I have so much on my heart from this past weekend, which was sort of an overwhelming smorgasbord of joy and love and conviction and laughter, but before I can even think about trying to dive into all that, I have to tell y’all something that happened this past Friday.

A few weeks ago the little man’s sweet teacher sent home a couple of different notes about various and sundry craft-related requirements that were coming up. There are few things in life that I despise (YES. I SAID “DESPISE.” BECAUSE I MEAN IT.) more than a craft, what with all that cutting and pinning and gluing and glittering. I don’t mind painting, but if you start to bring in ITEMS THAT MUST BE ASSEMBLED, I’m out. SHUT ‘ER DOWN. Mama’s done.

The first crafty requirement was that A. needed 350 strips of 1 x 6 inch fabric for a rag wreath that his class is making. I am not kidding you when I say that I must have read the rag wreath information sheet at least five times to make sure that I wasn’t seeing the numbers incorrectly. 350? THREE HUNDRED FIFTY? PIECES OF FABRIC? It made me want to throw things, mainly because I can’t stand doing anything that requires lots of measurement or precision. For example, I like to cook because it’s not an exact science, and I’ll bake the occasional cake, but I avoid intricate, multi-step dessert recipes like the plague. I much prefer cranking my car and driving down the hill to the grocery store and buying something from the bakery there. Because if a recipe calls for something like ALTERNATING SPRINKLE COLORS? OR CUTTING 100 MINIATURE MARSHMALLOWS IN HALF? OR PIPING ICING?

Well, the truth of the matter is that I’m probably going to need a nerve pill. And what’s the fun of serving your family a platter of very detailed petit fours if the stress of it all requires you to lie down for several hours afterwards?

Thanksgiving Day I told Sister about how I had to cut out 350 pieces of fabric, and she said, “Oh, I’ll do that for you!” I could not believe my good fortune, and I was so relieved that I wasn’t going to have to, you know, MEASURE THINGS that I didn’t even try to politely decline her kind offer. So we went to the fabric store the next day, and after I twitched my way through the selection of an appropriate Christmas-themed fabric, we went back to the house – where Sister promptly did some math and marked off some stuff and knocked out those 350 strips in all of thirty minutes.

I don’t know when I’ve ever been more grateful.

However, the fabric strips were just the beginning. Because the little man was also going to need a red cape for his role as a Roman solider in the Christmas program. Sister and I actually went back to the fabric store the day after she cut out all the strips (two trips to the fabric store in one week? I am ALL GOOD until, I don’t know, 2013-ish), and I bought a yard of red fleece. I figured fleece was a good choice since I wouldn’t have to actually sew it, and then I took it home and pulled it out of the bag and stared at it. And then it taunted me for the next five days.

This past Wednesday I knew I had to make the cape, already. Dress rehearsal was Thursday, and I couldn’t very well let my little soldier be the only child who wasn’t properly costumed. So I grabbed a cape we already had – I believe it was of the Darth Vader variety – and I spread it out very carefully on top of the fleece fabric. I EVEN PINNED IT, Y’ALL. I used the Darth Vader cape as a template or pattern or whatever you call it for the Roman soldier cape. I cut around it very carefully, sweating bullets every step of the way, and when I finished I was understandably relieved. Pleased, even. The only little question mark in the back of my head was what the length of the cape should be, but since I had a very cloudy memory of watching Julius Caesar that involved some soldier-type people wearing shorter capes, I aimed for something about waist-length. I even used Google to confirm my decision.


Friday morning D and I went to Alex’s school for the big program. We sat exactly where the little man had asked us to sit – so that he would walk right past us on his way up to the stage – and right after the music started, D nudged me and said, “There he is!” I looked to my right, and sure enough, there was my sweet baby boy who’s really not a baby at all anymore and who’s actually the second-tallest young’un in his class and who’s going to be 40 before I know it. I smiled at him, waved just a little bit, and reflected on the passage of time. I may have even hummed “Sunrise, Sunset.” It was a Moment.

About that time I noticed that D’s shoulders were shaking and that he seemed to be having a little trouble regulating his breathing. I looked at him to see what was going on, and y’all, he was SO TICKLED – sort of venturing into the kind of laughter where you start to wheeze a little bit. I couldn’t imagine what in the world had happened, but then D pointed in the direction of our child, and I knew. As soon as I saw his back, I knew.

