Saturday, August 31, 2013

My list...

Pin It A lot of people have asked why I moved. Mostly, my response was "why not?".  
The other day, I was talking to my wonderful friend Jessica Sloan (if you don't know her, you should try to. She is a beautiful soul) and detailing the finer details behind what this move means to me. So I thought that I would share it with you. 
First, the facts. Yes, there will be work. I am scaling back my teaching and travel obligations to give myself more time to enjoy my life. 
I have worked my ass off for the last nearly five years since I started this adventure in quilting. I have worked every single holiday for the last 2 years. Every one. All of them. Spent at my quilting machine. NO MORE. 
I will work from home. That will give me more time to multitask! I can have dinner and laundry going while I kiss all of the pretties with needle and thread. Glorious!
I will give private lessons at Olde City Quilts. They've got plans for an awesome private studio for me on the second floor of their new addition. Everyone is welcome. (And by the way if you're interested, you schedule through them, not me)
So what about this list? Well, I have a friend that is trying to find out who she is after a ten-year relationship ending. That's a really hard thing to do. So I told her to start a list. A list of things that she loves to do, or wants to do, or things she never dreamed she would be interested in. And DO THEM. Stop talking about doing it, and do it. 
And I have my own list. Some of the things this move means to me...

I will be a better boss to myself. I still want to make you all happy, but I don't think anyone realized the toll that my work was taking on me. Both mentally and physically. I'm being totally real here and not trying to guilt anyone. But being on a mission to make as many people happy as possible was to my own detriment. And I'm not doing it anymore. I've learned how to say no. If I say no to you, it's because I HAVE to, for my own good. 

I will cook more. I love to cook and it kind of sucks that it's just me that I have to cook for. AND I'm a vegetarian so others are somewhat afraid to let me cook for them. So silly. I'm having a dinner party in September and cooking for about eight of my neighbors. It'll be great and wonderful and is a really good excuse for me to get back into the kitchen to do something I so much enjoy. 

I will have a social life. I might be good at what I do for a living, but since I started doing it I have completely sucked at life. People that are important to me have had to come second to deadlines and travel. Not anymore. I will make time to spend with people that I like. I will make time to go out and meet more people that I may or may not like. We'll see. But my work will no longer define me as a person. I will have other things to turn to as well. 

I had planned to join a gym. First, to start the path to a healthier lifestyle, but also to meet new people. However, there is a gym in the basement and I may utilize that instead. I can meet new people at the cafe down the street. Which brings me to my next point. 

I will explore my new city. I've spoken with people that have lived here their entire life and have never been to Constitution Hall or the Liberty Bell. WHAT?! It's the birthplace of our nation! Go out and experience it! I'm gonna. 

I will do as much as I can to improve the community and the lives of the people in it. This is a really hard one to explain because I want to do what I want to do because I want to do it. Not because I need recognition for it. So I'm not going into details on this one. 

I will not spend so much time on the Internet. Wasteful. In fact, I'm typing this on my phone because I've thus far resisted even having cable or Internet hooked up in my new home.  Which again brings me to my next point. 

Without spending so much time on the Internet, I will read more. Since I started quilting I feel like I've developed some weird form of dyslexia but really, it's just that I've developed the attention span of a gnat. I've gotten so used to constantly thinking about what quilt I have to do next or what show deadline I'm working toward, that I literally cannot focus at all when I try to read a book. It pisses me off. I'm slowing down my life, and slowing down my brain so that I can absorb more. I love to read. I'm going to do it again. 

I will get organized. My life is like an episode of Hoarders, except without the physical mess. Okay, sometimes there's a physical mess too but that isn't what I'm talking about. I haven't even had time to file my expense receipts from the beginning of the year. They're floating around in folders and in suit cases and some have never left my wallet. I don't know where any of my 2013/14 contracts are, etc.  I don't even know what I'm teaching in Atlanta in three weeks. This isn't going to happen again. I won't let it. 

I will do what I want, when I want. 

I will laugh more. 

I will cry less. 

