My Story as a Crafter

(First posted in another blog on 7 February 2008)

I was about 6 years old when I first ‘discovered’ a talent for drawing. Creativity probably ran in the family. My maternal grandmother was an excellent dressmaker and cook. Grandpa, her husband, had beautiful penmanship and was very particular with the clothes he wore. His brother, my great uncle, was a talented ceramic artist who had his own studio.

One of my first pencil drawings was a profile of a woman with big eyes and nose. I remember showing it to grandma who seemed pleased with what I did. That drawing will eventually be followed by a series of still life sketches of houses, flower pots, and even sunrises executed in colored pencils and crayons.

Thinking that I’d pursue a career in Fine Arts, I joined art contests in school to hone my talent. One such contest took place in Grade 4. My still life entry worn third place. Of course I was as excited as the other winners! It didn’t matter that my prize was a desk organizer made of flat wooden sticks (like those from an ice lolly). Unfortunately, I gave it away when I started looking at things with my eyes instead of my heart. It was the first and last time I won something for my drawing efforts.

High school came and I developed some interest in sewing. My grandmother patiently taught me the basics, and I quickly learned the ropes. I also became a perfectionist. I was quick to take apart stitches that were out of line. Grandmother chided me in vain for being so nit-picky. It turned out not only did I inherit her love for sewing, but I also got that habit from her.

In sophomore year in college, I sewed together scraps of cloth to cover an ordinary looking binder. I embellished the front cover with a puffy pink heart and cross-stitched my initial on it. The binder’s paper dividers were replaced with satin ribbons adorned with bells at the end. In hindsight, I think that was over-the-top crafting! Then again, when you’re young, nothing’s too much.

Years after college, I continued to sew small items: fabric bags, drawstring pouches, vanity kits, and cloth-covered picture frames which I had consigned to a friend who owned a store. It never occurred to me to sell or join craft shows because by then, I had fallen in like with corporate life.

It was sometime during those years that I saw a magazine demonstration of how to make a rose-covered topiary. “How pretty,” I thought. I want to do that and I did! I bought a Styrofoam ball, enough satin rosebuds to cover the ball, and a handy glue gun. I gathered a bunch of twigs from the garden to make the topiary’s skinny trunk. The magazine has fallen apart and been given away, but I can still make those topiaries from memory.

After topiaries, pomanders, and other items involving dried flowers, I turned my attention to fancy gift-wrapping and more recently, simple beaded projects.

Topiary with rose-colored buds. I made this for a class instructor who's an eternal romantic.

Topiary with rose-colored buds. I made this for a class instructor who’s an eternal romantic.

My second nephew's baptismal gift which I wrapped in cloth, furoshiki-style. Tie a ribbon around the gift, add metal charms, insert card, treasure "forever."

My second nephew’s baptismal gift which I wrapped in cloth, furoshiki-style. Tie a ribbon around the gift, add metal charms, insert card, treasure “forever.”

Beaded book thong with metal bag charm and beads

Beaded book thong with metal bag charm and beads

Affirmation beads

Affirmation beads

First and last time I made such a chunky bracelet. Nice to look at, but a challenge to wear.

First and last time I made such a chunky bracelet. Nice to look at, but a challenge to wear.

Clearly, I’m hardly an expert in one crafting area save for making sewn or beaded items I can easily tuck into a letter. But that’s okay. I really want my experiences to be varied and colorful. That’s what makes life interesting.

To this day, I still don’t sell what I make. For now, I just want a little corner for the things I create, the stuff I collect from travels, and a space for the craft books and magazines I read. If we can share a cuppa in that corner, I wouldn’t mind doing that, too.

Cheers to things hand-made with love!

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