My personal crafting history goes back to childhood, when my mother gave me the plastic potholder loom with the nylon loops. I might’ve been eight years old and could spend hours making those nylon potholders, with the tacky primary colours and the occasional loop with odd bumpy texture. I made cozies for those square post-it note cubes for my elementary school teachers and my mom’s work friends. It was a pleasant hobby that kept my hands busy while watching TGIF sitcoms. I remember taking my kit to a sleepover and, while we were watching Beetlejuice, one of the girls (maliciously) stepped on my loom and broke it (she was making fun of me for using it earlier in the evening). We were poor, so I was devastated and sobbed for my mother to come and pick me up. We did replace the loom and I spent two more years weaving those squares and attaching them to other squares.
I spent lots of summer mornings watching Carol Duvall crafting on Home Show, silently vowing that I would learn how to do those things. I was, however, put off by the dowdy patterns and frumpy florals that seemed to dominate the crafty segments. One did get the sense that crafting was mostly a pastime for older ladies and, while quilts are great on a winter night, generally resulted in things more decorative than useful.
When I was 10 or 11, my mother enrolled me in a summer ceramics class at a local community centre. A couple of days a week, I’d go pick out a piece from the shelves stocked with cheesy knick-knacks and go about sanding, painting and shellacking it. Over two summers, I painted a ballet shoe, a pitcher and bowl set, several cats, a bunch of other forgettable things, and a turtle I called Barbara. Only the turtle remains. He was my first attempt at doing more than slopping one colour of paint onto a thing. He’s far from perfect, but I love him so much that he might actually be real by now.
Aside from the odd, poorly-sewn throw pillow from souvenir t-shirts, I don't recall crafting much in my teens. I did watch The Furniture Guys regularly and coveted a staple gun for the longest time. They did a lot of shellacking and varnishing, which also interested me. A brief stint in the theatre arts in university put me backstage painting sets and building props. I could shellac and varnish but the boys were hesitant to let me near the power tools.
A subscription to ReadyMade magazine inspired me to pick up some tools and start making stuff on my own again. Martha Stewart took away some of the spinster aunt stigma to being crafty and young women (and men) like myself became part of the maker culture in various ways. I started experimenting with different tools, media, and materials. Since 2003, I've tried jewelry making, knitting, crochet, collage, etching...you name it, I've probably tried it. I've made a whole bunch of crap that was lumpy, sticky, and eventually fell apart, but a few gems have survived, and I'll share those here eventually.
I like projects that are small and fast because I'm impatient and want to feel a sense of accomplishment after binge-watching television shows. Sometimes I start new projects while waiting for other projects to dry. I've got a sizeable stash of fabric remnants, scrapbook paper, paint chips, cardboard, yarn and yarn scraps, at least four different types of glue, and boxes full of things onto which other things can be glued.
This blog will serve as a gallery for past craft projects, a showcase of newer handmade doodads, and perhaps a few tutorials. If you're looking for easy crafty projects for a rainy Thursday, or inspiration on how to use some of your own materials, or even how to use a particular tool, you may find it here. Come back often to see what I've stitched, shellacked, sewn, and/or stuck to other things.
Let's go make some stuff!