Saturday, August 22, 2009

Nothing Ventured

I finally finished making roman blinds for Oliver and Sam's bedroom. This is a major accomplishment for me because I hardly ever finish anything. Ideas come and go, most of which never evolve into anything more because of my ineptitude for decision making. So many fabrics, so many directions to take things stylistically! Then there is the issue of mistake making. I never thought of myself as a perfectionist until I made the connection that most projects I begin sit around for months and never get finished. My subconscious logic went something like this: If projects aren't finished, then I can't critique the final product and see all the ways it could be better or more professional (or more factory churned?). I realized the flaw in this thinking, as well as the hope I was operating on, that I would somehow learn all these skills I'm interested in through some kind of cosmic osmosis. Now that I am firmly (never mind how firmly) entrenched in my 30's, I figure it's time to buck up and actually take some risks with my interests.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained, isn't that how the old adage goes? And speaking of old adages, a plethora of them keep cropping up into my brain in regards to different situations around me. "Marry in haste, repent at leisure." "The Rich man gets his ice in the Summer, the poor man gets his ice in the winter." "Many hands make light the labor." Ryan probably thinks I sound like a Laura Ingalls Wilder version of Mr. Myugai. I'm beginning to realize the full spectrum of how repeated readings of the Little House on the Prairie series made an indelible mark on my psyche. There was that time I tried to dye our butter with carrot juice, and the failed attempt at making candy out of boiling molasses and a cast iron skillet full of snow. But never mind that. I had a brilliant pattern from the French General book Blythe gave me for my birthday and I've been sitting on yards and yards of ticking stripe fabric I bought for a song (I think it was 'Wind Beneath My Wings') at Sweet Petunia seven years ago. In order to have enough width for 3 shades, I ripped up an old Pottery Barn curtain and gave each shade a nice solid border. Early on in the project, I was getting into full seamstress stance, remembering my mother at the table, straight pins dangling coolly out of her mouth, like a beatnik with a cigarette. I tried this and all was going well until something made me cough and I nearly inhaled a straight pin. Fortunately I sort of spit it out before it wreaked havoc on my esophagus. I looked furtively over my shoulder and was elated to see that no one was around to witness. Later, there was the panic over my missing tape measure. At a critical juncture, I of course, couldn't find it anywhere, which is not surprising for someone suffering from a rare type of amnesia called "Nursing Mother Brain"...I found it, 15 minutes later, after an exhaustive search of the entire house, draped around my neck like the pros on Project Runway. Lining them with black out fabric was tricky but I finally figured it out. Ryan helped me install them today and I think they are a nice change from the blankets-over-windows-to-keep-light-out look that we had going for the last 3 years. Now that these are done, perhaps I can finish that sweater I began knitting for Ryan back in 2001?


  1. "like a beatnik with a cigarette" !!

    i like reading your writing; especially when (I can tell) it's come naturally and non-self-critically. (does that make sense?)

  2. another example is your christmas letter from years ago, that i saved for a couple years (and have now sadly lost or given up in one of my many attempts at 'purging'), in which you described sam and O's dance moves like an imitation of some sort of old, stoned, woodstock-goer...

  3. I agree with blythe in regards to your writing...just lovely.

    also...three cheers for finishing...I'm afraid I have the same perfectionist issues and seeing as nothing I do, even when I finish, looks even mildly "professional" lately I've given up even starting projects...this is lame and I'm going to try and take your lead...
    by the way...just so you know I always think everything you DO finish looks impeccable.

  4. Oh, I love the Little House books. I read them for the first time a couple of years ago and drove my friends nuts by quoting the books the whole time.

    My friends the Capdevielles were reading them to their kids at the same time, and the older boys were terribly amused when I would come to them and say, "wasn't it funny when . . . ", etc.

    I even wanted to throw a Little House party, but I thought the costumes might be a little hard to procure and not so fun to wear, kind of like when they were in the past, when they weren't "costumes."

    My older friends in Hayward say they know how to make the snow-candy. I want to eat some. I already have a habit of eating snow off trees when it has just fallen. And I'm not even pregnant.