Monday, December 12, 2011

The Things at Which I am Just Not Good

My mom is a crafter. She is a much more experienced, talented and intuitive crafter than I. She is my own personal advice column when I run into a problem, can't figure out how something is done or am just plain stuck. The thing about my mom, though, is that she has the perfect combo of being naturally good at just about everything and years and years of practice, with patience added in for heft.

I am not that person. To some degree, I have an "eye," in that I can look at things and see the basic outline of how they came to be. I can make a materials list. I can take your tutorial you've published on the web and tweak it so it fits my needs or envision using your basic methodology for a completely different outcome.

What I can't do is tell you whether or not I can do it.

I see, I want, I plot, I attempt.

That's pretty much the extent of my skill level thought process, which is to say - none at all.

Sometimes, it turns out marvelously, and sometimes, it turns out disastrously.

Most often, it's sort of in the middle. Like this weekend. Among other crafts that I can't share until after Christmas, I worked on composition book covers.

See, I always carry a composition book and I had this idea that I would make covers and give them to the kids in my family. They would be inexpensive, too cute for words (with giant appliqued initials) and oh-so-useful for note writing, doodling and staying quiet in the car. I had big plans, I did.

And fabric. Lots of fabric. And I got down to business. After consulting my mom (ie the Encyclopedia Craftania) I got down to work. About two hours later, I had a completed composition book cover. And, meh.

See, I'm not good at precise - especially precise seam allowances - just not my thing and the cover is just a smidge tight, which means it holds the cover open a bit. Also, I didn't think about the part that goes under the spine and how to make that not poke up - so poke it does.

And here's the thing - it's fine. It's fine. I put my notebook in it and hated it at first, because at first, I hate all my crafts. They grow on me. And so did this one and it's fine. For my notebook. I'm not going to inflict this on anyone else. And it's no where in the general vicinity as professional. If professional is New York, and crappy is LA, this is Centralia, Missouri. Just - somewhere in the middle.

What I learned from this is that this is the kind of project at which I don't have much talent - precision, measuring, cutting once, sewing. It's not my strong suit. So, okay, if composition book covers would stop the zombie apocalypse, I could cover some comp books. Otherwise, I think I'll find something else to make (or buy, because DECEMBER 12) those pesky kids.

I'm telling you all this because sometimes when I read craft blogs, I feel this desperate sense of I'll-never-be-that-good. I look at things and think, "I could never, ever, ever in a million years do that." And sometimes I'm right, but more often than not - I'm dead wrong.

Because I could do that if I had worked at it as long and hard as they have. The thing that makes crafting so much fun for me is that is a constant learning curve. You will never be an expert in all the things. It's not about talent, it's about work. It's about knowing how much you want to put in and doing it.

If you want to make something, you'll never know if you can until you try.

And as for my notebooks, I just don't love them enough, but I know that if I wanted to get good at this, I could. It is not impossible or even improbable, it's just a lack of practice. And at least I gave it a shot.


ann said...

My dad always says, "Practice makes better." I don't really believe in perfect.

Jessi said...

ann - I like that.