2020 - A Year in Review!

I can't believe it's time for me to sit down and write this blog post. I feel like I was just writing my 2019 Year in Review post yesterday! In some ways, the year has flown by and in others, it's felt like it's lasted for decades. We've had a lot to celebrate this year, but we also had a lot of hard sadness, loneliness and fear. This year has had many unknowns, but what we do know...is that we’ve grown so much. And for that, we are forever grateful. 

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Let's start with the highlights, shall we? 

 

January

  • We had the Second Annual Vintage Lace QAL. There were over 900 participants!

February

  • I released my Homecoming Quilt Pattern , which was a reflection of what it means to be home. I designed this pattern last year when we had to live in temporary housing for several months while our house was being repaired. Little did I know that "being home" would take on a whole new meaning in 2020.
  • Two of my quilts were juried into QuiltCon 2020. You can read about my experience at QuiltCon here
  • We traveled to Austin to attend QuiltCon and sight-see.
  • I participated in a blog hop for Amy Sinibaldi's Mayfair Collection. You can read about my Church Window quilt here.
  • Our baby nephew, Ellis was born! We are so thankful that we were able to travel up to Connecticut to meet him before the lock-down started!

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March

  • I created one of my favorite quilts of all time, my Warp & Weft Vintage Lace Quilt.
  • We traveled to Athens/Atlanta to visit the Cotton Patch Quilt Guild and to have a booth at the Original Sewing and Quilting Expo. This was right around the time that everything started to lock-down.
  • I wrote a quick & easy pillow tutorial.
  • I wrote a tutorial for my Church Window Quilt.

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April

  • I became a Janome Maker!
  • I TAUGHT PETER HOW TO QUILT!
  • I wrote a tutorial on how to trim half square triangles.
  • I released my Metamorphosis Quilt Pattern, complete with a video tutorial on how to sew half circles. This pattern released right after quarantine started and was meant to reflect a symbol of hope during all of the unknown.

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May

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June

  • I wrote a blog post titled "5 Tips to Create a Vintage - Inspired Quilt".
  • We celebrated our 6 year wedding anniversary! We did a little weekend trip to the NC mountains.

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July

  • I released Knitted Star Quilt, which is currently my most popular pattern to date!
  • I made my first bed size quilt that we actually use! (Knitted Star)

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August

  • I wrote a blog post about things to consider when choosing your sewing machine.

September

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October

  • I wrote a blog post about fabric swatches.
  • I worked my final shift at the hospital. More on this in a second.
  • I was featured in Issue 16 of QuiltFolk...truly such an honor.
  • We did a little weekend trip to Asheville, NC.

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November

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December

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Side note : It feels a little weird to "toot my own horn" and type all of this out. I actually thought about skipping my Lo & Behold highlights, because 2020 has left me feeling slightly deflated. And I hate that. For the most part, I'm a positive, up-beat person, but I'd be lying if I said that 2020 didn't throw me for a loop. You can see that some of the months don't have a lot of bullet points. Compared to last year, ALL of my months in 2020 are a little underwhelming. But as I was typing out everything that I accomplished, even if it was a simple blog post, I was reminded of my purpose here. For the entire time that I've been doing Lo & Behold, my prayer has always been: "Lord, if it isn't your will, close all of the doors." There could've been so many closed doors this past year. As ya'll know, small businesses have taken a hit this year and I feel enormously blessed that ours has thrived. For me, creativity is always a little harder to come by whenever I'm stressed or preoccupied....yet I was still inspired to continue to grow and create. This year hasn't been easy - by any means - but Lo & Behold has grown and adapted and at the end of the day (or the end of the year), that's all I could ever really ask for.

