I'm finding it difficult to come up with the right words to describe my first real Quilt Market experience and all that I'm feeling still nearly one week later. To my family and friends I keep sharing, "it was such a dream, it was so amazing." Both because it was just that, so many little dreams come true, but also because now that I'm back home in the regular routine of things it feels at times blurry, like it was all something I had imagined. The stories & memories I've brought back, along with these photos and many others are my proof, but more importantly I think there's also evidence in the ways that I've changed from this experience. I stretched myself and grew, I can feel it. A not very confident woman, who rarely leaves home, who's never crossed time zones before, or stayed in a hotel with a bed all to herself, who saved and sold all that she could to afford a trip just for herself, feels a little different today. I realized that I can do the big things I almost always talk myself out of, and that if I do, oh it will be so, so worth it. I found my people and a real sense of belonging, not just in this community of makers that is full of the most inspiring, wonderful, encouraging people, but as a small town mother who feels isolated and lonely pretty often, who found a place to really fit in.
It's been such a tough few years, watching my Dad's health decline, then losing him this past June, all while I continue to have lots of ups and downs with my own health. This little fabric collection of mine and this trip is my avengment. It's the sum of all the days spent learning, dreaming, making, drawing, and blogging instead of feeling dejected. It was my big chance to make my Dad and family proud of me. I could write for days about the amazing individual encounters I had with my quilting heroes, fellow designers, and bloggers. Everyone was so sweet and so wonderful. Then being awarded Best New Exhibitor was one of the most surprising, overwhelming, and unforgettable moments of my life. I can't even begin to tell you how amazing that was. When the Quilt Market folks were handing me the news, the ribbon and plaque, I immediately thought of my Mom & Dad, then my kids and husband, and was overcome by emotion then total embarrassment. So many of us laughing, teary-eyed, together. As I left the city Tuesday morning and looked out my window once more I was unable to hold off the tears, it was that wonderful of an experience, and is now one I hope to have again.
Coming home to a house still intact, a happy husband & kids excited to greet me and hear all about my adventure was the crowning glory. Having this journal and all of you to share this journey and all that I love with is just incredible. I'm forever grateful for all of it!
with thanks, ♡ Maureen