Born again crafter…
I was born and raised in Eugene Oregon, where the 360 degree view from anywhere in the city is lush, green forests. It’s breathtaking. If you aren’t an outdoors person in Oregon, you’re in trouble. Luckily, I was a self proclaimed tomboy! Out at dawn, home by dark was my motto, and the only thing standing between me and my next adventure was a flat tire on my bike or a bad foot hold on the tree I was climbing! I lived for our annual camping and coastal trips. Actually, I was up for most anything as long as I could be shoeless and outside. Let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to be outside when you’re the sixth of seven girls? Just kidding sisters. 😉
It rains in Oregon 9 months out of the year. Well, if you ask a true Oregonian they’ll tell you it’s drizzling. That’s because we have web feet and only succumb during a torrential downpour! If you’re a child growing up in Oregon, you better have a plan B. Mine was crafting.
For me, it was all about glue, paste ( yes, they’re different), tape, scissors, construction paper, and glitter, glitter, glitter. Give me a magazine and I would cut and paste all day long. My sister and I would start cutting strips of construction paper in November to make chains for decorating the Christmas tree. Remember those? But nothing was more important than the “Big Book” coloring book and crayons. And not just any crayons. They had to be Crayola crayons! I thought I had died and gone to heaven when I received the big 64 crayon box. You know, the one with the built in sharpener? I was very meticulous with mine. Carefully peeling the paper back and keeping them very sharp. Those that broke went into a can for what we now call repurposing. Who knew? I used those crayons for making sand candles, stained glass windows, and my personal favorite: fall placemats. That’s where you iron press beautifully colored leaves and crayon shavings between 2 sheets of wax paper. Voila! Instant fall placemats. When I was 10 years old my sister and I had a coloring contest to see who could color the fastest without going over the lines. I smoked her! That should’ve been my first clue that perfectionism was about to take hold…
All grown up and having children of my own, the only time ( and patience) I seemed to have for crafting was the occasional latch hook and their school projects which felt more like a chore than the bonding moment it should’ve been. I was noticing a real change in myself. Any craft I couldn’t do to perfection I wanted no part of. So unfortunately, there wasn’t much crafting going on. (Sorry girls) I’ll never forget taking a bow making class with one of my sisters and feeling so much anxiety to get it just right while she just zipped through the class. Wasn’t this supposed to be fun? What was wrong with me?
With our 2 yr old Dante, and our grown daughters Missty and Sarah following, we moved to sunny Northern California In 2000 and settled in the city of Roseville. I began to feel the creative urge creep back in as we practically gutted our front and back yards and my husband decided I was to design the new landscape. Fun right?! We literally had a truck pull up one day with hundreds of plants and the driver said, “where do you want them?” Uh…
It was definitely a massive undertaking but we got it done and I even had a little fun in the process! I think it turned out pretty good, don’t you?
In 2004 we welcomed our beautiful Granddaughter Annabelle, followed by our 2nd very full of life Granddaughter Lillian in 2008. These two precious gems couldn’t be more different but what a hoot! They are definitely Nana’s little girls. Always wanting to make a craft or help me cook. How could I refuse? In fact, it was with them and to their credit that I learned to just “let go, and get loopy.” We were making a hand crafted Mother’s day gift for their Mommy and instead of focusing on all it’s little imperfections, they saw it for the beautiful masterpiece that it was! Something inside me just clicked that day and I’ve been crafting, applying the 3 R’s refinish, repurpose, re-use ever since! These wonderful little creatures helped me to see and appreciate that the beauty and perfection lies within the uniqueness of each hand crafted item with a missed stitch here, and a lopsided eye there. Deep huh?
What’s that saying, through a child’s eyes?
So with my creative side back in full swing, I decided in 2011 that I wanted to learn to crochet. My goal was to make afghans for my family. A memento for them to remember me by. While on a cross country road trip I picked up supplies and an easy 1*2*3 book. “Aha, a pot holder.” That should be easy right? Wrong! Wait, you want me to Ch 2 in next ch-2 sp, *around? Huh? These books read worse than stereo instructions! Needless to say I was able to hobble through it. Although I did learn later on I was actually making a dish cloth. Haha! Trust me when I tell you learning to read the instructions is way more than half the battle. Upon returning home from that trip I immediately enrolled in a class to learn to read patterns and have been crocheting up a storm ever since. I am now a self proclaimed crochet junkie and yes, I see the beauty in every creation. Perfection!
Now when the girls come over the first thing they want to do is go through Nana’s craft boxes and closets and they know whenever they have a project, Nana has something to save the day! And although they look at me thinking (sometimes saying) Nana’s gone crazy crafting again, I know they are so glad I have!
PS.. about that bow class? I really did learn to make fabulous bows and still make my own to this day. 🙂
…Life is short, crafting is fun. Let go and get loopy with it!