Tag Archives: life

Reflections & Goals for 2018

This time of year always results in the oddest collision of feelings–excitement for the family filled fun that comes during the holiday season, either stress over the projects I need to finish for the holidays or disappointed-letting-go of projects I will never complete in time, introspection and reflection on what goals I met (and didn’t meet) in the year behind me, eager anticipation and renewed inspiration for the possibilities that exist in the new year, gratitude for the gifts that I experience daily, and many more in between. As 2017 leads into 2018, these feelings seem to crash together like waves, one emerging strongly at one point only to be engulfed and buried by another the next moment. That odd transition from one year to the next, it’s really just the passing of a day like any other, so how does it hold such power? Does this happen for you, too? or is it just me?

goal setting planning for new year quilter's plannerEvery year, my dear friend Yvonne hosts a Planning Party on her blog Quilting Jetgirl, which really helps motivate me to sit down and sort through all of these feelings, reflections, dreams, and limitations, and try to determine my goals for the next year. I’ve decided to share my reflections on 2017 and goals for 2018 here, both to make a record of my intentions at this moment, and to maybe help inspire you to not only define your goals and determine steps to help you reach them, but also to be gentle with yourself when life doesn’t go as planned. Since honestly, when does life ever go as planned?

Reflection on 2017

Let’s start by looking at the goals I set for myself in January of this year. A few days ago when I read this over, I honestly laughed out loud.  I’ll give you a spoiler: I accomplished hardly any of these goals, but oh, I had such high hopes back in January! Here’s the list, with my comments in bold after each one.

  • Focus on incorporating repurposed textiles into at least three (3) quilt projects. Here I intended to pick up my repurposed 100 blocks in 100 days project that used all upcycled garments, but that wasn’t meant to be. I did use repurposed textiles in my contribution to Mel from Mel in the Attic’s Woman’s Work, so I’ll give myself a 1. I also am realizing I never shared about that collaboration here!;
  • Minimize new fabric purchases; focus on using the fabrics that exist in my stash already (not very measurable, but important to state!) I definitely did that this year. I only bought fabric for specific projects, or Alison Glass fabric (my weakness!), and not much at that.  I consider this one met.;
  • Experiment with at least six (6) of the #beesewcial prompts to help stretch my creativity and build improv skills. While I sketched out ideas for three (3) of these prompts, not a one made it into reality. I did not meet this goal.;
  • Use a purely green color palette (inspired by Patone’s color of the year, Greenery) on all bee and quilt along blocks to help create a visual statement on being “green” and to stretch my design skills by fitting them all together at the end. I did this!!! My Greenery quilt was really quite fun, and I did a fairly good job of making blocks from various bees here and there, until I had the idea for my Summer Adventure Quilt. Once my Summer Adventure Quilt began (see the most recent update here), Greenery took a backseat and has been sorely neglected. I do not have enough blocks for a full quilt yet and I’m still deciding what to do about it.;
  • Create a more concrete plan for my social action quilt idea, including:
    • a full sketch
    • 2-3 sample blocks
    • brief description I did not meet this goal. Fear, or fear that I would not be able to dedicate the time needed to organize, piece, and follow through with this idea has stalled me. It’s still simmering, but has not been met.
  • Dive further into the “Slow Fashion” movement:
    • Overcome my fear of garment sewing by making at least three (3) items of clothing I attended the Slow Fashion Retreat with A Gathering of Stitches in August and I very much am slowly wading into the Slow Fashion movement. I’ve made two tops–one of which I might actually wear!, and I’ve found a sewing buddy with whom I aim to sew 9 garments in 2018, so I did pretty well with this one!
    • {BONUS} hand stitch one garment. I did not hand stitch a garment, although I’ve mended 2 pairs of my jeans, a pair of my son’s shorts, and began repairs on my daughter’s jeans. Not what I meant by the goal, but hand stitched garments all the same!;
  • Complete two (2) quilt photography projects to deepen my repertoire and experience. I did this! I did quilt photography for Carole Lyle Shaw’s newly released book Patriotic Modern, did product photography for two local artisans (including Spring Fed Farm), and I also completed the epic Quilter’s Planner photography project of 14 quilted items for the 2018 Planner. Combined with ongoing photography projects for the Quilter’s Planner, I consider this goal met and surpassed!;
  • Teach at least three (3) different quilting and quilt photography related classes–spread the love and inspiration for creating beautiful things! Not yet! I am teaching at QuiltCon in Pasadena in February 2018, so that will be one (well, 4 courses and 1 lecture!). 
  • Use my Quilter’s Planner to set manageable goals and help myself feel successful and motivated–including building up to exercising 5 times per week! Sad to say the exercise habit hasn’t happened. I have built up to doing yoga 3ish times per week, and I did a LOT of hiking over the summer, but I consider this goal not met.
  • Stitch daily for 365 days as part of my participation in #1yearofstitches (more on this soon!) I very nearly succeeded in this! Near the end of the summer, I got off track, but so far have stitched for each day, even if it’s not posted on the correct day. I have a couple week’s worth of stitches to update on Instagram, but it looks like I’m actually going to meet this goal! 
  • Finish eight to ten (8-10) works in progress from last year!!! Oh goodness. No goal met here. I finished Finn’s Milestone quilt, but that might be the only WIP from 2016 that I finished. Oops. Yikes. 

