I’ve been making stuff like crazy. I’m trying to crank out some crafts for a fundraiser at Nora’s school, but it’s tough to be productive when Nora demands one of each item to keep for herself. Negotiations are ongoing…
I’ve been teaching people at work to knit. I love getting people into knitting. It’s like getting people addicted to something that’s good for them. But some folks have a hard time understanding why you’d take the time to knit something you can easily buy. We were talking about learning how to knit before a meeting started and one woman commented, “I know how to buy socks at the store,” and gave me a look that told me she couldn’t think of anything that could be a bigger waste of time than making your own socks.
My answer to that comment will take a few paragraphs to explain.
With any craft — sewing, knitting, spinning — you have to learn a few new skills. This is good for your brain. You get a feeling of accomplishment and a greater understanding of the way the world works.
Next, you get to shut the rest of the world out for awhile. Knitting and spinning are meditative endeavors. And I’ve almost never come away from a round of knitting without an idea for something to write about. Activities like this have a way of allowing your mind to start composting all the garbage that’s been floating around in there. After an hour or two, you can end up with some pretty good stuff.
Then, there are the longer term benefits. You are surrounded by items that you made. They are exactly what you wanted. They keep you and your loved ones warm. They look impressive to strangers.
Then, there are the very longest term benefits.
The other day, Ben’s parents sent us a package. Inside was a small quilt sewn by Nora’s great grandmother. Mary Safratowich died of cancer more than ten years ago. She was a crafter-extraodinaire. My mother-in-law, Deb, has saved many things she made. Nearly every year, she passes a handmade item down to one her children, or to Nora. A decade later, we are still enjoying things Mary made: quilts, Christmas ornaments, tapestries, hand puppets, you name it.
And these items give us an opportunity to talk about Mary with her great-granddaughter. We tell Nora how Mary was one of the sweetest people we have ever known, and how if she were still alive, she would be doing crafts and baking yummy things with Nora every chance she got.
Shortly after I showed Nora the quilt, Nora said, “When Hoover dies, he can be my great-grandma’s dog and it will sorta be like a farm.” I’m guessing in her little brain, our departed chickens are already in Mary’s care. Nora is able to understand who her great-grandma was when she looks at something she made.
So, naturally, as I sit in a chair in my living room while Nora naps, working on a lace scarf for my mom, I take comfort in knowing that, should I end up in my mom’s shoes one day — with Alzheimer’s — or, of course, just eventually dead and gone, the items I made will remind my family of me. They will have something I took the time to make, not something I casually purchased. And they will remember my love for them.
And this week, I’ll be putting the finishing touches on a new article for Metro Parent magazine. This one is about bullying.
Posting may be a but light this week, but I’ll be back soon.
There is a tent in my backyard that has been pitched since sometime in July. Nora and I slept in it one night.
My bathroom walls are patched with spackle and there are test colors on various walls.
My chicken coop needs some fall maintenance, namely, sealing up the windows with plastic and building a roof on the run.
I started building raised beds for the garden, as evidenced by the mostly completed one sitting on the patio.
Tasks are piling up around here.
In the face of this substantial to-do list, what first step did I take?
Crafting, of course.
I made these bags over the course of the last week. I need to make one more this weekend. They are for Nora and the nephews. I shall stuff them with pajamas and story books for Christmas.
The project idea came from a great little book called The Creative Family, by Amanda Blake Soule.
It’s filled with lovely little procrastination devices that will strengthen your family bond and grow your pile of laundry.
Thankfully, I bear no responsibility for getting into this mess. It’s really my mother-in-law’s fault for giving me the book. (Hi Deb!)