Confused and (not) crafty


I come from a very arts and craft family. My grandad, uncle and brother are exceptional artists. My sister-in-law is a great cake decorator, my mother-in-law is the craftiest woman you could ever meet (if you know what I mean…) and my husband takes more care wrapping one present than I would wallpapering a room (if I had any idea where to start). Sadly all these artistic genes passed me by.

I have great ideas but trying to put them into practice is another matter entirely. I am not exaggerating when I say I can’t draw a straight line with a ruler. I can’t sew or knit and regular readers of this blog will know how far from Mary Berry my attempts at baking are.

Somehow I have managed to reach the ripe old age of 42 without a single arty bone in my body but since having kids, this lack of natural flair has become more of a problem. This is yet another thing they don’t tell you about having kids – suddenly you are expected to be able to paint, draw and craft like a first rate member of the WI!

My daughter, like most little girls, loves craft and is obsessed by Blue Peter. My son’s adoration of Mr Maker, Matilda Ramsey and I Can Cook is unrivalled. We have had many aborted attempts at creating what they have seen on TV throughout the years, but things always reach a peak at Christmas and birthdays when very kind, generous and well-meaning people buy them craft sets.

My kids look at me with fear as we open another box and I try to make sense of the instructions which are clearly aimed at under-12s. Bless them, my two have got used to the disappointment of never seeing the finished product or making do with some botched attempt that bears no resemblance to the picture on the box. So here’s a rundown of what I helped ruin this Christmas:

  1. A cardboard model of Big Ben WITH NO INSTRUCTIONS. Yes all the pieces were numbered so they could slot together but the only place this was slotted was the recycling bin
  2. Grow a fairy garden – no sign of grass seed sprouting so fairies may have to live in a mud bath
  3. Santa and snowman pompoms – created the world’s smallest pompoms and how do you successfully glue oversized felt features onto wool?
  4. Nail art. Daughter’s tiny nails, fat nail brush and me – was always going to end in disaster
  5. Wonky Rudolph ears – I just don’t have the patience for neat cutting out
  6. French knitting – a very English mass of knotted wool and some very choice muttered phrases (which may well have been French)
  7. Glitter by numbers – glitter does not go where you want it to no matter how gently you shake it!
  8. Make your own friendship bracelets – another mess of threads and a set of instructions which bore no resemblance to the equipment provided
  9. Hair crayons – this was quite successful and daughter ended up with blue streaks in her hair – we also had blue streaks on both of our clothes and all over one of my good towels (when did I become someone with best towels???????)

So my New Year’s resolution is to stop helping and let the kids get on with these art projects on their own. They may not get it right but they can’t get it as wrong as me!


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