Sunday, December 26, 2021

Year-end Review & Best Of 2021

Hey there!  As we sit on the verge of another year fading away and the dawn of new year beginning, I thought I would take a look back at the highlights of the year.

I have been reading a book that contains letters of correspondence from Laura Ingalls Wilder.  In the book, I read a statement made to Laura by her sister Carrie...

"You are always so busy doing, you never stop to see what you have done."

I thought it was quite profound and I hope that you will enjoy taking  a look back at some of the finishes and accomplishments of 2021...

The Pieces From the Past series was an on-line success with more 6,000 visitors/readers from regions all over the world, including North America, South America, the Middle East and Far East, the European Union, Russia, Norway, Germany, Sweden, South Africa, India and Australia and New Zealand.  More that 2,500 block patterns were acquired by nearly 400 participants.  My many thanks to everyone that participated and supported the series.  

It was such a success that a book that contains all of the letters, history, family stories, pictures and recipes has been compiled.  In cooperation with Patchwork Phoenix in Raton, NM, I will share the classic quilting blocks for a monthly Sew Along. Two quilt patterns can be picked up each month at Patchwork Phoenix.    

  New sew along in April - Pieces of the Santa Fe Trail  

This series was featured excerpts of Marion Sloan Russell's memoir, "Land of Enchantment".  Marion Russell is a distant relative... sort of.  She was the Mother-in-law of my Maternal Grandfather's Sister.... 

Marion made her first journey on the Santa Fe Trail in 1852 as a child just seven years old, with her Mother and brother.  It was the first of five trips on the trail and it grabbed hold of her soul and remained a deeply rooted part of her life and memories.

Whole-cloth quilt  My first whole-cloth quilt was made in 2013. It just didn't happen!  And honestly, I didn't have much time for quilts that didn't have a priority.   

Try some Quilt As You Go quilting  Again... it just didn't happen!  I had thought they would be good "traveling projects" but I didn't really need anything more because of the small EPP blocks for our Camping Journal Quilt...

  Continue with our Camping Journal Quilt.

Work on this project did continue.  I added 34 blocks to the top.  These represented the 6 trips and 17 nights of camping. 

Sadly, this was down from 2020.  Dave and I both had our businesses grow and found ourselves with a habit of too much work.  Not that either of us are workaholics working 18-hour days, but when there is work to be done, we do extra on weekends and give up the opportunities to get away and relax.  This hit us hard in September... it was messy and ugly... and uncomfortable.  We were both guilty of it and we had to get out of the RUT!

We had a trip planned and then cancelled due to bug, but we also knew that a family wedding was happening in October... It was a trip filled with driving, but the time with family was precious and the detour on our way home was invaluable!  Nine states in nine days... the acquisition of a John Deere tractor on the way, snow while we were in South Dakota, five tourist sites and three audio books... it felt good to get home, but we took advantage of the extended and warm Indian summer and went to a remote canyon in the midst of a National Grassland.

Top Five Posts...  The five most visited posts were connected with the Santa Fe Trail Sew Along (see pictures and link above), so beyond that series there were two several year old posts, Pieces of My Heart (announcing the release of my first block in a Quiltmaker's publication) and the sleeping couples quilt... (So do these really count???  Not really, I reasoned, since they are not from the current year).  

The remaining four spots were claimed by... 

#2 - Scrappy Placemats - a great scrap buster that recently distracted me one morning while Dave was out deer hunting.

#3 - A Thankful Thursday Post that included an announcement about my Pieces From the Past publication.

#4 - Pieces From the Past - There were several different posts from the series, so I lump them together... 

#5 was a post about a binding dilemma I faced in finishing the Santa Fe Trail quilt .  I shared my solution to being short of enough fabric to make a binding for the Santa Fe Trail quilt.  I thought it was clever... you may too!

Five Favorite Finishes...

Choosing a favorite quilt is a little like choosing a favorite child.  I've heard that many quilters feel their most recent finish is their favorite.  I have to say that kinda agree. LOL!

