On Perfection (and {PHFR})

Pretty AND Happy

I’ve been working on this quilt top as a Christmas gift for one of the children. I love it. I love the colors, I love the simple but pretty pattern, and I love the child who will sleep under it. I’ve made every bit of it with love. There are lots of “mistakes”: points where the corners don’t quite line up, wonky sewing, maybe even poor choices of fabric. It doesn’t matter to me, and I know it won’t matter to the child who receives it. He will be delighted that I made it for him, and all he will ever see is the love I put into it.

A woman I greatly admire visited with us for a while today and noticed my quilt-in-progress draped over the back of a chair. “Who’s making a quilt?” she asked.

“I am,” I said, rather proud of my effort. “It’s not fair-worthy, but I like it.”

quilt 008a

She smiled at me. The county fair is a big deal around here, and the quilting competition is probably the most intense of all the Home Economics categories. I know. I’ve seen it. She probably has, too. “You know,” she said, “some of the best sewers in this county have never actually finished a quilt. They always send it out at the end to have the actual quilting done.”

I didn’t know that. Seems like cheating to me.

“They have all sorts of rules to make a proper quilt,” she continued. “I don’t follow any of those rules myself. I just don’t enter my quilts in the fair.”

That’s what I admire so much about her. She’s endlessly charitable, but always practical. You know, a perfect quilt, a perfect home, a perfectly dressed table with a perfectly prepared meal, these are things to be looked at in glossy magazines, but they’re not the stuff of family life. Families are messy, imperfect, and, hopefully, joyful. Like my quilt. 🙂


tommy  006 aAnd how about this funny little man?  I haven’t seen this little car in ages.  I don’t even know where they were hiding it.  But my big, baby boy dragged it out today and spent some time scooting all over the patio.  Usually, his feet were sticking out the sides.  He really is too big for it, but he had fun.


I never did show you our revamped living room.  Remember these pictures?

IMG_3666labeled IMG_3667labeledIMG_3668labeled IMG_3669labeledThese are from 2011, and this was about as good as it got.  The room was cold, damp, and uncomfortable, in addition to ugly.   This past February, I declared, “Enough is enough!”  We knocked down walls.  We tore up tiles.  We hung fresh drywall.  We painted.  We called in the carpet guys.  We got rid of the piano and built extra book shelves.  And we ordered a lot of sofas.  So many that the salesman asked several times if I really, really wanted that much furniture.

And the result?  This is the view from the front porch looking in:

living room a002 001012 011 010Eight months later, I still have to deal with curtains, and hang things on the walls.  The TV area needs some love, a side table of some sort, and I think some more curtains to hide it when not in use.  I also found some fabric I like to make more colorful pillows.  But this has become a favorite place in the house, comfortable and roomy, with plenty of seating for all of us, room to play, room to read, room to just be.  Not perfect, but perfectly liveable.  That’s what counts, right?

17 Comment

  1. I’ve been wanting to try to make a quilt for a while, but worried about all the “rules” and “perfection” that seems to be so much a part of quilting (and sewing for that matter). This post has inspired me to give it a try and even if it doesn’t look “perfect” to the professionals, it will be my own version of perfect. Thanks!

    1. Hi, Susie! You’ll have a lot of fun, I think, if you can stop worrying about what other folks will think about your finished product. Hope you give it a go! My first couple of quilts were largish patchwork squares, and this one isn’t too much more complicated. 🙂 I’d love to see your creation when you’re done!

  2. Your room is lovely, and so is that quilt. It’s the love that’s in the quilt that makes it so wonderful!

    1. I think you’ll be pleased to know that tommy is still sleeping under the quilt you made for him when he was born. He calls it his Love Blanket. 🙂

  3. ohmigosh! you have a red carpet from iraq too?!? and here i thought i was the only one who’s husband brought back his FOB rug so we could say we had a real [machine woven] turkish rug – fofree! 🙂

    1. You’re not alone; we have one, too! He mailed it back in one of those big black trunks and the poor mail lady struggled with it all day. 🙂 We’ve put it away for now because it’s too hard to see the lego blocks on it.

    2. ha! ours came home in a big black tuff box too 😉

  4. Beckie R. says:

    I have never made a quilt that did not have something wrong with it — seams that don’t line up, a border that’s bigger on one side than the other, quilting stitches that get smaller and neater as I go– but it doesn’t matter. Because in the end, when you look at the big picture, it still looks beautiful and it was still made with love and passion. That’s what counts.


    1. I have a couple of (big) children still sleeping under YOUR quilts, too!

  5. I love the quilt and the room looks inviting!

    1. Thanks! You’re invited to visit anytime. 🙂 we’ve always got coffee!

  6. My grandma is an avid quilter! And now that my grandpa is too sick and frail to work outside he quilts. My grandma started him on cutting for her and then he got promoted to sewing squares! They make so many, we don’t have any store bought blankets in the house.

    She breaks all kinds of quilting rules and not a single one of us on the receiving end of such a precious gift mind at all!

    1. I think that’s a really sweet story. 🙂

  7. Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed this post. One of the projects on my “hope to do” list is a quilt so I appreciate your sharing. I also wanted to say our little tykes car went through many phases here…it finally bit the dust after a few to many trips down the driveway with pre-teen boys perched on top 🙂

    1. Thanks for visiting, Theresa Anne!

  8. My mother-in-law quilts and as a newly retired school teacher, she’s taken to doing it almost full time. We have (at last count which was last year) at least 22 quilts from her. I used to think all those quilts would never match the ideal decor my mind’s eye envisioned. But then I realized I’m not a fancy coordinated person and her quilts bring all kinds of love and memories and exquisite beauty and talent (she’s got a room-sized long-arm quilting machine now) that I enjoy each one. And now that it’s getting colder, we’re piling up under a couple each. I love each one. So good job!!

    1. That’s a lot of quilts! I’m a little envious. 😉

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