I am a stranger in a strange arts and crafts land

Many of my fellow empty nesters, upon making the transition from stay-at-home mom (SAHM) to SAHM with no kids at home, wrestle with the dreaded question: “Now what?”

I am no different. I just have not come up with the same answer as many of them.

Some go back to work, or start businesses from home, some find volunteer work to do, some get into new exercise programs like training for the marathon.

A lot launch into hobbies like making jewelry or home decor, which they can sell on Etsy or at local craft fairs. I know a whole bunch of ladies who are doing this now, and one of my very good friends has even somehow persuaded me to get on board with her plan to make and sell hand-painted throw pillows.

Oh, no. No, no, no.

First of all, I have no idea why she thought I would want to do such a thing in the first place. Neither directly nor indirectly have I ever shown any interest in crafty or homemade stuff. It’s just not something I do. Mostly because I’m not any good at any of it (translation: really, really bad).

Certainly I admire those women who like to construct their own home decor, but that’s just not an area where my own gifts lie. Not to mention my interest.

Not only am I not Martha Stewart, I am at the complete opposite end of the Martha Stewart spectrum. In fact my position on the Martha thing could best be described as: “Profound Indifference.”

Also, I lack appreciation for the things of that world. I do not have an “eye” for what’s cute, and the fact that I don’t bothers me not one little bit. I am perfectly content not to pin things on Pinterest, or to put up seasonal decorations in my house — well, with the exception of Christmas, of course, but everybody does that. And my Christmas decorations are exactly the same, year in and year out: again, creativity in the range of zero.

Because of this, I do not go to craft fairs. I just don’t get them. In fact, I find them painful. For one thing, they are overwhelming: it’s nigh impossible for me to process all that visual overload. Ninety-nine percent of what is sold at craft fairs, I look at it and think: “What would I want with that? It’s just another thing to dust.” In fact, on the rare occasion when I’ve bought something at a craft fair, 9 times out of 10 it has ended up in drawer or up on a shelf somewhere, of no use whatsoever to me or anyone else. Then, after the thing has sat in its drawer or on its shelf for a dozen or 15 years, I toss it out. And for me that is one of the greatest feelings in the world.

(At this point you may be thinking: This woman is practically a dude. To which all I can say is: Guilty.)

So part of the equation is that I am someone who has no admiration whatsoever for artsy-craftsy things, and the other part is that I am not someone who cares to engage in them. So when my friend Carol invited me to join her in her hand-painted pillows venture, on the outside I was saying, “I’ll tell you up front I’m not going to be any good at this but you’re my friend and you’re being a pretty good salesman here, so okay, I’ll play along,” and on the inside I was saying something that was either, “Yawn,” or “I’d rather stick a fork in my eye.”

I did one pillow painting session with Carol at her house about a year and a half ago — naturally I didn’t even get but halfway through one pathetic-looking pillow, in four or five hours’ time — and that was that. At least as far as I was concerned, it was.

Carol called me back this weekend. Texted, actually. From a craft fair. (Which, by the way, she had earlier called me to tell me about and make me promise to go to. As if.) Her message was that we need to get together soon because she was inspired with new ideas for things we could paint besides pillows. Like trucker caps.

Oh Lord, I prayed, kill me now.

Or at least, somehow spare me from having to tell Carol: not me. Please, I’m begging you, count me out. Hey, you know what would be great? If I had the ability to do a Jedi mind trick. You know, like, instead of saying, “These are not the droids you are looking for,” I could wave my hand and say: “Plum is not the crafter you are looking for.”

Then she would just move along. That would be awesome.

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