I frequently worry that I give off a false impression of what my life is like. The past few months have been extra exciting and crazy around here, so I wanted to give a little glimpse at the behind-the-scenes of life at Diary of a Quilter.
But first: it’s week #5 of the 2021 Riley Blake Quilt Block Challenge! This week’s block is a traditional Ocean Waves block designed by Rachel of Citrus and Mint Designs.
If you’re new to the 2021 Riley Blake Quilt Block challenge, it’s never too late to join the fun. You can read more about the RBD Quilt Block challenge, the fabrics I’m using for my blocks, and tips for piecing intricate quilt blocks here.
This quilt is a mystery quilt with three new blocks released each month until June. You can get the fabric requirements for the full quilt + download all of the block patterns here.
Now back to a bit of life behind the scenes…
I worry frequently that I give a false impression that all I do is make quilts and enjoy beautiful hikes (because those are sometimes the only things I post). Social media, blogs, magazines, etc. almost always the feature the carefully curated highlight reel, not the full story. As I shared a slice of reality on my personal Facebook page, I realized it would be a good thing to share here too.
First of all – nothing is as glamorous as it looks in the photos. lol Here’s a shot midway through the hours-long photo shoot and editing process for the pictures in this post about the release of my Notting Hill fabric collection last week. If you were to look at that post alone, fabric and quilt design looks pretty glamorous and charming. It’s all smoke and mirrors, friends. lol.
Of course I am INCREDIBLY LUCKY and GRATEFUL to that I get to do what I do. But I definitely don’t want to give the misconception that it’s effortless. A fabric collection release is always a year in the making. Sometime I need to do a more detailed post about the process, because it’s pretty fascinating and going through it definitely made me more appreciative of what it takes to get a fabric collection out into the world!
January and February were also full of all kinds of non-quilting-related shenanigans around these parts including: finally finishing paint and carpet renovations that were planned back in 2019 but delayed because of “all things 2020” (more of that backstory here). Part of those renovations included IKEA furniture assembly (always fun times!!). Our house has empty space, but very little storage (like no linen closet?!), so I’ve been dreaming of adding these IKEA Pax wardrobes (like the one in this post) for years. These puppies will hold A LOT of quilts. 😉 And other stuff in a much more organized fashion than we’ve previously had.
I’m SO excited to have these house projects that have been hanging over our heads for so long finally crossed off the list!
In addition to the fun of moving and assembly furniture, we also added dental work, sick husband and kids, and multiple doctor visits into the mix: including finally getting our youngest son into a Neurology clinic at the University of Utah for extensive testing where he’s been on the waiting list since May. (Hooray for that!)
Thank you to all who have asked and expressed support and concern for our son. I don’t share a lot of details out of regard for his privacy. We’re still on a journey figuring out how to help him feel like a normal teenager again. Sometimes I feel encouraged because it feels like we’re making progress. Other times feel discouraging when I see his health take another crash. He’s still mostly doing life and school from home – which means I’m much more heavily involved in both. We both miss our old lives, but we’re learning a lot about the ability to handle what is. I’m grateful and so lucky that I have flexible work that I can do from home, but it’s definitely required adjustments to my previous work flow and productivity.
The aforementioned dental excitement was all mine and included bone grafts on both sides of my jaw. More fun times! This resulted in me having a square face for a few days. Which made my kids crack up every time I talked to them. (Can you blame them?) By day 2 I realized who my face reminded me of (see photo).
Since that charming look I’ve recovered fully, feel fine, and my cheeks are back to their boring, normal size. All is good with my face again. No worries there.
It was not my original intention to have all of that fun all at once, but you know how home renovations go – they always take longer than you’d hoped! I’d originally hoped to have all of that done before endodontic procedures and healing. Instead it was all at the same time. But I’m glad we managed to pull it all off. And I was very excited to turn the calendar page at the beginning of March and see a much more blank page.
Here are a couple of life hacks I discovered during the process. First: Hire someone to help put together your Ikea furniture. I found Mandy who is a local special ed teacher who works on weekends to help put herself through grad school. She is my new BFF.
Second: after my dental procedure my son noticed me holding an ice pack to my cheeks and suggested I could use a face mask to do the job. Clever child! So there you go: another handy use for those fun face masks. #lifehack #yourewelcome
I sometimes hesitate to share the ‘real’ behind the scenes parts of life because a) I know you’re here first and foremost for the quilts and inspiration and b) I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining. It feels like such a fine line between sharing real life and sounding whiney. I’m incredibly grateful we had the means and capacity to tackle each one of these things last month.
And, as I mentioned, I’m incredibly grateful that sewing is my job! I know that it looks like I’m a productive quilter – and I am compared to many. But always keep in mind, this is more than just a hobby for me – it’s my work and my job too so I carve out that time for work. It’s not realistically feasible for everyone. At the same time, there’s still SO much I’d like to do and can’t get to. I frequently feel bad when I can’t respond to every email or meet the majority of the requests that I get for help. I truly wish there was more of me to go around.
So at the risk of sounding whiney or ungrateful, I don’t want to avoid sharing real life and give the false impression that life is peaceful quilting bliss and my sewing room is always organized and inspiring.
I feel like every one I know is dealing with a heavy load of real life – as everyone is still trying to get through all of the disruptions of 2020, or dealing with their own personal challenges. I just want you to know that you’re not alone. I want to give everyone permission to be okay with things as they are – and accepting of what “is”. That’s the journey I’m still trying to navigate myself.
And I want give everyone permission to share the real parts – including unfiltered pictures of yourself with a square face.