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Hello Again!!!

I haven’t been adding to the website for a couple of months, but that doesn’t mean I have been idle.   It just means that there have been some exciting “behind the scenes” happenings!   Over the early months of this year, it became apparent that we really needed to take a big plunge a purchase a large laser in order to grow the business.  This meant really evaluating what we needed, researching brands and prices, figuring how we were going to get such a large thing into my space, and then placing the order.

Once all of that was decided, we had to ready the space.  This meant running exhaust to the outside, wiring (when all is said and done, this takes four outlets!), cleaning out and getting rid for just the space, and figuring out the best arrangement for efficiency.

I am very happy to say that the new laser has been delivered!  It is installed in the lower level work area.  This machine utilizes a different software than I have used in the past and it took some work to learn the new software and I needed to check that my designs aren’t being distorted at all.  I am confident enough that all is working as it should be that I am in the process of releasing a new “Scatterings” kit, all cut with the new laser as part of this learning process, and am convinced that I am ready to start cutting the more complex kits.  I have two different designs almost ready to start cutting, and they are much more complex than previous kits.  I am sure you are going to love at least one of these!

These photos will give you a bit of an idea of what it took to make this happen!

Backing to Deck
Backing it in!
Will This Fit
How will this fit?
The Journey In
Inside looking out.
Tight Fit
He measured really well!
We Did It
Taa Daa!!!

This is a game changer!  I am actually a bit upset with myself for not making this move sooner.   I hope you stick around and watch this unfold!

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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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Comparing Ourselves to Others

As I am assembling my “Good Fortune” blocks into rows and ultimately a quilt top, I am learning many things about quilting.  I listed some of those in my last post.  However, I have to admit that I am learning even more about myself.   In the posting of these blogs, and in the viewing the progress of others, I am reminded of what comparing myself to others can bring out of me.

You see, at the time I am writing this, I am seeing many photos online of totally finished quilt tops, complete with the beautiful borders that have been designed for them.  They are carefully laid out and photographed, with not a flaw to be seen.  Then I think of all the time I have spent with my seam ripper over the past couple of weeks, because in my haste to keep up with all the progress I am hearing about others making, I have made mistakes.  And I have been so busy trying to keep up, I haven’t even noticed my mistakes until I had to put it all together.  And it would not fit.

So rip out I did, because in order to make this beautiful quilt, it all has to fit.  Does that mean I am inferior?   Why can’t I be fast like the others?    Should I just pack it up and quit?

What I am forgetting, is that I only see what is happening in my life.   I only know the thoughts that go through my mind.  (And now you do too! )  I don’t see what others had to do to make theirs fit.  I don’t see what else they were doing in their lives when they were working on theirs.  I don’t see the flaws hidden in a fold of the top.  I only see what they are allowing me to see.

And so it is with all of life.  Life is a process, a journey.  You and I have to pursue that journey, learning as we go, ripping out the mistakes and starting over when needed.  Moving forward when we have no idea what all these pieces are going to look like when it is completed.  And most of all, relaxing and enjoying the journey, taking time to relish the learning, pass it along to others, and enjoy their company.  We have to remember that only we know what is in our minds.  And we can not judge others, because we do not see their fears, their thoughts, their insecurities.  We only see our own.

Thank you for joining in the journey of “Good Fortune” with me.  I hope you have been inspired to try something new, taking it one step at a time and trusting the process.

There is still time to download the instructions for this quilt from the “Good Fortune” website.   And by the way, I have assembled this one row.  I have many other bits and pieces together, but I am not sharing what they are.  And that is okay with me!  It is beautiful and I am enjoying the process.

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“Good Fortune” is Revealed!

I hope 2019 is getting off to a good start for you and your loved ones!   It is so hard to believe that time is marching by this quickly!   I remember when 2007 sounded so far off.   2019!!!

This week not only was the beginning of the New Year, but the reveal of Bonnie Hunter’s Mystery Quilt “Good Fortune”.  This is the first of her mysteries I have participated in.  I have thought about participating.   I have even downloaded the PDFs, but I have never actually done one.  Part of the reason why I have not is because of the time of the year.  Another big part was the fact that I was going to put that time into making a quilt that I had no idea whether or not I would like.  I admire Bonnie’s quilts.  I look through her website, and like 95% of them, but who knows about this one?   But. hey, scraps are accumulating and they have to go somewhere, right?

Well, I am super glad I did!   This quilt is going to be gorgeous!  And I have learned so much from her hints that I had not heard before, even though I have quilted for many years.

What have I learned?

  • Next time I will be more adventurous (yes, I said next time!) and stray a bit from Bonnie’s color palette.  If the color values remain the same, and the colors look good together, it should work.  I love what she picked, in spite of all the orange, but I would make it mine next time, and change the colors up, keeping in mind what color scraps I have in excess.
  • I had never heard about keeping the ruler line on the fabric and not on the cutting mat.  Just that extra “scant” when cutting makes a really big difference.
  • I learned that there IS a use for the strips of Christmas paper that you have left after wrapping gifts!   I used these for the foundation paper for the neutral rectangles.
  • I am still in amazement at all the planning that Bonnie Hunter has put into these.  I am not a pattern follower.  I love to put my own blocks together, and design them myself.   But I cannot fathom putting all of this together, right down to the direction to press every piece and have it all come out properly.   I have never done anything this intricate with this many pieces.
  • I learned to trust the authority, and blindly follow.  GULP!  I had no choice if I was going to do this.  I had no idea what the final goal was, other than a quilt.  (I like plans, and l like to work the plan!)  It was obvious I was working a plan, but I had no idea where that plan was going to lead.   Lots of good life lessons in that one!
  • Last but not least, I learned to slow down and enjoy the process.  I am a get it done person, who has trouble sitting still.  But when you know that you won’t know for a few days what the next step is, it takes some of the fire out of the “get it done”.   Why rush when you are going to be able to move on anyway?

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My Helper, Lucy, supervised while I removed the paper foundations.

Now I can’t wait to get the blocks together so that I can play with the beautiful borders!  If you haven’t gone to the website and looked at this beauty, or better yet, downloaded the free instructions, I would encourage you to click here!  The free instructions disappear the beginning of February.  After that, they will be incorporated into a pattern or book.

I saw this quip Willowlane Designs posted on Facebook, and thought I would share.  It pretty much sums up my hopes for this year!  (She has the prints for sale, as well as other goodies, so check her out!)

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