Saturday, March 21, 2009

Go make something!

Here's what feels good: making stuff. Last night I sat down with my sewing machine and a piece of material and about 45 minutes later had the cutest little twirly skirt for Aoife. I was so satisfied for having carved out the time to create something cute for her. She was so delighted in the morning.

We also have gotten back into the habit (once had, yet long abandoned) of baking our own bread. We do have a bread machine but the bread tends to be dry, and our real homemade recipes were very labor intensive. Until this recipe came along:

Get a huge bowl or container and mix (as in stir with wooden spoon) 6.5 cups flour, 3 c. water, 4.5 tablespoons of yeast, 4.5 tablespoons of salt. Leave it on the counter for 2 hours. Then put it in the fridge, and when you want bread, pull a blob out, roll it in flour, and leave it on the counter for half an hour while your baking stone heats up to 450. Then put it in for 30-35 minutes, and you've got bread. No kneading, no work, it's amazing. We have experimented with combinations of whole wheat, bread flour, white whole wheat, etc. and it seems the best results are when at least half the flour is white.

The things that I work on with some regularity, which are sewing, knitting, and other crafty pursuits, are always the things that will get pushed to the back burner of my life when things seem too thick to muster. It surprises me because people will say to me, "I don't know where you find the time to do those things," and I think to myself, you silly, you just have to make it, which is true. You just have to say, Thursday night is my night, and if there are dishes on the counter, I put them in the sink where I can't see them and I do them on Friday morning because now is my time to sew. But as much as I think to myself, you just have to make the time, how easy is it to NOT make the time? To feel overwhelmed by the closet that needs cleaning, or by the pile of work that is on your desk, or by your SADNESS because your baby died? But every time, no matter what it is that is preventing me from making something, whether it's a sewing project, or creating some art for somebody, or cooking something wonderfully delicious after the children are tucked into bed, once I start doing it, I am absolutely taken with what I am working on and couldn't be happier. I also, once I have started to work on something enjoyable, couldn't care less about the things that I'm not doing.

So just do it. Pick up your knitting, or get a pattern for something cute. Bake something you've never tried before and invite a friend over to try it out. If you're babylost, like me, think of something you can make for your baby-- a cross stitch, an embroidered something, or something to embellish their special place in your house. Making things feels good, and if you don't know how, just try it. Get a book. Use your hands. It is so good for the heart and soul.

And the truth is, about the things that bog me down? It's all things that are self-imposed. Nobody else cares if my art closet is a disaster. My work that I do at the hospital, while it is amazing and so fulfilling, I am making my own deadlines and projects up as I go along. I hear people talking about the things that prevent them from having fun, obligations at work, and so on. I wonder what would happen if sometimes they said no. For me, I know I need to recognize the things that make me the best possible person, who is happiest and the most productive, and make sure that I make time and space in my life for all of those things.

Because I could, you know, die tomorrow, and I want to make sure I'm happy on the way out. I do like to think that my first little girl, through all the sadness, has really helped me to be happier all around.


Adelaide's Mom said...

Love this post.

I just bought some felt and I am going to try to sew some carrots for easter. I am trying out some new recipes this weekend - we are having friends for brunch tomorrow. I am needlepointing Jo's stocking. Just finished Addy's last month.

Post some pics of your projects if you can.

miss you - xo

Hope's Mama said...

Well I've just come inside from a FULL day of gardening. Taking out a few old, ugly, dead trees, replacing them with new bright flowers and shrubs. And I love to cook, and hope when I have a house full of little people, I'll still have time to do those things I love like make pasta and pizza bases from scratch. Not very crafty though, but I'll work on it, just for you. I can sew buttons back on my pants, that's about it!

Shanti Mama said...

Yes- your're right! You've inspired me. I'm making time. Going out to buy a pattern today and dusting off the sewing machine.

Sara said...

I make time, though it usually seems like it is in 5-10 minute increments. Crafty projects in some state of progress: painting a frame for a mirror for my niece, making a cushion for the rocker in Kathleen's room, sewing covers for old pillows for her room also. I'm also getting ready for garden season; yesterday I sat down and sketched out where I'll put everything this year. And while there are days I'm am exceptionally grateful for the ready to heat meals in my freezer, I have been cooking and baking a lot. I have oatmeal cookies cooling on the counter (more dough in the fridge) and a sourdough bread rising. It does feel good to make things (and I'm going to have to try this bread recipe of yours.

Jen said...

This is very sage advice. I want to print this out and carry it around with me. So many times I feel completely blocked and full of inertia, even when I know I'll feel better if I just start making something. It's that initial hurdle that's the hardest. The reminder to just do it, in order to live fully and happily, is right on.

ezra'smommy said...

I've had so little interest in all my various hobbies since our son died. I used to be a true knitter, and now I've been working on the same scarf for 3 months. I still cook, but that has an obvious purpose. But of course you are absolutely right, and little by little I am trying to encourage myself to return to just making something. Thanks for the bread recipe, I love making bread.

Mommy (You can call me OM) said...

That's wonderful advice. I love the hope you have, even on your sad days.

Amy said...

Alright, how is this for starters? I made peanut butter chocolate chip cookies AND banana bread yesterday AFTER planting 5 starter trays of seeds for the garden!!!

Your advice is sound. The skirt sounds cute!