I will take random breaks from my day to snuggle my kitty cat. 

I will let myself sleep more. 

I will sew. Oooooh, will I sew...

I will do more "me" projects. 

I will give myself time to breathe. 

I will give myself time in general. 

I will be happy. 

That is what this move means to me. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The life that led me here... Why I am me.

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This is deeply personal.  Just a warning.
For my giveaway I asked that everyone tell me something about themselves.  I did this because I love knowing people.  I don't mean that I love knowing people, but that I love knowing people. It is only by knowing people that I can understand why they are who they are.  And I think knowing why people are who they are is really very important.
In my quest to learn more about people, one person asked me to answer my own question.  So here I am.
I am going to give you the unabridged (well, slightly abridged) version of how I came to love quilting, and what it really means to me.
I love life.  This was not always the case.  I have struggled with depression from about the age of ten.  It got worse and worse through my teenage and earlier adult years.  Being an ugly kid and suffering through a horrible marriage didn't help.  I'm also an introvert to the core (yes, it's true) which has been a struggle as well.
As a kid and teenager I was smart and did well in school.  I basically hibernated in my parents' basement.  I did my homework, read books and stared at the wall.  It was my safe place where no one was there to make fun of me or call me ugly.  Just me and my thoughts and my cat.
The only time I left the basement was to go to school (which I dreaded) and to go to dance practice.  I liked dance practice too.  No one made fun of me there.  At least not to my face.
It was during those years that my love for animals really began to grow.  I began volunteering at a veterinary clinic after school and when the animal shelter had strays that they couldn't care for, my mom agreed to let them come live at our house so we could nurse them back to health.
Animals were always my friend.  They didn't care how ugly I was or how crooked my teeth were, how thin and flat chested I was or how thick the lenses in my glasses were.  They appreciated me, and I loved them with all of my being for not judging me.
By some miracle I made it through high school without offing myself (though I thought about it an awful lot).  I even graduated early - even though most thought I dropped out.  While most of the teasing had stopped by Junior year, I could not wait to get myself away from it all.
I think it was in college that I started the process of becoming the me that I wanted to be.  I was technically an English major, but sciences have always held a special place in my heart.  I took classes that interested me rather than following my curriculum.  I didn't care if it aided my attainment of a degree or not.  I didn't care what I was "supposed" to do.
Soon after college I got married.  One step forward, fifty billion steps back.  Suddenly I was back in that place where nothing I did was good enough.  I wasn't good enough.  I was made to hate myself more than I ever had before.  I was made to distance myself from anyone that could make me believe I was worth anything.
Long story short, after a few years I finally gathered every little bit of courage I could muster and left him.
You'd think that alone would've been enough of an achievement to put me on the path to the "new me".  In many was it was, but I also regressed rather quickly.
You see, I used to try to be deeply religious.  I thought I could make myself believe in a god. I wanted to believe in a god so that I could have faith in something and believe in something when I didn't believe in myself. I went to church every Sunday, went to Bible study, read religious self-help books, etc.  I knew all along that I couldn't force myself to believe something that I just didn't believe.  But I still tried, because that was what I was "supposed" to do.  I was trying to be the me that everyone wanted me to be.  When I left my husband, I also left my religion.
Suddenly I was a Godless, hopeless failure incapable of being loved.  It messed with my head and heart in so many ways.  I slipped further and further down the spiral and became so depressed that I was in the darkest place in my life.  Much darker than it had ever been before.
I wanted to die.  I felt like I was a burden to the people that I loved.  I thought my life was going to continue down that impossibly dark path.  I thought the world would be a better place if I wasn't in it.  I thought that allowing myself to live was selfish.  I really just wanted to make it so that I never existed to begin with.
During the time that I allowed myself to fall deeper and deeper into the pit of darkness that was my life, I had stopped communicating with my family.  I hadn't spoken to my mother in nearly two years.  My family had come to Colorado for Christmas one year and I didn't even know it.
One day in October of 2008, in an act of pure desperation I called my mom.  I didn't tell her that I wanted to die.  I couldn't do that to her.  I did however tell her how incredibly unhappy I was.
"You should try quilting, I think you'd like it."
What kind of suggestion was that?!  While I thought it was ridiculous, I let her words echo through my mind for a while.
November 2, 2008 I saw a quilting machine for the first time.  I dove in head first because honestly I had nothing better to do and nothing to lose.  Over time I realized how much fun I had quilting; I realized it was something that if I worked hard at it, one day I could be good at it.
I got to be a part of peoples' lives in a really intimate way.  I was making people happy, and I realized how that made me happy.  It made me feel good.  Suddenly my life had purpose.  I felt like I had accomplished something.  I kept quilting and day by day I built myself up without even realizing it.  I let my curiosity be free to try new things.  In trying new things I naturally practiced a lot.  In my practice I improved my  skills, and in improving my skills I improved my outlook on life.  I was happy! Quilting changed my life.  I found something I love that gave me a reason to want to live.  Even if I wasn't quite there yet as far as believing in myself, I knew that if I kept going that I would get there one day.
Many of you have asked me to thank my mom for making a silly suggestion that brought me into quilting.  But what I really need to thank her for is saving me life.  For giving me passion.
Why am I sharing this with the world? Because I think it's important for people to understand that no matter what things look like on the surface, everyone is fighting their own battle and has their own demons.
A lot of people think that quilting has come easy for me.  Now you know that it didn't.  I needed it.  I needed quilting to come into my life exactly when it did, and I needed it to be something that I could throw myself into.  I refused to give up.  If I failed, I tried harder.  If "this" didn't work, I tried "that" and "the other".  I've worked really hard to get to where I am.  And I can finally say that I love life.  I'm happy.  And I'm going to be okay.
I still have my days where I go back to "I'm not pretty enough", or "I'm not good enough" or what-have-you.  That's just a part of depression or maybe just a part of life.  But I turn to quilting and it all goes away.
I do not wish for a second that those dark times in my life had never happened.  It is everything that has happened in my life up until this point that has made me who I am at this very second.  Above all, I need to be able to like myself and I'm bold enough to say that I love me.  Even if nobody else will, I am able to love the me that I am.  And that feels really good.
So to say that quilting is my life, is the most true statement that I could ever make.

