This story is personal one. And it got kind of long.
Feel free to just enjoy the pictures if you don't have time for all this minutia.
I promise there won't be a quiz at the end.
Just over 8 years ago I was a youngish mom with two cute toddler girls. At the time my husband had some chronic health issues that we couldn't find solutions for and we were a little bit worried about our future, financial and otherwise. I had a hobby I loved but not a lot of $ to spend and not many friends who enjoyed petting and cutting up fabric the way that I did, but I was grateful for an outlet that brought me a lot of happiness during a stressful time.
For a while I was trying to figure out a way to make things and sell them to help bring in a little extra $ and to support my habit in a not-cheap hobby. I sold some things at a little Christmas craft fair, but then I got E Coli and was sick for a month following. It took a while for me to get up the momentum to do something like that again. I kept thinking about what to do. Finally one day I prayed about it. I felt silly praying about my hobby -it felt like such an insignificant thing.
A few days later I discovered a brand new little quilt shop in my town. (I'd been telling my husband for a while that someone needed to open a quilt shop where we lived. Before that I would drive 20-25 minutes to the north or the south to find the good quilting fabrics.) I was so excited to have one close by! It was just little, but so cute!
While I was in the shop I overheard the owner calling the employees trying to find someone who could work that Saturday. As she was on the phone I thought, "I could work Saturday." That thought had come out of nowhere - I never had any intention to look for a job away from home. I am so not an outspoken person, but I found myself going up to the owner and saying, "Are you looking to hire any people to work on Saturdays?" All the women who worked at the shop were busy on Saturdays with soccer games and busy family schedules. My schedule was usually wide open on Saturdays. My little ones still napped or just played with the neighbors and their dad was always home on Saturday. They could all survive without me for 4 hours.
And that is how I got my job at American Quilting where I've worked for the past 8 years. It has been one of the greatest blessings. Not only did I get to pet and cut fabric - they even paid me to do it! But the best part of the experience was working with wonderful new friends and meeting bunches of wonderful ladies who enjoy cutting and petting fabric as much as I do. My boss kindly accommodated our family's schedule and allowed me to only work on Saturdays. 6.5 years + 2 more kids later I was now the mom with bigger kids who had soccer games and other activities on Saturdays and I could no longer work every week. The gracious (and talented) owner, Amy McClellan, said I could continue to work just once a month, if I wanted to and that's what I've done for the past year and a half.
But a new era is here. AQ and I both at different stages now. Both of us have expanded and grown. This blog takes a lot more of my time and Amy M. was in need of employees who worked more that 4 hours a month :) so it was time for me to retire from my time at the store. I am feeling a little bittersweet about it, but it's the right move for this stage of my life. I'm lucky because I still get to create occasional samples for the store (like the quilt in this post). I will always feel so glad for that experience and those relationships. Such a blessing! And those experiences designing multiple quilts a year, learning about the fabric and quilting business, and meeting such great people have changed the direction of my life in ways I never would have expected.
Thanks so much for all who came in to say Hi to me at American Quilting - even some who were passing through from out of state! I originally planned this post as just a little explanation that I would no longer be there, but it turned into a long retelling of that whole saga because as I thought about it more, I realized the significance it had in my life. And it reminded me that God cares about the details of our lives. Something that I worried was a small, selfish thing, turned into a sweet tender mercy and affected my life in great ways.
And of course, it would not have worked with out the support of my husband. It definitely meant sacrificing some of our time together on the weekends, but as a result he had some great Dad-time adventures with the kids and even developed the brilliant talent of making homemade pizza every Saturday night. (Talk about win-win!) I'm also happy to say that we found the solutions to his own health challenges through that time. We both ended up on paths that we would not have found if life had been smooth sailing back then. Thank goodness for the bumps in the road.
This quilt is the most recent one I created for American Quilting. It's called Cath (or Catherine) and kits are available. If you want one you can order one from AQ at 801-802-7841.