So clearly, I did not meet many of my goals from 2017. It really was a year of very few finishes. In looking back at what quilts or projects I’ve finished, the list is very short: Finn’s Milestone quilt, two quilts for Quilt Theory: Staggered and Into the Forest, and my Superbolt Mini Quilt. I may have missed one, but that very well may be the extent of my finishes for 2017. So much for the mantra of “Finish what I’ve started.”

summer adventure quilt progress
Photo from about midway through the summer. There are many more blocks than these!

So what did I do in 2017? I did a LOT of hiking! We hiked at least once per week pretty much every week from March through September.

great pond mountain hikePaired with making an improv tree block before every hike, as well as other blocks to represent other summer adventures, my summer was pretty much filled with the Summer Adventure Quilt and all of the family adventures that went with it. I call that a win.

2018 Quilters Planner and mini-hi resI also did a lot of work for the Quilter’s Planner. Between photographing all 15 projects (I really need to share a post on this soon!), taking photos of the 2017 and 2018 planner both for marketing and for posting on the Instagram feed, and working as the Social Media Manager heading off the Instagram feed, I spent a lot of my time helping inspire others and providing tips on how to plan, stay organized, and create a positive routine of productivity and inspiration. In 2018, I aim to practice what I preach! (laugh with me here!) Honestly, though, the Quilter’s Planner is such an amazing tool, jam packed full of inspiration. Working with Stephanie is really fulfilling and I really do love it.  As with any job, it takes time.

Finally, of course I’m also the full time mom of three amazing children, the wife of a fun-loving husband, and the keeper of a lovely home in rural Maine. That in and of itself is a full time job. All this to say, I’m not disappointed in what I accomplished in 2017. I do, however, hope to use this reflection to help me set more manageable goals for 2018.

Goals for 2018

Where to begin? Since my high aspirations were a bit too high for 2017, I decided to focus on self care, family time, and finding a good balance of time spent on work and fun (both quilting and otherwise!).

I pulled out my 2018 Quilter’s Planner and opened to the Yearly Goals page (this planner really is amazing… and that’s not just my bias talking) to help me brainstorm and get ideas down on paper.

goal setting planning for new year quilter's plannerI chose 3 main goals, and then listed a few steps that would help me achieve each goal. Here they are:

1 – Sew for my family and me, and not just work

  • Finish Max’s Eye Spy quilt
  • Finish Moonstone pillow
  • Plan for 2-3 hours per week dedicated to me-makes
  • Finish Summer Adventure Quilt–finish making blocks, piece top, quilt, finish
  • Sew 9 garments for me!
    • Pick patterns
    • Find sewing buddy!

