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Crafting til the break o’ 10:45…PM!

October 13, 2011

We (and by that I mean me and you, my reader) have discussed before how I just LOVE crafts. Scrapbooking in particular. So when my Becky Bible study (yes, another Beth Moore situation) recently advertised a “Women’s Craft Night” I was a little hesitant to sign up.

Okay, maybe more than a little. Maybe I said a word or two to a friend about how “I hate how church-based all-women gatherings have to be crop parties” and “who wants to do that kind of boring craftsy stuff anyway?” and “where are the women who just want to sit around eating cake and watch Lost together while all their kids have fun destroying things with one another in a separate, padded room?” I may have said something like that to somebody. You know, casually and off-hand to, like, one person…or two.

Usually saying things like that get me into trouble because instead of that delicious island-shaped Lost cake, I end up eating crow. But not this time because I wasn’t going to some crappy craft crop party. (See? I make alliterations. Boom. Anti-Becky.) And I had a good excuse. I don’t craft or crop anything. I don’t have anything against it. I even have friends who do it. It’s just not my bag.

Then last Wednesday, one of the young moms organizing the doily-knitting stood up before Bible study got started and said, “We really just want to hang out. You can bring whatever you’re working on that you don’t have time to do. You can file bills if you want to, we just want to talk and be out of the house with other women and eat some snacks.” Well, you know what happened next…

Yeah, I went. I know, I know. Flincher. We actually call that “conviction” in evangelical America, y’all. I got convicted. Our church is still a fledgling community and these women were just trying to bring us together. Sure, they could have cast a wider net with say, pudding-filled island cake, but they picked scrapbooking. Whaddoyado?

You go to the craft crop party. With your Scrabble board and your token Catholic friend (who, by the way, didn’t help you at all because she was wearing a t-shirt with “ooh, mysterious” Hindi writing, though it did read “Blessed are the Peacemakers” so we had an easy out if asked about the pagan language). You go and then you get surprised because while the Good Lord is serving up that crow you were worried about, it actually washes down quite nicely with friendly conversation, some salsa, and multi-grain tortilla chips.

When we first got there we saw the bank of scrapbookers with tables out front, almost forming a barricade around the other crafters. It was saying to me, “accept our cropping and pasting as useful artistry or you SHALL NOT PASS.” Think Gandalf with a Cricut die cut machine.

It works like magic!

**Bigger than parenthetical tangent: In Googling to find some photo that would work with that last image of Gandalf and the Cricut, I actually found this in a Cricut discussion forum:

Becky 1: Help! I need a hobbit….I am not ANY good at creating things…but I need a hobbit. Is there anyone that can help me make one using PDDU???? Please!

Becky 2: Do you have Happily Ever After? It shouldn’t be too hard to modify one of the dwarves.

Just “modify one of the dwarves?” Now if Tolkien had thought that way, where would we be?

**Tangent complete

So I embraced the scrapbooking. Several of them were quite well-organized. I really admired their projects. All my kid photos are on Facebook. For their sake, I hope Facebook is still around when they’re 30 or we’ll all be bereft of digital memories. But hey, that’s what Picasa is for, right?

As I was looking at the work of the other scrapbooking Beckies I thought, thank you, Lord Jesus, for opening my eyes to the work of these women. They really do put effort into this. They probably pray over their kids as they paste those photos into those books. They actually take the time to reflect and record moments on something other than their iPhone. God, you were right to bring me here to be with these women. I’m a snobby d-bag…Doh! Don’t look at the rolly cart with the flappy snappy things, don’t look at the rolly cart! *Turn* Man, handmade greeting cards by a woman working her way into the Dayspring catalog! Flee temptation!

So we moved on from those tables. Behind the accidental barricade lay some old-school crafters. One woman was hand-piecing a quilt of Noah’s ark. She had found different types of similar animals and was arranging them on the shore and on the ramp coming off the big boat. She had used various colorful fabrics, but all in a way that complemented and enhanced what she was making. It was pretty fly. Token Catholic friend and I struck up a conversation with her. TCF suggested she consider using an unconventional rendering of the rainbow that would be reminiscent of classical depictions of the scene. I told the quilter of my husband’s quilting skills (which he has aplenty) and showed her a Picasa photo album of his works (iPhone win, heh heh Canon-loving scrapbookers). She was appreciative of TCF’s suggestion and impressed by my man.

We were still talking to her when we spotted across the room a woman with a spinning wheel making her. own. yarn. Boon! Frickin’ awesome! We burned a polite but speedy trail to see what ol’ Spinderella was up to in the corner.

That's TCF chatting up the spinstress

The woman told us that she learned to spin from her husband (we should really start a craft night for men) after they had “hooked up with some spinning reprobates.” So badass. We talked for a while; she and TCF bonded over cat parenting. Now I was really humbled. Here I was thinking this would be like any other Creative Memories cult gathering (we had a dealer cousin who spent years trying to convert us. It was as if she was going to get an extra box of coveted corner protectors if she got us to buy. Maybe I should have made a crack analogy instead of calling it a cult. Oh well.). But this was turning out to be a super-fun trip to the state fair.

