The Act Of Giving – Crafty Ways To Give Back

By Mary H. Dyer | December 2, 2020
by Mary H. Dyer
December 2, 2020

Craftiness is happiness, but you don’t have to be particularly “crafty” to bring happiness to others. I’m not artsy or imaginative, but I’m crafty and always have at least one project in the works. I’m restless, and sitting still to watch TV is almost impossible if I don’t have something to occupy my hands.

Tales from a Crafty Gardener

I started crafting when I was very young, mostly embroidered pillowcases. My work was far from perfect, but I was proud. By high school, I had discovered a love for crewel embroidery and, of course, macrame. (It was the 70s!) My mother taught me to sew, and I also learned sewing in 4-H clubs.

Before I started crafting, I loved paint-by-number. I was the type of kid who always colored within the lines. When I was about 12, I loved putting models together – sometimes cars, but mostly monsters like Frankenstein and Phantom of the Opera. I still love fine, detailed work. I enjoy quilting, but I don’t have the patience (or space) to make bed quilts. I like to make quilted wall-hangings, especially appliqued. I’m also fascinated with paper piecing, which is basically just paint-by-number with tiny pieces of fabric.

Speaking of fabric, the closet in our spare bedroom is stuffed with sewing supplies, thread, yarn, cutting tools, and other craft supplies. When Covid-19 arrived earlier this year, I donated yards and yards of fabric to mask makers in my town. I was surprised how much fabric I had stowed away – more than I could use in several lifetimes. If I’m not using it, why not put this to use by giving back to others. I love fabric and can’t resist buying more for my stash anyway, so I will no doubt acquire more.

I haven’t been quilting lately because my time is taken up with work and music, but weaving has always fascinated me. This spring, I needed something to distract me from all that was going on in the world, so other than spending time in the garden, I purchased an Inkle loom. My hope is to make guitar straps, belts, purse straps, and other narrow, woven items. Hopefully, I’ll have more time to work with the loom this winter since there’s nothing much I can do in the garden. It seems like there are never enough hours in the day.

Crafty Ways to Give Back

Even though the gardening season has gone to bed for most of us and we’re stuck inside, there’s still plenty you can do to keep busy – even if you don’t consider yourself a crafty gardener.

  • Look around your house and do a deep cleaning of that packed closet you’ve been meaning to get to. There could be clothing or other items you can donate.
  • Maybe your houseplants have grown excessively this past season and could use some thinning out. Start some cuttings and gift them to friends and family, or other grateful gardeners that will gladly take them off your hands.
  • Got an abundance of stored garden produce? Gift some of these too. You can even get crafty and create pretty tags and labels for them.
  • Perhaps you have far too many gardening pots piling up in the shed or greenhouse. Give them new life and use them to house those plant cuttings for others or give them as gifts for the holidays. You could also sell them, donating proceeds to a special cause.

Nothing feels as good as giving back to others, regardless of how small it may seem. Sometimes, being crafty is just that. Crafting something special from excess items – be it fabric for masks, clothing for those less fortunate, plants for fellow gardeners, homegrown produce for fighting hunger, or handmade gifts from the heart for those you love, even strangers. Sometimes, the simple act of giving is all the craftiness you need.

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