2 – Focus on Self Care and Family Time

  • Yoga-make it a routine at least 3x per week
  • Schedule and plan ahead more (using Planoly, scheduled blog posts, etc.) so that work isn’t constantly on my mind
  • Actually make goal #1 happen–finish the family quilts that have been on my WIP list for a year+
  • Say NO to some opportunities
  • Summer Adventure 2018?

3 – Continue to Grow and Maintain Night Quilter

  • Blog 3x per week
  • Newsletter 1x per month
  • Quilt & Product Photography – 2 jobs (Quilter’s Planner and ???)
  • Pattern Development:
    • Release 2-3 personal patterns
    • 1 submission to a magazine
    • Stretch: QAL
  • Teach – rock my QuiltCon classes and lecture and then evaluate direction from there–do I actively pursue teaching gigs, or focus on home and family time until my kids are older?
  • Take on no more than 4 outside sew-along, blog hop, or other pattern promoting projects unless it has a measurable impact to build my business.

goal setting planning for new year quilter's plannerSo there you have it. My goals for 2018 are laid out and in public. They now are real, even if they are still written in pencil in my planner.

Any tips to sticking with your goals and making it happen? I’m going to begin by using my Quilter’s Planner in a more organized way. Right now, I absolutely can’t live without it, but I use it more of a to-do list brain dump and “if all stars align and everything is awesome” weekly and daily goals list, than a meticulous plan with actionable, measurable, and attainable steps to get me there. The brain-dump helps keep me sane, prevents me from missing appointments, and helps me feel like I accomplished something even on my craziest days. Now I think it’s time to step it up a notch and work on improving my routines to help me make better use of my time AND take better care of myself.

Here’s to an inspired, productive, and nurturing year ahead!

What are your goals for 2018?

2018 Planning Party

I’m linking up with Yvonne’s Planning Party 2018 over at Quilting Jetgirl.

Making Time & A Thrifted City Sampler Update

I’ve finally decided that the day isn’t going to arrive when I have a window of “free” time where I’m just sitting around wondering what I could do. The past few months have been really busy and exciting with a lot of new opportunities and projects, and while a lot of big projects are finally wrapped up–the photography for the Quilter’s Planner is complete and the amazing planner is now available for sale, Quilt Theory has been announced and our premier line of pattern cards have been released, I just finished and mailed a quilt sample for a pattern that will appear in the February 2017 issue of Love, Patchwork & Quilting magazine, I’m manning the Quilter’s Planner Instagram feed and leading its (and my) very first Sew Along–there seems to always be one more thing. I’ve finally decided that I’m going to make time to work on little side projects, AND I’m going to make time to blog regularly again so that I can share my projects, process, and inspiration with you. You can hold me accountable for taking time to sew for me, okay?

thrifted city sampler progressTo kick off this new resolution of making time for my own sewing on top of my more business-directed projects, I made three more blocks as part of the #100days100blocks challenge hosted by Angie from Gnome Angel. I think I left off around block 22 and the challenge is now heading into the 80s, but as I do with most projects, I set my goal low and I’m happy with just picking up again and making whatever blocks I can. As you may or may not remember, I am making my blocks entirely out of old and worn or thrifted garments, including a black leather skirt, some wool slacks, some cotton-poly blend men’s shirts, and an old pair of corduroy maternity pants. It has been *really* fun sewing with different materials, and with a mostly grey-scale color palette, I’m really focusing on textures within the blocks.

