Labor of love.

Dear friends,

I had the most wonderful holiday weekend — four days to be exact — nestled in the comfort of family, food, and love’s labor.

Kate was home from college with no agenda other than relaxing and catching up on family time.

Mr. Mom was home and, with the mountain burden finally lifted from his psyche, happy and present. (As opposed to restless and distracted — not that I’m criticizing him, but holy cow it feels good to be on the brighter side of that ordeal).

Only Parker was absent — busy earning money in Missouri’s productive hay fields — but still popping in long enough to share a meal or two with a family hungry for each other’s company.

Since no one had an agenda, since everyone was content to just be (with long stretches of “being” in front of the television to keep up with the US Open), I was happy to putter. And my puttering consisted of light cooking and cleaning with some heavy-duty sewing.

You could have guessed, couldn’t you, that I would tackle another project during the long weekend? I started Friday morning and finished Sunday night and couldn’t be happier with the results.

johnnaquiltcu

This one is going in the mail today to a friend. That’s all I’m going to say, lest I ruin the surprise.  But few words don’t mean few photos, so here’s another view:

johnnaquiltfront

And another:

johnnaquiltback

If ever I worried I might someday become a crazy cat lady, I can now release that fear for I have become the crazy quilt lady. I’ve definitely descended deep into the rabbit hole, but it’s become a labor of love, a vast creative outlet that offers an irresistible opportunity to stitch up a tangible and lasting expression of my love and admiration and send it to an unsuspecting recipient.

It’s like the quilt lottery, only you don’t have to buy a ticket and I’m the real winner (with huge recurring payoffs in joy).

With gratitude {for long weekends with my favorite people and pastimes},

Joan, who thinks a quilt with an inspired back is a lot like a purse with a pretty lining . . . delightfully unnecessary but so worth it

It’s all my brain’s fault!

Dear friends,

starfront

Last week I had the opportunity to take a survey based on the “whole brain” research of Ned Herrmann. The survey resulted in a detailed profile that explains my preferences for thinking and problem-solving based on the four quadrants of the brain and the types of activity central to each quadrant. At its most basic, the profile tells you if your preference is to be a “thinker” (the analytic quadrant), a “feeler” (the emotional quadrant), a “planner” (the organizing quadrant), or an “innovator” (the creative quadrant) — or, if your preferences make you “balanced” in two or more quadrants.

Before seeing the results, I would have told you I am a thinker and a planner.  I consider myself very analytical and very adept at administrative/organizational tasks (and Mr. Mom concurs, for what it’s worth).

Turns out, I was wrong. Based on the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI), I’m first and foremost an innovator. A creator. An entrepreneur.

It’s true that lots of people say I’m creative. “No I’m not!” is my usual response. (Because the part of my brain that is authoritative and overly-confident says I know myself better than others, I suppose.)

After seeing my profile plotted out over the four quadrants of the brain, I learned that I’m mostly creative, with lesser but balanced strengths in analyzing and planning. I’m weakest in feeling. (Yeah, I knew that about myself. “Joan’s so warm and empathetic” said no one ever.)

The purpose of this profile was to better understand how I bring my talents to bear for my employer and colleagues. What I couldn’t stop thinking about, though, was my recent foray into quilting.

“No wonder I have yet to follow a pattern!” I thought to myself. Since I started quilting in April, I’ve started seven quilts and finished six. The one unfinished quilt in my sewing cabinet is the one for which I have a pattern. Somehow, it’s just not interesting enough to keep me going. Since I promised Kate I’d finish it in time for tennis season, I’ve got to get over my  hurdle and get going — but I keep getting distracted by other projects, like the star placemat pictured above.

Saturday night I was perusing the internet and tripped across this photo:

quiltstar

Source: V and Co

I’ve been casting about for a quilt to make for a friend and this one seemed perfect for her tastes. And it looked so simple — except I’m too inexperienced to figure out on my own how to make the blocks that form the points of the star. After a little googling, I thought I had it. So I got up Sunday morning and used scraps to make a test block, which turned into an impromptu placemat because why waste a test square?

So — off I go in search of fun fabric for my friend’s star quilt.

And it’s all my brain’s fault!

With gratitude {for a brain that’s not what I thought it was but seems to work fine anyway},

Joan, who figures quilting by pattern is a lot like painting-by-number and she never did that either