The Makers

Makers keep showing up in my life. You know, the people who translate ideas and mismatched parts into physical things. A car. A coffee table. A thriving business. A killer dress.

I birthed a Maker. My eldest son tinkers and toils with his hands—happier that way than any other. I take no credit. My father’s genes passed right through me and ended up in his grandson—they shared a love of all things tactile. Even when my son was quite young, I was already sighing in exasperation at another pile of recyclables spread out on my family room floor. I watched as pirate ships, space vehicles and laser guns were crafted from paper towel rolls, milk jugs, scraps of my writing I found unworthy of publication. Yes, all were put to good use by my Maker. He can see things before they are “real.” As could my father.

My youngest and I recently toured MIT. What a campus. But I was puzzled by the seemingly random piles of plywood strewn throughout the dorm yards. Our guide explained to us that those were for the students, many of whom build their own beds, desks and more. So many of us equate MIT with brainiacs who don’t quite live in the “real” world. But we found that to be far from the case. These kids design their own dorm rooms. They blow glass in the basement, creating beautiful works of art. They manipulate their physical space much as they do their mental space—seeing what could be and chasing it. They’re creatives with a math or science bent.

I love all of this.

My youngest is in a camp full of Makers this week—a tech entrepreneur camp. It’s amazing, held at one of the top schools in the country for math and science. These kids interview each other, form startup teams with a vision for a product/service, function within a budget. And, at the end of the week, they will pitch their ideas to a tech incubator in downtown Chicago. Just hearing the ideas they’ve come up with—and seeing the enthusiasm fueled by what looks like pure joy—inspires me. I wish the seasoned businesspeople I work with could be exposed to this kind of energy on a regular basis. It would reignite a spark long gone for many.

Today, I’m paying tribute to the Makers by baking my friend Kate a birthday cake. Normally, I buy, claiming eternal “busyness.” But I think those of us gathering to celebrate Kate could benefit from the good juju of something homemade. And over the next 24 hours, I’d like to bring something into reality besides this blog. I’m feeling the need to make something I can touch or taste.

It’s no spaceship, laser gun, or custom-designed desk, mind you. But I think it’ll do.

What will you make today? Maybe it’s a more streamlined space, free of the clutter that usually reigns. Maybe it’s the perfect martini, or a pasta puttanesca your family will cry over. Maybe you’re a knitter, a scrapbooker, an engineer.

Whatever it is—get to it, won’t you? I can’t think of a time the world more needed creators with a vision—and a lot of small-time Makers add up to the contributions of one or two heavy hitters. We can better shape our world, using our own two hands.

Here’s to creating. I’ll leave you with someone who says it better than I have: “When you see yourself as a creator, you can look at a chunk of marble and see the angel within it. Then you carve until you have set that angel free.” –C. Joybell C.

Set that angel free, my sweet friends. I’m going for it today.




51 Comments Add yours

  1. Luanne says:

    What an inispirational post! And I loved learning about the MIT students making things for their own personal space–and the piles of wood. WOW!

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you:). That was one of my favorite parts of the tour also!

  2. nimslake says:

    Yes! To carving that Angel..! Well I don’t carve but writing is something I need to be doing. 😉

    P.S. I finally caught up on your blog and it makes me happy and your posts give me a push I do need…and your right “busyness” should not be my excuse to not include it.

    Nims(planning in FL)

    1. candidkay says:

      Write, write, write👍🏻

  3. I love this. When we create, we mirror who God is.

    1. candidkay says:

      And I love that, what you just said❤️

  4. mydangblog says:

    Making things is the best way to destress. I didn’t know that about MIT–what a fantastic place for creative kids to go!

    1. candidkay says:

      Right? I think many of us think of MIT as a place for computer geniuses or engineers. But, we forget that many times those types of people are also good creatively.

  5. Love this…I’ve revived my photo work with my Insta feed and plan to turn it (I hope!) into an income stream, with help from my photo editor husband. I love to draw and paint but haven’t done it in ages. Also love cooking and trying new recipes every week.

    Jose made lovely wooden planters for our balcony and he’s sooooo proud of them. I love that he’s willing and able to make things for us.

