Sometimes, we even did crafts together. Actually, we did this quite often. It is my theory that many Navy wives become skilled cooks and creative crafters because they are so often alone at night while their men are serving on a ship in the middle of some faraway ocean. Experimenting with recipes or craft projects is an excellent way to fill the lonely hours.
I still remember the first craft I ever did at a Navy wives' gathering. One of the girls told us to bring along some scraps of Christmas material to the meeting; for her part, she brought Styrofoam balls and a finished sample of her creation. Once we'd all had a glass of wine, beer, or diet soda, or a cup of decaf (depending on whether or not we were playing the role of DD for our pals that night, or whether or not we were pregnant or nursing), she proceeded to give us a how-to demonstration--and I thought her idea was absolutely brilliant! With nothing more than a Styrofoam ball, a sharp knife, and some scraps of fabric, she created a pretty and unbreakable ornament that looked as if it had been quilted. There was only minimal gluing involved, in order to attach a hanger. But otherwise, it was a glueless endeavor. (Good news for a woman who has rarely wielded a hot glue gun without second degree burns involved.) Following her lead, I made one of these beauties at the meeting that night...then went home and made more of them, both for our own tree and to give as gifts to loved ones that Christmas.
Here is an example of what my first attempts (from circa 1981) looked like; every year when I hang these balls on the tree, I am reminded of those sweet long-ago days when I was a dewy-eyed Navy wife, when my husband and I were just starting out on our long life together.
Here's a Notre Dame beauty.
The white parts are actually bits of real shirts;
note the buttons still attached!
You know, I've been wondering what to do with all the decades-old faded and stained baby clothing I have in the attic (items that aren't nice enough to pass down to my grandchildren, but which I haven't had the heart to part with yet). And just this minute, I got a killer idea (I think a light bulb appeared above my head, I really do!). I can take bits and pieces of those sweet little boys' clothes, and even the flannel receiving blankets they used as infants, and turn them into ornaments! Stay tuned!
Say, while I'm working on my sentimental Christmas balls, would you like me to take step-by-step photographs? Are you interested in a how-to post? Let me know, readers. I'd be more than happy to do that for you. I know how grateful I was when that Navy wife shared her craftiness with me, all those years ago.