you know that fine balance between your personal life and your business? the past two weeks mine has been completely off. a few days ago i woke up at 4am and my brain was going a million miles a minute. my old therapist called that state of anxious unrestful thinking monkey mind. thoughts were skipping so quickly i hardly had time to notice what they were…emails that needed to be returned, spreadsheets to create, friends to call back, vendors to refund, wondering if a raccoon was going to attack my hens in the backyard, designing the fall patchwork postcard, was the pain in my back a kidney stone?, figuring out our craftcation advisory board, trying not to murder my snoring husband next to me, securing presenters and sponsors for craftcation, wanting to return to my pre-wedding gym + healthy eating routine, marketing patchwork edible, should i be trying to get pregnant?, am i doing exactly what i’m supposed to be doing with my one precious life? as tiffany han asked me…the list could on for pages and the whole thing kept repeating in fleeting glimpses until finally…four hours later i gave in. i pulled out my ipad and started catching up on my favorite blogs and craftcation presenters.
courtney cerruti (one of our craftcation 2014 presenters) happened to be teaching a class in healdsburg at shed the next day. i signed up, hoping that making something with my hands and taking a break for a few hours from the computer was exactly what i needed to cure my monkey mind and get some sleep.
i’d been wanting to visit shed which according their website is: “a food community that sustains people, our environment, and our local economy.” shed is modern and beautiful. planter boxes on their patio brim with herbs and veggies. inside you’ll find a well-stocked version of a contemporary general store featuring supplies and tools for your home, garden and kitchen. boxes of gravestein apples and bursting blackberries beckon. neatly arranged on shelves, perch colorful french presses, sustainable kitchen goods and pantry items like grains, beans, milled on-site flours and pretty much every fancy condiment you’d ever wish for.
at the coffee bar i picked up a shortbread cookie that nearly made me weep with its buttery flakiness. at the cafe i grabbed some potato, turnip, parsley, chopped egg, whole grain mustard and caper salad. i used to i shy away from potato salad. it’s hard to get past childhood memories of park picnic soupy room temperature versions where mayonnaise was the star ingredient. the potato salad at shed proved that innovative yet simple versions of classic american dishes can blow your mind.
my snacks and i headed upstairs to shed’s grange “a modern interpretation of the time-honored agrarian center, bringing people together for a range of events focused on food and farming (and making)” for courtney’s class. the afternoon sun flowed through huge windows filling the loft where courtney had arranged a collection of vintage + new papers as well as all the supplies for us to create one-of-a-kind paper flowers.
for the first time i was on the other side of the table, a student instead of a teacher. it felt good to know that my only job for the next three hours was to listen, learn and make. courtney’s passion for art, craft and creating came through as she guided us step-by-step through the process of making paper flowers. we crumpled pieces of sewing pattern paper to make our flower centers, hooked them onto floral wire and created dozens of different types of petals to wrap around them. courtney revealed tips, tricks and supply resources in the bay area like scrap, the san francisco flower mart, the east bay depot for creative reuse and santa rosa’s sequoia flower mart.
three hours later my potato salad, shortbread cookie and the shrub (a surprisingly refreshing and delicious fermented vinegar drink that naomi who runs the maker workshop programming at shed brought us) were long gone. my flower bouquet was far from perfect but i tried to think about what courtney had said when class began, “don’t worry about making things perfect. nature isn’t perfect. you and your flowers don’t have to be perfect either.”
i drove home from healdsburg with my paper flower bouquet on the passenger seat. i didn’t turn on the radio or catch up on phone calls like i normally do when driving. i rolled down the windows and forced myself to be present in the quiet moment of late summer sun.
when i got home my new husband had cleaned the house, put dinner in the oven and whipped up some peach + grapefruit daiquiris in one of our beloved wedding gifts, a vitamix. we sat in our backyard sipping peachy goodness, eating ribs, watching our chickens peck around the yard and we talked–my paper flower bouquet bursting from a vintage hobnail vase sitting on the table.
“those flowers are kind of weird but i like them,” he said. i told him about what courtney said about nature not being perfect.
if you want to make imperfectly perfect paper things too, you can take one of courtney’s workshops in person, online on creative bug, be on the lookout for classes near you, or come to craftcation 2014 and learn how to not only make paper flowers but image transfers on wood, beeswax collages and artist trading cards. courtney is a truly extraordinary maker. her painted portraits, paper arts and the way she transforms a space into a work of art are awe inspiring. you can also follow her loveliness on instagram @ccerruti
here’s a tiny little taste of my afternoon with courtney. this is how i made one simple flower in her class.
what to get:
what to do:
1. crinkle a bit of tissue paper in a ball
2. wrap a square of tissue paper around the ball so it looks like a ghost
3. attach it to floral wire by making a hook with the wire and wrapping it around the ‘neck’ of the ‘ghost’ and wrap the extra wire around the ‘base’ of your future flower
4. use floral tape to cover the wire at the base
5. cut petals from crepe paper and attach them to the base of the flower, layering the petals in a circle
6. use floral tape to wrap the base
this is a very simple version and i encourage you to explore making paper flowers with courtney.
how do you realign yourself when your personal life and work life are off balance?