BOO! or BooHoo?

I think I’ve learned something this week that wiser and more experienced women already know – there’s no point in putting a lot of work into something if you lose all the enjoyment in doing it.

I’ve wwaaaaaaayyyyyy over-committed myself lately, and the stress of it is driving me batty.

I get these great ideas, grand schemes to make money or create something new or save the world… and I don’t always think them through. Or maybe I do and I still ignore my better judgement. Ask anyone who knows me well and they’ll tell you – Yes, Maryann does tend to do things the hard way.

Well, my dears, this week has been full of proof enough for me to step back and chide myself for all the needless anxiety I’ve caused.

Exhibit A: Evelyn’s Halloween Costume.

Beached Mer-child

I stumbled onto this wonderful blog and was determined to make a similar Mer-baby costume for Evelyn’s first Halloween. Of course, I breezed over the facts that I’m not a great sewer, and I don’t have a machine or even decent sewing shears! So let’s just say I massacred 10 euro worth of fabric and many long hours bent over needle and thread, only to throw in the towel last night when I couldn’t figure out the elastic waitband. I know I was quite near the finish, but I actually felt so ill about the whole botched project that I made Frank take it out of my sight.

Sadly, I just don’t share the talents of truly creative seamstresses like my friend Claire… or maybe I just needed more help than I was willing to ask for. But I have to tell you, everything felt a LOT better this afternoon when I went to Marks & Spencers and bought a half-price black cat suit for Evelyn’s costume. Boring old cat suit, generic, doesn’t even have a tail! But she’ll be adorable, and it actually doesn’t even matter that much because she’s too little for trick-or-treating and we may not even leave the house all day! So what was I thinking???????

Blind ambition.

Exhibit 2: Gingerbread House Business Plan



So, one of the “surprises” I mentioned a while back was another idea I had – why not make gingerbread houses to put on sale at Traders for Christmas? I was actually not too far off base with this one – I’ve made gingerbread houses every Christmas for years, even for amateur competitions when I was younger! It’s something I love to do and something I thought would be cool to share with the community, especially since I never see them for sale around here.

Well, I’ve put in the research and talked to people and gone back and forth on the idea for a while now. Finally, I decided to go for it! I won’t become a millionare from it, but it should be fun and relatively simple, right?

As an advertisement, I decided to make up a Haunted Gingerbread House for the shop and do a drawing for it – not have it for sale, but use it as an example of what I’ll be doing at Christmas.

The response was great! People loved it and we had loads of entries.

Then, my worst nightmare came true – the house collapsed in the shop window!!! I mean, fell to pieces, not one tiny bit salvagable!!! Never in all my years of making these things has one fallen apart like this!!! Ever!!!

I said to myself, “Sure, no problem, shake it off, make another!”

But I have to confess, I was mortified. And really questioning my own ability or even desire to make up a bunch of these houses for Christmas. All I kept thinking was WHY? WHY did I come up with this hairbrained idea when it’s time-consuming, difficult, risky, and not even really that profitable??? WHY??

I was also reminded of other entrepreneural schemes that looked much better in my mind’s eye… like selling bouquets of dandelions in front of my house as a kid. I put in a lot of work, sat out for a long, hot day, and really only got the kindly-meant chuckles of a few neighbours as payment.

There is a happier ending to this story, though. I did eventually get my nerve back up and baked another Haunted Gingerbread House. After all, everyone who had entered the draw kept asking about it! I couldn’t let them down.

Now I just have to prepare myself to follow through with the rest. I won’t quit this one – I have committed to it and already have a few orders in. I will do the houses, and they will be great (as long as I can figure out how to keep them from going soft in our humid little coffee shop!!!).

Only time will tell, though, if this project will be worthwhile enough to repeat. I love to see the faces of people as they “Oohhh” and “Ahhh” over gingerbread houses… it takes me right back to reading “Hansel and Gretel” and feeling the shivers of delight over a house made all of sweets… but will the stress of my perfectionist personality take over and delete the joy?

I guess we’ll just have to find out. 🙂

If nothing else, though, I have learned down to my bones the importance of weighing the importance of these things with my own stress levels and the relaxed happy time spent with my family!


One thought on “BOO! or BooHoo?

  1. Humidity is a killer! Recently found out if you have adequate airflow within the gingerbread house itself, then you have a shot with it. But I usually only have the problem with it if I do a house with a flat roof.

    A typical house style will soften, but there shouldn’t be a total collapse, just softening, so maybe you didn’t cook the gingerbread long enough. Another tactic would be to completely cover the roof with icing, this actually helps strengthen it.

    If all else fails, an A-Frame house is the sturdiest structure by far!

    Good Luck!

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