The road ends, but the journey continues...

MMXXiii – part two

I finally finished my Cookie Mats the other day.

Please allow me to use them as a simple means to illustrate a handful of the many personal revelations/reminders I gleaned during this past year. 

I started them the day after reading Laura’s post on making her own “Cookie Plate Crumb Catcher”.

Like her, I needed a fun diversion tucked between my holiday prep and regularly scheduled life commitments.

That was November 19, 2022.

This is December 31, 2023.

Personal revelation #1- I can and do finish projects!

Also, around that time, the overarching theme (for me) of the coming New Year 2023 began to emerge:

Mindfulness – doing things with intention, not just as a default ‘go-to’ action.

Interestingly, each time I journaled about working on my 3 CPCCs in my Morning Pages, the word ‘fun’ is mentioned.

  • “Yesterday, I started work on another CPCC. I’m finding it fun.”
  • “As fun, I’d like to work on sewing the first few squares for one of the CPCCs sometime today.”
  • “I’m re-learning traditional piecing with those CPCCs. I ‘winged it’ on certain parts of the first one – a normal process for me – and it came out fantastically well. The second, I decided to be more follow-the-rules with squaring up each block to a certain size before sewing them together and it came out awful. So, the third one I’m trying a combo of both methods and so far so good! HA! This has been a fun ‘hobby’ reliever thing to do during my spare moments. Plus, I just might get a CPCC out of it with two to gift to others!”
Cookie Mats #1 & #2 on design wall
CPCC #1 on top perfect, CPCC #2 on bottom, prior to ‘squaring up each block’. It didn’t sew up well at all so I deconstructed it and threw the fabric in the scrap bag.

While that final quote is a good example of mindfulness in the making of those 3 CPCCs, the consistent use of the word ‘fun’ caused me to realize I needed more of it in my life.

Personal revelation #2- I realized that having fun was more satisfying than seeking happiness. Something I used to know, but somehow forgot. (For the record, joy* is an entirely different gift and one I actively nurture deep within my soul.)

Fun is in the moment and feeds the need in the now before it withers. Happiness is a quest that requires vigilance and can become myopic – in some respects it is frustratingly elusive and not easily sustained.

Shortly before the end of 2022, CPCCs #1 & #3 were completely pieced and ready to be layered with the usual quilt sandwich fixins (batting & backing). I packed them away as I was poised with a mindfulness focus of ‘living life outloud’ in the coming New Year.

Fast forward to November 2023.

In need of my annual holiday prep diversion, I pulled out the 2 CPCC pieced tops and began the process of taking them to the finish line. Again, a fun thing to do, especially as I pieced scraps and leftover small half triangle scraps into blocks to further turn into mug rugs and/or table trivets. Truthfully, I was avoiding doing what really needed to be done in order to finish those 2 CPCCs.

About this time, Wendy posted about taking a fabric therapy break from her own holiday preps. The Tote she produced – and oh so quickly – called out to me. I emailed her about purchasing it and before I could step away from the computer, she responded.

Scrap triangles as future mug rugs & table trivet

“Could I just gift it to you? I’d love to do that. It’s the season of giving, and nothing would make me happier! So no need to pay anything. I’ve been smiling to myself all day, just knowing I can share this with you! I had no plans for this tote, but I just knew it would have a place to go. I’m just delighted! Send me your address, and I’ll get it on its way!”

(here it sits atop my folded cutting table underneath a few pieced scraps & leftover half square triangle scraps on my design wall – quickly put to use as my new project bag)

Personal revelation #3- I forget that while it’s fun & rewarding to give to others, it’s sometimes fun & rewarding for others to give to me!

As I dutifully cut the backing fabrics and lightweight batting, I had and AHA moment. Why not turn these into more versatile mats that offer both hot and cold protection to table surfaces? That’s when I grabbed the InsulBright used for hot pads and added it to the quilt sandwich fixins. As an unexpected bonus this addition offered a firm bottom layer which enhanced my modest walking foot outline quilting.

Personal revelation #4- I can function in a ‘color within the lines’ type of world, but I really am an outside the box type of gal.

I finally finished my Cookie Mats the other day.

Personal revelation #5- Take the time to sit back, relax and enjoy the fruits of my labor!

*    “I have told you these things so that My joy and delight may be in you, and that your joy may be made full and complete and overflowing.” John 15:11 amplified


  1. skvanzandt

    I love this!

    “(For the record, joy* is an entirely different gift and one I actively nurture deep within my soul.)
    Fun is in the moment and feeds the need in the now before it withers. Happiness is a quest that requires vigilance and can become myopic – in some respects it is frustratingly elusive and not easily sustained.”

    What a thoughtful way to express an understanding of joy, fun, and happiness!

    Love your cookie mats!

    • laura bruno lilly

      Thanks, S.K. for stopping by! Enjoy a cookie today, just for fun…

  2. Lavinia Ross

    That is beautiful work, Laura! I wish I had your sewing skills.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Thank you, Lavinia. I hope you’re staying warm and safe!

