A Parent's Confession: I am Craft Challenged

Crafts are adorable, wonderful, fulfilling, organizing, and delightful - when they are done by someone other than me. I do crafts - lots of them - yet my end product never looks like THAT.

DSCN1598I've looked on the web and found a similar round of confessions by parents who struggle with craft issues. To use the word hate would be a strong feeling, but when the assignment comes from the school for a craft project to be done at home, I sigh. In the beginning, it's a joy to get all those supplies; clear back a space on a table (that might have an inch of space available); find the right and left-handed scissors, (which disappear just like pens and socks); and settle in for a lovely time of cutting, gluing, and twisting.

The kids and I have made play dough from scratch; painted backdrops for sets on plays; and finger-crocheted, embroidered, and glued together probably a million pieces of tissue paper to all sorts of textile bases.

Where does my end product go wrong? One year, tears flowed over eldest's desire to make a recycled wastebasket from magazines (as pictured below) - that was before the project even began. We talked about the dedication and time it would take to make the basket, my daughter wanted her project to stand out, be different, the best. The best? With me?

After many afternoons and evenings of ripping and rolling, she carried the finished project to class as if it was a re-glued, delicate, vase of china. One wrong move, and the thing would fall apart. We made the glue due to cost; we didn't have the most agreeable magazines for length and thickness; and the variable that adds the biggest challenge to most projects - it took way too long. I bit my tongue and let go to let my child take her own meaning from making and completing something on her own from start to finish. She did score well, in fact, it was the best in class.

My son loves doing crafts. When he works, he likes to keep it fast and short. He throws his hands up in the air in joy at a painting and throwing glitter on one jar to give his teacher. He smiles at the completing of his clay puppy. I'm thrilled with half-painted puppies and projects driven as much as possible by the kids and their abilities. One time, I rolled out a long strip of paper on the grass for my son to paint after the style of Jackson Pollack. He painted the grass, his shirt, shoes, and me. After drying for days, he rolled it up and took it to school, proud as punch.

Perhaps that's where I fall short in the end product - my attempt at crafts is about the process for the kids. There are so many amazing people out there and wow, I look at the gorgeous pictures of crafts that not only dazzle, but serve a physical purpose. It's truly something to admire. I've accepted my crafty-lot in life. The glitter always awaits, the acrylics in the cupboard, and the scissors are hide somewhere nearby.

The recycled wastebasket came home at the end of the year. It sat in a corner and fell apart and was slowly infested by bugs that really liked the homemade glue. We patched it together for awhile. One day, when I sensed the attachment to her basket may have passed, I asked her to either repair it or throw it away. She looked at it (I could see her calculating the time in her head) and said we could throw it away. With little ceremony, the battered and beaten basket went into the trash. Oddly, the cycle seemed complete.

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