Some families have lost the last old aunt who used to crochet, or the Granny who used to sew those dresses for everyone. Some families are probably quite grateful for this - let's face it, just because it's handmade, doesn't mean it's good. In fact, some crafty stuff is downright revolting; the ultimate in tack. My family is doubly blessed as not only are there an abundance of crafty-types, but they have the good taste to know a macrame owl when they see one and leave it in the 70s where it belongs. All my aunts are blessed with creative talent - my Aunty Mary's house is a monument to home redecoration of the highest calibre (I'm pretty sure it's been in a magazine or two) not to mention her artistic skills. But the four ladies I'm choosing to mention today get the nod because they have helped me in the crafty stakes somewhere along the way.
Talented family member #4: my cousin Bianca. I have a lot of love for this girl for many reasons but her creative productivity is truly impressive. As well as being one half of Liana Raine Gourment Artisan Pops (I mentioned those in Cool Shit Monday) and working her butt off to make delicious icy treats for the good people of Sydney, she also manages to find time to crochet and knit the coolest projects, like OB (short for One Ball - a reflection of the wool content, not it's genitalia) bunny here. Edie LOVES that bunny and it's easy to see why. Bianca does know how to chill out (our marathon sessions of Will & Grace back in the day are testimony to this) but these days she just does it with some needles in hand. She has shown me that you can knit when you're under 40 and make it cool.
|OB Bunny. He's a cool dude.|
Talented family member #3: Also making craft cool for the under 40s is my sister Natalie. But what I have learnt from Natalie is that having a young child is no excuse for not completing artistic endeavours. She has a particular talent for embroidery (I know, so nostalgic and 'Little Women'-ish!) which totally overwhelms me - too much fiddly stuff. I have a cross stitch in progress actually. It's been in progress since I was 15. I shit you not. Approximately every 3 years, I pick it up, do 50 little crosses then remember why I put it down last time. It has rust marks in it from where the needle has sat in it for so long. Natalie knits, sews, and embroiders (plus bakes a plethora of delicious morsels on a weekly basis) while maintaining a demanding full-time job and being mum to a gorgeous 2 1/2 year old. It sounds like I'm trying to promote her on a dating site for 1950's goddesses, but "sorry gents, this little lady's taken!"
|Cushion cover Natalie made for Edie|
Talented family member #2: my Aunty Philippa. Aunty Phil is a freak. In all the positive senses of the word of course... She is responsible for a production line of beautiful handmade items that she distributes to any family member or friend she thinks needs one of her creations. I have been the recipient of so many of her artworks (that's what they are, no mistaking it) so many times it's almost embarrassing. Perhaps my aura of uselessness works in my favour here? Aunty Phil has turned her expert hand to such a variety of crafts I probably couldn't name them all (although I'm sure macrame's not in there). I think my most special gift from Aunty Phil, however was that of my wedding dress, that she created with my Mum. And all the bridesmaids dresses. And the flower girl's dress. And the cardis they knitted to for all of us in case it was cold. Which leads me nicely to...
|Detail on some of the embroidery Aunty Phil made for my wedding.|
My number one reason for not finishing what I start, is my mother. She is one of those people who you can never complain to about not having enough time to do anything as she seems to discount this as a valid reason in her own life. She is exhausting - sleep seems to be optional at times for Mum. My whole life has been filled with the many things she has made for me - dresses, costumes, toys, cardis... the list is long. Mum and Aunty Phil and my Nana passed on their appreciation of handmade goodies to me. Mum has indulged all of my attempts along the way and has had more than a small hand in most of them.
|Bianca & Natalie doing up my wedding dress|
So I'm blaming these four formidable ladies for my lack of progress with craftiness. They either do it so well that there's little need for my feeble creations, or they are so productive that they finish a project 4 months before I've got further than buying the materials.
Having said that, I do seem to still insist on starting projects. And actually, I have been having a little more success with my conversion rate lately (I'm watching the rugby right now, can you tell??). I think it's fairly safe to say that any of my crafty accomplishments are also due to the significant influence of these four ladies. I might be using them as an excuse for my poor track record, but I can't deny their enthusiasm and encouragement any time I announce a new project. Like this blog for example...
I have to give props to Bianca, Natalie, Aunty Phil & Mum, not to mention all my other family members for their unfailing enthusiasm with all my many and varied endeavours. I have truly tested the limits of their support with all the crazy shit I've announced to them over the years. Hopefully I'm able to stitch together my own life a little more successfully these days but it's good to know their helping and capable hands are always there.