It’s a Wrap

Last week, a girlfriend invited a bunch of us ladies over to her place for a morning of crafting.

It’s like she doesn’t love me.

Everyone was supposed to bring an art project to work on.

Quilting. Watercolor. Ice sculpture.

There were last minute Christmas presents being needled and actual gift wrap being wielded, and I kept my two left hands where they belonged: wrapped around a large tea mug.

I don’t do fragile and I don’t do fancy and I don’t do fussy.

Unless it can be done in five minutes or under.

Because I don’t do ‘focus’.

I will be working a cross-stitch, notice a bird fly by the window, and go immediately into the garage to build a bird feeder. No.

I’m lucky to wrap a gift to where you don’t actually see the gift peeking out.

For example.

When I did my classes in Canada this fall, I put together these lovely little packages to go with the lessons.

That’s code for: I was standing in a room one morning, by myself, surrounded with gift bags, drifts of tissue paper, and piles of little trinkets, hyperventilating.

Cue the “Jaws” theme song.

I was already dizzy from having my west coast body clock yanked into the east coast time zone.

(Go east coast! Way to be first in line for the sunrise! Overachiever much?)

Now this project was a great idea, but let me tell you right this minute now: Gifts are not my Love Language.

I know this because one of my other classes was adapted from “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman.

(You can take the test HERE if you want to know your own Love Language, the way in which you feel loved. I’m “words of affirmation” which is really no big surprise, people, but it is indeed the quickest way to my heart.)

So I understand that people feel loved when I hand them artfully wrapped tokens of esteem or thanks or congratulations or I-just-bought-you-a-birthday-present-last-year-why-are-you-still-having-birthdays??

But my forte, they are not.

“You and your big ideas,” I mumbled to myself, snatching at some yellow tissue and wadding up an item, “I thought you loved me. I thought this was gonna be the best fun ever.”

The tissue ripped in the middle.

I jammed it into a lavender polka dot bag before it could all fall apart.

It looked pretty good.

If a zombie with two left hands had attempted a festive origami Easter gift.

I only had 75 more to go.

Torture at it’s finest.

Anyway.

According to my Love Language, my favorite part of this holiday is receiving cards in the mail, not the tree, not the presents, not the air hugs or group caroling.

None of this girlfriend bonding at the mall, maxing out the credit cards stuff.

Okay, maybe the part where everyone pitches in and cleans the house.

Oh, wait.

That Love Language is older than Ye Olde Englishe.

Not even a caveman can do it.

So.

For the sake of those I love, I shall sally forth into the blizzardy malls and throw money randomly into stores and ask them if anyone who isn’t a zombie can please wrap the things up pretty.

And my little fam will feel loved.

And I will curl up by the fire with a good book and feast on delicious words.

As my ice sculpture melts into its wrapping paper.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Made With Love

You can feel it in the air!

Spring will be springing soon, triggering mass hysteria in the form of fabric sacrifices and smoking hot glue guns.

I would like to reminisce about my “Martha Stewart Days”: a restless nesting time in every woman’s life when you are certain that watercolors, cake decorating – or maybe a little light carpentry – is the only thing between you and that one thing that will make your heart sing.

Admit it with me! There was the rubber stamp phase, the quilting phase, the wallpaper borders phase, the scrapbooking phase… I even had a cookie cutter phase.

Thanks to my mile-a-minute lifestyle, I went through them all in rapid succession looking for that song. In the process, I surrounded myself with boxes of unfinished flights of fancy.

I learned several things about myself over the course of the years.

I am not an artist.

I appreciate arts, crafts, music, and gorgeously turned out homes, but I will never be able to do it myself.

Also (and probably because) I have the attention span of a gnat.

And the patience of a charging rhino.

This does not lend itself to the “making of beautiful things”.

I am missing a key chromosome that most females use when they walk into IKEA or Home Goods, and proceed to pick out coordinating and tasteful objects that transform their living rooms into magazine photo shoots.

All of my taste is in my mouth.

I stand in front of a thousand color swatches and my eyes cross.

My limited skill set is my girlfriends’ delight.

I pull one into my bedroom and say, “There are eight shades of green on this wall. Pick the one I will love.”

They always know.

I have just enough DNA to feel the urge to create and not enough to pull off the job.

I once sewed myself a dress. The arm holes didn’t actually match where my arms were. But the dress fiasco helped to purge my sewing machine compulsion before I drowned in fabric.

Not in my wildest dreams will I be able to compete with my foodie friends in the kitchen, but I could watch them cook for hours on end. I passed them all my odd spices and random ingredients that made a unique meal that no one here would eat.

I am not a musician.

I taught music lessons with PTA for many years. I learned along with the kids how to read notes and play the recorder and sing in rounds. I taught myself piano.

Yes, I can play it. No, not for you.

I play piano the way I dance which is also the way I snorkel: tense and waiting for the barracuda to arrive.

Awkward at best.

I am delighted with symphonies and things operatic. I enjoy theater and dance and museums. I don’t care what you’ve collected, I would love to see it.

But I’ve stopped saying, “Hey, I could do that!”

Thank you, Martha, for showing me what I’m made of.

And what I’m not made of. Money is one. Time is another.

Her little secret to success lies in her trick of keeping a “staff”.

I’m on my own as the butler, the baker and the candlestick maker. (It’s safe to say you’ll never read a post about my having a candle making phase. That one was third grade.)

“Keep it Simple Sweetheart” reminds me to focus on the project I was actually meant to create: my family.

They make my heart sing every day.