More than I Want to Chew

I am, in case it hasn’t become abundantly clear, a creative type. I constantly have several projects going at once. I don’t have one major focus of interest, just swaths of creativity. I suppose “textiles” is one of those swaths, “writing” is one of those swaths, “music” is one of those swaths, “alchemy” is one of those swaths.

Did I say alchemy? I meant to say “making something out of nothing”. Whatever. Semantics.

The problem with being interested in many large categories of creative projects is that there will always be more projects than there are hours in a day.

It doesn’t happen often that I come up with a brand new kind of project, though. Most are outgrowths of others. I however, got sucked down a Pinterest rabbit hole into a new kind of craft.

In my ever present desire to use up everything I own, and subsequently, my thought that I could learn to alter my existing clothes to make them more lovable, I somehow ended up thinking that I could be the kind girl who embroiders.

I used to have a pair of cardigans, one pink and one red, each with an embellished left hand side shoulder-ish piece. I loved them until they were positively worn-out and unwearable. I got to thinking, “hey, I have a couple of cardigans I rarely wear. Maybe I could try to embellish them and turn them into faves like the pink one and the red one.”

Enter a months-long Pinterest scouring. I needed something easy, because I am not an embroiderer. I needed something vintage-y, because I wanted it to look like me. Oh, sure, I found dozens of things I loved: I saved several dozen peacock feather motifs, fabric flower tutorials. I was already imagining myself a countess in a Regency novel, embroidering while small children practiced their piano lessons and my husband whittled wooden clogs for our servants.

Then one day, the scalawags were shockingly autonomous playing Paw-Patrol/Playmobil/Playdoh (yes, all at the same time), so I grabbed the yellow cardigan, one of two I had set aside for this kind of project. I put it on. I took a yellow marker and scribbled over the areas I thought I might like to embroider the one easy/vintage motif I thought I could master.

Obviously, this attracted the attention of the scalawags, who instantly put down their toys to see why I was drawing on my clothes. I digress.

After having convinced them that I was doing nothing of any interest, I took out a green marker and started drawing the motif on the cardigan. Oh, this is fun! I told myself. And it was! Drawing on clothes is fun.

Embroidering is way less fun.

I had not yet done three stitches. I was miserable. There were no children practicing piano, there was no whittling husband. There were no servants!

Drawing on clothes is fun, but it doesn’t make me the heroine of a Regency novel.

And I hate embroidering.

I arrived quickly at a conclusion: Maybe I should have done a sample before I destroyed a yellow cardigan only to discover I hate embroidering. I didn’t spend any money expressly on this project, so I couldn’t be mad at myself about throwing money out the window, but I still felt the bitter taste of disappointment and buyer’s remorse.

I do things like this often: I dream big, only to discover that what I think I want is not at all what I want. My lack of skills never seem a deterrent while I am dreaming, but they are what will keep me from either enjoying the process or the end result.

Why is it that you always hear “Dream Big!” never, “Dream in such a way that you don’t hate yourself simply because you don’t have the adequate skills to accomplish your wildest fantasies!” ?

In any case. I forced myself to do a few more stitches. I will keep it up. A few stitches here and there in the awkward pauses of the week. If I don’t finish it by the end of the year, this project will be discarded also. At least I will have learned a little about embroidery and a little about myself.

Published by Lily Fields

I am passionate about contentment. This is a challenge, because I am equally passionate about progress. I get up at 4:00AM to chip away at a solution to this monolithic problem: how to make progress on my contentment. Born and raised in the USA, I married a French philosophy teacher in 1999. We have lived in France since 2007. We stayed young and carefree until life threw us two curveballs in the form of little humans one after another in 2015 and 2017 respectively. Now I am a slightly older, slightly more exhausted version of myself, but with mystery stains on my walls and a never-ending pile of laundry.

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