Kathleen O'Brien
Kathleen O'Brien


Hobbies, Jaunty Post, Kathleen O'Brien


As I’ve been getting to know my new heroine, I have realized I want her to be crafty…not sly and foxy, you understand, but good with her hands. ๐Ÿ™‚ I want her to make things…charming, artistic things that she can sell, or give to friends. I want her to express her emotions through her creations.

Unfortunately, I’m working without a net here, because I’ve never been good at crafts. Sure, I could almost fool the first-graders in my Brownie troop when I brought out the glue and the popsicle sticks and the pipe cleaners and the googly eyes–and told them we were going to make reindeer.


But there was a reason I didn’t volunteer to be the Girl Scout leader the next year. No way my skill set was going to fool a second-grader.

Funny thing is, I love crafts. I’m enchanted by Michael’s and JoAnn’s and can wander their aisles endlessly, marveling at this cool thing, or that gizmo…but somehow, no matter how many hours I spend, no matter how many dollars I shell out, I rarely end up with a finished product.

Example: ย Once, when I took up macrame, I spent about an hour studying the diagram showing me how to tie a particular knot. ย At the end of the hour, I finally had my ah-ha! moment. The knot I’d been so painstakingly trying to “learn” was that little over-under thing you do when you start to tie your shoelaces. ( I did make my daughter’s first Easter basket, but that nearly killed me and was the end of my love affair with macrame.)


Many of my undertakings don’t even get that far. I have a box of beautiful fabrics in my closet, from when I was sure I could learn to sew. I have some adorable little flowers and mosses and thimbles from when I decided to make a fairy house. I can’t bring myself to throw away the expensive decoupage supplies, the cross stitch patterns or the gorgeous skeins of rainbow-colored yarn–though it’s quite clear I’m no alchemist, and I’m never going to spin any of them into gold.


So I’m here, begging for help. Are any of you crafty? Or is there any cool, unusual craft you’ve always wished you could master? I’d love any and all suggestions! My heroine, who is hanging in limbo, half formed and waiting to walk on stage, will be very grateful. ๐Ÿ™‚

One randomly chosen poster will win a $10 Amazon gift certificate, so please play along!





45 thoughts on “A Crafty Lady

  1. Kate Sparks says:

    I think the only crafty thing I ever did was cross-stitch. I was the gal in home ec class that placed the button holes on the wrong side of my blouse. What was even worse was that the home ec teacher was a mom to a classmate and they both sewed like a dream. Ah well, we all have our talents. I wander JoAnn’s and wonder what the heck people do with all that stuff!!! I do enjoy seeing what others have created!!

    1. Oh, Kate! We’re two of a kind here. Though I love JoAnn’s, I actually can identify only about a tenth of the items they sell. And when I was in Home Ec, I decided that “interfacing” was just silly, clearly redundant. For the record, it isn’t. ๐Ÿ˜‰ But how awkward to have your deficiencies on display for a friend’s mother! As you say, though, everyone has a different talent, so they probably enjoyed the chance to shine in their happy place.

  2. Laney4 says:

    I consider myself crafty.

    I have been converting our old magnetic photo albums into scrapbooks (and throwing out thousands – yes thousands – of pictures in the process). Have had rave reviews on the scrapbook I put together with pictures from our daughter’s recent wedding. Now THAT was a labor of love!

    I write poetry to insert into birthday, anniversary, Christmas, etc. cards, then I decorate the cards (and often envelopes and gift too) with (matching) scrapbooking supplies, including stickers, rub-on transfers, and stuff I’ve printed from the computer onto sticker paper.

    Up until I got married (at 22), I considered myself the “happy hooker”, as I hooked several rugs – which my 30-year-old son has enjoyed using all of his life.

    I learned to embroider in high school, have supplies here to use, but really should get rid of them, as I doubt I ever embroider again. I’d rather ooh and ahh over someone else’s gorgeous work.

    I used to knit scarves but never tried anything more intricate. Haven’t crocheted yet, although my mom and sister have enjoyed that in their later years, so maybe I’ll take it up later.

