The Inspiration Behind The Wannabe Craftster
This is my sister. She can do anything. Not half-way, either. As far back as I remember, she was crafting, sewing, or just had her hands busy doing anything creative she could. I think the first vehicles were, for her, camp crafts, bible school crafts, 4-H… She told me recently about an art teacher she had as a child, or was it a teacher who happened to teach a little art, who inspired her. I’d never known how important all of that was, because just as we don’t imagine our heroes having heroes, it never occurred to me that she needed any inspiration of her own or that she was once the little pair of eyes watching someone else paint or sew or pull odd materials together to form something new. To me, it all began with her, and that’s all I needed to believe, anyway. At the time. We shared a room together when she and I were kids, and she looked like this and had a horse. I followed her everywhere and must have been very annoying. She put up a funky looking poster in our room and a bumper sticker over her closet door that said “Archie is a Saint” referring to Archie Manning. She, along with everyone else in our family, actually enjoyed watching football on tv. I never got into it. In fact, I never even had the sense to ask who Archie was or what a Saint was. She also hung a burlapped rendering of Raggedy Ann and Andy on the wall. Early on, Andy popped his suspenders, and it all began going downhill from there for him. As different pieces of the unfortunate duo began to disappear, it seemed a bit sad and lost. Not that my grubby, fat little hands had anything to do with it. That I don’t remember. Once, she made one of those science project volcanoes for school. Fascinated me. She knew everything! Of course, these days, that kind of info is everywhere–how to make science projects, craft of the week, dough crafts, macaroni crafts, crochet patterns, knitting patterns, etc–but in the 70s, it absolutely was not. We didn’t get craft magazines or sewing magazines at our house, and there was no internet. There weren’t copy machines in the grocery stores, and we really didn’t have much of a public library. “How to” books are everywhere now for those who can do, or those who, like me, are, like me, wannabes. Wannabes tend to read a lot and look at pictures.
When the 80s hit, she dove into the craft movement like Greg Louganis at the Olympics. She taught me to crossstitch, and she taught herself to crochet rugs, knit sweaters, weave baskets, embroider, quilt, smocking…
You know, I just say that she taught herself. Truthfully, I can say I’ve never seen her in the beginning stages of anything. She presents her idea, gets the what-choo-talkin-bout-willis look from me, then presents the finished project, and again, I’ll say in all truthfulness, it ALWAYS looks ready to be photographed for a magazine.
I call myself a WANNABE because, unlike my sister, I’ve spent years studying crochet books, sewing books, knittting books, tatting…. everything. It takes me forever to make any progress, because I need someone to actually guide me through my lessons, to correct me, to tell me when to pull stitches out and to start again. And, to be honest, I have less faith in myself than most people. When I tell her about some of my ideas and ask her if she thinks I can do it, she always responds with an “Of course, you can!”
But, she can actually read and understand directions.
I’ve always believed that she is fearless.
When she was a teenager, she used to scare my mother to death all the time as we were riding along in our car. “LOOK AT THAT CORVETTE!!” she would scream. Maybe it’s just me or maybe it has to do with THAT kind of reaction, but I don’t think Corvettes have ever been as beautiful as they were in the 70s. I used to fantasize about growing up and making enough money to surprise her at Christmas with a yellow Corvette in the front yard. It would have suited her perfectly. Of all the strong personalities in my family, she is one of the only ones I truly consider to be fun-loving.
She was always, always kind to me. She took the time to teach me manners, to talk to me, to let me tag along, to ride me on the back of her bicycle, to laugh at my mostly dumb jokes, to rouse me on Christmas morning to say “I think Santa Claus came last night!” and to bring me tons of presents home from her church trip to Disneyworld, one of them being my first watch, a Minnie Mouse with a pink strap that I still have. Well, I still have the watch–and it works–but not the pink strap. I had longed for one all through second grade. She even wrote a postcard to me on that trip, and I don’t know where it is anymore. I would give anything to have it again.
She was the first person to make me feel important. And, it’s funny, but nobody has had quite the same effect on me since. It’s funny how imperative that first sense of self is, and there’s no bond like the one you make when you’re that young…..with someone who guides you, who inspires you, who shows you how much fun life can be, who makes you feel cute or precious during the only time in your life you can expect to be adored. God, we’re lucky if we ever find anyone who thinks everything we do is smart or funny or just naturally enjoys our company. She did. And, she does.
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