Becoming Crafty, Whether I Like It or Not


Bear made a custom storage bench for our house. It’s six feet long, roughly, and has two separate storage compartments, each with its own lid. I looked into the price of getting bench pillows and realized the size was nonstandard, and therefore custom pillows would be necessary. The hunt for them online led me to the discovery of how insanely expensive custom cushions for a bench seat can be. To create the entire storage bench cost less than $100, but the cushions alone would be over $100. EACH! And that was the no-frills, cheapest filling and cheapest material. More than $200 for something to soften a seat? That sounded absurd. I talked this over with my mother in law, lamenting the cost of something that I wanted but just couldn’t bring myself to buy at that price. I knew she was crafty, and she said she could make them. We agreed that I would go to pick out the materials, and she’d work the magic to make the idea a reality. The finished product was exactly what I’d pictured! The cost (even paying retail for the material and cushion padding and all) was about half what I would have paid online. However, instead of getting the cheapest thing available, it was exactly what I wanted. The cushion inside was even removable, to make for easy cleaning. Huzzah!

Except… they had the makeup of a sham pillow, with the back opening for removal. I saw this as an awesome way for them to be cleaned and dried without fuss. The boys saw it as a would-be sleeping bag, with a comfy cushioned sleeping pad attached! The cover was nice and fitted to the pad, with no room for a child, but that was not stopping them. They stretched it out and got in, ignoring the sound of the seams bursting around them.

I should’ve known. My awesome, one-of-a-kind bench seat cushions were practically begging to be destroyed, because they couldn’t be replaced easily. We have some easily replaceable non-custom sized, non-pricey throw pillows that the kids barely give a second glance. Why would they? Those would present no challenge for me, so they’re safe.

Prior to having kids, I was genuinely baffled why people who aren’t really into crafty stuff would bother with it. If it isn’t something you enjoy, why not just pay someone else to do it? Sure the cost is a bit more, but I just couldn’t wrap my head around how their time wasn’t somehow more valuable than the mark-up.

Then I had children. Those children just happen to be of a specialized seek-and-destroy model, a far more destructive subset of the generally messy child species.

And now I get it. I would never be able to afford for my home to look even halfway presentable if I didn’t fix a stitch here and there, make some handmade art, refinish a table or a chair whose surface is scuffed to the point that would have earned it a spot on the curb at one point in my life. The sheer volume of little projects adding up makes it impossible to pay someone else to do all of those not-so-fun tasks. Now when I consider whether something is worth saving, I have to give real thought before chucking the broken, the torn, the scuffed, the ripped. If I tossed them all, I’d be replacing half of my home on an annual basis, if not more. It isn’t only my income that is no longer disposable since having kids. If I don’t want to live as a minimalist in a very dramatic sense, being at least a little bit crafty just isn’t an option!

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