Please, May I Have a Do-Over?

February 13, 2012

Decoupage is Queen of the Crafting World and I am her loyal subject.    

It is a happy obsession, one that enables me to rescue the old, the garbage-bound, and the utilitarian and transform them into something colorful that makes me smile. My family knows this is no trifling matter. The long–running joke here cautions you not to sit for too long, lest you find yourself covered in giant paper tea roses.

My boys, who still believe the floor is the best place to store almost anything, possess an uncanny reverence for my art supplies that is generally reserved for their Eli Manning posters. I’d even bet they’d be able to differentiate between Mod Podge and regular white glue in a blindfolded smell test.

My husband, who is well-versed in my preference for glossy over matte varnish, has made many an emergency run to craft shops for me throughout the years of our marriage. He has a sixth sense that enables him to gauge my mood based on what I’m crafting and knows that my studio is my holy of holies. He may visit at any time, but not stash his own tools or medical magazines within its small, beloved confines.

Alas, there are moment s when, gulp, even decoupage cannot save the day and times when I must accept its impracticality. Sharp scissors and cross-country road trips shouldn’t mix, for example, and Mod Podge is a bit messy for watching a movie on the couch in the den. But a crafty girl needs to craft, so she’s got to have options.  

Enter the crochet hook. You see, when I’m not potchke-ing with paper, I’m making afghans. Lots and lots of afghans. Most recently, two for the basement man cave we set up for the Teenager.  Before that, bedcovers for the younger brothers, who – with their very own feet – embellished my work with decorative toe holes. And my favorite, the one that kept me sane on the drive from New Jersey to Mount Rushmore.

Occasionally, my husband will gently remind me that a family needs only so many afghans – at least two per person seems reasonable, no? — and that our house isn’t that big.  Still, he understands this oddball need of mine to constantly be making something, and pretends not to notice when I begin yet another project. To be fair, I stop for a spell to consider what it is about these crafts that keeps me coming back for more.     
For starters, they both anchor me in one place while I’m awake. They provide fleeting moments of calm, too, little commercial breaks from the action-packed adventure that is life in a household of boys.  For brief interludes, they enable me to shut out the rest of the world, or at least let it in at a smoother, more digestible pace.

When I have to rip out a row of an afghan or recover a mirror because my paper choices feel all wrong, I am reminded to cut myself a little slack. Almost magically, I can make these crafty mistakes disappear – poof – without over-analyzing them or questioning my decisions well into a sleepless night.  

Unlike real life, they are forgiving. They allow for a do-over. And if I don’t catch a misstep, I can cover the evidence with a toe hole in just the right spot, as if nothing was ever wrong in the first place.