Friday, October 31, 2014

I'm a crafty word-wrangler

This is the last column that will appear from me in the BH. Onward and upward!

In my younger years I was a crafty gal. I made loads of clothespin Santas, pins made from vintage buttons, and sculpted weathered snowmen with twig arms from modeling clay. Tiny antique spools made into Christmas ornaments and angels with tiny tin wings that fit snugly onto a tree branch - I sold all these and many more at local shops on consignment and made a tidy sum of spending money. That ‘craftiness’ is still inside of me, but it doesn’t seem to want to come out anymore. It seems like a chore to haul supplies out and paint well-worn pieces back into submission or to create and make simple ordinary things glisten. What’s become of me?

My home is a mélange of eclectic pieces and carefully selected ‘things’ I’ve gleaned over the years. I no longer buy whatever catches my eye because now, I want it to have a home – not just a place to sit and gather dust. I have many vintage frames that I would paint gold, white, or whatever color was available to me in the vast array of my husband’s leftover paint cans. The options to paint whatever trinket I bought was endless. Being married to a painter has its benefits because along with having paint on hand, there were also the options of glazes, textures, and rubbing stains to make my things pretty. Use them I did and the various coffee tables, library tables, and small pieces of found architecture are evidence of what used to call my name. I still love these pieces but I no longer have the call to craft them into submission. As I look around my kitchen while typing, my eyes fall on found gingerbread trim as well as several signs I painted in years past. Sign-painting was a forte of mine and if pushed I still might enjoy it. Now, there are so many ‘word’ signs that the market has been overrun with them. Saturated, one might say.

Being crafty is not necessarily something you’re born with. I enjoyed all those days of being on the hunt for new buttons to create with, finding boards that were just right to paint on, and small pieces of furniture I knew I could turn into something spectacular with just the right shade of paint and sandpaper. It is a profitable business that, if done correctly, can net you some nice pocket change. In those days with small children, any extra income was sought after and appreciated. It still is, but my focus has changed from doing tedious things to doing what I was meant to do. I have many friends that are skilled at finding junk and turning it into treasure – and for many, many years that was the path I was on. Our Junk Fling sales are so fondly treasured that at times I pine for their existence once again. It’s the thrill of the find and the excavation of usable gold that you know will be pleasantly sellable. For some of us, we can look at a box full of old wooden or metal pieces and know exactly what they could be turned into – rustic pleasures that charm when fitted into this or that bit or bob. It’s just under my surface. For now, it’s words that I wrangle into submission to make cohesive sentences and paragraphs. I look at them as buried treasure just under my skull and the hunt for them is the thrill. Maybe someday, when I’ve found all the words and written them down, I’ll haul the paint brushes out once again. But that is for another day.