Michelle Martin

D-I-Y. Or not.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Once upon a time, a very long time ago, I thought I might be a crafty person.

I was wrong.

My mother can make anything, or so it seemed to me when I was young: She could sew clothes, including Halloween costumes and doll clothes; she made macramé plant hangers and belts; she molded Christmas ornaments out of clay.

She also reupholstered and refinished furniture, crocheted blankets and planned crafts for both my Brownie troop and my brother’s Cub Scout den. Truth be told, the Cub Scout projects were usually more fun, maybe because there were fewer boys and the den met in our house, with access to the basement, which meant running water and an area where spills didn’t matter so much.

The only craft of hers I took up was counted cross-stitch, which relies more on an ability to follow directions than any innate creativity. It also fits with any number of things I like that involve grids: crosswords, both traditional and patternless; Scrabble; Tetris. But I more or less gave that up when Caroline was born 20 years ago and I couldn’t leave projects with needles stuck in them sitting around the house.

I bought a book on knitting once, and made two child-sized scarves, one for Caroline and one for Frank. If I go back to needlework at any point, knitting would probably be my craft of choice.

But this spring, no one is really asking for my input.

This is the spring Teresa is in second grade, so she is doing a series of book reports. One is a diorama, which means cutting, gluing and painting and making things out of clay. Yes, it’s her project, and yes, she’s doing most of the work, but there is a certain amount of instruction and supervision required (not to mention cutting cardboard, which she just can’t quite do yet). 

It’s really not much compared to helping Frank fold 100 tiny paper houses for one of his elementary school projects, and perhaps the hardest part is standing back and letting her do it.

It’s also the spring of First Communion for Teresa, which means that we have to make a felt banner to hang over the end of the family pew for the First Communion Mass. I do have an idea of how to do this project; the instructions are the same as the ones I received to make banners for Frank and Caroline, including “NO GLITTER!” in all caps.

Other parents, I’ve heard, bought felt letters to spell out the family name; ours is too long for that to work.

As I’m cutting the letters out, though, I will have time to think about Teresa’s First Communion, and time to pray for her.

Maybe the crafting gene skips a generation. Maybe when her children need doll clothes, they can ask her to make them. Because asking me isn’t going to work. 


  • family life