Monday, November 10, 2008

Newsprint, newsprint everywhere

In the last few weeks, I've had not one but TWO people accuse me of being craftsy. (Note the "s." I know I'm crafty. But that's another post.) I shudder at the thought of this: I don't scrapbook. I cringe at the thought of vinyl lettering anywhere in my house. There are no stuffed bunnies in calico dresses hanging from my doorknobs.

But, they both said, sewing is crafting! You sew!

Grr. Yeah, I sew. It's in my blood. Both of my grandmothers sewed — one taught textiles at the college level, the other just made fantastic clothes for her kids after looking at what was in style in shop windows. My mom sews occasionally (I learned a healthy number of my good swear words from her when she was making me a velvet and paper taffeta dress for a high school dance). I learned to sew clothes for my Mandy doll when I was, what, six? When I was in high school my dad made me a deal that he'd buy me the fabric for any clothes I'd make myself. He ended up regretting that deal after a certain box-pleated Black Watch plaid wool skirt, which I only wish I still had.

Now...I make baby blankets, and piece the occasional baby quilt to give away (and boy do I mean occasional), and hem Scott's pajamas. And...okay. Some doll clothes. And a doll blanket. And pillowcases out of a torn sheet I couldn't bear to throw away. I made a quiet book with some friends a few years ago. But that's it. Mostly my sewing machine is used for mending torn clothes, and the cabinet doubles as my computer desk, and I spend way more time on the computer than I do on the sewing machine.

So why does it bug me to be told that I'm a crafts person? I suppose that somewhere in my head I link crafts with all things frivolous. I do have this taste for projects. Making things. Useful things. Fun things. Not add-more-kitsch-to-my-country-style-kitchen things. I just sent a batch of mix CDs to a CD exchange group I joined a few years ago (I'm really, really late) and they look and sound awesome, if I do say so myself. When I'm working, I love doing websites and graphic design. And then there's the matter of the mid-century dining room set that I've been halfheartedly working on refinishing/reupholstering for several years now....

...anyway, here I am, working on making a BIG stuffed Totoro for my kids for Christmas. There's no such thing as a pattern out there, so I've made a prototype out of newspaper, which I'll then dismantle so I can use the paper as pattern pieces. Cutting the pieces freehand worked surprisingly well, and I only had to do a few little tweaks on the body. But I have newsprint everywhere. And I can't get the head to look quite right — something about the nose, which I think needs to be lower and perkier. And I'm wondering whether, given the cost of good fuzzy fabric and the likelihood of finding the right stuff for whiskers, it isn't a really bad idea. But somehow I can't seem to give up on it.

I think I need a life.


TIFFANY & CO. said...

I know we enjoy the two baby blakets that you made for Nolan!!

Margo said...

Oh just give in already, if you are making a stuffed animal you are in trouble and setting a precedent. A life of crafting lies ahead, he he.

Jen said...

When you're done, can you make me a giant stuffed Totoro too?

(I want to see pictures!)

Sam and fam said...

I can hear Beth on Christmas morning now, in perfect Beth voice, in perfect Beth tone: "Oh, its my friend (?) totowo, look sawah, its totowo..."

Robyn Kailiponi said...

I know how you feel about the craftsy thing. Things should be useful, not just to clutter your home. I think there's a difference. You are possibly artsy and creative, but not craftsy.