Hello There!

Welcome to the final week of the 2018 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop. Over the past two months, we’ve been working making our blogs better and talking quilty things. Please visit our awesome hosts to see who else is introducing themselves this week and to enter to win some great prizes (giveaway details are at the end of this post). Our hosts are Sandra from mmm! quilts (and my hive leader), Beth from Cooking Up Quilts, Jennifer from Dizzy Quilter, and Tish from Tish n Wonderland.

2018 new quilt bloggers blog hop button with host web site information

My Quilting Journey

I started quilting over 20 years ago the old fashioned way. You either had to know someone who quilted or just figure it out on your own. I did a little of both, but not until after I shredded a cardboard cutting mat. The story is hilarious and worth the click. Long story short, though, a quilting friend took pity on me and helped me through finishing my very ugly first quilt. She also helped me through my second quilt, and I’ve been hooked ever since.

close up of yellow and blue quilt

Like a cheap pair of sunglasses from the 7 Eleven, this quilt is still hanging in there. I often joke about just setting it on fire, but it’s great for picnics.

Some Quilty Advice

I think it’s an overused phrase, but “you do you.” I spend a lot of time in beginner groups online answering questions and providing support where I can. So many new quilters wonder if they are “allowed” to do something a certain way and are worried that the quilt police will come get them if they do it “wrong.”

Quilting today is an art, and I truly believe there’s no wrong way to do art. What’s created might not suit every taste, but that certainly doesn’t mean it’s not done right. I quilt to feed my creative soul, and I really don’t care if you like what I’ve created or not. I made it for me. Take that to heart when you’re creating. If it feels right, it is right.

Quilting today is an art, and there's no wrong way to do art. If it feels right, it is right. Click To Tweet

Also, get new friends. You don’t need that kind of negativity!

My Family

I live in Alexandria, Virginia, with my cat, Mitchell. He’s just the best, and he enjoys sitting in my lap when I sew. Despite the language barrier, we have lengthy conversations about color placement and technique all day long.

You didn’t need these pieces, Mom. I need them for my snoozle.

I tell Mitchell all the time he’s my favorite child because he will never leave me to go to college in California.

That brings me to my beautiful human daughter, Emily. Even though she’s going to college in California – and I miss her terribly – she’s the best thing I ever did. She’s loving, loyal, and would do anything for anyone. I don’t know how I got so lucky to be her mom! While I was never able to turn her into a quilter, she is amazing at making custom clothing. Half her closet is stuff she either made or altered to make it her own.

She just finished her junior year at California State University East Bay. In two more years, she’ll graduate as a physical therapist and wants to work with military veterans or children with cancer. Letting her go was hard, but it’s been amazing watching her grow into a wonderful human who’s going to make a difference in the world.

Mother-daughter date on a recent visit. I’m so lucky to have her!

My Work

I work at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as what the government likes to call a Public Affairs Specialist. I’m in charge of internal communications and branding for my office. Finding new and creative ways to tell our story also feeds my creative soul.

After a disaster, my office sends doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals into affected communities, and then I serve as their press officer. I track down local and national reporters and producers and get them to tour our sites and interview our teams so we can show the community and the public in general what it is we’re doing to help.

During the crazy hurricane season last year, I spent nearly 40 days total on the road responding to Hurricanes Harvey in Texas, Irma in Florida, and Maria in Puerto Rico. It was long, exhausting work, but it was humbling to see what a difference we made. I will tell stories about the people we helped, our teams who helped them, and the things I got to see and do for a very long time to come.

For instance, I was able to meet Harry Connick, Jr. when he came to visit the shelter our medical teams were in!

I truly don’t remember anything I talked about this day. I was completely fan-girling with the nurses on our team!

Blog Goals

My biggest goal for my blog is for it to be a place where you can learn and love quilting. Since I’m still new at this, I’m working on finding a balance between teaching a technique or project, showing you my finished quilts, and just commenting on quilting in general. The good news is that I’m like a radio station from the 90s! I take requests. If there’s something you want to know more about, feel free to send me an email asking for a specific post.

I’m also happy to use this space to make new quilting friends. Just hit any of the buttons in my sidebar if you want to connect. The internet and social media make it so no one has to go on their quilting journey alone. I hope you’ll join me on mine and share yours with me.

