Crafty Creative Chaos

When I die, bury me surrounded by all of my unfinished craft projects.
Please oh please don’t curse the world with all of the things that I was not talented enough to bring to life.
The thought of all of my unfinished craft projects ending up in a Goodwill bin
for people to paw through and wonder about gives me the screaming heebie jeebies.
They’ll be judging me and my inability to finish what I start, I just know it.
Maybe in the great beyond I will find a way to work on six craft projects at the same time
and complete them all successfully,


Hot glue is, well, hot. I have burned myself a dozen times today while making my beautiful shell magnets and sea sculptures.

I must say that the sea sculptures (driftwood, shells, starfish and various bits of sea glass all glued together in aesthetically pleasing configurations) are turning out better than the shell magnets. In fact, the shell magnets are causing me to lose my wonderful disposition and resort to various swears and random yells as the hot glue gun sticks my finger to a magnet, or a piece of starfish leg, or the kitchen cupboard yet again.

Of course, beautiful is a subjective term. If you found either the sculptures or shell magnets in a thrift shop, you would probably raise an eyebrow and pass on to the more interesting cut glass ash trays on the glass wares shelf.  

But no matter how amateurish these sculptures and magnets are to your eyes, they are mine, and I look on them with a weirdly satisfying kind of pride. Like my stories and my oil paintings, my photography and my dream catchers and the hand sewn throw pillows on my couch, they are mine. I made them. I had to make them. That is what being a creative is all about.

When an idea; whether it is for a story, or a painting or a sea sculpture or even a dream catcher comes to me I have always felt that I must let it out. I have always felt that I was required, somehow, to give my idea life. I have always felt that it isn’t a choice really, that instead it is a burning need, as if the idea itself has come alive inside of me and for whatever reason decided that I am supposed to be its mother, that I am the best person to give birth to it, to give it life. And how on earth could I say no? Who am I to deny an idea’s right to be born?

I could never understand that part. Why do these ideas come to me? I can see them, fully formed, so beautiful! So unique! This story, this painting, this picture, this quilt pattern, that poem, this idea, it could change the world! It could touch people’s hearts! And while I have confidence in my writing and photography and even (to a point) in my painting, my creative abilities when it comes to craft type ideas fall far short of my visions and I find myself sitting there with swollen thumbs, bleeding fingertips or ragged seams and crying over my beautiful idea, my vision that never got a chance to live; stillborn because I am just not talented enough to bring it to life.

In fact, when it comes down to my creative endeavors, I find that one of two things happens. Either I succeed beyond my wildest dreams, or I fail utterly.

Success for me usually comes in getting my ideas down on paper, or film, or canvass, in putting together furniture arrangements or in choosing the right items to compliment a color scheme. I am pretty damned awesome at arranging flowers, in picking just the right colored items to accent a room or a table or a desk, or outfit. My taste in interior design has been commended on time and again, with people asking me to help them to decorate their own homes. But the intricacies of fine craft work such as needlepoint, embroidery or jewelry-making, anything beyond the very basics of knitting or sewing straight seams, anything that requires me to use tweezers or pincers to manipulate small items or use a glue gun is pre-destined to fail and usually to fail spectacularly with much swearing and gnashing of teeth.

But today I realized something; I do not have to say yes to every idea that comes to me begging to be born. In fact, I owe it to myself and to the potential idea to hold an idea lovingly in my heart, to see it without the blinders of possession and to give it full and due consideration. Am I truly the right person to bring this idea to fruition?

Yes. This idea, this vision came to me. Yes, I can see it clearly, its uniqueness, its beauty and potential. But just because I can see it so clearly does not mean that someone else, someone with skills better adapted to bringing this beautiful idea to fruition would not be a better choice.

So, I guess the burning question whose flames lap gently at the ragged edges of my mind is this: my mind has so many beautiful ideas, if I choose not to bring an idea to fruition – if I let it go free, will it ever get to be born into this world? Am I denying it existence by letting it go, or is it the better choice to allow it to continue wandering until it finds a mind with the right talents to bring it to life?

~JustSteph 4/26/2023

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