I grew up learning how to knit, bake, and sew. Not necessarily in that order. My grandma taught me how to knit, my mom (and 4-H) taught me how to bake and sew. I also often baked with my grandma. I have so many memories of screwing something up while knitting and getting frustrated. Baking was much easier. It might not have come out perfectly but it was usually at least edible. Sewing on the other hand often drove me crazy. My mom had this old singer sewing machine. (Image from Google). My sister would have to confirm if this was the same model, if it is not, then it is at least close. Making a bobbin and then threading that thing was horribly frustrating. I remember many times throwing the bobbin across the room.
When I started my handbag business in my twenties, my mom was not around to get me through using her old Singer. So I got rid of it, and instead purchased a Bernina, and rarely do I have a problem using it. It got me through 5 years of my business, with many very late nights and early mornings, just me and the Bernina.
So when I found this hilarious advice from a 1949 Singer Sewing manual I could not stop laughing. “Have your hair in order, powder and lipstick put on.” Never, ever in my life have I put on lipstick before sewing. I am not even sure if I put any lipstick on for my wedding day. The only mental preparation I needed before using that old Singer was to not throw it across the room. Maybe that is why they made them so heavy.
“If you are constantly fearful that a visitor will drop in or your husband will come home and you will not look neatly put together, you will not enjoy your sewing as you should.”
I am at a loss for words. Actually no I am not. Chris often sees me in my pajamas all day on a Saturday. He might softly mention that it might be good to take a shower, but he often sees me at my worst, and he has only seen me with lipstick a handful of times in our 12+ years together. My how the world has changed in the last 65 years. I will have to get my hands on a 2015 Singer Sewing manual so I can be inspired by their advice and all the things I should do before I start to sew.
I love finishing a good book. It always inspires me of the possibilities of what has not been written. Since each of us have such an individual experience there are infinite outputs to what can be encapsulated in new books. So when I find one that leaves a smile on my face and a bit of inspiration in my life, I have to share!
“Apron Anxiety” by Alyssa Shelasky is a memoir about a woman who falls in and out and in love with food. Her book is not entirely about food, and it is not written in a way that makes you feel like she is a die-hard foodie either. It is perfect for those of us that tread on the perimeter of food and the foodie world. She starts out as many might, timid. She eventually jumps in with her entire soul. What it did for me was make me want to TRY. While I am a confident baker, I am not a confident cook. When I was young I was in 4-H. Yes, the summer program that makes you think of raising cattle and pigs. For me it meant summers learning how to sew and bake. It was just something I did. I do not think I knew whether it was cool or not to be part of 4-H. I rode my bike to a local high school, daily for a few weeks and learned, tried, laughed, and made new friends while exploring an oven and the frustrations of a sewing machine.
I have not forgotten those summers. The baking programs I was involved in meant I learned over the course of five summers to make cookies, muffins, cakes, breads and yeast rolls. For sewing, I learned how to hem, make darts, button holes, hook and eyes, zippers, skirts, tops, dresses, etc. While I do not make my clothes, I still remember how. What has stuck with me the most is what I learned baking. “Apron Anxiety” has made me want to try to tread water in the world of cooking. I had a thought last week, that just maybe if I one day am preggers and at home with a little one, that I might want to try my hand at cooking. Here is my setback. I have horrible timing. I can make a lot of things in the kitchen. What I fail at is making them ready at the same time. If I steam broccoli, it is never ready when my entrée is ready. So that is my test. Can I find a way to time things so that I can make the parts of a meal ready to savor at the same time?
Here are two of the quotes in “Apron Anxiety” that really resonated with me:
“I will always meet people who don’t like me, or don’t get me, who think I’m dressed like a high-class hooker or raised by wolves. But as all women I’ve ever admired would say, “At least you’re interesting enough that someone gives a shit.” Which reminds me: There will always be people who think I’m not interesting enough at all.” page 226
“Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it…Delicious ambiguity.” page 236 (a Gilda Radner quote)
I definitely recommend adding “Apron Anxiety” to your list of books to read. It is a fun, light-hearted, and inspiring read! Here is to starting my future delicious ambiguity and to hell with those that do not think I am interesting!