Everyday Epiphany, Family, humor

Little Adventure In The Covid-19 Shelter In Place Zone: Craft and Contemplation Time

“Journey of 1,000 miles begins with one step.”

Lao Tzu

I’d like to start that journey, but since the nearest grocery store (essential business) from me isn’t located in Quebec, I’m not going anywhere. (The closed Canadian border also presented an obstacle.)

Illinois’ Shelter In Place rule tethered me to my home. I’m grateful that Governor Pritzker had Illinoisans’ health foremost in mind, and I agreeably comply with the restrictions. (Who knew Mariano’s delivered wine?)

With no journey starting anytime soon, the SIP time became craft and contemplation time. I found both when I unearthed a stashed Bucilla felt Christmas ornament kit in my closet. I had purchased it on October 26, 2018.

I know the exact date because after opening the envelope and taking a gander at the complex directions I stuffed it back into the dated envelope where it languished amid eight skeins of multicolored yarn purchased for a crocheting project . . . or was it a knitting project? (I forget which because I don’t know how to do either.)

MIL Trainee (left) MIL Mentor (right)

The backstory for purchasing the kit in the first place was all Raida’s fault. Raida is my son’s mother-in-law. (He married Raida’s youngest daughter, L.) Since I’m a mother-in-law rookie and Raida has been a MIL to her oldest daughter’s husband for several years, I cast Raida as my mentor. (Raida is glamorous, funny, kind, and talented. She’s human so there’s a flaw in there somewhere. I just haven’t found it yet.) I figured she knew the ropes. She had NO idea I elected her to this position. Okay, she knows now because reading her daughter’s MIL’s (That’s me.) blog posts is in the fine print of the MIL Handbook. (Surprise, Raida! You’re my mentor!)

Raida’s Christmas stocking for my son.

As I felt my way through becoming the best MIL I could become, I surreptitious questioned Raida about holiday celebrations. She casually mentioned that she sewed a Christmas stocking for my son, J. (This seriously upgraded his childhood stocking which had been purchased in the Jewel/Osco holiday aisle.)

I decided that a handmade Christmas decoration to be cherished throughout the decades was in order. Apparently, that’s what MIL’s do. After assuring Raida that I wouldn’t squat on the Christmas stocking territory she claimed, I asked in more detail about the stocking.

Raida, a talented seamstress, cautioned me that the complex kits involved many hours of close work. I figured if a shin sized stocking involved “many hours” it would follow that a palm sized ornament would involve less than “many hours”. Being a hip MIL trainee, I ordered the “Ugly Sweater” felt ornament kit.

Then I opened the kit.

Sequins, embroidery thread, needles, and 101 multicolored felt pieces threatened me. I stuffed it all back into the envelope and left it for when I had more time. That was almost two years ago.

Then the shelter in place rule took effect.

It was time to earn a MIL trainee merit badge.

Reading the directions, Steps 1-19 referred to embroidery and the French Knot. 

I had thought a French Knot was the hair style Connie Stevens wore in the 50’s. Apparently it’s an embroidery maneuver that I’ll need to YouTube. I also need to learn satin, chain, and lazy daisy stitches. Then there’s applique which is altogether different than embroidery.

Hanging cords that DO NOT involve a French Knot!

Although in need of skills before beginning the project, I had to start. Otherwise the kit would rejoin the yarn. I began with the cording hangers (what the ornament hangs from) which involved twisting embroidery thread into three-inch lengths. 

By comparison, it’s a small step, but . . . 

“Every journey begins with a small step.”  

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