I have lots of amusements. I call them amusements because that is what they are. They keep my hands busy. Sometimes they keep my head busy too. I knit, and stitch. I make little crappy things. I illustrate (I know people pay me for that...but it does amuse and entertain me too) and make pictures. Even sometimes, graphic design can be an amusement too...beyond a job. I underline sometimes. Correcting typos and grammatical errors may be a craft, but it is not, in any sense, an amusement. Only way through it is to do it... However, I love keeping my hands moving...and as I have recently clicked back into sockmaking for Rob and the frantic round and round and round we go, it has spurred me to think about my amusements and the space they have evolved to right now, in 2014.
Some people "do crafts" in their "crafts room" which is decked out in furniture and storage for (here comes the verb) "crafting". As in, "We craft together. Or, "Margie and her sister love to craft and scrapbook together". As a codger with word sensitivity issues (we can have food sensitivity, why not words too?), I love where the evolution of the verb to craft--and how, in the span of 20 years thse idea of making stuff that you got instructions from Good Housekeeping or McCalls Magazines, or just knitting or the like has blown into this industry of Craft and Crafting with emporia devoted to this...from the ever frightening Hobby Lobby to Michael's and the cinnamon-scented A.C. Moore. What is stunning about these palaces of the housemade, homemade and handmade:
1. Just about everything is made in China.
2. Natural fiber? Say what?
3. Crappiness pervades. No good colors. No good materials. No good sizes.
4. Art supplies are "take the price from Dick Blick or any other online resource and triple it and, oh by the way, sell only the lowest end quality/ student grade everything"(most noticeable in the crap paint with no pigment in it).
5. The frames are nice with mats (when you can get the double triple coupon bonus) but wait, one more time, just about everything is made in China.
6. No end to little bitsy bits....and crap you make out of little bitsy bits....like rubber band crafts and scrapbooking, and punchcraftery. I think I need some space to rant about scrapbooking.....
7. In the spirit of Corporate Innovation, there is a craft created hourly for moms (not to be too sexist about it, but face it, who else other than moms or moms-in-training, or sorority sisters do this crap)...to have a reason to come back and shop the aisles at these palaces of making and creating.
8. Weddings have become a high point in the life of the Moms and to be Moms....and are apexes of the crafting enterprises. (As an aside, wedding supplies for wedding crafts are most excellent and hilarious to this would-be mom).
9. Ditto anything surrounding weddings...showers, parties, baby showers. Opportunities to make hilarious cakes, tasteful or "adorable" centerpieces, cards etc. And of course, favors, now not a single thing, but a "gift bag". Please sing along: "just about everything is made in China".
10. You can pretty much put a bow, a fluffy, gifty bow on anything in that store.
11. If you are a "decorate for the holidays" type of mom or mom to be, you need to get your sweet self in motion early on. so your kids can have monogrammed stockings; your tree bearing original ornaments, one more original and personal than the next (Superbowl 2013, Baby's First Tooth, Mom's Root 2014, How Dad forgot Mom's Birthday one more time 2014, Grandma's Gaffe at the County Club, and Grandpa Forgot his pants 2014. There is only so much time during the year, and most of it needs to be focused on the holiday of December to prove one's worth, "originality and uniqueness" (RuPaul Charles), creating things of great emotion and wonder. Creating things to hold those extrordinary moments close to your heart and "never ever let it go". That is where the magic of creativity and craft comes into the life of the fully realized mom.
One of the high priestesses of the Craftiness Movement is the great crochet-er Martha Stewart--bringing homemade from something we are ashamed of to a higher art of elegant, handmade (not homemade), and personal. Nothing wrong with that altar, but the blow-out has been something quite extraordinary. Now instead of just having some handwork you do, there are rooms in one's house devoted to this pursuit. There are craft parties and craft conventions. There are websites and new for me, the hands on training one can acquire from YouTube. Dang, with YouTube, the idea of surrounding yourself with books to figure out how to do something tricky and ripping it out a zillion time is antiquated methodology. You flick on YouTube and turning a heel of a sock is a cinch...and you can watch and do at the same time. Where has this Rip Van Winkle been sleeping? Love YouTube. Love being able to follow along with the chippy online who has this all nailed. If only learning code could be so easy. What an amazing thing that we can learn everything from our online tutors...from French to Macarons, from Drag makeup to how to turn a heel. It makes being homebound an opportunity to become most excellent at something wonderfully, exotically obtuse.