Tuesday, March 9, 2010

fear itself.

they say the only thing to fear is fear itself. which i don't think is 100% true because that snookie character i've been hearing about seems pretty scary. so are clowns. so are a lot of the people i've been running into at grocery stores and parking lots (listen, i'm sure you are a firm disciplinarian and that you are doing your best with your kids, but does everyone at aldi's today need to know about it?) i do agree that the fear of losing, striking out or messing up prevents people from taking risks that could turn into...

an adorable "new" pair of flats! (yes, i DO know how to make things other than fabric flowers. but i've got spring & flowers on the brain. so there. i was rummaging through a large bin of shoes trying to find my houndstooth wellies because if it has to be this foggy & gross outside, then i am at least going to sport some cute rainboots. anyway, i found these little guys that i forgot i owned. they'll now hold a coveted spot in my weekend shoe rotation.)

ok, but so, on going for it & taking risks. my approach to cooking and sewing and all other creative pursuits is generally the same: what's the worst that could happen? because, really, what IS the worst thing that could happen? oh, yes, i suppose i could burn the house down. or i could amputate a finger with a sewing machine. but i can always scrap a dish that didn't turn out and head to red robin for bottomless fries. i can always trash the cardigan that just couldn't be re-vamped.

i am speaking from experience, people. experiences wrought with impulsiveness. impulsiveness and a little one-track-minded-ness sometimes yields sucessful results. or sometimes not. i have failed at projects many, many times. sometimes failure is the most hilarious thing, though. like the time i decided that i was going to turn 2 $40 target bookshelves into colorful and modern masterpieces. the first step was spraypainting. indoors. nevermind that my mom, my co-workers, my classmates and my husband all took the time to warn me against making this decision. nevermind that all the websites i consulted also warned against this idea. i got lots of plastic drop cloths and set up a space akin to a kill scene from an episode of dexter. a few hours later, the two bookshelves crashed into each other, smashed into pieces, and collapsed in a messy multi-colored heap on the office room floor. i also contracted a mysterious three day sickness that i believe was caused by the inhalation of toxic spray paint fumes in an unventilated area. i can still vividly see my husband's disapproving face staring at me from across the living room after i told him about my big bookshelf plans. "i want absolutely no part of this." even after the bookshelves were nothing but a memory, living out their last moments in a grimy green dumpster, i was still perplexed that my idea had failed. really. ahhhh c'est la vie. spray paint can't transform cheap dorm furniture into sturdy, classic pieces. lesson learned.

once i set out to wow my husband with a new recipe i had gotten from an old friend. chicken taco pie (sort of like chicken pot pie, but with a spicy twist). i diced some chicken breasts and cooked the pieces in a skillet. i added all the necessary ingredients to a pie plate and popped it in the oven to await a delish dinner that i just knew john would love. as soon as the timer beeped, i checked the pie, noting that it looked perfectly golden brown and ready to eat. i removed it from the oven, and placed it on top of the stove to cool for a moment. all of the sudden, POP! PING! the glass pie plate shattered and shards of glass mixed with chicken taco pie went flying everywhere. i was stunned. was this a terrorist attack? in my kitchen? sabotage? what the F was going on? it was then that i noticed that i had forgotten to turn off the stove burner after cooking the chicken. the burner was on when i set the pie plate on it to cool. and of course, you can't use a glass pie plate on the stove burner. when the dust settled, i cleaned up the mess, and we headed to buffalo wild wings to enjoy some effort-free boneless wings and beer. which, i must say, is a pretty decent way to salvage a chicken taco pie gone wrong.

these incidents, while a blow to my ego, didn't much deter me. i'm still attempting crazy craft capers, making mistakes, messing things up and once in a while, creating something i love (see yesterday's flower belt post!). but occurrence of these mishaps are probably best for my friends and family who seem to enjoy hearing about the escapades. anyway, the point is... don't be afraid to...

take the scissors to a sweater. or to let a little egg yolk into your homemade angel food cake. (ok, try not to do that, though. i had never made an angel food cake from scratch, but my mother-in-law gifted me a lovely tube pan, and i wanted to try out a fabulous recipe i had seen in an issue of cooking light. the recipe warned against allowing ANY TRACE of yolk to mingle with the egg whites. i think my general attitude was, "ohhhh, one miniscule speck isn't going to hurt anything." ahhhh, wrrrong! my egg whites would NOT rise. i enlisted john's assistance in an urgent trip to the grocery store to get a new carton of eggs. the cake turned out magical in the end, but the first dozen eggs ended up at the bottom of our garbage can.) go for it. fear not.

and speaking of being fearless, i. am. in. love. with. kell on earth, bravo's new show about PR fashion queen kelly cutrone. i enjoyed the little snippets of kelly i caught on "the hills" (gasp! i know... it used to be one of my guilty pleasures). kelly seemed so harsh and full of gloom & doom juxtaposed with the sunny LA landscape, overly tan famous-for-no-apparent-reason "stars" of the reality show. i think the contrast between cutrone and conrad, for example, made the PR queen seem far less human than she actually is. i love her no-nonsense attitude. she's human, she's a mom and she's also the owner of a successful business. and she cares about her staff in a way that was not presented on "the hills." come on, does a boss who doesn't care spend the time to invade blind dates or purchase lube for her overworked employees? she shares wine and bitch sessions with her senior staffers, and answers tearful distress calls from overly stressed assistants. and she is loving and adorable with her sweet little daughter ava. i know that reality tv shows can be less than accurate, but i'm liking kell on earth as an alternative to intervention, which i love, but can sometimes be a bit TOO real and, for example, the real housewives of the OC, whose characters seem a little out of touch. (though, let's be serious. the ladies of the OC have clearly gotten a dose of real life this past season. divorce, eviction, cancer scares... even lynne had to forego a spray tan because of the economy! wooooahhhh!) ok, but anyway, i am not a couch potato. i swear. i watch tv while i sew, and i have been working on lots of things the past few days... so i've been holed up in my craft room enjoying cutrone's observations and one liners in between pricking myself with needles and getting busy with my trusty seam ripper. kelly on a former whiny assistant: "she says that no one could survive PR unless they were superman on amphetamines. to be honest, proper dress code and common sense would have been enough. " LOVE it. LOVE her! kudos to a kick ass woman who calls people out on mediocrity. a perfectionista after my own heart.

fear not.

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