Do you have “The Craft Gene?”
Are you a crafty person? Do you DIY? If so, do people always ask you where you get your knack for crafting from? I wonder where people get their greatness for crafts or building, too, but I never really thought about where I got mine! I feel as though it is seriously a gene, passed down. I wonder how come I got the “itch” to build and it hit me like a ton of bricks: My entire family is handy! We allllllll could be builders.
Wherever I move, wherever I go…Ace’s, Home Depot, Wal-mart, etc., I get asked if I need help. I tell them what I need and I either get brushed off as in, “ya right, you don’t know what you are doing.” Or, “well what are you doing? You probably don’t need anything that powerful” or “Is someone helping you with this?” Let me tell you all, I GET VERY INSULTED. These people quickly learn that they have crossed a line they wish they never did. I usually end up giving a LOT of attitude and walking off only to find what I am looking for. I do a LOT of research before I go looking for tools, paints, stains, etc. so that when I end up in this situation I can fend for myself. I am never “the young lady who didn’t know what she was doing.”
I always tell my grandmother the story of the power drill. I went next door to ask a neighbor if he had a specific sized screw. He looked at me like I was 4 years old and just came off Rodeo Drive (yes, there are 4 year olds walking around Rodeo Drive… :/ ). He looked at me with this horrible face that I will never forget, as he belittled me about using a screwdriver! “Here, let me show you how to take the drill bit out” he says…. I lit into him like a shark eating some chum! (Can you tell it is Shark Week right now?” haha!) I do not believe he ever looked at me like a poor, helpless little lady again! I literally could see the respect growing in his eyes. I like to think of myself as a breath of fresh air. I bet some people like to think of me as something else that’s inappropriate for this blog, but hey, you can’t please ‘em all! My gram loves to hear that story! I was born and raised in Maine and we don’t treat girls like little princesses there! You can wear a tiara, but if you’re gonna hang around, you bettah grab a hammah, ayuh!! (Maine accent)
Anyway, while I was thinking about where my excitement and joy from building came from, I realized that WOW, there are a ton of people in my family who are master builders, crafters and creators. We are a hands on family and we prefer to get our hands dirty! I think if it was a children’s story it would sound something like this:
The Family with the Craft Gene
Once upon a time there lived a man named Charlie. He was a welder by trade, but had a workshop in his “cella.” He painted his house every summer, built his grandchildren cedar chests and made his very own contraption to send light up through a fish he caught so he could see the bones and pick them out so his family didn’t have to eat them! Wowza! He helped his granddaughters with their science projects, too! I think one time he even built his granddaughter a solar-powered windmill!
Handmade Cedar Chest made by Charlie, for Dawn Marie for Christmas:
Sorry, Perry Dog thought this post was about him and would NOT budge!
Well, Charlie had a son named Jerry. Jerry built log homes in his “spare time” when he wasn’t working at the local paper mill in Maine. He built his wife Joanne an A-Frame house from the ground up. His wife would take him on long rides on the weekends and point out all of the crafts that she wanted him to make her instead of spending tons of money at the store! He made her flower boxes, shelves, tables, and he also let his daughters play with his cool looking tools and help out when they could. He made his mother an outdoor changing room by the pool, a gate for a friend’s horse field and many other custom-built loveliness.
A log cabin and canoe built by Jerry:
Look at my cute dad in the window of the log home…looks so little!
I can remember this being built in our garage and the smell of that fiberglass and epoxy!
Jerry’s wife, Joanne LOVED crafts. She loved to make crafts, buy crafts, create crafts and help her daughters do crafts. She liked country crafts like dolls, farm houses, and COWS. She loved herself some cow crafts lemme tell you! If she couldn’t get her husband Jerry to make it, she would wait until the winter craft fair and find it there or have a friend make it for her. Joanne always let her daughters experiment with sand, glue, leaves, wood, etc. in the name of education. A mess can always be cleaned up!
Jerry had two daughters. They were always around tools and wood chips and a garage full of amazing aromas of sawdust, epoxy, and the sweet sound of the radio. The radio was ALWAYS on in their garage. Jerry said that it kept the animals company (there was always a cat and dog or both at all times).
Jerry’s sister Cindy was also VERY crafty and creative. She made those Longaberger baskets that were amazing! The family would go up to her house and make Christmas wreaths with fresh bows from the forest behind her house. She also had a story published in the children’s magazine Highlights!
