Monday, July 14, 2008

Make It Before You Buy It

My Momma is one of those people who just knows how to do things. She is a talented artist in many mediums. She sings, plays musical instruments, paints, designs jewelry, makes dolls, sews, does wood crafts and much more. Momma taught my brother, sister and me to "make it before you buy it". Making things was a necessity for a long time after my father left the family. We didn't have money to buy store bought things and had to "make do" with homemade. She taught us to use our imaginations and to be creative. As a result, I create and design jewelry, and I also tat, crochet, knit, cross-stitch, quilt, and sew. I have been a free-lance floral designer for 25 years, and I dry and preserve my own garden flowers which I use to make potpourri and small wreaths and topiaries.

There were times when I was younger that I didn't appreciate homemade. When I was a teenager and every other girl in my class had the latest this or that, it was hard to swallow having to wear re-worked hand-me-downs to school. When I was a senior in high school, I was nominated for the homecoming court, and I told my mother I would not wear a homemade outfit. I had seen a lemon yellow cordouroy, wide-legged bell-bottomed pantsuit that I wanted. It was $40, which might as well have been $4000 back then. $40 was our grocery budget for a month!

I begged and begged until Momma bought that pantsuit. As soon as I put it on, I hated it. I now know that lemon yellow is the only color I cannot wear. It makes me look like I'm deathly ill. I refused to wear it to homecoming, but she made me because she could not return it to the store. I wore it until it fell apart. Momma got her $40 out of it, and then some. It was recycled into stuffing for pillows and dolls and dust rags.

When I was in my 20s and out on my own, I suddenly realized how lucky I was to know how to do things for myself. I decorated my first house almost entirely from things I made and my family made for me. Now of course, handmade is all the rage, and I'm happy for it.

There are other crafts I want to attempt, too. I'm dying to learn how to needle felt and make stained glass windows. I also want to learn more lacemaking techniques...and improve on my polymer clay techniques...and make some shelves for my workroom...and a double wedding ring quilt...

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