    1. candidkay says:

      Oh, this sounds like a healthy flurry of activity after a rough time in your lives. I really think getting out of her hand and into our body helps heal in more ways than one. I am so glad to hear that you both are creating again :-).

      1. So true. One can imagine the worst — and, as my Jamaican friend used to say, Don’t borrow trouble.

  6. An excellent post, K. I made a chicken and basil recipe — again — and it finally turned out well. And I love the fact that Italians can call a pasta recipe ‘puttanesca’. Knowing the meaning of the word, it always makes me grin.

    1. candidkay says:

      It turned out! Yay:). I know you must have been happy about that. And yes–the label on that pasta is something I can’t think of when I eat it:).

  7. Roy McCarthy says:

    Good for you Kristine. I can’t ‘make a thing. I often feel how helpless I’d be if forced to survive in a forest, or an uninhabited island. Make a shelter? A fire? Catch a fish or rabbit? No chance. They’d find me expired sitting against a tree wondering how to start.

    1. candidkay says:

      I am with you, Roy :-). I am not the camping type. And while I like to think of myself as creative and resourceful, I am not sure a deserted island challenge would be my cup of tea either :-).

  8. Cindy Frank says:

    Bravo! And all makers need supporters. Clearly you’ve been that for your boys and others you care for. Makes such a difference.

    1. candidkay says:

      It’s about all I can do:)! Lol. Because my cake last night tasted great but the decorating–oy. Looked like a preschooler had attacked it. I’m going to keep on keeping on, though–and my bet is you’re a Maker. Your writing is too creative for that not to be the case . . .

  9. Dale says:

    Wow… that MIT thing sounds fabulous.
    And, yay you! It is so liberating to allow ourselves to let our creative juices flow. I used to think I wasn’t as I didn’t seem to inherit my father’s painting genes… but then was told that I was silly… creativity comes in so many forms.

    1. candidkay says:

      I actually thought of you as I was trying to frost the cake, Dale :-). Mine looked nothing like anything you would make, but at least it tasted good!

      1. Dale says:

        Now, now… as many of your peeps have said, it’s all in the taste… and frankly, the effort!

  10. G'amma-D says:

    What a timely challenge! I too was creative in the kitchen. I reorganized cabinets as I cooked BBQ wings and caramelized squash. Then went on to make two Key Lime Pies and six mini ones.

    Hope your cake turned out great. I know your friend will be happy that it came from your heart and not a store.

    Be blessed!

    1. candidkay says:

      Cake was good! My decorating, not so much. But it tasted great. And you-you did more than double duty! Re-organizing as you cooked and baked. Amazing!

  11. DeniseBalog says:

    Wow MIT. How awesome is that! Thank you for sharing about the piles of wood and such. Yes, we have gone so far from making something with our hands, as your son did growing up. Imagination is a wonderful thing to encourage in our children and each other. Keeps us young and our brains healthy and strong. And as far as your challenge to get creative today and “make” something. After several weeks of store bought goodies and sweets, summer heat or not, I got the mixer out and made Banana nut bread. My family was delighted and I felt like I was a “maker” again too. Thank you for your great post.

    1. candidkay says:

      Ooh! I love that you made banana bread :-). My boys used to love nothing more than chocolate chip banana bread on a cold autumn day :-). I hope everyone enjoyed!

  12. All so true. My daughter loves to bake, and now bakes for a charity that takes cakes and cookies and scones to people in need. She was thrilled to discover a way to indulge her particular joy for the good of others.

    1. candidkay says:

      Oh, that makes me so very happy. To indulge in something for no other reason than to bring joy to others is the highest art. I bet those treats are healing in so many ways to the recipients.

  13. reocochran says:

    Im sure the cake was scrumptious!!

