Did you make that?

I grew up in a house with a mother who suffered from serious craft envy. Anyone who could sew a dress, decorate a cake or stencil a t-shirt, was in her mind, truly gifted. Even though she had proven her strengths in other areas, craft skills or anything slightly creative eluded my mother. 
It wasn’t as if she didn’t try. Our cupboards were full of half finished projects. The jumper that had never progressed from a sleeve, the macrame pot holder with huge gaping holes. Every now and again we’d rediscover one of Mum’s ‘projects’ in the back of the cupboard. When looking for a cleaning cloth either my sister or I couldn’t help but stir the pot a little “oh look Mum, here’s the dress you started making me five years ago”. It was a bit of an ongoing joke. She could balance your books, talk payroll tax and set you up on the latest Accounting Software, but when it came to tying a bow or making a ballet costume we learnt to outsource.
I was at a gorgeous dinner party recently, the reason I say gorgeous is the table setting looked like something out of vogue living. Beautiful decorations, place settings and dinnerware. One of the guests picked up a very ‘Etsy’ looking napkin ring and asked the host if she’d made it. A very indignant “NO” was the reply, followed by “do I look like a woman who crafts?” I understood where the sentiment came from, our host has a full time job and two young children, maybe she felt it was obvious that she was too busy to be stitching and sewing. What I found curious was the indignation, she sounded almost a little hurt or offended. I wondered about the indignation. What DOES a woman who makes craft look like?
Is it possible that as our careers have progressed craft has become a dirty word to the modern woman? Is it uncool to enjoy crafts? 
What do you class as craft? Shabby Chic photo frames? Macrame? Knitting? Sewing? Crochet? Scrap booking? All of these activities require a learned skill combined with the hope of producing something useful or beautiful. I have friends who describe knitting and scrap booking as their form of therapy, a time to get away from a computer screen, a time to think and be creative.  
A girlfriend of mine tells me she has become a ‘closet scrapbooker’, when I asked why she was keeping her hobby on the down low she explained she was tired of the condescending comments about the banality of it all. “People tend to infer that their lives are too busy, that I obviously have nothing better to do. I see their opinion of me diminishing, they’re imagining me making tea cosys and crocheted doilys”. 
Ever heard the term “stitch and bitch” used to describe a group of women who quilt together or sew as a group? The name doesn’t exactly conjure up a feeling of support and togetherness, but in reality that’s usually exactly what it provides. There are currently thousands of quilting groups around the world not only serving as both an opportunity to quilt but also a chance to connect and share with others, something women have done for centuries. In the online world you can’t help but make the analogy of women coming together with blogging, twitter and online forums. Is it cooler to gather around technology than it is around fabric? Surely the CEO can let loose on the sewing machine if that’s what takes her fancy?
Unfortunately, it appears I have inherited the non craft gene from my mother. You only need to look at any of my birthday cake decorating attempts or the fact that none of my children will let me anywhere near them on dress up day with a tube of face paint “Mummy, even I don’t know what I’m dressed up as by the time you’re finished with me.” My knitting has never progressed from a very short scarf but still I remain hopeful that I just haven’t found my ‘thing’. 
For those of you that can craft, I salute you and I envy you. For those like me that can’t, maybe this web site will provide some comfort. In the meantime have a giggle at this little craft fail (it’ll make you feel better).
This is what it was meant to look like
This was the result:
Feel better?  Are you crafty?

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  • http://www.theamericanresident.com/ Michelloui

    I am creative and I love to make things but I rarely have time for crafts as I am very busy with Other Stuff. I would only feel proud of having made something though, not indignation! Perhaps it was said with incredulity not indignation?

    You’re right though, I have seen some of this ’embarrassment’ over crafting in others.

  • http://twitter.com/Bern_Morley Bern

    Oh you made my Friday. I am the most uncrafty (made up word) ever.  Phil sews on the buttons around this place.  I fail as a housewife. Meh, I can live with that.  You are hilarious.

  • http://mujerboricua.wordpress.com/ Melizza

    That picture gave me the giggles.  As one who crafts I am very scared of what will happen once I stop being funemployed and become gainfully employed. I’d hate to think that my sewing machine would get dusty and my favorite breads will go unbaked.

    I hope to be able to manage the two: work and crafts. Once my husband and i have kids. Well, that’ll be a different story.

  • http://www.asiavufullcircle.blogspot.com/ MsCaroline

    I wonder if this ‘crafting shame’ is more of a working mom thing? I stayed home for years with my kids and I felt incredible PRESSURE to be terribly crafty! In fact, I was one of the few moms who didn’t scrapbook (now an active verb, odd) and felt deeply ashamed about having nothing but humble old-fashioned photo albums and a few boxes of memorabilia instead of fabulously appointed scrapbooks for every year of my children’s lives.  This ‘craftmania’ extended to cooking, decorating, knitting, jewelrymaking – you name it.  I felt like it was part of the whole Martha Stewart SAHM expectation and was a miserable failure, at least at that part of it.  Thankfully, once I went back to work, everyone else was just as busy as I was so my guilt receded.  None of my colleagues seem to have any sort of a anti-crafting prejudice, but perhaps that has to do with the field I’m in – teachers tend to value creativity and crafting skills.  On the other hand, maybe high-powered business types see it as mere frivolity….

  • EmmasBrain

    I paint…. never in secret, I was asked recently how I possibly found the time… I replied that I did not have the time,  but sometimes, I just have to do it, and everything else goes to sh*t while I do… I really cant have enough outlets… I wonder what that says about me?