The Giveaway

If you hung in with me this far, you definitely deserve a chance to win some prizes. So here’s the deal: leave me a comment on this post and then head over to any one of our hosts’ sites and fill out the Rafflecopter form. Seriously… that’s it. Here are this year’s sponsors:

Here’s a pic from my hive leader’s site showing you all our amazing sponsors. Who’s feeling lucky?

My hive is “In Stitches” to be participating in this year’s blog hop. Check out our button by Carrie from Carrie Bee Creates!

95 Responses to Hello There!
  1. Mary D Reply

    I am with you on it;s my quilt for me to love and that it may not suit everyone’s taste. I have been sewing and creating for a very long time and I do it because I love it.

    • Joni Reply

      Good for you! The quickest way for someone to *not* get a quilt from me is to put me down about it. Quilt on!

  2. Jean Reply

    Thanks for the great blog hop!

    • Joni Reply

      Our hosts were pretty awesome! Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Rosalind Gutierrez Reply

    I like your kitty quilting pal & what a lovely daughter.

    • Joni Reply

      Thanks! I probably love them more than quilting… probably.

  4. Gray Barn Designs Reply

    Hi Joni! It’s Cindy from Gray Barn Designs. It is so nice to meet you and to learn more about you. It sounds like Emily is a lot like her mom! Mitchell, well…I am glad he can advise you in spite of the language barrier!

    • Joni Reply

      Thanks, Cindy. I have to say I was already following you when I started this hop and felt awesome that I was in a program with someone famous!

  5. Dione Reply

    Hi Joni, it’s been a pleasure to meet you through the new bloggers forum and to finally read more about you here. Wow, what beautiful children you have, both your daughter and your fur-baby. I’m so glad your friend got you through the first couple of quilts so you could go on to help so many others. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Joni Reply

      I think about Susan every day when I sit down to sew. I honestly don’t know what I would do if I didn’t quilt!

  6. Jan Altomare Reply

    Joni, it was a pleasure to read your story so far. I look forward to reading your next endeavors, both quilty and non.

    • Joni Reply

      It was a little scary sharing it! But I’m glad you stopped by with a kind word. It makes this blogging thing so much easier!

  7. karen Overton Reply

    Wow – small world, I was in one of those disasters you helped with – Hurricane Harvey!
    That aside, I enjoyed your post and getting to know you! I love your reference to the 90’s DJ about taking requests – may have to borrow that one I think you just post what’s on your heart that day. I love seeing quilts and I love tips, but I love the story behind the story – like your kitten and your daughter. See you around the quilting blog world!

    • Joni Reply

      I hope you were able to recover quickly from the storm. The people I met in Houston were just amazing!

  8. Lisa Marie Reply

    So nice to find your blog on the hop, and I enjoyed hearing about your life. So interesting! I love that you help and encourage beginning quilters — it’s wonderful to share something as enjoyable as quilting!

    • Joni Reply

      I really just don’t want quilting to die! And quilty friends are the best friends!!!

  9. Tracie Reply

    Hi, Joni! It was so fun to read more about you. My sister-in-law lives in Alexandria, and we planned to visit her last week except we had to postpone our trip. (Now we think September will be better than during the heat of summer.) I enjoyed reading about your job and daughter too.

    • Joni Reply

      I’m sure you already know about it, but visit Artistic Artifacts when you come out in September. A lady in my local guild owns it, and she’s a doll!

  10. Wendy Reply

    Have to chuckle at your comment about your first quilt. I actually kind of like it, and it has a great story! Kudos to you for the work you do for those who go through tough times after a natural disaster. I would enjoy hearing some stories about that. Your daughter is lovely and your kitty is handsome. It’s been fun getting to know you through this post!

    • Joni Reply

      You always make me chuckle, Wendy! I love your site. I’m actually working on a quilt now that honors my work in the hurricanes, and I can’t wait to share some pictures when it’s done and tell some “war stories” to go with it.

  11. Kathy h Reply

    I agree that perfect isnโ€™t always important. I am happy with my quilts and thatโ€™s what matters. And the people that I give them to, love them.

