recycled.  We didn't call it that, but that is what it was.  We didn't have paper towels, we had kitchen towels from old flour sacks. We dusted with old cloth diapers.  Clothes were handed down from one child to the next and  when they reached the last child, if there was any life left in the shirts and dresses and pants and skirts, they were given to another family.  If they weren't wearable, they went into the rag bin where they were either cut into strips to tie on the orange tree (apparently my mom thought birds were frightened by worn out T-shirts) or used when my dad washed our car.  When someone moved into a new house, you didn't go out and buy them a dust collecting crystal vase.  You went thru your pantry for food stuffs, your closets for linens and your garden for flowers.  Just because you wore out the knees of your jeans, didn't mean you got new ones.  You got your old ones patched.  If you are my age or older, you have at least one photo of yourself in jeans with huge rectangular patches 5 shades darker covering the knees.  My mom ironed them on even before the knees were shredded.  Don't even get me started on all the things we used old newspapers for.  We weren't the weird family on the block, everyone lived pretty much the same way, with dollar saving practices passed down from their parents. 

As we moved into the 60's, my family stopped doing a lot of the ecnomical things that we had previously done.  There are dozens of reasons why that happened to not only us but the families around us, and an analysis of those reasons has filled shelves of books.  This blog is not about that.  It is about me, my one woman campaign to change the way I live.

Last Christmas for the first time in a long while, I made a lot of my gifts.  Vanilla infused vodka, home made Irish cream, vanilla sugar, home made sweet hot mustard.  Since I had not yet begun to reuse bottles and jars, I had to buy containers.  However, as I was filling up the bottles with the vodka, I was one bottle short.  It was Christmas Eve and World Market was closed.  What to do, what to do?  Then I remembered that only that morning I had finished off the last of the maple syrup and a great star shaped bottle was in the recycle bin.  I pulled it out, washed it up and filled it with vodka for my brother.  An Epiphany!  How much better would it be if all the gifts were in recycled bottles?  It was too late for these gifts, but I vowed then and there that next Christmas I would be prepared.  I now have a shelf in the garage filled with a rapidly growing collection of cool bottles and jars.  And not just to give as gifts.  My beads are in little glass jam jars.  My chains and clasps are in larger jars (hint: don't use old Ragu jars unless you don't mind the spaghetti smell).  There is a cute brown bottle that used to have vanilla extract in it sitting on my desk, filled with hand lotion that now has a nice vanilla-y fragrance.  I have 6 blue beer bottles just waiting for Spring flower cuttings (thank you Bud Light Platinum).

Yes, I know, these are little steps...tiny even.  But we all have to start somewhere and I am starting with bottles and jars.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

You either get it or you don't

When it comes to crafts and the time we spend on them, you either get it or you don't.  If you get it, then when I tell you that my daughter and I drove from Seattle to Portland to attend a bead show, you nod, "well, of course you did" or perhaps "WHAT! I missed a bead show?".  If you ask "how much did the gas cost?" or "what else did you do while you were there?", clearly you don't get it.  Sometimes the most surprising people get it.  A guy who thinks nothing of spending most of Sunday afternoon at Home Depot, followed by the rest of the afternoon organizing his nuts and bolts, gets it.  He is the same guy who rummaged through the recycle bin to retrieve glass baby jars so he could nail the lids to a piece of wood, fill the jars with screws and admire how the combination of shiny glass and shiny metal in neat little rows reflects the light from the overhead bulb.  Now that those little glass jars no longer abound in our grocery stores, I can just imagine his pain. But he gets it. 

My family learned years ago that me announcing I was going to the bead store, was me announcing "don't call, don't text, don't ask me if I am on my way home...I am not. I will be home when I am home".  They get it. 

