My Crafting Story

I'm sure this is the place where I would have added a crafting resume, except when I tried to put it together, I thought, "How boring. Who wants to read a resume?"  Blech!  My life is not made up of a series of summarized bullets, it's made up of stories.  And without further adieu, here is my story (at least one of them)....

I think I was born with scissors in my hand. Can you imagine that? Teenie-beenie baby-pink plastic safety scissors. That’s pretty funny. I don’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t doing something crafty. Early memories include crayons and FunPads (yeah, remember those?). I liked the color by numbers, watching the picture come together before my eyes. Dot-to-dots were always fun too. Lick and Stick sticker books brought out the perfectionist in me, as I tried to position the drool covered stickers exactly over the dotted outlines. Coloring, I tried tediously to stay within the lines, graduating from crayons to colored pencils to markers. Crayola were my favorites. There weren’t a whole lot of other options at the time though.

I can remember as a kid I loved to read craft/activity books. I would get ideas, store them away, and then one day just create something. I recall a plastic strawberry basket became a gift basket for my cousin, with a paper handle, Easter grass filler and probably some stickers or something. Another fond memory is of the Berenstain Bears huge activity book. It had a whole town to cut out and put together. It was great! Mom still has that book, and it’s funny to look through it and see my childish script sprawling across the pages, or pictures I colored (not very well) so long ago. Many pages are missing due to punch out or cut out activities that I can only faintly remember. I’m sure I kept Elmer’s Glue in business for many years.

In junior high school, I would draw posters on copy paper…no, wait…typing paper, to hang in my room to celebrate the holidays. Even holidays you don’t really decorate for, like Columbus Day. It wasn’t so much about the holiday, but the opportunity to create something. I once confiscated a calendar from my mom (it may have been from Avon), but it had beautiful large illustrated flowers in it. I meticulously cut out those flowers with teenie-beenie scissors (no, not the baby-pink ones!) and taped them to my bedroom door. It was my own personal flower garden. Roses, lilies, peonies… I loved it.

By the time I was in high school, I was decorating my parent’s house for whatever holiday struck my fancy. I can recall hanging construction paper hearts from the ceiling in the dining room for Valentine’s Day, and construction paper shamrocks for St. Patrick’s Day. I was “THEE” decorator in the house. I took over Christmas, Easter, and Halloween. I think my mom didn’t mind, because I made the house look nice and she didn’t have to worry about it.

I dabbled in dried flower arrangements- going for a hike in the fall or winter and coming back home with a careful selection of twigs, seed pods, dried flowers, and grasses. They would somehow converge into an artful arrangement I created that was placed on the dining room table, or the coffee table in the parlor. I also loved to stop by the side of the road to pick wildflowers out in the country on beautiful spring and summer days. My boyfriend very patiently waited by the car while I collected the beautiful bounty, as I was usually with him in a car because I didn’t get my driver’s license until I was 18. Not too many teenage guys would have patience for that! (But that’s another story…) I would then bring the flowers home and place them in the “perfect” vase or glass container.

I was in college when my parents got a home computer. That was a whole new outlet for my creativity. I would print out pages of my favorite poetry, illustrated with clip art I chose, and assemble it into a book. Clip art was the best thing since sliced bread, and I loved to look through collections and find just the right image. I think my first “card making” software was Print Shop. My brother and I still laugh over a corny card I made him…Roses are red, Violets are blue (on the outside), …but you are still my brother (on the inside). Ridiculously stupid. I don’t even remember what the picture was I put on the front of the card. But yet, we still laugh about it 15 years later! I accumulated other card making and clip art software, like Hallmark Studio, and something from Clik Art called Celebrations and Holidays. That was fantastic! It had many “vintage” images on it and I immediately fell in love with that style. To this day, I am still drawn toward vintage imagery.

It wasn’t until after I had moved out that I began taking the printed clip art images and embellishing them. I remember I printed out a snowy winter scene, attached it to a card base, and added glitter glue to the snow in the branches. I thought it looked so cool! That started me experimenting more, with papers, rubber stamps, stickers. It was about this time that scrapbooking was starting to take off, and I was finding more and more ideas and embellishments to put on cards. I read books and magazines, joined online groups, watched any TV show that was remotely related to crafting, like the Carol Duval show. Yup, I’m still a loyal user of Aleene’s Tacky Glue! (Much to my friend’s dismay.)

I began scrapbooking after I met my husband. I am not a typical scrapbooker. I scrap when I feel like it, not ever feeling like “I’m so far behind” with anything because I don’t intend to put every photo I take into a scrapbook. The ones that speak to me, they are the ones that end up in a scrapbook. To me a scrapbook is just a prettier, more fun photo album. I don’t journal much…heck, I rarely even add a title! We don’t have children so it’s really just something for me and my hub to look at, to remind us of the fun times we’ve had. We have so many fun adventures though, that I do not have the time or motivation to capture them all in a scrapbook. I’m not at all concerned about what’s “acid free” either. Like I said, my scrapbooks aren’t going to be handed down and don’t need to withstand the test of time.

Card making is still a passion, but I think it has evolved into paper crafting as my passion and obsession now. It encompasses so much more than just card making. I really LOVE paper and finding new ways to create with it. I like to cover things with pretty paper, create gift boxes and gift bags, make ornaments, origami, kusudama, altered art, home d├ęcor, frames, wall art, etc…

That brings me to the present. I have co-authored an article for a scrapbook magazine, written and photographed instructional tutorials, am a member of several online groups, am on current and past design teams (one in particular for several years), I am the in-house designer for a scrapbook vacation resort, and I sell my creations locally. I also occasionally give crafting tutorials to a small group. My crafty (crazy?) friends can all attest to my organizational skills…or more likely, roll their eyes at my obsession with organization. I thoroughly enjoy my creative space, but I NEED to keep it all neat, clean and orderly. I cannot create in a chaotic space. My creative space is very relaxing and welcoming. It draws me in, and the room wraps itself around me like a warm hug. 

I am very content with my style, my designs, my creative process now. I look back over my crafty life, how it has evolved over several decades, and I wonder with much anticipation and starry eyes…..WHAT’S NEXT?


leticia said...

Congratulations, you're an angel!!
I had never seen anyone work as beautiful as you!
Have a gift in your hands and amazing creativity!
God bless you for that!

PD: I do not speak English hope you understand the translation.

MuaXxxx LeTy

Ellen Joy said...

hi ms melissa i saw you in youtube in one of your tutorials and follow your blog---i also featured you on my post today! thanks for your story

Teresa said...

I loved reading your story! And how beautifully this is written! I feel much the same, life is made up of stories not of bulleted points!!

Kimberly said...

I love the way you did your story. I enjoyed reading it so much and can picture a mini Melissa walking around with her creations and supplies keeping everything neat of course! LOL! I agree your room definitely feels like a warm hug and has inspired me to create a haven of creativity for myself. Thank you for that and more!!!