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  1. #1
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    What crafts did your parents teach you?

    I have a very ambivalent relationship with my parents, but the past dew months I've been re-evaluating my life (menopause and a hot flash will do that for you) and thinking about the gifts, both good and bad, that my parents gave me.

    My Dad
    My Dad used to do carpentry for fun. He built two home bars- he got the idea from the Better Homes and Gardens project. He upholstered them from naugahyde. I watched him do it. He also made bookshelves, big heavy ones, from wood and glass and hand sawn dowels. He used to get a kick out of my putting things together- I loved putting together the TV stand in my parents' bedroom and I did it mostly without looking at the directions. I learned the basics of using tools from him, and a little about plumbing. I could probably build a table from scratch, even though I haven't done carpentry in ages. He also taught me how to paint a house.

    My Mom
    I remember my mother's houseplants. She was a whiz, and still is. I'm not as good with plants as she is- I get distracted. But I still grow plants. She also cooked a lot, and I picked it up from her. It got to the point where I started introducing new ingredients like fresh garlic, hot peppers, and mushrooms. I was the first one in the house to use real wine in cooking. But my mother was the one who inspired me. I now know that for her time and place (a working/middle class black woman in the 1970s from a family where her mother had grown up on a farm) she was extremely adventurous as a cook, and it took me until very recently to truly understand the legacy she gave me. We still compete with each other over food. My mother also taught me how to hand sew, encouraged my forays plumbing and taking machines apart (she's pretty good at both), and encouraged a love of science, reading, literature and study that led me to becoming an anthropologist. Most importantly, she taught me that I had few limits. Even though she tries to hold me back in cetain ways, I think she's secretly proud of how adventurous I am.

    What crafting techniques and loves did your parents give you as your legacy?

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  3. #2
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    my father is also quite skilled with woodwork. i didn't pick that up other than how to stain and varnish furniture, which i learned when i was four or five. but more than that, i learned about attention to detail and the importance of doing quality work. "if you're gonna do it half assed, don't do it at all."

    i was always too stubborn to learn anything "from scratch" from my mom. once my gramma taught me how to crochet, however, i was able to get help from my mom, who is great with crocheting and knitting. she also helped me a great deal with sewing in the past. wish she'd get painting again. she's quite good with the oils.

    but mostly it's my sister that inspired me to be artsy craftsy. if it weren't for me always trying to be like her, i'd never be who i am today!

  4. #3
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    my d - he collects coins. i learned that from him.

    my mom - taught me needlepoint, crochet, knitting, and in my teen years crafted items to sell, and i have fabric remnants from her stuff.

    my aunt - is a dressmaker and she taught me patternmaking. i still can't work a sewing machine, though.

  5. #4
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    My dad: Never really taught me anything directly, but he worked in construction so I grew up around everything that entailed. Carpentry, car repair, plumbing, electrical work, etc. - none of that intimidates me and if I have to call in a professional I can handle myself around them. My husband on the other hand? Terrified of mechanics :)

    My Mom:
    Family vacations were craft fairs when I was growing up. She did leatherwork and was trained as a professional seamstress. Again, she never was inclined to teach me these things directly, but you pick things up and you grow up around that ethos. She is also an amazing gardener and while I have a black thumb with houseplants, I do very well with anything grown outdoors.

    My biggest crafty influence as far someone who actually took the time to teach me specific things was definitely my grandmother. My parents sent me to stay with her for a week every year when they went deer hunting. She taught me knitting, needlepoint, cooking, etc. It felt like a new craft every year. A lot of things I forgot as I got older, but luckily she is one determined woman and is still alive and alert at 97 so I was able to go back to her when I wanted to relearn how to knit at 27.

  6. #5
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    My dad is about the least crafty person I know, and a major geek. But my mom has always been pretty crafty. For while she had a side business for sewing and alterations.

    My mom used to make all sorts of things for my dad and my siblings when we were young: clothes, curtains, blankets & afgans, doilies (sp?), etc. She was a stay at home mom until my parent's seperated when I was 5 and divorced 3 years later. She tried to show me how to sew when I was around 10 years old, but usually got too impatient with me and ended up finishing the project herself. A few years later, she helped me come up with a purse design. I had a blast doing it and always wanted to do more, but I didn't get around to buying a sewing machine until after I moved away from home.

    My grandfather was a carpender and could build pretty much anything. He extended the basement, attic and other 1/2 of my grandmother's house and did all of the electrical work. He fixed cars and any kind of mechanical thing. He died when I was around 8 years old. My great uncle was a graphic artist (of the old school kind) and had a business making vinyl stickers that he drew/designed himself. My grandmother and aunt have a little band and they go to nursing homes to play music (all christian songs) for the elderly. A lot of people on my mom's side are really artistic and crafty, though I don't really know them very well. But everyone in my family says that's where I got all of my creativity from.

    My mom always encouraged me to explore the arts and has always been impressed with what I do (and not JUST because she's my mother, though you know there is some of that mother's pride). She insists on supporting me by buying a little something from my etsy shop every month or so and is really sweet :)

  7. #6
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    Neither of my parents is particularly crafty (although my mom did teach me how to knit).

    But both of them are really good a t figuring things out. They aren't afraid to jump in and try something new in the garden, or a new recipe, or some sort of home repair/home improvement.

    I am not someone who would think hanging wallpaper, or building a deck, or laying tile...would be things you could just dive in and figure out. But they did it, so I figure I could do it too.

  8. #7
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    My mom taught me how to sew. We never had a sewing machine (until I got one for my birthday this year) so everything we sewed was by hand. My stepfather taught me everything he knows about landscaping. After I did some professional work, I was even able to teach him a thing or two.

  9. #8
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    My dad was not a particularly handy or crafty guy. He was a computer programmer, though so perhaps that's why I spend so much time on the internet! :P

    My mom taught me how to knit, sew, cross-stitch, cook, and generally be creative. One of my favorite toys when I was a kid was a bag of her sewing scraps that I used to make doll clothes. I remember her always working on some project or another.

  10. #9
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    My dad taught me how to patch pants. He showed me how to take apart bikes, and how to strip furniture. Some people might think that those last two things are kind of teetering on the edge of the definition of "crafts"; I completely disagree.

    My mom gave me a crochet hook and some string and taught me how to do the chain stitch (that's all that she could remember how to do). I would make 4 ft long chains, and rip them out, and remake them. It helped me figure out the most comfortable position to hold the yarn / hook. She also taught me some basic sewing machine skills.

    My sister is very artistic, and she gave me a lot of ideas for different DIY things (making your own screen for screen printing from an embroidery hoop, different ways to alter t-shirts / clothing, etc.)

  11. #10
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    my mom taught me how to sew, crochet, paint silk, and do beadwork. all of those except crochet she has done for a living at one point or another.

    my dad taught me how to use a drill and circular saw, and basic car maintenance, which i suppose isn't a craft. he also taught me how to roll a joint when i was a kid... with mullein. i'm sure he had the real stuff around somewhere but someone around the house was trying to quit smoking cigarettes by smoking mullein, so i learned with that. oh, and how to start fires, which i am still not very good at.

    my grandma taught me how to knit and paint with watercolors. i never really picked up the watercolor thing, though.

    my grandpa was a furniture-maker by trade, but he didn't teach me any of that, although he did show me how the tools worked.


 
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