How much macaroni and cheese can twenty-odd fourteen-year-olds and about half as many parents eat on a hungry Friday night? That’s the existential question I have to answer tonight when I cook the dinner for a crafting/eating/movie party for my daughter’s eight-grade class.
I have a horror of serving too little food and making party guests go hungry. The memory of one especially awful birthday party I attended where the only food was those little raw carrots and a grocery store birthday cake with NO CHOCOLATE IN IT WHATSOEVER is still fresh in my mind, a good eight years later. As a result, I always serve way too much food. I wonder if that’s really possible with this crowd?
What would you do if you were a rich, handsome tycoon who gets hit by a car while walking across the street and receives a visit in the hospital from the mousy secretary you think was driving the car that hit you (who wasn’t really the driver, but pretends she is to protect her brother-in-law, who WAS driving?)
Would you insist that she let you move into her tiny apartment so she can spend the next month taking care of you? Of course you would! And would you then decide the next day to abandon all your usual tycoonery to force her to take you on a driving tour of the country inns of Scotland? Naturally! Wouldn’t any rich, handsome tycoon do the same?
I can’t tell you how this book turns out in the end because it’s lost somewhere in the bowels of my minivan, but I do have to admire the author’s ingenuity.
Perfectionism doesn’t loom large in my quilting ventures. I leave the painstaking handwork for someone else who has more time and a lot more patience, and take every shortcut I can. Why, then, did it take me nearly five years to finish this king-size duvet cover? It’s true, I ran into some technical challenges, such as machine-quilting the borders separately from the center of the quilt, only to find that the quilting process had made the borders shrink and become half an inch too short, which caused a whole cascade of technical problems that took me almost a year to decide how to fix.
This duvet cover is a gift for my friends Mary and John.
But that’s not the only reason the quilt reached such a mature age before I finished it. Like many of my projects, the quilt had to go through a process I like to call ripening.
“Ripeness is All”
I’ve found ripening to be a necessary process in many areas of life. Bills have to ripen for a while in the “Bills to Pay” file before they’re ready to have checks written and get dropped in the mail. Clothes in the giveaway pile ripen in a heap on the guest room floor before they get crammed into grocery bags and put in the back of the car, and may need another ripening period in the car before they’re ready to actually go to the Goodwill dropoff. This quilt is ripening right now in a garbage bag in the front hall. When I find the right size box to send it off in, it will probably ripen in the box until I realize it’s almost too late for it to arrive by Christmas, at which point I will rush it to the post office.
Can you guess that this ripening process drives my do-it-now husband and older daughter crazy?
And it’s true that sometimes things get overripe. I’ll be lucky if the Day of the Dead skull quilt I’m making for Halloween, out of fabric that has been seasoning in my quilting room since last year, gets finished by Christmas. But eventually it all gets done somehow.
The little diamond covers up one of my biggest technical difficulties, a mashup of not-quite-aligned seams caused by the shrinking borders.