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Welcome Spring!

Artfully Quilted Design LLC "Brown Bunny" Fusible Laser Cut Applique

This year, I am so happy to put winter behind us, and move forward to spring!  It seems like most of my family and many of my friends have had bugs of one kind or another off and on all winter, including myself.   But spring is here, and I welcome it with open arms!

To me, spring means change…  The sun comes out from behind the clouds more often.  The grass turns from brown to green.   The bare branches of the trees start to show color, greens and pinks and yellows and whites.  The snowblower gets put away and the rakes and shovels come out.

And then there is new life!   We have a farm close to us that raise sheep, and I am waiting for the sight of the dozens of newborn lambs that will soon be in their pasture.  The birds are nesting and getting ready to lay their eggs.  Soon the chipmunks will be out of their winter holes and on my front porch to taunt my dog.  🙂

Another new thing?   Two new kits to honor spring!!!

The first is the “Brown Bunny”, pictured at the beginning of this article.  This beautiful bunny is 12 ½ high X 12 wide and is a simple kit to put together.  This would make a lovely medallion center for a baby quilt and would look great on a door hanging, wall hanging, or table runner.

The second new kit is “Watercolor Flowers” Scatterings.  This kit contains fusible laser cut flowers, four each of 2”, 1¾”, and 1¼”, plus sixteen 1” and twelve 1¾” leaves.  These work great in little arrangements on the border of a quilt, in the corner blocks, or scattered on top of a quilt, wall hanging or table runner.  They could even be used on child’s clothing.

Artfully Quilted Design LLC "Watercolor Flowers" Scatterings

I hope this has inspired you to bring some spring into your home!

Happy sewing!

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Life Lessons from a Mystery Quilt

The “Good Fortune” Mystery is finished!  Well, kind of…  Except for that one little square that I need to rip out…  now that it is sewn into the quilt.   That I didn’t even see until I took this picture.   And now that I have seen it, I can’t unsee it.   (Big sigh.)  And of course layering and quilting and binding.

I have learned many life lessons while finishing the quilt top this last couple of weeks.  I have had more time to reflect on the process, and here is the result:

  • Trust the Designer. As I worked on this, knowing only what I was to do on that particular week, I could not see the big picture.  I could not see how all these little pieces were going to fit in the big scheme of things, or even if they were going to fit together:  little squares, bigger squares, rectangles, smaller rectangles.  How on earth is this all going to come together to make one beautiful quilt?   But I knew the reputation of Bonnie Hunter.  I had looked at photos of her quilts over the years, and knew they were beautiful, so I kept working at those odd pieces, trusting that they would come together and be beautiful.  I happen to believe that we have a Designer as well.  There is a plan for our lives.  Sometimes we don’t understand why today, or this week, or even this year has to shape up like it does.  Sometimes we don’t really like the color we have been handed.  But we know the reputation of our Designer.  We know that He makes all things beautiful and that in the end it all fits together.  So trust in the Designer, and trust that somehow, someway they will all come together and be beautiful.   Jeremiah 29:11  
  • Be Diligent. One of the things that makes this quilt so special is the small pieces: the little squares that make chains throughout the quilt, the small rectangles that make up the sawtooth borders, the little checkerboards in the centers of the red and orange squares.  Not a big piece in sight!  I have to admit, if I had seen this pattern in a magazine, I probably would have laid it aside, saying, “Too much work.  Too many pieces.  I don’t have time for all that piecing.”  And I would have never done it.  But I didn’t see the big picture.  I was fed bite size pieces, just one little step sometimes repeated hundreds of times.  But doing the same thing over and over isn’t a big deal.  And then the process is repeated the next week with a different same thing repeated.  And then suddenly  the reveal!  I couldn’t believe that this pile of different blocks was all I needed for a beautiful quilt!  Life is like that as well.  We do the same thing over and over, day in and day out.   And then we are asked to learn a new thing, or a new way of doing the old thing and we do that over and over.  We don’t even think about why or what those things are going to lead to, we are just doing what we need to do.  And then the reveal!  Suddenly, after years, we realize that that skill learned while raising young children, and that lesson learned at work, and that talent that we unveiled, and the thing our boss asked us to do that we didn’t think we would ever be able to do (but did!), have all equipped us for a new stage of our life.  All those lessons and skills have turned us into the person that we now are.  It would have never happened if we had not been diligent in the small things each step of the way.  Isaiah 28:10 
  • Keep things straight. Can you just imagine what this quilt would look like if the blocks were just sewn together randomly…  An orange next to an orange, a sawtooth border running across the middle, the star blocks sewn together to not even slightly resemble a star?   It would be a mess!  But isn’t that how we try to live at times?   We just do what we feel, what we want or don’t want to do.  No discipline.  No thought of those around us.  We are just thinking of ourselves, doing what WE want.  And we end up with a mess, and then try to blame others.  We need to know there is a  plan, and then work the plan.  Keeping things straight, whether we feel like it or not.  (And sometimes rip out that little square and turn it a quarter turn, even though I don’t want to!)  That is the road to a life that I can sit back and look at from time to time, and smile at!  Proverbs 4:26  
  • It’s all about the value. I am not talking about one person being more valuable than another, or about money.  I am talking about the interest that is created in the quilt by the areas of neutral colors, next to the brightness of the oranges and reds, in contrast to the solidness of the blues and greens.  Our lives are like that too.  We need those neutral, thoughtful, sometimes full of introspection, or just calm times in our lives.  The problem is, if we sit in that place too long, we are boring or maybe even depressing.   We need the brightness of life, the times of joy, and laughter, and happiness to contrast with the neutral times.  And then there are the blues and greens.  The hard times.  The stoic times.  The solid, one step in front of the other times.  The just breathe times.  We need those to develop character and perseverance.  We need those to appreciate the calm times.  We need those to appreciate the bright and happy times.  And just when the blues and greens get too heavy, a bit of orange, a bit of red comes along to bring us cheer.  And it all works together to make our lives good, to make us more like our Designer.  Romans 8:28

I am going to miss working on “Good Fortune”, and the thinking about what to write about this quilt.  But alas, there are more projects on the horizon!   Come back again sometime and see what’s next!

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The Store is Open!

Quite a few years ago, we built our own house.  Hands on built.   During that time we learned a very important life lesson.  If you think it will take an hour, it will take a day.  If you think it will take a day, it will take a week.  If you think it will take a week, it will take a month.

As it turns out, that also applies to stores and websites.

I started considering this about three years ago, and dismissed it for all of the reasons we as humans come up with because we are reluctant to step into unknown territory. However, it would not go away.  Finally at the beginning of this year I decided I HAD to do this.   Every argument I came up with would be demolished by something I read or heard.   Beyond that, I just knew this was what I had to do or I would forever wonder…  What if?

So here I am.  Here IT is!   This truly is a culmination of my life:  all that I have experienced and all that I have learned (about myself, about my craft, about life, about those I love).

I hope you will come along and watch my store grow and maybe even help me with suggestions, photos of your work, and even questions.

And please examine those thoughts that keep coming back to you and won’t go away.  Please don’t get to your sunset years and find yourself asking…  What if?