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The Biggest Milestone

Probably this biggest milestone this year (maybe even of my adult life) is that I went full time with Lo & Behold.  Honestly, this is something that I never thought would happen; even though deep down, I wanted it to happen all along. Most of ya'll know that I was (am? I'm still struggling with this identity) a NICU nurse. I LOVED being a NICU nurse. There's something about caring for the tiniest of patients that really puts life into perspective. I've met so many amazing and strong families in the last 7 years. Thinking about these special people is what made my decision so hard to make. At the end of the day, it came down to work-life balance. And frankly, I didn't have any. Over the last few years, I had been cutting back my hours. Thankfully with nursing, there is a lot of flexibility with shifts and how many hours you want to work. But it got to the point where I felt like I had to choose between nursing and quilting in order to keep my sanity. It was the hardest decision that I've ever had to make. And I still struggle with it. For seven years, my identity was strongly correlated with my profession. Now that I don't have that profession any more, I feel like I'm having to rebuild who I am. Since October, I've experienced every emotion you could think of....excitement, apprehension, sadness, guilt. You name it, I've felt it. But the one thing that's kept me going is the confidence that I'm exactly where I'm meant to be. 

Another big milestone is that Peter left his job back in March. As many of you know, he worked in the restaurant industry and when things shut down, he was out of work for several weeks. During this time, he really stepped up his game at Lo & Behold. He was already doing a lot, but once he had more time, he took many things off my plate, which was amazing for me! He also started cutting a lot more fabric, so we were able to do way more bundles and quilt kits this year than we did last year! When things opened back up, we were faced with the decision of him going back to work or continuing to work for Lo & Behold. We chose the latter and it's been great! 

Now the hardest part for us has been learning to set our own schedules and work together. We went from seeing each other for about 24 hours a week (when we first got married), to now spending LITERALLY 24/7 with each other. It's been great, but an adjustment, for sure. :)

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Lessons Learned 

Where do I even start?

When the pandemic first hit, I struggled (big time) with fear of the unknown. As a nurse that worked in a hospital (a large metropolitan hospital at that) I had no idea what was to come. I had trouble sleeping at night, I cried a lot....I was a mess. I eventually got to the point where I had to tell myself to take life one day at a time. Basic things like health, food and shelter were really put into perspective. I prayed a lot. I spent more time listening to music, reading and doing puzzles. I was forced to slow down in a way that I didn't know what possible. This is something that I really hope to carry with me when this is all over. Life is short. I want to treasure every moment that I can.

With quarantining, we haven't been able to see our friends and family face to face, which has been heartbreaking. Admittedly, as an introvert, spending time with others was something that I took for granted. Once it's safe to gather again, I'm excited to spend time with loved ones.

I also learned a lot about seeing the world through the lives of others. Walking alongside NICU families during a pandemic was heartbreaking. I remember sitting and listening to many stories and being so upset over what they were struggling with. To have the trauma of having a baby in the NICU on top of living during COVID weighed heavy on me. 

My eyes were also opened to the many social injustices that are still happening in our country to this day. Prior to 2020, I didn't really understand that many people still experience discrimination based on the color of their skin. It's sickening. 

In light of this, there have been moments where we have felt completely helpless. Not to mention, it can sometimes be overwhelming to know how to help people and where to start. That being said, this year, we were able to give to organizations that have a big impact in these areas.  We are excited to continue to give to these organizations in hopes that we can truly be a part of making the world a better, safer place for everyone.

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2021 Goals

Whew. Are you still with me? As excited as I am to see 2021, I am thankful for 2020 and all that happened. That being said, let's pop some champagne and look forward to the New Year! Have you set any New Year's resolutions? Here are my goals for 2021:

  1. Slow down and enjoy the ride. This was one of my goals for 2020, and I'd say that I did a pretty good job. Now that we've made some changes, I think we will be better equipped to do this again in 2021!
  2. Launch Beginner Quilting Academy! One of my goals for 2020 was to bring more people into quilting....I'm excited to get the ball rolling with this on January 15th, 2021!
  3. Create the next quilt in the Lois Quilt Collection.
  4. Create 3-4 quilt patterns.
  5. Learn how to Free Motion Quilt! I'm enrolled in Free Motion Quilting Academy!
  6. We want to take a road trip! I'm not sure how this will look, and it largely depends on the pandemic, but we are hopeful.
  7. Host at least two Quilt Alongs.
  8.  Attend QuiltCon virtually in February.
  9. Establish healthier routines with exercise and eating.

If you've made it this far, I want to say THANK YOU so much for being here. Your support means the absolute world to me. None of this would be possible without you!

Cheers to the New Year!

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Brittany

 

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