Ask Jo: From Paintings to Beating Myself Up

Hello, and welcome to another edition of “Ask Jo”.  I get many comments in and questions from all sorts of places, the comment section here, Youtube, email, and from our Facebook group.  Sometimes I think others of you might want to know the answers as well so I answer them here on the blog.  It often gives me a chance to tell a little more or expand on the topic.  Today is one of those days.

After I wrote about the quilts I did for my childcare boys, June asked,
Great job-looks wonderful and I’m sure all were delighted. I have a silly question- the picture behind you as you were at the machine- where did you acquire that? We had bought a home in Kansas and there was one like that in it. The lady sold all her stuff off before I could purchase it with her hutch.

I believe this is the picture she is referring to.

…and these are the two pictures she is referencing that are on my kitchen wall.

These are from Eric Enstrom.  I believe the one with the man is “Grace” and the lady is “Gratitude”.  Throughout my life people that I knew had them in their homes.  Once I saw them at a thrift store, I bought them immediately.  My girls have all loved them too and have them in their homes.  These can still be purchased.  Here’s an Amazon link.

Here’s a little history about the one of the man:
“Eric Enstrom was a Swedish-born American photographer. He became famous for his 1918 photograph of Charles Wilden in Bovey, Minnesota. The photo is now known as Grace and depicts Wilden saying a prayer over a simple meal. In 2002, “Grace” was designated the state photograph of Minnesota.”

The lady was done later…here’s what I found on it:
“It, too, is a photo, called “Gratitude,” taken in the 1960s by Jack Garren, who owned a Christian bookstore in Centralia, Illinois. The subject is Mrs. Myrtle Copple (d. 1975), and the photo was designed to complement “Grace.” The two are often packaged together: “Grace and Gratitude.”

I’m guessing that I saw them often as a child being the originator was from Minnesota and was Swedish.  I also am originally from Minnesota and am also of Swedish descent.

Elizabeth wrote:
I was headed to the post office anyway so I added a package of strips to my trip. My husband asked what they were for, and I said you had put out a call for Halloween 2 1/2 ” strips. “Kind of like the midnight bark?” he asked. We had just watched 101 Dalmatians. So yes! Happy to help save those puppies and help you make your deadline.”

Elizabeth is referring to my post about needing Halloween prints.  You can read about it HERE.

Being a grandma and childcare provider, I knew immediately what Elizabeth’s husband was referring to…If you don’t know, this:

I have already gotten packages.  I had three delivered on Tuesday and it was only one day after the request.  You all are awesome.  I can’t thank you enough.

Karen asked:
Earlier this year you asked for feedback on batting from Minnesota. Did you get any? We do LWR quilts at my church in DSM and am always looking for deals on batting.

Here is what I wrote:

Someone sent me a link to Oklee Quilting Supply Incorporated in northern Minnesota.  You can find a link to them HERE.  They said that many Lutheran World Relief quilters get their batting from this company.

I checked them out.  I found this…it is a roll of 60 yards of batting that is 60″ wide for $89.40.  Shipping looked to be about $18 a roll.

60 yds of 60 wide Econo Batting
My calculations say that quilters could make 36 quilts that are 60 x 60 with this batting.  That means it would be about $3 per quilt for batting.  WOW.  That is cheap.

BUT the question is this….is the batting a good quality?  Does anyone know?  Has anyone used this batting?

I heard back from readers that the batting is not 100% cotton so I ended up not ordering some to try.  I did hear from other LWR groups that were happy with the batting as they don’t mind using part poly batting.

I did recently purchased some batting from Overstock.  It is Pellon 80/20 90-inch x 20-yard Scrim Batting Roll – 90 inches x 20 yards.  The cost for that was $83.

Pellon 80/20 90-inch x 20-yard Scrim Batting Roll - 90 inches x 20 yards flyout hero.I did try this and so far feel comfortable with it.  I would classify it close to Warm and Natural.

Overstock does run good sales so I’m sure if you watch their site you can get it for even cheaper.

Margaret from Edmonton a.b Canada
Hi why did you wait that long to do the wedding quilt?
should have been done before the holidays.

This comment made me beat myself up a bit.  Like so many of you, I do what many women do to themselves, I chastised myself.  Maybe Margaret was right.  Maybe I was procrastinating.  Maybe I should have gotten this quilt done quicker.  Then I looked back on my thought process with this whole quilt.

I thought about the quilt quite some time ago.  For a long time, I thought I’d give a quilt I already had already made.  Then in early November, Kalissa went to the bridal shower and said the bride was doing farmhouse decorating.  Well, none of the quilts I had here really seemed farmhousy to me.  So I decided to make one.  That’s about when Buck said he’d come and help me with my sewing room.  I don’t know about you, but when someone says they are coming to help, I drop everything and anything to gratefully accept the help.

