As a kid, I was bright enough to make better than average grades most of the time, but was not a very good student, homework often neglected, but major assignments always done on time as even then I was a planner. It was a time when kids spent most of their time outdoors playing, pick up ball games, bicycles, cars in the dirt, jacks, marbles, playing in the sprinkler that was used for little else, roller skates in the two car garage as our home was in a rural county that was eventually annexed into the city of Virginia Beach and became a suburb of the city. The houses where we lived were on 4 or more acres with woods and farm fields around 7, later 10 houses that were at the end of our rural route. There was little time for TV, only three stations and they weren’t on 24/7 like today. Even as a kid, I wanted a garden and my Dad accommodated that, a total failure the first year, but in future years, more of a success as he got involved as well. Each home in which I have lived as an adult has had some level of garden and recycling of everything that the center we had to go to would take.
As a young teen, crafting took over, learning to crochet, trying knitting and hand monogramming, still working with the garden and going with Mom to the farm stand in the summer for produce. When we started having children, crocheting was still my craft, following patterns to the letter. While pregnant with our second child, I took a Calligraphy class, having always had a very precise handwriting, that wasn’t too difficult, but my creativity with it was limited, trying some simple art work to embellish quotes or poems, but again, not original art, copying ideas and sketches. I committed to learn to smock if we had a daughter and child 2 was, so classes in smocking and French hand sewing were taken and a number of dresses, bonnets, her Christening gown, nightgowns for all the adult women in my life were made. I tried cross stitch and made a few gifts and household items. I made placemats and napkins for my Mom and Dad for Christmas one year and Mom passed away in early December. I still gave them to my Dad anyway and they were packed away. He remarried and they stayed packed away and when daughter was married, he and my stepmom gave them still carefully packed in tissue to her.
Gardening continued and child 3 came along. I had always liked baskets and pottery and just couldn’t get the hang of pottery, but started making baskets and started the craft show circuit, often being frustrated with the, “Why is it so expensive, I can buy one at XYZ for (insert pittance)?” and quit making them except for personal use and gifts.
After this, gardening continued, but crafting basically ended for years, three kids, their activities, a full time job, and a home to run, there just wasn’t enough time. As the children grew and began starting their own lives and first grandchild was announced, knitting was taken up again, still following patterns to the letter, but shirts, soakers, sweaters, booties, and hats made. As the knitting improved and I found myself in the mountains in a new job, supervising the construction of our retirement house in Appalachia while Jim was across the state winding down his career and preparing for retirement, I took up spinning, then some fiber processing, and some dyeing.
Gardening continues, a large organic garden and small orchard on our farm, chickens added for fresh eggs, recycling everything possible. Reduce, reuse, recycle, buy local when possible. The crafting expanded to making soap and herbal salves to eliminate the endocrine disrupting chemicals, and being more adventurous in knitting, altering patterns, even designing some of my own. Life lessons learned and carried on through my 7 decades. Maybe I am in the wrong era, maybe just wanting to carry on some ancient crafts.