Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Why I'm Here Part 1 - It's Genetic

This is odd writing to such a small audience.  Those on Facebook know my story.  Some on Twitter know parts, but I figure at some point others will show up and want to know.  My crafting/art/cooking story starts way back when.  So grab your favorite cold beverage and a snack this is going to be a long story.

It's in my genes.  It can't be proven with science but I know it's in my blood to do this.  It's as easy to prove as the outward things are.  I have my Mom Paul's hips and my Grandma Green's chest, thankfully that balance each other out.  I didn't have a chance to be over 5'5", my mom was 5'3" and my dad 5'7". I'm 5'2".  I've got the Gragg early graying hair that is coupled with very thick hair that wants to wave in spots and be straight in others. Science can back my claims that all those things have been passed down through genes.  What it can't prove is why I'm here but I know it's because of those same genes.

I didn't stand a chance not to be a creative type.  My mother made lived at her sewing machine, she painted, decorated cakes, arranged flowers, she was Martha.  My dad was an amazing cook and thought every man and woman should be able to sew, cook, and fix a car.  Both my grandmothers sewed and quilted.  My Grandma Green did it all by hand.  My dad's older brother ran a restaurant when I was little.  He and wife then (and still do) made quilts and went to craft shows with my mom and dad.  My dad's little brother is a chef.  This and my photography  is what is in my genes.

I don't remember not a time that I was making something.  One of my earliest memories is making a cake.  A cake for my uncle (the one who had a restaurant).  It was his birthday and we were going to have cake that afternoon at the restaurant. I remember standing on a chair, I was too little to get to the counter otherwise, mixing the cake up with my mom.  The phone rang, in the day before cordless phones, and she walked away to answer it.  I cracked the eggs putting shell and all in the bowl and turned on the mixer.  The shell piece were too small the take out.  She made another cake without my help but I cried until she let me take my to Runcle Rooy (roo then long e).  He was thrilled with the cake, but he doesn't let me live it down.  Thirty years later at a family dinner I walk in with a cake and his first question isn't what kind but, "Did you leave the shells out this time sis?"

Then there are the times that I drove my mom and grandma crazy bugging them.  To solve this issue one of them would hand me two scraps of fabric and a threaded needle.  Off I'd go to "sew" for hours.  I never made anything but I was sewing none the less.  When I was 8 I got an old Kenmore sewing machine.  I had a real sewing machine while my friends got bikes and dolls for their birthdays.  You see I was born to do this!

Then came 4-H.  Oh how I adore 4-H.  Even now 14 years after the last fair I entered in I think 4-H is the greatest youth organization in the world.  4-H is great even if you don't own animals.  I didn't.  What I did was baking, cooking, sewing, painting, ceramics, crochet, floral arrangements, quilting, photography, baseball card collections, stamp collections, jewelry making, and a host of other crafts.

I learned so much.  I learned that baking is a science.  Precise measurements are a must.  I learned that no matter how hard I try I'll never make the perfect biscuit or the perfect pie crust.  I learned the joy of getting a purple ribbon and the low agony of a red.  (Darn biscuits!)  I learned that your family will cringe if you make the same thing for dinner once a week for months on end while you prefect your recipe for the food show.  I learned that sewing an outfit and getting a blue ribbon is better than your mom sewing it and getting a purple ribbon.  I found out that I can't paint on wood or canvas but give me a piece of ceramics and I excel.  I learned granny squares suck but thread crochet is awesome.  Floral arranging wasn't my forte and still isn't.  I found out that no matter how much your mother loves you she will still want to kill you when you break her long arm machine weeks before the big craft show.  I learned that I loved photography and developing my own photographs.  It would be almost 20 years after learning that before I would be able to do it.  I learned that baseball cards and stamps are great when you are 8 but by 12 they are dorky.  (They still live in a box in my basement though.)  I learned I had/have the skills to make jewelry but not the patience.  I burnt myself more than once with a glue gun.  I fell in love with Aleene.  You never toss away pop cans because they can become animals.  I had found my element.  I was born to create.

By high school I was an accomplished seamstress and baker.  I was a freshman making patterns while my friends were making boxers and scrunchies.  I could make puff pastry from scratch but will forever be thankful that you can buy it in the freezer section.  I still couldn't make a biscuit.  I still couldn't make a pie crust but had found the Pillsbury refrigerated crust.  My photography was being featured in 4-H publications.  I was making my own crochet patterns.  I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up.  Martha Stewart.  I was the only person in my high school that was thrilled with a Living subscription for my birthday.  (Thanks Lisa!)

To be continued..................
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