Julie Seedorf: Learning new things becomes an adventure

Published 10:00 am Monday, July 11, 2016

Julie Seedorf’s column appears every Monday in the Tribune.

“Try to learn something about everything and everything about something.” —Thomas Huxley

Julie Seedorf

Julie Seedorf

This year I made a choice to learn to do new things. I decided it didn’t matter if I wasn’t good at something; I was going to try and have fun with learning experiences. Those experiences in my mind were an artistic adventure.

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In April I shared with you my experience taking a watercolor class from my friend, Charlotte Laxen, a watercolor artist. It was a day of relaxation and I learned that even if it was not my forte, it relaxed me. I could have stayed in the class forever learning new things about watercolor.

The best laid plans seem to go astray. When I was in Northfield for a week I signed up for a beading class at The Ecletic Goat. I wasn’t sure I had the patience for it, but I love beaded jewelry. Fate stepped in and I had to cancel because of a family commitment.

Last week I signed up for a sewing escape in Albert Lea at A-Best Sew and Vac. It is a three-day retreat led by Sew4Home. Actually, I wanted to sign up, but since my sewing skills seem to leave a lot to be desired I was shy about putting myself in a class led by Sew4Home, a popular website. Enter my watercolor artist friend, Charlotte, who was in Albert Lea picking up her paintings from The Interchange. She pretty much signed me up because she knew I was quaking with fear that I wouldn’t measure up. The class is three days and three projects.

I must confess, sewing hasn’t always been foreign to me. My mother was a sewer. I did take home economics in high school. And when I was first married I sewed my own clothes and my kids’ clothes. Over the later years, the sewing machine got used very little except for a few crafts and quilts. I was always frustrated with the bobbins falling out or something jamming up with my old machine or my not knowing how to do something.

A few years ago I visited the same sewing store that is having the class. I was with a friend who needed her machine cleaned. She decided to purchase an embroidery machine and a serger. I felt the tingle and excitement and purchased a new machine, too. Not my first choice, which was a computerized machine — being a computer person the computerized embroidery machine interested me — but I opted for a simple machine. That was five years ago and I have used the machine once.

I like to sew. But I always feel inept after being away from it for so long and not having my mom to ask when I get in a pinch. Sewing hadn’t been one of the classes I had in mind when I decided at the beginning of the year to stretch my education. Stained glass classes, along with learning to fuse glass, plus beading and metal stamping were on my mind.

Sewing classes should have been on my mind. Did I mention I have material in my house to make a quilt? I made a quilt for my two sons when they got married and my daughter’s is still sitting ready to be put together, even though she has been married 15 years. Last winter I bought more material to make a handkerchief quilt from my mother-in-law’s old handkerchiefs. I love quilt shops, quilt patterns, quilt kits — you get the drift. I love to buy them, but I always procrastinate learning to put them together.

It is now July. I just finished another book and am in edits. I guess I learn new things every time I write, so that is learning something new. I learned to make trivets with my coloring pages. And I have the water color painting class under my belt. With Charlotte’s encouragement, I decided to take the leap and sign up for the sewing retreat at A-Best Sew and Vac. I checked my calendar and the dates of July 22-24 were clear on my datebook. I took a breath and signed up for the class. I put the worry that I couldn’t measure up clear back in my mind. I was excited.

I got home and a text from my son reminded me I had committed to traveling to their home to dogsit and visit my grandchildren from July 23-26. Just like my beading class, my plans got interrupted again.

I wonder if the universe is trying to tell me to not go so fast. Am I supposed to slow down and concentrate on the new skills I have already learned this year and hone them? That’s twice in a row my learning something new has been interrupted. I believe occasionally fate steps in to tell us we need to slow down and it sends messages different ways. Was this fate telling me to take my time and learn to do something well before moving on to a new adventure?

My watercolor encourager tells me she thinks I have talent. She encourages me to dabble and use it with my books. And it’s true, I haven’t utilized the lessons I learned from that class. Or maybe I am being led in another direction altogether and I am going to learn the fine art of dogsitting instead of sewing. Do you suppose I will learn from Zoey, my grand-dog, the dog’s bark is bigger than his bite?

For whatever the reason, fate changed my plans. Maybe it has opened up new plans for you. I know there is a seat available for Let’s Go Sew. Let the learning continue