Friday, November 18, 2011

The Craftsy Aunt

By now, the news has been delivered and I can see the moment in my mind's eye. The scene is my brother's kitchen in Vermont, bright, spacious, a little cluttered but only because my sister-in-law is a culinary maven. I have never been to their home, but I imagine the kitchen is openly connected to a family room, full of comfy cushy chairs that match. They have a nice size television, a fabulous stereo, and probably several video games strewn about the floor.

This is all foreign to some one like me and so my mental picture has been colored by visits to homes of my children's friends. I choose to describe my furniture as "eclectic" - meaning it is old and doesn't match. Our home entertainment is "simplified" - SpongeBob DVDs, teasing the cat, and board games. Our clutter is "junk" – crap my kids bring home from school that I KNOW I will need some day.

My sister-in-law gives the news to my 16 year old niece, who isn't quite sure how to react. The eye roll? A shout of glee? She chooses cautious optimism; she's a good and thoughtful girl. She is smart, logical, and has the world at her feet. She takes the "wait and see" attitude.

"Your Aunt Lisa is crocheting a gift for your birthday."

No other words churn such complex and conflicting feelings in a kid. Maybe she would score with a cool hat, a nifty scarf, some trendy fingerless gloves? Or…..what if Aunt Lisa missed the memo on making yarn art cool? There is the chance she could end up with matching cozies for her bathroom's toilet seat, Kleenex box, and extra roll of toilet paper. Oh, why does she have to have a "craftsy" aunt anyway? There are just some adults who don't know the value of a gift card!

I never had a Craftsy Aunt and now know that this is the missing element of my life that has lead to all my troubles. A more traditional school of thought would attribute my broken marriage, chronic financial woes, and general bitterness to some deep seeded childhood event, chemical imbalance, or that blow to the head when I was 12. I know better. If only I had a Craftsy Aunt to make me ridiculously impractical and horrifically unattractive birthday and Christmas gifts as a child, I would not need to rely on visits to my kids' friends' homes for a peek into that idyllic home in Vermont – I would be living there.

And so after years of searching, I now know my mission in life is to realign our universal balance by filling the role of the Craftsy Aunt. When I DO remember a birthday (because Craftsy Aunts are often scatter brained and forgetful), my weapons of choice will be crochet hook, hot glue gun, and googly eyes. It is a thankless job, but I believe in grassroots social change. With my bedazzled baseball cap, ugly Christmas sweater, and carpel tunnel brace, I crochet on for all those nieces and nephews. Such sacrifice and selflessness will only be known years from now, when those nieces and nephews look about them and realize all they owe to that Craftsy Aunt Lisa.


  1. I like your craftsy ways! I won a hat from you last year, and I adore it. I am actually thinking about seeing if you could make me another one in another color...could you? :-D

  2. Angela, you name it and I will make it! Was it the skull cap with the button on flower? Take a look at my etsy shop and my shop (search for "captivcrochet") and let me know what you like. The pickins' are a little scant at this moment on the shop as I sold a bunch at the latest craft fair, but I am working to build up the stock. I can make most anything your heart desires. Thanks for reading and for commenting!

  3. My Aunt had two kids, but I was always envious of my cousin's Barbie wardrobe. My Aunt knitted and sewed the most AMAZING stuff for that doll.

    My Mom not so much. She was the one that made the gifts that made you learn the polite manners to say thank you even if you didn't like the stuff. Now that she's a great grandma I have converted her to toys and doll's clothes, it took a while.

    My nieces and nephews find it cool to get holiday boxes filled with decorations that Mom won't yell at you if you play with or drop. The Thanksgiving finger puppets I sent were a big hit. I tend to avoid the clothing as that does not tend to be as exciting for the kids.

  4. Love the finger puppet idea AND the hand made Xmas decorations - those are things that will be fought over when the kids are grown and decorating their own Xmas trees.

  5. It was the skull cap with button flower. How much would another one be? I want black hat with pink flower, and maybe another flower or two in a different color. I can't find your email on here, but maybe you could email me about this ameubanks @

  6. Thank you for this post, you made me recognize that I was very blessed to have craftsy aunts in my childhood, and proud to realize I have become one!

    1. Good for you! Craftsy Aunts of the world unite! Thank you for reading!