    I mend ripped seams and patch holes in our clothing, but I don’t make clothes from scratch. Tried that in high school in home ec class and passed, but I was at the bottom of my class probably.

    I don’t know if you’d consider it crafty or not, but I like taking good recipes and then making them my own with “easier to find” ingredients. Guess that wouldn’t help your heroine, LOL. I hope you get some nuggets from this blog for your heroine (and future heroines?)!

    1. Good grief, Laney! It’ll take me *several* heroines to do justice to all your talents. I’m so envious! Having the ability to just jump in and try any kind of craft that appeals at the moment sounds like such luxury! I bet your son cherishes his rugs. <3 And how lovely to write poetry to add into homemade cards. What lucky friends you have!

  3. Silvia says:

    I’m a knitter and have made many a scarf, sweater and hats. No intricate patterns for me, simplicity is key. I love picking out yarn and chosing what to make. It’s so relaxing to knit stitch after stitch & you can watch the telly at the same time, an added bonus ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. Silvia, that does sound super relaxing! I love the *idea* of knitting…partly because it does look so meditative, and partly because the colors of the yarns are to die for. But I can only imagine what a mess I’d make. And of course Purrsia probably wouldn’t help. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. catslady5@aol.com says:

    Back in the day I did a lot of crafty things – nothing unusual though. Knitting, crochet, needlepoint, ceramics, scrapbooking, and even making a variety Christmas ornaments.

    1. Sounds like a lot to me, Catslady! I especially think the idea of making Christmas ornaments is lovely. I’ve tried several times, at family get-togethers at the holidays, and most of us are pretty awful (my daughter-in-law is super artistic, which is a terrific addition to the group!). But still, no one minds. It’s not as if you are expected to wear them, or hang them up to be seen all year. They’re on the tree for a month, tops, and then they go safely back into the box! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Dawn A says:

    I do cross stitch. I’ve made them for every kid in my life and for the weddings of loved ones. I also paint and decoupage.
    If you’re trying to think of a good craft where people can make some money, jewelry making is a good one. I know of several people who sell their bracelets, earrings and necklaces in boutiques and at craft fairs.

    1. Such a great idea, Dawn! I’m sure I’ll use jewelry-making someday. In fact, I can already think of the heroine who is perfect for it! ๐Ÿ™‚ I love the idea that all your family members have special cross-stitch creations from you to commemorate special events. Just wonderful!

  6. Amy says:

    I have done the usual craft type things in the past, but am now drawn to paper crafting activities. Pinterest has too many idea-sparking projects. Gardening has been taking too much of my time during the warmer months, so I am hoping to get busy with paper when it gets cold. I love the quilling pictures I see, but am not sure I have the patience for that. I am going to try making cut-and-paste type of mosaics that I have seen of trees and peacocks.

    1. Amy, I adore anything done with paper, too. Like you, I swoon over the beautiful quilling projects I see around, but I just know I don’t have the patience *or* the hand-eye coordination. And agreed about Pinterest! I literally have to put myself on a timer if I open that app, or I’ll never get anything done.

  7. GayleC says:

    Kathleen, that is an amazing Easter basket.

    I took it into my head to learn wood burning, to carve cool designs into wood. My brother kindly bought me a starter kit. It is not as easy as you would think. I hope I give it a fair chance. Lisa Hutson got me into making felt Christmas ornaments, which is fun and relaxing. I seem to have spurts of craftiness. Just talking about felt ornaments does make me want to start making some.

    1. Thank you, Gayle! That basket was one of my very few real successes…she uses it to this day. ๐Ÿ™‚ And actually, I have been drawn to wood crafts, too! For me, it was wood carving, or whittling. For some reason, I imagined I could make clever little woodland animals or something. Ha. All I did was go online and look up the techniques and tools, and realized instantly I’d be in way over my head…and probably lose a few fingers in the process! Ornaments sound much safer. I don’t know about felt ornaments, though…I can see a trip to Pinterest in my future. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  8. Annette N says:

    I had piles of fabric pieces to start a quilt. Problem, I could not figure out how to set up the bobbin on the sewing machine. I am basically unable to create much of anything except a mess. But, I have a green thumb. My plants are the ones that take over the entire patio. I love that. I reckon plants will have to replace any other thing I have tried to create.

