Childrearing

If Craft Fairs Are The New Bake Sales, I’m Checking Out

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Last week, my daughter came home from daycare with a new piece of jewelry. In what has become something of a tradition, her friend had made her a necklace, complete with a hand-painted ceramic heart. By my count, we now have 14 pieces of jewelry with small bits of pottery attached. Most of them have a big “B” on them and my daughter very carefully stores them all in her jewelry box. They are all intensely sweet gifts from a rather crafty little girl and her mother.

I’ve tried to help Brenna reciprocate with gifts for her pre-school buddy. I bought a jewelry-making kit and helped her string beads together. I’ve dug out our easel and let her paint pretty “Thank You” pictures. This is really the most extensive my craft-making ability gets. My daughter just doesn’t think it’s on par with hand-painted jewelry.

And listen, I know it’s not. It’s simply not as cool as some of the amazing projects I see floating around the internet or being passed around at PTA meetings.

The truth is that I’m not crafty. In fact, I think I’m unartistically-inclined. (Would that be artistically-disinclined?) I can’t draw or paint. I’m really not a great decorator. Even with my Play-Doh, my best sculpture is a bird’s nest with some eggs in it. Seriously, I have absolutely zero artistic talent.

And I think it might have been okay if I had a son. No one expects the mothers of boys to be able to make a beautiful piece of artwork out of melted wax and pipe cleaners. Unfortunately, girls are always supposed to love arts and crafts. I’m supposed to have popsicle stick-creations all over my house. I’m supposed to know how to use a kiln. I don’t!

Even worse that failing at the home-made gift-giving, my daughters pre-school has floated the idea of craft fairs as fundraisers. Moms everywhere are talking about home-made tutus and leg-warmers. They’re hot-gluing hairbows and weaving baskets and knitting hats. It’s terrifying.

What happened to the bake sale? Then, at least if you can’t cook, you can buy treats from a local bakery and pretend they’re your own. Should I be heading to Hobby Lobby and claiming to have constructed wreathes?

I’m in awe of so many moms and their artistic abilities. My own mom introduced my sister and I to journaling at a very young age. Her notebooks are filled with beautiful drawings, quotes and thoughts. They’re like picture books of her life. My sister’s journals quickly became sketch books. As an adult, she has an eye for beautiful and interesting images that I simply cannot fathom.

Wanna know what my journals look like? Diaries. Pages and pages of writing. It’s all black and white, and not in a modern, simplistic way. In a “I wrote with pen on paper” way. Sometimes I wrote in cursive to make it look prettier. That’s the level of artistic talent that my daughter is stuck with: cursive. And not even calligraphy, because I tried that when I studied Japanese and I was horrible at it.

Listen I will bake cookies until my fingers bleed. I’ll play tag, kickball and foursquare. I’ll read every book  the librarian puts in my hand. But a craft fair? I just can’t do it. Handmade ceramic beads for jewelry? I’m just not at your level, ladies. I hope I’m not dooming my daughter to an artistically-disinclined life as well.