His cape was a full foot and a half shorter than everyone else’s. All the other boys had on these long, flowing, dramatic red capes, and our precious seven year-old looked like he’d been cast in the lead role of “Little Red Riding Hood.”


D and I were laughing so hard that it felt like our whole row was shaking. And just as I was starting to regain my composure, D leaned over and said, “It really wasn’t so much a cape as it was a CAPELET, really” – which started the shoulder-shaking all over again. It was priceless and perfect and completely fitting given my history of craft-related failure. I’m just as sorry as I can be that our offspring had to bear the burden of his mama’s shortcomings.

The good news is that A had absolutely no idea about the unfortunate length of his cape. He was as enthusiastic a Roman soldier as you’ve ever seen. And when the play was over, he walked off the stage, grinned like crazy, and gave us a confident thumbs up. He had rocked that capelet like nobody’s business.

He’s even been wearing it at home. Apparently it’s easier to stage light saber battles when there’s no risk of your cape getting tangled in the weaponry.

See? I knew exactly what I was doing.


Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go work some more crafty magic. There are some handmade Christmas ornaments that I need to ruin.

Time’s a wastin’.

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  1. I’m sure capelets were all the rage at some point in Roman history… right?

  2. Ahh don’t sweat it, friend! Every Mama has a story (Or 7) of a something go wrong sit-chee-ashun!

    I’ll never forget (and neither will the rest of the world) the great idea to clip my sweetboy’s hair at home. Not only had he lost both his front teeth that week…but it was that glorious time for kindergarten pictures. YES, THE GUARD WAS OFF!! I didn’t realize it would shave the poor kid bald. HORRIBLE!!!

    He still loves me and calls me his mama! So, I guess it’s ok. :)

  3. Oh my make me laugh!! I have the same level of sewing “skills” that you do. In fact, just this weekend I sewed on a button and felt like I had just run a marathon :)

  4. Okay, you made me laugh OUT LOUD. Or, maybe it was D. that did it with the whole “capelet” thing. And then the picture as illustration was just priceless! Ha!


  6. I’ve never loved you more!

  7. I thought that your post about sewing on badges had to be the best. I have to say that you topped it today. Thank you for the smile.

  8. Oh Lordy! I was just laughing so hard, my co-worker stuck her head over the wall to make sure I was okay.

    I’ve got a little guy with lots of embarassing moments ahead of him, too. I wonder if someone should prepare him.

  9. I’m LAUGHING OUT LOUD!!! I can just picture the whole thing omygoodness!!


  10. Oh my!! I laughed until I wheezed!!!

    Thanks for sharing, and may all your craft obligations be small.

  11. Girl, you are not alone. I can sew just fine, but I procrastinate until the last possible moment. This is Zesty’s first year in a Christmas play, and there is a costume already made, just about a foot too long. I’ve got to get cracking on it right now or I’ll be hemming it by hand on the way to the church in two weeks.

  12. I deplore crafts. I have no sewing skills whatsoev-uh. I went to MOPS once and nearly ran screaming from the room when I saw the craft portion of the program. When my kids have to do something crafty, I pass the blessing on to my very artful husband. I sing while they work to make sure they know their mama isn’t without talent. Somehow, nine year old boys find that annoying.

    Can’t wait to hear about your weekend with your bloggies and Mama Beth!

  13. Lynnette R says:

    Laughed so hard. And may I just say that I have been there a time or a few myself. I have indeed felt you pain. Love it that Alex never had a clue. Sometimes it’s just better that way. Thanks for the laugh.

  14. DYING.
    And for the record – it took everything in me not to pick that boy up and carry him home in my suitcase – he is precious!!! Love little pap-pa!
    And I liked David too – he is equally funny!

  15. ummmm- I noticed that you were using the ALL CAPS KEY AGAIN. That can’t be a good sign.
    But you do make me SMILE!

  16. For a brief, wonderful moment, I thought you were saying “multi-step dessert recipes SUCH AS the plague.”

  17. I am crying for all the laughing. You and I share the same talent with felt…..

    Seriously, one of your best of all time.

