Over the past few months, my job has given me the opportunity to visit several craft shows. First the one at the Merrill in October, then in November the Louisa-Muscatine High School’s National Honor Society had their own craft and vendor fair. Now, just last week, I was able to enjoy the Muscatine farmers market craft fair.
People can complain about "tech taking over our lives" all they want. I don’t think it can hold a homemade candle to the truth: There are still plenty of people who like making and creating things with their own two hands. I’ve heard first-hand from local crafters how much they enjoy it — it gives them something fun to do, something they can share with family or with the community. It’s something they can just be creative with. And, for those who don’t or can’t create, they’re at the very least able to admire and appreciate. In some instances, they may be inspired.
My mom is someone I can easily define as a crafter, even if she doesn’t do it professionally. She even turned my room into the official "craft room" of the house when I moved out, and she’s definitely been putting it to good use. Her latest project has been homemade wreaths — ‘tis the season, after all.
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A few months ago, she was helping my aunt make decorations for my cousin’s graduation party. Homemade blankets are a common gift from her, and the bookshelf in the craft room is lined with scrapbooks that she still enjoys working on when she’s in the mood.
While I’ve always personally been more of a writer than a crafter, I think it’s safe to say that I’ve sort of inherited this crafting gene of sorts. There’s a box in my apartment that’s just full of fabric for when I find my next new favorite character and decide to make a plushie of them. Next to it is my trusty glue gun, old and a bit dirty but still very much reliable, as well as a sewing machine that I’m still hoping to figure out how to properly use at some point. Not too far away from all of that is my pack of ShrinkyDink paper, bought purely out of nostalgia. I’ve already made several little charms with it, and watching them shrink up in my toaster oven still takes me back.
Many of the birthday and Christmas gifts that I’ve made for my best friend and my younger brother the past few years have been homemade, and there’s something incredibly satisfying about that. It's great to see the reactions to something you not only gave, but made. Even when the project doesn’t quite turn out exactly how it did in my head, I can always find something to admire or be proud of in the things that I make, and each time I do it, I get just a bit better.
Crafting may not be everyone’s favorite thing, but I do believe that anyone can do it on some level. It doesn’t have to be as elaborate as a character-accurate plushie or a big Christmas wreath. Sometimes it can be little magnets or paper craft decorations or whatever you feel like making.
The holidays are upon us, and with most of us getting at least a couple days off during it, I’d encourage anyone who’s never crafted before to give it a shot. Find a project or an idea, put on some music or your favorite Youtube playlist as background noise, and just craft. You may just end up finding a new hobby, and at the very least, you’ll have yourself a nice little souvenir from the experience at the end of it.