Thursday, February 21, 2013

Failure and The Dog Bed Bag

Scoutie Girl posted today about failure. If you try something new or different sometimes it doesn't work. I think her decision to take it as a learning experience and figure out how it helps the next time is the right one. Learning to cope with failure (or setbacks, or disasters, or unintended features, or whatever you call things that don't go as envisioned) is one of the most important lessons in life. When I was learning to walk (40+ years ago) my Dad would sing me the Jerome Kerns song Pick Yourself Up. The same song came up throughout my life as I ran into new and different challenges that required the same approach -- "pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again."  I think it helps to view any one failure, big or small, as part of a cycle of learning and improvement.

The series at A Happy Stitch called Fail Friday was linked in the comments on the Scoutie Girl post and is a great set of posts about things that didn't go as planned and what can be learned from them. The post from This is Marzipan talks about "the bin" which reminded me of one of my favorite ways to deal with sewing failures -- the dog bed bag. There are a couple of women in my Quilt Guild who make beds for shelter dogs and collect fabric scraps to stuff them with. I used to feel guilty about throwing away little bits of (expensive!) fabric and saved it all because I might use it someday. I also felt compelled to take apart quilt blocks that didn't come out right so the pieces wouldn't go to waste. No more -- they go into the dog bed bag. This is a tote bag that hangs on the side of my cutting table and collects cutting scraps and mistakes. Every time I fill the bag it gets emptied into a grocery store bag and taken to someone who makes it into something useful. If I don't make any mistakes the bag won't fill up and where will those doggies sleep? I think it is a good solution all around.

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