    • Joni Reply

      For me, it’s definitely the process. Even the ones I “mess up” make me happy!

  12. Kathleen McCormick Reply

    What an interesting job! I love that you are a beginner, willing to help others. I was in this group last year and met many wonderful quilters. It really does help expand. Your quilting community.

    • Joni Reply

      Thanks, Kathleen! None of my local friends are quilters, so it’s nice to have connections all over the world to share and talk quilty things with.

  13. Tami Von Zalez Reply

    I was just thinking I’m so glad no one critiqued my first attempts at quilting. I posted my progress all over the internets, so proud of my work.
    Thankfully, there is YouTube when I get stuck on a quilting concept.
    And boy howdy I sure did a “you do you” quilt abstract in fabric where I ignored the usual quilting rules and raw edge appliqued then matchstick quilted a piece for entry in the CA State Fair. We’ll see how it does.

    • Joni Reply

      Good luck with the CA state fair quilt, Tami! Keep being you!!

  14. Rochelle Reply

    What a great introduction, Joni. I love that you are not worried about quilt police and that you are willing to be there for new quilters. I’m not a blogger but I follow many and would be happy to follow you, too.

    • Joni Reply

      I’d be delighted if you followed along, Rochelle! If us veterans don’t help the newbies, quilting will grow stale again. We’ve got to keep recruiting!!

  15. Carol Andrews Reply

    Hi Joni. You do have an interesting life and a beautiful family. It’s great you shared your love of fabric with your daughter even if she chooses to indulge in a different area. I’m learning to love paper pricing now. It frightened me for years! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Joni Reply

      My daughter has more talent in her little finger than I’ll ever have! And I hear you about paper piecing. It’s like crown molding: everything just seems upside down and backwards to me!

  16. Teri Reply

    What a privilege it is to hear your story. Thank you for sharing.

    • Joni Reply

      It was quite the privilege to share it! I’m so glad you stopped by.

  17. Donna Cutting Reply

    Quilting and creativity just go together. Your cute kitty cat is a great sewing companion. Thanks for sharing about your first quilts, and I checked out your finished quilts, Wow they are amazing. I’d say you are hooked on quilting. Me to, it’s exciting to keep creating and learning new techniques.

    • Joni Reply

      I honestly don’t know what I would do if I weren’t a quilter! I’ve been reading the comments to Mitchell, and I’m pretty sure he thinks he’s gone viral at this point.

  18. Danette Reply

    I definitely agree that we should make our quilts that way that we like them. Whether anyone else likes them really doesn’t matter.

    • Joni Reply

      I think we all could stop caring so much what the person next to us is doing/thinks and just concentrate on our own journeys. That’s when the art really starts to feed the soul.

  19. Debby Reply

    these blog hops are so much fun; it is the only way I learn of quilt blogs. I love your quote about art and your advice of “you do you”.

    • Joni Reply

      This is the first time participating in a blog hop for me. It’s neat to be on this side of it! Keep being you!!!

  20. anna Reply

    Thank you for the work you do for the public in hard times. glad to have found your blog.

    • Joni Reply

      I’m glad you found me, Anna. It’s a privilege to be able to serve in a disaster. I’ve met the best of humanity after those storms!

  21. Tish Reply

    Joni, it’s great to read more about you. Mitchell is adorable! Cats really do make the best quilting companions ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Joni Reply

      I’ve been reading these comments to Mitchell, and I think he feels he’s reached his goal of becoming internet famous! I’m going to have to start serving up fancy feast in a golden bowl!!

  22. Ann casey Reply

    Thanks for sharing your story, and the joy you put into your quilts. I’m wondering what that King’s Puzzle did to you; it’s a beautiful, precise, constrained quilt. Lovely to meet you.

    • Joni Reply

      I’m glad you like King’s Puzzle. It was just a poorly written pattern. I had to do way more thinking and math than I would have liked! Thanks for stopping by, Ann.

  23. Tabitha Keener Reply

    Thanks so much for the inspiration! Iโ€™m with you on not listening to negativity and trying to be ok with when my quilts are less than perfect! It truly is art!

    • Joni Reply

      My imperfections are usually a reflection of what’s going on in my life, so I kinda like looking back at them and going through the memories. Keep being you, Tabitha!

