Sunday, March 31, 2013

31:31 -- Buntings and Slices...

This winter, I hatched a brilliant scheme -- recreate the seersucker buntings bedecking Magnolia Bakery's ceilings in New York City...for Reid's big boy room.

I was resourceful -- I enlisted the help of a talented friend, who just happened to have in her possession a Cricut system which whipped out the most perfect pennants from preppy patterned scrapbook paper.  She offered me some hints; she'd made buntings before.

I was studious -- I researched bunting construction to ensure I made ours correctly. Effectively.  Stylishly. I read articles, searched Pinterest for advice, and looked at hundreds of pictures on Houzz for ideas to drive my own work.

I was crafty -- After researching, I tried some of my favorite ideas on for size by creating mock versions of potential bunting styles.  I toyed around with the order of paper patterns, the spacing between each pennant on the twine, the strength of the twine (should I double or triple its weight?)...before finding
what fit best for me and this specific project.

I was driven -- I plugged in my latest acquisition, a hot glue gun, one cold evening and set to work constructing as many buntings as the organized-by-pattern pennant stack would afford.  My project deadline was March 1. No excuses.  I dreamed of hanging them up in Reid's room as soon as possible.

Tonight, reflecting on this month's slicing challenge, I connected these two pursuits. After all, they followed similar trajectories...

In February, I hatched another scheme -- slice for 31 days straight and comment on as many other pieces as I had time to enjoy.

I was resourceful here too -- I took the advice Ruth and Stacey offered leading up to the challenge's start.  I followed their hints to write early and organize a bank of pieces to share...if this felt comfortable.  I unpacked past challenge experiences.  I examined my writing territories.  I donned my writer's glasses, looking for awesome amidst ordinary everyday.

I was studious here too -- I read so many wonderful slices this month, and with each one, I took the time to notice what the writer 'was on about.'  How did they do their tremendous work?  And, after I noticed it, I named it -- for myself, for the writers in my comments.  Then, I saved it up in a giant treasure chest of ideas.

I was crafty here too -- The treasure chest of ideas provided daily writing inspiration. I tried them on for size: like the way Ellen Spears writes to her son and addresses him throughout her pieces as, "You...," like the way Christy Rush-Levine used the analogy of trying on slices just like she tries on clothes, like the way Ruth Ayres writes deep and true...unapologetically...always.  These pieces, and many more, pushed me outside my comfort zone to tailor slices that were informed as a reader and then transformed as a writer.

I was driven here too -- The decision to slice for 31 days straight came amidst my return to work from maternity leave.  Honestly, I didn't think I'd make it because sometimes packing bags, bottles, and lunches each evening and rising early each morning to prepare for school left little margin for creativity (or my perfectionism!) to grow a blog post I'd be comfortable sharing.  I stuck to it though, because I knew all my busy e-friends were plugged into the challenge too.  That's why it's called a challenge, right?  Because sometimes there are moments when you think it just may overtake you...

But it didn't.

And there is one reason why: community.  The caring one here who encourages through kind words and meaningful feedback.  The talkative one here who shares bits of their lives to connect with my own.  The faithful one who stops by everyday to see what I'm up to...what I'm trying on as a writer.  The growing one here that, which each passing year, attracts and connects more like-minded teacher-writers who want to capture life's moments through words.

The buntings hang up in Reid's big boy room now...and the 2013 Slice of Life Story Challenge is in the books.  Closure on both projects is tempered by looking toward what's next.  For my family, it'll be updating two baby books.  For this community, it'll be reconnecting on Tuesdays over a few yummy slices.

Congratulations everyone!  And, thank you...

Write on,


  1. Great connection between the two projects! The bunting is really cute and I enjoyed reading your slices!

  2. Wow, love the bunting. My daughter and I have made Happy Birthday pennants for their daughters. Fun project! I like that you showed the path through to the challenge, b. I didn't read all your slices, but always love what I do read. You are a good writer! I think I knew it the first time I read your work, two years ago? Anyway, I'm glad you're pleased, & I'll see you on Tuesdays!

  3. Excellent! You've got the pennants in your son's room, and you've balanced back to work & slicing! Happy April!

  4. Your connections made me smile. I love the looking forward to what is next. Me too, see you Tuesday?


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