What’s Up Wednesday: Fall & Finishes

Fall is peaking in all her glory here, and the confetti of color always makes my heart dance a little faster. Tappity-tappity. :)

I have several quilt tops scattered around the house that just need to be quilted… with various reasons why they aren’t. I pieced a fall tessellated leaves quilt in 1992,3,4-ish, and had an idea how to quilt it that didn’t pan out, so there it sat, needing to be picked out. Ick.

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I decided this year I would use it, so I carried it everywhere, picking a little here and there until it was ready to quilt again, and I knocked that sucker out it in no time. What a feeling!

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With that feeling of accomplishment fueling my fire, I pulled out this sparkly stars top I pieced just as long ago, and still had the binding, if you can believe it. Every year I hang the top on the wall for Christmas…. good grief, just do it, right?

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Now I’m on a roll! Today I drove to Pennsylvania with Sew Sista for her guild’s annual retreat, and I’m bringing  quilt ops and batting. Here’s to more finishes!

It’s beginning to look a lot like… ♫

Dare I say it? Christmas.

Christmas music has been playing in our local stores since November first. Yesterday the decorations were already up at the grocery store strip mall. I mean, really… it’s too early, even for this elf.  But when Patience Brewster, designer of the most adorable whimsical Christmas ornaments ever, asked me to write about a favorite Christmas memory I didn’t hesitate to say yes.

I LOVE Christmas and everything that goes with it. I love shopping and wrapping and secrets and sparkly things and Christmas plays and lights… I really should have been an elf.  I was 10 years old  and in 5th grade when my (very mean) best friend insisted Santa wasn’t real. I still don’t believe her.

That’s me on the right, listening intently to what my future boss had to say. ;)

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Every Christmas Eve Mom would bundle us up and we’d pile into the car to go pick our Christmas tree. We’d drink hot chocolate while Daddy brought the tree into the house and set it in its stand. We’d make a big production of giving it lots of water, hang our stockings from the mantel and go to bed. I couldn’t sleep wondering if every noise I heard might be Santa on the roof. It’s a wonder I survived the anticipation at all.

Our first house in New Jersey was a wee little two-bedroom rancher. You could see the entire living room from our bedroom door. On Christmas morning my sister and I would fling open that door and freeze in absolute wonder. The bare tree we left in the stand was now fully decorated and lit, the only glow in the room, surrounded by presents. Pure magic!  >sigh<  Goose pimples.

 

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Our magical tree, 1968.

 

I was eight when we moved across town. Our new house had two stories and the impact of seeing that sight as we flew down the stairs on Christmas morning was a new brand of magic that didn’t disappoint.

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Christmas 1972

Two years later we moved to Florida,  and the tradition changed in a lot of ways, but Mom’s knack for the magical smoothed it over.

Then we grew up and learned a few things. Like Christmas trees are drastically discounted, or free, on Christmas Eve. And Mom and Dad had to wait until we were sleeping to begin decorating the tree, so they got maybe 30 minutes of sleep Christmas Eve. And it looks like a lot more presents when the room is only 12 feet wide. And the tree looks much bigger when you put it on the coffee table and you’re only four feet tall.
And knowing the secrets behind the magic makes it even stronger, because it was made with love.

But the best part of being a grown-up is  it’s my turn to make the magic… after all, I did inherit Mom’s elf gene.

 

Look Up

 

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You walk in and the house looks great… then you lie on the couch and look up notice the cobwebs hanging from the ceiling and dust on the ceiling fan. I hate when that happens. Cleaning takes awareness of more than what’s in front of your nose.

In the same way we often limit our vision to what’s at eye level. We’ve all encounters drivers who seem to only focus on where they’re going… and almost run into others because they didn’t look around. We need to look beyond ourselves to see the entire picture. Looking up helps. It reminds us how small we are. Small is humble. Small doesn’t think more of itself than it ought.

You can read all the Life Lessons here.

Get Down on All Fours

 

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Here’s a challenge: Clean your bathroom. Now get down on the floor and look up at the sink, toilet, walls…  If you only look at something from one angle, you’re bound to miss a few spots.
Perspective is everything. The most complete picture comes from looking at things from every angle. 

Whether you’re dealing with a relational issue, trying to solve a problem or creating a piece of art, it always helps to move around and examine things from more than one perspective. Your a-ha moment is probably right under your nose just waiting to be discovered!

