Our beloved Erma Bombeck left us 14 years ago today and oh, how we miss her. In honor of this talented, yet humble icon–who entertained readers with stories of everyday situations–I’d like to pause today to share a personal story of my own:
When will I learn? I have no aptitude for crafts. Granted, my first paying job was at a yarn store. I was hired after, desperate for the job, I overstated my knowledge of knitting, crocheting, embroidery, cross-stitch, crewel, latch-hook and macramé. Despite my best efforts to learn, my yarn career didn’t last long, especially with seasoned needle-workers coming in to the store seeking tutelage on elaborate projects.
I don’t decoupage. I can’t even frame a lousy picture. The problem is, I have great ideas—grand visions for craft projects. I can visualize an extraordinary outcome but lack the ability to execute ordinary steps.
Case in point: I had the brilliant idea to take a 25-year-old clipping from my college newspaper and create a plaque for a former classmate. I bought the wood, the glue, the shellac and a good brush. I picked up a fancy hanger to affix to the back so she could display this memento in her home. I was so heavy handed with both the glue and shellac that they bled through the faded newsprint, rendering the article and its photo indiscernible. This also rendered the shellac unable to dry. Problem was, it was to be a birthday gift at a party taking place at Morton’s Steakhouse that night. I set the plaque outdoors so it would dry and the toxic odor would fade. No dice. With no other choice, I slipped it gingerly into a gift bag and took it to Morton’s. I set it by my feet during dinner, pretending to ignore the strong odor. When the time came for gifts, I handed my friend the bag. As she pulled out the wet, sticky plaque, the dining room filled with noxious fumes. She looked at the plaque, politely trying to figure out what the heck was glued to it. She flipped it over. She and I both noticed that the hanger had been nailed in upside down.
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Recently I went to the craft store with another vision, a personalized tote bag for my mother to carry her medical files around to her various doctors. I purchased a pretty pink canvas bag and some iron-on lettering for adorning the bag with cute and inspiring phrases. I was a little heavy handed with the iron. Ironed the whole bag shut.
As if my failed projects aren’t reminder enough of my deficit, I think I saw the security guard at Michael’s tacking my picture up on their Do Not Craft list.