I’m crafty.

Not in a bad way, mind you: what I mean is that I am skilled at arts and crafts. All kinds. I’ve given you hints about it over the past few years: the wooden CD cabinet, the notecards, the paper sashes and flowers…but there’s more.


I have spent time doing the following things at some point:

Plastic Canvas needleworking
Beaded jewelry
Clay jewelry
Stained Glass
Clay sculpture
Flower arranging
Wood crafts

…but there’s more.

When I was a kid, my mom frequented Leewards Craft Store. My mom is viciously talented when it comes to crafts. Her big craft now is quilting, but she used to spend much of her time painting (Folk Art painting, to be more specific). She used to sew all the time, and in fact made several matching sets of outfits for my sister and me when we were younger. I’d post pictures but would have to sleep with one eye open once my sister found out, so I’m not going to.

Mom used to take us to the craft store when it was time for supplies, and she would often buy me a Lil Missy Beaded Doll Kit. I loved making these dolls, and eventually ended up with quite the collection.

When I got married, I was thrilled to find out that a Leewards was opening right near our townhouse in Norfolk, Virginia, so I applied and got a job there. I was in heaven, and thought that it was fantastic to have first crack at whatever we were putting on clearance. The people I worked with were amazing, too: everybody there was crafty. I learned how to do many things I had never tried before, and opened my mind to being more creative about solutions. That’s why I’m always ready to suggest a new use for something, or how to make a *fill-in-the-blank* for a *whatever-you-need*, or come up with tons of ideas based on a single theme. Need an idea? Call me.

I loved my job (and my newfound hobbies) at Leewards so much that Jim and I eventually moved from a two-bedroom townhouse to a three-bedroom townhouse, because my crafts were taking over the living space.

(I know. Pick your chin up off the floor. True story.)

I did craft shows, making all kinds of things in the country style (SO not my style now!): rag dolls, flowered wreaths, Christmas ornaments…oy vey.

I was trained to do custom framing at one point, and that’s where I ended up for the last three years I worked there. That’s a whole different use of one’s creativity, and I loved it. I also saved tons of money on framing my own stuff.

When I was pregnant with the boys, I sewed crib sets and wall hangings for their rooms. I made our own holiday cards for years.

As my life grew busier, my craft time became more and more rare. Now, with writing–what I’ve always wanted to do–being my main activity, I craft in short, random spurts. Creating something with my own two hands provides a feeling of satisfaction that I can’t even explain.

This week, I have been preparing for a “Handmade Open House” I am participating in this evening. I am bringing my books to sell (Hey, I MADE them.), but wanted to have something truly crafted to go along with them, for fitting-in purposes. I have been making travel journals.

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What fine, hand-crafted travel journals.

All of them are different, and all of them are adorable. They are composition books covered in paper craft, and they are something I would have begged my mom for when I was a kid, but would also use them now. It was a highlight of my busy week, messing with combinations of paper and embellishments, and I’m excited to display them for sale tonight and at the craft show I’m a part of at our old middle school, next month.

Of course, if they don’t sell on either night, I may be opening up an Etsy shop. Now THAT’S something I’ve never tried before…

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