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Entries in DIY (3)


By Scratch

Donuts are wonderful, especially fresh ones almost too hot to handle and still adjusting to the baptism of sparkling cinnamon and sugar. As most folks who have done this sort of thing know, making donuts from scratch can be an ordeal... there are just so many ways things can go terribly wrong yet, it's the pay-off, that plateful of awesome and the promise of pure amazing that seduces us out of our comfort zones and makes us willing to battle the hot oil in order to achieve bliss.

As it should happen, as these things tend to do, I managed to make about a dozen donuts before sparking a lovely kitchen fire (a product of wanting to "speed things along") that, of course, set off all the smoke detectors in the house. My perfect breakfast plan was promptly thwarted as the rest of the family quickly filed down the stairs to see what was the matter. Somewhere in the clean-up process, talk of going out to buy donuts was discussed in hushed voices (as if I could not hear the mutinous suggestions arising from the peanut gallery- moms have EXCELLENT hearing) and I pulled out my soap-box and mustered the best "lay it on thick" guilt voice I could manage. I explained the merits of scratch cooking, the beautiful nuances that store bought could never achieve, the love and care that mixed that dough and inspired an earlier than usual sunrise... to which they responded, "We are hungry now."

There is a lesson here that applies to crafting believe it or not and it is a hard one to swallow for some die-hard do it yourself (by scratch) maker types... some folks love the kits, they want the store bought and the instant satisfaction of having their "hunger" met immediately rather than waiting around for it and no amount of soap-box preaching is going to change that for them. Crafters are like brownies (or donuts) in a way... some will be pure store-bought, that is, they will buy the very best handmade lovelies and appreciate the taste but, they have no desire to make it for themselves and, thank goodness for them because, afterall, we need them to buy our handiwork to keep us in business. Then, there are those who buy the boxed mix, the ones who like the convenience of having the pieces and enjoy the satisfaction of making it themselves. Speaking as a Mom, I like the way boxed mixes (kits) introduce my kidlets to cooking without having to make the major investment of all the individual ingredients (which they may or may not like). And finally, there are those who love to build on their own (some with a recipe and some without). These trailblazers are test pilots, they pave the way for all future brownie (or donut) makers... they inspire us and teach us how to craft something amazing. Yup, sitting there eating a well-crafted store bought donut I had an epiphany that tasted like chocolate and smiled like a lesson learned. 



Ruffles Attached

As I get older, I realize the truth and wisdom tucked away in that adage, "there is nothing new under the sun." Styles, trends, and daresay, ideas, all have their seasons and all in turn, come back into favor at somepoint. Today it was about ruffles.

I remember wanting a ruffled skirt in the 3rd grade. I wanted this skirt so badly that I had decided to go on a hunger strike until I was given one. The idea of a ruffled skirt permeated my every thought, it was an invasive species that had attached itself to practically every sentence that left my lips. I had become dead wood and this ruffled desire, was fungus eating away at my shell. My great-grandmother, being the amazingly astute person she was, sat me down and taught me how to sew a ruffle and add it to anything my heart desired. She taught me a valuable lesson that day. We have the power to change the things we'd like by learning a skill and having the initiative to do-it-yourself.

This afternoon my daughter came running into the kitchen wanting ruffles on her skirt... and history repeated itself right there before my eyes.   



Strawberries taste better when you pick them yourself. There is something more in it's sweetness, that lingering aftertaste of self-initiative and accomplishment perceptible to the person who tilled the soil, cultivated the plants, had their work boots covered in mud, and bite into the fruit of their labor.

Everyday we are given the opportunity to grow something, be it an actual seed or an idea, a person or even a community. We are given a field, a canvas, a workbench, an outstretched hand and the amazing chance to taste something so sweet, so fresh, so incredibly good.


(For the complete project & stepped out instructions, please visit Bic Mark-it)