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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Is Crafting Manly?

by Pete Codella (bio)

One of my favorite pastimes is building furniture. I've built bedroom sets for every member of my immediate family. The only problem is I haven't had the time or set-up lately to do woodworking projects.

Recently I got the bug to do something creative - besides study for my MBA classes all night, 'cause that gets old - and talked my wife into a couple craft projects. I figure if the project includes wood, cutting, gluing, sanding, painting, screwing, burning ... you get the picture, it's a manly project. And if not, who cares? I enjoy the creative outlet. (Maybe one of these times I'll tell you about the puff-quilt I made when I was in college.)

The two projects had very utilitarian purposes:

First - To give our kids a concrete way of tracking their daily and weekly chores. We created a magnet board with magnets that included chores like making beds, putting toys away, folding laundry, setting the table, doing dishes, etc. The kids can move the magnets from the To Do to the Done column. Each child has their own color of magnets, made with those dome-shaped glass thingies (a technical term), scrapbooking paper, a hot glue gun and a high powered magnet (another material that makes the project manly - just ask my 10 year-old daughter who got a blood blister when two magnets connected on each side of her finger). We also added a few paid chores to give the kids the option to earn some money each week.

Second - To create an annual family birthday and anniversary calendar for our extended family. We made magnets with everyone's name and the date they were born, then put them in one of the 12 boxes created on the magnet board to represent months of the year. I've also seen these birthday calendars made with the person's picture under the glass. My wife then created the months with her plethora of scrapbooking materials. She and my sister-in-law enjoyed creating the labels for each month.

Initially, the first project seemed just a little too plain for me, so I suggested we wood burn Pres. Hinckley's 9 Be's into the frame. Little did I know what I was getting into with that suggestion. But my wife was a trooper and penciled the design on the wood for me to trace with the wood burner (that's the extent of my artistic abilities). After that, the second magnet board just got sanded and painted. One wood burning project this year is enough.

Although we haven't painted the chore magnet board completely - we plan to paint and make it very colorful - I've included a photo of the product to-date. I'll add a photo of the finished product when it's done.

I don't think in our day and age one sex can lay claim to any type of work or project. And I think it takes a real man - comfortable with his manhood - to work on craft projects with his wife for the organization, enjoyment and betterment of his family.

Update - September 2012

The magnetic chore chart has now been painted, thanks to the very talented Grandma Codella. Here's a photo of the finished product.

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