It goes back to a sketch show that used to air on the BBC when I was in my late teens/early 20s. It was called ‘Goodness Gracious Me’, and I loved it. One of the recurring characters that rang especially true for me was a woman who, in any situation, would insist that there was no point buying something (whatever it was- and of course it was often something ridiculously complicated) when she “could make it at home for nothing”. All she needed, she would say, was [a list of parts of the thing] and, inevitably, “a small aubergine”.
In my family, especially for my grandparents, making it yourself at home was just something you did. My Grandma sewed anything and everything, my mother’s wedding dress was made by a family friend. When I was about 8, my Nan took a drawing I’d made of Snoopy on top of his kennel and turned it into a jumper I treasured until it no longer fitted me. And then there was my Grandad, Denis.
He made the climbing frame in the picture himself. That’s me, aged all of 2, sitting on it. My brother and I played on it, under it and in it for many years. What I only discovered recently was that the climbing frame wasn’t for both of us. It was for me. Just for me. A birthday present I was too young to remember was a birthday present, from a loving grandad who sadly died when I was still only a little girl. But making things for others was how he showed love. That love, and that spirit of ‘hmm…yep, I could make that’ are the legacy he left me, and one I want to carry on and spread. That’s what this blog is part of, and what I’m all about.
Because the thing about my Grandad is- he was not unique in his ability to create. Neither is my Nan, neither was my Grandma. We can all make something beautiful. You just have to have the courage to try.