Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Quilting teaches me.... Frugality

A mini-art quilt that I made. I wanted to play with matchstick quilting to see how it would affect the colors of the quilt. I love it!  #fleurdelisquiltsSome people seem to feel that quilting without a purpose is a waste of time, material, and talent. So what? So what if I go into the sewing room, sew a bunch of blocks and then end up hiding them in the closet? So. What? 

That's what I thought. So what? I could spend the same amount of time doing anything else--playing on the computer, window shopping, making cookies. They all "waste" in a sense if the end result uses resources (gas, electricity, time, etc.) and there is little or nothing gained. Except! There's that entertainment value and (maybe) a sense of accomplishment. Quilting, even with no purpose or completion, does the same.

Purple and gold quilted pillow cover. Your favorite colors would look fantastic on your sofa during the big game. Email me at  fleurdelisquilts.blogspot.comTruthfully, the entertainment value is rather high if you consider all of the expenses. I'd rather not. I'd rather focus on the good things. The quilts, the clothing, the home accessories. Those kinds of things and many more have come out of my studio. And in almost every case there was little or no waste. Here's why: I use every tiny scrap of every thing. No kidding. The scraps of fabric, well, that's a given. 

But I use the scraps of thread. When that spool goes in the trash, it is completely, utterly, empty. And I don't waste pieces in the middle. Indeed, Richard has commented on how frugal I am with thread. The same with needles. So long as the machine and needle are doing their jobs, why change? I don't throw out a pot after cooking X number of meals. Why some folks change the needle after every project is well beyond my comprehension. 

My little elephant family...a momma and baby!  18" X 18"    SOLD  www.fleurdelisquilts.blogspot.comWhat else do I save? Hmm, I rotary cutter blades, pins of any kind, needles, scissors (don't you dare use my scissors!) and any other tool in the making of a quilt. I take very good care of them all. And for the disaster that my sewing room seems to be, I'm fairly well capable of finding most of those tools. It may take a moment or even a hot minute, but it's there somewhere. 

I'm super crazy about saving paper. That's from teaching in a poor school where paper is like gold. Zippers, buttons, string, any form of embellishment, they are gold! So I use the front and backs of paper, recycle all the others and call myself a frugal girl. If a wasteful family member says I'm a hoarder, well, maybe that person should begin watching his/her "carbon footprint." Mine seems to be rather small, if only the wasteful ones follow my wishes when I'm gone.

Marley, one of our 7-year-old grands, designed this girl while playing in my scraps. I could not resist the idea of making a pillow with her design to put in her bedroom.
Marley's "Girl Pillow," made from playing with scraps

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Quilting teaches me.... Contentment

Do you ever wonder why some people seem to always want more? A bigger house. A better job. A higher education. More friends. More power. More responsibility. More. Always more. It seems to be the way of mankind. To improve. To do better. To win. To want more. To do more. More. Always more.

Why is it that so many people can't seem to be satisfied? To find contentment? We can become addicted to almost anything. Money, power, sex, drugs, gambling, alcohol. The more we have, the more we want. 

Stop. Just stop. We can find satisfaction. We can be contented. There's a catch, though. We have to look for it. We have to seek it. Not just sometimes. We have to be dedicated, proactive, aggressive almost. We almost have to be addicted to being contented. Almost.

It's really not difficult. Contentment is everywhere we are. It's in us just as much as dissatisfaction is. Right there. Inside our brains and our souls. The thing is, again, we have to be willing to look for it. Look past the big greedy signs that point us to more. And there's the rub, as Shakespeare would say. So how?

Easy enough. Look for what is already in your life. Count your blessings. Can your family be comfortable in your home? The furniture doesn't have to be new to be comfortable. Can you all be in the same room together? Is there an outside? Surely you can all be together in the outside. Can you afford to feed your family? It doesn't have to be a restaurant meal. It only needs to fill you up. Not every day is Thanksgiving, you know. So there you are with five blessings already: home, family, furniture, food, togetherness.

butterfly quilt from my studio Do you have a job that affords you a decent income? You don't have to be rich, just make a modest, middle-class living and pay the bills on time and you're all set. Do your children attend a decent school? Boarding school? Private school? Who needs that? They need an education, not social status or ivy league. An education that will get them into college, if that's what they want, and a decent job. There you go, finding contentment.

I learned about contentment through quilting. I know, I'm a small town girl, so I probably started out contented. No way. I started out poor and married into poor. We worked hard to put me through college. I clawed my way to dissatisfaction. Once I tasted education, I wanted more. Once I got that first decent paycheck, I wanted a bigger paycheck and fought to make a name for myself so that I could get it. We owned a small home that met all of our needs, until we decided it wasn't enough. We had three beautiful boys, but we still wanted a girl. Yea, I found dissatisfaction and apparently I needed more.

Around a Girl's World in hot pink, lime green and red Then I began quilting on a more regular basis. The boys had outgrown any thought of wearing clothing made by mom. I had a closet full of dresses that were tailor-made for me. I know they fit perfectly: I'd made them and got plenty of approval from people whose opinions counted.

