Starting at Square One

One of the biggest goals for me in my journey toward going green is eliminating paper products, especially tissues and paper towels. Looking back it was easy for me to say that I would just make handkerchiefs and napkins out of squares of old sheets and damaged clothes. Sure, they wouldn’t be perfect but they would be Anthropologie-like chic- of course! It sounds easy enough, right?
Wrong. Since my mom is a well established seamstress, she gave me a Viking Husqvarna sewing machine to start my crafty adventure. Little did she know that I haven’t the foggiest idea of how to use the thing. “When you are threading, pay attention to your bobbin…” she would continue, but my ears would only hear a waa-waa-waa sound flowing from her lips much like Charlie Brown’s teacher. Mom went so fast. What in blue blazes is she talking about? Where is a bobbin? Is it the one on top or is it somewhere else? Uh oh. Have I taken off more than I can chew?
Admitting my weakness, I begged for more direction, consumed the instruction manual, and sat down today to gets some hands on experience for the first time. Secretly I hoped by some fluke that sewing was in my blood. That my mother’s gift, her talent, had genetically passed on to me and I would stitch together a cute little square. Not perfect. Not close to professional, but sweet. Something the boys could take to school in their pockets and use for years to come.
What I created was something completely different. I can’t say ugly because, after all, it was a first try. But it is a little reminiscent of Frankenstein– rough, haphazard and slightly, okay horribly, askew. I turned it around and around as if by some angle it would resemble a handkerchief, not a pillow belonging to Barbie!
No luck.
As I sat slumped at the table my four year old rushed up saying “Mom! You CAN sew! You did it. It’s beautiful.” I searched for sarcasm in his face. None. I smiled. “You know who it belongs to Mom? ME! I want it, pleeeaaassseee!”. How could I deny him? Or explain that I felt like failed in some weird way? So it’s in his pants pocket still and will proudly go to school with him as I hoped.
Children have the loving gift of seeing things as they are. No comparison to anything else or anyone else. They see the effort and the end product. It is that simple. So as I look at that peculiar little piece of fabric I will try to remember that going green, and life in general I guess, is about trying and sometimes going back to square one.
An Original 5 Minutes for Going Green post. Jen shares stories of her journey going green and raising a family on her blog The Eco Chic Organizer.
12 Responses to Starting at Square One
  1. Beth (Coming Up For Air)
    September 8, 2008 | 4:11 pm

    LOL! This is awesome! Aren’t kids wonderful??

  2. Arianne (To Think Is To Create)
    September 8, 2008 | 4:14 pm

    I have been totally wanting to do the same thing…and am in the same position: have a sewing machine with no clue how to use it. You have inspired me!

  3. Janice (5 Minutes for Mom)
    September 8, 2008 | 4:23 pm

    That is so fantastic – you made me LOL and SMILE!!! Kids ROCK! (And so do you and your sewing machine.) ;)

  4. tabitha
    September 8, 2008 | 4:47 pm

    I decided I was going to make cloth napkins. No problem I can somewhat sew a straightish line. I bought my material, cut into 6 12×12 pieces and sat down to sew them…um…my sewing machine isn’t working. No problem I have one my m-i-l gave me…it’s not working either. I wonder if it’s because the machines are older than me…

  5. Mimi
    September 8, 2008 | 5:02 pm

    This was hilarious! :D No worries, your hankie skills will improve!

  6. Jennifer (The Eco Chic Organizer)
    September 8, 2008 | 5:42 pm

    I think we should gang up and start a sewing club where we meet, sew, complain ummm… I mean share tips once a month. We’ll sit and sew like the old gals used to. (I shouldn’t say old gals… I clicked on the VMA Awards & did not know one thing going on… like they were speaking another language!!) Thanks for the encouragement ladies!

  7. Arianne (To Think Is To Create)
    September 8, 2008 | 5:46 pm

    Jen, I would totally do that. For serious.

    And I was the same way last night, I felt like 80 years old watching those “crazy kids”.

    And p.s., why wouldn’t that one guy pull up his pants?

  8. Jennifer (The Eco Chic Organizer)
    September 8, 2008 | 5:54 pm

    Let’s book it for real. Calling all potential sewing mavens- this is your chance to get in on the ground level!! First hankies, then napkins, after that who knows…we may be whipping up recycled gift bags for the holidays (sidebar- this is my secret dream!!) My trusty Viking and I are ready. I will totally come out your way too!

  9. Crunchy Domestic Goddess (Amy)
    September 12, 2008 | 12:50 pm

    that soooo rocks! :) kids are fantastic cheerleaders, aren’t they?
    my mom sews pretty well too and i’ve tried to learn a few times but i just can’t get past threading the machine. ;)

  10. You Moved Us
    September 13, 2008 | 12:04 am

    […] Starting At Square One at 5 Minutes For Going Green. […]

  11. momhuebert
    September 13, 2008 | 4:52 pm

    That is so, so sweet, to think of your son appreciating and applauding your first try like that.

  12. Jennifer (The Eco Chic Organizer)
    September 14, 2008 | 8:59 am

    I finally have my mom & mother in law at my house… my two experts giving me a help session!