Editor’s Note: Imperfect hobbyist

Creative intentions do not always equal a Pinterest-perfect product.

Did you know ganache is just semisweet chocolate chips and heavy whipping cream?

I genuinely had no idea. Whenever I heard “ganache-filled” mentioned on a reality baking show, I guess I had pictured this chocolatier-level process for something that sounded so French and fancy to me.

It came as a welcome surprise when I looked up the recipe for the cake I promised my mom on her birthday this year. I went into it with zero ganache experience plus an ambitious vision (there’s a giant receipt of recently purchased tools to prove it), but I was ultimately pleased with the outcome. I’m considering it one of my pandemic project wins.

It’s certainly not comparable to some of the incredible things you’ll see featured in this month’s cover story that invites you to learn something new. I can’t get over pro knitter Susan B. Anderson’s stuffed animals or Nicole Peaslee’s watercolor art in particular. I’m amazed at how creative people can be, including some of my own coworkers who shared their quarantine crafts.

But creative intentions do not always equal a Pinterest-perfect product. The excitement and optimism that mark the beginning of a new endeavor can often be thwarted by the frustrating realization that your end result is either not what you imagined or will take too long to get there. On one of the last days of production week for this issue, senior production designer Emily Culp had me laughing when she posted a picture on Slack of a third of a scarf she started in March 2020, as seen below. She’d given up on the project (partly blaming her annoying YouTube instructor).

start of a scarf, but left unfinished

Photo by Emily Culp

It reminded me of all the subpar or unfinished projects I’ve tallied since early 2020. My own half-made scarf still hangs from a crochet hook by the side of my bed. (Emily and I should have taken Anderson’s advice and started with a hat.) I hung a curtain rod for the first time, but it took about five gaping “practice” holes in the drywall to get there. And I hope no one ever inspects my first attempt at peel-and-stick wallpaper at close range.

But I consider the failures a part of the fun. Let’s leave perfection to the professionals — hobbies are for trial and error. They’re for learning new things about yourself. One of the most rewarding parts for me is seeing a project through to the end. I enjoy standing back and admiring the product of hard work.

Which is why I love this month’s cover story. I hope it inspires you to explore and expand your creative skill set. I think it’s even convinced me to finally finish that scarf. Just in time for … spring.Magazine footer that says "Like this article, get so much more by subscribing"