I continued my table tour, looking for the blue-ribbon jar of pickles, and finally came to the most humbling moment of the night: facing the people I had been bad-mouthing craft night to.

Crow server 3: Oh oh! Look who came to craft night. What are YOU going to make?
Quilter: [chuckling] She brought Scrabble!
Scrapbooker 1, crop night hostess: [defending me, for the love of God!] Hey, that’s cool. She’s welcome!
Me: Yeah, I’ll make words!

I may as well have said, “I carried a watermelon.” TCF and I walked over to where my friends were sitting. They were all working on the gimme craft that was on the flyer advertising the evening. You know, the “So you don’t craft? Buy this much felt and come and we’ll help you, honey” activity. Turns out, it was a kind of neat-o project, too. Durnit.

It truly is a lot of stuff to cut out

The project was called “The Waiting Tree” and it’s a gigantous banner advent calendar. It’s felt so it’s great for little kids who like to stick things to other things and it’s nice for grown-ups who don’t like scraping stuck things off other things. The project leader even had patterns for all the ornaments, a giant pattern for the tree and generally helpful tips and shortcuts as everyone went cutting along. It came with a set of readings and devotions for each day that take kids through the redemptive plan of God in 25 days. Not a bad get for one night out with the girls.

Me? I learned what a “stoat” was from TCF.

Ain't he cute? For a weasel and all.

What’s ironic (or not because Alanis totally messed me up on that) is that I ended up coming home with the pattern for that tree (though none of the felt) and this week I made, with my husband playing the Singer, this for myself:

Becky Bookmark! (photo clicks through to How-to. You know you wanna. Promise I won't look at the site stats.)

I think if craft night comes up again, I’ll probably go. Don’t know what board game I’ll be toting, but it was worth the humbling. I may even shake things up in our Women’s ministry and organize an outing to our local pool hall. Several of the ladies have already expressed an interest. You never know with those church wimmin’…

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. October 13, 2011 12:33 pm

    Sometimes crafty people are cool 😉 In general I consider myself a person more comfortable discussing TV plot points than page layouts, but definitely good to have some respect for the crafter, they are super motivated folk! (And think how much more often I would vacuum the house if I had to clean up my tiny scraps of paper!)

    PS – My hand has finally recovered from the insane amount of felt cutting, in case you were wondering. Recreating the Bible in felt was sort of hard.

    • bnbecky permalink*
      October 14, 2011 12:39 am

      I believe that about your hand. Y’all had 3 hours and a pile of felt to recreate God’s plan of salvation. He had at least several thousand years to work it out, plus he had JESUS.

      Crafty people are awesome. I think I have a mock-it-because-it-intimidates-me thing happening with certain types of crafts. Ahem, scrapbooking. Also, there is a factor that crafting, historically at least because of the sheer costs involved, was the sport of the upwardly mobile.

      Crafting used to be very practical. I make a quilt because I need a warm blanket, and such. Or philanthropic. I knitted someone else baby booties or a cool imitation Twilight hat (not that I ever wore one of those) or bandages. Or storytelling. I made this pot from clay where my mother grew up. I’ve rarely seen scrapbooking fall into either of those first two categories (though I have seen it happen) and the way it’s sold to women whitewashes the storytelling aspect of the craft (we’ll see only the picture-perfect moments and few, if none, of the painful ones). And it’s frikkin’ expensive as all get-out (unless you share equipment which some clever circles of women now do).

      The homesteading movement has made me appreciate crafting more and learning about the art of the things has helped me to get past my judgmentalism about it (sorta). My more recent experiences intentionally working on things I know I’m not good at is also giving me an appreciation for the discipline of anything remotely glue gun-ny. I guess it’s like anything else where Christians and art are involved, we rarely seize the opportunity to celebrate the fullness of humanity. And we rarely attempt to do the thing well. We’re too busy: killing time making ourselves look better than actively getting to the being better.

      Also, I like reading. The practically free sport of the library card-holding. And the library’s a great place to get books on crafting. 😉

  2. claudia permalink
    October 17, 2011 1:36 pm

    This made me laugh so hard I nearly cried. Thanks!

  3. October 21, 2011 11:02 am

    First, I loved your post!

    Second, do you know if / where I might be able to get hold of the pattern and readings for the Waiting Tree you did? Our church is trying to organise a similar night and yours looks like one of the best ones out there. 🙂

    • bnbecky permalink*
      October 21, 2011 4:16 pm

      Thanks! Unfortunately, I only have the patterns I brought home. I suppose I could scan them (along with some of the pictures). If you’d like to shoot me an email, I could send them to you and possibly post them online at a later date.

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