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day 56: what counts, and a new ugly craft

March 29, 2011

Before I jump into the events of Day 56, please indulge me in a brief revisit of Day 55.

Last night, as we were cleaning the kitchen, Steve asked if he could talk to me about yesterday’s blog post.  Thinking he was going to share an egregious spelling error or grammatical mistake (both of which I am sure I’ve, gulp, made), I braced myself.

“What is it?”  I asked, sitting down in preparation (have I mentioned that I don’t take criticism well? not one of my favorite personality traits, but I own it).

“Well,” he began, “I thought Day 55’s post was really good,”  Ohhhhh, this was going to be bad.  Such a euphemistic beginning could not end well,  “but I was surprised by the actual gift.”

Encouraging him to go on with my body language, if not my words, my husband continued.

“I expected for you to write that you gave more than you ordinarily would have.  After all, you would have given E a birthday present regardless of this project.  The requested gift was a donation,”  he paused, considering his next words, “so you just did what was expected…”  he waited for my reaction, which I intentionally concealed.

“… does it count?”  he finished.

I thought his question was a good one, and I thought it might have been a reaction shared by others who read Day 55’s post.

If a gift is requested — if it is expected — does it count?

This is what I told my husband, dear enough to me to ask the questions he knows will addle me more than they might a normal person:

When I began this “a gift a day” project, I intentionally constructed very few rules for myself.  Fearing my own self-imposed demand for compliance would render me figuratively prostrate and waving a white flag (a fear supported by over three decades of behavioral research), I wanted to give myself a chance to succeed.  My only rules for the project were: 1) I have to give a gift every day for 90 days, 2) the gift has to have meaning to me, and 3) I have to write about it.  Last night, I defended Day 55’s gift by explaining my purpose in this practice:  to see the world in a new way and to document it, while hopefully doing some good along the way.  Yes, I’ve given lots of other birthday gifts to lots of other children over the past 56 days and not documented them.  Day 55’s donation to the NICU was meaningful to me, though, because the lives the NICU has saved have powerfully enriched my own.

Still, I wonder what you think about Day 55’s gift.  Does it count?

While you consider that gifting dilemma, let me talk a bit about Day 56, a late March day on which it actually sleeted.  Ice fell from the sky, when a week ago it was 80 degrees.  It was a miserable, indoor-focused day until late afternoon (when I released my wild children, bucking and snorting like animals, into the yard).

On Day 56, I temporarily fought my impulse.  I distracted myself with work, with email, with laundry for a while.  When I could resist no longer, though, I sunk into the realization like an overstuffed armchair:  folks, it was time to get crafty.

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you may have noticed that I’ve taken a brief Ugly Craft Hiatus recently.  Please know that this does not indicate a lack of crafting passion on my part — oh, no — but, rather, a decided lack of time.

On Day 56, though, the afternoon yawned grayly before me, threatening to stretch on forever.  I gave the kids crayons, colored pencils, and a giant sketch pad, and I went to work on a project I’d seen listed as a “Do It Yourself in Five Minutes” on this blog, A Little Tipsy.

Doesn't she make it look cute? And easy?

This fabric flower project jumped out at me a few days ago when it landed in my inbox.  On my fun shopping trip on Day 47, my friend and I noticed scads of fabric flowers adorning necklaces, headbands, handbags, and other accessories.  At one point my friend commented on the cuteness of one such flower so, when this tutorial found its way into my email, I thought making one for her might be a nice “thank you” for such a lovely day.

Hurdle #1: In order to make the fabric flower, I needed, um, fabric.  Since I don’t sew, I don’t exactly have a stash of scrap material lying around.  In order to procure some, I would need to either buy it or repurpose it.  I decided on the latter, both because it seemed a more eco-friendly and potentially meaningful direction, and because I am fairly certain fabric isn’t sold by the square inch.  Oh, and because it was sleeting outside.

Perusing my closet to find something to dismember, I happened upon a green cotton lawn tank top.  I love its vivid color.  It has an empire waist, a cute tie at the back, and a pleated bodice.  It also appears to have been sewn by a seamstress who imbibed tee many martoonis before taking the helm of the sewing machine.  Its bodice drifts slightly south, creating a lopsided appearance that has never quite looked right.  Decision made: the fabric flower would be bright green.  For the flower’s center, I found a spare yellow button from a favorite cardigan.  Score.  Sometimes it pays to be the anal-retentive shopper who saves spare buttons from new purchases.

Methodically, I followed A Little Tipsy’s instructions, cutting circles from my tank top and hot-gluing them together to form a flower-like object.  Nearly finished with the flower, I approached…

Hurdle #2: For what, pray tell, would my friend use this lovely item????  In the tutorial, A Little Tipsy recommends creating a fabric loop on the back of the fabric flower, affording the wearer the chance to slide in a hair clip, a pin, or some other medium for multi-functional flower wear (“It could be a hat, or a brooch, or a pterodactyl…”).  A Little Tipsy is a professional, y’all.  I am not.  I opted for the single-use hair clip option since I had a huge package of them.  Hot gluing the clip to the flower, I decided my project didn’t look half-bad after all.

Props to A Little Tipsy for an easy project (do people still say "props?")

Day 56’s gift, thanks to instructions so easy even I could (sort of) follow them, turned out reasonably well.  I hope my new friend K likes it, or passes it along to someone whose hair keeps falling in her eyes.

A busy day waits for my attention, but before I go I want to express how grateful I am to you for reading this blog.  With so many demands on your time and energy, it means a lot to me that you are here.  Thank you.

I hope that flowers are blooming wherever you are.  I hope you spend today with people who love you enough to challenge you.  Always, I thank you for showing up.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Kris McL. permalink
    March 29, 2011 6:32 pm

    Like!!! You are an ugly craft rockstar! Thank you!!

  2. March 30, 2011 5:12 am

    You are so welcome! I hope you will wear it with ugly craft pride :).

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