Hello friends! Seasons Greetings to all! It has been a bit of an unusual, out-of-the-ordinary Christmas season around here, with a few unexpected gifts.
First of all, an update and huge shout to all who made and sent bears to be stuffed for Dolls of Hope. I’m excited to report that over 150 bears were stuffed, finished, and delivered over the past month.
The Perfect Quilting Gift
The workmanship and quality on these bears was beautiful. They were a delight to finish. They’ll go to such a sweet cause, providing a toy to love to children in this country and abroad who have no toys of their own. (You can read more about the organization Dolls of Hope here.)
And surprisingly, they were an unexpected quilting gift to me this season too.
Would you believe I have not worked on any quilt projects in a month?! This is by far the longest amount of time I’ve ever taken off of quilting in the past 19 years. Even when I had my babies I was back working on some little project with in a week or two.
There are a few factors in this rare event. The holidays are definitely a factor, but all of that has been compounded by my finger injury a month ago. For those who haven’t heard (and without going into too much gory detail) I had my most tragic (and traumatic) run in with a rotary cutter. Let this be a cautionary tale to stay vigilant with your rotary cutter safety! I know why this happened- I was not practicing my routine cutting habits – I was working at a different angle trying to take a ‘short-cut’. Lesson learned.
Anywho the good news is that my fingertip is regrowing, but it’s taken a lot longer than I anticipated. I can’t put any pressure on my finger tip, so I’m not up for cutting or even pinching EPP pieces together for hand sewing and my bulky bandage makes it cumbersome to run pieces through my sewing machine – I’m just not very nimble right now.
And, to be totally honest, the trauma of it all has wiped me out physically and emotionally far more than I expected. I wasn’t prepared for that either. I’ve been dealing with autoimmune issues for over the past few years. This fall I’d finally got to a place where I was feeling improved and more like myself again. And then this injury happened and I feel like it’s set me back a bunch of paces which has been really frustrating.
So a break it has been. It’s been a good reminder that sometimes it’s good to slow down.
The one thing I have been able to work on is stuffing these bears and stitching them closed. They were big enough that my left hand (down one finger) could still hold them and I could stuff and stitch safely and comfortably. They were the perfect way to satiate my need for a stitchy project and to keep my hands busy, but not feel overwhelming.
When I put the call out for bear donations, I never could have predicted they way that they would comfort me too. Thank you so much!
Because they arrived and were finished and delivered in waves, I never got a picture of all of bears at once. So I apologize if I didn’t get a good photo of the bears that you contributed.
Also, a shout out to my sweet sister-in-law Heather for finishing the lion’s share of the fist 60 bears that arrived. She was in town for a family wedding – it was the week after my injury and my hand was still not very functional. We had family members help us start stuffing, but she took on the the effort of finishing that round.
I’ve also been taking this time to get my house in order – and that has been much needed too. Usually my house is in “survival but sanitary” mode while I’m working on deadlines, managing kids’ and husband’s schedules, etc. We had some home renovation projects planned for the fall, but then had an added wrench thrown with a flooded and gutted kitchen this summer. Which resulted in whole house upheaval as all the floors on the main floor had to be refinished.
Happily, the kitchen is now finished. It took 4 1/2 months – twice as long as we’d planned – but we made it. After the new year, I’ll do a house before and after update (that’ll give me time to maybe finally get my sewing room put back together) but here’s a little sneak peek of one of my favorite new details in the kitchen. I love these floating shelves and the new white subway tile.
It’s felt good to just slow down and put my house back together without trying to keep on top of new (and 100 old) sewing projects.
So, 2019 was full of unexpected (and often unwelcome) surprises. But we made it through and even gained some new beauty in the process
At church recently I heard someone share the thought: “There’s no growth in your comfort zone and no comfort in your growth zone” and I felt like shouting, “don’t I know it!”
I love my comfort zone so much and 2019 has squarely thrown me out of it in so many different ways. With some hindsight, I see some of the growth that come during the stressful parts. But sometimes I just want to take a nap and wake up back in my boring old comfort zone. 😉
I’m sure so many of you can relate. Life is full of challenges. The bitter makes the sweet parts better, but sometimes we’d rather just not have to deal with the bitter. Where ever life is taking you right now, hang in there!
The other benefit of my injury and resulting limitations this month, is that I’ve drastically simplified my expectations of the Christmas season. A lot of the decorations didn’t go up, a lot of the expectations I have of myself have been chucked out the window – and do you know what? Christmas came just the same. It came with a lot less clutter, and I’ve enjoyed that gift.
This video has become my favorite this season and the best simple reminder of what’s most meaningful about Christmas to me.
So I’m wishing you all a happy holiday season. Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Feliz Navidad! Joyous Kwanza! God Jul! Happy Holidays! Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward Men.
Whatever your beliefs or traditions I’m hoping you have some times of clarity peace, joy, and fun with those you love. Thank you for sharing some of your time and generosity over the years with me.
What kind of quilting gift you’ve been given? Let me know in a comment below!