“Patchwork throw pillow” is only a metaphor

Patchwork pillow is a metaphor | Clean.

Patchwork pillow is a metaphor | Clean.

Patchwork pillow is a metaphor | Clean.

Patchwork pillow is a metaphor | Clean.

Sometimes we start something that we don't know how to finish.

Sometimes we have a vision in our mind, but lose confidence along the way, and we want to give up.

Sometimes we get frustrated. Confused. Overwhelmed by what we've bitten off.

Sometimes it all feels like too much.


On the farm I've been feeling this way lately.

As in: we really have no idea what we're doing.


It's a familiar feeling.

One I remember from early parenting.

Pre-teen parenting.


Food choices.

Owning my own business.

Writing a book.

And more.


Like I'm a little lost and in over my head.

Like I need to shine a light somehow on my own path but I can't find a headlamp.


And unlike the pillows, those other things I wasn't about to give up on.


I made two patchwork blocks on a whim almost a month ago.

I thought they would be cute pillowcases.

For pillows that I didn't have.


I thought I could make pillows.

You know: skirt, scour, and card some wool.

Sew and stuff some muslin cases.

And it sounded like a good idea at first, but felt more and more epic every time I thought about it.


So I gave up. For weeks.


And then I went thrifting.

But once I had pillows to cover (thank you, Goodwill), I stalled out again.

Now what?

I've never made that kind of pillowcase before.

And so those pillows just sat on my couch as is – in their rust colored taffeta thrift-store-splendor.


Sometimes we set out without a plan.

Other times we have a plan but lose it along the way.


I finally got sick of looking at those fancy pillows.

I would finish what I started.

And I did.

Without having a clue as to what I was doing.


And so the pillows are a metaphor.

For your kid's eczema.

For going back to school or choosing a new career.

For that book you long to write. (Ahem.)

For homeschooling your kids when you're not sure you have what it takes.

For whatever you want but are't going for right now.


The pillows had this to teach me:

1. What do you want? Keep that beautiful picture in your mind as you embark.

2. You have what it takes to make it reality. You might forget this when you reach step 3.

3. Know that you may lose your way. It will be hard. You'll even want to quit. Over. And. Over.

4. When you hit that wall, taking a break is a really good idea. Regroup.

5. After your break, you might need a fresh new plan.

6. Revisit step 1. As often as you need to.

7. And then get back at it. Time and again.

8. And when you've done what you set out to do, don't forget to be in that joy and dance around the house like a happy fool.


As for my pillows, they weren't as epic as I'd made them out to be after all.

Once I got over my frustration, my feeling of not knowing what I was doing, they were done in fifteen minutes.

I waited a month. And they took me fifteen minutes.

How many other things have I abandoned fifteen minutes before I hit my groove?


So I'll try to remember.

The lessons of the pillows.

And I'll keep at it.

Whatever "it" may be.


(Now. To get back to writing that book.

Because that does feel pretty epic and overwhelming today…)



19 thoughts on ““Patchwork throw pillow” is only a metaphor

  1. Pixie Trish says:

    Thanks for this Rachel. Why does doing nothing at times seem like a better option? A good reason to say “See, you can’t do it”? I’m wrestling with this, and I thank you for admitting that you do as well. There’s a lot of “perfection” in our circle – I’m so grateful to find normal here!

  2. Karen says:

    Ughh. That happens to me all the time.
    It is so true….you stall and stall and then it takes minutes to finish and be put out of your head.
    Sometimes it is all too much. And then sometimes it isn’t.
    Thanks again for a timely post!

  3. Tammy says:

    I just wanted you to know because i don’t normally comment what an inspiration you are.I do however read your blog usually every day while i’m drinking my coffee.Feeling so overwhelmed lately but after reading your blog i can ususally put things in perspective.I work part time,take care of my granchildren while my daughter works which i love and have responsibilities to my mother in law with alzheimers and my elderly grandparents whom are starting with dementia and all live at there homes Do not have time to have friends so i really enjoy your blog and your perception of life which is very positive and loving.I especially love your mantra you are enough because i never feel like that io just can’t seem to make everyone happy.

  4. Margaret B. says:

    ah, yes… stalling for days (and weeks and months…) waiting for that breakthrough (which requires action, not stalling & waiting) when the task might only take 15 minutes. well said!

    and thumbs-up re: that book…

  5. Knitting Mole says:

    Hrmmm, yes I have many a wonderful sewing idea floating around my head that have not quite made it to the brand-spanking-new machine. Thanks for a little kick in the butt.
    PS. I cannot tell you how excited I am that one day (eventually) I will be holding your book in my hands! Eeeeeeeeee!!!! So exciting!

  6. a little crafty nest says:

    Yup, how many times have I abandoned an-almost-finished-but-lose-my-oomph project? And when I get back to it, it is a snap. Good words to hold close when that happens again (and I have an eight year old (!) quilt needing a little something before it is fixed…time to get at ‘er). And a book? Oh, what book? Can you share more?
    xo Jules

  7. Katie @ Life With The Crew says:

    A great inspirational post, without being preachy! I have become much better about “just doing it”. I found a chair on the curb that I wanted to paint and re-do the seat cushion. I had never done that before and the word reupholster sounded really big. Well, I let it sit outside for 4 months and finally just decided to take the plunge. And you know what – it was totally simple. Just taking off one piece of fabric and stapling on another – no big deal. You can check it out here if you’re interested.

  8. Karen C says:

    Thanks, Rachel – we all need this reminder! Good luck with your book – I am writing a book too – sometimes only 300 words a day – but it does add up and 300 words every day is closer to a finished first draft.

  9. Rachel Wolf says:

    My mom went to school when I was a kid. Her adviser said, “Do you realize you’ll be 40 when you graduate?” “I’ll be 40 anyway!” was her reply. I guess it’s kind of like that. And boo to perfection. It’s overrated.

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