So quilting it was. And through quilting with my mom and grandmother, I learned the joy of sharing a craft they loved. I couldn't always afford to purchase fabric, so we traded and shared and I knew they loved me dearly. Wow, that was a contented feeling. As I learned new skills their encouragement, even for my worst attempts, helped me to grow. I began reading and studying their books and magazines and learned the satisfaction of teaching myself. Eventually I lost them. But their memories and lessons and comfort stayed behind and I held on to those.

Mostly though, I began to see that my life was what I made of it. I could find a small bit of joy, even when everything seems like sadness. I could choose to be happy, even when I couldn't keep up with everyone else. I could choose to be grateful, even when others chose otherwise. I found peace of mind in knowing that even in dark hours I can find light and serenity. If only I look for it.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Quilting teaches me.... Courage

Courage isn’t the absence of fear, it’s the strength to move forward in the face of fear. Courage is perhaps the most vital virtue to develop. When we feel the fear and do it anyway we develop courage.
from Stepping Stones by Lubhna Dongre 

My parents' 50th anniversary quilt.It's occurred to me that if I continue this series, beginning each post with the words, "I am not (insert virtue) by nature," you'll begin to believe that I have absolutely no virtues. Well, the truth is that I'm pretty human. If I do possess any virtues, it's that I have them on an on-again, off-again basis. I may be courageous but it's mostly defending from a distance. You know, defending human rights, where no one is being oppressed. It's really easy to argue for change, when someone else is setting policy. 

I wish I could be a whistle-blower, but the sad truth is that it would scare me half-to-death and then the worry would kill me. And I'm extremely grateful that I live in a tiny hamlet of a town where people don't really need me to be courageous. Or at least not often. And not to a very big degree. 

Nope, the most I can claim courage to is, well, facing my fear with a bit of humor and lots of color. Yes, you read right. Color. You see, my mom was an Alzheimer's patient and had cancer. As one of her caregivers my fear was that I simply would not be able to help her. I worried that I'd become depressed and not be able to bring myself to the next visit or appointment or overnight stay. I was fearful that I'd just quit and let someone else do the disheartening work of care-giving.   

One day I realized that I could find the courage to face both my mom's terminal illnesses and my own fear. I began using quilting as a means of keeping occupied during those long days of doctors and hospitals and tests. I was able to improve my moods by adding color to projects. Taking care of some of the mental exhaustion helped me to stay the course. I used it to begin conversations with strangers, fending off some of the loneliness of being away from home. And late at night I curled under an in-progress quilt knowing that in the morning there would be something familiar, something to help me move forward, despite the fear.

Quilting teaches me...

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Sunday Quilt Inspiration: pegboards

Since last week's organization ideas were so popular, I thought I'd add a few more. This one is all about pegboards. Here's hoping your craft studio finds a peg board or two.

Creative storage inspiration is anything but in short supply with this collection of 21 Ways to Easily Organize your Craft Room or Workshop. Not only will you have a place for all your supplies, it’ll look great too!When I was planning my new sewing room I spent rather a lot of time browsing the internet looking for ideas, particularly for storage. I came across a post on Honeybear Lane about how to make a lar…

Stephanie's Sewing Set-up, Pegboard to the rescue!

 Pegboard Sewing Supply Storage | $100 Craft & Sewing Room Makeover | DIY Home Decor | Budget Decorating | $100 Room Challenge

Extra large pegboard for sewing tools.  Make it easier by buying frames instead of building but either way a great idea for organizing tools and making them handy!

My Sewing Room - Pegboard from Block Designs; Clock and frame from Habitat; Thread rack from Amazon

Gueessss what? Peg board wall is done and on the blog!!!! I love it so much. Like LOVE. Like kind of mad I didn't do it like 3 years ago! And while you are there-- check out the 25 other awesome craft rooms! I'm sharing a few of my favorites in my Instagram stories!

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Quilting teaches me.... Authenticity

Reflections in Grey  The quilt that was juried into QuiltCon!Being authentic isn't really part of my nature. Isn't that an odd statement? But it's true. I've tried to "be" someone else most of my life. Part of the reason for that had to do with being young and not understanding how authenticity is the one virtue that would most help me to feel comfortable with who I really am.

Another reason for wanting to mask my real self most likely had to do with my bipolar disorder. I was very good at hiding whatever was wrong with me. Although I didn't know what, exactly, the problem was, I knew I was different. Not in a good way. And I didn't want to be. My difference caused depression and fear.

Visit my blog for a tutorial on binding your quilt. As I look back I realized that I tried on several different skins before I was finally able to be comfortable in my own. 

In my teens I wanted to be a person who had grace, courage, and a voice. How do you fake those? Hide what is real. 

In my twenties I wanted to know how to be a good wife and mother. Then I began my college years and wanted to be smart. 

My thirties found me starting a career, so naturally I wanted to seem successful and strong and an insider in the school and community. Our forties brought grandchildren, family troubles, parental obligations. I wanted to juggle it all and keep up. 

