Arts and Gaffes

By Beth Bartlett
Deadly weapons.
I’m not crafty at all. Martha Stewart might as well be a wizard from Hogwarts as far as I’m concerned. Unfortunately, that doesn’t stop me from trying to be one of those people who can knit a doily from cat hair or turn a “Twilight” book into a stunning series of origami castles. I have the passion, I just don’t have the skill, patience or survival instinct of a crafter, which is why I’m no longer allowed near glue guns.
This is not a new thing for me. My mother taught me to sew by hand when I was six. I can’t blame her for giving me pointy objects, because she had only known me for a few years. I sewed so much material to my own pants, every pair of jeans I owned came pre-equipped with chaps. After we ran out of Band-Aids, I was the proud owner of a non-pointy potholder loom, which I promptly managed to turn into a Mobius strip of stretchy doom.  Mom finally gave up and bought me an Easy-Bake Oven, which permanently set my culinary skill level for life. (Shut up.)
As the years progressed, so did my failures. When I drew Tippy the Turtle, he came out as a diseased muskrat. If Bob Ross could have seen my paintings, he would have said “Please. Just stop. Let me rescue these trees and get them some therapy.”
In spite of all this, I managed to marry an artist who was also an incurable optimist. He tried to teach me how to build faux Victorian jewelry and knit and watercolor. Like I said, incurable. After 25 years, I thought he had accepted the fact that my only acceptable craft tools were popsicle sticks and painted macaroni.
Recently he presented me with a box emblazoned with the words “Perfect for beginners! Easy to do! For all age levels!” Inside was an etch-by -number kit, where you take a sharp instrument (mistake #1) and with a steady hand (mistake #2) you remove everything from a black-coated metal sheet that doesn’t resemble a detailed Japanese garden in full bloom (mistake #3). I worked delicately, following the lines and scraping bits of black off the sheet to reveal little gold streaks. After a week, he asked me how I was doing. I proudly presented him with an artwork that looked like someone grabbed an angry porcupine and rubbed it hard against Darth Vader’s helmet.
I now have a lifetime supply of popsicle sticks and craft glue.

Beth Bartlett is a freelance writer and humorist who now knows that short shorts and hot glue don’t mix. Feel free to follow her on Twitter (@plaidearthworm) or drop by one of her many sites: www.plaidearthworm.com, www.puregeek.me or www.wisecrackzodiac.com.

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