My Imperfect Masterpiece

I FINALLY FINISHED the quilt that I started working on back in March.

I wanted to give up so many times. I even blogged about two months ago…  Remember these pictures?

But I didn’t.

And I am so proud of myself!!

Through this process I was reminded that often in life we don’t have good instructions, we don’t have a real method and we don’t even know how things will end, but we have to just keep on moving forward.

And here is the finished quilt. It’s a good thing that I don’t have a son or a child with the initials JTC, or I’d be tempted to keep this masterpiece.

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The backing fabric that we wanted to use initially was to stretchy and the front was so heavy due to the appliqués that I ended up using a set of microfiber sheets as the backing. The sheets are perfect…. super soft and cozy, but lightweight. The sheet material is the binding edge as well.

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The entire project was so much harder and so much more work than I realized when I said I would do the project.. and I won’t ever do anything like this again.

But I’m incredibly proud of the work, imperfect as it is, and am thrilled to be able to ship this keepsake off.

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The Value of the 4H Youth Fair

I just delivered my girls entries to the Erath County 4H Youth Fair. I am writing this post BEFORE awards happen. On purpose. Because the value of this contest is not in the ribbons and the awards. Yes, they are nice. Yes, they motivate us to get the projects finished. But the value of this contest is so much more than a 1st Prize or Best of Show.

As a newcomer to the world of 4H, we are still learning all about the various contests and opportunities for our kids. I am constantly amazed at the many projects they can participate in and experience. All of the projects, be it painting, drawing, sewing, cooking, fashion, decision making, acting, showing animals and more have actual REAL LIFE applications. Unlike so many of the manufactured and virtual experiences that seem to pull focus because of the glitz and technology, 4H projects and contests make my girls think!! I love that.

So what did Lexi and Kylie compete in this year for the fair?

Well, Kylie is in her last year as a Clover Kid. (K-2nd grade). Kylie turned in three photographs, a drawing, a repurposed craft and a snack! Clover Kids don’t win anything, but they start learning about the rules and meeting deadlines.

Lexi is in the Intermediate division (6th-8th grades). Lexi turned in all 5 categories of photographs, made a textile, a jewelry set and a snack.

So what does all of that really mean?

It means lots of planning, organizing and work on the part of the kids and the mom! Yesterday after school, gymnastics, a band parent meeting and dinner, Lexi had to finish the hem of her cape and both girls had to make their snacks.

Then we had to do all of the paper work and packaging. It would have been really nice to just say the heck with it. But we entered, we paid the fees, and we committed to the process, so it didn’t matter that it was late and we were tired.

You finish what you start!

This morning as I delivered the entries, I was tired. All the parents were. 🙂 But the camaraderie was overwhelming. In so many competitions, it is stressful and everyone is against each other. In our county (and I think 4H in general) the parents help each other. My hands were full, the registration lines were long, and I was running late. A mom who was finished getting her daughter’s work entered walked up, took the bulk from my arms, stood in line with me and helped me get my girl’s entries where they needed to go. She didn’t have to do that. Our daughter’s compete against each other. But that isn’t the world of 4H. I love that.

And here are our entries. Ready for judging!! I am so proud of my girls for their hard work. And I’m so thankful that our community supports the work of 4H and is committed to teaching students that learning is so much more than what happens inside a school building.