What really counts?

tornadoI just received an email from a friend with bad news.  A big storm blew through our county this week and a tree was literally blown onto her husbands car, totaling it while he was driving home.

Everyone was okay, but this event stopped me short.

It made me ask myself: What really counts?

Lately I’ve been obsessed with making more money.  Not in the greedy sense.  I don’t want to be filthy rich, I would just like to stop feeling so stretched and tight all the time.

I’ve realized that by spending wiser, we could have more money for the things we really want.  My spending habits are definitely changing, but the focus on making more money remains.

But does money really matter?

Does any of this stuff really matter?  My husband and I drive one vehicle that’s less than 2 years old.  We live in a house that could easily house a much bigger family, and we do generally have the money to invest in our hobbies: quilting and aquariums.

But does it matter?  In 10 years will I look back at the floor I installed in my den, or the afternoon I spent with my son? Will it matter that our yard looks out on our neighbor’s junkyard?  Will we look back on the years spent in this town with disgust or fondness?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a waxing sentimental.  I’m not deluded enough to think that only happy memorys of lazy summer days stick around.  I know without a shadow of doubt that my son will probably remember the bad days before he remembers the good ones.

I guess my problem is I remember growing up poor.  And I don’t want that for my son.

But was being poor really that bad?  Yeah, my clothes didn’t fit and girls at school liked to point it out.  Big deal.  Several of the girls who were shallow enough to comment ended up pregnant by the end of high school.  I guess that was nature’s way of evening the odds.

Was it the small clothes or the lack of extra money or the fact that my parents were too young and badly suited for one another?  It’s hard to tell…

No, I don’t think more money would have made our lives better, but I do think it would have eased the strain.  But again, this is me as an adult looking back on what I would change for my parents when I was a child.  Rather silly and completely implausible.

It makes me wonder though.  What will my son think of me when he’s 25?  What will really count to him?  What will have left the biggest impressions?

If he grows up poor, will he focus determinately on becoming rich?  If he grows up rich will he take it for granted?  Will he hate the money and privilege we’ve worked so hard for?

I can’t answer these questions, but I do know what really counts.

Love for myself.  Love for my husband. Love for my son.  Love for my family and friends.

You can’t eat love.  It won’t feed the hungry or clothe the poor.  But it is what really truly counts.

To love,

Leah

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Journaling on a Daily Basis

In the book “The Artist’s Way” you are instructed to journal every single day.  It’s called morning pages, and it consists of 3 pages of streaming thought.

The first time I tried this I was shocked at what I was writing.   My mind was full of rage.  I was angry at my husband.  I was mad at my son.  Everyone around me was annoying, loud, obnoxious, distracting, and doing it all on purpose.

It took a week for me to get my rage onto paper and then the weirdest thing happened.  I lost a lot of the anger and frustration I felt on a daily basis.  How could journaling, putting my most private thoughts onto paper, actually have a tangable, positive impact on my daily actions and reactions?

I stopped questioning that it worked.  Journaling did help to focus my mind and center my life.  I can’t say that I stuck with it religiously.  Weeks would go by and I’d avoid writing.  I used old standby excuse that “I’m too busy” when really the reasons were “I’m lazy and don’t like what I’m saying on paper.”

It’s not a good feeling to realize that 99% of your thoughts are selfish and angry.  It was an eye opener, but not one that made me feel great about myself.

But after awhile, different thoughts started to swirl.  Ideas for quilts.  Plans for new projects.  I would journal about my insecurities and miraculously, my insecurities stopped being a hindrance to my daily life.

Keeping a daily journal isn’t easy.  It’s not always pleasant and can make you see and confront things you may not want to see and acknowledge.

I can honestly say that I haven’t been 100% on morning pages until now.  This week I started something completely new with my journal.  I began each day to write a list of 10 things I love about myself.

Starting a day with this list, a list of love, has been an amazing change.  How can I be anything other than happy when I start the day with love?

Dissatisfaction happens.  We all have bad days.

But to start the day with love in your mind and your heart, I believe that’s the best thing in the world.

Love,

Leah

New You Tube Video

How to Piece Perfect QuiltsI’ve just gotten a new You Tube Video uploaded.  This video is special because it’s actually a sample video from my new Ebook and Video set “Stitch it Up a Notch: How To Piece Perfect Quilts.

This set is devoted to all things piecing!  I pieced 15 blue and white 9 patch quilts, over 100 9 patch blocks for the making of this project.  I don’t think I will ever look at a 9 patch block the same way again.

But making all of those quilts was necessary.  I really wanted to show not just how to piece, but how to plan and design a quilt from start to finish.  I focus on sashing, or the space between your quilt blocks, as an excellent area to create designs in the quilting process by widening this area and leaving more space between your blocks.

Quilting Beyond the DitchThe great thing about having 15 quilts, is that now I have to quilt them all!  My next ebook and video series will be “Stitch it Up a Notch: Quilting Beyond the Ditch.”  It should be finished by November 2009.

So here’s the newest video:  This is a sample video on Paper Piecing.

Enjoy!

Leah Day

The Duchess Has Left the Building

duchesscenterfinThis week I had the feeling of a mother watching her young child leave on his first day of school.  No, my 2 year old isn’t going anywhere, these feelings were for a quilt.

It’s kind of weird that I should be so very attached to a quilt, but after 300 hours, I guess it’s expected!

The Duchess is my first wholecloth whitework quilt that I created from November 2008 until February 2009.  She is quite simply, perfect.

