As part of my lifelong effort to live smaller (hahaha), or really, as I recover from the life of raising kids and all the multicoloured toys that entails, I keep trying to shrink my belongings to tinier and tinier amounts. Probably I’ll end up being one of those RV types who lives in a conversion van with two outfits of clothing, one for spring and one for winter…
The problem is all the hobbies I took up over the years. As a military wife, I often couldn’t find work in the places where we were put, and heck, someone had to spend time with the kids every once and awhile. So I did hobbies. Endless, endless hobbies. It was a military wife requirement, like buying Tupperware (so you didn’t have to throw out all your food every time you moved) and home parties and kowtowing to the upper ranks and eventual alcoholism.
I learned tole painting, needlecraft, sewing, silk scarf painting, jewelry making, painting, pottery, woodworking, photography, knitting, scrapbooking, plastic jewelry making, flower arranging, gourmet cooking, and more. I held the line at plastic canvas “creations”. And I never crocheted a poodle-shaped toilet paper cover.
But my closets now are filled with the remainders of these hobbies, as well as my failed musical instrument career. (guitar, ukulele, recorders of all sorts). I’d like to say I did any of these things well. But I don’t.
I did knit a uterus once, for the prenatal classes I was teaching. it was the hit of the mum and me playgroup I attended with my son and daughter, though I noticed the other mums started sitting further away from me once they knew it wasn’t a hat I was working on. It was red and white striped. With a detachable vagina.
I have unfinished projects stacked sky high, a plastic container filled with fabrics waiting for their moments of glory, partially painted objects, needlepoint missing the picture, knitted misshapes. I even have the entire requirements for furniture refinishing, another hobby I developed but have problems now completing as I live in a carpeted apartment…
I suppose all this experience could come in useful if I was running a summer camp (shudder) or kids program (shudder shudder), but I don’t want to do these things. I just wanted to learn how to do things and keep my creative mind occupied.
It’s time to let them go, but it’s so hard! I say to myself foolish things like, well, I can finish this needlepoint – this one that I’ve had for longer than my marriage (which I managed to finish). Or I hang onto scraps for the quilt I eventually plan to make – but heck, I have a pile of pants needing hemming that are already out of style. Why do I think I have the stick-to-it-iveness to finish a QUILT?
And yet….there is something so satisfying about making something from raw materials.
So I say, but the tote filled with material hangs about, year after year, wondering what its role is, gazing disconsolately around the stuffed closet, while I gaily gad about for a shopping spree or laze about sipping wine and eating bon bons. My sewing box is like my bundle of good intentions – filled to bursting but never ever to see the light of day. It makes me feel guilty. Heaven knows I have enough time to whip up clever covers for the seats or charming pyjamas for everyone I know.
Instead I curl around a mystery or go out for lunch with friends or write a small thing or kill people off in a novel. Or stare into the middle distance or pluck my eyebrow hairs.
So it’s time to push things on. I’m loading up bags for the local charity resale store, hoping someone else might see my patterns and crafts and sadly unfinished glories and take them on. I’m feeling it’s a bit like that cartoon about the singing frog, though. I suspect people will buy these things, as I did, with their good intentions, hoping to make them sing in their own homes, only to find that they merely sit around and go “Bra-a-a-a-p”. But, like that man in the cartoon, at least I won’t have to deal with them anymore.