I read somewhere that you need to repeat an action 21 times in order for it to become a habit.
I'm not sure if that's completely accurate.
Our CQ group has been gathering at Maureen's house for our Holiday Ornament Exchange for at least 6 years...and I can't imagine a year going by that we didn't all go.
Maureen manages to carve a little niche in the over-busy-ness of the modern holiday season...a pit stop on the racetrack to December 25.
She cleans her home, she sets her table, she makes the tea, and cooks all the food...
And we go away being nurtured by so much more than what we eat and drink.
Perhaps it's the ritual itself.
The time we each commit to gather together. To celebrate our group, to celebrate our love for crazy quilting...it has moved beyond a common party.
It has become a ritual, a practice that strengthens us, that provides a feeling of peace and harmony, and that spills over and enriches everything we do.
It didn't happen on the first time we gathered, or even on the third...but somewhere passing 4 or 5...it became ritual.
And this holiday season, I am grateful to all the Maureens.
To all the torchbearers...who clean their homes, and bake the cookies, and nourish their guests...who enrich the lives of all they hostess. The world is a much better place for the gift of their grace. And their time.
So, if you're a Maureen this holiday season, and you're feeling tired and overwhelmed...remember the true gift isn't the presents or the cookies or the tree...
It's the habit of gathering.
And the sense of belonging, order, harmony and significance that gathering engenders.
And yes, we also have another habit of making and exchanging Christmas ornaments for each other.
In the picture above, you can see Bobbi on the left is holding one only partially complete...that would be mine.
I made Kate's Mitten, to commemorate this year's Royal Wedding, and had to finish whipping it together during the party. Thank goodness they all know me well and weren't offended by my showing up only partially-complete.
In homage to the lace appliqued to Kate's wedding dress, I tried couching lace again on the front of the mitten...this time using a machine-made lace...
It did not look nearly as nice as the couched lace I used on my Breakfast at Tiffany's piece so I stitched over most of it to cover it up.
Flipping over to the back side, I just love how that flag turned out...
I've always loved the graphic nature of the British flag...why is that? Was I British in a former life?
Bobbi's ornament was designed after one of those old-fashioned card ornaments...
She always does such interesting shapes. Last year, she made me an angel and the year before a teddy bear.
And this purple one from my friend Carolyn....
I absolutely love that basketweave with the glitter ribbon.
And lastly, Maureen made this jingle bell star...with a beaded lace stumpwork flower...
Isn't it marvelous? She was encouraged to try beaded stumpwork after reading about my stumpwork Tiffany butterfly on this blog. I think it turned out beautifully and we've had lots of subsequent discussions about what is the best wire and metallic thread...etc.
As you can tell...I'm very fond of this group of women.
And over the years, we may lose or gain a friend or two from the group...but the habit of gathering remains the ritual that binds us.
That...plus the grace of all the world's Maureens...
God bless you all.