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The Lost Craft

Did you know I used to be a crafting wizard? It’s a fairly well-known fact among those who know me that I’m very creative and know my way around a wide variety of supplies from any arts and crafts store, but most of the friends who I’ve met in the past decade have no idea how big my obsession was. (I did craft shows, for goodness’ sake!)

I come by it honestly; a love of creating with our hands runs in the family. I vividly remember following my mom into Lee Wards Craft Store when I was very young. At every visit she picked up the supplies she needed for her current projects and, as a reward for my good behavior, bought me a “Lil Missy” beaded doll kit, like this one:

Final Michelle 1

Sidenote: this is not my picture, but I did make this actual doll. The picture came from this site, and I had to laugh as I clicked through because as I looked at the pictures I realized I made lots and lots of these. Beaded dolls were just the tip of the iceberg. I spent hours upon hours latch-hooking rugs, painting ceramics, and partaking in countless other crafty activities.

When I grew up I actually got a job at Lee Wards craft store and while I don’t feel like I need to give you my entire resume of craft experience because it would take days, here are two facts that probably tell you all you need to know:

  1. I still use the glue gun that a Lee Wards co-worker bought for me in 1987 in a Secret Santa exchange and I still tell people it’s the best money I never spent. (Now that I think about it I should probably invest in a 21st century glue gun, as my thirty-one year old model might be a fire hazard at this point.)
  2. When I started working at Lee Wards Jim and I had zero kids and lived in a two-bedroom townhouse. About a year later we still had zero kids and moved into a three-bedroom townhouse partially because my crafts were taking up that much space.

When we started our family I continued crafting for years, mostly working on elaborate, themed birthday parties and scrapbooks, like the one I described to the Listen To Your Mother Chicago audience in 2014. About ten years ago I began working and writing and writing and working, and no longer had time for arts and crafts. I do pick up the random project here and there, however mostly my excitement about making something new with my hands is on the level of “Meh.” (One notable exception: the birthday cakes I make for my family members.)

I have a feeling that part of the reason for my crafting hiatus is the fact that I’m overly fond of having a clean house with no art supply messes hanging around to clutter everything up. In addition, I imagine when it comes to exercising my creative muscles, my writing has simply taken the place of crafts (sorry, crafts!), at least for now.

All of this is not to say that I don’t get a little giddy when I walk into a craft store and see the potential for something incredible that I could create from scratch; some things never change. These days I just find it easier to walk out, empty-handed.




One Comment

  • Vikki

    I remember Lee Wards! A couple of things:

    1. I think I made a similar doll and had blocked it out until seeing that pic.
    2. I latch hooked ALL THE TIME and painted ceramics!
    3. I think all glue guns are fire hazards so you’re probably fine.