One Day I Will Rule the World

World Domination, Babies and Middle Eastern Dance

July 29, 2008

The Seven Swan Brothers: craft priorities and deadlines

I started making my first belly dance costume, oh, four months ago, I think. I priced a bunch on the internet, and the ones I liked were upwards of $400, and suggested a twelve week lead time because they’re made to order. I considered spending the $400, but I didn’t like the lead time — it cut it too close to the performance date, and then if I got it and it needed any alteration, I wouldn’t have the time. So I opted to make my own.

But making my own turned out to be ridiculously work-intensive.

Swan Brothers Illustration

Swan Brothers

Whenever I’m making something on a deadline, as that deadline approaches, I find myself thinking of the story of the swan brothers. In the version I had as a child, there wasn’t a six year deadline, just that she couldn’t speak until the shirts were completed. And, that final arm on the last shirt not being done, she was sewing in the cart as it went to the gallows, waiting right until the last moment to break the spell.

Making my belly dance costume, I was thinking, “make the biggest shirt first. make the bodies first and leave the sleeves for last, just in case. I’m so going to be sewing as I ride to the gallows.” I had intended to cover the bra and belt with beads, and I had intended to have a full fringe on both. Instead, all I managed to do was outline with beads about half of the designs that I wanted (never mind filling them in with beads and filling the gaps with sequins). And instead of a full fringe, I had twelve tasseled pieces of fringe in equal spaces around the belt. After the first performance, I set myself to outlining the rest of the designs, but I had to think very hard before I started it — because I couldn’t start a piece that wouldn’t be finished by the following Monday. So long as the designs were equally done between the bra and the belt, and so long as everything was symmetrical, it might look sparse, but it wouldn’t look unfinished. And then after the second performance, I set myself to filling in my fringe.

With the third performance done, I woke up this morning thinking I could finally start a new project. I still want to finish everything I intended on this costume, but I have all the time in the world for that now. I have so many other things I’ve been putting off for after the shows.

  • my house desperately needs cleaning
  • I have barely started writing my book. I should get on with that.
  • I have some spice racks that need stripping and painting
  • I want to paint and decorate my bedroom
  • I have a wedding dress that needs sewing
  • I haven’t knitted or journaled in months
  • And seriously, my house needs cleaning

One thing’s for sure, after the last four months, I will certainly not flinch at the idea of spending $400 on a costume. I mean, my budget might flinch, but I think it’s way more cost effective than spending $80 on materials plus 300 hours on doing it myself.

Clearly my priority should be the writing. Switching to other craft things would be avoidance, pure and simple.

But I think I’m in a nesting-y craft-y mood.

When I was over at a fellow dancer’s house, picking her up to drive her to the show, I poked my head in one of her house’s rooms and commented, “someone who lives here must be very into crafts,” because the room had three desks piled with bits and bobs, plus shelves piled with bits and bobs, and boxes and books and fabrics. The dancer in question said, “yeah, my mom. This is her scrapbooking room. And downstairs is her sewing and quilting room.” To which I replied, “I’m SO jealous of your mom.”

If I kicked out two of my kids I could have two rooms devoted to crafts.

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