‘Anything that would not help you get into a respectable university or acquire a respectable, high-paying job is a waste of time’ – this is what my parents would say to dissuade me from trying out anything arts and crafts related since I was but a little girl. It was very important to them that I do well academically and participating in anything that they consider distracting would be unacceptable. But, since very young, I have always been fascinated by people’s ability to ‘make’. It amazes me how a mix of flour, eggs, butter and sugar can be combined and shaped into the cutest cookies or turned into something as beautiful as an elegantly decorated wedding cake. Wires and beads can be manipulated into little flowers. Balls of yarn of different colours can be knitted into warm scarves and the most comfortable of sweaters. Rolls of fabric can be sewn into the most beautiful dresses. It all just feels very magical. That ‘stuff’ can be processed and transformed into usable, wearable, eatable things! (But maybe not all that at the same time)
However, trying to learn how to make things was not an easy feat for me. I am the youngest (and therefore the ‘golden child’ of the family) and as a kid I was not even allowed to stand near the stove when someone is cooking lest it explodes on my face (true story). My Mom can be very overly protective and would freak out if she were to caught me stare at anything sharp and prickly, like a toothpick. Okay, so she’s not that bad. But you get me, right? It was only when I studied abroad that I was free to start learning. I began with taking Food Technology at AS Level, so my parents can’t stop me from ‘wasting time’ ‘cos baking and cooking then became part of schoolwork! If you think that was rebellious, I later inadvertently went behind their back and learned how to knit. Secretly. From knitting, I learned how to crochet amigurumi (crocheted toys) and now it is about the only thing that I do. There were countless times when I would stay up the whole night just to finish a project. My nephews and nieces love it (they lose most of the ones I made for them but they said they love it?) and they often have little requests that can be quite challenging for a beginner – like making an amigurumi without the guide of a complete pattern. It was those little challenges though that took me out of my comfort zone and help me gain confidence in my skills. So, thank you little ones and your sometimes unreasonable requests.
Quite recently, one of my nieces asked if I can teach her how to crochet. The same niece has told me about how she wanted to take up Home Economics at school (I was very excited!) but was told things similar to what my parents have told me. If you’re not going to be a chef, why bother taking up cooking lessons? If you’re not going to be a professional tailor, why bother learning how to sew? Honestly, I don’t really know the answer to that. I’ve always been quite stubborn when it comes to things that I am passionate about. I don’t where it will take me, if it’s even taking me anywhere. But, I don’t see how learning crafts can hurt anyone. If one has the passion for it, I don’t see why one shouldn’t at least give it a try. Who knows what wonderful things will come out of it?
I did teach my niece how to crochet, in case you’re wondering. After she finished her first project, she pointed out to me the little odd bits here and there on her craft and told me how it was not ‘perfect’. So I showed her a picture of my first ever amigurumi with random holes and unsymmetrical limbs. Of course at first you’re going to make a lot of mistakes, but, you learn from them. With practise, you improve your skills. And that is what this blog is mostly about. It’s so you can have a look at the monstrosity I created the first time I try out a craft and realise that what you made is not bad at all! When you read books or watch videos by professionals, it’s easy to compare your first crafts to theirs and think ‘I don’t have the skills, might as well stop now’. But, I believe that it can get better. I think mine did, ever so slowly…
As of now, I am trying to learn how to embroider and sew. Perhaps one of my biggest dreams is to be able to design and make my own clothes and I’m very excited to start this journey! I have signed up for a beginner’s class so I will let you know how that goes. But before that, I am going to upload all of my previous work on here. Hopefully, it will help inspire some of you and will at least make learning new skills a little bit less daunting.
Have a good time browsing My Happy Place!