I’m So Excited!

I’m so excited!!! Shift from foot to foot, grin from ear to ear, shake the fingers, jump up and down, tremble all over and can’t wait to share excited!  Anticipation is running high!

In January of this year, my hubby and I decided this would be the Year of the Quilts.  It is no secret I love to sew, and often the gifts we give are handmade, but this year…yes this year we planned to make each child, spouse and grandchild a quilt.  Not just any quilt, but a quilt designed just for them. I’ve made a baby quilt or two, and helped my mom work on a quilt or two, but there was no doubt this is a major undertaking for a “basically a beginner” quilter.  This project had been in the back of my mind for a long time, and for the last several years I have been collecting fabric just for this time.  The last 12 months have been a humdinger of a journey, and I am so thrilled to have experienced each step.  Our family is not perfect- sometimes they are ornery stinkers- but we love them so much and wanted a special way to show that love.  We told the family they were each getting a quilt for Christmas, but they haven’t been able to see the fabric, the designs or anything.  Even the youngest, age 4, seems to be looking forward to getting a quilt made special just for them.

Now don’t you think I did this all myself, let me assure you that hubby has taken each step of the journey with me.  Ok, he didn’t actually stitch anything (yet) but he helped choose fabrics, discuss pattern designs, help arrange blocks, and did most of the cooking, cleaning and laundry for the last year.  He didn’t complain when the fabrics and notions spilled out from the sewing room into the rest of the house. Ummm, that in itself is enough to make me want to declare each year the Year of the Quilt, but I don’t want to push things too far.

Ever since I started this blog some months ago, I have wanted to share bits and pieces about the quilts and often found myself biting my tongue and getting up from the computer without writing a thing because I wanted to tell about the quilts so badly.  The things I have learned while sewing are amazing and I can’t wait to share.  There have been many people who have said, either with their lips or eyes, that it is a lofty goal to design and construct 12 quilts in 12 months.  In fact, each of our two sons, even though they know I’ll give it my best, have said quietly, “Now Mom, don’t push yourself too hard.  If you don’t get them all done it is ok. Save mine till last and if it doesn’t get finished by Christmas you can finish mine later.”  Said in love, meant in love, and accepted in love. I can’t wait to share with you our year long experience and maybe a picture or two.

Christmas is mere days away.  Eleven of the quilts are completed and sitting in a neat pile in the sewing room.  The twelfth quilt is still on the frame with more than half the of the hand quilting completed.  And the last 24 inches are the easy part.  I should finish it by the 23rd of December if not before.  The day of the big reveal is almost here and I am so excited!!!  Shift from foot to foot, grin from ear to ear, shake the fingers, jump up and down, tremble all over and can’t wait to share excited!  This will be a special Christmas to be sure.

Wait a minute.  Wait just a minute.  Every Christmas should be special because the reason for Christmas is special.  God planned everything from the beginning.  He thought of each one of us as He planned for Christmas.  For each of us He chose the fabric from which our life would be designed…which threads would be used and what the pattern would be. Each stitch of our life was in His plan. Why? Because He loves us, even though sometimes we can be such, well, ornery stinkers.  He even planned ahead to send His Son to show His great love, providing the lamb that would cover all our sins and make a way for us to spend eternity in a Heaven prepared lovingly by our Father.  And when we accept that gift of God’s great love and eternal life, we are SO EXCITED.  We want to share the excitement. There was great anticipation regarding the birth of Christ.  And there should be great anticipation of His second coming.  We should be excited. Shift from foot to foot, grin from ear to ear, shake the fingers, jump up and down, tremble all over and can’t wait to share excited! Think about that in a quiet moment.  And if our fervor isn’t what it used to be, then our Father is waiting to stir the embers and help us regain that fire of excitement and anticipation.

My prayer for you is that the love of God burns brightly in your heart, and that you are shifting from foot to foot, grinning from ear to ear, shaking your fingers, jumping up and down, trembling all over and sharing that love and anticipation with others.