  24. Jayne P Reply

    Thank you for sharing and joining in this great blog hop

    • Joni Reply

      I’m happy to share! I’m so glad you found me.

  25. Cherie Burton Reply

    Hi Joni,
    I have to say that in my effort to procure my quilting style, I ask for advice and then I just do as I please if it works for me. But I am always open to easier ways to get things done.

    • Joni Reply

      I think you’re onto a really good life motto as well as a quilt motto, Cherie! I’m so glad you stopped by today.

  26. Melody Lutz Reply

    Thank you for sharing your creativity with us today – it was nice getting to know you!

    • Joni Reply

      Thanks for being here for me to share, Melody!

  27. Janet T Reply

    This has been a wonderful hop so far. Don’t really want it to end. I love looking at other quilters work, and getting ideas for my next adventure. There’s lots of talent out there!

    • Joni Reply

      I’m gonna miss this hop, but I’ve made some new friends that will be around for a while! If any crazy thing I share on here ever inspires you, tag me so I can see it! I’m @loveofthread on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

  28. Angela J Short Reply

    Wonderful blog. Awesome cat too. Have a sweet day! angielovesgary2 atgmail dotcom

    • Joni Reply

      Mitchell is getting a really big head on all his comments! He thinks he’s pretty awesome too. Thanks for stopping by!

  29. Barb K. Reply

    Enjoyed your story about meeting Harry Connick Jr.
    This has been a good blog hop and Thank You for your part.

    • Joni Reply

      I was such a fool when I met him. I don’t generally get star struck, but this guy has it! I’m glad you enjoyed the hop.

  30. Sharon Aurora Reply

    I really enjoyed your beginner quilting story with the ugly scraps and cardboard cutting mat. Your mentor likely didn’t run away because she enjoyed teaching someone who was willing to learn. Thanks for sharing.

    • Joni Reply

      I think about Susan nearly every time I sit down to sew. I’m sure she wanted to run, but I’m so grateful she didn’t!

  31. Anna brown Reply

    Hello and great job love blog hops…I agree quilting today is,an art the days of quilting for nesesity are gone….But Bonnie hunter is bringing scrap quilting back big time.She is a good read and blog to read is you haven’t yet…. happyness04431@yahoo.com

    • Joni Reply

      I love scraps. And Bonnie! I’m so glad you stopped by and said hello.

  32. Brenda Ackerman Reply

    I enjoyed reading your post and signed up to follow you on Bloglovin and Facebook. I love making quilts of all techniques and decided many years ago that it was a waste of time to worry about mistakes. I quilt for fun not for perfection, when it stops being fun; I will stop quilting. Thank you for sharing and I look forward to reading more of your blog. Have a great day!

    • Joni Reply

      Thank you so much for following me! I hope I keep bringing you quilty tips and stories for a long time to come.

  33. Sharon Andersen Reply

    Hi Joni,

    Thanks for sharing! I’ve enjoyed “meeting” you.

    My first quilt was probably much to ambitious for a beginner, and I made the mistake of using a poly-cotton blend for the background and the purple cotton print that I used bled over everything when I washed it the first time. It was a learning experience!

    Happy quilting,

    • Joni Reply

      Even 20 years after that first quilt, I still learn something from every quilt since. And it sounds like you could have a pretty funny story too! Thanks for stopping by.

  34. Laura Reply

    thanks for introducing yourself. I agree that quilts are art and so no right or wrong way, just the way that feels right.

    • Joni Reply

      “Just the way that feels right.” I think that could be our life motto too!

  35. Sue Reply

    Wonderful post Joni! I had a look at your quilts and I love your style! You should definitely make quilts to please yourself!

    • Joni Reply

      I’m so glad you like my work! Even though we should be quilting for ourselves, it’s nice to get the complements too.

  36. Gail Reply

    Hi Joni,
    I agree with your statement about art and there is not one way to do it.
    I also think that all quilt police should be made into fat quarters and tied up with long selvage strings!
    Happy Quilting! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Joni Reply

      Ooh! Would that mean more fabric for us?! I’m in!! Thanks for stopping by.

