There is so much to think about when I think of all that was packed in to 2015. Last year challenged me pretty good in many ways. For awhile it felt a bit like I was the mole in the Whack a Mole game, getting whacked back down when I managed to pop out. It was a whirlwind of a year, with a good amount of heartache, losing both of my beloved Grandparents 6 months apart and facing some other challenges I did not expect. However, looking back there is so much to be thankful for. My kids are happy and healthy, we did some fun things as a family this year and I think with all of the challenges I managed to grow a bit in positive ways. This year also gave some clarity to what I want more of, and less of, in my life. I got to sew a bunch and often with very nice people which was wonderful. I love how much peace and comfort sewing gives me. Here are some of my favorite things I made this year...
This Honu (Hawaiian for turtle) was for a sweet friend's new baby. I used the pattern from BoTwal found here. I modified the shell pattern to make it patchwork and used wool stuffing which worked really nicely.
I finally finished my Weekender!! My sweet friend Irene and I started these last spring and finally finished them in October! What I learned form this project is you can really make things more difficult by getting stuck in your own head. Everything I have read about this pattern is how difficult it is so I took that to heart and made it so much harder than it had to be. Honestly, it is not as much difficult as it is a project you have to slow down and work your way through with patience. You cannot rush this if you want nice results. And for goodness sake get a piping foot. So much easier. I love this bag. It makes me happy every time I use it!
My Christmas quilt! I could not love this quilt more. It is the Tree farm Quilt which can be found on the Moda website. I used a white background fabric that has little pearlized dots of varying sizes and they look like sparkly snow. The colors are all the colors that speak Christmas to me and I had a blast making it. I pieced the top at Sewtopia in November which was an amazing experience. I met the nicest people, I felt totally pampered and laughed the whole weekend. It was so refreshing being with a crowd of people all brought together by a shared love and all there to have a great time. When I look at this quilt I think of all the great feelings I felt that weekend and the wonderful people who made it such a magical experience.
I started painting again. I have a degree in Fine Arts and spent many years painting. This year I bought some nice paints and made it a point to just paint for painting's sake. Just to enjoy the process. Sometimes I liked the results, sometimes I didn't but i always enjoyed the process. Mixing colors, moving the paint around, experimenting, just being in the moment. I have realized that there is so much emphasis on product and not process and I think I was feeling really shortchanged by myself in focusing so much on the end result.
In thinking about the importance of process and being in the moment, I started an improv quilt, my first but it won't be my last. The only rule was that there were no rules. I grabbed fabric and sewed and sliced and tried to feel my way through, making choices that made me feel good. One little bit at a time, not thinking about where it would all end up. In the end the product made me as happy as the process and it is one of my very favorite quilts ever. A very talented quilter is quilting it right now and is doing some amazing things to it. I can't wait to see what she does- so far it feels like a perfect compliment to my intention for this quilt.
Sewing with wool. I couldn't quite get enough of wool sewing this year. It feels good, the colors are beautiful, it is soft and has a meatiness to it that I don't get with quilting fabric. Loving the wool right now!
The magical rope bowl. My friend Irene showed me how to make these. And then I found people online doing some beautiful things with them like Tia at tiacurtisquilts.blogspot.com who wrapped her rope with fabric and got me going in that direction. You can turn some rather unimpressive not at all attractive rope into something beautiful and useful! Making these is addicting because it is so relaxing. listening to the machine thump along while you sew rope in a circle clears my head in the best of ways. I will be putting together a post of tips and tricks and what I have learned because so many have asked and I would be happy to share what I have learned.
So here is what I learned this year:
Slow down. Enjoy the moment, enjoy the process.
Make time to do things that you love that feed your soul. If you can, find wonderful people who want to do those things too and share time with them.
There are things you can control and things you can't . Find a way to work those things you can't control into your life in a way that won't break you. I think about when I would body surf in Hawaii and sometimes you would just get pounded by a wave and if you fought it, it was even worse. if I could go all boneless and let the water take me where it was going to anyway, and be patient, I would end up where I needed to go, not too much worse for wear.
One day at a time. Sometimes one part of a day at a time.
Put love out there. Don't let people take your sparkle and worse yet, don't squelch it yourself!
Here is to 2016- I hope I can remember what I have felt and learned this year and build on it in meaningful ways. Cheers!