One of my favorite sewing/crafty blogs is called Wiener Dog Tricks. (I mean, come on! With a title like that, you know it’s the kind of place I’d hang out!) Today Ginger wrote a fabulous post about having courage to dive in & create. Even if you aren’t someone who sews or quilts, the ideas she puts forth apply to all creative endeavors. I started to leave a comment on her blog, but I quickly realized it would be post-length. So, instead I’ll just write a posty-post.

Remember when I made a boatload of these fabric flowers for the craft fair? I sold a bazillion of them. I never made them before & didn’t know what I was doing. That didn’t stop me. Seriously, I sold a bazillion. If the bazillion people who bought them knew how easy they were, they would have laughed at me instead of  paying for them.

In New Orleans I was privileged to be the Craft Diva for our Mothers of Preschoolers group. (Former title: Creative Activities Coordinator. Yeah, I gave the name the mab treatment for sure.) We decoupaged all kinds of mess, painted ornaments and wall plaques, made scented bath salts, stamped coasters, made bookmarks and even shrinky dink keychains. Someone asked me one week where I learned how to do all of these crafts. First off, a huge number of fabulous ideas came from my fellow Craft Diva, Ashley. Other ideas came from the web or from other MOPS members. So, I don’t take credit for the actual crafts. Nor do I take credit for the guts to try anything crafty. That comes straight from my Mama.

(Everyone pause here to give a shout-out to Mama Hen….. Hey Mama Hen!)

Here’s a fuzzy picture of the giganto-almost-queen-sized quilt I made for Beanie. It’s being held up off a balcony — that’s how big it is. I had only made little quilts & had learned how online & from a few friends. Did that stop me from making a hugongous quilt? Nope. What could go wrong? Ok, a lot could go wrong. But I knew I could figure it all out somehow. The result: It ain’t perfect, but that does not matter to Bean who simply adores it.

When I was little my Mama would take us to Michaels & let us get all kinds of crafting kits & supplies. Almost anything that didn’t have a ridiculous price tag could be ours. I had modeling clay, paint, paper mache, pretty papers, glue, and copious amounts of glitter. Mama also made all kinds of crafts. In 3rd grade we had a play that was set in the future. I convinced my mom to make costumes for all of us. She came up with the coolest stuff made out of foil, cardboard, & puffy paint. Then she showed up to hand them out. I was so excited that she was willing to do this that I hadn’t told her it was my idea & not the teacher’s…. Mrs. Sebring was very surprised to see the costumes arrive. All of us kids were super excited!

My family also supported all of the crafty crap I put together. When I was about 5 or 6 I made some Christmas presents to give away. The “best” ones: tote bags made out of notebook paper, tape, & staples. These were obviously useless gifts and I’m sure the family wanted to crack up at how funny/ridiculous/cute it was…. but they all treated my gifts with the same gratefulness & respect as the “real” gifts under the tree. Creative endeavors were encouraged by everyone.

We all love Shaun the Sheep. I went to look for a toy Shaun for my kids. They only sell them in $40 sets. So, I made one. Ever done it before? Nope. But there are tutorials online. Tutorial + Craft Insanity = Pretty cool sheep. I was proud of myself! Have I convinced y’all yet to do some crazy creating?

So, that’s where I get it from. Believe me, I have my share of insecurities in this life. (In fact, let me stop to say thanks to all of the positive & encouraging responses y’all gave to my Big Fat Post from last week. That one was definitely rife with insecurities!) But when it comes to crafting — shoot, I’ll try anything once! If When you mess up, you’re only out a bit of time & a few supplies…. but it was still fun to work on the project!

So, I agree with Ginger over at Weiner Dog Tricks — Come on people! Put on your big girl panties and give that project a try! Don’t know how to do it? That shouldn’t stop you. Either look it up or figure it out. Afraid your project won’t look like it came out of a catalog? It won’t. It’ll look like something you’ve created with your hands. If you want it to look like something from a catalog, then have it mass produced in a factory.

And for pete’s sake: let your kids make a mess with crafting! Don’t tell them to color a project just the way they are “supposed” to! Let them explore and create and do not criticize what they make. (Which also means: don’t criticize or dog your own work in front of them…. Show confidence even if you don’t feel it!)

We crafted crowns at Beanie’s birthday party. Blank crowns + stickers + markers = fun times for all of the kids! Even some of the adults got into the fun.

Most crafting — and frankly, most art —  is a learned skill…. no one sits down in front of a computer for the first time and whips out a perfect spreadsheet. Likewise, no one buys a sewing machine one day and produces an amazingly intricate king size quilt in an afternoon. First…you learn the techniques, you learn the way to work with materials, you learn how to put colors and items together. At first, you’re making craptastic totebags out of notebook paper and tape. But, before long, you’ll be creating beautiful things!

So tell me, what projects are you working on now? What projects do you want to get into? If you have a link to a pic on your blog or somewhere, include it here. I would love to see it. Right now my sewing room is still a gigantic pit of despair, so there’s not much progress in that area. Instead, I’m doing several home decor redos. Current project: Repainting these lamps & taking them from chipped up normal to fabulous!

Here it is before…. you can’t see all of the chips from this picture, but believe me…. they were pretty beat up. I got 2 for $25 at the thrift store. The shades are real leather & super fancy. They’re also super huge… over 2 feet tall!

Here they are after priming & a few coats of avocado green. Now I’m doing some other funky stuff on top. Stay tuned & when I get it all worked out, I’ll show you how it turns out. I’ve never done this type of redo before. That’s not going to stop me.

P.S. to Mama…. Thanks so much!