After much introspection, I have come to the conclusion that I'm not a crafty person. I told my husband the grave news and he folded his arms, leaned against the wall, and gave me that "B.S., you are so a crafty person!" look. But the inner me knows better. Even though I've been known to produce craftish items in the past, it's not in my blood.
My husband and I debated the point for a good twenty minutes. After a heated discussion of what defines "crafty" and a few tense moments, we came up with a graph using the banister to represent the progression from completely inept to craft obsessed.
What? You don't spend the afternoon delineating craftiness with your spouse? (We need help, people.)
Anyway, here's what we came up with:
This chart applies to any sort of creative assemblage, from the making of birthday cards, to the making of couches. We'll go with couches for discussion purposes.
Level 1 - design oblivious. Completely unaware of the way things look, this guy just wants to sit down on the couch. Any couch. He doesn't care about how it works in the space, as long as it's not pink and is comfortable.
Level 2 - design appreciative. Knows when she walks into a living room that she likes it, but wouldn't be able to define what, specifically, about the room she likes. She would be somewhat discouraged and confused if placed on the showroom floor at the furniture store and asked to pick the best couch for her living room, lamenting that she just wants something that will look nice.
Level 3 - design connoisseur. This girl knows what couch she likes, and which ones would work in her space. She would be able to find a sofa she wants within 10 minutes at the furniture store. She would prefer to just buy something that fits perfectly. But if no such couch were available, for financial or other reasons, out of desperation she might try to do it herself for the sake of the end result.
Level 4 - design crafty. This guy not only knows what he likes, but he also has the expertise to make it. He enjoys the process of building. He creates couches because he likes to make furniture; he needs no further reason to immerse himself in the creative process. His wife wishes he had a different hobby so that he will stop making so much stuff that has nowhere to go.
I don't think someone is truly crafty until they enjoy the art of crafting; the process of assembling.
I'm a level 3 on the crafty scale. Almost there, but not quite. I know what I like, but if it were available and I had the money, I'd prefer to just buy the thing I want. Truly crafty people seem to enjoy the process of creating the object as much as they like the finished product. I just want to skip to the end result and be done with it.
Usually, with the few exceptions I've documented here on my blog, I don't get the same sense of fulfillment and enjoyment during the process of creating that the true brilliantly crafty people get. I make things out of a strong desire to have the end product. I'm compelled to make it because either I can't afford the real deal, or I can't find it. I persevere through the constructive process until I achieve something similar to what I am visualizing. Then I say close enough, flomp on the couch, eat a bowl of ice cream, and never do such a project again.
This couch is a perfect example.
We received this couch, as is the norm for us, as a hand-me-down from a grandma. I sort of liked the clean lines, but the color wasn't what I wanted. I had re-covered a small couch before — a skill I learned from my very talented fairy mother — and felt up to the task.
First, I drew out the dimensions of each surface, to calculate how much material I would need. Then I went down to the fabric district and haggled for 40 yards of microfiber cloth. The 40 yards should have been a big neon sign shouting at me that this might be one of those projects that I look back on with a healthy dose of horror for a decade.
Then, I laid out the material in 3 yard sections across my living room floor, and meticulously crawled all over it as I measured and drew the lines from my schematic. That's a lot of crawling and hunching, drawing out perfectly square shapes on 40 yards of fabric. It took a few days to recover.
My strong desire to have a gray couch pushed me on, and I then hunched and crawled over those 40 yards again, to cut the fabric. After that tremendous undertaking was over, I never wanted to see that fabric again; let alone sit on it, on a daily basis. But I was in too deep. It would have been a painful misuse of time to stop at that point.
So, I meticulously pinned the edges of each piece and sewed them together. I sighed in relief. The monstrous project was over.
It was in that moment of glee, as I sat on the first cushion to be covered, that I realized the fabric was too silky and prone to separating at the seams. I closed my eyes, frowned, and shook my head as I accepted that I would need to sew down both sides of each and every seam to secure the loose edges and prevent it from separating. Off the cover came, and out came the sewing machine. Again.
The project took me weeks to complete. Finally, one day, I declared it to be done. I put the cover on, stapled it to the bottom of the couch, and rejoiced that the project was over for real this time. Until I realized that I wanted the couch to be raised a little taller. And came up with a way to make wood legs for the couch. And stained the wood legs.
THEN I declared the couch done, laid down, and cried.
That was over 7 years ago, the making of that couch cover. I still haven't healed from the wounds. Yes, my back and knees forgave me (until I had children — sorry back and knees, I hope you'll forgive me again someday), but the emotional scars are still there.
It is with great sadness that I look at that old gray couch, used and abused by the little ones in the family,
and realize that it needs to go. Either I have to re-do the cover, or I have to buy a new one.
Thankfully, I think I have reached the point in my life where I can stand on a showroom floor and pick a shiny new model to bring home to my family room. My first brand new couch. I made a vow after that project, to never re-cover another couch. And I take my vows seriously.
See, there you go — proof that I am not a truly, enjoy the journey, craft for the sake of crafting, person.
At least, not when it comes to couch covers!