Saturday, May 29, 2010

Susie Homemaker Hates Me

I tried to tackle my first "real" sewing project yesterday. The table runner. Let's just say I've become well acquainted with my seam ripper. I think I'm going to name it. It's red, so I was thinking Ruby. Ruby the Ripper.It was awful. I can't sew a straight line to save my life! I tried and tried but it was horrible. I salvaged the fabric by folding it in half to hide the seams and using it as a runner on one of my bookshelves. It actually looks quite nice. But I'm so disappointed. I  took a class, bought gorgeous fabric, measured, pinned and pressed. I pressed it people! I haven't touched my iron in who knows how long! And it was ugly.

I've always wanted to be crafty, to produce pretty things that are practical. I can't paint, or draw, or sew.  I take mediocre pictures. I crochet everything into parallelograms because I add stitches at the ends of my rows. I'm a so-so cook, and have yet to keep a houseplant alive for more than three months. I feel that simplicity involves a lot of domesticity and though I've been learning a lot and trying my best, today was full of failures and left me highly discouraged. Not only did my table runner flop, my homemade pizza dough did not rise, I forgot a load of laundry in the washer and it mildewed, and I nearly sent our garbage disposal to an early grave because of some aquarium gravel I accidentally let slip from the colander when I was cleaning the tank. Susie Homemaker would have kicked me out of her house today for sure!

I have a kind of self defeating attitude. A series of failures, heck ONE failure, and I'm convinced that I'm hopeless and that everyone is good at something but me. Perfectionist syndrome at it's worst. It's something about myself I don't like but don't quite know how to get over. Do you ever have those days when it seems like everyone can do something well and you can't? Sometimes I feel like everyone has a skill or a hobby that they excel at and I was somehow overlooked when the talents were being handed out. I've tried my hand at many and truly succeeded at few. 

I was flustered and upset, still recovering from my flu so I decided to end my day with one of the only things I KNOW I'm good at. Something I can't mess up, something that works every time. Baking. I'm really good at baking. One batch of chocolate sugar cookies later and I'm feeling like my old self again. And while I was waiting for the mixer to cream the butter and sugar into fluffy goodness, I realized that my self-made pity party was unnecessary.  Today was a bad day, domestically speaking. It doesn't mean I'm not good at anything. It doesn't mean I'm a bad wife or mother. My husband said he likes the new runner on the bookshelf, the kids liked the pizza even though the crust was dense and crispy, and the laundry and the garbage disposal situations were remedied with a little time and effort. It doesn't mean that any of the things I failed at today will continue to fail me in the future.  It just means I need more practice....and more patience. Patience especially. 

Amazing what making a batch of cookies can do...


  1. If at first you don't succeed, try, try again! Love you!

  2. Hi, this is something that has been on my mind lately too. Leading the simple life involves a lot of different skills and it takes time to learn them all. Our mothers and grandmothers all had to learn them too.
    Tammy at Girls wear Blue too recently wrote about this, and so did I. Her post is here:

  3. Just keep perservering and you will eventualy get the knack. Some of us (me too) take longer than others to get the knack. I am still not a great seamstress but at least I can mend and sew a few things :-)

  4. Chin up, Steph! I admire you for trying to learn all of these new skills. You are already a very talented writer!

  5. Don't be too disappointed about the table runner. Sewing is a little tricky when you first get started. I started with a quilt that I will never show anyone....ever. By the way, I love the blog! You're adventures in going green and trying out this new stuff make me wanna do it too!

  6. Debbie, Ontario, CanadaJune 10, 2010 at 9:00 AM

    I came to this blog by way of Down to Earth.

    This post really hit home. I giggled my way through it. Sorry, but I was picturing myself in every one of your mishaps. Mouldy laundry? Been there. Straight seams? Not. A nice light loaf of homemade bread? Enough boat anchors to outfit an entire fleet. :)

    I have however perservered. My seams are a bit straighter but I haven't graduated to clothing yet. I haven't had a mouldy batch of laudry in a while. Adding vinegar to the rinse wash may have saved my bacon a few times though:)

    My bread still turns into boat anchors, however. I sense a bread making class in my future. Either that or I may have to kidnap an elderly grandma and force her to teach me until my production line of boat anchors is gone. :)

    I've added you to my reader. Thanks for the giggles.