    1. Annette, I *love* you! Threading bobbins is THE WORST. I’m not even a fan of threading the machine itself. Doesn’t it all seem unnecessarily difficult, as if they use it as a way to separate the men from the boys? ๐Ÿ˜‰ And frankly, I think being able to make your garden and houseplants thrive is a Superhero skill. All that beauty, all that life!

  9. Shana Galen Shana Galen says:

    I’m not crafty AT ALL. Are you sure you’re not crafty? You seem pretty talented to me. Check out Pinterest for ideas for your heroine’s skills.

    1. Shana, I’m sure. it’s so frustrating…I have so much crafting skill in my MIND, and so little in my hands. I have the intense desire to create something, and I spend a stupid amount of time trying. But no talent at all. And zero hand-eye coordination. I’ve been getting some great ideas here, but I’ll definitely check Pinterest out, too. Any excuse will do, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  10. I sew, small things for my home & as gifts. My favorite things to make are dolls and quilts ๐Ÿ™‚ I use the big pieces of fabric to quilt and make “matching” dolls from the cotton scraps.

    1. The “matching doll” idea is so charming! I can just imagine how wonderful it is to have a homemade quilt, with a matching homemade doll resting there. Like something out of a magazine!

  11. Charlotte says:

    I write poems and do all sorts of crafts. Knitting , sewing , drawing & I bake and decorate my cakes. Which also takes crafty skills ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. Wow, it sure does, Charlotte! Some of the cakes I see on Pinterest are so beautiful I wonder that anyone can bring themselves to eat them. You’re so lucky that you have the talent!

  12. Kirsten says:

    Crafting is something I enjoy immensley. I’m not saying I’m great at it, but I like my own creations well enough. I made a blanket for on the sofa. Some pictures to hang on the wall. Shoppingbags that are from recycled fabric and last a long time, good for the earth. A portrait of my cats which are no longer with me in real life, but always in my heart. Yeah lots of things to look at or use.

    1. Kirsten, those sound like the very best kind of art…the kind you can really use and appreciate every day. Sounds as if your talents are wide-ranging, too! Lucky lady!

  13. Eileen A-W says:

    I have sewn since I was a youngster, maybe 10 or 11. Some years I sew more than others, but am still competent when I need to whip something up. I’ve figured out that I learn best by hands on, so when I am unsure I seek help. I’ve signed up for classes that would help me learn and complete a project. Once upon a time I knitted (college days) and did needlework. That’s been so long that I’ve forgotten how to. I’ve cross stitched but am currently procrastinately very badly on a project that should have been done by now. I was to give it at a shower on Saturday. I recently figured out how to help my daughter create a wreath for her front door. I’m definitely an idea person so not everything turns out. This is all from the kid who almost failed art class in school.

    1. Wow, Eileen, you sure proved the teachers wrong! It really sounds as if you get a tremendous amount of pleasure from your creativity…which is so lucky. And as to how not everything turns out right, well, it’s exactly the same with my writing, so maybe that’s just part of the creative process! ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. bn100 says:

    quilt would be fun

    1. I agree, bn100–but I have a couple of friends who make quilts, and it sure does look like a lot of hard work. And a lot of math, too, which is a deal-breaker for me. ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Julie-ann Ford says:

    I can crochet a little, it’s been awhile since I have done that. As a teenager, I made leather braided bracelets for me and my friends. My bestfriend and I still have ours.

    1. Awww, Julie-ann, how wonderful that memory must be! You’re lucky the bracelets–and the friendship–survived a long time. Old friends are the best. <3

  16. Glenda says:

    The mist unusual craft I’ve ever done was mosaic type decor when I was young. My mother and grandma both did ta blessed and they let us kids do plates – mostly so we didn’t ruin their table tops I think.

    I’m not super crafty but I’ve put together some excellent costumes for Halloween and school plays. Both before and after I got my sewing machine.

