Quilt that Bucket List

I’m a list maker. 

I’m the kid you hated in school because my homework list was entirely too detailed (however, I was also the kid you called when you couldn’t remember what the homework was).

I have a running grocery list on my kitchen counter, with the stuff I normally purchase every week already printed on the list.

I have an Excel spreadsheet of every quilt pattern I own, alphabetized, with the date I purchased it.  I also have spreadsheets for my Cindy Blackberg stamp sets (with the names of the stamps in each set) and one for all my Simplique’ templates.

I have a “to do” list for everyday of my work week.

I also have a “to do” list for housework and chores for every day at home.

I have a packing list for trips that is four pages long (thank you Kelly Healy).

Yup.  I have lists.  And when something critical gets thrown in my schedule (like a wedding or quilt show), I have a list of my lists

Maybe I am a little OCD, but you know what?  I get stuff done.

There is one list, though, that I made a couple of years ago and I keep tucked inside my Day Planner and that’s my Quilting Bucket List – you know, the quilting related things I want to do before I get too old to hold a needle.  Several of these things have already been checked off:

Attend the Paducah AQS Spring Show:  Check – three times as a matter of fact.

Attend the Lancaster AQS Show:  Check.   Twice.

Pigeon Forge Quilt Fest:  Check.  Once.  Really want to go back.

Workshops with some “famous” quilters:  Check.  Four or five by this point.

Learn how to use a long arm:  Check.

There still are some items on that list I need to work on …

I want to attend the Houston International Quilt Market.

I want to go to the Seven Sisters Quilt Show.

I want to design at least one quilt pattern and market it.

There are more items on the list, most of them are not quite so ambitious as the ones I’ve listed.  They’re more easily attainable.  But I’ve found, even though those things still on my list are small, if I go through the process of writing them down, there’s a commitment there between me and them.  I’m more likely to do those bucket list items if I have them visible, instead of trying to remember them.

What I would like to do with this blog is to challenge you to dream about your quilting journey – big dreams and small dreams.  Make a list.  If it’s a quilt show you want to go to, write it down.  Then you’re more likely to remember it as you browse through quilt magazines and get to the travel advertisements in the back.  Do you want to make a Judy Niemeyer quilt?  A log cabin quilt?  Organize your quilt room?  Learn how to use a long arm/mid-arm/embroidery machine? 

Write them down – all of them. Tuck the list away somewhere that you can pull it out and look at it from time to time.  The reason I keep mine in my Day Planner is that I sit down at the end of each month to plan out my next month.  Since the list is in my Day Planner, I see it frequently and I can plan what item or two I can cross off my list to make my quilting dreams happen.  I’ve found the little things can be worked into my schedule pretty easily.  The big things take more time and planning but seeing that list keeps me thinking about them. 

Quilting is like any other passion in your life.  It needs room to grow and breathe and dream.  Just because it’s a “hobby” doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t have the right and the room to have goals and ambitions.  If goals and ambitions are not there, then there is nothing to aspire to.  And if there is nothing to aspire to, then you’ll never grow and get better as a quilter.  If you’re a new quilter, those goals can be as easy as “Learn to Use a Rotary Cutter Better.”  If you’ve been around the quilt block a few times, those aspirations may (and should) become more ambitious – design your own quilt, write how-to instructions for making a quilt block, or creatively piece the backing of a quilt.

Maya Angelo once said, “I did then what I knew how to do.  Now that I know better, I do better.”  That is true for every area of life, and quilting is no different.  You begin with the basics, learn them, then branch out.  Start small and easy, get bigger, better, and take on the complicated.  So, before you get too old  to sew a straight line of stitches, make that Quilting Bucket List and get busy.  And better. 

______________________________________________________________________________For those of you who are regular readers of my blog, you folks may realize that we’re coming up on the one-year anniversary of discovering my daughter had cervical cancer.  February 28 marks the day that the cancer was discovered.  I remember exactly what I was doing when Meg called me:  I was quilting with some friends.  I remember the panic flooding through me, and the immediate thought that there had to be some mistake and it was only a cyst. 

It wasn’t. 

It was stage one cervical cancer and without rehashing a lot of what we went through, I will say that the radical hysterectomy was successful, we got clean margins, a few setbacks, and are now going through Pap smears every three months.  If the next smear comes back clean, she will move to having smears every six months. 

We’ve faced the cancer, an abscess, a severe allergic reaction to an antibiotic that contained Sulphur.  She’s undergone   a colonoscopy and lung scans to make sure that those areas remain cancer-free.  She’s a fearless fighter and she’s shown me that you can plan for the future, but for God’s sake live in the moment, because you don’t know how many moments you have left.

In short, she’s one of the strongest and most courageous women I know.


Hence the need for Bucket Lists.  Grab life by the tail and live it, folks.  Do some of what you want to do instead of all you have to do.  Quilt like there’s no tomorrow.  Dance like no one’s watching.  Face your fears and stare them down.

We only live life in this realm once.  But if we live it right, once is enough.

Now go make that Bucket List. And until next week, Quilt with Passion!

Love and Stitches,

Sherri and Sam

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