  • owlycat

    I’m crafty, I guess, if you want to call it that. I sew, I make handmade cards. In the past I have done mosaics, embroidery, teddy bear making. I don’t really have the time but I make time. Housework sometimes suffers, and I watch less TV than non crafters, as the evenings are the best time kid-wise. I also “stitch and bitch” with 2 friends and we then do craft stalls for some pocket money. (I’d never heard it called that, how funny!). Some people are condescending, but most really appreciate a handmade card or gift so I take my compliments there. For me, it’s not a SAHM thing or a housewife thing, as I have been doing it way before I was any of those things. It is simply a creative outlet and it also comes in handy for taking up pants and making curtains!

  • rkargas

    Love it. I tried to make my son’s birthday cake last year. It was so ugly. I don’t have the gene either.

  • http://www.rukakuusamo.com/notesfromlapland/ Notes From Lapland

    oh dear God, that really is hideous, isn’t it? Ha ha ha ha. 

  • http://posiepatchworkblog.blogspot.com/ Posie Patchwork

    Oh i understand, i went from pharmacologist with a powerful job in the oil industry to full time mother who runs her own craft business in a blink (well ok, it was popping out twins & making 3 little girls in the space of 2 years).  I taught myself to sew & when the time came to go full time crafter & quit the real world, i was 26 & loved it, no old nanna style for me, but fresh & fun.  10 years later, i’m funding 4 children through private school off the back of my scissors & pins.  It’s so not daggy anymore, there are upmarkets & beautiful quality handmade products aplenty.
    I must admit, i would get strange looks with 4 children under 4.5 & a business website etc & it didn’t compute with my age or education either, who cares, i’m the winner now. 
    Craft is no longer a dirty word, it screams unique, original & paying for a beautiful product where the sale means supporting a small business, most often – a stay at home mummy who can sew!!  Yay for handmade & for those who think they don’t have time with children or a career, trust me, it’s the best hobby in the world to relax with.  Love Posie

  • Cat

    I am so grateful to be surrounded by such supportive friends and family, who always ask “did you make that” when often I have not.  I always wish I did – but at the moment, I am lacking time.  When I have the time, watch out world, I will be sewing and crafting up a storm!
    It is OK not to be crafty too, we are all different, and thats what makes the world go around (so I tell my kids!)  
    Sewing and crafting keeps me sane, without it I would be a mess.

  • Naturally Carol

    As my sister reminded me once when I talked about something being ‘professionally’ made..they just work in a factory doing what we do…and not necessarily better than we do it either. I recently bought an apron made in India from a home sales party..it literally stunk when taken out of the cellophane packet, the seams were shoddy and the fabric stiff.  I make aprons too, with care, with designer fabrics, the seams properly finished and unpuckered and smelling new and sweet…I just don’t get paid for most of them as I mainly give them away.  It is a lovely feeling to create and give..no matter what you do creatively…you write creatively and make brilliant word pictures..somebody else paints them.  We don’t need to be derisive regarding other peoples creative outlets.

  • http://notenoughmud.blogspot.com/ Mud

    I’m not crafty – but I wish I was. I think my latent creativity gets channeled into writing and cooking instead. Does that count?

  • Louie

    I am crafty and LOVE everything crafty! Sewing, decorating, knitting, baking, painting, scraping, beading, photography, photoshoping, writing, drawing etc etc  I just wish I had more time!!! A full time job and 3 kids, husband away every half month…
    But yes I agree, I never see the tv or a movie. My time is either computer time or Crafty time. 
    I think of it as a hobby. But I never tell anyone what I can do, make etc. I waonder why I feel ashamed, embarressed?
     Our house has 6 paintings on the wall, all painted by me – and yet I am ashamed to tell anyone. I think I feel it as the paintings arent worth anything. We are ´cheap´.
    I started making childrens clothes for my own littlies and was asked to make some for friends, which was fine But then asked for friends of friends to purchase, soon it became a business. I didnt mind the creating and making, but selling them – I did feel weird. ashamed. I never think handmade is good enough .But by gosh others do tell me a different story. My website became un manageable for me and I have had to stop 🙁 Too many customers…. I hope one day I can start up again though…perhaps with an assistant or 2 🙂
     I think handmade (knitting for example) could easily become non-exsistant as our lives becomne too busy. Perhaps that is why people buy it  and love it???

  • lctweit

    I am giggling out loud….love your little lamb (right??lamb)

  • naomi

    I’m crafty but it doesn’t always LOOK good … but it is restoring to the soul, for sure!! 

    Love that sheep!!!

  • http://claireyhewitt.blogspot.com/ ClaireyHewitt

    Oh thank you so much. I am pathetic at all this crafty stuff but the world seems to all be getting so much more skillful lately.

    You have encouraged me to consider sharing my terrible echidna cake from last week…we all laughed it was so bad and then ate the lot.

  • http://swrightboucher.wordpress.com/ SWrightBoucher

    Kirsty, your lamb is beautiful!  And I’ll bet it was delicious, too.

    I am extremely crafty.  I love to paint, sew, I even did woodcarving for several years in my own shop complete with my own set of power and hand tools.  In recent years as my career became more and more important to me, I stopped doing nearly all of my crafty things but the desire to create never goes away.

    So now I blog as a creative outlet.  And for the first time in my life I’m experiencing those looks of disdain and comments like “It must be nice to have so much time”.  I don’t have extra time — I keep a work schedule and a calendar that would frazzle most.

    Whatever keeps us sane, keeps us thinking, keeps us mindful of the need to invigorate the soul, we need to guard this selfishly.  Hmmm… I feel a blog post coming on.