May 29, 2009

Getting a Grip on the Project

by Sarah Albrecht

In the third grade I decided to make a skirt. Green, my favorite color. It would be so simple: cut out two skirt-shaped pieces of fabric, sew up each side, and done! Given the expectation I started with, my introduction to measurements, grainline, patterns, matching notches, pressing seams, finishing seams, and gathering waistbands was painful to say the least. My mom finished the skirt.

About ten years ago I started my first house painting project. Muted yellow and green, my favorite color. It would be simple: paint the top of the guest room yellow, the bottom green, add a chair rail between, and done! Given the expectation I started with, my introduction to painter’s tape, cutting in, second coats, goo gone, back saws and mitered corners was painful to say the least. My mom wasn’t there to finish this project, so I did. Sort of. Years later when we went to sell the house I found myself chipping hardened masking tape (the wrong sort for painting) out of corners and off the baseboards. And we ripped out the chair rails because they’d split when I tried nailing them on.

I’m mulling over the nature of projects because this week I’m painting the toy room, sky blue on top and green (my favorite color) on the bottom with a chair rail in between. Then if I manage to see the project through, I’ll make curtains, cut on the grain with pressed and finished seams.

The projects may be time consuming, but over the years I’ve gotten a grip on the tools and the rules, so my expectation is more in line with the outcome. It wouldn’t be if I hadn’t already gone through the pain in other projects.

With writing, I’m hoping to do the same: get a grip on the tools and the rules, and--maybe!-- the outcome will be in line with the expectation.


  1. I'm laughing Sarah because I've had the same experiences. Sewing proved beyond my skill level and painting I only recently figured out. You're right though having the right tools is the most important part of the job.

  2. Great post, Sarah...and so true! Thanks for the smile!

  3. Ah, the memories this evoked, Sarah. 4-H sewing projects starting back in the late '30's, learning to knit, embroider, bottle peaches, bake an angel food cake, type, mimeograph, and eventually to change diapers.

    Everything worthwhile demands getting the tools and following the rules. Thanks for reminding us.


Thank you for visiting. Feel free to comment on our blogger's posts.*

*We do not allow commercial links, however. If that's not clear, we mean "don't spam us with a link to your totally unrelated-to-writing site." We delete those comments.