Monday, July 7, 2008

Crafting as a Nearly Olympic Sport

Before she left to return home to Florida, my sister Margaret re-read the doctor’s instructions for my post-surgery recovery. The pamphlet suggested I spend my days in a variety of quiet, non-stressful activities such as reading, piecing together puzzles and working on a photo album. Meg snickered, looked up at me, and said, “Uh, that’s not going to work for you.”

Yeah, she’s right. For me, scrapbooking is a near-Olympic event. I run frantically around my craftroom/office gathering all sorts of supplies. I pop up from my chair to get punches or rubber stamps from the next room. I lift heavy equipment like my die cut base. I reach low for papers. I reach high for templates and alphabet stamps. I pick up and push aside a slantboard that my husband has inconveniently rested against a file cabinet of patterned papers. I lean all my weight on an eyelet setter to poke a hole through paper and then again I push to spread the backside of the eyelet so it stays attached to the paper.

And what a mess. I don’t like to put anything away until I’m positive I won’t be using it again. That means, uh, a mess.


Today I climbed downstairs (I’m only allowed a certain number of trips up and down stairs per week) to my craftroom and started an album for my niece Lexie who’s having a baby boy in August. Creating an album is like making a Thanksgiving dinner. You have to do a certain amount of shopping, planning, and breaking down your project into “what comes first.” Several weeks ago, I picked up a $1 album from the Dollar Spot area in Target, one of my favorite shopping places. The album is adorable, 16 pages with a blue and yellow choo-choo on the cover.

I’ve learned the hard way: the best approach to an album is to pick a theme and keep your pages all a variation on that theme. I like the theme to start with my title page. I fell in love with a cute rubber stamp image of a little boy on the beach picking up seashells with his toy boat and teddy bear nearby. I stamped the image on white paper many times until I could select one stamped image that was perfect. (I’m picky about how dark it is and whether every line shows up.) Then, I used colored pencils to fill in the image. I covered the finished piece with a thin layer of 3-D glue to make the image “pop.” (This is the "turkey in the oven" part of the creation. The 3-D glue needs to dry.) I also stamped SKYLER LOGAN, the baby’s name and put the 3-D glue on the letters.


Hmm. How will I repeat the boy/beach/toy image? Good question. Stay tuned.


Are you a messy crafter or do you put your things away like a good egg?


Camille Minichino said...

I have seen some neat crafts rooms, but I've never owned one!

My quilter friends are the neatest, with bins for fabric or shelves with fabric neatly folded, a layout wall, and no scraps to speak of lying around.

I have bins, too. HA!

Betty Hechtman said...

Am I a neat crafter? Ha! I majored in art in college and sewed all of the time. I was living at home and my room was my everything. The ironing board was always up for sewing projects. I had paint and stuff around for art projects.

I laid a cutting board on my bed to cut out patterns. I would work until I was exhausted, then just push everything over on my bed and climb next to it. I learned to sleep on the edge.

Luckily I don't have to sleep in the room with my yarn and crochet projects.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Amen, ladies. It's a choice: spend time picking up or spend time making stuff. I vote for the latter.

Terri Thayer said...

I'd go as far as to suggest that too much organization impedes creativity.

At least that's my excuse.