Saturday, December 30, 2023

Best of 2023 & Year-end Review, 2024 Planning Party

As the year draws to a close, I wanted to review the highlights and progress of the year.  G
oals that I had for 2023 were:

❤  Make "quilted hearts" and spread a trail of love as we travel and camp. To date, 58 hearts have been released into the world.  Sadly, none of them have been "reported".  My husband said, "it's because you leave them in up on mountains, hilltops and remote trails."  LOL!  Well, perhaps there is that. 

❤  While it wasn't an official goal, but a challenge I stumbled upon while perusing through Instagram, I enjoyed the 52-week Mini Quilt Challenge.  There were never any "rules" that I saw, but most of my mini quilts ranged in size from 3"x5" to 5"x7" with a few 6-inch minis sprinkled in.  I used multiple orphans and tried new techniques and ideas.  Some resulted with fabulous results, and others were merely "just ok."

❤  As I tidied up my studio last year, following several months of illnesses, I found an extra jellyroll and pattern book for such an item.  I stitched up two quilts during a few snowstorms.  They were lovely and both found new homes this year. 

👀  The laser light that I received in my Christmas 2022 stocking has been used a few times, but I have not found that I "can't live without it" tip or technique.  As I get time, I will give another try.

❤  I was successful in getting my Pieces from the Santa Fe Trail sew along compiled into a book.  I held a book signing event at the local library as the local "Santa Fe Trail Days" celebration kicked off.  I also presented at the Heritage Center in Boise City, OK.  

❤  As I considered another on-line sew-along event, I opted to take a pass.  I was never able to develop an idea that I was really excited about.  I have learned that if your heart is not in it, it is evident, and others fail to get excited as well.  

I did, however, continue hosting my weekly Sew & Tell party.  It has grown to have an average of 15 participants.  

❤  I was blessed with the opportunity to finish 11 quilt tops for others and numerous t-shirt quilts and orphan block projects, bringing the total finished quilts to nearly 30 for the year!  When you get to do what you love for your job, it is rarely "work".  Which is why I am able to still enjoy all of the small projects I took with me as we traveled and unplugged.  It was something that I was able to do to rejuvenate my creativity and it was FOR me.

The most popular blog posts were as follows:

#1 - Create for Joy featured mini-quilt #35/52

#2 - Whimsical Wednesday featured some fancy quilted hearts

#3 - Therapy in the Studio featured my granola recipe

#4 - Wayward Wednesday featured a quick little bag that was just too fun for many to resist the temptation of making.  I'm not saying go check it out, but if you do, be warned... it is a DrEAMI NOW project.

#5 - An Angel & Her Wings ~ When I received the news that a HS friend had committed suicide, I felt compelled to create a mini-quilt, #16/52, in her memory, inspired by a photo that she had shared on social media. It resides with her loved ones on display in their home. It was healing for me to be able to express my love for her when words would not come.

As for my personal favorite finish for the year...  

The quilted wall hanging of a local landmark, Simpson's Rest, that was commissioned by a customer challenged me and helped me to grow as a quilter and artist.

The sandstone bluff is home to the "TRINIDAD" sign and the final resting place of George Simpson.

So, how did I do? All in all, very well.

The focus scripture for me was from 1 Corinthians 7:32 (The Message)

I want you to live as free of complications as possible. 

We did well with this focus.  When we began to feel that we were stuck in a rut, we would take a few days to unplug from the world, find a remote campsite and relax.  We would evaluate, nap, enjoy walks, sleep 10-12 hours at night, laugh, talk and read.  We would always return home refreshed and ready to get back to our routines.

As I followed the Read the Bible in a year chronological plan with my daughter, and started considering what the Lord might have for us in 2024 I felt joyful anticipation.  There are many things we have been praying for and striving for... and then I read this in Romans 8...

This life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him!  ... the joyful anticipation deepens.

As I look forward to plans for 2024, I really do feel a joyful anticipation.  A few things I am hoping to see come to life are:

❧  Taking my Pieces from the Past and Pieces of the Santa Fe Trail programs on the road.  I'll be developing a mailing list of those that participated in the on-line sew along events as well as quilting groups that are within a 3-4 hour radius from our location, Trinidad, Colorado.  Would you be interested in having me visit your group?  Let me know, we can make plans!

❧  I'll continue with my custom quilting and t-shirt quilts... I have 4 in que, two for customers. I will also continue leaving a trail of love from my quilted hearts.

❧  With my fingers crossed, I think I may be able to complete our Camping Journal Quilt.  This year I completed two borders that included at least 55 different blocks, including a sign for each location and a block for each night's stay. (I've kinda lost count and I am a little behind...) We made many memories on our journey and Shelby has approved of every one of them. LOL!

❧  Since I am anticipating a down-size and move for Mom in the spring, I am certain that there will be a significant amount of time taken up with that and that it will likely take away some time from my studio.  But since I rely upon my therapy sessions in the studio, I'll have to make certain that I am still creating and finding joy in life.  

Thanks for joining me for the 2023 Review, Top 5 and Planning Party!  But before you go, tell me...

What do you do to maintain a proper balance in life?  
How do you refresh and restore when you are feeling in a rut?

I'd love to hear from you!

Keep Piecing,


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  1. I love your Sew & Tell party, Melva!!! I really have enjoyed seeing all your mini quilts, too! I like that your hearts are interspersed through mountain hiking paths! I'm sure they're being found and enjoyed!!!

  2. I'm intrigued with your camping journal quilt. We regularly go camping too, I should think of making small blocks to show where we have been.

  3. You have had a fabulous year, and to think you may finish the camping quit this year - quite the achievement. Wishing you many blessings on the year end and the new year to come.

  4. It sounds like there is much to look forward to next year, Melva. I hope that downsizing and moving your mom goes as smoothly as possible and that you are able to prioritize your therapy time in all that hustle, bustle and hard work. Wishing you the best for 2024!

  5. What a fantastic year and so many finishes! Thanks for linking up with the Best of 2023!

  6. How fun to look back over your year and see your beautiful creations. I'm most impressed with your minis - they are just exquisite! Good luck with your Mom and all that downsizing and moving entails for you and your family.
    When I need to refresh, I just fall back and do whatever takes my fancy! My reasoning is "I'm 75, I'll do whatever I darn well please" - lol!

  7. Lovely review of the year! I hope you had a lovely New Year! Thanks for sharing on my weekly show and tell, Wednesday Wait Loss.

  8. I'm so glad that you can look back on 2023 and see it as a year when you put into practice strategies that brought about balance between all the different aspects of daily living, creativity and rest. Setting out into 2024 trusting God and His word for you and your family has got to be the best way to continue living in peace and hope :-)

  9. It was a busy year, full of pretty finishes and beautiful projects! I love your Camping journal quilt!
    Thank you for sharing, have a great stitching week!