Posts Tagged ‘crafts’

It occurs to me that I may have misled you in a previous post. I know this because a lot of you complimented me on my craftiness. The fact is, I’m really not very crafty. It’s all smoke and mirrors my friends. Just an illusion.

I try. I really do try but I’m not all that successful.

When I was a child my Mom knitted. She used to knit all kinds of wonderful things. The things that stick in my mind are sweater jackets. Do you remember them? They would have kittens, puppies, teddy bears or ice skaters on them. They had a big thick zipper to seal us inside their warmth.

sweater patterns

My little sister had a beautiful blue one with white fluffy kittens on it.

I can remember lots of knitting needles of various sizes, a plethora of patterns and wool. Lots and lots of wool. In those days it was bought in skeins and the first task was to find the end and have one of her daughters hold her hands apart so she could place the big loop of wool carefully over them as she wound the wool into a ball.  I suspect I pestered her to let me try, because I ended up with a wooden thread spool with four nails hammered in one end and she showed me how to do “Corking”. Every little scrap of wool left over was handed to me to make a multi- coloured masterpiece.

corkingTrue to form, I was determined to make a rug…not just a potholder. Twenty plus years later I had so much of this “corking” we had to roll it into a giant ball. It had become an entity unto itself and I finally left it in the custody of my brother-in-law who had room for it.

After my Mom passed away I decided I was going to learn how to knit, “just like her”. So I went for my Knitting Badge at Brownies. Do they still have Brownies?


I learned to knit. I followed the pattern.Knit one, pearl two, etc. I got my Knitting Badge and that year everyone got “Pixie Slippers” for Christmas.  Many years later when I was ill I started knitting again. I invested in some wonderful, inexpensive but colourful wool. The plan was to keep it simple and just make scarves for everyone for Christmas. It was calming and kept me busy. My youngest sister stopped by one day to check on me. She was speechless. My lap was full of knitting and there was a pile on the floor. It seemed endless! She very tactfully asked me what I was working on. I told her. She suggested that perhaps this one was long enough. I started to cry and explained, “I know! But I don’t know how to stop. I never learned how to cast off. The only pattern I ever followed had you just thread through the loops and gather them into a toe.” Unfortunately, she didn’t knit. I was stuck.

My Grandmother passed away two years after my Mom. She didn’t like me much so I was surprised that she had left me her sewing machine. It was very old. I’m told it was one of the first electric models. No one in our family sewed but I was determined to figure it out. Through high school I made clothes for myself, always altering the pattern just enough to make it really weird. I did, however, make my high school boyfriend some wonderful corduroy shirts. Really, they were nice! It was the one pattern that worked for me so he ended up with several in many colours. In college, I decided to dress up my apartment with the cheapest fabric I could find. Burlap. You couldn’t sit on the couch without breaking out in a rash.


When my sisters started having daughters, I decided I would make each girl child a special gift that could be kept forever. I found a pattern for dolls that were actually bigger than a one-year-old and that I could personalize. I worked really hard on them. A lot of blood, sweat and tears went into these dolls. I gave them little fingers and toes, a belly button and even a butt. Each one had a different colour hair and a complete outfit. They were beautiful and I was very proud of them. Oddly these dolls are not the dolls my nieces remember. They remember the mermaid dolls that I gave them the following year. They still have the mermaid dolls. I did not make the mermaid dolls. I had sworn off sewing after finishing the first set of dolls. I never wanted to see a sewing machine again. But…my then spouse gave me a brand new, fancy shmancy Singer sewing machine for Christmas. Needless to say, I got rid of him before the mermaids appeared.


I still try to be “crafty”. I’m still not very good at it. Often there are just a lot of laughs at my expense. Occasionally though, there is a happy accident and something I make turns out.


I just made this at Thanksgiving…not when I was five.

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This week found He-Who and I heading down to the Niagara Region to run errands (usually this means pay bills), Christmas shop (so we have bills to pay) and visit family (which is hit and miss because we go on days like Tuesday).  Our list of “errands” took us into the US which means I get to stop at my baby sister’s in the hopes of seeing her, my hysterical brother-in-law, my beautiful niece and my adorable grandniece.  Did I mention it was Tuesday? The brother-in-law was working, my niece (who is about to become a nurse) was doing her clinical and little Ellee was off at her daycare. Luckily, my sister was home so I got to see her.


My sister’s house was decorated for Christmas and she handed me a bag of goodies from Ellee. It seems 3-year-old Ellee has been getting quite crafty and is making a lot of presents for her family. Inside the bag I found all kinds of treasures. These are a couple of my favourites.


As you can see, all of them are fridge worthy. Everything I pulled out of the bag made me smile more. They were all keepers.

Looking around at my sister’s home, I noticed that she still kept the little Angel/Elf I made her years ago when I was still in school. I made them for everyone that year and most of my family still have them. They were the silliest things but they remain one of my favourites.

Angel ElfOver the years I have made many gifts for my friends and family. They all have a Christmas tree with lights from my ceramic phase; they all have a hooked rug from the year I took that on; and they all have a thread painting from the years I studied Japanese thread painting (also known as Bunka). There were dolls, photos, puzzles and knitting.  These were the gifts that people chose to keep. In later years when I had a good job and career (I know that’s a bit like a once upon a time fairytale) I bought expensive gifts but I bet neither they nor I can remember what they were.  There is a certain magic to something into which you have put time, effort and maybe a drop of blood or two from a needle prick.

Japanese Thread Painting

This is “Bunka” aka: Japanese Thread Painting

I can go to most of my family’s and a lot of friends’  homes and find something on display that I made for them. When we came home, I realized that a lot of the things I had hanging around were things that friends or family had made for me, or I had made myself. I tell you it is Christmas magic!

Homemade gifts

I may not see everyone I would like to see as often as I would like to see them. They all, however, have a little bit of me with them all the time,  and I a little bit of them, through the things we have made for each other over the years.

The last thing in my bag of goodies from Ellee was this…

Magic Wand

I pulled it out of the bag and looked at my sister questioningly. She said, “Oh, that’s your magic wand.” I wish you all could have seen the look on He-Who’s face when I instantly pointed it at him and said, “Disappear!”.  It was magic!

Christmas Lights

Ellee finished her cookies

Ellee finished her cookies

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