The environmental impact of our actions and the philosophy promoted through Sherri Lynn Wood’s #makedoquilt project are a large part of what spurred me to use only thrifted materials in these blocks, and so I’m presenting each block on Instagram photographed with some plant or natural phenomenon. In each description, I am sharing some information about the species or some interesting fact about its relationship with the rest of the environment. My hope is that by learning more about the world around you, you will feel more invested in preserving and improving it, or at the very least, minimizing damage done to it. This is truly a fun project that combines three of my passions: quilting, the environment, and photography.  Since it has been far too long since I’ve shared my creative process with you, I thought I’d share my three latest blocks and descriptions here, too. All blocks are from Tula Pink’s City Sampler, 100 Modern Quilt Blocks book, and so I’m calling my quilt the Thrifted City Sampler (#thriftedcitysampler).

block 73 thrifted city samplerBlock 73: old wool trousers, thrifted cotton-poly men’s shirt

Remember the milkweed from Block 15? Well here it is in all its seed dispersing glory! After a fun chat with Sharon from Sharon Holland Designs the other day about the amazing seed dispersal technique of jewelweed, I decided to make these next posts all about seed dispersal. As with any organism, the continuation of the species is an extremely important aspect–almost THE main purpose–of life. Since plants can’t move, they’ve developed some really clever ways to ensure their potential offspring (aka seeds) get spread far and wide and/or have a good chance of success.

Milkweed seeds are attached to a thick, light weight fluff tuft that, once matured, emerges from the dried, cracked open seed pod and is carried by the wind. Wind dispersal!! This helps spread the species into new areas, giving the species as a whole a greater chance to survive and thrive. Can you name another common plant that uses wind seed dispersal??

block 72 thrifted city samplerBlock 72: thrifted black leather skirt, pink cotton women’s capris, my husband’s worn-through 100% cotton slacks.

We are fully in the most drab time of year in Maine. The gorgeous leaves are mostly brown and dropped, the flowers are in their winter form or gone, everything is finding dormancy. But plant identification is still not only possible, but fun! I hope you enjoy finding the beauty in winter weeds with me.

These asters have a small tuft that allows for wind dispersal, but they also use power in numbers to their advantage. A super hardy weed, asters produce many flowers, approximately 300 individual flowers per flower head, with many seeds resulting. The sheer number of seeds helps promote the success of their species. Paired with the wind, it’s no wonder there are asters everywhere!

block 77 thrifted city samplerBlock 77: thrifted cotton-poly men’s shirt, old cotton slacks, worn men’s shirt, black leather skirt.

Another fun installment in the “amazing seed dispersal” adventure is burdock. Burdock (Arctium) is equipped with hooks and spines that latch onto any creature passing by too closely (just like Velcro). The creature continues walking until the spikey, itchy seed pod irritates him enough, spurring him to remove it and toss it aside, hopefully (for the burdock) on fertile ground. This allows the seeds to spread far, far further than a stationary plant could reach. While this is a super cool seed dispersal trait, anyone who has “fixed” her children’s coat, hair, and wool mittens after the child has discovered a burdock plant fully understands the annoyance the poor deer, bear, foxes, coyotes, and other creatures must feel toward this and similar plants! (Note that I was VERY careful not to let my block touch the seeds when taking this photo. Those barbs are sharp and definitely would result in pulls in the fabric.)

I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing these blocks and their accompanying environmental tidbits. I’m looking forward to updating you on the other small side projects I’ve been working on between deadline projects, AND hope to even finish some of the many (oh, embarrassingly many) works in progress that are stuck in the “soooo close to finished but temporarily abandoned pile”.  I have so much fun to share with you! Hope you’ve been well, and I’m looking forward to being more present in this space again.


Down the Deadline Rabbit Hole & A Lesson in Organization

Hi! Remember me? I’m currently stuck down the deadline rabbit hole, but am very much looking forward to returning here. I am nearing the finish line for a couple more projects, and then I will have MUCH more time for slow, leisurely stitching and lots of sharing my projects and progress here.

The funny thing about the past few months, which have seemed filled to the brim with exciting, albiet deadlined projects, is that ALL of the projects were taken on in the span of one particularly ambitious-feeling week back in March or April. It was right when I was finishing the final touches on my first commissioned quilt, Kittens at Play, and I was feeling on top of the world, having knocked out a few big deadline projects. Within the span of a week, quite a few project opportunities presented themselves to me, and in my feeling of boundless ambition, I said yes. Then I said yes again. Then I said yes a couple more times. Do I regret it? Nah. There’s no sense in that, and the projects have been fun and exciting. But I certainly will learn from it, and by sharing my story here perhaps you can, too. The lesson? Know your limits.

