Are you beginning to question my sanity when it comes to animals? Wondering if perhaps I've gone a little Dr. Doolittle on all of you? Not to worry. I have a few more animals to share today, but they aren't living and breathing.
They are real however. Stuffed with wool and ready to travel abroad. These two sock monkeys are on their way to South Africa, my small contribution to Operation Sock Monkey. I stumbled upon Operation Sock Monkey last summer while surfing the blogosphere, and knew immediately I had to participate. It took me months to finally get around to this pet project, but I'm thrilled that these little guys are done and ready to be loved by two little kids on the other side of the world.
Here's two more little monkeys to love. These monkeys' mothers joined forces for another pet project.
Four pillowcase dresses for Craft Hope. These dresses were amazingly simple and fast to make (with the exception of the homemade bias tape, right Marjorie? simple but tedious).
Last summer I learned something new about my late grandfather. Apparently he considered himself an "optimistic-pessimist". Now this could simply mean he was optimistic that things would go poorly, but I took it to mean something different. I've long felt opposing emotions, inner oxymorons. For example, I consider myself a idealistic realist. Perhaps contrasting emotions are embedded deep in my DNA. This realization made me sad and happy at the same time - just kidding.
As of late I've been feeling like a cynical philanthropist, or is it a philanthropic cynisist? Anyways, I came to the realization last year that I was a selfish crafter and set out to become a more selfless crafter, using my skills to benefit others, making items for charity, embracing the concept of craftivism. Yet at times I wonder, am I really doing any good knitting hats for the homeless and making dresses and stuffed animals for orphans? How can my small contributions possibly make a dent in these huge problems? A few girls in Mexico might have new dresses to wear thanks to my beginning sewing skills, but they'll still be poor, hungry and on the street without parents. Told you I was cynical.
Yet I have to remind myself that something is better than nothing. Last year at this time I wasn't making anything for others. I think I was knitting myself another pair of socks (not that there is anything wrong with making socks for oneself - I plan on doing it again real soon). I have to step back and look at the big picture. There are many people out there doing small things to help address big problems, and many small solutions can eventually make a big difference. Pillowcase dresses and sock monkeys will not fix these problems, but they will bring a little bit of hope and happiness to those that need it most.
More importantly, by making things for others and using my crafting skills for good, I am setting an example for my children. Craftivism will not be a new word they encounter in their thirties, but instead a way of life, something they've always done. And then one day, my grandchildren will be visiting with family, perhaps knitting a baby blanket for the local hospital or hand stitching a doll to send to an orphanage as they talk and listen, and they will hear stories about the items their grandmother used to make for charity, and they'll realize that making things for others is embedded deep in their DNA. And like their great, great grandfather, hearing these stories will make them happy and sad at the same time. I told you I was idealistic.
P.S. Spring is just on the other side of the fence.