Monday, 10 November 2014


I started blogging about three and a half years ago, inspired by a pretty intense envy for Anna Maria Horner, one of the few bloggers I followed at the time. It sounds malicious, but it wasn't. I'd just finished my History degree, a lifestyle (part time mum, part time student) and identity which had suited me perfectly. I'd had a second baby. I spent a lot of time breastfeeding, while reading Anna Maria's exciting tales of setting up a new studio above her house. I felt trapped and lost. So instead of continuing to moan about it, I decided to take positive steps towards creativity, productivity and thankfulness. I started to write.

When I started blogging, I started reading other blogs, meeting new friends, people like me, sewing more, becoming part of a community. I discovered that some bloggers actually managed to make money from their craft, and I was struck by how great it would be to contribute to the family income that way. It would certainly justify the time I was spending writing about myself. When I wasn't feeling so optimistic, I wrestled with the extravagance of it all. I've written here before about my young-adult intentions to live and work with orphans and homeless children in Eastern Europe. It all seemed so bizarre, trying to find my place in the world through sewing, on my own, hoping to God the babies slept just a little longer, while much of the world wrestled with more urgent issues like war and food and shelter.

Over the last few years, there's been a lot of discussion on blogs I read about value. Valuing ourselves as creative workers, putting the right price on our work, whether it be physical or intellectual. As I've gotten to know creative folk in my city through my pop-up shop, or market stalls, I've loved the open and honest conversations I've had about how people price their wares, how business is going, what they love most about it. My own efforts to make money, selling clothes and quilts, developing a pattern, happily ticked over enough cash into my Paypal account to pay for fabric and support creative friends in their businesses too. It was part fun and exciting and part (mostly) monotonous, and never helped put food on the table. And, well, it didn't really feel like it was achieving anything or solving world problems.

When I had Finlay, earlier this year, I said goodbye to craft markets, started turning away custom orders, and decided to spend any time I happened to get sewing (a lot more than I expected!), making quilts for friends who had graduated from university and moved on. The experience has been so much more than I could have imagined. It's stretched my creativity, helped me discover more of what I love in quilts, and it's touched my friends deeply. This is the sixth, and final quilt I aimed to make this year, and I think it's my favourite.

I love that I got away with not using white or low volume prints. I love that it's scrappy, but still within a pattern. I love the mix of Anna Maria's saturated prints with the other lighter, brighter ones from my stash. I love that it includes a blessing, written by Tim, for the recipient, quilted into some of the church dash blocks. I love, LOVE the feeling of making something really work, after being worried from the beginning that it might not.

I was talking to an artist friend of mine a few weeks ago about this experience of making for gifts rather than making for sale, about how it's settled much of the angst in me about value, about needing to justify the time I spend sewing and thinking and writing about quilting. I've enjoyed seeing the changes in me (as an artist and a person) as well as the way it's touched other people.
She looked at me and said, "You know that even if you hadn't made those quilts as gifts, it's still a valuable thing to do, right?"
Yes, I did. I mean kind of. Actually maybe not. But it's been something I've been mulling over ever since, until yesterday when I read yet another blog post about valuing ourselves as bloggers/makers/business women, and I had that feeling again that maybe because I wasn't attracting blog sponsorship, that I wasn't really valuing my words here.

And that's when the light went on.

I absolutely support women working in a way that suits them and their families. I am for women who put themselves out there find ways to monetize their gifts and skills. I support paying them for their work, valuing it financially.

But I think I've had it around the wrong way. For me, at least.

My blogging, my making, are not valuable because I put a price on them. They are valuable because in the beginning there was colour and creativity, stories and relationships, way before money entered the scene. And they were good. In and of themselves. And when I make, when I write, when I pour my girl a drink of water, I make this place a little bit more like the author's original intention.

And that has great value.

May God grant you an adventure big enough to inspire awe in your indomitable spirit.
May all who share fellowship at your meal table be blessed by the sacrament of communion.
May God bless you with the harmony of work and passion that blossoms into a vocation.
May God make his face to shine on you, and yours in turn to shine in your world.
And until we meet again may God carry with you, all those you love in the palm of his hand
-Tim Godfrey


  1. This is a beautiful post. I, too, am slowly making quilts for my friends...those I love. I live far away, and want to have some part of me that is physically present in their lives. I am a slow quilter and only manage maybe one per year. But it is a goal. I love the verse stitched into the quilt. I also love Anna Marie Horner. I only wish I could afford to buy the fabrics that I love and would to love to sew with. But that's okay. In the end, the quilt is still beautiful.

