Friday, November 02, 2007

Why I Make Things, A Meme

Last week I was tagged for a crafty meme by Thimbleanna , and I don't want to let it slip by forgotten, so here goes. (That is some cute recently thrifted fabric up there, and one of the ever present trucks/cars/trains.)

1. When did you start to create and make craft?

I do not come from a long family line of sewers or crafters, but I remember that starting around age 8 or 9, I started to feel the need to make things. My grandmother was very supportive of my urge to make things, and she would buy me those craft kits to make doll furniture or melt plastic beads together to make pictures or glue sequins on sweatshirts for her. I did tons of those things when I small.

2. Why did you start creating?

I am not really sure why I started to do it, other than my childhood was very tumultuous, and I suppose it gave me a sense of order.

3. Why do you create?

My current creative "binge" started when Jack was nearing a year old. Before I got pregnant I was teaching middle school and high school, and it was super stressful. To relax in the evenings I started to paint. It was very soothing and just what I needed at the time.

Then I got pregnant and Jack arrived and everything felt like it was going to hell around here*. LOL Mothering is a job that really has no end, and for a long time it feels like there are no measurable results. You just keep feeding the baby, changing the baby, feeding the baby, changing the baby. So, I started to make things. Anything that I could finish. Something to hold in front of myself and be able to say, "Hey Sarah, you 'made' that today. You finished something." It kept me sane.

Now that Jack is much more of a kid than a baby, I do it because it is something to do for myself. It allows me to have my own time, my own space, my own thoughts without regard for the needs and demands of another little person.

4. What do you create?

Honestly? Anything. The only thing I cannot do is knit. Obviously I am in love with fabric and sewing at the moment, but I also enjoy paper crafts, decorating the house and furniture renovation projects. If I see something and want it, I will set out to make it.

5. Has this changed since you began crafting?

Well, I never make anything from a kit anymore!

My old sewing machine was a gift from a boyfriend who was hesitant to buy it for me, despite my insistence that I wanted it. He was certain I would use it once or twice a year at most. I used it so much I drove it right into the ground. Once I started getting the hang of sewing, I was hooked.

But, if I am honest with myself, I don't know that 5 years from now I won't be looking at the Huskystar and wondering what I ever did with that thing. I certainly feel that way now about the painting I used to really enjoy just 5 short years ago. Clearly, for me crafting is a fluid process that ebbs and flows with my life changes.

Want to play along? Let me know you are posting the meme and I will add a link to you.

I will keep the quilt giveaway open to comments until next Tuesday, November 6th.

*I wanted to clarify that just a little bit. That first year of mothering was super hard for me because of the uncertainity of it all. You have to rely on your instincts a lot more than I ever knew I would, and because of the life I had before Jack and Dave, I was not very good at going with my gut. There was no way to make Jack fit into some mould where he would do what "the books" or "other people" said he should/would/could do. I was used to doing things very systematically in order to avoid the great big scary UNKNOWN, and the reality of motherhood is that it *all* is unknown.

This eventually changed me in a very big way and I alluded to that the other day when I said I no longer feel like a biologist these days. Now I feel like a mother and the biggest change, a creative person instead of a systematic person.

And I wonder if any of this makes any sense. :-)


  1. Anonymous11:31 AM

    Oh Sarah, you totally make sense. :) And I can relate with the crafting as a mommy. It helps you to identify yourself as a person too and not just a mommy. Being a mom is an awesome and rewarding job but it's not meant for us to lose sight of ourselves as a person. {Something I learned the hard way.}

    I've just begun to grab hold of my identity within the past year or two (through junk and projects) and I know it makes me a much happier person. And a much happier mom.

  2. Hi Sarah- Great post! Sheesh...I just started babysitting my 2yo granddaughter fulltime this week and there seems to be NO time left for me at the end of the day! I feel like I need three extra days just to get a running start at it (or one of those million hour days like you had when working on the armoire last week)but I know neither is going to happen so I just have to figure it out somehow.
    I got the package today. That old binding is just precious. And thanks so much for sharing some of your new fabric. A most generous package. :-) Looking forward to seeing your finished armoire, and hearing if my tips helped. Have a good weekend!

  3. What a great post Sarah! It is neat to read your answers to this. :)

  4. That's a great craft meme post! I actually tagged Thimbleanna with it and have been quietly hovering around your blog for a bit. It's certainly nice to know more about how some crafters creatively tick.

  5. Made beautiful sense. I too have always been a very systematic and orderly person. Motherhood really threw me into a tailspin for awhile. It was a journey to find my mothering style. And, I really, really like the result of that journey.

    I'm with ya girl!

  6. Great job Sarah! Thanks for playing -- it was really fun to read your answers. It's funny that sewing is the thing you wonder if it will still be around in 5 years. For me, sewing has been THE one constant craft since I was little. All the others have had on and off years. Whatever...keep up the creating -- we love seeing it!

  7. First of all you make total sense. Since I am in the trying process of "trying", I really appreciate mothers who are honest about motherhood. I think that is one of the best things about blogging. Moms are getting real about what it really is like and the varriety of experiences is a wealth of information and support for those of us not yet there.

    As for crafting, I too rely on it to take me away from the school day.

    This was a great post!

  8. Wait till you have a second baby,the babyhood actually goes much smoother,butwhere as with Jack it (for the most part ) is probably getting easier,if you have another you will try the same attack on the different toddler into pre-k hood and the children will be wildly different it will drive you nutty!

  9. that is the best meme yet. It is a set of questions that should be asked of all creative bloggers once a year. Maybe on their blog birthdays? It would be fun to see how the answers elvolve each year... And yes, I can completel identify with the baby thing. Thank goodness it is just a stage, and one that is lovely in pictures!

  10. hehe I think you are still very systematic, just in a creative way. Like you said, being creative gives you a sense of order. :) I think that's simply great!

  11. You make perfect sense. I'm not sure I would have survived the first year of motherhood without you and all the other blogs/forums I read. The Net is great like that; it makes possible finding other people who are going through the same sorts of things you are, helping you feel less alone, especially when you can't leave the house or get two words together.

    You told me it would get easier. It did. (So why did I lose my mind and decide to "do" the mommy thing again?)

  12. It all makes complete sense! I have 3 kids and it's easier than when I had my first, but still a never ending job. I craft for the same reasons! Great post thanks for sharing.

  13. Sarah, regarding the Ho post, I had a student whose name was Hsa Toh Gho (has to go). He is also Korean and doesn't really speak English, so whenever he'd tell someone his name they'd ask him where he has to go? Most teachers assumed the bathroom the first time around!!!!

  14. Lovely post. Totally relate. And by the way I just taught myself to knit. Granted I've only done 3 stitches and my project (scarf) isn't done yet, but it seems quite easy once you get the hang of it! :-)

  15. By 3 stitches, I meant 3 different types of stitches not literally 3 stitches!!

  16. it makes perfect sense. I can understand a lot of that you have gone through....creating to show that you in fact can accomplish something, creating to keep sanity, sludging through that very scary first year of motherhood...oh, that first year, although joyful at times, was one scary time. (my son had colic...)

  17. Thank you. I enjoyed that. I think a lot of creators started at a young age. I know I did. I'm still limited by what I can see. I don't visualize very well, so I don't do much from scratch. Actually, I don't do much at all these days.

    I've been so busy running around here, I've missed your recent posts! Hope things calm down in a week or two.


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