Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Crafty, crafty me (for once)

See that picture?  A success! I'm stunned.  (Though I did have a failure, which you'll see as well.)

I'm not much of a craft person. I have dreams of doing things beautifully and frugally, of being the perfect and hip suburban homesteader who can knit, can, sew, garden, and Homemaker MacGyver her way through life's travails.

Reality is very, very different.

I'm all thumbs.  I tried knitting, and I'm not bad if I do it for a while and I have an easy-to -follow pattern (though I keep forgetting how to cast on).  My mother was a good knitter when she did it, though she takes pains to tell you that she thinks she knits too tightly (I like that because any sweater or scarf she'd make would be thick, substantial, and warm.)  She made the best slippers, and little stockings to hold packets of Lifesavers for the Christmas tree.  Like me, little things out of place bug her--she knit my niece a baby blanket, noticed a dropped stitch when she was almost done, and unraveled it and redid it.  I managed to knit an alien dishcloth when I was recovering from getting two impacted wisdom teeth out (thanks to a bad reaction to the painkillers, I was on an Advil regimen and so had a clear enough head to do the dishcloth).  The same thing happened with a dropped stitch--I noticed it when it was almost done, I couldn't let it go, I unraveled it and redid it. (If nothing else, I have a special talent for being neurotic.) I have tried to take up knitting again since I got my cat four years ago, but she enjoys pouncing on the needles while I knit. Which is cute, but not so great for whatever I'm working on.

I haven't actually used this yet. I really should, eh?
I took sewing lessons and even managed to make a pillow cover, a bag and a purse (though the purse is pretty amateurish).  But again, time, money, and confidence are lacking here.  I am resolving to make some simple things in 2012, just to show myself that yes, I can do it.  (I was never under the illusion that I could make an entire wardrobe, but a few simple things like a skirt or a bag would be cool.)  I managed those other things with a lot of guidance from a very patient sewing teacher, Mikala.  Honestly, I credit her with showing me how much fun craft can be, and how artistic it truly is.  Or how artistic it can be.  I have the color and design sense of a mole.

Well, Mikala hosted a one-day decoupage workshop in her studio.  I thought, "Hey, why not?  It's not expensive, it's on a weekend day, and I haven't seen her in ages!"  So I signed up.  Oh, she does things right.  The woman had mimosas for us.  Now, although I couldn't have a mimosa, having the alcoholic tolerance of an anorexic mosquito and needing to drive home after, it was a nice touch.  (I had a mixture of cranberry and orange juice instead.  Delicious, by the way.)

Decoupage is one of those fun crafts that doesn't take a lot of money but can be a lot of fun, and strangely satisfying.  You can use paper or cloth scraps (or pictures from magazines, you get the idea) and glue them to old jars, boxes, or containers (or other things like picture frames or light switches) to give them a new life. You add more layers of glue on top of the paper or cloth to create a protective barrier. It's not as difficult as you'd think (though it's not completely easy).  One of the students in the class last weekend made her vase look like it was ceramic; it was really cool.  You can even do it to furniture, though that's more advanced and requires a fair bit of sanding.

I like the idea of reusing things.  I brought in an old jar to use.  Mikala had cloth and paper; for the jar I envisioned a candle luminary type thingy.  ("Thingy" is a technical term. Really.)  I figured I'd get an led tealight (not a real one, I have a very curious cat) and put it inside when I was done.  It wasn't difficult at all.  I'll probably get some ribbon and wrap it around the rim.

As you can see, I don't do the pretty flower stuff
Mikala had vases and some boxes from the dollar store.  Ironic, since the dollar store boxes were already really pretty.  However, I wanted to try my hand at using cloth, and so I did.  And. . well, it doesn't look too bad in the picture, but I know I could do better.  A few tips--don't try to glue paper or cloth right to an edge--it's fine to wrap it around corners and glue it down.  It would have looked a lot better if I did that.

Practice will make perfect, I'm sure.  Now I just need a tree.
I also managed to reuse an old canning lid.  Finally! I had tossed the ones I had been saving away because well, I didn't want to end up on Hoarders, crying over the prospect of clearing out a room filled to the brim with old canning lids since "I can reuse them somehow, I swear!"  Now I can--I'll need to practice more, but I think I can turn these into Christmas ornaments.  No, I do not have a tree.  But I do have friends with Christmas trees, and a Unitarian Universalist Church that has a holiday fair every year, so. . .I can reuse these.  I can use scrap cloth and paper and ribbon.  I can make all kinds of stuff!

But I can't keep it in my place.  As I said, ending up on Hoarders is not my life's dream.


  1. That jar's looking gooood! I have been wondering what that decoupage technique is! Didn't realise it was as simple as glueing stuff! :)

    I really like the lid too!

  2. Awesome! I'm still working on my vase from class. I have wrinkles in my cloth so I figured I'd just mod podge that b*tch up until its smooth, I might to take sandpaper to it.

    It's Kim by the way, the one that sat in the corner and was kindergartoning it up with the decoupage.

  3. :::Waves::: Hey, Kim! I love your site. You have cool stuff. Nice to "see" you online.

    Bryallen, I've got a PG Tips box I'll be practicing on. Dear Lord, Mikala's right this is addictive, LOL.

  4. Hi,
    It's Christy from the decoupage class, I made the little this site and your box and the ornament came out great! Hope to see you in another class.:) Mikala is great isn't she?

  5. :::Waves:::

    Hey, Christy! I'll be doing Mikala's knitting class next.