You know how Elizabeth's Enright's character Mona plays the piano?--too fast and with lots of mistakes? Did you ever notice that it doesn't keep her from playing? Her brother Rush is a better pianist; Mona is a better actress; but they will both give just about anything a try. If people eat my casserole, wear my crocheted scarves, listen to the offertory I play (I fill in at church occasionally), or use homeschool ideas I've worked out, then who am I to make an extra fuss about what I left out or did wrong, or sulk because I didn't have fancier yarn or organic ingredients? Edna Staebler wrote that one of her friends mentioned "a good-sounding recipe that used cardamom," but by the time she got some cardamom a year later, she'd forgotten where she saw the recipe. Life is too short to worry about what you don't have or can't manage: try it the best you can, or find something else that you can do. If you only know how to crochet granny squares, then make them in beautiful colours. That same friend of Edna's was the one who gave her a hard time about homemade yogurt, saying it should be made "fresh every day with goat's milk"; Edna, we assume, said nuts and went on making yogurt when and how she wanted to.
I realized early on that I was never going to master my mother's icing-roses technique; I'm still trying to figure out how she made the waxed-paper bags to squirt the icing through! Believe me, I've tried, and it eludes me. So I settle for frosting-with-sprinkles, and nobody complains. You know what, though? My mom used cake mixes. I make a variety of scratch cakes--nothing too complicated, don't get intimidated. I guess that's a hidden art--as in, hidden under the sprinkles.
Yesterday I sewed my first thing ever with pleats--a wrap dress from an 18-inch doll pattern book I hadn't used before. I had been holding off on making that dress. I bought the pattern book last fall, and we found a nice piece of green calico fabric at the thrift store, and I even bought the bias trim to go down the front. I sewed some other things in the meantime, but I hesitated on that little dress because I worried that it was not going to turn out well.
Well, you know what? It did not turn out perfectly. I had to re-do the bias trim because my first try at it looked awful...and I really did go slow and use Angry Chicken's bias-tape technique. Even now there are a few places where I need to go back and hand-sew it down. But in the great scheme of things, it's one little dress; and Dollygirl likes it, and it looks fine on her Kit doll. Some things are just harder to get right, and bias trim and I (like icing tubes) were never meant to be best friends. But better to have a dress with a few idiosyncracies than a piece of fabric and an unused pattern, right? Dollygirl thinks so.
I rejoice in my friends' gifts and talents, and yes,