Saturday, June 06, 2009

Attitude of Gratitude and Crazy Quilt

I've been nominated for the Attitude of Gratitude award by Allie (Allison Aller)!

logo gratefulness award
I really love what Allie wrote about the importance of gratitude in her life... If you didn't already read it, check it out here. Ever since then I've been thinking about the concept ~ Attitude of Gratitude. If you google it, you'll find many thought-provoking and inspirational writings.

This one gives you five tools for cultivating appreciation or gratitude. The suggestions make sense and seem worth the few minutes they would take to do each day. You can read a whole book on this subject here or buy it on Amazon here. Previous to searching google, I had no idea this was a popular concept... It's even discussed in Wikipedia here!

My earliest experiences with Attitude of Gratitude go back about 15 years when I first worked with The Artist's Way, A Spiritual Path to Creativity by Julia Cameron. Writing daily morning pages, I fell into the practice of writing a list of 10 Things for which I'm Grateful. I still do it, not on a daily basis any more, but when I'm feeling down or angry, I find it really helps regain a sense of balance, optimism and warmth.

To mark this day and this post, I decided to write a 10 Things list right now ~ I am grateful for:
  1. Allie, and artists/kind souls like her, who share their love, inspiration and talents so generously. The pictures you will see further down in this post are details from a crazy quilt piece I started in Allie's class.
  2. Robert's sense of humor, eternal optimism and love
  3. That my Mom is still alive and recognizing us
  4. My family and our closeness
  5. Blogging and all the wonderful, creative bloggers I meet
  6. All birds and all flowers
  7. Walking every day with my neighbor
  8. Being able to hear the birds sing with my new hearing aids
  9. Spending time stitching with my dear quilting friends Christy, Lunnette and Trish
  10. Spending time stitching (starting June 20!) with my brother, Thom

Once I get started on a list, it's hard to stop at 10... but I'll spare you any more of my thoughts about gratitude except to pass along this award to two people for whom I am VERY grateful in my life. It's not so much their blogs, although their attitude of gratitude is evident in their blogs, but more just who they are that makes me so grateful to know them.

The first award goes to my sister-in-law, Julie Cook... my middle brother, Jon's wife and the primary caregiver for my Mom. Julie is a two-year member of the Bead Journal Project and one who is relatively new to blogging. Her blog, Jules Beads, is always uplifting to read. Even more, she's great about leaving positive comments on all the blogs she reads. Julie, you deserve this award! Thank you!

The second award goes to BJP member (2 years) and angel (helper), Pam Troug, who has shown me that even in the worst of times an attitude of gratitude and a spunky sense of humor can prevail. Pam's blog, Of Beads and Other Things, is an amazing inspiration to me and one of the best examples I've seen of art as a way of healing. Pam, you deserve this award! Thank you!

Now... my crazy quilt! Here it is... completed (click to enlarge)!

crazy quilt by Robin Atkins, Fossies
The title is Fossies. From my earliest memories to the present, I love flowers... almost all flowers and especially wild flowers. Family stories include several about me and my beloved fossies, as I called them. If ever I slipped away, out of sight, they had only to look for the nearest flowers to find me. Once I picked every geranium blossom by the side of our house, filling all my pockets with them first and then taking the remainder as a bouquet to my grandmother.

crazy quilt by Robin Atkins, detail
Making this was SOOOOOOOOOOOO much FUN!!! It's my first, but probably not my last crazy quilt. I started it in Allison Aller's workshop for the Needle Arts Guild in Baltimore. Yup, I went all the way to the east coast to take the class... That's because I had taught for this group previously and wanted to see them all again. Allie is a wonderful teacher... If you're a member of a needle arts guild or quilting guild, I recommend her totally! She first taught a 1/2-day class in curved piecing (notice the seams are curved, not straight as they are more typically in crazy quilting). Then she taught a 2-day class in making the flowers in the center of the quilt. OMG, that was so much fun!

crazy quilt by Robin Atkins, detail
We used angelina, silk flowers, silk ribbon, rick-rack, felted velvet and various flosses/fibers/fabrics to make the flowers, leaves and stems. The seam embellishments were not covered as part of the class. Fortunately I had a wonderful book, Elegant Stitches by Judith Montano as a guide. They were great fun to learn and practice.