Leanne from Devoted Quilter emailed me a few weeks back asking if I would be willing to participate in a blog post she was writing about staying organized. Last week, she posted her compilation post, filled with tips from some of her favorite quilters on how to stay organized with quilting.

12-tipsfororganizingyourquilting2*Spoiler alert* My tip for her was to know your limits. When every project is a priority with a quickly approaching deadline, it’s difficult to make a prioritized list and keep yourself organized. On normal weeks, the prioritized list I make in my Quilter’s Planner each week is my saving grace. You can head over to her blog to read more great tips for staying organized, and I look forward to joining you soon!

I couldn’t write a post without ANY photos, so here are a few quick photos I took along the walk to pick up my daughter from school today. Autumn is officially here in midcoast Maine!

birch trees maine october
The birch leaves are *just* beginning to turn.
queen annes lace winter weed autumn maine
Queen Anne’s Lace is fully seeded and ready for winter.
red maple leaves autumn maine
The maple trees are really putting on a fiery show!

How do you manage to stay within your limits even when presented with fun and exciting opportunities!? Clearly, I need some pointers!

Getting into the Swing of Things… or Not

Despite the best intentions, I’ve had a pretty slow start at “getting back into the swing of things” after returning from the Slow Stitching Retreat. I have done zero non-deadline related sewing, my house is not nearly as tidy as I’d like, and there are days where we all just run amok outside all day long. But you know what? I’ve decided that’s all okay. These are the final days of summer, with my daughter beginning 1st grade next week and my son beginning preschool two weeks after that, so I’ve officially decided that it is a-okay for the plans and schedules to go out the window. There will be plenty of time for schedules, cleaning, sewing, blogging, and organization in September.

Here’s what I’ve been up to this past week and a half, a peek at our family fun through phone photos, with not even a lick of sewing involved. It happens! Note: Not shown are the moments of crying and bickering kids, sweaty complaints, frustration, exhaustion, and boredom that are very much a part of life. Just keeping it real–I’m human, too! All my days aren’t sunshine and roses, but I like to share the high points here. Enjoy!

organic you pick blueberries at North Branch Farm
We spent a sunny late morning picking blueberries at our local organic farm, North Branch Farm.
organic you pick blueberries at North Branch Farm
16.6 lbs to be exact!!
meeting up with Karin Jordan's family
Quilty blogger friend Karin from Leigh Laurel Studios took her family on an impromptu weekend getaway to Belfast, Maine, so we got our families together for beach, drinks, and dinner. So fun!
garden flower
I’ve been enjoying the late summer blooms in our garden…
hiding spider in flower
…as well as the clever creatures who hide within them!
hiking Blue Hill Mountain
I hiked to the top of a mountain with a friend and our cumulative 5 kids. It was quite a fun adventure!
Robot Dinosaur on the trail
My son insisted on bringing his friend “Robot Dinosaur” on the hike (yes, it’s a toy digger, but the digger part looks like a dinosaur neck and head, right? Right. Trust me, don’t call it a digger.).
hiking Blue Hill Mountain
The weather was perfect and the view was fantastic! This photo was taken about 2 minutes into the 2 and a half hour hike. We were celebrating being on the trail!
hiking Blue Hill Mountain Maine
Most of the hike was along gorgeous, shady forest trails.
hiking Blue Hill Mountain Maine
With a gorgeous look out on the top, at over 900 feet elevation. The kids did great, the moms-lugging-babies did great, and Robot Dinosaur rested in the woods near the bottom of the trail until our descent.

I hope that you are enjoying the final days of summer (or whatever season it may be in your corner of the world), and I look forward to sharing sewing and inspiration with you again soon! Just last night I pulled fabric for three (3) new Farmer’s Wife blocks, and I have plans to finally finish a much overdo and beloved project, as well as join in (in a very relaxed, no pressure way) on the #100blocks100days challenge hosted by Angie at Gnome Angel, thanks to Kim at My Go Go Life‘s prompting! There is much sewing inspiration on the horizon!

