Archive for the 'Crafts' Category

Damages and Me

Monday, January 30th, 2012

knitted toilet paper roll

The Sweetie and I have been obsessively watching old episodes of Damages. Thanks to his herniated disc and limited movement we have been lounging on the floor guilt free and have made our way through the first three seasons in a month.

Excessive hours of television viewing have given me the opportunity to make a knitted toilet paper roll for my friend’s birthday. We alternate between calling each other buffet buddies and poo buddies. We are base like that. Once he made me truffles and said that his dog pooed them out for me. I once baked him cookies molded like poo. When I saw a pattern for a knitted toilet paper roll I knew I had to get to work. I realize there are people who would look at a knitted toilet paper roll and ask why? Who would do such a thing and who has that much time on their hands? Maybe I should be doing more with my life but if I get a chuckle out of the birthday boy it will be time well spent. I won’t be an accomplished Manhattan lawyer capable of cutting the throats of anyone who gets in my way but I will measure my accomplishments by other means. The ruthless Glenn Close has made me acknowledge the fact that I would be eaten alive in most workplaces.

“Can you imagine what it would be like if I were ambitious?” I asked The Sweetie.

“No, no I cannot,” he answered immediately.

I am not driven and I don’t feel a need to force it. That may be seen as a bad thing in our success oriented culture that measures worth by prestige and money, but if things are competitive or I move too quickly I get anxious. I always hated team sports for the same reason. Actually, I hated team sports because I am not a team player, I suck at athletics and I couldn’t imagine facing a bunch of people wanting me to fail so that they could win. Who feels like it when we could all be relaxing and eating snacks instead.

I watch Damages as a cautionary tale. Look where ambition is leading the wide eyed ingenue lawyer. Her life is in shambles and “trust no one” is the recurring theme. Maybe if she was sitting at home knitting useless toilet paper rolls she wouldn’t be in the pickle she is in now.

Thumbless Mittens

Sunday, December 12th, 2010

My friend’s nephew recently turned two. He enjoys mittens but hates the thumbs, often resorting to wearing socks on his hands instead. Good honorary auntie that I am, I decided to knit him a pair of thumbless mittens. I settled in for a night of watching a Bette Davis film, knitting needles in hand. A teary movie, a couple of gin and tonics and my mittens were complete.

My motivation is not only based on the child’s distaste for all things thumb. I don’t have children of my own and therefore cannot bank on my own spawn for visits to the nursing home when I am old and decrepit. I am hoping that by that time there will be a breed of highly skilled service dogs who will be trained to wheel me around, cook me soft food and pluck my stray chin hairs. Until that time, I must put my limited knitting skills to good use and hope that I can buy myself some future guilt visits from friends’ offspring.

The thumbless mittens won’t really guarantee a visit, but its a start.

Cutest Book Bag Ever

Monday, November 30th, 2009

I happen to know a delightful young lady who just turned five. She is very adept at operatic singing while brandishing a grilled cheese sandwich as a conductor’s baton, as well as having numerous other talents.

I spotted an adorable book bag by Pupa Pupa and decided that it would be perfect for my wee friend. I am particularly taken with the bespectacled bookworm in his own pocket. I would love to have a bookworm pet who would attempt to read over my shoulder and inch his way across the pages. Perhaps I am imposing my own likes on this kid just a little bit. I insist on buying her books although she prefers playing soccer. I also make her toys serenade her, even though she continues to inform me that they are not real. Too bad. That’s what happens when you are five. You have to suck it up and get presents you may not want because you don’t get an allowance yet and can’t find a job so you can’t buy your own treats. She will get the adorable book bag even if she fills it with soccer boots instead of books and is immune to the charm of the four-eyed worm.

It is handy that I already have an awesome book to slip into her bag, aptly titled An Awesome Book. It talks of dreaming big impossible whimsical dreams. Fantastical quirky dreams are all too quickly pushed aside for practical ones, and this book makes an impassioned plea for “dancing wild animals with diamond-coated wings” and “to dream a dream as big as big could ever dream to be”. It makes a case for crazy colourful dreams over dreams of a new car or matching silverware or breakfast sandwiches (not that there is anything wrong with dreaming of breakfast sandwiches). It urges us to dream for those who don’t dream at all, and for those who’s dreams have died. I get choked up reading it, so not only will I be the adult who gives books instead of cool toys or sporting equipment, I will also be the weirdo who can’t get through story time without falling apart. So be it. Every kid needs one of those in their life.

