misconceptions, limitations and fear

I've been thinking a lot about misconceptions lately and how they create limitations to what I think I can do. It all started when Matthias made some cheese.

the curds before draining

I can clearly remember my reaction to a tv commercial from quite a few years ago where a man was talking about his cheese making hobby (I think it may have been an advertisement for a credit card). What? People don't just make cheese at home. I'm not sure where this idea came from, but I've recently realized that it just isn't true. People make cheese at home. And without any special sorts of equipment or ingredients.

the finished cheese on flatbread with tomato salad

The same day that Matthias made his first batch of cheese, I made my first batch of ice cream. We have had a hand-me-down, hand crank ice cream maker for at least 12 years, maybe more, and until this summer when I decided to try it out and make gooseberry sorbet, I had never used it. Why? Because I had the idea that you can't make good ice cream with a hand crank ice cream maker. Well, that simply is not true. I made strawberry ice cream (modifying this recipe) and then less than a week later I made peach ice cream (using the same recipe with my own variations).

It was not hard, the hand crank ice cream maker worked perfectly and the ice cream was delicious.

And so I started thinking about misconceptions and limitations and fear. Fear because I think that often fear creates the misconceptions by which we limit ourselves. Sometimes it isn't even our fear, but others' fears.

  • growing roses is hard/a lot of work
  • greyhounds need a lot of exercise/lots of room to run
  • you need a recipe in order to cook/make something
  • you need a pattern in order to sew/crochet/knit/embroider something
  • watercolors are hard to use
  • you need to have a natural talent to be good at drawing/painting/art
  • you must always wash, tone and moisturize your facial skin twice a day
  • the sun is bad for you
  • never mix plaids/stripes and other patterns
  • redheads should not wear pink
  • orchids are hard to grow
  • bread dough needs to be kneaded and kneaded and kneaded in order to make a good loaf
  • you can't bake really good bread at home
  • cats and dogs don't get along
  • centipedes are bad to have in your basement

The more I thought about it, the more I came up with. My list kept growing with misconceptions that I've abandoned. I can only imagine what else I might still believe that just isn't true.

It makes me sad to think about all the limitations I have placed on myself over the years just because I didn't know any better. Make cheese at home? Yes, you can. And, actually, I urge you to try. This first cheese that we made only needs two ingredients. Milk and lemon juice. Heat the milk. Add the lemon juice. Strain and drain the curds. Easy. (See Ricki Carroll's full Lemon Cheese recipe here). And delicious.

All this thinking has made me open my eyes and open my mind. When I feel myself saying or thinking "you can't do that", I challenge the thought. The only limits on possibility are the limits which you and I place there ourselves.

Here's to abandoning those misconceptions and trying new things!


  1. I love this post, Anne, and had to chuckle at a few of the misconceptions I've heard all my life. I've made yogurt myself and saw goat cheese being made in Tuscany - it's all so natural and simple when you learn the basics. I'll have to think twice when I come up against things I've always believed to be true, but which may not be at all!
    Love your photography.

  2. Anne, your timing couldn't be more perfect. Thank you for sharing this. That cheese with the tomato salad looks divine. Yum.

  3. LOVE this post Anne! I'll have to start thinking of my own…the only ones I can think of are the ones I've already changed (like making bread at home); it's harder to think of the ones you're not aware of yet! I think most of my fears are a result of marketing based on the idea of 'convenience'. Like holy cow, I can bread, mustard, salad dressing, etc. at home?? I love being able to do these things now! Another one was that I couldn't do the Master's program that I'm in right now because I'm so introverted and/or not smart enough but I'm flying through it!

  4. great post, anne!
    sometimes the best things happen when we get out of our own way.
    thanks for this reminder.

  5. What a good post Anne. Oh, man I am right with you on those limitations. Yikes. I need to stop and make note of all of mine. It is amazing what we tell ourselves, believe, etc.

    The cheese looks very good as does the ice cream. Yum. I actually didn't realize or I guess even think about making cheese at home so thanks for sharing.

  6. Great post Anne! Now I really want to have a go at making my own cheese!!!

  7. What a thought provoking post! Usually my thoughts are about how fear limits my artwork but you have got me thinking about other ways we limit ourselves, simply by default thinking that's been handed down to us. Thank you for putting it so well!

  8. Hi Anne!! I really liked your post!! I don't want limitations, I don't want fears, I have to try making everything!! ;)
    That cheese looks so good....I want to try to make it!!!!!!
    Thank you for this post, it's really inspiring!!

  9. Dear and beautiful Anne, oh yes you can make cheese at home. well done! It is so important facing and overtaking our fears and limitations which very often are only illusions of our negative and fearful thoughts. It is something which I have to do every day and sometimes I do overcome my worries and sometimes unfortunately do not but I do not want to give up. Sending you much love and many, many positive thoughts. Big hugs


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