  18. HAHA! I just laughed out loud at work (where I am NOT supposed to be reading blogs)!

  19. Places like Hobby Lobby and their craft corner make me sweat buckets. CANNOT STAND IT. This had me on the floor. Dying! Love it! So get it!!!

    Bless him.

  20. Oh my, if I had known you needed a capelet, I could have pointed you in the direction of your nearest Gymboree! They always have cute little red capelets at Christmas time. I mean, they are in the girl’s section and all, but I am sure they could be used for the purposes of the Roman soldier.
    Truly, though, I am shoulder shaking over here, too. While I absolutely LOVE crafting and absolutely LOVE the fabric store, this sounds like the type of ‘caper’ that would happen at our house.

  21. You crack me up! Thanks for the much-needed laughs!

  22. 350 pieces of material for a rag wreath? You gotta be kidding. If that teacher was really with it, the kids could have cut it out in class. Just think of all the lessons that would have provided – math, small muscle eye-hand co-cordination, art, language skills (I’m sure they would have aptly had a lot to say about it). Sheesh, she could have knocked out 4 classes right there!

  23. I think my recliner is shaking because I’m laughing so hard :)

  24. That is so funny! I still have a Raggedy Andy costume I pieced together from an old red checkered smock and some blue pajama pants for my son yeaaaaarrrrrrrrsssss ago. It may even have some duct tape on the hems, just sayin. You need to make an arrangement with Big Mama to do all your crafts for you – get her an express mail envelope with the instructions and let her work her magic and ship it to you! And if you haven’t already cut out fabric, I think you can buy bags of fabric patches at Hobby stores and fabric stores.

  25. I made a similar cape for my classroom and put two big “C’s” on it. It’s Captain Clean-Up’s cape. Never heard of him? Well, he’s the super hero of making sure all the centers are cleaned up properly. It might work at home too :)

  26. I have read your blog for a long time and I have to tell you that after reading this post, I laughed until I cried!!

    LOVED IT!!

  27. Hilarity!

  28. “I don’t mind painting, but if you start to bring in ITEMS THAT MUST BE ASSEMBLED, I’m out. SHUT ‘ER DOWN. Mama’s done.”

    Hysterical post. I’m so with you. My kids are 30, 28 and 24, but I SO relate to your thinking on this post. It brings back so many difficult memories, yet I howled as I read this.

  29. huh-lar-i-us.

  30. Oh my…LOL. Too funny! My mom sewed and never taught me, I would be like you and be overwhelmed with the strips!

  31. Ah, me. Too, too funny!! I sew, but am careful who I share that with … one slip of the lip to my younger son’s kindergarten teacher, and within a week I was tasked with assembling eight gold lame capes. The lame and I were both pretty frayed by the time I was done.

    (And because I can’t help myself … if you’re up for one more trip to Michaels or Hobby Lobby, here’s an easy ornament project: buy the clear glass ornaments and acrylic paint in your favored colors [anything works, but look especially festive if you add silver and gold]. When you get them home, cover your table with newspaper, hand the paint bottles to Alex, have him drop in a few colors and start swirling. It’s like Spin Art, only in an ornament! Oh, and dry them upside down in an empty egg carton. Takes a day or so.)

  32. We are twin souls, you and I. I do not do crafts. Why? Because they are evil, from the pit of hell, and downright Satanic. I have proof too. Just read Genesis. It says, “Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast…” Yep. That’s your inspiration, ladies!
    Also, I can’t deal with fabric stores.
    God gave me a wonderful daughter who is crafty though. Sometimes she makes me take her to craft stores. In about a year, I’ll be able to wait in the car while she just runs in. I will bring a nice long book.

  33. “And what’s the fun of serving your family a platter of very detailed petit fours if the stress of it all requires you to lie down for several hours afterwards?” PRICELESS!! I MAY HAVE TO FRAME THAT ONE AND HANG IT IN MY KITCHEN…OR BETTER YET, YOU COULD CROSS-STICTH IT FOR ME!

  34. Last Monday I had to put my dog to sleep…today my uncle died. Tonight is the very first time I have laughed in a week. Thank you.

