1. First week of lent coming to a close. It's gone by fast all things considered. I feel we are in better shape than we were a week ago. I had a long talk with myself this week and made an honest assessment of what needed tightening up and set about doing it. I saw this list of cooking habits and one point in particular seemed relevent to other household and homeschool tasks - have all your ingredients (supplies) laid out before you begin the steps. Yes. As in, Kim, do not go get an idea off the net during the day and attempt to implement it right. then. Don't.
So with that mantra ringing in my ears I am stepping back, NOT making a lot, and working on the infrastructure - craft supplies and kitchen supplies. I know it will make us more productive later. Right now its making me itch to DO something.
2. There is a delightful elderly woman in our chapel who adores our children and has clearly looked for ways to bless them. This past Sunday she brought us a neatly handdrawn chart on graph paper which she used with her own children many, many years ago to track lenten sacrifices and the journey to the cross. It may be one of the dearest things we have ever received. So dear, I cannot find the photo of it. Being straight with you. See #1 above.
3. The boys and I have been going through their history and art appreciation together which has led to some incredible (short, sweet, thankyouwiki) rabbit trails. This week it was the Reign of Terror and the uprising in the Vendee. I admit I am getting a lot more out of homeschool lessons these days than I did the first round or two of kids. Guessing that sleeping through the night has something to do with it. This has been seriously fascinating though and somehow just having me read it with them is making it pretty amazing for them too.
4. The incredible Snickers cupcakes. Oh my. So, Alannah had her first work function that required bringing food. No one had signed up for cupcakes. Score! She was determined these had to be like, world class cupcakes. I think they were that. She has graduated to making her own cake batter from scratch with all her quirky special additions. Then she filled them with a caramel/candy filling. Topped them with a nougat copycat type frosting, chopped candy bars, and melted caramel sauce. People are still coming up to her. In fact my husband took some to work and people have stopped her in the halls to discuss them.
I say all this because what this did for her was to validate her progress over the past few years. She had a pretty good idea she was developing some mad kitchen skills but that outside objective affirmation helps you know when you are solidly out the gate with a hobby. It just makes me happy for her. It's not about the cupcakes, know what I mean?
5. Speaking of which, I saw this Ira Glass quote a while back. Then again last week when a friend who is a digital artist shared it with her response to questions like, "How do you do that?" It reminded me of a quote poster I have seen which says, "Don't compare your beginning to someone else's middle." The most important piece of the puzzle whether in a craft, hobby, skill, - knitting, baking, photography, home organization, parenting you-name-it is experience. Lots of it. Lots of time. Lots of experimentation. Lots of messing up. We shouldn't be discouraged if people who have been doing a thing for a lot longer are doing it better. Anything you stick with will become exponentially easier as years go by. This is what I tell myself as well because while some things are infinitely easier these days, there are also things that 30 yo women are proficient at which I am just now getting around to figuring out since I was broke and knee deep in diapers and military life when I was that. So lets read it again together:
“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”
― Ira Glass
6. On that same note a word about Pinterest. I love it. I have read a lot of Pinterest bashing lately. It shows beautiful things. Apparently if you cannot recreate the beautiful things, just as beautifully, you will sink into the depths of depression. Phooey, I say. When I look at a Rembrandt I don't cover my head in shame comparing myself. I admire. I analyze what it is that works in the piece and try to see if that applies to other crafts - the way light falls, the color palatte, the mood. Ditto Pinterest. I may never make everything I have pinned. That isn't my goal. I might not create that gray and orange living room with the chevron pillows (which I love) for instance, but those elements would make a great outfit or an awesome binder set. That's just how my brain works though.
7. Some several happy minutes were passed over here this week. Just go and soak up the joy. And see this beautiful space. I am totally using these ideas. You know, after the infrastructure stuff is done. I promise.