Not bad for a fat girl

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Quilt Show, Here I Come!

It’s been ages since I’ve been to a quilt show, which is entirely my fault.

I’m lucky to live in a state where quilt makers are doing exciting work, and quilt shows, large and small, are held regularly. The largest of these is the show put on by the state quilter’s guild, of which I used to be an active member. In fact, that guild brought me my first friends in my adopted home state.19676732-5056-a36a-09e605c3f52c90e2_0eef4bd5-5056-a36a-0955fa3b9f7b852c.jpg

Quilt groups vary in size, focus, and time commitment. I think there’s a group for everyone, from the most traditional hand piecer and quilter to the digital age modern quilter who does things without regard for “traditional” techniques or “rules.” There are those who get together for the dedicated purpose of producing quilts to be donated to charities, and there are those who are committed to recreating quilts from particular eras. Most groups, however, are simply gatherings of people who share a love of quilting and enjoy one another’s company.

I was lucky to find a group like that in the early 1990’s when I moved out west with no job and no friends. Quilting was my creative outlet, and the quilt group I found was full of interesting and innovative women, who welcomed me into their circle. It was a branch of the state guild, and through that I started traveling to other groups to teach classes. I loved it!

The more active I was with the guild and our chapter, the more fun I had. I volunteered to head up a statewide charity small quilt auction one year that raised several thousand dollars, and I spent another year as our group’s chapter chairperson. Both of these experiences were positive and rewarding, mostly because of the wonderful people I was able to work with along the way.

Time marches on, though, and motherhood took more of my psychic energy than I could have imagined. I still quilted from time to time, but scrapbooking our lives became my main creative outlet, and I let my guild membership lapse, mainly from a lack of time for meetings. Add to that some of my closest quilting buddies moving away, and, well, you know…

The good news it that they didn’t all move, and then Facebook was invented. Through it I keep in touch with some of my quilty friends, and when I needed some professional quilting done on a top I made long ago, I knew just who to call. Well, that lovely lady did the job expertly, and we had a fantastic time reconnecting in the process. We made a date for the quilt show, and here it is, quilt show day!

I’m excited to see my friend, I’m excited to see the quilts and vendors, and mostly I’m excited to go back to the show. The show where I once earned an honorable mention ribbon for a quilt that I now cherish as a memory of my dad. The show that celebrates every corner of my beautiful state and every type of creative expression that could be classified as a quilt. The show that takes me back decades, but will no doubt fire a creative spark for the future.


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To Everything There is a Season

Of course those words aren’t mine, but I was reminded of them the other day when I was lamenting my current creativity slump. I was talking to an old friend (not that she’s old, the friendship is, as friendships go) and I told her that I hadn’t done anything creative in a while.

We are long-time quilt buddies. Years ago we met in a local quilting group and we clicked. A small group of us became good friends and took on a few fun projects together. We met at each other’s homes, visited with each other outside of our regular quilt group meetings, and planned outings. It was a fun time that unfortunately came to a close when I had a kid and several of the girls moved away. Things change.

My friend and I (and several of the others) kept up on Facebook, but we hadn’t actually spoken in years. I wanted to have one of my old quilt tops finished and she does them professionally, so I gave her a call. It was wonderful.

So silly, I thought making a phone call would be a big deal, but it wasn’t. It was easy. We talked and laughed and made plans to get together, which we did. I regret not calling her sooner, but I won’t beat myself up about it. Gotta keep moving forward, after all.

Back to her wisdom, though. She said something that stuck with me; something I found comforting (was I in need of comfort? maybe). She said that it’s okay to be in a fallow season. Nothing grows all the time. Of course. In nature there’s an ebb and flow, so it stands to reason that a person has those types of cycles as well.

So maybe I’m in a fallow season, but I think it might be drawing to a close. I’m starting to feel the desire to create again, and I’m glad. I LIKE creating, just for the sake of the doing. Having a nice finished product is a bonus, as far as I’m concerned.

Yes, I love the quilts I’ve made (most of them, anyway) and the scrapbooks I’ve completed put a smile on my face, but the doing is what I enjoy the most, or as least I have, in the past. I hope to recapture some of that feeling, after all it would justify at least some of the goodies I’ve collected over the years. In the meantime, I can be satisfied with the knowledge that nothing grows all the time, and for that I thank my friend.




My Midnight Affair

Midnight and I have this on again, off again relationship. No matter how hard I try to tear myself away, I find myself coming back over and over again. I know it isn’t necessarily a healthy relationship, after all, I often regret my visits with Midnight by the light of day. Still, I can’t seem to stay away.

Midnight and I first became acquainted when I was quite young. There was a certain New Year’s Eve party hosted by my parents that went on well past, you guessed it, Midnight. Nobody was paying much attention to what I was doing, so I stayed up and enjoyed the party. Midnight was exciting!

Later on I revisited my friend Midnight, but in a much quieter way. I would lose myself in my bedtime reading, and before I would know it, Midnight would arrive on tiptoe. I never actually invited Midnight into my world, but there it was.

The more I saw of Midnight, the more I enjoyed it, until the craziness of my college years. Midnight was when things were just getting going during those years. Midnight and I were in full swing, and we had nothing to hide.big-ben-midnight_2539032 So I slept in the next morning, big deal. I was in college. Who cared? Certainly not my professors. They gave the lectures whether I was in my seat or not. It took me a very short time to realize that scheduling early morning classes wasn’t a particularly good idea for me. After all, I was up with Midnight most every night.

After college Midnight and I continued our relationship. I worked late hours and stayed up late. For a while at least. Then things changed. I got a new job. A real job. One that required me to not only be at work early, but to be on the ball. Reluctantly I said goodbye to Midnight, at least during the work week. On the weekends we picked up where we left off, but it wasn’t the same.

I got older and became a mother. Now Midnight had a whole new meaning. Midnight and I weren’t hanging out anymore, I was way too exhausted for that. We would only see each other when the baby needed something.. Midnight and I kind of nodded at each other, but we didn’t speak much during those years.

As my son grew, so did my longing for my old friend Midnight. I began to stay up late to read or sew or work on scrapbooks. Sure, I still had to get up early, but I wasn’t working at the kind of job that needed 100% brainpower from the minute I walked in the door. I could do it. I could work all day, be a mom and wife in the evening, and hang out with Midnight after everyone else went to bed. No problem. Until I went back to teaching.

Teaching is unlike other jobs. There is a ton of homework for the teacher, and it never seems to all get done. It also requires mental sharpness from the minute you walk in the door (which is long before the students arrive) to the minute you leave (which is long after the students leave). There’s no zoning out. Ever.

Midnight doesn’t care about all that. Midnight still wants to hang out with me. It doesn’t care if we party or read quietly or mess around with crafts or work on lesson plans. Midnight just likes my company. Frankly, I like being around Midnight, but it’s getting more and more difficult as I get older. I find that my mornings after Midnight are rough, and that I’m not on my game. I have to pull away. I have to force myself to go to bed and leave Midnight alone, without my company.

Still, I don’t always succeed. I find my way back to Midnight on a regular basis, tonight included. I just can’t quite seem to leave it alone. I know I’ll pay for it tomorrow, but for now I’m enjoying my time with Midnight.