- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 14, 2000

Rosie O'Donnell was asked recently what hidden skill she would like brought to the public's attention. She said she wants the world to know she is a "crafty" person (crafty as in handy with a glue gun and glitter).
Rosie would like my husband. In the past few months, he has turned into a craft maniac (maniac as in spending all his free time cruising craft stores and perusing craft magazines).
It all began shortly before Christmas, when his company asked employees to submit handmade ornaments for the headquarters Christmas tree. A company man through and through, my husband not only jumped at the challenge, but dragged his entire family along.
Everyone but me. I love creative crafts, but I was out of town when he was bitten by the crafting bug. So upon my return, I was astounded to find my family gathered around the kitchen table, stringing beads, molding clay and sprinkling glitter. The Hunker clan sent off a half-dozen entries, and my daughter actually placed third in the national contest. The experience transformed my husband; he has turned into a crafter.
The transformation was startling. Here was a man who would put off changing light bulbs until the house was so dimly lit the children used flashlights to make their way from room to room. Now he couldn't wait to come home and start creating.
Leftover materials from his holiday projects became miniature lighthouses and decorated boxes. When the Christmastime materials were gone, he began cruising from craft store to craft store in search of new challenges.
My husband's favorite store is a small shop named Mom and Pop's really. The small converted house is crammed with potential projects, and both Mom and Pop stand behind the counter ready to dispense crafting tips. ("Is that wool for you, dear? Well, you really should rethink that color. Red will look quite awful on you.")
My husband tried his hand in various mediums, such as clay and balsa wood, but he found his true calling in Mom and Pop's basement, where the "bargains" are stored. There he discovered a table of dusty rug-hooking kits and proudly took home a half-dozen of the marked-down boxes. Showing them to me, he was especially impressed with the rugs' designs they were all different beer logos.
"No wonder they were shoved into the basement bargain bin," I thought.
"These will look beautiful on our wall," my husband said.
Enthusiasm for his new hobby was infectious, and soon he had our two sons hooked (if you'll excuse the pun). I' guessing ours was the only home in America where every male spent Super Bowl half time hooking a rug. Of course, Rosie Grier might disagree.
Once the rugs were finished (I have to say they look quite nice the Busch's logo even has a lovely mountain background), my husband began looking for a new crafting challenge.
He found it in power beads. Stringing sandalwood for health and copper for strength, he devoted his evenings to crafting meaningful bracelets. He began researching beads on the Internet and found a crafting companion in one of my best friends, who has a successful handmade jewelry business.
Around this time, we realized my mother's birthday was approaching. She had declared that she expected presents this year but she also told us she would be very unhappy if we spent a lot of money. Adding to the whatever-will-we-get-her challenge, we realized we couldn't get her anything large because she is trying to de-clutter her life in preparation for a move from her home of 35 years. We were stumped. Where could we find a present that said we cared, but not enough to go in debt?
Then my husband thought of the power beads. Our bracelet was the perfect gift (certainly much better than a Coors rug) and my mother loved it.
I have to hand it to my husband. He's pretty crafty (as in thinking of the right thing at just the right time).
Paula Gray Hunker, who works from home, is the mother of four children, the bemused wife of her amazing (but true) husband and a staff writer for the Family Times. She welcomes comments, suggestions and stories from her readers. She can be reached by mail at The Washington Times, 3600 New York Ave., NE, Washington, D.C. 20002; by phone at 202/636-4897; by fax at 610/351-1791; or by e-mail (hunkerc@erols.com).

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