Then I got a request for the quilts for the school kids in need.  Well…I could have said no and left people cold for the winter but that’s not me.  If people need help, I help.

That’s when my longarm broke.

Then Kelli said, “I’ll help make it.  Then let’s give the quilt from both of us.” That sounded like a great idea.  I figured Kelli and I would power sew a couple of days and get it done in no time.

Thanksgiving fell in there…as did time for me to be a grandma and help my kids with their kids.  Priorities…again, the kids are more important than a gift.

Then my old childcare families called and asked if I would do childcare for them being their sitter quit with little notice.  Of course, I put people first again and took on the kids.  I have kids here over 45 hours a week here now.

I remembered the quilt periodically.  I knew it was on my list.  I knew as long as I was making it, I wanted to design the quilt myself.  It would be a “two birds one stone” type of project.  I thought I could offer it as a pattern on the blog.  I have a busy life and the more often I can do “two birds and one stone” projects the better.  I sat on EQ two different times.  I came up with two different designs.  Guess what?  I didn’t think either was what I was looking for.  The first took over two hours and still nothing I liked.  The second took about two hours and I liked it…but not for this project.

Finally, after a third session on the computer with EQ, I came up with a design I thought was perfect.

I had a day of doctor appointments.

Kalissa and I organized a sponsorship for a family in need at Christmas.

You all love reading two blog posts every day…and I’m still working on my Youtube channel.  All things I love to do.  All things I need to do.

Craig and I tried to fix my longarm a couple of times.  No luck.  I called.  I waited for parts.  Finally, after about four tries, we were able to get the screws loose and the part replaced.

Then I needed to machine quilt a test quilt to make sure the machine was working properly.

Then I had to put the quilt together for the childcare boy and that needed to be done before Christmas.

Through all of this Kelli and I tried to get together twice and something ruined our plans…so the top didn’t get sewn.

So…it was a week or before Christmas when I sat down and did a big sewing session on the quilt.  Then Kelli came a couple of days before Christmas and we tackled more of it.  Then Christmas weekend when I got the top finished.

Kayla and Jasper came for a several day stay over the last week.

I took a look at it all again…by doing the quilt in my time:

-I was able to spend time with my family at Thanksgiving guilt-free
-I was able to get my sewing room together which was long overdue
-I was able to machine quilt some quilts for a donation that are helping keeping school kids warm
-I was able to enjoy Christmas.  I got my cards out, my presents wrapped and the food all was wonderful.
-I was able to have grandma time
-I was able to help my childcare families
-I didn’t rant and stress over my broken longarm
-I was able to keep up with my daily life
-I was able to spend time with Kayla and Jasper

I will still be able to gift the quilt at a perfectly acceptable time.  I’ll get the quilt finished the weekend after the wedding.  I’m not attending the wedding due to my concerns about Covid.  We will drop the quilt off at their home after.  We’ll be able to greet the bride.  We’ll be able to chat.  This will be perfect.

I started feeling a lot better about myself.  I didn’t need to chastise myself.  I had done okay.  There isn’t a single thing on that list that I was willing to give up.  No quilt that I would gift for a wedding was worth me giving up any of the things I listed.  So, for me, this quilt was done in the perfect time.

For some of you who aren’t working a job…who don’t have an active family, who already have your sewing room together, I understand, my timing seems like a poor timing…for me and my life, PERFECT TIMING.  There is no reason for beating myself up for not having it done more quickly.

Thanks so much for leaving that comment, Margaret.  Like many people, I beat myself up from time to time thinking I procrastinated, thinking if only I was more organized…if only, if only.  By writing the response to your comment, I am not beating myself up anymore.  I’m actually praising myself for putting people first.

So…I think that answers all of the most recent questions.  Thanks so much to all who have left comments.  I really appreciate having someone on the other side of the screen to talk to.

37 thoughts on “Ask Jo: From Paintings to Beating Myself Up”

  1. I used to worry about what people thought, not any more. They are not walking in my shoes nor yours. You are doing a great job Jo im constantly amazed at what you achieve every day keep up the great work.

  2. Just read your post and the word which sprang to mind was WOW! Wow because I thought Margaret in Canada was cheeky to leave such a comment and WOW because I was astonished at all the things you listed which prevented you from making the wedding quilt before you did. I am continually astonished at all the things you accomplish every single day and admire your commitment to family, friends, neighbours, needy people , sewing for charities, moving gifted fabrics, books, notions on to other charitable groups, childcare, keeping your home and garden going and so on and so on. The good part about the comment was that it made you stop and take note of ALL the things that you did which had stopped you making the quilt before Christmas. So, Jo, just carry on being you. Your priorities are sound ones and right. Happy New Year!

