yeah...I am almost hesitant to write this, because it sounds like bragging, because you don't want to jinx it, because... oh well, I just want to share and that is it! :)
Yes, this past week I was kinda busy being - HAPPY!!
And I am not bragging, honestly I am not - and I wish you all with my whole heart to be happy as well, always! But you know what - being happy is often a CHOICE. I know, this sounds so very cliche... it's a saying that we all see and hear all the time these days, but it is also so very true. And no, that doesn't mean you should or will be happy ALL the time, definitely not. But it does mean that you need to make an effort to see little beautiful things around you and smile, to enjoy little moments of happiness, to embrace everyday life, your family, friends and to try and do what makes you happy. Again - it all sounds so easy and so common sense, but it is amazing how difficult it is sometimes to focus on that, to LEARN to do it...(well, it took me only about 50 years...ha ha!).
Seriously, it is as we are somehow pre-wired to stress, to see bad things more than good, to take for granted all the good that we have. I wonder why that is....
Anyway - WHY I am so happy?
Well, in my case it's easy - every time I have all my kids (now adults) around me and everyone is good, healthy and happy - I just can't stop smiling.
This past week our daughter and her love were in town and that meant we are all together! Just seeing them all hanging out together, talking, laughing... PURE JOY. I am sure you know what I mean!
When you are a parent, happiness always comes from taking care of your kids, making them happy, doing things for them. But once you are a parent to young adults and they "turn the table" on you - do things to make YOU happy, think what makes YOU happy, do things with YOU in mind...well that is an altogether overwhelming joy and humbling experience!
My kids plotted a complete surprise this past Sunday - a week early (since now we were all together), surprise birthday party for me!! The plot was that young parents needed me that morning "just to watch the baby while they do errands" etc. ... of course I was more than happy to do it!! - and while I was out of the house they decorated, gathered, cooked... And me - I had extra cuddles with my little Juliana!! Can you say - HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY?!
Here was my surprise:
This my friends is what I live for. They truly are the beat of my heart.
From left to right are Steve and Jelena (holding her precious little niece!), youngest son Vuk (who just got his first, full-time job, woo-hoo!!), love of my life, my husband of 30 years and then young parents Lauren and Stefan.
We were missing Vuk's lovely girlfriend Leah who couldn't be with us but here is what I got in a text message from her and her lovely pup Beemer:
Isn't Beems the cutest? And such a good boy to sit still!! :)
So yeah - I am the luckiest one alive, I truly am. :)
As if this was not enough and the most special gift - I actually got gifts too! Not to bore you with those (although I am so excited to go for a full hour of organic facial, mani/pedi with my girls etc.), but here are some that are quilt-related:
My lovely, wonderful daughter-in-law, Lauren researched and found these two beautiful picture books, for Juliana and me to have some special reading times... can you see now how fortunate I am? I am speechless from joy and deeply humbled too. I truly am.
Both of these books have a wonderful story, beautiful illustrations and of course QUILTS as main characters - so highly recommended!!
Speaking of quilts...I did have some great quilty fun this past week too!
Our Guild meeting was Thursday - we had Christmas in July demos and I did one of them. Demos are always so much fun! This time I showed how NOT-scary and easy it is to cut and sew some curves while making that Poinsettia block that I blogged about last time. I hope many more quilters give it a chance - start with Quick Curve Ruler and all the fun patterns from Sew Kind of Wonderful sisters, you will LOVE it!
Since then I had some fun quilting one of those:
Tried for the first time a thick thread - 12wt #Aurifil - wanted to have some heavier "lines" first:
Some adjustments had to be made - large needle (Jeans 100), a bit larger stitch length (4, instead of normal 2.5), just a bit looser tension and some patience and...
I like this!! A very stately thread presence, don't you think? :) I really like this for STRAIGHT lines and some simple design - I don't think I would do thick thread for some elaborate free-motion quilting... But, it is all an experiment! :)
After this, I switched to my favorite, 50wt #Aurifil and kinda boldly went for a significantly darker shade than fabric:
On to try some pebbles. I am so not good at pebbles yet, but it was - just do it! - kinda day! Ha ha!
What do you think?
Well, first photo (very close!) - UGH.
Second photo (a bit further away) - well, not so bad...
Third photo (yet further away!) - oh, this is OK!
But seriously now - teacher in me says - just keep doing it, practice, practice, practice!! Right? :)
Then for the alternate poinsettia petals I went back to straight line quilting with white 50wt Aurifil and that is where I am now:
What do you think? More quilting in the middle? Straight line or free-motion in the green fabric??
I really like the effect of "echoing" some lines... Or continuing lines from the petals into the background?? Now that is something to try!! IDEAS?? :)
Oh and then yesterday, I took a day off to spend every precious moment with my girl and while she had to still do some work for few hours, I had some fun quilting again! This time it was a fun, little piece I was quilting for a friend who loves to piece and applique but not to machine quilt. Lori did a really beautiful job hand-appliqueing it and I have to say I was a bit nervous...
Looked at it and looked at it and then decided to give that Bunny even more tulips and leaves, few more Easter eggs and some sunshine too! :)
Out comes the palette of beautiful Aurifil colors...
Yeah - I did change thread THAT many times. It was really just a lot of fun!!
Quilted the cute bunny first with chocolate brown:
Than on to the background that was quilted with a beautifully subtle variegated light:
Added some color with yellow, red and green..
And that gorgeous deep purple color was ideal for the border!
That was just pure fun!! I hope Lori likes it too.
So lets come back to that thing from the beginning - effort to be happy. I am definitely NOT an expert or anything, but I honestly try to do it as much as I can. Look around you. It's raining in the summer - oh what a bummer...(is that a rhyme?) - reason to be grumpy? NO - just look around you after the rain stops - beautiful raindrop jewels are everywhere!!
Go find them - they will make you smile!! (you only need that smart phone, no fancy cameras or anything...)
If you are up early in the morning, go look at that beautiful morning light and how it dazzles through the morning dew!
Go picking cherries!!
Or...do whatever comes to your mind that makes you smile! If you just try it, give it a chance, I guarantee it will make you happy! Not forever, not all the time maybe - but ANY time or short time is more than NO time, right? If you go about collecting those little tiny moments of happiness, you will be the richest person in the Universe. I know I am. :)