Those of you who know me personally, know that I am an education junkie. I think an important part of personal development and growth depends on challenging and stimulating our minds. I've voluntarily taken classes for about 18 years now, some craft related and others for a doctoral degree. See? When I say "junkie" I'm not kidding! We're talking "hardcore"! Last spring I suggested that all my readers consider taking some sort of class or workshop to expand their skills. For fun, I took a class in wool applique and fell completely in love with the possibilities! As excited as I am about learning new techniques, I'm also nervous about mastering them. This year I decided I would finally face what I felt to be a really challenging class....needle-turn applique. I seriously wondered if my skills were anywhere close to good enough to manage that one. This is much finer work than I'm comfortable with. Luckily, this class was offered by a dear friend (who doesn't mock a fledgling effort!) and she made everything seem so obvious and simple. Amazing. Well, except the part where the skinny little needle split my finger open and my jaw ached from gritting my teeth in concentration. Honestly, I worked myself up over nothing. Any technique can be learned. Practice makes perfect and whatnot. That's why I suggest finding a class that interests you during this less-hectic time of year. Challenge yourself. Get excited about something new. Add to your repertoire and surprise your friends and customers as holiday time rolls around again. I'm posting a picture of my first needle-turn applique project.......not perfect, but who is?