As I consider the quilts that I made this year, these are the ones that stand out... (in order of completion)

Hanna's giraffe - Pinky the Giraffe was completed in January.  It was ready and waiting (until April 28th) for Hanna's arrival.

Paper Doll Quilts was such a fun quilt to make!  The appliqued dolls can be dressed and re-dressed with different outfits and has a pocket to act as a closet for the dolls, holding the clothing items and shoes. :) 

Mini Chapel - This mini quilt is just 5"x7" and was a fun and quick distraction one morning.

Memory quilt ~ Remembering Mom - this quilt was made using some favorite dresses of a cousin's mother-in-law.  The customer chose the block design (not something I would have typically considered for a memory quilt), and I chose the fabrics from the clothing I was sent.  The secondary pattern of 9-patch blocks in the soft pinks allowed the center of the blocks to shine.     

Love Grows Here  was a wedding gift for our niece and her new husband.  We were thrilled to be able to deliver it in person and to be a part of their special day in October.

I have enjoyed getting my colour of the year report... 

My #yearofcolour for 2021 including Hoki, Buccaneer, Yellow Metal, Barley Corn, Pelorous, Golden Grass, Steel Blue, Persian Red, Purple Heart, Congress Blue, Pancho, Peach, Jacarta, Vanilla, Sorrell Brown, Bright Turquoise, Eucalyptus, Viola, Coral Reef, Sushi. Get yours at @yearofcolour

Peace was my focus word for the year... short of a time when "piece" took over and I felt that I was falling to pieces and lost "peace", I believe that I was able to stay calm and be present and positive despite some of the curve balls that were sent our way.  The source of peace was found when I stayed grounded in Scripture.  

Now that my review of 2021 is complete I turn my eyes toward 2022 and all that it will hold.  Great adventures lie before us and I am filled with excitement.  

Excitement for continued growth in our businesses and personally as a quilter and teacher.  

Excitement for our travels and camping adventures.

Excitement for time with our family and loved ones.

Excitement for LIFE! Living life is not just about reaching a destination or a goal. It is about the journey and the adventures we encounter along the way.  The lives that we influence, the paths that cross and the lessons learned... ALL of it makes life and who we are.  Live the best you can... 

"Be honest and truthful; make the most of what you have; be happy with simple pleasures, be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong."
(this is another quote by LIW)

Is there anything you would add to this list?

Leave a comment... I'd love to hear from you!

Stay calm and live the best you can,


Linking with:

Year end review at Meadow Mist Designs
Oh Scrap! at Quilting is More Fun Than Housework
Sunday Stash at QuiltPaintCreate
Patchwork & Quilts at The Quilting Patch
Scrap Happy Saturday at Super Scrappy
Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts


  1. A beautiful post, Melva. You certainly accomplished a lot this year. Kudos to you and here's to another wonderful year almost upon us!

  2. Pinky the Giraffe is so cute! And I love your "Quilt Your (Camping) Life" project. Best of luck that you can manage many beautiful trips in 2022. xo Melanie

  3. Awesome post, Melva! Thanks for sharing.

  4. What a bountiful year of quilts you've had, and a book too! I think you finished well!

  5. Congratulations on a year of beautiful quilts, Melva!

  6. You had an awesome year, Melva! Thanks for sharing.

  7. What a wonderful year, filled with beautiful projects, and sew alongs.
    Thank you for sharing your best posts, and linking up ;)

  8. What a terrific year! That pinkie the giraffe finished quilt is a cutie! I enjoyed reading your Santa Fe Trail posts.

  9. Thank you for your reflections on your patchwork stitching year and more besides. I'm glad you are excited to be moving into 2022 without focussing on goals so much as living life NOW for yourself and the people around you.

  10. I really enjoyed reading about your year, here’s to more happy adventures in 2022!

  11. a very productive year indeed. I sure enjoyed reading your distant relative's narrative as we went through the year.

  12. Such a great quote from Carrie Ingalls...thanks for sharing. And I am really intrigued by your camping quilt--what a great way to capture your camping adventures.

  13. Such a productive year, congrats on all of the wonderful finishes! Thanks for linking up and Happy New Year!