Unexpected crafting: something that happens often here

Somedays I find myself surrounded by scissors and scrap paper, paints and canvas, fingernails colored from the underside. It’s days like those that I feel like I was thrown into a crafting tornado. I was picked up unwillingly by creativity and had to create in order to survive. It’s days like those that I can breathe easy after sitting still, releasing a heavy sigh of relief, like I had just gotten everything out of me.

I write in my journal almost daily but lately words haven’t been doing anything justice. I can’t seem to pinpoint what I want to say but I know what I feel and I know what I see. I make things when I don’t want to be so stressed anymore. Too much input and not enough output is never a good thing.

Today, after a poetry meeting at my apartment, one of my friends stayed longer. We melted records in the oven and formed them into black flowers encoded by songs cheap enough to now sell at the antique store for a dollar. Then she grabbed the chalk board, I grabbed some paper and started to cut away.

Earlier in the day I had found some pressed flowers in the bottom on my scrapbook bin. I started to lay them out but had to hurry of to class so I returned home to a half finished project. Hanging out with Ariel gave me an excuse to finish it. 

I ended up making something for my girlfriend with a quote I stole from her Tumblr (Izy, if you’re reading this…yes, I was stalking you. No, I don’t feel sorry about it :P). This is when you cue the “aww” and “how sweeet” sarcastic comments. I wouldn’t call myself a romantic person but I am pretty crafty and I love to share my creations. After my project was in a frame I looked at it from a distance. I was reminded of something. Or somebody, rather.

I remembered being a kid and receiving pressed flowers wrapped in a homemade birthday card from my great aunt Janet. I vaguely remember being at her house and picking flowers in her back yard. What I know now is that I was helping her create her crafts. Back then I just thought it was neat. A while ago I was going through my closet and found a few of her cards. They are the only ones I ever held on to longer than my birthday week. 

In seventh grade I had to write a paper about my hero. I wrote about her. I’m not entirely sure why. Not because she doesn’t deserve that title, but because I was in Michigan. She was in California and I saw her once a year for maybe a few years in a row. I didn’t really know her fully. I guess even then I had a sense for people. I could hear the kindness in her voice and see the glistening in her eyes when she had conversations with the kids. I can still see her diving into Pine Mountain Lake with all of the cousins wearing her swim cap. She was youthful even with her many years of fighting Cancer.

I remember, a few years back, sitting in my front yard watching my dog lay in a bed of flowers and thinking to myself, “I wish I could send a picture of this to Aunt Janet.” That was a few years after she passed. I didn’t make it to her funeral. I heard it was as beautiful as a funeral could be. It was a luscious mix of love and adoration for a women who was respected by many.

It’s days like today that I wish she was here longer. I want to know more of her stories. I want to sit down and press flowers with her and make homemade birthday cards. As distant as we were, somedays I feel her. Like when I find myself surrounded by crusty, dried up flowers and scrapbook paper that’s spread across my living room floor. 

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