My mom doesn't.  She thinks she does.  She wants to.  She tries to.  But she just doesn't.  Taking her with me to a craft store starts out well.  After all, craft stores are bright with possibilities...flowers, banners, beads, paints, toys, picture frames, candles!  After collecting a cart she is sure she will quickly fill (are these little carts big enough?), she is immediately drawn to the $1 bins.  Notepads, stickers, pens, magnetic shopping lists...all are carefully sorted thru and a few items make their thoughtful way into the cart.  On to the holiday decorations where she picks up several items, then discards them as being too pricey, too big, too small, too something.  On to the frames...nope, doesn't need any frames.  On and on it goes until she returns to the front of the store, where I am still on the first group of beads, and exclaims over the colors and varieties.  Would I make her some earrings with these beads?  Of course...they are added to the cart. What about these little crystal beads, would they make  a nice bracelet? Of course! They also make the cut.  Annnnnd that's it for her.  The rest of the time in the store she spends wandering aimlessly up and down aisles, looking at nothing in particular, returning finally to the jewelry supplies where I am still searching for a 6mm lavender bead that will perfectly complement the larger purple beads I found hanging on the last chance sale rack.  After shifting from foot to foot for a moment she asks "can I help you find something?"  Yes, patience and understanding.  After all, she is my mom and I love her, but she just doesn't get it. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

It's never really finished until it's out the door

Hello. My name is Sue and I am a re-crafter. In my world there is no such thing as a finished craft project. There is always something I can tweak, one more line I can adjust, another bead I can add. I once took a framed pencil sketch of a moose off the wall of my mom's house two years after I had "finished" it to add some shading to an ear.  I have been known to rip apart half an afghan to change the color of a row of stitches.  It's not that I am a perfectionist...not at all.  I am the first to admit that I don't turn out perfect projects.  They are, after all, handmade not machine made.  But I always look at something I have done and think "what if I added..." and unless you actually take it out of my hand, I will do just that.

Sometimes it goes horribly wrong.  Like the time I repainted a wooden Santa because I didn't think his face looked jolly enough. Instead of a happy smiling Santa, I ended up with Santa's evil twin...a scary looking troll with squinty eyes and a lopsided sneer. Or the time I added so much embroidery to a guest towel that my son accused me of wanting to make sure our guests never, ever washed their hands at our house again.

But sometimes it works. I am new to Etsy and have been building up my inventory for the past month.  Each time I have added a finished bracelet to my store, I have felt this amazing sense of pride that something I made is being viewed by someone in Alaska or Kansas or England. So this morning I was completely taken by surprise when, as I sat reviewing my store, reading emails, browsing Treasuries, drinking coffee, I was suddenly overcome with the urge to rework a bracelet.  I thought I would maybe add a bead or two, tweak a link.  Within minutes I found myself completely dismantling it, shortening one chain, adding to another, taking out some beads, adding in beads I had thought would be in other bracelets. The result is similar to the original bracelet, but cleaner, sleeker and I like it!  I may not be finished with it...but right now, I like it.


Hello. My name is Sue, and I am a re-crafter.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Skeletons of crafts past

I'll bet there is not a crafter in the world who has tried only one craft.  I would venture to suggest that we all have crafting closets crammed full of past relics.  Maybe not real closets, although I imagine there are plenty of us who have those, but certainly closets in our memories.  I personally have crammed tons of old crafts and their accompanying detritus into bins, boxes and storage areas until I reach that certain time when I come across them and think "why on earth did I ever want to make that"!  So I have been thinking a lot lately about why we craft and what we craft and why we stop crafting. 


Sometimes I have made things out of necessity.  When my kids had Cabbage Patch dolls, I made them clothes, quilts, bibs, a carrier and even matching clothes for my kids. Partly because it was fun, but mostly because I just couldn't afford the astronomical price of store bought accessories.  What I could afford was a variety of colorful fabrics so that my son and his doll had matching shorts and my daughter and her doll had matching dresses.  I even made my own patterns by ripping apart old shorts and dresses to follow the lines.  I tried my hand at making an actual doll with less than stellar results.  It was lumpy, fragile and completely unattractive.  I wasn't even upset when my dog took it outside where I found it weeks later in the dog house.  Apparently smoothly stuffed and pretty aren't canine requirements for a woobie.

Some crafts I have tried my hand at have been an attempt to make something prettier.  When my son was a baby and spent a lot of time on his tummy during naps, I found myself looking at the back of his shorts and thinking, wouldn't a little butterfly look cute there?  So I embroidered one and yes, it did look cute.  But it took a surprising amount of time and he outgrew the shorts, so that was the end of that.  I once did a labor intensive band of counted crosstitch for one of my daughter's Christmas dresses only to have her ask "do I have to wear that?" My crafter's spirit rose up in affront and my first thought was "YES, YOU HAVE TO WEAR IT!!! WHAT KIND OF A DAUGHTER DOESN'T TREASURE SOMETHING HER HARD WORKING MOTHER HAS CRAFTED HER FINGERS TO THE BONE OVER???"  Fortunately my rational, non-crafter's side asked "Don't you want to?".  To which she replied "Yes. I just wondered if I had to". 

