As a child, I learned to knit, crochet, and embroider. As soon as I learned to crochet, the knitting went by the wayside because I found crocheting took less time and was more fun. I occasionally embroider, but not as often as I crochet. As a teenager, I learned to decoupage. That was my first real “hobby.” I loved the whole process.
Decoupage for me began in my father’s garage rummaging for scrap lumber, and later at construction sites begging building contractors for scraps. I sawed the wood to the desired size and shape and sanded it nice and smooth. Sometimes I would burn the edges of the wood, or use a wood file to make designs. I spent as much time preparing the wood as I did with the actual decoupage process. The back side of a picture was lightly sanded and glued to the prepared board. In those days, decoupage was quite an art, requiring 14-16 coats. Wet sanding was required every 3 or 4 coats. By the time the final layer of decoupage was applied, the picture seemed to be part of the wood itself, as opposed to being glued to the wood.
I took great pride in the finished product, as my Dad always taught me to stand back and admire my work. I gave away my pictures for Christmas and special occasions. Wedding invitations were decoupaged and given to the couple as a wedding gift. Invitations to baby showers received the treatment.
Suddenly decoupage was no longer available to purchase and a cheap product (which I won’t name) replaced it. This new product was slapped on in a couple of coats (usually on a prepared plaque purchased at the hobby store). The beauty and quality were gone. The “art” was now a “kit” that was slapped together to replace “art.” My hobby went out the window.
By this time I was married and raising children. I didn’t have time for hobbies. I did, however, teach my children to make crafts for gifts, and we always made our own Christmas cards. We delighted in coming up with new ideas for our construction paper Christmas card each year. About the time my youngest was in high school, our homemade cards were no longer appreciated because the Martha Stewart types had begun spending a boat load of money on fancy paper, stamps, and even scissors and hole punches that made different shapes. Our truly handmade creations made with love paled by comparison. So we quit.
Now that I’m retired, I’ve been looking for a new hobby. I’ve always wanted to learn how to tat (the lost art of lace making). A woman is trying to teach me, but between my lack of time and the fact that she is blind, it is difficult. I’m also not at all sure that I have the patience for this delicate lace making. (Remember I gave up knitting because crochet was faster.)
Every tour I make of hobby stores finds nothing but kits to put together. Everything is built already and placed on shelves for me to purchase and paint. That’s not exactly my idea of creating something. I did purchase a stepping stone kit which my husband and I put together recently. It was enough fun that I’ve decided at some point to forget the kit, buy a bag of cement, find some rocks or glass and really get creative.
Recently, I found some pictures on the social networking site Pinterest that intrigued me. Old glass vases, plates, cups, and nick knacks were glued together to make yard art. I couldn’t resist the temptation. I rummaged around my cupboards and collected old vases, and I hit up a few thrift stores for more glass pieces. The result was two bird baths; one for the front yard, and one for the back yard. Shortly, I’ll be trying my hand at some glass flowers to hang on the back fence. I’m having a great time with this because I am creating something from scratch. I’m using my own little imagination and my own two little hands to create something beautiful. I’m waiting to be inspired. I’m not just throwing together a kit, or buying something that was made by a machine and painting it. I’m not spending a fortune on little scissors and hole punches. I don’t have to have a bazillion paint stamps. I’m recycling used items to create something beautiful. I must enjoy this quickly before someone makes a kit out of it and takes all my fun away!
Pictures below of the bird baths prior to moving them outside. (The glue needed to dry before taking them outside.)