By Carleton Varney- Special to the Palm Beach Daily News
I was, once upon a time, a Boy Scout. I don’t remember how many merit badges I earned, but I do recall that one of my duties as a scout was to serve as a Cub Scout leader. I was dressed in my olive green uniform, while the cubs in my pack were dressed in blue. Dressing in a uniform reinforced scouting ideals of unity and equality.
My sister, Vivian, who was a Girl Scout, earned every merit badge possible, and I remember how proud she was to sew each new round badge to her sash. I remember the days when I helped my sister sell carton after carton of Girl Scout cookies to neighbors, schoolteachers and customers who visited my dad’s business.
I also remember crafting with my cubs. I believe those crafting lessons helped lead to my days as a decorator. Teaching woodworking to young boys — making a tie rack, book ends or a wall plaque on which alphabet letters, made of strands of spaghetti, were applied — was a beginning of my love of design. We also created designs with colorful marbles — yes, the marbles I played with and sometimes lost to a friend.
Today, you can often find homemade crafts at county fairs and green markets. One of the fair crafts that I like are old mullion windows in which the glass panes have painted by artists to depict scenes such as seascapes. You can bring one of those painted windows back to your home in the city and dream of days spent at the seashore. I have one in my New York City apartment, and it always reminds me of Palm Beach.
I often think of crafting when decorating. Think, for instance, of wallpapering a powder room with old Life Magazine covers, maybe from the year you were born. Or why not decorate an old suitcase, a lamp base or even a side table with decoupage? Decoupage is one of the crafts I taught my cub scouts, way back when.