I’m always talking about plants. Today, I want to speak in defense of art. If human health is about achieving balance, let’s please put art somewhere on the scales.
Please, please make something. You don’t have to be an artist. So often, we get an image in our heads of what an “artist” is. Black beret and canvas in Paris? Suspender-clad metalworker in Oakland? Activist guerilla-knitter in NYC? Noble images of the artist, but please.
People use stuff, make stuff–all the time. So, if we gotta make it, why not make it beautiful? Take, for example, dinner.
Or, craft. Sewing, home repairs and decoration, even gardening, maybe. Craft is such a practical way to bring art into daily life. It can build community. Without craft, life can so easily slip into a very dull and stressful cycle: work> sleep> repeat, peppered with (often unfulfilling, often kitchy, often commercial) entertainment. So, please, please make something.
More than that, craft can be thrifty. It keeps it local. It’s a way to stop the crazy shopping.
In the spirit of the holidays, here’s something seasonal that makes a great gift: homemade advent calendars. If there are kids in your life, these are such a treat and they require really no sewing skill. You can make them in any color combination to suit any occasion: the countdown to vacation, a birthday, the last day of school, visit from Grandma and Grandpa. Best of all, you can fill them with anything you like. (Bye bye to crappy tasting, non-fair trade chocolate.)
This set was made in red and white for my sister last year for Christmas. She just sent me pictures of it all strung up in her house. So cute. She filled the envelopes with little special toys and tree ornaments, instead of sugary sweets. Silver bells can be placed in a bowl on the hearth. After an envelope is opened, the kids can hang a silver bell up so that they see how many days are left and know which envelope to open next.
There are thousands of pictures of different varieties of advent calendars online and probably some good tutorials. Look around. Use your creativity. If sewing is not your thing, I bet you could figure out how to do it with glue if you’re clever, skipping the button. Mine are pretty Berkeley: recycled red felt from a support a local, mom-and-pop fabric shop.
I hope you find a way to get your craft on, too. Happy holidays, from Sri.
silver bells or other item to hang on the button after opening
Cut 2.5in x 6.5in rectangles out of felt.
Measured down 1.5in from one end and affix a button loosely. Here, I used an assortment of various shades of green in slightly different shapes and sizes. Don’t make it too tight or it will be hard to wrap the yarn around it as a closure.
Then, fold at 2.5in from button end to make a pocket and a 1.5in flap. Blanket stitch around pocket sides and flap.
Sew a length of yarn to top center of flap. Wind yarn around button to close. Hang envelopes around a length of yarn over the mantel, down the staircase, etc.
I sewed on little numbers cut out of matching felt to count the days. Or, as a visual cue to know which envelope is next to open, hang something on the button, such as a bell or printed card.