2015 - A Year of Growth and Positive Change

So I am a little late getting this post out, but oh well. Nothing can be done to change the past, I will just have to work on making sure next year's post is out before the end of the year. This has been a part of the theme of 2015 though. Working on not giving up, and being easier on myself if I don't live up to my expectations or fall behind when it comes to (generally unrealistic) deadlines I set for myself.

I am a perfectionist by nature, and it has been hard work accepting myself as I am now, and setting my mind toward growing and learning, instead of judging myself. In 2015 I took a step in the right direction, took a leap of faith, and put my quilting out into the world of 1s and 0s. For a moment though I am going to take a step back and look at the last little bit of 2014 and start of 2015 to showcase how big a deal this was for me. 

Holidays in 2014 were rough, my then 14 month old son had only just started sleeping 6+ hour stretches (previously 2-3 hours) about a week earlier, 2 days before Christmas I fell down the stairs while holding my son which did a number on my back (he was not hurt since I took the full fall), and at the time, while I didn't know it, I was suffering from PPD (just admitting that so publicly is huge for me). There had also been a lot of disruption and stress at work when my company split off into a start-up, which took effect at the start of 2015. 

Despite all of the craziness, and my not so great state of mind, my intuition told me 2015 would be a much better year than 2014 (although at the time I did not know how much). It started off slowly with me getting help for the PPD and a few positive changes at work.

As I started to heal (physically and mentally), and crawl my way out of the sleep deprived haze I had lived in for over a year, I started to think about getting my sewing machine out and quilting. My sewing room was actually clean because we had family for the holidays. There was a baby quilt I needed to make for a baby that was already born (Playful Pachyderm), and another one for a friend with a baby on the way (What a Hoot), and a closet full of various other WIP.

While I obsessed over the designs for Playful Pachyderm and What a Hoot, I picked up my son's quilt top I had started before he was born, and finished the top. At a loss for what to do, since I hadn't quilted anything myself (and didn't have the time to take an in person class) I bought a Craftsy Class and started some walking foot quilting. 

Around the beginning of April I discovered that Reddit had a quilting community. I lurked for a couple of weeks before actually posting, but I have this great group to thank for giving me the push I needed. Doing a Mystery Quilt Along is an idea I got from the group. The quilt was already designed all I needed was how to distribute it. I extended the offer to participate, beyond Reddit, to a Facebook group I am part of, and had an overwhelming response, and so the Desert Bloom Website was born.

 
 

Blogging was an afterthought, but as I got started I realized I enjoyed writing more than I would have ever expected, but, of course, I had unrealistic expectations of what I could accomplish, and how much time it would really take. Despite that I kept going, and writing when I could find time in between clue distribution, work, and family.

People's energy and excitement during the Mystery Quilt Along was infections, and it was a huge push in the right direction for me. With every clue release the pictures and comments kept me going. Teaching a mystery quilt had been a goal of mine since taking my first mystery class in Tucson, AZ. When the original class fell through I wasn't sure what to do. The work had been done already. The website was the perfect solution.

Personally, I felt the Mystery Quilt Along went very well, and the feedback seemed to reflect that (for those that offered feedback, thank you, it was all constructive and very helpful). I do feel that I stretched it out too much. Especially toward the end, so the 2016 Mystery Quilt Along (more info to come later), will have much better distribution for the online platform!

Since I was now addicted to events (and had fear of going through withdraws once the event was over) I set up the Christmas BOM. The experience overall was good, but I made a couple of, what I felt were avoidable mistakes (typo's in cutting and fabric yardage) that I will be taking steps not to repeat in the future.

Overall, in 2015 I also got a lot more sewing done than I ever have in the past, and it only increased as the year went on. I also attempted projects that I would have avoided in the past, like the wall hanging for my son's school or the stocking for my friend's daughter. I also started making the Tudor bag by Sew Sweetness.

I also finished a Mystery Quilt that I took in Tucson, AZ which I have the post for almost complete (need to take more pictures when it stops raining), and a top for a friend almost done as well. I can't wait to get back to sharing what I'm working on, and seeing what 2016 has to offer. 

Quilting my own tops, painting, and drawing were added to my list of new activities, and thus the fullness and beauty in my life grows. As I successfully tackle new activities and face old fears I feel empowered to learn and grow more. It is a never ending loop of growth and learning that I am sure will continue into the future.

As I sit here looking at the last vestiges of Christmas, listening to the rain, with Wall-E playing in the background, I am filled with hope, excitement, and an urge to further create and grow. On behalf of me and my Minion Army, Happy New Year and thank you for reading.