Thursday, July 20, 2023

Tennessee Backroads - Pattern Release!!

This pattern has been in my brain for awhile.  As we familiarized ourselves with our new hometown in Cleveland, Tennessee, we used our GPS for going almost everywhere.  

Sometimes the GPS would lead us down country backroads leading to what looked like a dead end.  Some of these nail biter journeys were in the night with no street lights as we live in a rural area and these drives were in the pitch black.  But these backroads always seemed to lead where we wanted to go.

And so this quilt design was born.  My new phraise became "backroads lead everywhere" and they truly do in this little corner of the world.

I created the quilt pattern with a two color theme (plus white) but I can totally see it in scrappy as well.  I might just have to try that once I excavate the storage locker and find my scraps.

The pattern is available for immediate download in my online Etsy shop:  My Etsy Shop.  Soon, my Tennessee quilting studio will be open and print copies will be available there as will some lovely fabrics to choose from.  Stay tuned!  Our website is nearing completion:

Quilt pieced and quilted by Sharlene Lyseng

This pattern was released a few months ago so this post is a bit tardy.  When you make the quilt, please share it online with the hashtag #tennesseetrailsquilt so we can all see your finished work of art.  And thank you to my friend Sharlene for testing the pattern and piecing and quilting the quilt while my studio is still under construction.

Until next time, happy sewing!


Wednesday, July 19, 2023

I Spy with my Little Eye....

 .....something that is GREEN.  This was yesterday's game in the car with my grandson and daughter as we were driving home together.  When I heard green I actually laughed out loud and slapped my knee.  Why?  Because Tennessee is the greenest place I've ever seen.  The answer was equally hilarious.  That tree?  That tree?  How about that other tree?

Smokey Mountains - Sunset

It's been a year since we left the west coast ... the 'wet coast' as we called it ... because we thought it rained all the time, that we lived in a rainforest and that it was lush and green.  Green until July, that is.  And despite all the sprinklers and watering of lawns and gardens in Victoria, BC (labelled "the city of gardens" and aptly so), everything turns brown by July.

I should have been paying more attention last August when we arrived here in Tennessee.  It was late August and everything was still green.  And I didn't see one irrigation system, not even one sprinkler system anywhere.

I recently looked up the rainfall in Tennessee vs. the rainfall on Vancouver Island (the wet coast).  It turns out that Tennessee gets double the rain that Vancouver Island gets.  Who knew?  Not this girl.  Victoria's average is 23 inches annually.  Cleveland's average is 55 inches annually.


We experienced lots of different weather systems as we ventured across the USA towards Tennessee.  From the lush yellow fields of Canola in Idaho to the deserts of California and Arizona, to the midwest with its flashfloods, I have to say we've experienced a lot and every change of scenery held its own beauty.

Idaho canola fields

It's really hard to believe that a year ago we were on the road.  On July 19 last year we were in Peachland, BC catching our breath and plotting our journey.  We had no idea where we would end up.  The plan was to visit Tennessee for Sukkot, then head to Florida to visit friends and Legoland and from there plot the journey back. But it was always a surrendered plan.  We all wanted to be where He wanted us and we followed Him the best we could.

I wasn't sure where we would end up after our RV adventure. But that didn't matter. One day at a time.  One campground at a time.  One adventure at a time.  One sunset at a time.

The stickers represent the states we visited on the journey

Before leaving, when I dropped my doggies off with my friend on Salt Spring Island I thought a few times "I could live here".  Then as we stayed in the Okanagan in British Columbia, after leaving the island, I thought a few times that "I could live here".  It's beautiful.  But He hadn't revealed anything to us yet but just asked us to trust Him, not to make presumptious decisions, but to walk with Him.

Neither of those locations was God's plan.  We didn't know that Tennessee could be the plan until October.  Then at Sukkot we knew very quickly that we had found our people, our tribe, our home.  When my daughter met her future husband there, that cemented our plans.  As our chief driver, it would have been an interesting pivot to get back to BC without her. But a lot of things had to happen to make our stay happen, immigration being the main one.  As a tourist we could stay for six months and then we would have to leave.

So began the immigration process, which included a business plan for a quilting studio here. And now here we are a few months later and the shop is almost ready to open.  My life right now does not resemble my life a year ago.  It's amazing how the Father will lead and guide you if you let Him.

Immigration approved!

A year ago I was laying down my quilting on the altar.  I was laying down my business.  I was surrendering our home and I was leaving precious family, doggies and friends behind.  Parts of it were excruciating.  The journey has been one of growth in the Lord, of healing of parts of me that I didn't know needed healing, a year of pressing in for more in my relationship with the Lord, a year of receiving the gift of new friendships, and a gift of my new passion project with the quilting studio.  None of this was anticipated a year ago, and yet here we are.

Here are some photos of our space before (it was a glow in the dark mini golf and was pitch black, windows and all).  The second picture is a progress shot of a few weeks ago.

The Lord is so good!

This post started with weather and greenery and ended with the high notes and gratitude for what the Father has done for us.

Tennessee experiences very wet spring/summer seasons complete with many lightning and thunderstorms, extreme rains that make it feel like we are in a carwash with Harriet (our RV home).  But then the skies clear and those beautiful blue skies return.  It's hardly ever grey here as the storms pass quickly and bright days follow.  I'm grateful for all of it.  I'm grateful for a safe haven in the storms as we dwell under the shadow of His wings.  I'm grateful for my simpler life.  I'm grateful for my family, friends and church family. And I'm grateful for my new business venture with my dear friend.

Thanks for hanging out with me for these few moments.  I'll soon be back in the quilting world with more colorful fabric posts.  In the background while we are waiting to move in, I'm busy working on loading the website, tracking inventory of quilt backings and batting, and preparing rental class curriculum, and helping my friend Sandi choose fabrics for her part of our store.  I'll be the quilting studio and she will be the fabric shop.  And it will be wonderful!  Currently no blog worthy photos to share though. Stay tuned!

Until next time,