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Resolutions… discontinuing the pursuit of perfection

Resolutions… discontinuing the pursuit of perfection

 It’s a new year!  I don’t know about you, but each new year I line up the resolutions, but am never very good at actually keeping them.  This morning I received an email from my friend in which we had written all our resolutions last year.  Reading it through didn’t make me feel overly like the last year was a success, to be honest, as I had forgotten I’d even made half of them.   The other half look like they may actually be coming about now – better late than never.  Anyway, I thought I’d tell you all about my resolution this year, so maybe I can be guilted into being better, and doing something about it.
This is actually something I have been working on for a little while, so it’s not entirely a new year’s resolution but it’s going to carry on into the new year and onwards.  
Here it is: I cannot take a compliment (I can’t take a criticism either, but that’s a story for another day).  In both my professional and personal life I really struggle to take a compliment.  I don’t feel comfortable even hearing nice things said about me.  I find myself deflecting the nice things people say by finding a reason it’s not true – or if it is, it’s not something that will last.  For example if someone compliments me on my hair, I’ll say “ah, it must be because I washed it finally” (as though I don’t regularly wash my hair?).  If someone  says they like my skirt, I’ll show them the hole by the zip.  It’s even the case with implied compliments.  A few weeks ago I was out with some friends and met a nice man who seemed like he may be interested in me.  I cleverly deflected him by pointing out the lentil soup stain on my dress.  (Just to clarify, there was no reason he needed deflecting, I am single, he was nice.)  I once woo-ed an ex-boyfriend by hitting him over the head with a cake tin.  Weirdly that one worked, though I think you’ll agree with me that it shouldn’t have.  But that’s not the point.  The point is, simply, that I cannot take a compliment.
In my handmade life I am the same.  When people say they like my made items, I am quick to point out the wonky stitching, the bad binding, or my absolute appalling-ness at machine quilting.  But at least in this I know I am not alone.  In the shop, every day, at least once, I’ll have someone show me their work and be ashamed of it’s prowess.  Every one of these shameful stitchers points out their flaws by saying “Don’t look at the terrible stitching”, “oh, ignore that bit, I cut that out wrong”.  You know what? Nine times out of ten I wouldn’t have even noticed.  I’m looking at the thing as a whole, and most times I’m really impressed – until you point out that bit.
the white goods – duvet, pillows, fitted sheet.
 The problem with blogs/ pinterest/ facebook/ flickr etc – and don’t get me wrong, I do love them – is that many crafters are also talented photographers, and are presenting an image of their item in the right lighting, from the right angle, hiding that dodgy stitching and the wonky seams.  And as onlookers we will never know about these bits.  I hope you’re understanding what I’m getting at.  Don’t tell me about the bad bits – and I won’t know.  I’ll still be there thinking you are great.  
Over the years since starting the eternal maker I’ve learnt a lot about myself and a lot about people in general.  And one of the biggest things I’ve learnt is that everyone has those bits – but some of us are better at hiding them than others.  My resolution therefore is this:  try to be one of those people better at hiding the flaws, don’t dwell on them, remember everyone has them, it’s not just me.  Oh, and also, try not to go out with lentil soup stains on my dress.
So in honour of my resolution these pictures are of the last thing I made.  I had to keep it quiet until christmas.  It’s a doll’s bed for my god-daughter, Hester, who is abut 20 months old.  In all honesty I got a little carried away with it.  I could have kept on making more and more things but time ran out.  Hester likes playing ‘bed’ and she’s at the doll age too, so I put the two together, and made this.  It has a mattress, all buttoned up and piped, a fitted sheet, pillows, and pillowcases, a duvet and a duvet cover, a patchwork quilt, and a blanket.  I covered an old suitcase that I bought at a car boot sale for £3 with some fabric from the ‘Seaside’ collection by Riley Blake (I wanted something child-friendly but that she might still like when she was older).  Cartonnage glue is brilliant for covering suitcases.  It doesn’t soak through the fabric and stain, but gives the fabric enough wetness to flop around all the corners.  One of my favourite glues.  (Who knew you could have favourite glues).   There are flaws.  There are always flaws.  But I’m not going to tell you about them. 
The bed made up.
Apparently it was one of the favourite gifts on Christmas day.  It looked like it from the videos I saw – although it also looked like Hester thought the bed was for her – she’s a little big for it but only just. 
I was thinking I may do a tutorial for it, but it was so easy I was wondering whether it’s worth the bother?  What do you think?
Anna x
Anna Hodgson

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