crazy quilt by Robin Atkins, detail
While the main idea was to work with fibers, thread embroidery and quilting techniques, I still managed to work a few beads into the piece. The hand quilting around the inside edge of the border is a tiny running stitch with a size 15 seed bead on each stitch. I also used beads for some of the flower centers.

crazy quilt by Robin Atkins, detail
With gratitude for stitching and for my hands that are still able to stitch for hours, I wish you all a lovely good evening! Robin

PS Have to include this too:

Rules of Accepting and Sharing the Attitude of Gratitude Award

  1. Put the logo on your blog or post
  2. Nominate a few bloggers that show an attitude of gratitude
  3. Link to your nominees within your post
  4. Comment on their blogs to let them know they've received this award
  5. Share the love and link to this post and the person who nominated you for the award
  6. Tell us how you've come to have an attitude of gratitude


  1. Your CQ, like all of your work, is beautiful!

  2. o Robin! Thank you! I am honored to be the recipient of the Attitude of Gratitude award!!!! I have not read the book you mention, but had read "Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy" by Sarah Ban Breathnach back in 1996 when it first came out, which I am assuming is probably similar, anyway, found that book incredibly inspiring at the time. May be time to check out a new book on the subject.
    And your crazy quilt - O MY! I love, love, love it!!!! Your work is beautiful, the flowers gorgeous (I too was always one of those out wandering about with "weeds" in my hands)... Thank YOU Robin, for being such an inspiration FOR me, and showing that there are ways to express gratitude, fear, ANYTHING at all by being creative! YOU are an awesome lady!

  3. The spirit that is alive in your work and your post is effervescent!! I had the joy of reading this over my first cup of tea for the day...what a delight to have shared this experience with you and to see your work and hear your story. I now have a picture of little Robin with her pockets overflowing with geraniums and holding a bouquet, smiling for Mom. Fossies, indeed. I feel the same way you do about Allie's class -- each flower, like a present to myself as I learned to stitch each one.

    You have also sent my mind reeling about the idea of gratitude. I did click over to see the five steps...and I felt like many of them were good ideas. In fact, over the Summer, if Jack starts complaining for want of something to do...maybe I'll throw some of these exercises his way. Thanks so much for coming into my life and continuing to share yours.

    P.S. I am grateful for Pam T and for Jules too! They have both enriched my life through their comments on my blog and through sharing their lives on theirs.

  4. Thank you for this post, Robin. It will be with me all day long and longer.


  5. We do have many things to be grateful for. Pam is the perfect recipient as are you. I love the crazy quilt and also spend time in our woods looking for wild flowers. Nature restores me.

  6. Excellent choices to betow the award to. Of course, to know Pam is to love her. Sick or well, we can all take a lesson from her.

    And Jules. Her posts are some of the most thought provoking that are posted in the project.

    Aren't we all just a Mutaul Admiration Society?!? Thank YOU for that. There are so many that I would not have known if not for you.

  7. Beautiful quilt! Makes me wish I knew how to sew something!

  8. Your cq is beautiful! All the little flower stitches on the border are perfect :-)

  9. Hi Robin!

    Thank you for sharing your gratitude with us! And...your fabulous crazy quilt!!! The flowers are glorious. It is easy to see how much fun they must have been to make!

    I will always smile when I think of you filling your pockets with all of the geranium leaves...I take a geranium essential oil bath every day...I love them too!

    xoxo Camilla

  10. I love your crazy quilt. Actually, I love looking at them always, just not doing them. I think you did a wonderful job.

    One time long ago I did a boutique sort of vest with ric rac flowers and leaves of many kinds. This sort of reminds me of that. I'll have to take photos some day.

    The award went to wonderful people too.

  11. HI Robin! Just wanted you to know that I mentioned you in my blog today! Enjoy! :)

  12. Robyn,
    Your Quilt is truly beautiful.
    Thank you for sharing.

  13. I really love that crazy quilt, the contrast between black velevet and the colours in different textures is truly precious and delightful. It looks like a dress made for the Queen of the Night fairy.


Thanks you for joining the discussion on this post today!