Handmade gone awry

I want to live in a world where people are intoxicated with the joy of making things. – Wm. S. Coperthwaite

I want to live in that world too.  But sometimes, well, sometimes it seems like we must have actually BEEN intoxicated when crafting.

A certain little yurt-dweller recently turned four years old. Her parents were both intent on creating something for her special day.

Her dad set about making little stuffed animals…

…one attempt was a pig that ended up missing two legs.

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… another was a rooster whose tiny legs and large behind meant he could not actually stand up.  Maybe a really heavy comb would balance him out…

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…another was a duck that was agreed looked a bit more like a banana than a bird.  There was hope that adding a beak might tip the odds back.  But also thanks that bananas are conveniently a favorite of the birthday girl.

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Surely there has never been so much cursing during stuffed animal making.

BUT, in the end a tiny pink pig was born. With four legs.

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Success!  A twin was even made.

And that little birthday girl was over the moon about her pigs. Wanting to sleep with them. Even the two-legged version became a loved big “momma” to the tiny ones.  (I was told the picture below is, of course, the two-legged momma giving birth to a tiny pig…)

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Her big brother coveted them too, leading to pig sharing and pig negotiations that included sage parent wisdom such as:

How can it be teasing for her to say that she has one when you already have a pig hiding in your bed somewhere?


That four year old girl’s momma wanted to sew her a dress. A birdy dress with the fabric the girl picked out.

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But despite picking a pattern that said “beginner” and “can be done in an afternoon,” after several afternoons and much pattern re-reading (and no alcohol), somehow the front of the dress and the back of the dress did not actually line up. Hm.

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With a little shifting here and a little tucking there, well, it looks and performs enough like a dress.

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One that the little girl wears for two straight days and asks if she can sleep in….

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Not perfection, but worth it in the end.


I’m beyond curious to see if our handmade home ends up more little pig, more big-butted rooster, or more tucked-here-and-there-to-fit dress…  I do know that it will not be perfect.  That the process already is and will be frustrating and confusing, with moments of realizing key pieces are missing, and other moments where it is not clear how it will all line up…  

In the end, I imagine these are not the parts we’ll remember most.  I imagine the intoxicating joy of the creation…and wanting to sleep in it every night…

We dared to believe that ordinary untrained people could make their own homes as birds build their own nest.  – Helen Nearing

9 thoughts on “Handmade gone awry

  1. That quote from Helen Nearing made me think of our home building. We had some guidance and some common sense and then it all came together, kind of like what you are doing. See you very soon!

  2. This reminds me of the embroidered tablecloths, baby blankets and pillow cases over the years. You were way too young to remember but one year I made your girls and Easter outfit. I must admit, they were awful. Thankfully all three of you were too little to realize it. You would be quite horrified if you saw them now.

  3. Hey Yurt dwellers!

    Nice to hear some of your voices just a bit ago. Sounds to me and looks to me like the “gone Awry: git creative,

    I like the pig and dress stories because they are both “human” and Perfection is not the goal. Usually, perfection is not worth much anyway …unless your are building rocket ships or car engines. Even they re not perfect. The words of Helen and Bill are certainly ones to keep in mind ….along with a bit of laugher when letting the imagination create.

    Love to you all

    Dad, Gary, Grampa Sent from my iPad


  4. Such love Mel! I always chuckle when I think of the sweater I knit for Jonathan that had one arm twice as long as the other. And while I struggle to keep my own perfectionistic tendencies at bay I like to think I am teaching my children that the creation of something, anything is a wonder and magical in itself to be cherished and loved. Thankfully they (usually) don’t catch on to the things I thought were imperfect 🙂

  5. HI Josh and Melanie
    My wife and I have been following your Blog and have enjoyed it very much. We have also been on the Yurt Forum. Mike mentioned that he would be working with you in August on your Yurt and that there may be room for some additional help. If you would welcome some help we may be interested. I was not sure how to contact you. Thus the replyto handmade gone awry. Thanks

  6. Pingback: Creative progress | Circle In

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