Friday, October 3, 2008

Weekly Update

It has been a full week of me devoting a lot of time to my creative pursuits. I've been writing, reading, sewing, and going through all my recipes marking all the things I want to make as the weather gets cooler and being in the kitchen is more bearable.

The sewing is coming along well. Every day I get a bit more comfortable with my machine. I'm really trying to take baby steps with this whole process and not get myself too worked up over every little mistake. For instance, yesterday I was making a purse (of course it's a purse-my specialty.) This was my first attempt at making one with a liner though. I had chosen to line it with chambray. The liner went on perfectly but when I tried to finish it, it was too thick. It jammed the machine and my needle broke. Plus, the purse was ruined. I was so frustrated and sad because I had chosen this particular purse as being one that *maybe* I'd actually carry. But surprisingly, I didn't get angry. I just thought, Well, I guess today is the day I learn how to change a needle. I didn't get upset...I just saw the whole thing as a learning experience. Which is what it should be. I'm proud of myself. I feel like I'm breaking new ground by not throwing my sewing machine against the wall.

As I mentioned, I've also been reading a lot this week. I finished the Alec Baldwin book, A Promise to Ourselves. I know that, much to my dismay, most of you are not as fascinated with Alec as I am. Fair enough. But I read the book, I enjoyed parts of it, and I want to share. I will keep the gushing to a minimum.

The topic of the book is parental alienation, which is something I knew nothing about. It's basically the idea that in situations where the parents are divorced, one parent is able to turn the child against the other parent. Most often it's done by women, because they are usually granted custody of the kids. Alec (clearly we are on a first name basis) places some of the blame for this on the advances of feminism. Although he states that "The accomplishments of the women's rights movement cannot be underestimated" he later adds, "After years of thoughtful discourse and powerful change, family law now provides us with a clear example of where the pendulum has swung too far. " He goes on to state that the current system makes it "too easy for some women to arbitrarily deny many fathers' access to their children."

As someone who considers herself a feminist, at first I was somewhat bothered by this. I don't like the idea of blaming the problems in family law on feminism. Yet, at the same time, I've seen a lot of women get custody of their children with little questioning, while the father almost has to earn his right to be a parent. So obviously there is some unfairness in the system. The saddest part about this is that it ends up hurting the children more than anyone.

All in all, I liked the book. It was easy to read and informative. There was a good mix of his personal experience and the experiences of others. There wasn't a lot of celebrity gossip about his ex-wife and he rarely said anything negative about her at all. I suppose my only complaint about the book is that it just sort of ended. I would have liked for some of the loose ends to be tied up a bit. He mentions his daughter in bits and pieces throughout the book but there isn't much mention of her after the chapter about the infamous voicemail. (I'm not going to link to the voicemail here. If you're interested, just Google it. It's easy enough to find.)I would like to have learned more about what steps he had to take to rebuild his relationship with her after that. Yet, I also understand the need for some things to be kept private. But like I said, it seemed like the book just stopped.
(For those keeping track, this was book 47. I only need to read three more books between now and the end of the year to reach my goal of fifty books.)

Thursday night my kind neighbor Maria brought me a bag filled with what I assumed to be goo. Wrong.It was actually the starter for something called Amish Friendship bread. Am I the last person on the face of the earth to hear about this? There are specific instructions for handling the starter and you follow them for ten days and on the tenth day you add more ingredients and bake your bread. But before you do that, you separate portions of it into four, gallon size bags, thus having more starter to pass on to your friends. It's sort of like a bread chain letter. I was so excited that Maria gave me this. I've never baked bread before. I'll be sure and let you know how it turns out.

Before I close out this week's update, I wanted to leave you with one of my handmade bags in action as a clothespin holder:
Even with it's flaws, and it has many, it's a huge improvement over the blue plastic bin I was previously using to carry my clothespins from the laundry room to the line. Baby steps.


Nowheymama said...

We had Amish Bread starter, and having dairy sit around here for that long stressed me out!

I love your clothespin bag.

Tammie said...

thank you so much nowhey.

and yeah, i can see how it would stress you out. we have no major food sensitivities around here but just the thought of adding milk to the bag and then leaving it to sit for four days sort freaks me out.

BloomingAlmond said...

I didn't know about that Amish bread tradition :) What a nice tradition!! We need more stuff like that...
And you made me laugh... As i was reading my mind went back and i saw myself again breaking my machine needle at the very end of the project... :) Nice isn't it?
That bag looks cool! Better than my blue plastic basket too.. :P

Shalet said...

Sounds like I'm doing a lot of what you are - sewing, baking, nesting. It's a perfect wall to spend a crisp fall day!

Tammie said...

blooming: i agree--it is a nice tradition. the Amish get picked on a lot but i think they get some things right.

shalet: it is a great way to spend the cooler weather. hanging out doing home stuff just seems the thing to do.
(i love your knit hats by the way. the pumpkin one is adorable!)

Bridge said...

i love your bag, its a beauty
the book sounds interesting. I have read many books this year, more than any other since I was college and loving it.
I think 50 is an amazing accomplishment, its like a book a week but leaving a few weeks just to watch TV or People.

Tammie said...

bridge: thank you.
and yeah, im proud that im probably going to reach my fifty books goal. i love to read but i've really had to actively schedule the time to do so, so it's an accomplishment for me.