  2. I enjoyed very much reading your post. Your quilt is truly amazing!

  3. Hugely insightful post, I shall be reading this again later in the morning with a nice cuppa and time to spare.
    I must say what a beautiful, beautiful quilt you have there, I love the saturated colour and also the few words in there from a piece of writing which I delight in - An Irish Blessing.

  4. Lovely post. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

  5. Thought provoking post and so much of what you've said really resonates with me too. Love your Churn Dash quilt.

  6. This one made me catch my breath. So beautiful! The richness of it--ooooh la la

  7. "And when I make, when I write, when I pour my girl a drink of water, I make this place a little bit more like the author's original intention.

    And that has great value."

    I couldn't agree more!

    PS. what a beautifully vibrant quilt this one is! Happy creating into next year and beyond!

  8. Thank you for writing this! I constantly mentally battle between wanting to make money out of my creative business and wanting to just do what I love and not worry about the money. Reality for me is that I do need to make some money for it or spend more time at work. But I think that the love of creating should come first and I work hard to bring balance to my business so yay the joy doesn't disappear. Lovely quilt and great post xx

  9. Beautiful post Jodi, so beautifully expressed. I struggle a lot with what I'm supposed to be doing with God's blessings in my life, and I do think that's why I make so many things for so many people, rather than spending more time trying to build up my little shared Etsy business. But I'd never have been able to work it out and express it as well as you have done here. And your quilt is just so gorgeous too! Cat x

  10. What a beautifully written expression of such a complex thought process. It is so true that by each thing that you are doing you are making the world a little bit more like our author's intention and that is valuable beyond what we will ever know or understand. Your creative, artistic, thoughtful, caring, kind & loving wonderful self is in every way an amazing gift from the creator to all who are blessed enough to have you cross their path. I am so grateful to be one of those very blessed people - you have given so much of value to me in our precious friendship and our wonderful time together.

  11. You couldn't have ended it more perfectly than in sharing Tim's blessing. Your ending, that your work is good in itself, is a good place for us all to begin. It cuts away at comparison in a really helpful way. Often, for short periods, I close my eyes to much of the talent out there, so that I can see the good in what I'm doing a little bit more clearly.

  12. This looks amazing! I would never have had enough guts or no how to put that colour combo together! It looks so beautiful. Agree with your post. I made a few custom quilts and all it did was stress me out because I wasn't making what I wanted. Quilting is a creative outlet for my sanity. I make quilts non stop and if I have no one in mind to give it to then I sell it for a some extra fabric money. I know I don't get what it is worth in my time but i enjoy making them. So now as Molli Sparkles suggested I am letting people know they are not paying for my time and are purchasing a quilt made with love because I think everyone should own a hand made quilt :)

  13. I absolutely adore that quilt, it turned out so fun! I also love what Tim wrote, it's beautiful.

    I also find it is so much harder to value one self than others. I think it's something most of us need to work on. Not to make us all self involved, but to make us feel happier and more fulfilled so that we can then give that gift of happiness and contentment to others.

  14. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I have wrestled with similar concerns. I started my blog as a way to share my thoughts, ideas and projects. Sometimes I feel that I don't write enough about the process of creating a quilt but then I am not sure if anyway is listening. Everyone's life is busy and spending time looking at blogs are a luxury - so I keep my post sweet and simple. A few words and photos. Am I writing for them or for myself? Like you, I need to find the happy place FOR ME. Thanks for listening. I am a no-reply blogger (not sure how to fix that) p.s. Quilt is fabulous.

  15. Beautifully expressed Jodi. You are using the gifts you have been given to bring so much blessing to others, even though it is in a way that you hadn't imagined :-)

  16. Beautiful post Jodi. It is such a blessing to be able to create and share with others our creations. Your quilt is gorgeous. So happy and vibrant. Love it.

  17. I so enjoyed reading this Jodi, and also Tim's blessing - just beautiful. Your quilt is stunning too. We pour so much of ourselves into our quilts that gifting them is a deeply valuable present from the heart and hands

  18. I think this is my favorite quilt of all time. Amazing and happy and thoughtful. I hope it gets loved to bits.


I so love your comments! I read all of them and reply when I can. If you don't hear back, I'm lost under a mound of scraps or outside jumping on the trampoline with the kids. Jodi. xx