Oh, Dearest Mother, Sweetest Virgin of Altagracia, our Patroness. You are our Advocate and to you we recommend our needs. You are our Teacher and like disciples we come to learn from the example of your holy life. You are our Mother, and like children, we come to offer you all of the love of our hearts. Receive, dearest Mother, our offerings and listen attentively to our supplications. Amen.



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Willa
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Posted: Dec 15 2006 at 1:48pm | IP Logged Quote Willa

I'm not sure this topic belongs here. I hope you will move it if it does not.   I am so much in admiration of everyone's beautiful crafts and the effort they put into it.   What I was wondering is:

What inspires you to do the crafts, if you are that sort of person? What goals do you have when you're doing them? What do you think your kids get out of them? How do you react when your kids aren't enthuasiastic about something that you think is great, or when the crafts leave the house trashed and you are already tired from trying to keep up?

I suppose these aren't really "philosophy" questions but I just would like to get a view of your hearts and spirits, of the mental process that goes on behind the beautiful products.

Alice once said something about finding neat little objects and how her mind immediately would start thinking about how to make them fit into a project. I thought that was so neat.

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MicheleQ
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Posted: Dec 15 2006 at 6:53pm | IP Logged Quote MicheleQ

I not really very crafty though I do love to create things. The article Mary G linked to in another post really resonated with me in some areas. Creating is a need for me and it does indeed liberate my spirit and bring me peace, but I tend more to make things that I see as being "useful" (not that I think beautiful crafts aren't useful - I just tend to think more utilitarian).

I will sometimes make something just for fun but it isn't often. I did make a cute Christmas tree ornament last night. It isn't something I'd usually do but I made it for the ornament exchange (yes I know I'm late but I uh. . . had a baby this past week) and I enjoyed making it so I think it may be more a matter of just needing to give myself permission to make things for fun.

One thing I've] been doing in recent years with my sewing is making the effort to enjoy the process of it (the feel of the fabric, the stitching of a seam, the turning of a corner etc.) and it has been very satisfying.

My dh, bless his heart, is not creative minded and I know I befuddle him sometimes. But he has learned over the years that it's important to my well being to have the time and materials I need to be creative so he fully supports it now. I guess you could say he has learned one of my love languages. It is part of who I am and he gets that- which makes me love him all the more.

Most of my children like to create on some level. But they all seem to have different bents. My oldest writes, the second oldest likes to work with wood (he's in school studying carpentry right now) and the next one is very artistic and draws beautifully. The others all like to draw or paint (a few sew and knit as well) but I have found that none of them seem to like directed crafts very much. Almost always when I try to do something like that it falls flat, so you won't see me posting much about crafts we do because we don't do many (though I LOVE looking at everyone else's!).

Creativity takes so many forms. While much of it for me is sewing or web design I also like dabbling in other areas of creativity and find my interests tend to wax and wane over time (though sewing for me has been pretty dominant).

I don't know if this is what you were looking for Willa but thanks for the opportunity to think about this.

Baby's awake and hungry...time to go.

God bless,

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Alice C
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Posted: Dec 15 2006 at 6:59pm | IP Logged Quote Alice C

Hello Willa and everyone else,

When Rebecca mentioned to me that there was now a crafting forum on the 4real learning site, I knew I had to check it out! So here I am, coming out of literally years of lurking with my first post. (I apologize for the length of it!)

Well, I donít know about anyone but myself, but nearly everything inspires me in some way or another. Sometimes itís overwhelming and completely distracting. For example, I was sitting in Mass on the feast of the Immaculate Conception and when I saw the beautiful embroidery on the priestís vestments my mind was instantly churning with ideas and combinations of beads and metals for a new rosary. Or I am sitting in a friendís living room when I suddenly realize I havenít heard the last few minutes of what she is saying because I am mixing, matching and rearranging the colors in her rug into a painting. I carry a notebook / sketchbook with me always and it is not uncommon for me to get up in the middle of the night to write down ideas or thoughts that permeate my brain while I am trying to nurse a baby back to sleep.

As far as goals go, I almost always have one in mind. It may be for a gift for someone, or something to donate to an upcoming Catholic charity event, or something for my business web site.

Iím not sure what my kids get out of doing crafts, besides a beaming sense of accomplishment and further development of those fine motor skills. It took me a while to figure it out, but with kids itís more about the process than the product. My 4 (almost 5) year old will make one Sculpey creation after another, yet he doesnít care all that much for them once they are baked. I have never forced crafts on the kids, I barely even suggest them. Some of my kids are more craft-inclined than others. They all like them to an extent, though. I think they see me doing them (whenever I get a chance) and they want to try whatever it is that I am doing.

Re: a trashed house, well, thatís a problem. We are blessed with our utility room (they call it Momís Studio) being rather large so we try to keep the messes contained in that room. But alas, projects overflowing into the rest of the house is a daily thing around here. We do try to keep the living room and kitchen (the first rooms a visitor sees when entering our home) presentable.

One more thing that inspires me continuously is Pope John Paulís 1999 Letter to Artists. It is so beautiful!! I just read it and re-read it. I truly believe that we have a *need* (kids too!) to create beauty (in many different ways!). Our beloved Pope John Paul said, ďBeauty is a key to the mystery and a call to transcendence.Ē and that it will ďstir that hidden nostalgia for God".

Iíll end with another of my favorite Pope John Paul quotes (this one is from 1979):

"Every piece of art, be it religious or secular, be it a painting, a sculpture, a poem or any
form of handicraft made by loving skill, is a sign and a symbol of the inscrutable secret
of human existence, of man's origin and destiny, of the meaning of his life and work."

God bless,
Alice Cantrell

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alicegunther
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Posted: Dec 15 2006 at 11:10pm | IP Logged Quote alicegunther

Alice, that is some wonderful first post!

Willa, I am the world's most amateur crafter, so for me, what I get out of it is time spent with my children in a meaningful pursuit that brings us all joy, moments of shared planning and the thrill of seeing their creative wheels turning, an opportunity to mark the Liturgical Feasts and Seasons in a concrete way that stands out in our minds, and the privilege of sharing these ideas with others (not only online, but directly with the children in our local homeschooling group).

Willa writes:
>>How do you react when your kids aren't enthuasiastic about something >>that you think is great, or when the crafts leave the house trashed and >>you are already tired from trying to keep up?

If the crafting was becoming oppressive, I would draw back from it until a better time or phase for us. I have done this, as a matter of fact. This past summer with our new baby, I just didn't have the energy to do the kind of crafting we had loved and enjoyed in May. Now that she is [gasp] six months old, crafts are a big part of our lives again. I do try to corral the supplies as much as possible, so that they are not all over the house--this helps quite a bit.

Too tired to write more now, but this is an interesting thread. Thank you, Willa!


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