Holiday crafts intriguing, likely to remain undone

I’ve always loved crafts.

As a kid, I would ask for different kits as Christmas gifts and then spend the days of winter break burning wood (and often my finger) or modeling clay.

Even as an adult, I am always attracted to an opportunity to create something (that doesn’t involve a keyboard!). So occasionally I will look on Pinterest to check out the ideas posted there. This is almost always a mistake, especially at this time of year.

I will admit I have gotten some good ideas from the site. Perhaps I’ve written about the fabulous turkey I crafted out of sliced vegetables a few Thanksgivings ago. But most of the photos I see on Pinterest are of objects that exceed my abilities.

Case in point: the tree branch candelabra. When will I find the time — or the energy — to locate a fallen tree limb in my neighborhood, drill holes that are the perfect size for tea lights and carefully place pumpkins, gourds and faux leaves along its length?

Instead, our Thanksgiving table centerpiece is more likely to feature the toilet paper roll turkey and pilgrim Ainsley and I fashioned a few years ago. The turkey actually matches a larger, two-dimensional version that hangs on our refrigerator.

I discovered the directions for that project when Ainsley was about 4 and I thought we could make it together on a November afternoon. I bought a pad of fall-themed scrapbook paper and spent my evenings after she went to bed diligently cutting out countless feathers, legs, a beak, a head and a wattle so we could glue them all together.

The photo that accompanies the directions shows a perfectly proportioned turkey displayed on mounted canvas, hanging elegantly on the wall. Our version is glued to poster board and has a body that is much too big for the rest of the bird. (I love it anyway.)

Not long after, I purchased a book of beautiful paper leaves just waiting to be painted with watercolors in autumnal shades and hung from the fireplace mantle. A single leaf has yet to be punched from the pages.

I suppose I should surrender to the fact that even though I own a hot glue gun, which suggests a certain level of craftiness, I am not going to transform old socks into fabric pumpkins or make a Christmas tree out of gumdrops.

It’s time to throw out the bag of ribbons I saved after Ainsley’s baby showers, as I am not going to turn them into a tutu for her to use to play dress up. I need to recognize the limits of my ability.

I am able to lead 5-year-olds in assembling a turkey face out of lunchmeat at a Daisy meeting. I am able to mold meatloaf mix into the shape of a monster’s foot (feetloaf!). And, as I wrote about a few Christmases back, I can make Martha Stewart’s cinnamon log slices, if I have twice the amount of time she recommends and don’t mind if they really don’t look like slices of log.

One day, though, when I no longer have the responsibilities of raising a 10-year-old and holding down a full-time job, I might have a little more time on my hands. Maybe one Thanksgiving dinner my grandchildren will arrive to find their places decorated with edible turkeys made out of candy and Oreos, complete with candy corn feathers. Or at least a watercolor leaf with their name scribbled across the front.

— Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean. Readers can email her at [email protected].

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Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean