Wesley surprised me with an early anniversary present this week... A beautiful bouquet of red roses, white carnations, and pine boughs. This arrangement has special meaning for us. He gave me a similar bouquet in the same green glass bowl on our wedding day. Each year, he asks the flower shop to recreate it for our anniversary.
With the Thanksgiving holiday just around the corner, I've been making a conscious effort to make note of the things for which I am most grateful. Sometimes, my gratitude flows freely, and I am appreciative and content. Of course, there are also times when I fall into discontent and self-doubt, developing a case of the "If Onlys".
"If only I had more time... If only I had more help... If only I could get organized..." I think these emotions are pretty common at this time of year, as women look forward to the holiday season, hoping to accomplish so much, as they plan special meals, gifts, and celebrations.
We are bombarded with images of exquisitely decorated homes and perfect holiday tables laden with gourmet meals. Standing at the supermarket checkout counter, magazine cover photos depict these unachievable scenes, carefully photographed to draw us into the fantasy.
As I catch myself falling into the trap, I have to remind myself that chasing perfection is a game that I'm no longer willing to play. Instead, I will focus upon the small joys each day, live in the moment, and do my best to find balance in those things which are truly important.
On that note, I came across a newsletter I wrote a few years ago, titled "Simple Quilting Joys". To those of you who remember it, perhaps you'll enjoy reading it again. I made a few modifications, as I'm older and wiser now :)
This list reflects my simple quilting joys:
1.) Starting a new project. Choosing the fabric, reading the pattern, and bravely making that first cut with a rotary cutter.
2.) Sharp rotary cutter blades, full bobbins, and a really hot iron with plenty of steam.
3.) Realizing there is a perfect ruler for the cut you are making, that you already own it, and you can easily find it in your messy sewing room.
4.) Completing the first block in a new project, and measuring it: it is the right size, and your points MATCH!
5.) Enduring endless interruptions, occasional "un-sewing with a seam ripper", and other frustrations.... to bring a quilt top to completion.
6.) Joyful hours with needle and thread watching the pattern come to life under your fingertips.
7.) Pleasant surroundings as you work. Hot coffee, good music, fresh air, sunshine, and good company. I'm partial to cats.
8.) Finishing the final seam, laying the top out, taking a step back, loving how it looks, and saying "It's Done!"
9.) Putting the final stitches in a binding, and adding a label. Now, "It's Really Done!".
10.) Washing your new quilt for the first time, adding plenty of color catchers, praying that the colors don't run. Breathing a sigh of relief when you inspect your quilt after washing, and all is well. The colors didn't bleed, and none of your seams fell apart.
11.) Removing your new quilt from the dryer: fresh, warm, and clean. The cotton batt has shrunk a bit, your quilt has a gently weathered appearance, and is surprisingly soft. You can't help yourself... you have to hug your quilt.
12.) As you wrap up in your warm, newly finished quilt, you think of the person for whom you made the quilt with appreciation and love. Especially if you made it for yourself.
13.) Showing your quilt to others. Quilters or non-quilters, it's important to invite friends to share in your accomplishment.
14.) The delightful anticipation of planning a new project.