  3. Exactly what Linda in UK said! Happy New Year Jo! Wishing you a year of good health, family time and lots of stitching :)

  4. Ditto what Linda said!! I couldn’t have said it better!!! I, so admire you for all you get done for yourself, your family, your charities, your blog and readers! You are just amazing! So, keep doing you and have a wonderful New Year!

  5. I agree 100% with Linda in the UK! Wow! Sometimes life gets in the way. I too will drop everything for my family. With Covid we all need to practice kindness to others, you never know what is going on in their lives. You never know when you are going to need help yourself.

  6. We should ALL quit beating ourselves up! If 2020 has taught us anything, it is life is short. Be kind to yourself and others, and enjoy life.

  7. I took Margaret’s comment/question more to be the same rhetorical question we all ask ourselves all the time. (Reading your blog had provided us the answers already.) My husband once said to me (teasingly) when I was obsessing over how many holiday tasks were left and how little time time remained, “You have known Christmas was coming for 364 days.” But then, he is a planner and could (before retirement) delegate to minions. And, while I like to chart a forward path too, John Lennon was spot on when he said, “Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans.” Right now I have three BOMs going.

  8. I thought all quilters knew deadlines were meant to be broken. I guess one person does not. Happy to read that you had a happy rewarding 2 months with family and helping others. Happy New Year

  9. I agree 100% with Linda. I too think that family should come first. This year as of March 1st I retired, the main reason was our daughter was having her second baby and would have had to put a 6 week old baby in daycare while she went back to her teaching job. With her first she had been able to stay home until Riley was 5 months. It broke my heart to think about that tiny baby in daycare. I could have stayed working as her school went remote, but I step in and helped with /riley instead. I now thank God I did retire because my daughters family got the COVID at Thanksgiving. Thankfully they have all recovered. But since I was retired during those 4 weeks I sent in meals daily, dropped off groceries, picked up orders at Target for diapers, made runs to the drug store for medicine and anything else need that did not involve contact. Life is busy. I hope you all your family stay well and have a happy and healthly New Year.

  10. No need to explain your timing of anything, but glad you were able to prove to yourself that you did it at the right time for you! Absolutely! You amaze us all with your kindness and what you accomplish. Sometimes people just don’t think how their words come accross.

  11. I also agree with Linda. You do so much and family and people are more important than stressing about gifting a wedding present to the wedding. Often people get to enjoy the gift more when not inundated with so many other gifts. People are so fortunate to have you in their lives – keep up the good work.

  12. I’m always a little surprised when people make comments like the one that Margaret did. I loved your thought process and reply. A lot of times I say that ‘life gets in the way!’

  13. You keep doing you, it works perfectly! I am always astounded when people make negative comments/remarks to others. IF you want to think those things to yourself, fine. But don’t make others feel bad because you are feeling superior/snarky. I and MANY others have done the same things. It must be very nice to always be perfect & on schedule with no interruptions! Happy New Year and Hugs to the whole family!

  14. Good for you Linda in the UK! I don’t understand why people have to make negative comments. She doesn’t walk in your shoes, and would SHE like or appreciate having someone do the same thing to HER? I think not — the old saying “if you can’t say something nice (or positive or kind!), don’t say anything at all” definitely needs to apply to everyone a whole lot more in this world. I read all that you do and I’m always in AWE – I am retired & don’t work anymore (yes, due to Covid, but it was a blessing in disguise for me, I needed to retire) but I still I don’t get anywhere NEAR done what you do! Plus you are loving to people, you contribute to others in so many ways, you have a close relationship with your family (and enjoy your grandchildren immensely), not to mention sharing all you do re: quilting, cooking, and sharing so many facets of your life. From all of us who read your blog, we APPRECIATE you! Happy New Year and my resolution is to be more like you for 2021~

  15. Hi Jo! I like what you wrote about priorities. Yes, family always comes first and you need to do what is important to you. Never apologize for that!

  16. I hope that the newly married couple will be married for many years, so a wedding gift even a year after the wedding is perfect! Hopefully a gift received after the wedding reminds them of why the got married, especially seeing all of the love that was quilted into this quilt for them!

  17. WOW and ditto all the comments. I always feel bad when someone writes comments like Margaret’s. That is the one to ignore because there are so many good comments.