NOW.  Since I've gotten that out of the way, I thought I'd tell you about a few of my dreams or aspirations or goals or random things about me or whatever.

For the last few years, I've had this rather romantic idea that I wish I could change the world.  This is why I always say that I'm "making the world a more beautiful place one quilt at a time."  Because I believe that to be true.  While it would be great if I could take over an island in a massive humanitarian effort, that's not very realistic, is it? But if I could, I would provide a community where every man, woman, child and animal that needed a helping hand or a word of encouragement could go to finally feel however they need to feel.  Since this is not an option, I suppose I will change peoples' lives in the same way that I changed my own:  through quilting.

I believe that everyone wants to be a good person.  I believe that even "bad" people could be good people, if they only knew that someone believed in them.  It's hard to want to be good when you feel like you have no one to turn to, or that the world has given up on you.  You're tempted to give up on yourself.  And I hate that people out there feel that way.  If you need someone to believe in you, I will be that person.

If I could take away all the hurt in the world, I would.  I see strangers walking down the street and I can see the grief on their face.  It could be simply a bad day, or maybe they just got fired from their job, or lost a loved one.  I wish I could hug them without getting arrested.  So I make it a point to smile at strangers on the street, because again, you never know what battle people are fighting in their lives.  Sometimes, a smile really will make someone's day better, even from a stranger.  Smiles are contagious.  Try it.

While quilting has helped me to change my life, the people I have met through quilting have helped me change it just as much.

I like to go through Starbucks drive-thru and pay for the order of the car behind me.

When I see homeless people on the street, I stop to have a conversation with them before slipping them as much cash as I possibly can.  I'd much rather ask them to lunch, but they might think I'm a weirdo.

