Wednesday, April 6, 2011


I've been accused of being a perfectionist...because I am (see my last post for confirmation). I go all out. I'm unwilling to do things half way. I want it how I want it. It also hampers me from doing what I could be doing. It stifles and even paralyzes at times. For example, I currently have 6 blog posts I began weeks ago. None says quite what I want it to say, so even though I should post weekly, I don't click "publish" because I've let perfectionism get in the way. I have a hard time committing to or sticking with something I can't do perfectly. If I begin a workout program and miss a day or two, I stop altogether. I can no longer do it perfectly, so instead of continuing on as well as possible, I throw in the towel. To some it might not sound like perfectionism, but it is. It can no longer be perfect.
I've begun a new business venture (using the same name as this blog). I love to sew, and I've been making a variety of items I'll be selling in my Etsy shop and at the (very) occasional craft show. My first show will be this coming Saturday. I've been working on projects for two weeks and while I like what I've made, I'm not perfectly happy with any of it. The work is good, but I can see minor imperfections. I've had to fight to keep from stopping. I've wondered why I'm doing this. I can't make everything exactly perfect. I may have missed something here or there. What if no one buys my stuff anyway (to date, the only items I've sold have been to my mom, so does that even count?).
But by their very nature, handmade items aren't perfect. I love what I'm doing. I want to keep making and selling my creations. I don't want to let my perfectionism get in the way. Too often in my life I've gotten in my own's time to step aside.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The art of fence building in the dark and rain...or why a level should be used on every picket.

80 degrees outside and a new trampoline prompted a fence building project that was only going to take a few hours on Saturday (yeah, right). The next three days brought 28 degrees, snow and wind (and WIND), but this evening looked promising. The rest of the fence posts went in easily, so why stop there. While the kids bathed and got ready for bed without (much) fighting, we thought, "let's slap the rails and pickets on the previously set posts." Because I'm very particular, the posts that were set on Saturday, were perfectly level. The rails were easily leveled horizontally across the posts as darkness set in. Out came the clamp light, extension cords and pneumatic tools. The kids were kissed goodnight and the fun began. The first pickets were leveled with old pickets to the left of the gate (they should have been leveled with the neighbors fence to the right, but that was only the first mistake). Pneumatic tools at 9pm brought no complaints from the neighbors (at least not to us) and we were on a roll.The left picket was level, so as long as I lined them up at the top and made sure they were level vertically, all would be good...assuming the pickets were all dog-eared exactly the same way. I didn't think about this. Just like I didn't think about leveling with the neighbor's fence first. As the rain began, I stepped back to survey the finished section of fence.
View from the front yard.
Hi. My name is Jennifer, and I'm a perfectionist. (More on that another day.)
At the very least 12 pickets toward the right side are coming out. It turns out all dog-ears are not cut exactly the same, so when I lined up on the corners of the dog-ears, the tops didn't always line up, thus the slight upward then downward wave of the fence. It's possible all of the pickets will come off and we'll start on the opposite end and level with the neighbors fence. Those old pickets on the left are coming off and being replaced with new anyway (that post was structurally sound and didn't need to be replaced), so the only reason I leveled with those was because it made sense to start on the gate side.
Live and learn. We've learned a new skill, and learned from our mistakes. Better yet, we had a (semi) productive evening working on a project together - to us, that's better than a date night!

Part of the old fence from inside the back yard. You can't tell just how far it's leaning,
but after removing the gate, we barely pushed on it and the rotten posts gave way as the fence fell.
The bare spot is where the old trampoline was and where the new will go.

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