Finding old friends

But not actual *people* friends. Boy, it would be great if I were referring to actual people friends, wouldn't it? Nope, just crafts I'd kind of forgotten about that I've unearthed this week.

First, there has been much beading. I love digging through my stash of beads, each type in its little baggie or plastic tube, and dumping my favorites out on my fleece bead mat so I can play around with the colors, sizes, and textures. Except for the Christmas ornaments I made for Katherine in December, I haven't done much with beads in several years, so it was fun to revisit my bead box. I was thankful for all those times I snatched up a few cool beads or a strand of this or that at a store, because I have a pretty good collection going. Or at least I did, before I made four necklaces to give away. I might have to revisit our bead store in town and see if they can help me grow my collection again. <insert husband's eye-roll here>

Kent has been dying to play with my beads, but they're not exactly his size and I'm not sure where they'd end up if I kept them within his reach. To channel his crafty desires and stop his endless wailing of "K beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeead!" (which means "Kent wants to play with beads!" Everything is "K [+whatever he wants]" right now), I found some of my colored wooden beads with big holes in them, and a shoelace for him to practice stringing them on. I pulled the shoelace out of a dress shoe that Jack doesn't wear very often, and I knew it was okay to use the shoelace because one of our cats had already chewed through part of it.

I'm somewhat amazed that this energetic, impatient, oft-wild child will sit down to string beads on a shoelace for ten minutes at a stretch. To augment his bead collection, I bought him a package of four plain wooden beads today that I'm hoping he and I can paint sometime soon. I know that toy companies sell "lacing bead" sets, but this is much more fun to assemble. Part of the fun is that it fulfills my current obsession with frugality. Maybe I'll make (or buy) him some lacing cards for his birthday to see how far this shoelace/lacing thing goes. Soon he'll be doing needlepoint, just wait. He already wants to learn to knit ("K kniiiiiiiiiit!") and sew ("K seeewwwwwwww!") when he sees me doing those things. Or, in the case of knitting, when he sees the "quiet old lady" in Goodnight Moon doing it.

The other old friend I unearthed, which will be no surprise to those of you who looked at my Facebook status today, was Mod Podge. How could I forget how much fun this stuff is? I remember the first time I met Mod Podge — one of my sorority sisters was teaching me how to use it to put tissue paper on glass jars, and I thought it had to be the greatest idea in the world. And then I found out that découpage has been around for a long time... but it was new to me.

I've been looking for some kind of box or basket to hold Kent's books in the bathroom, since he likes to read books while he sits on the potty and we all wait collectively for something to happen. Rather than buy a pretty-but-overpriced basket, I decided I could make a cool box with découpaged photos from magazines and gardening catalogs, since I have a lot of those lying around that I've been using to make cards. I podged (yes, it's a verb now) a solid piece of tissue paper down first, then added pictures to each side and podged all of it down with another few coats to make sure everything would stay put. It's just an old cardboard box underneath — incidentally, another box that came from my mom, as did this one — so I don't expect it to last forever, but it's a cute little thing to brighten up our bathroom, which is all I need it to be.

Now I'm wondering what other craft from long ago will resurface. Friendship bracelets? Those beads that you put on a grid and then iron together? Hah, that would be funny. Everyone would get little knotted bracelets and huge, tacky magnets for Christmas. I think I'll wait to resurrect those until Kent is old enough to do them. Suddenly, though, I understand why I've kept all that stuff in my craft closet and why I seem to have such a huge and varied collection of crafty bits: to keep my future self and my future kids' selves entertained.

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Friendly Plastic!
Shrinky dinks! You made the best Jem ones ever! Can I get Shrinky Dink Christmas ornaments? And a doo-dad on the back so I can attach it in front of one of the twinkle lights...okay, that might be too much.
What is there about opening a box and seeing all those gleaming treasures? I think it must be akin to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, or what it must be like to open a treasure trove, or maybe it's just the mixture of color, texture, and shine that creates such joy, anticipating the creative events that will be enabled by their beauty.
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