Digging Out & May is for Makers Update

Remember that full plate I have for the month of May? Well it has all been pushed way back to the back-burner since my last post, as a nasty stomach bug made its way through our family like a tidal wave. My daughter and I got it first, 48 hours later my youngest two children got it, and as a nasty sneak attack after we all thought we were in the clear, 72 hours later, my husband got it. All creating, sewing, blogging time has been fully replaced by sickness, recovery, tending sick beloveds, and cleaning/laundry catch up. My husband is still recovering today, and the deep cleaning continues.  Needless to say, I don’t have much to show!

Since May is flying by, though, and I wanted to check in, I thought now would be a perfect time to share the patterns I’ve been purchasing for the May is for Makers initiative started by Lindsey at LR Stitched.

Maker May Week 1 Libs Elliott Rebel QuiltI kicked off the month by buying the Rebel Quilt pattern by Libs Elliott. Ever since my husband first started “following” my quilting and getting more into the quilting world, Libs Elliott has been his favorite designer. I can’t even tell you how many times he has tagged me on Instagram on a post (that I had already liked, by the way) just to make sure I saw the awesomeness. Since I have yet to make a quilt for him, we decided that the Rebel Quilt would be perfect. He selected a color palette of red, black, grey, white, and a bit of turquoise (yay!), and I’m itching to get started. This is going to be SO much fun to see come together! All in good time, of course.

Maker May Week 2 Terrazzo Lee HeinrichThe second week I bought the Terrazzo Quilt pattern by Lee Heinrich of Freshly Pieced. This is one of those quilts I loved the moment I saw it, but have not yet had the right opportunity to make one. Recently Fat Quarter Shop asked if I would want to make a quilt using both of their Alison Glass Sun Prints bundles and blog about it if they sent me the fabric, and this quilt pattern popped to mind. Yes and yes!! I plan to create this quilt in the coming months; an all time favorite pattern with my all time favorite fabrics–I’m in love already and I haven’t even cut the first piece!

Stitchy Pie Cover - Charm About YouFor the third week, I’m sharing a pattern I bought *just* before May began, but I’m counting it anyway. Stitchy Pie is a sweet needle organizer pattern recently released by Lucy at Charm About You. I had just been thinking about how I needed some system for keeping all of my hand stitching needles organized and in one place (it’s never fun when I can’t find my self-threading needles and it’s thread burying time), and this pattern popped up in my Instagram feed. I plan to make mine…. wait, can you guess?…. out of an Alison Glass Art Theory panel! I will never tire of Alison Glass fabric projects! I don’t know when the time will present itself, but when it does, I’m excited to make this handy little project.

I have not yet decided what patterns I’ll be purchasing for the last two weeks of May. Do you have any suggestions? Any innovative projects that you find yourself returning to again and again? I’m soooo close to crossing into the black hole (so it feels) of garment sewing, and I want to begin with a simple cotton tank. Do any of you garment sewists have suggestions? Thank you in advance, and I hope you’ve been having fun with May is for Makers, too!

Back to cleaning up and possibly sewing for just a tiny bit, since Finn is napping. Here’s to good health, sunny skies, and speedy and efficient catch-up!

Putting it in Perspective

Earlier this week marked two years since I first began writing this blog. That’s right… two years. It feels like such a short time, yet I feel like so much has happened here–sharing stories and inspiration, making friends, keeping on top of project progress (or lack thereof!), improving techniques together, and so much more. It has been a full two years, and I’m so grateful to you for joining me on my journey.

I’ve always been one to set my goals high, which often is a good thing. If there’s a technique or project I want to try, I just go for it. If I want to create my own patterns, I dive in. If I want to go to QuiltCon, I make it happen (at least last year!). But with lofty goals and high expectations comes that nagging feeling that I’m just not cutting it. There are bound to be deadlines that come and go without the project being finished (I’m still working on one such project). There are goals that I set that just can’t be met, not due to any lack of desire or drive, but because of the many hats I wear as maker, wife, and full time mom. My husband has often commented on how my daily to-do lists assume superhuman ability, and it is important to remember that I am only human. A thrice needed mama human, at that.