Jerry’s oldest daughter Stephanie is a math genius. She can figure anything out. She could help make anything you wanted. She really shines at scrapbooking and making cards. If anything is broken or needs to be fixed, she is resourceful enough to know how to fix it. Jerry instilled independence in his children, that’s for sure! He taught his girls that just because they were girls, it did not mean that they couldn’t take care of themselves and could do “boy things.”
The younger daughter, Dawn Marie loved helping her dad. People tell her that she was a daddy’s girl and was always by his side. She remembers watching her dad, Jerry, make a canoe, the pool house/changing room, many log homes, shelves, decks, and wooden gifts for people. She grew up knowing that she loved creating, but since she didn’t have her sister’s math skills, she never thought she could make things with wood with all that measuring and the dreaded FRACTIONS! The measuring kind of freaked her out! As the saying goes, “If you do what you love and love what you do, you will never work a day in your life.” That is the way Dawn Marie feels now that she is a successful sign and furniture maker.
Go to LoxiGold Decor to see all of her creations!
There are also a couple of cousins in the family, Nathan and Jeff. Nathan is a carpenter as well! He is a hands on, resourceful builder like the rest of the family, only he can do amaaaazing details and just about anything you want him to do. His father and brother are handy as well and they have a can do mentality. If they want to make something, they find out how it is done by just doing it and learning.
Shelves and a TV stand Nate has made:
The other cousin, Jeff, dabbles in building things for his wife, as well as for himself and his children. His hobby has come in very handy! When his wife Lani wants something unique for the house, he is able to make it! Check out the amazing island he made (from top to bottom) for their kitchen and the guitars and guitar stand he made by hand! Jeff’s mother Kathy is super crafty and can sew or knit clothes for her grandchildren or anything needed for costumes, room decor, etc. and Jeff’s father has always been a great drawer and able to just make things instead of buying them. It’s more fun that way, isn’t it!!
I am sure there are many other relatives in this family, but this story can only be so long!
WIth the resourcefulness, helpfulness, creativeness and humor, this family can find a way to make anything your heart desires. If your Princess can not find a Prince, this family could probably build one or make one out of fabric and yarn. Aren’t homemade gifts really the best kind? Now that’s a tradition that should be passed down along with the craft gene!
Consider this a happily ever after!
So what I am getting at in this lengthy story is that, if I was born into a family where the father, mother, AND grandparents were always crafting and building, is there any chance that I could NOT be a crafty person? Similarly, if I was born into a non crafty family would I take such pride in building and crafting? Let’s say your father is a Lawyer and your mother is an English teacher and your grandparents were bankers, would you be a carpenter or seamstress?
It seems as though everyone I asked had a mother, father or grandparent that made crafts or built things in their presence and encouraged them to join in. I am crafty and like to build and Lil’ Bear loves to build! Did I pass down the “craft gene” or does he just do what I do because he lives it?
Lots of people think it comes down to the nature vs. nurture debate. It’s probably true. My friend Alyssa from Arts and Crackers says she got her craftiness from her mom, as does Menucha from Moms and Crafters. She says that although her mom wasn’t necessarily “crafty,” she was creative and inspired Menucha.
A lot of people say that they get it from their mom or dad, grandmother or grandfather. I believe that if you are “taught” or “allowed” to experiment with tools, whether they are hammers and nails or paint and paintbrushes, it gives children the confidence to know that they can think of something and make that image a reality. It teaches children another “tool” for letting out their energy and creativity and teaches focus in a way that can’t be right or wrong. I find that I am SO proud of myself when I finish a product that I dreamed up in my head. It is a sense of worth, a sense of accomplishment and it is literally right there in front of me and I have something to show for myself.
* lots of these photos are pictures of pictures since they are in old photo albums of mine, so the quality is the best its gonna get!*
I love this article about a grandmother who exudes craftiness, “http://www.lucybluestudio.com/2009/09/08/craftiness-is-genetic/”
I never thought I was good at crafts. I guess the word ‘craft’ can be used to mean several different things, but I never knew that. I thought it strictly meant sewing or scrapbooking, neither of which I am good at. I finally found my niche of crafts that I am passionate about. I don’t know if making pallet art/pallet furniture is crafting or building or both!
I love it when my son’s friends ask what I do and Lil’ Bear says, “my mom makes signs.” He used to call me “the pallet lady,” but I think I have moved up to “signmaker” status! I call that a success!
Tell me where your craft gene came from!!!