The curse of “I could make that!”

I can admit without being too obnoxious that I am a somewhat crafty person.  I inherited some mad decorating skills from my mom, who would come up with all sorts of thrifty ways to make our house look nice during our poorest of times.  Like the magic she worked with Laura Ashley sheets from Marshalls – instant couch cover, with the aide of a few safety pins.  (Yes, we wrapped a white sofa in sheets, and no one knew it!)  There was another time where she got different colored paper fans from Pier One, opened them to varying degrees, nailed them to a board, and hung it like valances at the top of the windows.  And the infamous story of when she saw an outfit made of white eyelet at the department store, but couldn’t afford it, went home, realized she had white eyelet curtains in the breakfast room and had a new outfit the next day, and less curtains in the breakfast room.

This is what I grew up with.

Needless to say, now, as an adult with a sewing machine and the ability to knit AND crochet, I look at stuff and think “I could make that.”  Even worse, I taught myself to sew, knit, and crochet, so of course, I could probably learn how to do other things as well.

It’s a curse really.

See, the thing is, you have to first invest in all the tools to make things.  Like when I decided I could sew cloth diapers for Maura.  It would be easy!  I could learn how to sew!  I had a sewing machine!  I could get a serger!  I could buy all the materials!  Pick out the best patterns! It’ll be great!  I could make diapers for a fraction of the cost to buy them!  After completing my first useable diaper, I showed it off proudly to my husband and he laughed and said “Congratulations, you’ve made a $400 diaper!”

It was true.  That diaper was a bit pricey if you considered the cost of materials.  Forget the time investment.  I could have bought a couple of dozen diapers for half the price.  (Oh wait, I had.)  But the positive spin is that I did learn to sew thanks to those first few diapers.

However, you step into the crafting world and suddenly you’re surrounded by other crafty people who are all “OMG,  have you tried THIS????  Isn’t this awesome???” and you’re all “OMG YES!  I must try that too!”  And you go online or to Joann’s and wander about and fill your basket and  place your orders.  Because you’re going to learn to make THIS!

And then you’re surrounded by jewelry making materials.  And realize you don’t really want to make jewelry after the first couple of tries, but now you have 14 pliers and 500,000 beads in assorted colors.

We won’t discuss scrapbooking, or how I decided that since no baby book covered Maura’s special milestone timeline, I’d make her a baby book.  Or how that turned into “Look at all the pretty paper!  I neeeed!”

No, we won’t discuss that at all.

One of the problems is, I’m not the only one who thinks “I could make that!”  My family thinks highly of me as well.  Halloween costumes, a tablet cover, a First Communion dress – sure, Mom can make that!

What can I say, I hate to disappoint them.

At one point, I found myself surrounded by all this “I could make that!” stuff that was going unused.  I realized that I had a bit of a problem going on.  That led to the hard phase of “Well, I don’t use it, but it’s still good stuff, and just what am I supposed to do with 14 pliers and 500,000 beads?”  Then we were moving to Ireland and I had to get hardcore with my clearing out.  The woman at the consignment shop became my best friend (it seems my yarns and fabrics were quite popular with the crowd there, proving I was not alone in this problem.)

During my time in Ireland, I had a bit of a reprieve, except with yarn.  Oh, there were two of the loveliest yarn shops near me.  But that was okay, I actually make stuff with yarn – AND complete it.  I had entered a new phase – “Don’t buy it without knowing its use.”

So yeah, I got all confident in my decision-making skills when it came to the “I could make that!” curse.

Until I returned to the Land of the Consumer.

See, in Ireland, even if I wanted to go down that rabbit hole that leads to Crafting Hell, it was hard, because there weren’t a lot of places that sold all the crafting supplies you could ever want and never use, definitely not all under one roof.

Here?  Here they make it SO easy – especially when the local shopping center has a Michael’s next to a Joann’s.

We won’t discuss how I dragged fabric to Ireland only to drag it all back to here, still unused.  Or that I have more than enough yarn and ideas for it to see me through a year.  Or that afghan I started crocheting before I left for Ireland and still haven’t finished.

No, we won’t discuss those.

Suddenly I find myself going “You know, I could learn how to spin wool.  That’d be cool.  Spinning wheels are cool.” and “I could make a cover for my KitchenAid mixer instead of buying one.  Heck, I could set up an Etsy shop, making mixer covers.  It’ll be great!”

This week, I bought a new duvet and duvet cover (as the one we had was for a full size bed and we’ve upgraded to a king size.)  I have spent several weeks deciding what look I wanted, found one, bought it finally.

Yet today, I was thinking “Hmm…you know, I could probably make a duvet cover.  It could be like a patchwork, bohemian-style, with a mix of colors and patterns.  Yeah, I could make one, it would be easy.  Maybe I should return the one I bought and just make one….”

And then I mentally slapped myself.

“No, you’re not going to make one.  You haven’t finished unpacking.  You haven’t finished finding new homes for your stuff.  You don’t even have a clear space to sew yet.  We won’t discuss how you know you’ll just end up spending more in fabric than you did on the duvet you did buy.  Now stop it you crazy woman!”

See, you could make it…but sometimes, you have to admit that just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.  Or have the time.  Or that you’ll actually save money.

So for now, no, I’m not going to make a funky Bohemian-style patchwork duvet cover.  I have a house to still unpack, forms to still fill out, a pile of yarn that needs knitting up.  I can put that idea on the backburner for when life’s not as crazy.

That said – just saved a pin to Pinterest for how to make your own KitchenAid mixer cover.

Yeah, it’s a sickness.

Miriam's First Communion dress - my pinnacle of sewing skills.  (Grandma made the veil because after making the dress, I was DONE!)
Miriam’s First Communion dress – my pinnacle of sewing skills. (Grandma made the veil because after making the dress, I was DONE!)