  18. Everyone walks a different path and we all choose different priorities to focus on. Your path is perfect for you and I’m always amazed at how much you juggle in a week. My path is much more serene, laid back and very little stress. My sewing space is always a disaster but I don’t stress out over it….its perfect for me and so is my path.

  19. Hi jo!
    Keep on being you, you’re doing a great job. Your kindness and caring about everyone, and your love of family is what keeps me reading your blog every day. Thanks for being you, just as you are. I don’t beat myself up about much anymore, most folks always do the best they can.
    Happy New Year to you and yours!


    I can’t believe at someone ugly is such a rude comment on someone’s personal blog. As you said, we’re hard enough on ourselves, we certainly don’t need it from someone that we don’t even know personally. I am amazed that all you get done and I am so thankful for you sharing it all with us. This weekend I’ve been watching your YouTube spots as ISO and it’s been so nice to feel like I have someone to sell with. Thank you Jo

  21. Thank you for sharing from your heart. I agree that putting people first is always the best way to go. The quilt turned out beautifully…perfect timing!

  22. I like that Margaret’s comment prompted such a thoughtful, gracious response. I really don’t think she meant any ill will. Sometimes the written word comes across in too blunt a manner.

    1. Li..I agree. I don’t believe Margaret’s comment was meant for ill. It did catch me when I was already beating myself up…and I truly am thankful the comment came through to help me see that beating myself up was not what I should be doing.

  23. IMHO, Margaret had a fair question about waiting. If not for the following comment, I’d think maybe she was hoping for reassurance she wasn’t the only having trouble getting a project started soon enough to avoid a last minute rush. It was that following comment that came of as kind of rude and condescending. I’m glad you were able to turn it around into good and realize all the other things that came up, diverted your attention, and got accomplished. It’s not like you were sitting around watching TV, eating bonbons. It made me tired reading all that you did. I don’t think I would have handled it as well. Add me to the list of those who wrote “what Linda in UK said”.

    I’m happy Margaret’s life is so well ordered and scheduled that life doesn’t dare alter her plans.

  24. My mother had that same picture in Missouri. I remember back in the day, about 50 years ago, grocery stores would offer things like pictures or dishes if you spent so much over a period of time. I believe that series of pictures was one of those offers. I’ve always enjoyed it, too. Thanks for sharing about your wedding quilt. I think sometimes we forget about all the things that make up our lives.

  25. Connie R. in Wis.

    It always amazes me how much you get done each day/week and still give so much of your time to others. Your quilts are so beautiful. I myself, work better under pressure when I have a deadline to meet. Thanks for all the answers to the blog questions.

  26. Judith Fairchild

    Thank you for telling us about Grace and Gratitude. I have always liked them but figured they were not available. I remember seeing them as a youngster 50 years or so ago. Putting them on my shopping list. As to Margaret’s question if she reads your blog regularly she would realize you do a lot more than making quilts. You answered just right.

  27. I’m sorry you felt the need to explain to Margaret, or anyone, why the wedding quilt wasn’t done on someone’s “schedule”. But it’s great that you reviewed your choices and reaffirmed you made the right ones for you, your family, and your life. You do you!

  28. I’m very good at beating myself up. We had water damage in our house TWO years ago and the house is still not put back together. However, we’ve had multiple surgeries and recoveries during that time. We are both retired, but our physicality does not let us do what we’d like. It’s all we can do to maintain, much less get the extras done unless we have help and we don’t very often.

    Some people wonder what I do all day. I’ve heard criticisms about it. I suffer from chronic pain and doing something simple can send me into hours of recovery time.

    Anyway, all of that to say, you are a busy woman who has her priorities in the right order, in my opinion. I, too, would never pass up time with my family. I do a lot of crocheting to feel productive while I’m sitting. If we do the best we can with what we are given, then we are doing what we are supposed to do :-)

  29. Betty from Canada

    Hi from Canada: I have given many quilts for gifts. I always tell the people that I give a quilt to if its late its late. If they don’t like it to bad. Happy New Year. What really irks me is when I give a quilt to someone and they don’t even say thank you or I have had a third hand thank you. Gave a girl a quilt for her graduation and it was her grandmother who thanked me not the girl who got the quilt.

  30. Katherine Gourley

    Gut reactions are not what normally direct my response. I generally try to understand what may have been happening in others lives. Frankly I could not shake my gut reaction and must say that asking you why you had not done the wedding quilt sooner was just rude and insensitive. She apparently leads a very empty life if she can pass judgement on someone else and have the audacity to post her judgement. Jo, you do more in a week or a month than most women do in a lifetime. I admire you so much.

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