  37. Beth @ Cooking Up Quilts Reply

    Your comment about finding new friends cracked me up! But so true, no one needs negative friends. Mitchell looks like the perfect partner to bounce ideas off of, and I bet he gives great advice! ๐Ÿ™‚ Your work sounds so interesting Joni, thank you for all you do to help those in need. Also, thanks for participating in the NQBBH this year!

    • Joni Reply

      Thanks for hosting me! Mitchell helps in every part of my life. We solve some of life’s greatest problems together… though he’s usually more helpful if something from my dinner plate falls his way.

  38. Christi Reply

    When you travel so much do you carry hand projects? Just curious. I’m old enough to wear white in Dec and ignore quilt police. I just turn down my hearing aids. Quilting is about having fun, not having pain.

    • Joni Reply

      I carried half a suitcase of hand projects on my first deployment to Flint, Michigan two years ago. Sadly, 16-hour days every day of the week mean little time for quilting.

      And you keep doing you! You sound super fun.

  39. Terry Carney Reply

    Hi Joni
    Thanks for sharing your story. It was an interesting read.

    • Joni Reply

      Thanks for stopping by! I’m glad to have you get to know me a little more.

  40. Christine Sullivan Reply

    I would love to see tips & hints from a relatively new quilter to other new quilters. I like your style of writing and story telling. Good luck!

    • Joni Reply

      You just gave me an awesome idea for recruiting guest bloggers! Thanks for that. I hope you’ll come back by when you’re ready for more.

  41. Nancy A Reply

    It is nice to meet you and hear about your interesting life. This has been a fun blog hop to follow.

    • Joni Reply

      I’m glad you’ve enjoyed the hop. It’s a massively talented group of quilters!

  42. Tracy Reply

    Hi Joni!

    I feel like we are kindred quilters! I too started with a cardboard cutting mat! Lol๐Ÿ˜Š. Your furry quilting friend looks like a more reserved companion than my puppy who likes to pull everything out of its place! โ€” I am so glad to meet you here and in the Blog Hop. You always meet the nicest people Quilting, like you! โ€”Tracyโค๏ธโค๏ธ

    • Joni Reply

      Aw! Thanks, Tracy. You are officially my spirit animal with that cardboard cutting mat history in your past!

  43. Rashida Reply

    Hi Joni, love your quilting companion Mitchell ๐Ÿ™‚ You are so right there is no right or wrong to quilting. Just get in there and enjoy!

    • Joni Reply

      Seriously! Mitchell is demanding some major Hollywood treatment ever since I started reading your comments to him. Maybe he should be a guest blogger?!

  44. Jean McKinstry Reply

    My quilty friends are a little way from me, 40 minutes one way, 35 the other, then there are ones that are at the touch of a keyboard. Your job, that would take love from your heart, and send it out to those affected. And a quilt is always a quilt, no matter when or how it was made. and as for Mitchell, I have one of those, in amongst our three, he likes to get a finger near the needle so often!!!

  45. Vasudha Reply

    I loved reading your story. Loved all your quilts too – especially the King’s puzzle though it was a difficult child :-). Best wishes for your quilting journey.

  46. Nancy @ Grace and Peace Quilting Reply

    Nice to meet you!!! Do you pronounce your name like Joanie or Johnny? Just asking because I know Joni’s that do both! I love your mother/daughter photo, and that she makes custom clothes for herself. My daughter does that, too.

  47. Michelle Roberts Reply

    Lovely to meet you, great post. Looking forward to seeing more of your quilts ๐Ÿ˜

  48. Kathy C. Reply

    I would have been tongue-tied with Harry too!

  49. Karen McMahon Reply

    Thanks for sharing your life and quilts. My daughter is a physical therapist too.

  50. Nicole Sender Reply

    Enjoyed your story! Thank you for supporting the thought that you can be proud of your work; even if there are imperfections. Signed up for your newsletter.

  51. Janice Holton Reply

    Hi Joni, That’s two things we have in common! Quilting and a college daughter that we adore. I’ve only been quilting for two years and always love to meet other quilters who have more experience than I do. I’m FOREVER asking advice! Very nice to “meet” you!

  52. Cindy Berry Reply

    Enjoyed the post.

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