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Dreams of Beading Glory

Saturday, October 17th, 2009

The other night I braved blustery winds to meet my crafting buddy for a jewellery making workshop at The Sassy Bead Company. We have talked about making jewellery from found objects and Goodwill discoveries for a while but were intimidated by our lack of skills. My friend had tried to be proactive and had even borrowed jewellery making books from the library, but then confessed to me, sighing, “there is so much text, as if they actually expect me to read instructions. I just couldn’t be bothered to make the effort.” We are both better at visuals rather than long winded instructions so when we found an introductory workshop we signed up, giddy with excitement.

We learned some basic techniques and congratulated each other on our ability to use pliers and string beads on wire. Unfortunately we both managed to snap our stretchy beaded bracelets, having miscalculated the girth of our wrists. Perhaps we are not as delicate and fine boned as we thought. Afterward we celebrated our new future as jewellery makers over cheap Japanese food.

My crafty friend and I dream of  becoming crafting moguls and leading lives of creative fulfillment with our dogs in a country farmhouse. I believe he is actually closer to reaching this goal because he already has a dog and he actually makes things rather than just talking about making things. He often has The Sweetie and I over for elaborate dinners that we eat from a table he has refashioned from a discarded door. He wraps homemade gifts with banana leaves. He makes little creatures from socks. He made me a book of dog photos he had taken during his year living in Barcelona (we had an agreement that if he managed to seduce Javier Bardem he would share him with me). He makes furry throw pillows that resemble Chewbacca. He is immensely talented and I could hate him if he wasn’t so delightful. I think it helps that he doesn’t have a television.

I returned home from the workshop with visions of being a round-nosed-plier goddess. Instead of springing into action, however, I watched back to back episodes of True Blood. It is impossible for me to do anything crafty and productive while watching True Blood as I have to watch the show with a blanket wrapped around my neck as protection from the TV vampires. I don’t know what it says about me that I continue to have dreams of glory, crafting and otherwise, yet my lazy, disorganized side always wins. Am I deluded, an eternal optimist or a late bloomer? Something to ponder after I finish watching the entire first season of True Blood.

Birthday Owls

Monday, July 27th, 2009

Today is my lovely friend’s birthday, although the celebrations started a few days ago with a surprise party. It was a marvelous evening of sitting under grape vines surrounded by warm and funny people. Unfortunately, I consumed my own weight in cheese  followed by a chaser of dreamy chocolate-brownie-cookie offerings that were too good to resist.

I had been busy at work on a couple of surprises for the delightful birthday girl. She is a big fan of owls which is appropriate considering she is such a wise creature. And being a yoga instructor I wouldn’t be surprised if she is able to spin her head all the way around (in a benevolent owl way, not a scary Linda Blair exorcist way).

Being a child of the seventies, I thought she’d appreciate this crafty concoction.  It embodies seventies crafty chic, that golden decade of macrame wall hangings and crochet toilet roll covers.

Unfortunately, I didn’t think about how to close the flap until after I finished it, so I had to make a makeshift buttonhole and sew on a button. I am hoping that my friend will see this somewhat distracting addition as an homage to her yogic practice and interpret it as a third eye or bindi.

I also made her a second owl that has no purpose whatsoever and looks more like a bunny with stunted ears. I completed her assortment of treats with a few hair pins that I made with vintage buttons.

I hope that the birthday girl will remember that it is the thought that counts.

Failed Knitted Corsage

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

I had big plans this week. I was all set to make a lovely knitted corsage for my friend’s birthday. The pattern was from a beginner’s knitting book a crafty friend had picked up for me at the Goodwill. I figured I’d whip it off in no time, make a card and attach it to the envelope. It would be a heartfelt gift that she would treasure for always, and she’d proudly sport the corsage on her lapel like a crafty granny version of Carrie Bradshaw from Sex in the City.

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As is the case with many of my knitted projects, I am often a victim of hubris. While patting myself on the back and fantasizing about the praise I’d receive for being such a crafty goddess, I forgot that I was supposed to follow the pattern. I also forgot that I’m not actually a good crafter. The end result did not form anything remotely resembling a flower. Instead I seem to have created a miniature beret, which would be perfect if my friend’s head was the size of a well developed plum. Alas, I could only present her with a store bought, unadorned card and a pathetic story of my thwarted good intentions.

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