To all the secret writers, late-night painters, would-be singers, lapsed and scared artists of every stripe, dig out your paintbrush, or your flute, or your dancing shoes. Pull out your camera or your computer or your pottery wheel. Today, tonight, after the kids are in bed or when your homework is done, or instead of one more video game or magazine, create something, anything. Pick up a needle and thread, and stitch together something particular and honest and beautiful, because we need it. I need it. Thank you, and keep going.
When I read this quote for the first time, I think I actually said, "YES! YES! YES!" out loud. Thank you, Shauna. Before I segue into the project, let's all take a deep breath and acknowledge the secret artist. What is the thing that you long to do? The thing you sneak in when no one is looking? That thing that feeds your soul... that when you stop doing it for too long you feel slightly off kilter. NOW, when is the last time you did it? The obvious answer to that question for me is: making. I need to make something every day. Even if some days it is cutting the crust off of a PB&J, I need to create something with my hands. My secret thing is writing and illustrating. This is the thing that I sneak in. The thing I dream about when no one is looking. The thing I tuck away sometimes for far too long. The thing I am more reluctant to put out into the world. Soul sister Shauna just said that when I deny that part of me I am denying you too. I don't want to deny you, friend. I forget this. But today I remembered. So today I write and maybe tonight when my girls go to sleep I'll draw. Not an entire illustrated series, but one of the little drawings that has been zigging and zagging in my head for weeks... okaaaay months. So you know how this works, right? I am going to do my secret thing and you are going to do yours. It is a pact. We have to now.
On the subject of secrets... sewing kind of scares me. When I was in my teens and early twenties I had dreams of being a fashion designer. I would sketch out designs into the wee hours of the morning. I was the Edwina Scissorhands of my friend group. You know the one. The friend who was ripping authentic holes into jeans and cutting the sleeves off of shirts and changing the necklines and the hemlines on dresses. At some point I decided I was ready to take my hobby to the next level so I convinced my mom to buy me a sewing machine and then I got my boyfriend's aunt to agree to give me sewing lessons in exchange for chocolate necco wafers and a two liter of Sprite. I know, It was a sweet deal. She was a fairly patient guide but a teacher she was not. Her "slow down and show me again" was ridiculously fast. I don't know if it was the threading the bobbin or a lack of pedal speed coordination, but it didn't insta-click. So my brain just decided (in the same manner that it had decided in 7th grade that it couldn't learn math) by lesson 3 that I would never really master the sewing machine so I better just back away. To be fair, my teacher also decided that she would prefer to finish the 5 side split maxi skirts for me... in like under 3 minutes. Hand stitching (again making with the hands), knotting, embroidery, weaving = I am all in, but get me near that sewing machine and there I am at that kitchen table feeling like a dunce. All of this to say that when I became a mom I was determined to not pass these silly fears onto my girls. R took sewing lessons last summer and caught on quickly and I suspect H will learn how to sew on a machine in the not so distant future, but for now she is happy stitching and practicing her over under weave. This invitation is a very fun intro to sewing for little ones and an easy breezy and fun creative project for the bigs... and it only requires a few materials! We hope you have fun with it! Oh, and if you are looking for a sage guru of sewing who happens to also come with a heart of gold, head to my friend Trixi's site. She has made it her mission to teach big people and little people how to sew. Remember the little llama that Ri and I made over the holidays? Well that was for her "Sew a Softie" campaign. Both my girls have signed up to be Sew-a-Softie Ambassadors this summer. I cannot wait to see their projects... they have already started brainstorming.