The crafter in my head

For me and most women I know, nothing beats a good craft show, especially if it’s outdoors on a lovely day. Fall is the best, with the food booths pushing hot cider and apple turnovers and the craft booths luring you in with painted gourds, twiggy wreaths, and early Christmas kitsch. It’s the chance to buy something handmade (although some booths do sneak in Made in China imposters) and admire other people’s industriousness and creativity. 

Unlike the sister profiled here, my sisters and I were not born to the craft — any craft. While we each have our talents — one sister crocheted lovely little baby outfits, another sewed and embroidered adorable clothes for her girls when they were young, another did ceramics, and I dabbled in a few things like crochet, embroidery, and mosaics — we’re not ones to sit around the kitchen table with a pile of ribbon, some beads, a little Elmer’s, and a few cinnamon sticks and whip up something worthy of anything but the back side of the Christmas tree.

We are all in awe of my sister-in-law, who is so far to the artistically gifted side we can barely see her. Pottery, watercolors, sewing, reupholstering, wallpapering, jewelry, dolls, the aforementioned painted gourds — you name it and she can do it, beautifully. We all pray she gets our name in our family’s annual Christmas gift exchange and all that talent’s not wasted buying some dull man-gift for one of the brothers. Her four sisters also have the craft gene (one is a professional potter and another makes lovely jewelry “on the side”), and they are the kind to sit around the kitchen table and do projects; thankfully, often sharing the finished products with the four of us, their undeft, creatively challenged, semi-sisters.

But in my head, it’s another story. In my head, I’m talented. I whip up charming little treasures that adorn my home and make perfect gifts. I even sell them on eBay or in a cute little shop, which of course, I’ve already named and outlined a business plan for, even though I’ve never worked a day of retail in my life. I craft in a studio (not a home office) where the worksurfaces are covered not in day planners and dictionaries and reams of source materials and tablets scribbled with conference-call notes, but with fabric and ribbons and colored papers and all manner of creativity-inducing fodder.

I’ve recently caught the “primitive” bug, thanks to a visit to a little shop in Mt. Airy (aka Mayberry, TV home of Andy, Opie, Aunt Bea…) on our vacation. I guess I’d been under a rock before then, because the world of Prim and its language of grubbying-up and ornies and make-do’s and fillers and sitters and tucks was all new to me. Strange for a long-time lover of all things cottage and floral and to be so attracted to grungy simplicity, but it bodes well for when Mike and I win the lottery (miraculously without ever playing it) and build our cabin in the woods.

Until then, I’ll keep building my crafty castles in the air (using chippy old fence pickets and rusty hardware) and doing my part to bolster the flagging economy (and eBay’s slumping sales) by buying little cuties like these, lovingly made by talented women doing what I only dream about for now, but will get around to doing someday, eventually, I swear…

valhearts31  prim-val-hearts


When Alexander the Great visited Diogenes and asked
whether he could do anything for the famed teacher,
Diogenes replied: ‘Only stand out of my light.’
Perhaps someday we shall know how to heighten creativity.
Until then, one of the best things we can do for
creative men and women is to stand out of their light.
                                                    ~ John W. Gardner


If you dream it, it will come?

There’s been a terrible mistake. I’m supposed to be living in a cottage surrounded by flowers. It’s as plain as day, right on my office wall.

Remember Richard Dreyfuss’ character in Close Encounters of the Third Kind? He obsessively builds his mound/mountain without really knowing why, until that eureka moment when he finds it in real life.

I like to think my cottage obsession is like that. That someday I’ll be moseying along, minding my own business, and come upon my dream cottage…for sale…cheap… and Mike and I will buy it and live out our days there. (OK, honey?)

It could happen, right? I’ve read many articles in my home & garden magazines that begin, “Well we weren’t even LOOKING for a house, but we came around the corner and there it was. We had to have it (even though we had to sell our current house, quit our jobs, move 3 states away, and spend $100K renovating it).”

 It could happen, right?    Yeah, right.

But I can envision it anyway — the chair here, table there, tiled fireplace, gardens all around.

In the meantime, like Richard, I keep trying to create my dream right where I am.

It’s not so bad, really. 

There are more far-fetched futures to dream about. (That place on the beach, for example.)

But on a day as glorious as this one — clear, sunny, just warm enough — even cottages in the air seem not only possible, but probable. I’ll just stumble onto it.

I know it.

 I have never had any other desire so strong, and so like to covetousness,
as that one which I have had always,
that I might be master at last of a small house and a large Garden.
                                       ~ Abraham Cowley, The Garden, 1666