on the constraint of finishing a project a day. and: dolls?

a few years ago (like: 2), i found myself immersed in classes and seminars and such. a part of me (directly related to the part of me that helped people with design challenges for two decades) thought that the answer to much of what we do and want and think we need was to plumb the depths of the mind- that whatever satisfied our spirit would be somewhere in a psychology text or so. i'm not very sure of that anymore, just as i'm not sure the perfect sofa will ever make a real difference (although a perfect sofa can be nice).

i found, while working in design, that people are always looking for solutions. perhaps we are often not looking so much for the solution to an actual issue but for a handy solution that would make us feel better (yet the feeling better only lasts a short while, and then it is off to another solution; the snake that eats it's own tail). something about infinite solutions in a finite world with limited time (and resources) can be profoundly unsatisfying. i always wanted my client to book the trip they talked about every time i visited them or maybe let go of the idea that a new sofa (while perfectly nice) was going to make life more worthwhile. what makes life worthwhile, anyway? (i vote for family, seeing the world, making stuff and so on. and love. always love. but that is just my vote and not yours. we all get to vote. we all get to decide which boxes to check.)

the jungian concept of going back to what filled you with happiness as a child: that stayed after all the psychology and compassion and god-knows-what classes. honestly, i kept thinking of bunny rabbit on captain kangaroo. and mr. moose. they- or was it the captain or mr. green jeans?- made things. out of shoeboxes and glue. paper, string, cardboard, scissors, stray pieces of material. tape, lots of tape. they made things a child could make, things that i could make. this made me profoundly happy- 

to make things. often out of bits and pieces that others might regard as junk, almost nothing. jung built the bollingen tower after he found solace doing something he loved to do as a child. jung piled up rocks. rocks aren't a far cry from paper, string, and scissors. simple stuff.

as a child, i spent a lot of time thinking (reading, talking, and creating strange little dioramas, probably) about settlers, people who up and moved to new lands. hour upon hour went toward trying to figure out how they got things done, what they took with them. was everything homemade? how did they know out how to make it? what was worth keeping? (what do you carry with you when there's so little room? theirs was not a world stuffed with infinite solutions.) resourcefulness was plentiful, resources were not. what would the children have? what did they make? how would they make a toy with no instructions, no wrong way to do it, and only the materials at hand? as i write this, i realize: i was a child in a military family. we moved often, as military families do. we moved to strange lands. resourcefulness was a necessity. deciding what was worthwhile was also a necessity. 

deciding what is worthwhile is actually always the thing, isn't it? 

some late day this december, having chosen not to make one single new year's resolution, i thought simply this: start making things. finish one a day. make a collage, stitch something, form a piece of clay, cleverly wrap a matchbox. just MAKE something. another of the lessons from the years of seminars and classes came forward: accountability. tell someone you're going to do it.

finishing the project in the same day isn't usually easy. i'll probably miss days. there are moments i want to stop- sometimes i find i liked the project better unfinished than finished. ribbon frays, stitches slip. things shift. 

still- i'm aiming for consistency here. start something, finish it, post it. start again.


  1. I love this so much! I have missed your voice.
    I,too, want to get back to making things this year, so your posts are very inspiring to me.
    Thank you.xo

    1. dear miss thea- you always bring sunshine. thank you! here's to making things in '15. we can do it!

  2. Anonymous9/1/15 06:26

    thinking about what made you happy when you were a child. we often forget!

    1. kath- yes! so important. (always a joy to hear from you!)