I am not the least bit crafty. Sure, I do crafts. I knit (see previous blog about booties, yarn sculptures and no-snack knitting classes) and I love to cut and paste. I regret that bulletin boards never caught on in the home or company office buildings, because I think I could do a neat bulletin board, outside the kindergarten classroom.
But I don’t scrapbook, I don’t cross-stitch, I don’t felt purses (feel them, yes, but felt them, no), I don’t do anything freehand, and even measuring is iffy with me. Any crafts I manage to eke out are done with printed instructions and sometimes private lessons.
I’m from a big family of crafters, so the evidence pointing to me being switched at birth just keeps racking up. My sisters could make anything with enough yarn, fabric, small power tools and gift cards for Home Depot and Joann Fabrics. If I’m ever stranded on an island, I want to be with them, because I’m pretty sure they could turn bark, leaves, sand and toenail clippings into something trendy and must-have, start a cottage industry, and get us off that island in a private jet.
Kathy makes designer knock-offs on her sewing machine in a way that is probably illegal. I get a homemade Christmas ornament from Pam almost every year that makes me want to redesign my entire tree. And Reenie made me a little photo album out of fancy paper once that I can’t bring myself to put my crappy photos in.
This is being passed along the generations, as my nieces – and even a nephew or two – could whip my butt at fabric related crafts.
Even people who come into our family through marriage are better at crafts than me. They seem to pick up through osmosis the craft stink that’s floating around the air in the family, and soon after the wedding they’re making batiked thank-you notes and embroidered box springs covers. My brother-in-law Dan could build a house out of wine corks if the San Francisco building inspector would permit it.
And my family isn’t into tacky crafts. They don’t do crochet, macramé, or anything in outdated colors. They don’t do anything that looks homemade. My sisters told me early on in my 7th grade sewing phase that you never – never - use the leftover fabric from a skirt to make a matching head scarf (as tempting as that might be), because then everyone will know it’s homemade, and that’s a bad thing. A bad, bad thing.
I myself never got the skirt finished, so using the leftover fabric was not an option, thus this was not a dilemma for me. I did, however, have ammunition for snorting and eye rolling when I saw someone in the middle school hallway wearing a matching skirt and scarf. “Loser,” I’d mutter.
Now that I’m a housewife soccer mom, I’m once again put to shame by my fellow bleachermates, who decorate flip-flops in the team colors by wrapping deflated balloons and other sundry stuff around the thong part. They make their kids things with their names painted on in those letters with the balls on the ends, a writing technique that even a staff of 17-year-olds can master to work at the personalized Christmas ornament booth in the mall. I’m 49-years-old and I still can’t do that.
Being from a big family has its advantages, though. If I feel the need to experience homespun in any way, shape or form, I’ve got sisters for that.