Friday, November 6, 2009

Why do I do this?

Ever since I was child, I have had things I "must" have. My birthday and Christmas are fairly close together, so I would tend to save up a big list of hot new items I needed and would ask for them for either occasion. The problem with my wishing and hoping and coveting these treasures for almost a year prior to getting to lay my hot little hands on them, meant that once I had them in my possession, I was afraid I would "waste" my precious toy in some meaningless way. Let me try to explain.

I wanted an Easy Bake Oven very very badly. Those little cakes looked absolutely scrumptious on the commercials, and though I love my mother very much and appreciate every single thing she did for me growing up, there was never a scrumptious home baked cake ever formulated in our kitchen. That was my Nana's department. My Nana made beautiful cakes and I so wished I could do that, too. So naturally, the little Susie homemaker that resides in every little girl's heart saw those fabulous little cakes on the TV and just HAD to have an Easy Bake Oven. These was very good marketing techniques. It's like they knew I was sitting there wishing for a special homemade cake, and one that was made entirely by my clumsy and inexperienced baker's hands. I began to make plans in my head of what my cakes would look like when I would someday by the proud owner of my very own Easy Bake Oven. I slipped not so subtle hints to anyone who would listen to me (namely those who were both related to me and had possession of a checkbook or credit card, thus insuring optimal chances at unwrapping this amazing machine come birthday or Christmas).

Low and behold, I got my Easy Bake Oven. Now I can't remember if it turned out to be for a birthday or Christmas, but I know I got it. I wanted to open the box right then and there and turn out a baker's dozen of those precious little cakes for my entire family to show my appreciation for their acknowledgment of my dreams and desires concerning my baking skills. Eventually, I was convinced that the oven, while it may be Easy Bake, was not Easy Assemble, and that maybe we should wait until another time to tackle that particular beast. When I finally got the chance to try out my prize, I made a little chocolate cake. I remember being very impatient because the girl's on the commercial clearly only had to wait 3.5 seconds before they would slide their finished product out and declare it to be ready. I also remember being very proud of my cake, and I couldn't figure out why no one wanted to share in my delicious treat. (Now I'm thinking it's because the cake looked like a flattened dog turd...but that's just me...)

As I began to clean up and put my Easy Bake Oven back into the box to await the next baking adventure I would have, I realized that there were only a couple more packets of cake mix included with the oven. I decided right then and there that I would use my cake packets sparingly and only indulge people with my tasty morsels for the most important of occasions.

I'm sad to report that I never again used my Easy Bake Oven. I could never find an event important enough to use my last packets of mix. Nevermind that you could probably buy more. I just couldn't bring myself to end my affair with my oven that quickly. So instead, I ended it slowly and dreadfully. I ended it by never touching it again, but by looking at the box in the top of my closet every day and dreaming of my important moments that would bring me to bake again.

Unfortunately, my Easy Bake Oven isn't the only thing that I've "saved" up until sometime important. I seemed to always have a supply of specialty pencils and erasers that must have been special to me for reasons I couldn't possibly remember now. Did I ever use those pencils or erasers? Nope. I think I ended up selling them at a garage sale a few years ago. (Don't even ask why I still had that crap all these years later...that's a whole different can of worms.)

I love to scrapbook and for years I've bought an endless amount of stickers and paper and embellishments. For several years, these things have sat in my craft boxes and I found myself saying over and over "I'm just waiting for the perfect picture for this..." Finally, I realized that the "perfect" picture doesn't have to be perfect after all, and I finally started using some of my stickers on pages of my family.

I'm really trying to change my way of thinking, because as long as I'm living my life waiting on something "perfect" to come along, I'm going to be missing all the "perfectly imperfect" things that life has to offer. So far, I'm liking this new approach.

Recently, I've been trying to research (and by research I mean it's pretty advanced research...) ways to make my pictures turn out better. I love to take a million pictures of my son, because I love to scrapbook. (I need something to use those stickers with!) Because I'm always trying to take pictures, I got Photoshop Elements a couple of Christmas's ago, but I never had the patience to figure it out. Besides, I thought, there will be something really special for me to use it with. (Sheesh, I have a problem!) My husband has more or less figured it out, and does a pretty good job editing pictures. Tonight, I decided I would try one more time. Armed with my Google search for tutorials, I played with a picture that my husband took last week of a rundown chapel in the middle of nowhere. (For anyone native to this area, it's known as Workman's Chapel, and it's supposedly a seriously haunted place. It must not be too scary these days, because the way it looked a few years ago and to what it looks like now, people have done some serious vandalism, which is just sad.) Here are some pictures, just to prove that I really did try to learn, and to show that I'm really proud of myself. It's nothing professional for sure, but it made my night to accomplish something I thought was impossible.

This is the original picture

This is the edit my husband did.

This was my first edit

This was my second edit

And this was my third edit.

Like I said, nothing fantastic, but a sense of accomplishment nonetheless.

On another note, now I feel guilty for not using it for so long. As I searched for tutorials for my Elements version, I realized that version 8.0 is now available. Mine is 4.0....that's how long I let a perfectly good gift sit around and gather virtual dust. It was my Easy Bake Oven all over again. Only this time, I'm not going to continue to let it go to waste!