The Seven Signs of Craft Addiction

By Michelle Mach

Like most junkies, I didn’t think I was the one with the problem.

My mom has been saving things for possible “craft projects” for years: margarine tub lids (for Christmas ornaments), socks with holes in them (for faux painting), broken dishes (for mosaics). Her latest gift to me was an old canning jar filled with 29 keys. No, she didn’t know what the keys belonged to anymore, but she thought I could make something with them. Weird, right?

Then my sweetheart presented me with a handful of plastic disks the size of a quarter. Apparently, they had been scattered on the floor near the trash at work. “Can you believe they were just going to throw them away?” he asked. “Maybe you can make something with them.”

I shook my head. How did I find these people?

My wake-up call came when a good friend of mine invited me to have lunch with her, and I felt compelled to bring buttons and hair bands to the restaurant, to show her how to make cute ponytail holders for her two girls, ages four and six. She looked at the little packages spread out on the table and sweetly told me that just getting her kids dressed in the morning was enough of a “project” for her!

I couldn’t deny it any longer. “Hello,” I said, holding out my hand to her. “My name is Michelle and I am a craftaholic.”

Recognizing a problem is the first step towards solving it. So as a public service, I’ve compiled a list of seven warning signs. Please pull out a pen – or a paintbrush – and give yourself five points for each “yes” answer, unless otherwise indicated.

1. Do you have a crafting room or corner? Believe it or not, there are people who do not reserve part of their living space for hot glue guns, scrapbooking paper, and paints. Did you buy special storage items or furniture for this area – plastic bins, a worktable, lights, tools? Give yourself five extra points for each craft item originally meant for the kitchen – cookie sheets, blender, pasta machines, pots, pans, knives, or rolling pins.

2. Once inside your local craft store, can you just dash in to buy the one item you need (0 points) or do you feel compelled to “look around” (5 points)?

3. Give yourself five points for every craft-related publication (including catalogs) in your house. Another five points if you have taken a craft-related class or watched a craft TV show within the last six months. If you were the instructor, give yourself ten points. (There are no excuses for enablers like yourself.)

4. Addictions always seem harmless at first. “It’s only knitting,” you might say and then, before you know it, you’re a quilting, beading, stamping, stenciling fool! Give yourself five points for each craft you do. Twenty points if you can’t remember all the different types. (Thirty if you cheat and try to use “mixed media” to cover a host of addictions.)

5. Do you hide your crafting from friends, family, or your employer? For example, have you ever had to change into a long-sleeved shirt because you managed to get a blob of bright green permanent ink on your elbow minutes before leaving for work? (A completely hypothetical example, by the way.)

6. Doctors often prescribe hobbies, including crafts, in moderate doses, as a way to deal with stress and other medical ailments. The key here is “moderate.” Does your crafting regularly exceed the recommended dosage?

7. Take a hard look at your friends. Are they crafty? Give yourself five points for each crafty friend; twenty points if you belong to a craft-related club or group. Remember what your mom used to say about hanging out with the wrong crowd?

Scoring:

10 points or less: Your life is suspiciously craft-free. Are you sure you don’t have a hot glue gun hidden in a drawer?

11-25 points: Crafty, but under control. Most likely you are a solitary crafter with a healthy range of other interests. At times, you may feel tempted to share your love of crafts with others, or broaden your knowledge by taking classes. When this urge hits, take a deep breath, and sign up for yoga instead.

26-49 points: Borderline addict. Exercise caution and avoid placing yourself in the path of temptation. Under no circumstances should you visit a craft store without supervision.

50 or more points: What can I say? Thanks for finishing this quiz before turning it into a collage.

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