Winter 2018 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Note from the Editor
What do you think about when you hear the word “unfinished?” If you’re a quilter (a likely probability if you’re reading this), you might associate it with UFOs—those “unfinished objects” that once had great potential, but now reside somewhere in the back of a closet. Of course, you want to finish them, but something gets in the way…time, energy, lost interest, problems in the design that you just aren’t up to solving.
There are plenty of people who will tell you to make 2018 the year of finishing those unfinished projects—that they’re occupying too much space in your sewing room and your head.
And sure, the idea of a miraculous year in which you’re able to complete all of the incomplete and clear the clutter certainly sounds appealing, doesn’t it? But unless you’ve had some major life change that allows for more time and energy, or that problem piecing magically resolved itself in the pile, the things that kept you from finishing them before will still exist.
When my husband and I bought our house over two years ago, we opted to purchase a home that needed, let’s just say, a little love. The location is perfect. The layout of the house is ideal for our family. And the home has a real warmth and undeniable charm. It was lived in and loved dearly by a family for several decades, but two recent years as a rental property had taken its toll.
The first thing we did was paint (so, so much painting) and install new flooring—there were parts of the house where the flooring had been stripped down to the concrete slab. We also replaced several light fixtures that buzzed like a swarm of bees, and installed new French doors that would actually close and lock. Okay, it actually needed a lot of love. But we made it a home, and we were proud.
That sense of accomplishment lasted a couple of months for me, before I was ready to begin tackling the rest—the sort of non-essential, design-oriented projects that would truly make the house ours. I spent hours on Pinterest and home improvement websites looking for cost-effective ways to change the look of our kitchen. (Side note: for someone who doesn’t much care for the color pink, the previous owner’s use of pink-tinted grout in the backsplash is a bit of an eyesore for me. And yes, pink grout is a thing.)
Still, life happens, and the overly ornate light in the entryway still hangs, the sagging paper tile ceiling in the office still sags, and, yes, the pink grout still taunts me from behind the clashing red kitchen mixer. Aside from a deficit of time and, often, energy, the larger issue was the feeling of sheer overwhelm I would feel in trying to decide which project to tackle next. I found it impossible to focus on just one thing at a time, when there were so many ideas and projects looming.
2017 was supposed to be the year of finished home projects for me, and we did manage to finish quite a number of things. But at the end of the year, we weren’t where I’d hoped we’d be in terms of “home improvement.” We did, however, put our son into kindergarten, take several family trips, spend plenty of time outdoors, and many nights in cooking together in my “ugly” kitchen.
So, in starting 2018, I decided on a different kind of goal, and it’s going to be a work in progress for someone like me. Instead of focusing on finishing projects, I’m working on learning to take it a piece at a time. (Next on my agenda is the laundry room—I’m hoping to scrape away the '90s-era wallpaper border and paint the room a calming blue.)
I can’t do it all at once. And you can’t finish all of those quilts at once. It’s possible you’re not sure you even want to. So, rather than looking at that pile of UFOs in the closet with a sense of anxiety, or resolving to make this the year to finish them all, take it one piece at a time. Finish the ones you want to, gift those you don’t to the dog or cat, and for any you want to finish, but not just yet, throw them back in the closet. Call it intentional. They do beautify the space.