And I wanted, always, to be better. Not to be a better person, but to be better at all the things I was doing. Better at being someone else. Better at wearing the mask of the year. The decade.

Ordered Chaos  A sofa quilt for my daughter in law.   54 x 80.  She loves tulips and neutrals.I was driving myself deeper and deeper into depression. The harder I tried, the more difficult life became. When my parents died, my juggling act imploded. 
It was difficult to start over, but I somehow pieced my true self together. 

The pattern was not pretty. Nor was it easy. Sometimes it's still not, but with lots of help and support, a truer version of me has appeared. I'm going with that version. Piece by piece. Row by row. 

Quilting teaches me...

Monday, October 22, 2018

Quilting teaches me.... Why

A question rather than a virtue. But being able to understand why we do something is sort of like having a virtue. Right?

"The Quarry" a Quilty 365 project completed in Dec 2017 Whatever. It's got to be a good thing in some mind or manner. So we'll go with that. Which brings me to the question of why? Why do we do some things and not others? Why do I go into the studio alone, sometimes without purpose or reason? Why do I sew at all? And make quilts, of all things, in the Louisiana summer. Why even quilt? Yes, that why.

If you're reading this post, you probably already know many of my answers: 
    A modern Dresden Plate quilt.  I don't remember the name, and it sold at its first show, where apparently it also won a ribbon.
  •  the opportunity to create, to make, something useful is part of who I am. I have to be a maker. I just happen to be a quilter. I've tried other ways of creating but always return to quilting. 
  • the soothing comfort and love of a quilt speaks to my soul. If you want to make something for someone, a quilt will do every time. 
  • the opportunity to make quilts and other items for my family seem to be endless. I may "complain" about having too many small, "do this for me, please" projects, but the honest truth is I appreciate and love them. Sewing is a way to show that love.
  • the colors, textures, even the smells of fabric are tangible. I know them and their familiarity keeps me centered. 
  • I want to quilt. 
"He Loves Me" an original design from Mary Marcotte of Fleur de Lis Quilts.  This is a more modern version of the quilt.  www.fleurdelisquilts.blogspot.comThat last one. That's the real reason I quilt. I just want to. Even when I'm having a bad day and can't seem to turn the machine on, no matter the reason. I still want to quilt. 

I still want to create and make. I still want to see, touch, smell fabric. I want to share my passion with others. I want to feed my soul. I want to quilt. 

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Sunday Quilt Inspiration: studio organization

While beautiful and fun, these organization ideas won't break the bank!
Like the book shelves along the wall...and the sewing station.

Any kind of furniture with drawers: dressers, file cabinets, desks. If it has drawers, it will make a great piece to add to your space.
Cutting Table (Dresser side) and Design Wall | Flickr - Photo Sharing!Flat storage drawers for fabric. Great space!

Drawer units can be extremely useful when you need to keep your small things stored in one place where you can easily find them. ALEX has 6 drawers, castors and a white finished back, so that you can move it from room to room and still look good.

ikea helmer hack with rifle paper on drawersStationary cutting table with self-healing cutting top and storage drawers underneath  [La Bella Vie]

You don't need drawers  - this is so much better

Furniture with shelves can hold a multitude of items: fabric, books and mags, baskets and boxes, tools. If you find a bookshelf, snap it up, paint it and voila! fabulous storage.

Check out this colorful and organized craft room makeover with a giant pegboard and get inspired by dozens more craft rooms!I love seeing Artists stuff cupboards to the gills with supplies and their favorite things

Don't forget cubbies!

Who doesn't love rolling storage? Or storage for rolls?

How to choose machine embroidery stabilizers by Nancy Zieman | Sewing With NancyLove the idea of having an ironing board on wheels; this would be perfect in the sewing room.

Craft Closet and Rolling Craft Cart: this is absolutely brilliant! I think I even have one of these old sewing tables in the basement. Ahhhhh! so perfect.Vinyl Storage Solution for Small Spaces (And First Look at My New Craft Room) - Silhouette School

10 Craft Room Pegboard Organization Ideas | Love the color combination!

Friday, October 19, 2018

Faith ~~ an almost finish!

I have a finish! It's a quilt I made to enter into the MQG contest American Patchwork and Quilting Two-Color Quilting Challenge

The quilt's two colors are natural white and ash. The quilting changes the direction of light so it looks as though there are two shades of ash. There is only one. I've managed a neat camera trick. (I can't intentionally reproduce that, so enjoy my achievement.) 

Per the rules, there can be only two colors, so either count the thread as one, or make the threads match the fabric. I decided to go with the second so I could have two low-contrast fabrics.

My idea for this small quilt is that there be lots of negative space to show off the tight quilting motifs. Maybe I should try to figure out how many different motifs I used. 
In the center: three layers of half-feathers
because I wanted to see how it looks.
I'll let you know how it does in the jury process. Crossed fingers that it gets in!

UPDATE: It's complete! 

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