For the last year and a half, I’ve been busy every Tuesday night: I worked as a volunteer for a local Brownie pack. It was rewarding work, but I needed a break, and so I stopped at the end of December (and I’m happy to hear they’ve had a few offers from people to replace me, which assuages my guilt somewhat).
So Tuesday nights are now my own – and I’ve decided to designate them for crafting, in the loosest sense of the word: sewing, knitting, papercraft, baking, cooking, and even simply reading about creative people and the things they make (crafting vicariously through others, which is sometimes the best option on cold winter evenings).
Last week was the inaugural Tuesday Night Craft Club, during which I made two table runners (details here). I have now finished the table runners – which is to say that I decided they don’t need hemming after all, and are just fine as they are, carefully cut out with scissors. Which of course means they are incredibly easy to make, so long as you can cut fabric in a reasonably straight line. You can see a picture here.
On the same night I also had a rather bizarre emergency craft project to attend to: earlier that day, our kitten had managed to turn on the hot tap in our kitchen. She is fascinated by water, and usually hovers around the sink when we wash dishes. Our taps have the sort of levers that could be moved by a cat (though in my past experience, cats tend to avoid water, and so this is not a problem I’ve had to deal with before), so I can sort of understand how this could have happened. She’d managed to get a very strong flow of water from the tap – we don’t know how long the tap had been on for, but by the time we got home, the hot water tank was empty and making a lot of noise. The kitten was hiding on top of the kitchen cabinets, looking somewhat anxious.
Something needed to be done: we’d been lucky that on this occasion the plug had not been in, so all that excess water had simply gone down the drain. If we’d left the plug in (or if she’d managed to knock it into place), we could have been dealing with an almighty flood. I used some oilcloth (leftover bits and pieces from the table runners) and some velcro to make some little straps to fasten around the levers of the tap. They work quite well, but for good measure we also tie a sock round them before we leave the house, just in case – I don’t want to come home to a flood.
This week Tuesday Night Craft Club was held on a Monday (we had a friend coming over on Tuesday) – I’m still calling it Tuesday Night Craft Club though…
My project was to make use of the many papercraft supplies I have gathered over the years. I’m not letting myself buy any more until I’ve made good use of a lot of stuff I already have. My problem is that I buy nice things, but than am reluctant to use them, because I know that once I’ve used them, they’re gone. I do this with a lot of things: saving candles, fancy tea towels, pretty clothes and other little luxuries for special occasions. I don’t know where I got this habit from: my mother uses the things she loves, and if they run out or break, she’s just happy that she enjoyed them while she had them. I’m trying to be a bit more like that – I’ve certainly got better at wearing the good clothes I have (rather than have them gather dust in the wardrobe until they’ve gone out of style), and I really do use the fancy tea towels I’ve been given. But I need to work on making use of fabrics and papers, rather than simply hoarding them in some kind of mini-museum.
I really enjoy acquiring new papercraft supplies – pretty papers, cards, ribbons, stamps and punches – but am often not motivated enough to do a project because I’m put off by the amount of effort that has to be put in to get everything out, and then to tidy it all away afterwards. In fact, last night it took less than 20 minutes to put everything away, so there’s really no excuse.
I made eight cards: a few of these were not particularly creative, since they simply involved sticking those pre-made card toppers onto cards. (I had two little sets of these in my collection – a fifties one and a baking one – that I’d found very much reduced in price once and so snapped up. But in general card toppers don’t appeal to me – I think because they make things too easy, and not so unique. But also because a lot of them are tacky.)
The others were a bit more effort, but still easy – my best results are usually the cards that take the least effort to make. I’m happiest with this garland of dragonflies, and will try to make a few variations on this theme next time.
You can see pictures of the other cards on Flickr. The little vase with paper-fastener/brad flowers does not look finished to me, so I’ll add something else to that one next time I get the craft supplies out.