I love to give stuff away.  Things are things and I don't need them (but no you cannot have my quilting machine.  I do need that).You can have them if you want them. I only ask that you ask for them rather than take them. Taking things is not nice. 

Never again will I let someone make me feel like I'm not good enough. If I feel that way, it's my own fault. 

If you hurt me, all you have to say is you're sorry.  The tricky part is that you have to mean it and I know it when you don't. 

I want to eventually live happily ever after with someone that loves me, appreciates me and supports me and someone for whom I can do the same. Just not right now. But if that never happens, that's okay too. 

I will cause a scene if I have to when I see someone being mistreated.

I believe in telling people how you feel about them.  I think the world would be a better place if we could just find it in ourselves to tell people how special they are or how much we love them.  That's something that everyone needs to hear.

I believe that kindness and acceptance are the key to happiness.

I find it upsetting that we live in a world where Atheism has somehow become synonymous with immorality.  Think about that for a minute.  Do you really think I'm a "Godless heathen"?

Sometimes the Internet (or more accurately men on the internet) makes me feel horrible about myself. But then I remember that I am more than what I look like.

I love to make people smile.

I love hugs.

I hurt when I see others hurting.

My favorite thing in the whole wide world is to laugh.

I'm also rather fond of kittens.  And all animals.  If I could have one of every furry creature that exists, my life would be complete.

I can find a way to put baby spinach in just about anything.

I love to cook. But much like quilting, you can't talk to me while I'm cooking. I won't hear anything you say. 

If you ever want to see me really determined, tell me I can't do something then watch me do it.  

I think that while telling people you love them is important, showing them is exponentially more important.  Words lack depth and often meaning.  Actions can never be questioned or doubted.

 Sometimes, I know I'm being taken advantage of, but I don't care.  I'm not stupid.  I know what you're doing.  But I want to help you anyway.

If I go too long without listening to music, I get grumpy.

I don't like to touch paper after washing my hands and you can't make me. 

My two front teeth are fake. 

Romantic comedies depress me.

I have pink hair as a celebration of a successful surgery, not "just because".

Tattoos are important to me.  They feed my soul.  The act of actually being tattooed is therapeutic to me.  My tattoos tell stories of my life that I never tell in words.  And I get to wear my art for the rest of my life.

You are not allowed to judge me based on my tattoos or my pink hair.  They are not me.  But they are a large part of me.  You only get to judge me based on who I am.

I love to go for walks in the rain.  No umbrella. But you can stand under my umbrella if you need to.

I spend so much of my life in a hurry (if you've ever seen me trying to get from one place to another at a quilt show, you know this).  When I give myself a chance to breath, I love to marvel at nature.  Birds, butterflies, insects, wildlife, a tree swaying in the all makes me smile.  It's beautiful.

I don't eat animals.  In my version of the perfect world, no one would eat animals.  Animals are my friends.

I love people.  All of them.  But I like some more than others.

My eyes kind of glow in the dark, but that's mostly due to poor eye health, not because I'm special.  :)

There is someone in my life that is the most amazing human being I have ever met.  He inspires me and makes me want to be a little bit better version of myself every day.

I think that everyone is special in their own way and everyone has a purpose.  Some just haven't found it yet.  If you've found your purpose, I hope you realize how lucky you are.

I feel lucky to know that I get to spend my days doing something that is so deeply important to me.  I don't know what I'll do if that ever changes.

Since I wanted to change the world and provide a place for people in need but can't, I've found a rescue mission that already exists that is sort of in my new neighborhood to volunteer at instead.  I am SO EXCITED.

I believe that if you can't change something, your only choice is to change your attitude about it.

Some people think I'm a whackadoodle.  I think those people are whackadoodles and I'm the normal one.

If I can spend the rest of my life making people realize their potential, overcome their fears and make their dreams come true... - well I have no words for how that would make me feel.

So there you go.  A few things about me. 

A Super Fun Giveaway!