But such beauty really can’t be kept to myself!  I had to show this quilt, I made it to show!

So this week I went to the UPS store and shipped her to the Denver National Quilt Festival, hoping and praying that she gets there safely and comes home fine too.

I almost don’t care what happens at the festival so long as the Duchess comes back in one piece.  Well, almost!  I certainly do what the quilt to do well, but just the fact that it got in is enough for me right now.

So while the Duchess has left the building, I’m reminiscing by watching the video I created while working on her.  This video takes you through from the beginning when the quilt was just a plain piece of muslin, through marking, trapunto, and hand embellishment.

It’s so wonderful to see a beautiful quilt, but it’s even more fun to watch it being made!  Check out this video and larger photos of The Duchess here.

Face Lift and New Start

So the day style blog’s just had a major face lift. Much more than a 15 minute treatment of L’Bri’s Facial Masque!

I’m wanting to use this blog to be more in touch, but to also share more about my quilting life.

This blog isn’t the only thing that’s changing for me right now.  The Duchess, my first wholecloth quilt will be shipping to Denver for the Denver National Quilt Show tomorrow.

After that, she’s headed to the North Carolina Quilt Symposium, then the National Quilting Association show in Ohio.

Needless to say, creating show quilts and teaching is my new focus!

This week I’ve been working on a series of simple quilts, probably to be called “Simple Blues” to showcase exactly how far you can “quilt it up a notch” even on the simplest quilts.

To celebrate my new focus and path, I’ve been expanding and cleaning my sewing studio.  Up until now, I’ve mostly sewn in my basement kitchen.  It’s a nice room, with plenty of space for my tables and machine.

Recently I purchased a new Bernina, and decided that it was time to split quilting and piecing.  Quilting will now take place in a smaller room off of my sewing studio that I’ve previously used just for fabric and sewing  junk storage.

It’s absolutely amazing how much sewing junk you can accumulate in just a few years!

Going through it all hasn’t been fun.  Deciding what to keep and what to throw away is very difficult, especially when I have several completed tops just waiting to quilt, but no time to finish them.

As overwhelming as it can be, I’m resolved to take everything one day at a time.  Today I will finish cleaning and block “Baskets in Bloom” and tomorrow it will be photographed.

Off to sort fabric!

Leah

Stitched Stuck

buildingsandwichSo I’m feeling really stuck lately.

Like I’ve just stitched myself to a quilt (though not literally, that would be very painful).

Instead I feel stuck between the skin care business that I’ve slaved away tirelessly on for two years and my new budding quilting business.

Why stuck? Shouldn’t I feel GREAT that I’ve got a ton of work to do in the middle of a horrible recession?

Yeah, in theory, but the grass is definitely greener on the other side.

See, skin care is now taking up a considerable amount of my time.  Scratch that.  ALL OF MY TIME.

Where is the time to quilt and work on my quilting website or videos when I spend all of my time helping people with their oily skin?

Don’t get me wrong I really like helping people with their skin, but I LOVE quilting and really feel drawn and called to quilt daily.  To help people learn to not only quilt, but to quilt amazing things that they never thought they could make.

In looking back over my life of the last 2 years I see that I took the easy path with skin care.  Not that that’s a bad thing, it’s just that I was terrified of failing miserably if I started a business in quilting so instead I went with skin care feeling that if I completely failed I would still be okay.

Now 2 years and a giant dose of self esteem later, I feel more than capable of trying and failing and continuing to try to build a quilting business.  Can’t have some success without some failure.  Heck, you should look at some of the terrible quilting mistakes that I’ve made over the years!

But with no time to devote to a quilting business now, I feel like I’ve been stitched stuck and placed on the edge of a cliff.

I have 2 choices:

1. Stay stuck – Try to pursue both businesses to the same extent and hope that I don’t have a heart attack or wake up in 10 years and find that my son is grown and my husband has left me.

2. Seam Rip Myself Free – As painful (and stupid) as it may sound, severing my connection with skin care would pave my way, and open up my time for starting my quilting business.

Sometimes my path seems so clear and easy, but other times I absolutely don’t know what to do or what direction to go in at all.  For now, at least, I will stay stuck and take each day as it comes.

I think that’s all anyone can do right now.

Leah

Where have I BEEN???

Lost and Wandering in the world of quilting

Lost and Wandering in the world of quilting

You know what happens when you go away for awhile?

You go away and you think: “I’ll get in touch with everyone when I get back.”  Then you get back and think: “I’m too busy now. I’ll worry about it when I have more time.”

Then things get busier and life happens and suddenly you wake up one day and wonder where you’ve been for the past four months.

That’s right, FOUR MONTHS!

I aught to be seriously scolded for leaving my blog to suffer like this.  I aught to be put on a fabric buying diet. No new fabric for me…

Naw, I’ll just resolve to post more often, which probably won’t do much good seeing as I still have far too much to do and far too little time to do it in.

Why am I complaining?  I’m not really…well, yes, I guess I am, but I feel kind of stuck right now and I don’t know if there’s any way of becoming unstuck anytime soon.

But despite my sticky stuckness I’m back and going to be posting MUCH more often with tons of fun tips and tricks on quilting, plus more on my journey through The Artist’s Way, my new favorite / most hated book (you’d understand if you read it).

This is kind of like an addiction though.  I need you all to help me get addicted again so please comment, rate, post, whatever to let me know that you’re out there and love, like, or hate what about what I have to say.

Be an enabler!  Help me get blog addicted again!

Leah