outside the lines

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I’m a ‘doodle-in-the-margins’ kinda girl.  After a semester of classes, I consider keeping my philosophy and history notebooks just in case I become uber-famous and the notebooks end up being ‘where it all started.’  Okay, okay, so I guess I’m a bit of a daydreamer too.  No surprise there.

I worked in an art museum for a few years, but I never understood the popular ‘a child could make that’ reaction to modern art.  I’m a fan of Pollock, Calder, Rothko and Twombly, and, for my part – I certainly couldn’t make anything resembling their work.  Let’s be clear: I can doodle in the margins and not much else.

Jon and I visited the Minnesota Institute of Art last night, and my 3 favorite paintings were done by 5, 7 and 8 year olds.  At long last, I realized that some children truly can make museum quality paintings.  I, however, was never one of them:ImageImage
Earlier in the day I made a different kind of artwork that ended up looking, well, better than the doodles in my notebook.  Jon’s visiting his mom and grandma this weekend, and I wanted to make a Valentine’s gift for him to bring them.  What do you think?
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Okay, maybe dish towels aren’t the very.best.gift of all time, but I did my best 🙂  

lace and grace

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Commit first and handle the challenges as you go.  Good advice, right?  Well, I guess it all depends on the action and the consequences and what goes right and what goes wrong.  It seems to me that too often we wait until everything is perfect to begin — the problem here is that we might ultimately change our mind, and then we lose out on the experience that accompanies the process – both positive and negative.

A commitment requires dedication to a cause or activity and compels us to persevere despite challenges or setbacks.  Commitment means that when the going-gets-tough, we keep going.  When we commit, we vow to work through the struggle until we accomplish our goals.

Why all all this hullabaloo about commitment?  Well, I’ve always been an act-now and figure-it-out-later kinda gal.  This is my greatest strength and my greatest weakness.  Despite oftentimes finding myself in sticky situations, I always end up with a good story, and so I remain committed to commitment.
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My first attempt at sewing was a perfect example of how committing without knowledge or skill can be tricky at first, but ultimately rewarding. Why is that? Well well well.  Not to expose my every weakness, but I watched YouTube videos on how to thread a machine and spin a bobbin for at least 30 minutes (it’s suppose to be simple).

That small task accomplished, I began sewing only to realize that I had enough thread for — well — nothing.  I was back to the fabric store before the project even began.  When I came home, I’d forgotten what I learned on YouTube and began the process again.

The good news, finally, is that I managed to make some fly dinner napkins by the end of the day.  Fly? Does anyone still use that adjective? The things that come out of my mouth… Image
Besides learning some basic sewing skills, I also decided something very important: I like good blogs and the people that write them.  I used the sewing instructions by GirlInspired, and as I cut and stitched and read her advice, I felt forever grateful that she opted to openly share her skills on the web.  And isn’t that what every blogger does?

Bloggers share their thoughts and creativity and experience with the public for the sake of.. well… sharing.  All the sharing is wonderful and inspiring and makes me oh.so.grateful to be part of the blogger community.  Keep sharing your recipes and recommendations and talents so that I can keep learning, experimenting and gaining new skills 🙂Image
Anyway, without further ado, my lace napkins:ImageImageImageImageImage

sew much goodness

Sewing & cooking & painting – oh my!  That jingle is meant to be sung to the tune of lions & tigers & bears – oh my!  Nonsense, right?  Whyever would I be as frightened of domestic activities as Dorothy (Wizard of Oz, of course) is of a haunted forest? The simple answer is that I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing with a needle, a spatula or a paint brush.

Okay, okay, okay – I lie (but only a little bit, promise).  My mom considered the kitchen “her” room, and she called the family to dinner only after she had fully prepared the meal and set the table.  Our home was famous for being consistently stocked with cookies and cakes and whatever else my mom’s latest edition of Food&Wine deemed popular.

I’m digressing too much.  Point is, my mom never taught me or my siblings how to cook.  Cooking was her therapy — something she did to relax – and the skill was never passed on or shared.  When I went to college, I reaped the benefits of a delicious cafeteria until I discovered 100 ways to cook a meal in the microwave.

Everything changed when I met Jon.  My new crush didn’t know any microwave secrets or own any pots&pans.  He preferred eating out for breakfast (Bruegger’s Bagels), lunch (Qdoba or Quiznos) and dinner (a few rotating spots).

The meal routine was fun when we first started dating, but as we began spending more time together, I wanted to have dinners at home (a little just-the-two-of-us time, if you will).  And so, drum roll… I read cookbooks, watched UTube tutorials, became addicted to Pinterest, and, eventually, taught myself to cook.
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My high school offered sewing and cooking and pottery and painting, but I figured I would spend four years filling my schedule with traditional things like biology and calculus and English.  Unfortunately for me, the ‘staying away from anything domestic’ trend continued through college.  10 years later, I can write an essay on the topic-of-your-choice-in under-20-minutes but I cannot hem a skirt.  Houston, we have a problem.

My domestic instincts didn’t kick-in until my MA was framed.  Great to have the degree, but what about making this house a home?  Geesh.  It’s a whole new ball game.

Jon came home work a few weeks ago with a hole in his jeans, and I instinctively wanted to fix it.  Hear that? Wanted to. Some sort of ‘let me take care of you’ gene that makes it more reasonable to stitch and sew than head to Nordstrom.  Well, Christmas came and a sewing machine was under the tree and soon ‘seamstress’ will be added to my list of skills.
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Are you still reading this? I might just feel like typing because the whole point of this letter is simply to tell you that I’ve finally found patterns and bought fabric and am ready to embark on my stitch&sew career.

I’m a little excited.

That’s all (and that’s enough, right?)