Life Lesson: It’s OK to Fail. It Sets You Up for the Next Thing

I’ve always envied creative people. That’s a strong emotion, but it’s the truth. Growing up, I often wished I was more like those who could whip up a beautiful painting, craft a gorgeous christmas wreath with bits and pieces of pine branches, pine cones, some string and whatnot, or sew a pretty dress for themselves. I grew to accept that I had two left hands when it came to crafting or art, and so I resigned myself to always be an admirer of the arts and crafts.

Growing up in Malaysia, I never found (really, I didn’t try very hard) to explore my creative side. I didn’t like the idea of being a failure. But since moving to Canada, I’ve been inspired by the people around me. Almost everyone I’ve met has a creative outlet of some sort. Bruce, my other half for one, is a brilliant artist (he blogs about his artwork here and here). I recently met a 75-year-old woman at a local art show who is a prolific artist. She does amazing artwork in watercolour – everything from still-life to portraits to abstract art. Here’s the best part. She told me that she didn’t know a paint brush from her elbow until about 15 years ago! How’s that for inspiration?

Most people I’ve met in the recent past generally aren’t squeamish about trying their hands at pottery, needlework, crocheting, quilting, refinishing reclaimed furniture, candle-making, cake-making, jewellery-making, soap-making, baking, sketching, or whatever they decide to try. So, I decided to shed my fear and try something new. Failure was always an option. Last year, I started crafting and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the experience since.

“There is no failure except in no longer trying.” – Chris Bradford

So, a few hands-on classes later, and through the generous guidance of some crafty bloggers and YouTubers, I’m mostly happy with what I’ve created so far.

I signed up for a beginner’s class in sewing fundamentals at The Make Den and made a sugarloaf pouch (top right) and headband (we also made a pillowcase). Inevitably, there were many times when I got frustrated, unpicking and resewing, unpicking and resewing…, but it eventually came together and I was quite chuffed by the results. So, I kept moving. Following a couple of online lessons (including this one),  I made the other pencil cases you see above (all of which are now in the care of my nieces in Malaysia and Brussels). I continued with sewing fundamental two at The Make Den, where we made tote bags and apron skirts (I never got around to taking photos of these). But, once I got hooked on using my hands to make things, I wanted to keep going. Not only is it fun to do, but it’s been a great way to relieve stress. And, they make great presents too. Last Christmas, following this pattern for a child’s apron by the super creative Aesthetic Nest I made these reversible aprons for my nieces.

Aprons for Children

Reversible aprons for kids

Then I switched gears and tried my hand at knitting. That didn’t go too well, but as failure was an option, I simply moved on to the next project, crocheting. Thanks again to Aesthetic Nest, I made this warm cowl for myself. There are a few mistakes in this, but for my first one, I was pretty pleased.


I’ve started on a few more projects like this one, and am trying some cross stitch work, based on a Frank Lloyd Wright design pattern (this project’s been going on for awhile 🙂 ).

I’m also figuring out if I have it in me to sketch. So, I’ve taken to reading and practicing the lessons by Betty Edwards in Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. I’ll see how this goes. It’ll be a fun way to practice creativity now that the weather is finally starting to warm up. And, as failure is always an option, trying never hurts. 🙂

If you’re new to crafting and art, I would love to hear your experience.

8 thoughts on “Life Lesson: It’s OK to Fail. It Sets You Up for the Next Thing

  1. Susan Diaz says:

    I have two left hands too! I’ve always feared drawing until a few years ago I discovered that the only medium I can draw in is chocolate! We learn something about our abilities every day like you said 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Emma and Stewart says:

    Your creations are brilliant, I’m especially envious of the crocheted cowl – I tried crochet once and I was absolutely awful. Took me the entire two hour lesson to crochet a piece no bigger than a postage stamp!

    You’ve made me want to get back into crafting now though so I think I’ll have to check out The Make Den 🙂 Emma

    Liked by 1 person

    • 49thparallel says:

      Thank you Emma! Glad you’re inspired. 🙂 Definitely check out The Make Den. I love the vibe there and the classes are fun.
      PS: Nice to read about your travels through Canada. You guys have done so much in six months!


  3. Kathy says:

    Love this! Even so-called creative people can be full of fear of failure. It feels to me like a little constant in the back of my brain. You have written an inspiring article and I thank you for it! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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