Over the summer, I cleaned out a few closets, cabinets, and cubbies.

I ran across reminders of all the hobbies I've entertained over my adult life. When it comes to crafts, it appears I have a restless (though passionate) heart.

I have pattern of mania and then desertion......

As a young bride in Maryland, I learned cross-stitch. 

I thought it was so beautiful and delicate.  And then I discovered...time-consuming.   After I made samplers and Christmas ornaments, I stitched a large piece for my parent’s 40th anniversary...


I had trouble with repeated knots and eye strain.  I went back to smaller pieces, but soon felt like I'd had enough.  Been there, done that.
Cake decorating came next. 

As siblings and friends became engaged, I learned the art of tubing swirls, roses, leaves, and the power of the star tip.  We were stationed at Bolling Air Force base, and with that came promotions and new assignments.  I made many a “Congratulations” and “Farewell” cake.  

I enjoyed it until I needed more fancy pans, more intricate tips, and more professional icing dyes.  It was too much to store in our tiny apartment.

Today, all that remains of my cake days are a handful of tube tips and my off-set spatula, which is great for making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

When my babies came along, I began to sew. 

Little pullover bibs with stretchy neck holes (a great technique I learned from my sister), elastic waistline pants, and simple sundresses.

As the kids grew older and didn’t want homemade clothes anymore, I sewed for myself, but was never happy with anything enough to wear it.

The arm holes were always too big, and the crotch never fit.  Not only that, zippers were hard to get straight, and I didn’t want to resort to elastic pants anymore than my 12-year old did.

Shortly after we moved to Virginia, my sister-in-law sent my children some fabric-painted sweatshirts.  Fabric paint! 

I was hooked.  I practiced on sheets and old t-shirts until I mastered the techniques, then produced a multitude of sweatshirts for family and friends, and even sold some on a small scale (these pictures are so old!)

When we moved to Florida, I enrolled in a quilting class.

I LOVE quilts and have always been amazed at their artistry.  I became obsessed.

Our guest room became my craft room, where fabric scraps flew and thread littered the floor.  I was a like a kid with new toys – the rotary cutter, the "self-healing" mat, and the crooked safety pins that help with pinning layers together.

I made a quilt for every room in the house.  I made one for each of my three children.  Then I made some for friends, my parents, and other relatives.  Pretty soon, I just had extras lying around, draped over furniture and stacked up on beds. 

One day my husband said to me,  “How many quilts do we NEED in Florida?” 

Apparently we need seven, because that's what we ended up with. 

When I went back to school, I enrolled in a required art class.  Immediately, my love affair with quilting was over.   

Pottery was my new obsession!   I fell in LOVE with clay!  I made a pinch pot and a slab piece and a beach-themed bas relief...  


I spun lopsided bowls and fashioned a looks-like-I-made-it-in-kindergarten gingerbread house. 


I made a vase that leaks, and a rooster pitcher that weighs five pounds.  It's too heavy to lift empty, let alone filled with fluid.   

I made a little S'mores man. 

It was such fun.  I kept thinking about God, designing palm trees and watermelon and octopi.  I took three semesters of pottery and almost changed my major to art.

Then I learned that would set me back a year, so I hung up my art apron and took the diploma.

Intermittently, I’ve done scrap booking.

The first book I made was for my daughter, who was leaving for college.  I spent HOURS on the detail – the patterned paper, the decorative scissors, the stickers, the tags.  The dining room table was a mess for six months.  

I then made a book for each of my sons, then one for my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary.  My most elaborate album was for my son and his bride last year.

I overstuffed all of them so the covers don’t even lay flat.

I don't recommend doing that. 

With the scrap booking trend waning, crafts stores are minimizing their scrap book supplies, and I’ve transitioned to computer graphics.  The days of snipping and gluing over.

My latest hobby is writing limericks.

My husband's happy that this endeavor doesn't cost anything.  It's clear I've spent entirely too much in the past making a surplus of blankets and earthenware.

Looking back at the "stuff" I've created (I didn't even mention the clay earring phase, the bead work bracelet phase, or the gardening phase - yellow squash everywhere) and the supplies I've amassed...I think there's a loon living in my head that escapes now and then.

She's friendly, but easily excitable. 

I think I'll name her Runnah Muk.


Unknown said...

Marianne, I LOVE your posts...this one is interesting, funny, and poignant! Thanks for sharing! Deb Pratt

Marianne (Mare) Baker Ball said...

Thanks, Deb! Writing is my therapy!

Unknown said...

I loved this post also!! Very cute, these crafts blessed many people. Phil and I loved the "shepherd" sweatshirt. Don't forget the aprons you made for the kids, the mop dolls that got us through another summer!! Distractions that helped us loons get through life!!

Marianne (Mare) Baker Ball said...

Mary - I forgot those! See, I'm loonier than I think!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing Marianne.
I had to laugh about your album you made that was way too big. You could hardly close it. I am a seconder to that. I made one for my oldest Grandaughter who has completed first year University. My singer I have on my blog page her hobby. I added blinkblinks and almost whistles to her album. Was so heavy. I had to put double shopping bag to carry it to her . What we dont try to do with scraping. I have done almost all you have. Who knows what is next for I. Yes everyone got a craft. My hubby said. You sure they all appreciated. Duh me. Of course Honey they said thank you. Love your blogs. Your a hoot what you write. I am a fan of you now.