I fell in love with William-Adolphe Bouguereau’s painting Sewing (1898) when I was about twelve years old. I thought this calm and pensive little girl was so beautiful, and I made up my own stories about her life and interests.

The sweetness of this child still makes me smile. Sometimes I think of her, and the innocence this painting represents, when I sew.

Phyllis Hoffman DePiano, publisher of Classic Sewing Magazine, has a gracious blog called The Ribbon in My Journal. Last week she shared the history of sewing machines. Most of my sewing has been embroidery by hand, but I recently began learning to use my Singer sewing machine.

Sewing is a skill–and an art–that takes a lot of time and effort to become good at. I’m glad I was introduced to basic cross-stitching when I was younger than Bouguereau’s seamstress. A little progress at a time adds up over the years. Sewing–by hand or machine–has become a pastime I enjoy even when a project stretches my experience.

When I was a child, and intimidated by something I didn’t yet know how to do, my mother always said, “Hard to do, but you can do it!” With time and practice, many things that once challenged me have become second-nature; and there is much satisfaction now in knowing that with patience I can get it right.

To make something beautiful brings more joy into life. To slow down and focus on the details is always worth the effort.

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