    1. Glenda says:

      Most not mist

      And autocorrect messed with tables multiple timesources. I’m not sure how it came up with ta blessed. :-/

    2. Oh, Glenda, making mosaics sounds like a very unusual and difficult craft–but I bet the end product is gorgeous! I’m with you on the Halloween costumes. I used to adore working on those for my daughter, who had a dramatic flair. One thing you should never do with my costumes, though, is look on the inside! Yuck–such a snarl of threads and a hopeless mess!

  17. girlfromwva says:

    decoupage is fun; especially onto stuff like clipboards and boxes. string art, mixed media ACEO cards, mixed media journals, embellished flower pots, spray painting items to transform them, re-purposing items into something more useful. i like to do different things; get alot of ideas from Pinterest. i have a TON of boards and pins on there.

    1. They do all sound like great fun! If I were ever to try a craft myself, it well might be decoupage. I love anything that works with paper. ๐Ÿ™‚ Isn’t Pinterest an awesome spot to store your favorite ideas-for-later?

  18. You know I must beg to differ with you, Kathleen. I’ve seen your art journal and I know you’re good at it. I love the idea of your heroine being crafty. She could knit or crochet. She could Zentangle — that’s where you draw repetitive patterns and end up with very cool motifs that look crazy-complicated, but they’re not. She could do beadwork. Or if you wanted something a little more heavy duty, she could throw pottery or design stained glass. I can’t wait to hear what “she” decides.

    1. LOL, Nancy! She just might end up making miniature collectible bears! ๐Ÿ˜‰ But now I’m going to have to look up Zentangle. It sounds like the most satisfying possible kind of doodling! And <3 about the art journal. I have enthusiasm, anyhow, and that counts for something.

  19. Karlotta says:

    As a kid I loved to work with clay, making figures of people and animals. When baked I painted them in bright colors. I thought they were beautiful, photografical evidence proofs they were not. I don’t really know why I never tried to pick up working with clay as an adult… Maybe it’s time for a “new” hobby.

    1. It’s such a coincidence that you should mention this right now, Karlotta, because just the other day I was wishing I could learn how to make clay figures. I ran into a great picture of some on Pinterest (of course!) and for some reason I imagined maybe I could do it. But I’m getting the idea from your post that maybe it’s a lot harder than it looks. I hope you do get back to it–it would be fun to see how your style and abilities have changed as you matured!

  20. Michelle F. says:

    I can do embroidery, but only the stamped kind with X’s. I’ve also done scrapbooking and love to use stickers, etc.

    1. Embroidery of any kind looks super difficult to me, Michelle, so I’m impressed! I am always drawn to scrapbooking, and imagine I can do it, until I look at some of the professional examples. Wow…such talent!

  21. LSUReader says:

    Unfortunately, I was the outsider in a family of artistic souls. Dad painted, brother drew, mother and sister did beautiful needlework. I…cooked? Read a lot? No, not very crafty. The last crafty thing I did was a wreath for my front door, celebrating LSU for football season. (And I’ll be jerking that thing right down if they don’t play better this weekend!) My sister is talented in many crafts. Until retirement, she was the cool, fun elementary school teacher all the kids wanted. I’ve always loved her fabric work. Her satin-stitch embroidery looks like painting, it’s so smooth and colorful and complete. I wish I could do that. Maybe your heroine can design one of-a-kind fabric artwork. Good luck. And remember, Kathleen, writing is a lovely art!

  22. Ada says:

    I am so not a crafty person! The only thing I do is cross-stitching but I haven’t really done any for a while now and it makes me want to start a project now. That’s the extent of my craftiness!

    1. Funny how just thinking about it can get the creative fire started! I think cross-stitch is charming…have a few old pieces from family that make me wish I had the ability. ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. Barbara Elness says:

    I’ve always loved crafts too, and the projects I plan don’t always get done. But I have made a lot of crocheted things, mostly blankets, afghans, etc. And I took quilting classes with my sister for quite some time and produced several quilts, including the one on my bed. I haven’t dug out my sewing machines (yes, I have two), for quite a while though. I’m planning to retire in a year, and I’m hoping I’ll be able to be more crafty when I have lots of extra time to spend on it. At this point it’s still a possibility and I haven’t let myself down yet. ๐Ÿ˜€

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