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Four Ideas For Crafty Dates


March is National Craft Month, so why not celebrate by showing off your creative side on your next date? Take a break from your dinner-and-a-movie rut by trying one of these fun activities together instead.

By Margot Carmichael Lester

hy not break out of the dating doldrums with a hands-on, make-your-own-project crafting date? "The advantage of crafting dates is that they allow for a couple
The key is picking something that both of you will enjoy doing.
get to know each other a bit more intimately without being sexual, which could distract from the 'courtship process.' Although the date is still one-on-one, it is much less invasive and stressful than wine bars and dinner dates can be," notes fourth-generation matchmaker and professional dating advisor Maria Avgitidis, also known as "Maria the Date Coach." The key is picking something that both of you will enjoy doing — so steer clear of anything you're particularly good at that your date may not be. Remember, it's more about creating a deeper bond with your date, not necessarily creating a show piece.

Not sure where to start? Here are four crafty date ideas to try:

Crafty Date Idea #1: Design your own t-shirts
"Upcycling is all the rage now, and it's very eco- and wallet-friendly," notes Aly Amidei, a costume designer in Chicago. Pick up some vintage t-shirts and dress them up with iron-on decals. You can make and print your own designs or use pre-made ones. "A date that starts with a trip to a thrift store for 'raw materials' would be fun; then, head back to the apartment with some wine and cheese for crafting," Amidei suggests. "Wear your fashions out with pride for a late-night cocktail."

Supplies you'll need: homemade or pre-printed iron-on decals, vintage (or new) tees, towel or ironing board, iron (optional: laser printer, if you're using your own print-at-home decal designs).

Crafty Date Idea #2: Throw pottery
Rachel, an account manager at a communications agency in Langhorne, PA, and her boyfriend went to a local pottery workshop and created vases that they then carved messages into for each other. "Yes, think Ghost… but with shirts on!" she says, laughing. "It was so fun to try something new together. Even my boyfriend — who isn't artsy in the least — got into it. Girls have the benefit of recalling the infamous movie scene [with Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze], but guys get to get their hands all muddy."

Supplies you'll need: all materials are typically provided by your local pottery workshop.

Crafty Date Idea #3: Show your love through scrapbooking
Why not create something that showcases your relationship to others visually? "If the
“You bring a bottle of wine and take home a painted canvas.”
relationship's serious, get together and start creating a scrapbook of the two of you," suggests Christina, a freelancer in Minneapolis, MN. Or make a customized frame that's "perfect for holding a picture of the couple," says Beverly Steinberg, a public relations representative for specialty pen and pencil maker, Pentel.

Supplies you'll need: scrapbook, picture holders, photo frame, stickers, bric-a-brac; pre-cut white mat, markers, tracing paper, painter's tape, scissors.

Crafty Date Idea #4: Join a group of crafty collaborators
If you want to enjoy your date in a group setting, look for crafting "happy hours" in your area. Jill Brumer, owner of Craft Happy in Summerville, SC, hosts a weekly craft-making event at her store. A popular couples' activity right now is making glycerin soaps. "We supply everything — the shaped molds, the soap and all the goodies you can put in, from scents and mint leaves or orange peel, to cane sugar and oatmeal — which is a great exfoliant," says Brumer. The Mississippi Craft Center in Ridgeland offers special date packages for couples, like Bottle and Brush, where participants create their own paintings. "Our instructors are master craftsmen and we have classes that both men and women like," explains the Center's executive director, Julia Daily. "You bring a bottle of wine and take home a painted canvas."

Supplies you'll need: varies by group and location; classes usually provide all materials.

So, don't be afraid to set a date for crafting sometime soon; after all, as Daily notes, "It's an interactive way to be more comfortable with the person you're with. Focusing on the activity can keep couples from having to carry the entire conversation by themselves — especially in those first few awkward dates, because the instructor is acting as the emcee. Plus, you can see if the other person is adaptable, talented with his or her hands, a leader, follower or helper, or easily frustrated. These are all good things to know [before] the relationship goes any farther."


Margot Carmichael Lester is a freelancer writer based in Carrboro, N.C. Her work also appears online at Monster.com and in International Cinematographers Guild magazine.
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