You can read all the Life Lessons here.

Pick Up the Doilies

 

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Cleaning around things doesn’t get the job done. You have to pick up the doilies and get all the dust that can collect there. There’s always something underneath.
Under the chair, under the table, under the rugs even… dirt has a way of collecting in unseen places.

What we do and say on the surface directly reflects what’s going on underneath.  When we’re focused on the truth of God’s word, joy, peace and compassion bubble up. When we’re impatient, irritable or easily agitated it’s like the red light on the car’s dash, indicating something’s funky under the hood. By paying attention to what’s going on inside our heads and hearts we’re more likely to present our best selves.

You can read all the Life Lessons here.

Pace Yourself

 

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There are some chores that need to be done regularly: sweeping, making the bed, cleaning the kitchen counters. And there are other chores that can be done once a month or less: Dusting the ceiling fans, washing the light globes, wiping down the top of the refrigerator. Cleaning the house would take a week if you tried to do every thing every single time… it just isn’t necessary. Your time can be spent on things more valuable.

Sometimes I want to do everything at once. Make changes in my daily life. Begin new projects. Sign on for volunteer positions. Try all the recipes in a new book. We have things we want to do. Good things. But no one can do everything at once, and we burn out quickly when we try. Life becomes a blur and activities we once enjoyed become have-tos instead of want-tos. We need to pick and choose depending on our current season of life. I must decide what’s important today. I don’t want to miss out on what’s best for my life today because I settled for what’s good.

You can read all the Life Lessons here.

Clean The Glass

 

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I love what a little spit and polish to the glass surfaces of a home can do, making magic everywhere the light touches. Dirty glass and mirrors dull what you’re looking at.

Polishing the glass reminds us to be transparent. Let the real you shine through. 

I’ll never forget being sent to the corner of a classroom, because I was overly excited about an experiment that worked. I was only 6. Maybe my continued leeriness of science class wasn’t completely a result of that encounter, but I know for sure it didn’t help. I learned much too early to cage my enthusiasm, and I became quite good at it. I learned how to over-think every reaction and give people what I thought they wanted from me instead of how to be honest in my responses. Fortunately, I’ve since learned that being anyone other than myself denies the world of my unique contribution, however small. When we are transparent, it gives others permission to do the same.

BeYourself

You can read all the Life Lessons here.

{Rest} Take A Break

 

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Cleaning is hard work. If I want to give my best to the job I need to pace myself to keep from pooping out before I’m finished. For all day jobs I need to schedule a break. Just a few minutes to to rest makes the difference between feeling accomplished or feeling wrung out at the end of the day.

In our crazy, fast-paced, instant-everything, plugged-in world it’s more important than ever to know when and how to take a break. Give yourself permission to kick back with friends. Watch some football. Take a Sunday nap. Read a book. We live better when we’re not running on empty.

You can read all the Life Lessons here.

Let It Soak

 

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You just spilled chocolate on your favorite shirt. After you lick off the extra (What? You don’t?) it’s time to treat the stain and let it soak a little while to give the miracle product time to absorb into the fibers.  When cleaning the tub and tile it helps to spray it then let it sit to give the cleaner time to work its magic on the dirt. Same for the kitchen sink – sprinkle and let it sit.

There’s a time for action and a time for absorbing. Sometimes you need to give truth time to settle into the crevices of your soul. Really good stuff can pass us by when we don’t stop to ruminate. (Sounds like marinate… same thing, only for people instead of meat.) Give yourself the gift of time to let seeds of truth take root in your heart.

You can read all the Life Lessons here.

Open the Windows

 

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When a room feels or smells stale, we all know the quickest fix is to open a window and let in some fresh air. Fresh air works on people, too.

It’s open-window season here in coastal Virginia. Fall’s crisp breezes have a magical effect on me… I’m super motivated, super productive and super happy.
When life feels stale it’s time to let in some fresh air of a different variety – perspective.  Whether it’s a problem you face or growth your’e trying to achieve, getting a different perspective into the situation from a trusted friend can make a world of difference. It’s that whole forest for the trees dynamic. If you feel stuck, welcome some new ideas from a different source.  Open a window and breathe deeply. Ahhhhh……

You can read all the Life Lessons here.