Challenge Your “Comfort Zone”

by Ramona on May 30, 2014

Almost two years ago we moved to a very small “farmette” in SW WI. I grew up in this area and it has always been “home” to me. Having lived in the Sonoran Desert for over 40 years, moving back wasn’t culture shock; instead it was comforting to be in familiar childhood surroundings, with four-seasons and family.

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majesic saguarosIn the Sonoran Desert, growing  things is possible as long as soil is amended, watered and tended religiously. I had limited success with growing things familiar to me as a child. A couple of summers I watched our children grow some green beans and tomatoes; easy to grow and fast to mature. The seasons in the desert were opposite of what I knew growing up with winter being the best time to grow things we found out. The heat in the desert is unbearable for many things except succulents with spines…at least with my limited green thumb. I knew a couple of folks who had temperature controlled green houses and had year ‘round gardens.




0525141250This is the first year I’m trying a limited garden. Over Memorial Day weekend I planted corn, watermelon, pumpkin, cucumber, zucchini, tomatoes and red peppers. This weekend I’ll get in some green and yellow beans, radishes, carrots and spinach. The soil is rich and loamy, the rain is frequent and the sunshine balances what the seeds need to sprout and grow. Over the winter I read lots of gardening websites during my down time and consulted friends in hopes of a successful first season. Those who are confident in their gardening skills giggle at my worrisome thoughts–if I’m doing things the “right” way.

I am truly confident in my sewing skills….my growing skills? Guess we’ll find out. I’m out of my “comfort zone”.  My friend Carolyn’s husband, a farmer by trade, gave me the advice to just “get it in the ground”. I definitely know he’s laughing at me in a kind way.




S1280005Next weekend our niece is coming to visit for the first time since we’ve moved here. She wants to learn how to make Great-Grandma’s Old Fashioned Molasses Cookies. This is a family recipe that has been handed down through four or five generations now. I was handed the recipe with verbal mentoring and loving family who gave me feedback (poor souls actually ate those first attempts) and I had to learn the techniques through trial and error to master this recipe. I finessed it over a number of years and now it is second nature to make them. Our niece is coming so I can teach her to make them….another generation to pass on this recipe. I’m not sure of Amy’s baking skills, but with mentoring, I know she’ll be successful. She’s a thoughtful writer and college instructor. I’m sure this will be a challenge for her because it is probably out of her “comfort zone”.


How does all this relate to sewing you ask? How many times do we sew the same type of thing over and over because we are “comfortable” with the techniques and our skills to complete the task? Do you challenge yourself to try something new and unknown? Are you willing to step out and challenge yourself with a new technique, persistent until it is mastered or do you give up thinking it is too hard or you’ll never use the technique anyway? If you are skilled with a special sewing technique do you mentor someone who thinks it a challenge? Take Marlin’s gardening advice of “just get it in the ground” –just get out the machine and try. We miss opportunities for learning because we’re afraid we’re not doing it the “right way”. Just as with the cookies, the recipe had a “right way” but I made it work for me (and no one knows it’s not the “right way” because they taste the same!)

I’m putting out a challenge to you. I’m getting out of my comfort zone with gardening; won’t you do the same with sewing? Find a technique you’ve wanted to learn. Look to the ASG website for resources. Look online for books to order from our wonderful member vendors (don’t forget about the special offers section on the website for your ASG discount!). Please, if you need help, let me know; that’s part of my job (and also will give me some new material for blogs and YouTube.) Post your success (or on-going attempts) to our ASG Facebook page so we can all encourage each other.

What new technique do you wish to learn to “Challenge Your Comfort Zone”?

Sew ‘til next time….enjoy the journey of sewing!


P.S. If you have any favored techniques for keeping weeds out of the garden….I’d appreciate it if you’d pass them along!

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