Crochet a Photo Prop, Help a Kid, and Prove Your Middle School Art Teacher Wrong

I recently listened to an episode of “After the Jump” where Grace talked about the positive side of jealousy – how it can be a force to show you what you want and who you want to be like.  It’s in that light I say: I am jealous of my far-away friend, and fellow FH alum, Megan.  Gosh, she juggles volunteering, family, and work like it ain’t no thing and still has time to be a gentle scold of the super complainy, negative facebook set (e.g.: me).  How she has time for it all, I’ll never know (I just spent an hour & a half rearranging my Pinterest boards), but when she said she needed volunteers for her latest project, I of course raised my hand.

hijennybrown creative crochet frame photo prop

Her idea was inspired by the song “Brave” by Sara Bareilles and a mentoring project she did last year with a group of girls from different backgrounds.  As Megan told us: “I asked them to write on a piece of paper a positive word that defined them. Surprisingly, many of them struggled to do so, and it took a lot of talking and working with them to find words they were comfortable saying about themselves. Sadly they were more quickly able to point out their weaknesses than their strengths, and what I learned in talking to many is that they are afraid to say positive, strong statements about themselves. They don’t seem to have a voice.”

yelling creative photo prop frame crochet hijennybrown

The plan: get a group of grown-ups to each write a positive word that describes them on a piece of paper, take a selfie with it, and then Megan would incorporate them all into a video that she would show to the girls she mentors.  Cool idea, and one I thought could have benefitted middle-school Jenny Brown, who, after another “D” in Art class, lost all confidence in her creativity.  What a series of (I’m sure well-meaning) Art teachers took as “laziness,” and “sloppiness” was actually a lack of self-confidence and know-how.  I still struggle with presenting something creative without apologizing for it first.

hijennybrown photo prop creative bench crochet

And so I wasn’t surprised when some of the women who volunteered for this project also had a difficult time finding a positive descriptor.  Something that really helped me was Jennifer Lee’s “Right-Brain Business Plan” class, where she gave a simple solution: take a poll.  Just ask friends/ family/customers/whoever to describe you in three words.  You don’t have to limit them to positive words, but I guarantee you’ll get some because you’re awesome.  Duh.  My beautiful, intelligent, hilarious sister gave me “creative.”  That was a year ago, but I knew it was the right word for this project.  Oh, and I knew it had to be crocheted.

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  • yarn (I used worsted-weight cotton, but you can use anything from bulky yarn to crochet thread to get larger or smaller letters)
  • crochet letter pattern (might I suggest mine?)
  • crochet hook (The size will depend on your yarn, but I used my 2nd favorite hook – yes, there’s a hierarchy – my 4.0 Addi Turbo)
  • small, sharp scissors
  • yarn needle
  • washi or masking tape (optional)
  • photo frame (The size will depend on your yarn & word)
  • double-stick or single-stick tape (I used a combo because I ran out of double-stick, which is way easier to use)
  • backing paper, fabric, or photo to fit your frame (I turned over the dummy photo already in the frame)

Putting it all together:

1. Crochet your letters, then weave in the ends with your yarn needle. Clip any stray strings.

2. If you want to be sure your word is super straight (obviously not a concern of mine), add a guide line to the back of the glass/plastic with washi or masking tape.

3. Add tape to the back of each letter.  Place letters on front of glass: I always place the first letter first, then the last letter second, and so on, to get the spacing as even as possible. Check the front of the letters to see if any tape is showing and clip any excess.  As you can see from this side shot, there is a little curling and a few visible tape doughnuts.  However, the front-on shots show neither of these.  The lesson: be generous with the tape, but don’t drive yourself insane.
tape crochet frame photo prop diy

4. Remove tape from back of glass/plastic and clean if necessary.  Insert glass/plastic, background, and backing.

5. Smile and say “Cheese!”

Even if you don’t crochet, please don’t let that stop you from writing (or stitching, or knitting, or drawing, or whatevering) a positive word for yourself.  I’d love for you to share it with me on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, or Twitter, or in the comments below.  I promise not to be *too* jealous.

Jenny Brown

7-29-2014 Hi Jenny Brown, Creative76

*P.S. for the sticklers out there, these aren’t technically “selfies.” My frame was too big or my arm was too short, depending on your outlook.  My amazing, talented, (also) hilarious friend, Erin, took them for me.  Thanks, Erin! 

5 Replies to “Crochet a Photo Prop, Help a Kid, and Prove Your Middle School Art Teacher Wrong”

  1. I love this project. I’m learning how to celebrate my strengths out loud. Some may see it as braggy…and that’s fine. I think if we don’t talk about what we love, we will get too caught up in what makes us unhappy and that’s no good for anyone. 🙂

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