Sometimes I tried crafting things just because everyone else was happily crafting away.  Take stamping.  I loathe stamping and all the ink that goes with it.  But, I went to a stamp party and soon had an array of stamps...holiday stamps, birthday stamps, stars, flowers, butterflies, leaves, basketballs (?), stamps with my kids' names, even stamps with my kids' faces! Red ink pads, black ink pads, emerald green, glittering silver, purple, pink ink pads. Even a glow in the dark ink pad that was supposed to be so amazing that your kids would enshrine you in their hearts forever.  By stamping, we were all supposed to save a ton of money in greeting cards alone.  No one factored in the cost of the card stock used as we tried to perfect the quick stamp and release.  And no one factored in what happened when you encouraged your kids to "stamp with mom".  Red meets black meets green meets purple.  The glow in the dark pad was collateral damage.

Some crafts seemed like a good idea at the time but turned out to be costly/messy/dangerous.  I once traded a sketch I had made of a deer for a big block of beeswax, with images of the amazing candles I would craft dancing in my head. I made one batch of tiny little candles in molds and almost burned the house down in the process.  Who knew wax was flammable?  Probably every other person who has tried to make candles on their kitchen stove. 

So here is a list of crafts I have tried in no particular order.  I am sure I am forgetting some.  Rug hooking, sewing, embroidery, candy making, doll making, stuffed animals, stamping, counted crosstitch, quilting, crocheting, knitting, decoupage, sketching, water colors, woodcrafting, leaded glass work, making pillows, Christmas ornaments, decorative painting, plaster casting, pottery, stencilling, macrame, collecting little pieces of driftwood and gluing on straw flowers, candle making, upholstery, refinishing furniture, beading, jewelry making, wood burning, tie dying, creating transfers for T-shirts, card making, making sachets/potpourri, making bowls out of partially melted LP records, canning, scrapbooking, shadow boxes, cake decorating and food crafts. 

Some I loved, some I hated, some I was just plain awful at and some have provided endless hours of enjoyment, both in the crafting and in the wearing/admiring/gift giving.  And nothing compares to the feeling that you have when someone picks up something you have crafted, whether it be a crocheted throw or a bottle of homemade Baileys and says "You made this?  Cool!" Of course, if they pick it up and say "You made this?  Yikes!", then calmly say "Of course not.  I bought it at the Elementary School Crafting Fair in (insert far away city here in case they want to attend next year's fair).  It's a wonderful event, held every year to raise money so that all the kids, bless their hearts,  can go on this great field trip....." 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

So this is how it starts

I have never blogged before, but not having done something has rarely stopped me from trying something new.  Although I am new to blogging, I am not new to crafting.  At one time or another I have tried just about every kind of craft there is.  Some of them from necessity, or maybe frugality is a better word...ok, so I might be cheap...some just to see if I can do them.  In high school I made my own clothes, because that is what everyone did.  Not my school clothes,  the fine clothier, JC Penny, provided those.  But when there was a special occasion, a trip to the fabric department was the first step.  I remember paging through those wonderful books, assessing the options, determining the difficulty involved then finally selecting the perfect pattern.  Then on to the fabrics....yards and yards of choices in every color and hue...then notions!  Buttons and zippers and ric rac, oh my!  The fact that the finished product was rarely as it was actually depicted on the pattern was of little consequence.  To me, the dresses I made for myself were perfect!  They were in my favorite colors, in fabrics I loved (or were on sale), and they always, always fit as though they were made for me, as of course they were.  They weren't high couture, but they were my couture.  (I can see my daughter rolling her eyes over that phrase!) 

So that was my start, making my special occasion dresses.  My crafting has changed focus over the years as I have either lost or gained interest in other crafts, but I have never stopped wanting to make something with my own hands all by myself.  Which brings me to this blog, something else I am doing all by myself...with Google's help.  I hope to hear from other crafters and do-it-yourself-ers.  After all, the fun is in the journey and who you meet along the way. 

Sue