January Shenanigans

Happy New Year! I know most of my circle was pretty darn happy to see 2016 end, and there are parts of it I was definitely ready to leave behind, but… This beautiful girl came crashing into our lives this year, and every second we’ve spent as a family of four has been amazing. 20161209-img_4011

I’m kind of a big fan. 🙂

I feel so inspired right now. I’ve been focusing on ways that I can be the change I want to see in the world around me. I had several experiences over the holiday season in which parents were teaching their children to be afraid of the people around them. I heard a woman tell her daughter not to take her hand off the cart because there are people all over that want to steal her. I heard another panicked parent reprimand their child for leaving their sight because “you never know if you’ll find me again.” These experiences reflect something about our current culture that I had not thought was so prevalent. It was eye opening as much as it was heartbreaking. Our circles are small and fear motivates. My goal this year is to make new friends and teach my children that the people around you are not to be feared, your community and the people in it contribute to your life in ways you’ll never see.  You cannot be a compassionate and empathetic person if you are afraid of people outside your bubble.

So far this year, I’ve sparked conversations with people over things like earrings, shoes, kids telling “your face” jokes, schools, scarves, and a whole mess of others. If I see something awesome I walk right up and tell someone new they are awesome. Not so surprisingly, these mini conversations have led to all sorts of unexpected results. I’ve learned about classes, restaurants, parks, and parts of the country I know nothing about. I guess what I’m saying in my long winded way is fight fear with kindness. I am, and I’m teaching my kids to do the same.

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On the quilting front, this inspiration has sparked my desire to find a few patterns I can produce quickly in addition to building my skills. My goal is to begin donating at least one of my creations to someone in need this year. I only completed two quilts last year, so while this sounds like a small donation, it’s about as large as I can right now. We give quilts to ones we love because it’s like wrapping them in a beautiful hug whenever they need it. Who needs a hug more than someone who is facing perhaps the worst time of their life?

All mushiness aside, the first 15 days of the year have been great for quilting! I spent my first two days of the year sewing with some brilliant and creative ladies. They even let me bring my chaos (kids) the second day! I haven’t known them very long but they are inspiring and super fun to hang out with. I got some great advice on my paper piecing project, mainly to lower my stitch length to make the paper easier to tear. It was also confirmed that my machine was indeed making a lot more noise than machines usually do, and my stitches really weren’t coming out very well. I think I’ve used that machine just about to death. It’s the only one I’ve ever had though, so it was nice to seek advice from women who all have worked on several different machines.

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My pattern on this project comes from the book Vintage Quilt Revival and the creator of the pattern “Cut Glass Baby Quilt” is Katie Blakesley from Swim Bike Quilt . Katie designed this with solids, and has a great piece about using solids in the book, I highly recommend it! My husband liked it so much that as I was creating it, he asked if we could make it a row bigger and have it as a throw blanket. It’s beautiful, and a great way to start paper piecing if you haven’t already.

I started it last year around my birthday, when I contracted bronchitis and was down for almost two months. Then I got distracted with finishing quilts for Jessika and Ellie and just didn’t get back to it until the quilt retreat I went to new years day.
sogn39921Speaking of the retreat, it was awesome. I think I speak for a lot of moms when I say we don’t take enough time for ourselves. It was a much needed break and I realize I probably need to do that more often. Spending time with people who share your interests is so important! One of my new friends even rescued me from what would have been a dreadfully boring Friday this past Friday. We hung out and sewed all afternoon. Sewing with friends is food for the soul, in my opinion. Not to mention productive.

While this one is still a while away from being finished, I’m looking to begin planning my next project. I am looking for a modern quilt style that goes together quickly and uses smaller pieces so I can incorporate at least some scraps. I’d love some suggestions! Also, if there are any modern or vintage made modern patterns you’ve found that you love, post them below! Happy sewing 🙂

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