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The Lost Art of Crafting

by  Nicole Mitchell


I will never forget the peacock afghan. It was made of the softest yarn with scalloped edges along its white rectangular edges. The middle of the afghan was emblazoned with the proudest peacock; its blue-green feathers spilling across the length of the blanket in a colorful dance. My older brother and I would watch Friday night TV which consisted of The Dukes of Hazzard, The A-Team, and Night Rider and I would curl up on the sofa with the peacock blanket and be snug as a bug in a rug. My aunt crocheted that blanket by hand as well as several sweaters, scarves and hats; including the gorgeous multi-tone purple blanket she made for my brother and sister-in-law’s wedding shower. It was so beautiful and so sentimental it brought my sister-in-law to tears when she opened her gift. For years, finely crafted home-made furniture, clothes, gifts, and artwork were on the decline. The industrial revolution made access to goods easy and mass production turned hand hewn furniture with turned legs into pressed particle board pieces coated in plastic with assemble-by-number instructions. Don’t get me wrong, I can no more carve a 3-piece bistro set out of a fallen log in my back yard than I can fly, but hand-made items are bestowed with a sentiment that gives them a life of their own.

Enter the modern crafter, the DIY pro. You can’t miss it, DIY or Do It Yourself media, projects and crafts have been on the upswing in the past decade. When our economy took a hit people weren’t spending as much at retail stores or refurnishing homes or closets, but were still looking for ways to freshen up their space or wardrobe. The downturn in the economy coupled with the green movement of recycling has brought about a new form of crafting: up-cycling. Picture this: an old antique door that would have rotted in a landfill now gets a fresh coat of paint and is turned horizontal to become a headboard. Old mason jars collecting dust in the garage are polished and suspended from a piece of reclaimed wood becoming a light fixture. Thrift store clothing is being brought home and reworked into an original outfit by cutting off a collar, taking up the hem or adding a decorative row of buttons. Crafting blogs and sites like Pinterest are chock full of up-cycling ideas allowing anyone to become an at home crafter. Just last week I donned a pair of goggles, thick rubber gloves and antiqued a mirror using muriatic acid; something that I would never have thought of two years ago.

Crafting homemade pieces is back in a big way and I suggest you give it a go it! Gather your family and friends grab some old furniture, sand paper and spray paint and take part in the DIY movement. Who knows, your yard sale coffee table turned ottoman could be sitting pretty in your great-granddaughters home many, many moons from now.




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