      • Lavinia Ross

        19 degrees and a skating rink at 6:00 AM today after yesterday’s freezing rain It has warmed to 27 now. 🙂

  3. navasolanature

    These are beautiful and I look forward to following your fascinating journey. I found your blog through Annika and your reading. I must now order the Octopus book!

    • laura bruno lilly

      Annika is such a dear, isn’t she? Happy to have you visit my little speck of the internet. Thank you for the follow and congrats on your recent book release!

      • navasolanature

        Thank you too. Each speck can help the creative spark! Good to find you.

  4. Ally Bean

    Your projects are lovely, such pretty colors, BUT your personal revelations while talking about them are inspirational. So true that it’s important to have fun rather than only seeking happiness. Would that more people understood this distinction.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Thank you, Ms Bean!

  5. Wonderful cookie mats! Cute and functional 🙂

    • laura bruno lilly

      Thanks, Tierney! I’m off to read your 2023 Recap in Making!

  6. Khaya Ronkainen

    Love how the making of your Cookie Mats revealed such empowering insights. They inspire! Thank you for taking us through the process. May more joy and delight may be in you! <3

    • laura bruno lilly

      Thank you for stopping by, Khaya – I’ve missed your voice (but deeply appreciate your newsletters, even if I don’t actively/consistently respond). BTW: Annika mentioned “The Sheltering” as a book rec on her blog listing her 2023’s books read. thought that might interest you!

      • Khaya Ronkainen

        It’s always a pleasure to read you, Laura. 🙂 And thank you so much for the link. Annika is so generous with her time; I saw my collection among those giant books!

  7. Andy

    I’m a guy who appreciates the crumbs !

    • laura bruno lilly

      HA! I bet you are!

  8. cedar51

    Happy New Year

  9. Annika Perry

    Laura, I can sense your fun here and so many revelations along the way as well! Beautiful and so creative!

    • laura bruno lilly

      Thank you, Annika. It always feels good to finish a project whatever it may be.

  10. rl2b2017

    Hi Laura and Happy New Year! This just makes my heart happy . . . every single thing about this post. Your mats turned out swell and your process of finishing them is quite thought-provoking. I learned long ago that you have to allow people (family and friends) to help/gift you sometimes. Like the 20-year-old that can carry the box into the basement with ease, or the lovely gift of a tote bag from a friend. Wendy’s a good egg – and the tote is fab! {{Hugs}} a bunch, my friend. ~smile~ Roseanne

    • laura bruno lilly

      Roseanne – Send on that 20-year old! HA!
      I wish for you a special year of restoration and ‘filling up’ with all things good and ‘fun’.

  11. Marie A Bailey

    Those cookie mats are lovely! And how generous of your friend to gift you the tote! I understand why she did that. I often make things for the sake of making them, because I enjoy the process, but then I have to find someone to gift them to. And it’s fun!

    • laura bruno lilly

      Thank you. It was an unexpected gift – which made it all the more delightfully ‘fun’! Happy New Year, Marie.

  12. Laura

    I also read your post at midnight, and your introspection sent me into an introspection of my own. So I had to chew on my own thoughts for a bit and then sleep on them. I never could sleep on my thoughts. How do people do that? Love this post! Love that you incorporated the InsulBright! Now I want to take that idea and run with it! I shall have to write it in my notebook before it becomes the first distraction of my year! 🙂

    • laura bruno lilly

      I love how we kept up the dialogue on each other’s blog on this subject. It feels like we’re having a conversation over coffee!
      BTW: the InsulBright even **feels good** in the final product.

  13. Laura Kate

    How fine that you have chosen to embrace “fun.” I had adopted the word almost casually as I got underway with my fiber explorations, in evidenced by the name of my website: In answer to your question, I like the X orientation better than the cross. It makes me think of kisses.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Kisses…how ‘fun’!

  14. zippyquilts

    I love the cookie mats as well as your introspection along the way. Best wishes for 2024!

  15. L. Marie

    Forgot to add: Happy New Year!!!

  16. L. Marie

    Laura, the mats turned out beautifully! I clicked on the link you sent, which took me to a tutorial post, since I didn’t quite understand what a cookie mat was. But the the tutorial post had a picture of the cookie plate crumb catcher (as she called it) underneath a plate of cookies. ?? And how wonderful that you were gifted that tote!

    • laura bruno lilly

      Thanks, L.Marie. The addition of the InsulBright makes the mats more versatile (and used!) as they can now be placed under serving dishes and such without fear of ruining the surfaces underneath. But it was the idea of a **cookie** plate crumb catcher that caught my attention in the first place…I mean, a whole plate of cookies to enjoy without worries of crumbs scattering all over the place? 😉

  17. Jennie


    • laura bruno lilly


      • Jennie

        You’re welcome!

  18. piecefulwendy

    The stroke of midnight is just past, and I am grinning from ear to ear. What a great post to read to wrap up 2023, and see the tote at work, happily dwelling amidst your creativity! Happy New Year to you!

    • laura bruno lilly

      HA! What a visual…not such a bad way to usher in the New Year, eh? Thanks again for sharing your generous (he)art!

  19. Chela

    Thank you for sharing your joy.

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