Merry Christmas!

Surprise!

Every so often we take a trip to Lancaster County and surrounding areas in Pennsylvania. Sometimes the trip is short, sometimes we have a few days to spend in the area. Either way we generally have a great time. Of course the scenery is beautiful and since we tend to stick to back roads we never know what we will see. (More about that another time!) but if you were to ask what we DO- we enjoy visiting thrift shops and fabric shops. In my area there are not a great number of fabric shops so it is a real treat to be in an area where there are so MANY! I’m blessed to be married to a wonderful man who not only drives me around to these shops but will wait patiently while I run in for just a minute…or hour…or two. He has been known to send me back inside asking why I felt the need to rush! That is when I realized he means it when he says I should take my time. It is something he happily does because he loves me.

Anyway, we recently went to the Lancaster area for a very short trip. The experiences we were able to cram in one trip were amazing and there isn’t enough space here to express it all. So to make a long story manageable I’ll focus on one particular stop.

Those of you who know me know I love to sew. In fact God, family, sewing and gardening make up a huge part of the real me. So imagine visiting this area during this time of year when across the nation there is something called the row by row experience. You can read more about that here at http://www.rowbyrowexperience.com but in a thimble it is an opportunity to visit independent quilt shops across the United States and collect free patterns for a quilt “row” or even buy a row kit. You can participate for prizes but I participate for fun.  One day I want to make a vacation quilt made up from the rows I have collected.

Ummm, focus Nana…one stop, remember?

One of our stops was to Burkholder Fabrics. They were having a huge sale so I was in trouble before I even to in the door to request their free pattern. Now someone recently told me I am not a hoarder; I just have a lot of stuff. Whew. That makes me feel so much better.  Now that I have retired, fabric purchases have to be very carefully planned. But remember hubby and I are making quilts for our children, their spouses, and our grandchildren for Christmas and CHRISTMAS IS COMING! That gives me a good reason to check out all the fabric as I try to find fabric bargains for the back of the quilts.

Once again I am getting wordy. So we pull up to Burkholder’s Fabric (www.burkfabric.com)and this is what I see!!!!

Burkholders fabric wagon

Hubby often tries to plan surprises for me but this…this is too wonderful! I jump out and explore the wagon from all sides. My mind is reeling with all the possibilities. Running back to the car, I lean in the window to give hubby a big thank you kiss.

Gently he reminds me that this was a spur of the moment trip and he didn’t have time to plan such a wonderful surprise although he would have if he could have. And he reminds me that we don’t have a wagon hitch on our car so we can’t take it home. And then he suggests I go inside the store.  And by the way, be sure to take my time. Gotta love that man,

I’m Blogging!

I love to hear someone say, “That’s on my bucket list.” Really? Generally I don’t know where my bucket is! And usually I’m not paying enough attention to where I am going, so even if I did know where the bucket is, I would be afraid I would kick it. That being said, today I will start my bucket list. And if I add too much as life goes along, I will simply get a bigger bucket.r First I want to grow so much closer to God than I am now. This is something that is MY responsibility. I can’t just say, God, I want to get closer to You.” I have to make steps to make it happen and believe me, God will more than meet me half way. It comes down to more of God, less of me. Second, I want to be a better wife and mother. I do ok, but I think I can do better. Funny how that is related to number one! Ranking the rest of the items isn’t likely at this point, so I’ll just lay them out there. Make quilts for our children and grandchildren. Sew enough crafts to sell at a craft show to earn back some of the money I spent on all the fabric in my sewing room. (lol) Research blogging and seriously consider becoming a blogger. And maybe all those bloggers in the family could email me tips and what they WISH they knew before they began blogging. Write a book. Finish the projects Mom asked me to do for her. Go on a short term mission trip. Ok, so my bucket list is not like most people’s bucket list, but hey, its My bucket. Which, by the way, is purple with yellow flowers and green stems, with a hummingbird humming close by.