not making

I haven't made anything in what feels like a long time.

At first it wasn't from a lack of trying. 

I've always had an element of distractability to me.  I get involved in something - the sewing machine, the internet, a book - and I lose track of what's happening around me.  And then I can become distracted from whatever project I'm working on by another.  I add to my To Do list faster than my hands can work. 

Still, it seems lately that my tendency to get distracted before the end of the project comes a little sooner than it used to and the unfinished pile has developed a critical mass.  Too much stuff to finish making.  So, instead of finishing, I've decided to let go.

For instance, these boots.

They began as a pair of second hand boots from the thrift store.  They fit beautifully.  I believed it was time for my life long dream of having blue cowboy boots decorated with robots was about to become true (admit it, you've always wanted some too).

So, I painted them blue.  I painted a couple of little robots.  I started to pick out the stitched design in cream before I got down the serious business of the miniature robot jam skating scene I planned to paint on the toes. 


And then, I got distracted.

By the little girl working industriously across from me on her own project.


And as I was watching her, I realized that I didn't want to spend another six hours painting robots on my already beautifully blue boots, but rather just sort of hang out and see what the girl child would want to do after she was done her painting.


So, I painted over my little robots in an even, boring - but definitely blue - way and put my boots aside to dry. Blue cowboy boots, even with out jam skating robots, are still pretty cool.  And then the girl and I played some games.

And made nothing else that day but memories.


My husband has a little tune he sings to Birdie when he brushes his teeth. It's loosely based on the Raffi song, but with some significant variations.

It goes,

When you wake up in the morning and it's quarter to one
and you want to have a little fun, you...
go back to sleep

When you wake up in the morning and it's quarter to two
and you want to find something to do, you...
go back to sleep

When you wake up in the morning and it's quarter to three
and your mind is going tweedle dee dee, you...
go back to sleep

When you wake up in the morning and it's quarter to four
and you think you hear a knock on the door...
that's kind of creepy

When you wake up in the morning and it's quarter to five
and you just can't wait to come alive, you...
go back to sleep

When you wake up in the morning and it's quarter to six
and want some coffee to have your fix, you...
go back to sleep

When you wake up in the morning and it's quarter to seven
and you hear daddy in the shower or maybe making breakfast, you..
can get up.

But don't wake mommy.

When ever I hear my husband sing this I'm reminded that lives are not made up what we make or the big things. Lives come from the everyday repetitions, our relationships, the absolutely mundane work of meal prep, getting dressed, brushing our teeth.  The way we greet one another every morning and what we say to each other before bed and everything in between.  This everyday-ness forms the grooves we spend our lives in, gives us our place in world and forms the bedrock of how we feel about ourselves and others.

I love making stuff.  But, I think, I love doing stuff even more.  And, best of all, I love doing not much at all but just hanging out. 

When I'm less busy with the list of stuff to do (and make) I'm much more open to the fantastically random way of the world.  Open to watching the birth of a calf when we came to the photographers to get our pictures taken.  Open to taking the long way back home through unfamiliar streets and discovering an amazing view over looking the river.  Open to the sudden appearance of a bale maze in a parking lot (and open to crashing said bale maze by hoping over the snow barrier when the clown attendant isn't looking and then taking a sly picture of the kids having illicit fun).


By spending more time working at efforts that create experience rather than stuff I'm actually having a lot of fun.  And I think, in the end, I have just as much to show for it. If not more.

(Photo by Richard Lowes the awesome guy who I owe much to.)
 So, as far as not making stuff goes, I'm not feeling too bad.   Turns out there is a lot of creativity out there that doesn't take up room when it's finished.



  1. Dude, robot cowboy boots, and blue- genius. No seriously.
    I'm the same as you, I love making but I end up doing more, I believe I have a bit of adult ADD. Which my kids love! lol

  2. Wow. This is spot-on to what's been rumbling through my head lately. I just keep forgetting and get caught up in projects and stuff. Sigh...Thanks for a good reminder!

  3. With a baby and a four-year-old, I often feel like I'm not "getting much done." This was a helpful expression of what my kids and I are really doing and that it's ok. Thanks!

  4. I know that Raffi song! I love the variation, I will be singing it this way from now on!!