With a few missed deadlines and a couple looming ones, paired with the general excitement on social media from everyone attending QuiltCon this year, I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed and disappointed with myself. Seeing the reminder pop up a couple days ago that it is my 2-year blogoversary really helped me back up and put it all into perspective. I’ve been quilting and designing intentionally for only two years. Yet, really, I’ve accomplished a lot! Most importantly, I work daily to balance time with my family with my creative life and I think I’m more consistently finding that balance, and missing QuiltCon this year is a result of that. I would say that’s a win.

Plus, I found that my work is “out in the wild” in a couple of new, exciting places. It’s always fun to see that others are inspired enough by your work to share it, especially in big publications.

amy butler issue 3 blossomMy quilt photography appears in Issue 3 of Amy Butler’s Blossom eMagazine in an article written by Stephanie at Late Night Quilter about the Supernova Friendship Swap that happened last year.

typewriter and supernova swap block 1The above photo is the full title page spread, which is pretty awesome to see.

dropcloth color wheel rainbow quiltThe second fun appearance is of my rainbow embroidery sampler, which is included in an article on About.com. You can visit the article here, and be inspired by all sorts of fun rainbow embroidery projects. Maybe, just maybe, this will be the push I need to be brave, tackle circles, and finish this rainbow color wheel. But not until after I finish my deadline projects. Life goes on. The projects will be there.

I’m sharing my reflection on the whole maker-mom journey in the hopes that it may help you put your own life in perspective when needed. The next time you’re feeling down about the project you didn’t finish, or the technique you just can’t get (yet!), take a step back and look for the good. It’s there. It just has a habit of getting buried by everything else, at least for me. Keep on making with a smile, set your sights high, and take it one step at a time.

Enjoy the journey, and thank you for joining me on mine. I sure am enjoying it!

Tea, Tissue, Sleep, Repeat.

It’s been quiet here, and sadly I can’t even say it’s because I’ve been sewing up a storm. I’ve somehow caught a mean summer sickness that has knocked me down for the count. I’m going on 5 days of this crud and it’s slowly tapering off (I think… I hope), but my energy is still drained. My days have consisted of tea, tissues, sleep when possible (being a mom with 3 kiddos means no sick days for me), getting to necessary appointments with brief playground visits as a reward for my kids’ help, and a *tiny* bit of EPP.

tea tissues honey sickI just wanted to pop in here to let you all know that I haven’t run off into the sunset, nor will have have a bevy of beautiful quilts to show you when I return. But I’m here. And I’ll return. One day, hopefully sooner than later.

Back to my tissues and tea, and another movie day for the kids. At least they don’t seem to mind my sickness, and the weather has been as cruddy as I feel. And so it goes. Happy stitching to you!

Introducing Baby Finn: My Epic Friday Finish

I am so excited to introduce the newest member of our family: Finnian Steven Wilkin, born at 5:59am on Friday June 5th. He weighed in at 9lb 3oz and 21 inches long, and has been warmly welcomed by his big siblings (even if his big brother insists his name is “Taco”)! His birth was smooth and completely natural, and we are all doing great!

Finnian's first photo
Finnian’s first photo

For those of you on Instagram and Facebook, you’ve already been introduced to baby Finn as my epic Friday finish. I’ve been doing a whole lot of cuddling and snuggling and nursing, and as Finn sleeps peacefully in his daddy’s arms, I figured it’s a perfect time to share our happy news here.

What better way to introduce you to my newest bundle of joy than through photos? Here are a few photographs of Finn at 3 days old.

Baby Finn at 3 days old

Baby Finn at 3 days old
So tiny!
Baby Finn at 3 days old
Tiny hands
Baby Finn at 3 days old
Sweet baby blues.

