Last year was not a good year for presents from the house of Anne. I had gotten into "crafting" and "making things" for a reason that remains unclear to me. I mean, I had always vaguely wanted, in a very vague sort of vague fashion, to take up sewing in some sort of vague, formless, amorphous kind of way which would start with my hands all blurred and with the background of sewing noises (which go whir, whir, whir) and end up with, I don’t know. Ballgowns. Circus tents. Ponies.
Four years ago, I even put "learn to sew" on my List of Goals I Would Magnificently Achieve in San Francisco, Land of Dreams and New, Vast Vistas—a Word document I ran across a few days ago and promptly deleted, because I had some weird fucking dreams, and some of those dreams are kind of embarrassing. My advice to you is don’t follow your dreams, because sometimes they’re just dumb.
Anyway, at some point last year, I decided that I needed hobbies,
because I was depressed in a very bad way. I chose crocheting, and did
that badly for awhile, and strangely, it did not seem to be a magical
cure for sadness, and I am considering asking Red Heart for my money
And then I don’t know how the hell it happened…it was all a rush and
a blur, but in a series of unfortunate events, I found craftster, which is the land of the crazy crafty
people, and I found a Livejournal community with crazy crafty people,
and I found a sewing workshop place in the city and suddenly my life
was a mad whirlwind of yarn and fabric and hot glue guns and glass
etching and decoupage. I decoupaged. Which, actually, I’m really not
proud of at all. And I really, really wasn’t good at any of it either.
But I didn’t let that stop me! I should have let that stop me.
Because at some point, I decided that what I really needed to do was
make Christmas presents for everyone. Handmade gifts! From my heart!
Though my heart is not where it would look like they came from! And it
was an unmitigated disaster.
No, that’s not entirely true. It broke down so that I did not finish at
least 4 of the gifts I had planned to make, because I ran out of time
and had no idea how to rivet or miter do whatever it was I had cheerily
decided to do back in August and put off until three days before
Christmas, and so I was screwed.
My friends seemed to appreciate their gifts (even the patchwork pillow, above), and while that gladdened my heart I swore that I was never doing it again. But it was kind of
seasonal and shiny and the spirit of Baby Jesus touched all of our tiny
shriveled hearts which gained the strength of ten grinches. And then,
Now, my family. My family, that didn’t work out as well. I was proud of
the gifts I sent them, even though they weren’t perfect, and I thought
they’d all love them. On Christmas day, they passed around the phone
among them, and one by one, they asked me what I was thinking, told me
they hated it and I should have bought gift certificates, and please
don’t do this again next year. I was crying silently on the phone but
doing a creditable job of keeping my voice steady and when I hung up
the phone, I threw myself on the bed and sobbed for a good hour, feeling
humiliated and stupid and ridiculous and ashamed of my hubris in
thinking that something I made would be worth giving away. It was very,
There was a nice long break from crafting, after The Christmas of Pain,
and then, recently, for reasons that remain as obscure as my original
reasons, I started crocheting, and beading and doing crafty things
again, and suddenly, I am making plans to make gifts, again. I think I
managed to reign in it a bit this time. I will make A Scarf. Just the
one. A really, really nice one. Just to assuage the crafty, sappy, handmade-is-love part of my
soul. And then I will have figgy pudding, to celebrate the way my
spirit just can’t be beat.