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Or at least I think it's super fun.  I guess y'all will have to be the judge of that.  :)

So, I started a Facebook Fan Page.  I'm pretty overwhelmed at the response I've gotten.  I had thought about starting one for quite a while to keep my personal life more personal and my quilty life more quilty, but the two have sort of begun to meld together and I wasn't sure I'd be able to keep up with two pages.  And between you and me, the same thought kept running through my head: "What if no one likes me? That would be embarrassing..."

I sort of love the fact that through Facebook, I've converted some of my old high school fans into quilting appreciatists (that's not technically a word but you forget that I live in my own little world and thus, get to make up my own language as well).  People that have always though quilting was dorky now understand that things aren't always as they appear.

Anyway, I took the plunge about a week ago and YAY! They like me!  It's quickly growing, and I decided to have a giveaway to show my appreciation to everyone that's following along with me over there.  I decided though, that I wasn't going to make people "like" my page in order to enter the giveaway, because I really, truly want people to like my page because they genuinely like it.  And if they don't, that's okay.  Everyone is welcome to enter.  Family, friends, perfect strangers, even people that might not like me but want one of my quilts.  :)

So here's the deal.  I pinned the giveaway post to the top of my fan page so it should be the first thing you see when you click over.  All you have to do is leave a comment on THAT POST and you will be entered into my giveaway to win a doodle-cloth made specially for you, by me.

I'll leave out the rest of the details here, as they're over on the post for you to check out.  But I want to be clear that leaving comments here on the blog, or commenting on any other posts does not enter you into the giveaway, so be sure you're commenting on the giveaway!

And it occurred to me that some might not know what a "doodle-cloth" is...  Well, it's my version of a wholecloth.  I don't plan it out, just whatever happens when I turn the machine on is what it will be.  Here are a few examples!

So good luck to everyone!  Just click HERE to get over to the page and enter the giveaway!  I've read each and every comment.  Some have made me laugh, some have made me cry, some have made me have to hug myself.  You all are wonderful!
Good luck again and have a great day!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Officially Official Announcement: Philly Here I come! And some other stuff too...

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It's been a long road, friends.  I'm tired to the core and am currently doing something I almost never do: Chillin' in bed.  With the tv on, even!
I'm in Salt Lake City to film a segment of Quilt It! with Jodie Davis tomorrow.  Exciting, right?
Except it was sort of a last minute thing, and I didn't find out I was going to be a guest on the show until after I had boarded a plane for Philadelphia.  So, I spent a lot of time at my new shop, Olde City Quilts as they were gracious enough to loan me a longarm to stitch up some samples for the show.
I spent two weeks in the Philly/Jersey area and I really truly had a blast.  I got to go to Quilt Odyssey in Hershey, PA and meet some new quilty friends (Christine, Renee and Carol, I'm looking at you).  The show was great and the vendors were great and a good time was had by all.
So blah blah blah.  Why am I moving to Philly? Well... why not?  I've moved around a lot in my 32 years and it was time for a change.  I already have the support of some great friends that I've made there, I have one of the greatest quilt shops on the east coast a train ride from my front door, and I have a new in-home studio that I can't wait to make a mess of.
So there you have it.  I know some of you that have seen me talk about it on Facebook thought I was kidding.  Nope.  It's really happening and I'm excited for the opportunities that await me.  I'm making plans to join two MQGs, I'll be offering private lessons, all kinds of fun stuff.
So if you're on the east coast in the Delaware Valley area, be prepared to feel the earth shake at the end of the month.  :)

Here are some highlights of my trip!
My coffee-time friend.  

Did I mention that I sold BeDazzled? Here's the happy new owner, Diana!

Hanging out with some ducks. No, geese.  Geese.

I got to see Gregory Alan Isakov at Johnny Brenda's.  I was up on the balcony hanging out with his (super sweet and funny) parents!

Walking around and what do I find?

McTavishing in Northern Liberties!

Dinner on my last night with Rob, Judy and Christine.

I love bridges! This one is the Benjamin Franklin.

Dinner view on the river.

One of my two new boyfriends, Stitch.  He's such a lover.

And of course a river pre-sunset.  :)

Hope all is well in your stitchy worlds!