Since Finn’s birth, I’ve been thinking that he really needs a quilt. I’ve decided to make child sized rainbow quilts, since Maddie loves hers so much. I have a few design ideas in mind, and plan to pair rainbowy goodness (which we know is in good supply in my fabric stash) with either low volumes–for one design idea–or black–for the other design idea. I probably will go with both designs since Max still needs a quilt, too.

Here are a few of the new stash additions that I plan to use in these quilts. They definitely need to be properly photographed and described in a stash post, but that will come in time. I’m eager to put all of these to good use and create more beautiful things for my children.

new fabricnew fabric rainbow fat eighth  rollI really can’t wait to put this rainbow fat eighths roll to use in some quilts!

Now begins my transition back to snuggling a newborn, and sewing in very small increments. I will focus on appreciating every moment, and remembering that creating 20 minutes at a time results in a finish eventually. I’ve learned that taking those 20 minutes to create each day is so essential to my balance, and being happy and balanced will benefit my whole family.

As I enter this next phase of my journey, know that I read and appreciate every single comment on here, even if my responses dwindle or are quite delayed in the coming weeks. I will still try to reply to all of you, but baby snuggles trump all (as we all know!). Thank you for joining me on this journey, and I look forward to sharing the new inspiration that comes with every big change in life!

For the fun of it, I’m linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it up Friday this upcoming Friday, and Molli’s Sunday Stash–does adding a baby to the family count as stash building!? If not the baby, then I’ll count this sneek peek at my new fabrics that have yet to be shared as my stash building!


The internet has been down for most of the week here at home, which translates to radio silence on this here blog. My goal for the year was “Balance”, after all, so maybe it was decided that I needed to take a blogging break. Either way, here’s a little peek at what I’ve been doing during the silence.

visible mending

I mended my first pair of jeans. Yes, I know, it’s a little embarrassing that as an almost-34 year old, I have yet to mend clothes. I did try mending a hole in a pair of jeans a couple years back, but it was such an epic fail I can hardly count it. This time I used a patch cut from another pair of old holey jeans, zig zag stitched the edges to prevent fraying, and hand stitched it on with Aurifil floss. Many thanks to Dorie (@tumblingblocks on IG) for the inspiration and tips! The floss was gorgeous to work with, but I was later informed (thanks for the heads up, Sam!) that embroidery floss won’t be strong enough to hold up well as a jeans knee patch. I plan to supplement the stitching with a rainbow of perle cotton and hope for the best. At least it looks awesome, and these favorite post-partum maternity-esque jeans are ready to wear post-baby. It is so peaceful to sit and stitch while sitting next to my kiddos watching a movie. Balance, right?

skinny fabric scraps for the birds

I put my skinny strip scraps outside for the birds. I’ve never tried this before, but have seen that others save their fabric shavings to put out during nest-building season. I’ve been saving my skinnies all winter so I’m really hopeful that we see some colorful, soft nests around the yard this year!

alison glass prismatic medallion mini quilt progress

I’ve been working on my Prismatic Medallion mini quilt for my Alison Glass Mini Quilt swap partner. I’m still waiting on a few fabrics, but I’m loving the progress so far!

bean sprout foundation paper piecing pattern

I made a bit of progress on my newest foundation paper piecing pattern, Bean Sprout. Can you tell my mind is on spring?

planting seeds

We finally planted seeds. Today, April 3rd, we FINALLY got seeds into planters. It’s far too cold to plant seeds in the ground still, especially since there are still multiple feet of snow on top, but starting seeds inside is one of my favorite parts about spring. It felt so good to get dirt under my fingernails! Last year, we planted seeds in late February, so waiting until April is crazytown. This winter was just so brutal it felt wrong to plant seeds when the temperatures were in the teens and the snow just kept coming. I’m hoping the seeds still get a good enough head start to flourish once the garden is ready for them.

Back outside I go to enjoy this glorious day with my kids. The weekend forecast is for more snow (it darn well better not stick!), but I know that spring is near. Hope, balance, love. That’s what life is about!