Wednesday, February 15, 2012

For the love of handmade

If you are a long time blog reader, you know that I have been challenging myself to learn how to sew toys.  I'm getting better at it, and hardly cry or swear at all during the process anymore.  I take a deep breath, pull out my how-to books and try very hard to follow along.  My latest attempt was a bit of a cheater project.  A long time ago, I purchased an unstuffed, muslin doll form from the bargain bin of a dimestore.  I came across it recently and decided to use it for a practice a session.  While making it, I taught myself how to make a doll wig from yarn, used fabric markers to draw her face, and got a little better at making doll clothes.  The whole project was intended to be a way for me to learn something, but my daughter kept wandering into the studio and dropping hints about the doll.  "That sure is a cute doll you are making, who's it for?"  Finally, when the doll was stuffed and the wig was waiting to be attached, I told her it was for a client.  I was thinking it wouldn't turn out and I didn't want to admit that it was another doll for my "Frankenstein Creations Pile".

But then, amazingly the doll began to actually be cute.  And Valentine's Day was around the corner.  So I closed my studio door one day, finished the doll, and hid her with the intention of giving her to my daughter as a Valentine's Day gift.  But the day before, I had second thoughts.  Would my daughter be disappointed to "only" receive a handmade gift? I was shocked at myself!  How could the queen of crafting say such a thing?  A lover of all things handmade?  It made me realize how brainwashed I was by society.  I really think we all sometimes fall under the spell that store-bought is better.  As crafters, we can claim we are immune, but I know very few people who don't have the same moment of doubt I did before giving a handmade gift. 
On Valentine's Day, all my fears vanished.  I awoke to squeals of delight as my daughter found her doll.  I could hear telling her Daddy, breathlessly, that Mama had tricked her and told her the doll was for a customer.  Looking at the pictures I took of my daughter and her doll (who is named Valentina) reminded me that handmade can be even more loved than store bought.  Another lesson learned.