Learning new things is something everyone should strive to do.  It stretches our brain and breaks us out of our comfort zone.  Learning new things is one of my favorite things to do… but the older I get the more difficult it becomes to grasp a concept.

When did this happen?  I remember when I reached the age of 39, everything I tried to read got just a little fussier to make out.  Do you remember when your eyes started aging?  I gave up and got progressive lenses years ago… but I can’t quite recall when my brain also decided to retire.  I do recall it taking evenings off and making it into work a little later than normal.  But I can’t recall it declaring retirement and completely giving up.

What brought this up? Reading my pattern for the Sew Together Bag and realizing that I needed a visual to explain what I was reading.  Today’s brain challenge is this new addition to the studio.

Brother Scan N Cut DX

I have been using electronic cutting machines for years.  We manufacture all our own templates at the Cabin so I am trained in commercial laser cutting machines.  I am a trained graphic designer and create my own graphics (when necessary) in Adobe Illustrator. One would think this machine would be plug and play for me.  Well… it isn’t. I apparently did not get a manual.  I also do not understand what any of these buttons mean. I also just unboxed the thing a hot minute ago… but I am not a master of its universe yet… so I am frustrated.

I use to be able to figure out anything in about 5 minutes.  Give me a week with it and I could start teaching classes that a monkey could understand.  But not today friends.  Not today.  I am desperate to cut some designs… I am in a hurry and this machine is teaching me patience this holiday season.  If the machine had a voice it would say, “Slow down there ace and mind your breathing.”  I have a watch that does that.  I don’t like it when the watch does it either.

Which has led me to this moment!  I have completely abandoned the suggested topic for today’s 31-day blog writing challenge (which was my top 5 books by the way) for the topic of learning new things while in a distracted state of mind.  I will take a break, breathe, and make a cup of calming tea (notice I didn’t say coffee). I will search on the internet for a manual that explains the steps to saving a scanned file.  I will grab a sandwich… because nothing good ever happens when I’m hungry. I will try again on a full stomach and maybe I will master a least one topic by the end of the day.  Perhaps this will inspire you to keep a calm head during your frustrating projects this time of year or any time for that matter.

Top 5 Books

For those of you who really want to know what I think… here are my Top 5 Books about quilting.

  1. Quilter’s Complete Guide by Marianne Fons and Liz Porter – is a great beginning reference book for a new quilter.  I spiral bound mine because I refer to it so often.
  2. Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns by Barbara Brackman – is a great reference for designers or the home quilter that makes their own designs… especially if you draw in EQ.
  3. Around the Block by Judy Hopkins – is a series of books that offer block cutting references for a variety of blocks if you don’t like doing your own math. Great for BOM coordinators.
  4. The Quilter’s Album of Patchwork Patterns by Jinny Beyer – similar to the encyclopedia above but in color.  Also great for EPPers or foundation piecers as a reference for drawing your own.
  5. All Scrapped Out! by Cabin in the Woods Quilters – the first in a series of books by me that show you all the fun things you can do with your scraps after using the above books.

All solid choices for a variety of skill levels.  Leave a comment and tell me your top 5 quilting books.  I would love to know how many we have in common.

Until next time… Happy Quilting!