I may have mentioned recently that I have taken up crochet. Now, I’m certainly not a master. I learned some basic stitches over winter vacation when I was twenty-two. I’d flown up to PA to spend the break with my parents and sister, and I had my wisdom teeth out on Christmas Eve. My sister taught me to crochet because I needed something to do that was quiet and could be done while sitting in bed. For a few years, I would crochet while watching TV, or when I was done with my homework and waiting for customers to drop in to the dry cleaning shop where I worked part time to cover the bills of a college student (I also had a work-study job on campus, so I was able to squeak by with the rent and utilities).
However, at some point, I began modeling dragons out of Sculpey, and had a little side income selling them at a local consignment shop. When I moved to New York, I began getting more interested in making beaded jewelry – something I had done in my teens for awhile – and that took off for me, especially after my kids were born, and I began to sell things on Etsy. I also spent some time making little kitchen witches (which I called “fridge pixies”) out of mini gourds and mixed media. But, like many projects, that fizzled when my kids started school.
So now I find myself, a full time student, busy Mommy, and busy PTA-er with little time to keep up with my creative side. However, we do still game twice a week. We have a Pathfinder game on Tuesdays, and an Exalted game on Fridays. With a large game group, it is sometimes possible to sit on the backburner while the other PCs get a turn. For a time, I was playing my moves on Words With Friends, checking Facebook updates, and texting during these periods of character rest. It soon became evident that doing something requiring that level of concentration meant that I was often missing what was going on in the game. Simply sitting and doing nothing, however, was putting my overworked body to sleep. So, I took a cue from my friend Helen, who often knits during the game, and i began re-learning how to crochet. I have been practicing my stitches for about a month, and I feel that I am ready to embark on a new project! What I want to make most of all is a pointy winter elf hat with long, braided earflaps. Yes, I would absolutely wear one! I would also like to make a nice throw at some point, preferably in shades of teal and blue, and with spiral patterns, so as to look like a tumultuous sea.
But, first things first, I feel that the best project to begin with when you haven’t made anything significant in a while is a scarf. Then, the other day, I was chatting with my friend Lisa, and she asked me which Hogwarts house I belonged to. I proudly told her that I am a Hufflepuff. She is, too! We decided that we should make ourselves some black and yellow scarves. I mentioned this to my children, and immediately received requests for a Slytherin scarf and a Gryffindor scarf. My son, whom we refer to online as SuperDude, wants to be Draco Malfoy next Halloween. The Pixie (my daughter) was already Hermione this past Halloween, and wants to be Lucy from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe next Halloween. She insists, though, that she would be house Gryffindor, because she is so like Hermione. I told her that 1. I think she is better suited to Ravenclaw, and 2. so is Hermione. Regardless, I will be making her the scarf she requested. I offered to make my husband a Ravenclaw scarf, but he said he doesn’t really wear the scarves he already has… which is true.
Now I have a project in mind – house scarves for my household! I need to get some yarn! But, before those scarves can be completed, there is the not-so-small matter of valentine’s Day cards for the kids. As is the general custom, children exchange cards at school on Valentine’s Day. One can purchase store-made cards – which are usually flimsy and frequently have very awkward messages – or one can make homemade cards. Actually, if you don’t want to do either, I highly recommend the Etsy shop Reba’s Creative Hands for handmade kid-sized Valentines – when I did not have time to make my own cards with my kids, I always went to her. She makes awesome stuff, and the price is unbeatable. Now, however, I am always on the lookout for a way to do a project together with my kids (since my son is now old enough to participate), and Valentine’s Day cards are a great opportunity. We will have to gather a large amount of supplies, however – There are 30 kids to a class now, and I’m not sure whether my daughter’s Girl Scout troop will be exchanging cards, but I know she wants to make cards for them!
- Assorted plain cardstock in colors light enough to show writing
- Assorted patterned and textured cardstock for cutouts
- Stamps and ink pads that match the theme (√)
- Stickers that match the theme – I go with scrapbooking stickers with a vintage feel
- Glitter, glitter pens, flocking, microbeads, mini jewels, etc. to glue on (I have the glitter)
- A glue roller pen for fine detailed flocking and glittering
- A glue stick and/or paper glue for the larger objects
- Lollipops or other candy for the cards
I will also be utilizing the fancy edging scissors I used on my wedding invitations…I knew I would need them again! This way, i get to spend quality time with my kids, be creative, and help them to make customized cards for each child and teacher (and grandparents, aunts & uncles, and cousins)! A big undertaking? Yes. Messy? Oh, yeah. Worth it to spend time with my kids doing something they will remember when they are grown? Absolutely!
I know they will remember this, because I clearly remember doing creative things with my Mom. One year, I don’t remember whether we had a Christmas tree, but I do remember helping my mom cover the entire front room with kraft paper, and making presents and ribbons and even a life-size fireplace out of paper. We hung our stockings in front of the paper fireplace. It was like the world had been magically transformed, and my Mom became a hero because she had done this. I also recall a time when she sat on the floor with me and we drew pictures on haunted houses using my huge box of crayons. My Mom is a very creative person, and the times when I was able to share the creation of things with her are cherished moments. I even remember hunting together for pinecones and then dipping them in glue and glitter to make beautiful sparkling decorations. When we participated in hands Across America when I was 11, my Mom made a human-sized cardboard statue of Liberty, with the torch in its mouth so that the hands were free to hold on to others. I think that sometimes, just doing something small with your kids, even if it is from a kit, makes a huge impression. My daughter is STILL happy to tell everyone about the time she and I painted a birdhouse together four years ago!
So, when the Valentines are done, and the scarves are begun, I plan to teach my children to crochet!