Crafts in Review: simple gifts #2 by maya made

February 22, 2011 § Leave a comment

Being the youngest of four siblings, I can appreciate the whole “learning from other`s mistakes” bit. And what applies to spanking avoidance techniques, also applies to crafts. For this purpose, I would like to offer my most recent crafting mistake.

So last weekend…er, the weekend before last, I set out to make the best Valentines gifts known to man. My pre-crafting positivity (readable in my last post) was later crushed. Who was I to find a project by a crafting magician and think to myself, “I could do that”. But isn`t that the pitt of agrivation and destruction we all fall into? Every once in a while that is. Below lie the details of my almost crafting fail. Enjoy.

So this story starts on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. The weather was finally warming up and so the walk I needed to make to find a store which sold gardening parephenalia started off quite fine. I found the nearest みつわ (a DIY store of sorts, plus general oddities of the low price range variety) and as I had hoped they had an attached gardening section. Unlike the amazing planner the crafter I borrowed this idea from, I was trying to pull off what she created a few weeks before gifting, a few days before. She had planted bulbs and nurtured them to little sprouts, so I figured I could skip the nurturing bit and just buy me some sprouts! Also, I could not find plant bulbs and did not have the slightest clue how to ask for them/what sort of store would carry them in Japan, ergo – no bulbs for me, baby. I found some overpriced sprouts which had ヒアシンス (hiyanshinsu) and had no freaking clue what they were but that they looked nice and so I bought three: pink, white and yellow. I did later discover when one of the ladies read the katakana outloud that it was in fact a hyacinth which I had given her. Moving on…

The walk back to my apartment was full of triumph. The sun was shining on me and my little box of mystery sprouts and I felt that surely today was my day. Magic was going to happen. So I got all my gear together, the recycle-ready soup cans, the pebbles for drainage, the soil, and the plants. Little did I know I would not get very far before hitting a major roadblock. First, I figured I should get all the paper and sticky gook off the outside of the cans. I thought a little hot water and soap would do the trick – noooooo…that crazy glue Campbell`s uses for their labels was like kryptonite to my supercrafty cleaning ideals. After only one sorry looking can, I gave that idea up. I figured I would just cover the outside up somehow and leave the cans be.

The next few steps were simple: I added the pebbles to the bottom of each soup can. Success! Okay, feeling good. Then, there was the trick of getting the sprouts into the cans while adding a little extra soil and such. Well! Those sprouts must have been eating too much junk food, because they would not fit into those little soup cans. Also, I was slightly wary of slicing open an artery on the sharp edge of the can`s opening. Why didn`t someone tell me I would need chainmail and a shrinking machine to complet this craft?

I stood there. My hands covered in dirt, a hefty sprout lying vulnerably on the table, roots out for all to see and a sinking feeling that this was not my day and this project was doomed. There was an inkling of recognition that my inability to find the specific flower bulbs outlined in the instructions may be the cause of my current debaucle, but I smothered that thought with feelings of betrayal. Et tu Brute? Stabbed in the back by my own crafting community, left to bleed out on the floor of my apartment with no hope of reviving the Valentine craft that was destined to rule them all!

After I became aware that I was still breathing, a thought so simple and revolutionary came to mind: why not find bigger containers? I pillaged my recycling bin in search of larger tins and returned to my kitchen table most victoriously. Thank God I have a weakness for honey roasted peanuts and had held on to a large pasta sauce tin from many moons ago. The three larger tins worked out perfectly! The sprouts fit into all three quite well and then all that was left to do was to cover the outside of the tins with left over bits of ribbon, felt and such. The finishing touch was a little wooden planter label with the flower name and “Happy Valentines” written on with felt.

As with all the other crafts I have tried in the past, after completing the Valentines gifts I looked at the finished product, the surrounding wreckage and my mental state, weighing the pros and cons of the adventure.

Craft in Review: maya made`s  Simple Gifts #2

Finished Product: Cute, but could have been cuter/easier if I had got my hands on those mini burlap sacs used in the crafter`s originals.

Wreckage: Several soup cans I must rewash for recycling; way too much left over soil and pebbles; kitchen table and surrounding area covered in dirt and plant bits.

Mental State Post-Craft: Pleased to actually have a finished product, but slightly disheveled from the experience…still shudder when imagining cutting myself on sharp tin soup can opening. Ugh.

Time Commitment: Just short of epic.

Conclusion: Unfortunately for all the leftover material, I can not see myself attempting this feat again anytime in the near future. Though I managed to pull it off, it was far more time consuming than I had anticipated and the amount of mess outweighs the amount of craft created.

That said, I was very happy when one lady told me that her hyacinth started blooming yesterday. So, if you are the gardening type, or if you are friends with those kinds of people, this might be just the project for you. Just be sure to follow the instructions. This is not the project for shortcuts : lesson learned.

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