It was last year, a year in which my daughter turned one, and my term of volunteer board service for a nonprofit organization, one of several I had consecutively served on for about eight years, was concluding, that I vowed via somewhat inconsequential Instagram declaration that I would take the time to get back to the pleasures and mistakes of crafting again. My sense of self, for years seemingly for a purpose greater than just me, whether for family, causes or employer, started for some time feeling not like me anymore.

craft books library

Yes, it was something of a new year’s resolution of sorts, which, of course meant that it was quickly forgotten after the absence of a few days off afforded by the winter holidays. And then I remembered it. And then I propped the task up for anxiety and potential failure by buying a little paper monthly calendar from my favorite Asian-import 100 Yen shop to jot down within the boundaries of each day’s square any and all attempts to “do something creative day” and try to do it for a year. In all honesty, I felt guilty for declaring this as a goal, felt apologetic that the endeavors I sought were not intellectual or cause-based. It didn’t further anything of substance, really. Wasn’t going to improve the world or my community, or pay the bills, or even improve my health. But I gave myself permission for the year and, strange as it may seem, I needed to do that before doing It.

So, I have been doing various things, the biggest craft bonanza being an Elmo-themed birthday party we threw for our child. What amazed me in this process was how fulfilled and challenged I felt by making stuff! What further amazed me, in all of my late-night research for party ideas, was how other (typically) women and mothers, too many to single out really, were blogging about their crafty accomplishments and casting their ideas out into the world for others to be inspired by.

Now that we are nearing the last quarter of 2013, I am now compiling how-to’s and recipes to come back to as needed and to remember that I once had the energy to make stuff, write about my craft year, and share new and often-borrowed ideas as time and motivation permit. First up: three kinds of tea sandwiches for a playground picnic.