Stitch Journeys

Exploring life with needle and thread.

Practicing Imperfection

afternoon shadowsThis time of year I try to look back at what I have accomplished the previous year. Today I am celebrating my progress toward embracing imperfection. My hard practice is paying off! I won’t get cocky though and give up my daily practice…one must be dedicated to that which they want to achieve after all. For starters, the photos in this post have nothing to do with our holiday celebration because I didn't take any...totally forgot! I could skip the post because I don't have the perfect photos but that would be giving in to perfection.

I know, it sounds silly to have to practice imperfection but I have to practice every day! I am a Perfectionist; a type A, workaholic, first born, product of 16 years of Catholic school kinda girl. Perfectionism is part of my core identity.  It has taken me years of battle with this cunning demon and I have made a lot of progress keeping it at bay. However, my perfection demon always likes to tempt me during the holidays demanding that I put on the best Christmas ever.

vintage christmas ornamentThis year, I set my Christmas Eve family table with a fine linen tablecloth that I hand dyed in shades of green and blue...a little unusual but fun. My napkins were dyed to match but perfection ended there! (Actually my dyeing is sort of random so the didn't match perfectly anyway.) I didn’t iron one bit of it…it adorned my table in all its wrinkled glory. This is a BIG DEAL! At one point in my life I ironed my boy’s tee shirts. Yes…their little tiny tee shirts, jeans and even pjs. Looking back I know my life was more than a little insane at that point and my obsessive ironing was probably an attempt to bring order to the chaos but still…little boys tee shirts???

Our Christmas dinner was a delicious gluten free lasagna. Woot! Win over perfection #2: I didn’t make it! We bought it…pre-made/homemade Taste of Life GF meals to go. A few of my loyal readers know that I have a lot of dietary restrictions including almost all the ingredients of lasagna. However, my son has been asking for lasagna for ages so Christmas seemed a perfect time to grant his request. I did feel guilty about not making it myself…yes, even though I couldn’t eat any of it my perfectionist demon suggested that I was less than a good mother for purchasing a frozen lasagna for Christmas! But, I overcame my demon with the help of my good husband and some will power. I didn’t give in to the guilt of being imperfect.

I have been pleasantly surprised by a side effect of my imperfection practice: calmness and a sense of peace. Yup, this girl is learning to let go of the stress of leading a perfect life and finding joy in just letting things be what they are. Not saying it is easy but it is good.



I am ready to let go of something else in my life this next year. I am not sure exactly what yet. Maybe it will be banishing self-doubt or guilt…ok, so given my background getting rid of guilt probably would be the equivalent of climbing Mt. Everest. Maybe I will save that for another year.

Is there something that you want to give up this year? Something that will bring you closer to the life you want to have?
Continue reading
  1492 Hits
  1 Comment
1492 Hits
1 Comment

A Joyful Process



I have been thinking about two different conversations I had with some fellow stitch artists the last few months. The first was an artist who was lamenting that she really wanted to create a crazy quilt with her treasure trove of collected fabrics and embellishments but she didn’t know the correct techniques and was afraid she couldn’t do it properly. The second was another artist (very accomplished and well known) who stated emphatically that she thought her work was terrible…actually I believe she used the word ‘sucked’. I encouraged these artists to go easy on themselves but felt that my words may have fallen on deaf ears.

Back when I was still mainly doing traditional quilting, I had a bee mate who had terrible technique skills, her points never matched, her stitching was erratic and everything turned out wonky and lumpy. She didn’t care, she was proud of every creation. She was the most joyful quilter I have ever met! There is a point in our lives as creative beings when we must embrace what we love to do even if we can’t do it to some standard of perfection the world has devised.  Why do we strive so hard to achieve some silly standard or idea of perfect? Art is not a competition! And yet, we have been taught to compare our work to others instead of enjoying the pleasure of mutual admiration for each others creations.

lutradur flowers sm web

The fact is that someone will always be better than me and my work can always improve. If I am spending my time worrying that my art is not as good as my neighbor’s art then I can no longer do my art because I will be trying to emulate their art. When that happens, my heart is gone from my work. In the meantime someone else is thinking that my art is better than their art and they are then stuck trying to emulate my art which I am not even doing any longer because I have embraced the fear that I am not good enough. It becomes a cycle of feeling inferior and mediocre that is difficult to escape.

Art should be created from the heart and soul, telling your story and expressing your view of the world. Art needs to please you and only you. Relish the ‘mistakes’ because they are a sign that you are stretching and growing. Create what makes your heart sing. Tell the story you feel compelled to tell. Only follow the rules if they serve you. Nurture your creative spirit and it will grow strong.  Experience the joy of creating what you love. Each piece you create is a step on the art journey…relish every step of the way.

rod flowers sm web
Continue reading
  1499 Hits
  0 Comments
1499 Hits
0 Comments

Login Form

Shopping Cart

The cart is empty