  35. Oh, how I needed this laugh tonight. I had “one of those days” and this made it better.

  36. My hubs LOVES to do that to me at the MOST inopportune times! I have gotten the evil stare from little old ladies in church many a time…I guess they can’t appreciate a good pew-shaking giggle. And isn’t it a joy when the kiddos are still too little to feel self-conscious?!

    BTW, my business’ name is Sew-Krafty (my last name is Kraft and I sew for a living). lol!/pages/Sew-Krafty/175023379175047

  37. Ok, you got me with a LOL on the capelet. Priceless!

  38. Oh boy, this post made me LAUGH! I can totally relate to your “crafty” nature, as we could be twins! Thanks for providing some humor to begin my day!

  39. I just cried! I know he made a great Roman soldier! I can still recite the lines…Citizens of Nazareth, hear the decree…hhaha I think you need to donate your capelet to the school, so it can be used every year in the 1st grade program. I miss A..tell him hello.

  40. I. LOVED. THIS. You are a hoot and I love your blog.

    I had to laugh because this summer, I made my husband his very own capelet so he could dress as Mighty Mouse for “Superhero Day” at the summer camp he runs. I can’t sew a lick either, but I can work magic with double-stick fabric tape and a little ribbon!! (A plastic headband, hot glue and felt make awesome mouse ears if you’re ever in need :)

  41. 350 strips??? As a teacher, I’m all for fun home activities that will build relationships… but I think that would just tear a family apart. Ha!

  42. I break out in hives at the word “craft” and I think that the people who work at fabric stores, have radar for us uncrafty types that walk in. I have never had one of them be at all helpful (unless you call making me feel like a total idiot helpful… :) )

    Anyway, I feel your pain… I have four kiddos, the oldest in Kindergarten it is all just beginning…

  43. Thanks for the smile this brought to my day knowing I’m not alone! I cringe every time I hear the word “project” from my school age children. It always involves last minute chaos and $$$. Just last week we were attempting to stain 11X17 sheets of paper in tea to give it that “old look” for a project. All was going ok until the idea of putting it outside on the black metal deck table to dry meant that it soon became stuck to the table due to the dramatic drop in temperature. Thankfully, we left it there overnight and the sun came out the next day allowing us to salvage the paper for the project. Oh the joys of children and school PROJECTS!

  44. Well, you’ve undoubtedly seen “The Incredibles,” so you know all about the dangers of capes. You are no failure; you are a revolutionary in the world of child costuming safety. I commend you!

  45. Your cape looks just right to me…and I love that it makes it easier to fight light saber battles without getting all tangled!! Perfect!

    My mother was the one with all the crafty genes in our family. She made all of our Halloween costumes and sewed little stockings with every child’s name written in glitter for our class parties. Me…not so much. But, I have made my attempts. And, sad though they may be…I was quite proud of the results. Whether we have the gift of craft or not, there’s something satisfying about seeing something we produce with our hands.


  46. Well, clearly you have an older version of Google. :) And what about his shoes? Roman Crocs?
    Skillz. :)

  47. Stephanie says:

    OMG you had me busting a gut!!! lol You are hilarious! I could use more people like you in my life!!

  48. You make me so happy with your every post :) Hope you’ve been able to get some rest after your big weekend!

  49. You are so brave. I baked, cooked, wrote and did anything to help out my son’s school, but SEW or do anything remotely close – like making a simple cape – never. I would have asked if he could change characters and be play a rock or work the curtains or something. I commend you!

  50. Maybe he will just be a new trend setter instead. By the way when you wrote the word glitter, my eye began to twitch. I can’t stand crafts with it.

  51. Fabthemayor says:

    So his is more the “super hero” length, as opposed to the “warrior soldier” length. Everyone needs a good super hero. Spoken from someone who can sew a very mean straight line :)

  52. I come from a long line of the fabric impaired. We are domestically talented in so many ways, but needle and thread ain’t one of ’em. I have hot glued together numerous Halloween costumes, throw pillows, and yes, even draperies. I have the scars to prove it. My fondest memory is of my mother attempting to make a rabbit costume for my brother who was in a school play. Somehow the legs ended up sewn together. When he tried it on the evening before the big show, my frazzled mother’s advice to him was, “You’re a rabbit. Hop!” And he did.

  53. Everytime I see my little guy in school on a stage or in choir, it makes me want to cry like a baby! I always get a lump in my throat!