Monday, October 6, 2008

in which I choose a winner randomly and ramble on about crafting

Ok. I wanted to GIVE YOU ALL a Katy Kitty. I wish that were possible. I found your comments so inspiring and encouraging, to say the least. THANK YOU, to everyone.

After using a random integer generator, the new Katy Custodian is: MommytoAva.

Congratulations! Green Katy is all packed and ready to go to her new home. Molly and Red Katy will miss her. Please contact me within a week with your email address so I can get her to you.

On the subject of 'What got you into crafting' I'd like to join in by saying I owe all my craftiness to the creative women in my family from a couple of generations ago until now; and I'm happy to say it is carrying on through my nieces and hopefully my own daughters. The urge to make things just runs in my veins. That certainly sums it up. So, you could stop reading here. (The rest is just me going endlessly on and on and on.)

My sister, Leigh, sporting the scrap-pieced house robe made by our Mema, circa 1977

One of Mama Graham's quilts and my Raggedy Ann doll, made circa 1980

My dad's mom, Mema, who had no money, would piece together bathrobes from scraps and crocheted endless hats for gifts. I remember my Mama Graham (my mom's mom) giving us grandkids handmade Christmas gifts, like this Raggedy Ann. Which I am utterly, completely ashamed to say I thought was so lame at the time. Okay, I just cannot admit that without pausing to mentally smack myself upside the head. *WHACK*

I now treasure those things and those memories, and appreciate the time and love it took to make them, as well as their desire to give a little of themselves to me. Mama Graham's scrap quilts are beautiful and all done by hand, and I'm lucky enough to have a couple. She passed on her sewing talent to her two daughters, Violet and Jackie.

My Aunt Violet started sewing at age 12, when baby sister Jackie arrived. She would go pick cotton in the fields, then use the money she earned to buy fabric in order to make dresses, bonnets and little outfits for my mom. At 84, Aunt Violet still sews handmade gifts like baby blankets and pillowcases, which we are so lucky to receive.

A few of the clothes sewn by my mom

My mom, Jackie, sewed gorgeous clothes for herself and all her little girls, of which I am the 5th. She also enjoyed making tablecloths for each season and holiday. She sewed in the evenings after we had gone to bed. I remember the beautiful purpleish-greyish velvet suit (wish I had a picture) she made my sister, Lita, for her high school senior portrait. I still can't believe I didn't seize the opportunity to learn to sew from her while I was still at home. *WHACK WHACK*

Of her five daughters, three of us were bitten hard by the crafting bug. The other two, Lita and Libby, not only avoided the bug, but actively tried to squish the bug with their shoe. But I know the crafting gene is in there somewhere, waiting until it is safe to come out. However, I must say despite not being crafters, they are all-around super swell and talented gals.

Just some of the numerous handmade necklaces my sister Lori has given me.

Of the bitten, my sister Lori started crafting as a kid, and has a talent for drawing, painting, handmade jewelry and who knows what else. I have a vivid memory of when I was four and was propped against the table in our finished basement in Maryland, watching her draw a picture of a jungle girl. It was a Pivotal Moment. I suddenly thought to myself, "Cool. I want to do that."

My sister Leigh made these baby quilts for my two girls,
with scriptures written in the squares by my nieces and nephews

My sister Leigh is now a phenomenal and prolific quilter and sewer and crafter of all things (as well as quilting teacher), who never goes anywhere without a work bag. She's tried every craft known to man since she was a wee tot. As a kid I vaguely remember her decoupaging with recycled greeting cards, making mounds of potholders, cross stitching, knitting scarves, crocheting, and making pottery. She's been a huge influence on my adult crafting life.

Me and Libby drawing with clay chunks on our driveway.
When you don't have chalk, you improvise.

For myself, it all started when I was very little with a desire to draw the perfect horse. I went through stacks of used typewriter paper my dad brought home from work. Somehow the quest to draw the perfect horse became a desire to draw everything. Perfectly. Then came the desire to make toys from paper. And modeling clay animals and space aliens. And pointless spoof comics inspired by Star Wars.

All this made a horrible mess, and eventually I was banished to the garage with (my first crafting studio!) a square of leftover carpet, a table and shelves. I spent hours at a time there, making jointed dolls and animals from paper, thread, and yarn, and furnishing a doll house with paper and cardboard furniture, complete with tiny cereal boxes (promotional ads included on the backs) filled with even tinier paper cereal.

As a teen I took pride in giving my family hand-drawn cards, emblazoned with my logo on the back (Larissa Cards, Inc. "When their very best isn't quite good enough"). Also I added fake UPC codes and exorbitant prices.

After a few years of that, I went to college, purchased the requisite long, black trench coat and majored in graphic design. I was introduced to the Mac computer there. (I'm so old, the screen was maybe 6 inches square. And black and white. Seriously.) It was instant crazy love with that little thing.

After graduation, I worked as a graphic designer a few years in the field, then at home for myself. Then, two years ago I closed up my shop (mostly) in order to home school my girls. Somewhere in there I took up sewing. I am still compelled to create, and crafting is my creative outlet. I can't live without it. Or my Mac. Or coffee.

Then one day my bosom friend, Robyn, said, 'Hey, did you know there are a bunch of craft blogs online?'

Another one of those Pivotal Moments.


  1. Long live the Mac SE! Thanks for bringing back cherished memories of my first word processor. :)

  2. Hi, I was wondering where you found the striped material for their legs? Also, where did you purchase the 100% wool felt for their faces? Thanks.

  3. Lynn, it just so happens that those items were purchased in
    A) a yard sale
    B) a thrift store
    respectively. But there are all kinds of places online to purchase those kinds of items, if you do not live near a fabric store. I haven't had much luck finding a nice variety of wool felt in my local fabric store.

  4. I loved your story!

    The crafting bug loves to bite my family too... :D

    Kisses from BraziL!

  5. that picture of you! it's lydia!... haha... i guess it is to be expected though, seeing how you birthed her.

  6. I love how there are so many ways one can be crafty. It's limited only by your imagination. That's so cool that so many women in your family are creative - definitely inspiring and also a way of bonding with them all because you have that common thread (hee hee). I hear you about having to craft - if I don't do it, I feel out of whack.


  8. Um, I'm telling Mom! I'm may kill you for posting that horrible picture of me ... what happened to those fantastic graphic design skills when it came to photoshopping your lovely sister?

    Hurry on over to AL so we can make something ... and I'll send you evaluation of you know what tomorrow ;-)


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