    Every individual has potential to create and make! Yay for this lovely, energizing thought. 🌟
    I like the feeling of drawing in pencil, filling in the lines with permanent ink (used to dip a pen nib into ink) and paint with watercolors. It can be a name picture for a baby or a historical home. It takes an impulse to sit down and start, but once I start I am “into” it!
    I used to enjoy writing and this is starting to dissipate, fading interest and knowing there are very talented author who struggle with selling their books. I give my art away, so no pressure to feel successful. Everyone seems pleased once they receive one. 😊
    I’m sure your friend was surprised and pleased. 💕

    1. candidkay says:

      You dabble in art that scares me:). Having to represent something on paper or canvas–oy! That takes courage. I’m sure yours are so reflective of you–you’re so open. We’ve yet to slice into the cake, so fingers crossed. Have to master the frosting/filling first:).

      1. reocochran says:

        Ooh, sounds yummy! Thank you for saying this lovely comment.
        I do think you have a creative and adventurous spirit.
        I was just reflecting upon your son who is possibly going to MIT. This sounds so open and unique in its atmosphere. 🌟 Congratulations to you and your sons in their pursuit of dreams.

  14. marlene frankel says:

    I need to feel I’m always doing something useful when I sit in front of the tv. My husband enjoys watching old musicals and has a bunch saved from TCM. So I crochet or knit. Working on some new placemats. Almost done with #1.

    1. candidkay says:

      Wow–a talent I don’t have. For sure. My mom crocheted and my boys still have the afghans she made them. I love that you do this–I’m betting it soothes the mind while working the hands?

  15. Amy says:

    I agree: the world needs more makers! Love that you’re baking a cake from scratch for your friend. Love, too, that each of your boys is a maker! xx

    1. candidkay says:

      You’re a maker! Of the highest order. When I see one of your new creations, I always think: “There, she did it again. She topped herself.” Thanks for making the world that much more beautiful. XXOO

  16. Beautifully written young lady. And I think there is one ingredient in them all that creates a Maker, or any other creator for that matter, is a belief in themselves to even attempt those amazing things that they do. Much like this post here, creative words starting to blossom so easily from that belief, growing stronger and wiser with much character, each time you put pen to paper. Your energy, like those seeing angels and creating them out of simple rocks.
    As for the creating a cake, the last time I tried that it tasted fantastic…but I’m afraid my creator talents looked like the seagulls had attacked it for a week. I’ve never seen a cake come out of the oven in that shape before 😀

    1. candidkay says:

      Thanks, Mark. I’m a bit traumatized by my previous cake experiences–some of which were like yours! Always tastes good–the look of it? Well, not so much:). Wish me luck . . . they’re soon to come out of the oven.

  17. markbialczak says:

    What a great mindset, Kay. I was quite surprised when I discovered I could create good things with my photographs after all these decades concentrating only on words. I take, I consider, I crop, I smile at the moods I can conjur on this side of the equation.

    1. candidkay says:

      I believe you have made me smile with those photographs also :-). So glad that you are using your full base of talents. The world could sure use them right now!

      1. markbialczak says:

        Thank you, Kay. We all must pitch in every way we can, for sure.

  18. Judy says:

    Whenever I’m stuck in my writing, I’ve discovered baking helps untangle my thoughts. Today, I’m editing, making a good story better.

    1. candidkay says:

      Me too! Except it is cooking, not baking, for me. Anything that gets me out of my head and into my body helps.

  19. I hope the cake was suitably tasty – I love this post, there are many ways to be creative besides the obvious ones.

    1. candidkay says:

      I’ll let you know! Not yet made but going to dig into the recipe as soon as the butter softens:). Wish me luck–I’ve been known to make cakes that look as if a preschooler did the job . . .

      1. It’s the taste that counts 🙂

      2. candidkay says:

        Right! Oh, we think a like 🙂

  20. Jan Wilberg says:

    All I make are words. I’ve tried other, more tangible things but no go. Words is it.

    1. Jan Wilberg says:

      Are or is – one of them

    2. candidkay says:

      I hear you, Jan! Today’s cake-making will be an exercise in crossing my fingers:). Words are my mainstay–but am trying to branch out into more things in the “real” world. I’m finding it gives me a balance I don’t get when I’m completely in my own head.

  21. Agreed K. It’s a good feeling to create things with our own hands and hearts!

    1. candidkay says:

      It gives a feeling of satisfaction I think it’s hard to get anywhere else. Something tangible that the virtual world can’t replace.

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