Monday, December 17, 2012

Use your gifts.

Susan Brubaker Knapp here. Several years ago, I made a small art quilt featuring our family, and our “House Rules,” the basic things that everyone in the house was expected to follow:

Count your blessings. 
Do good. 
Dream big. 
Use your gifts. 
Be good to the earth. 
Apologize if you do something wrong. 
Read good books. 

Say ‘I love you’ every day.
You are responsible for keeping yourself busy and happy. 
Be patient. 
Be nice. 
Make music. 
Do your best work. 
Be gentle. 
Wait your turn. 
Say thank you. 
If you make the mess, you clean up the mess. (This one is next to the dog, who never cleans up the mess she makes. Sigh.)

The Golden Rule is around the sun: “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” (When she was little, my oldest daughter always insisted that the rule was “Other people should treat you the way you want to be treated!” which always made me laugh.)

One day, when my youngest daughter was about 5, I was talking with her about the rules, and asked her if she knew what I meant by “Use your gifts,” and she said, “Yes. When you get your birthday presents, you need to use them, and not just stuff them in the closet or throw them on the floor.” I laughed and told her that, yes, you did need to use your birthday presents, but what I had meant was something bigger than that. That I wanted her to discover her talents, her special gifts, and to use them. Finding and using your gifts is a way of honoring your own life, and of making a unique contribution to humankind.  

Here are some of the sketches I made when I was teaching an online class several years ago at based on this art quilt. We had to have lots of different kinds of dogs and cats (and fish):

Basic body shapes:

I drew this for people who might want to make a version of this art quilt to celebrate a wedding:
 Basic bodies:
Basic faces:

My nuclear family:

A simple house with the most important rule of all:

This is a version of the same quilt that I made earlier:

This photo shows how the piece featuring the entire family looks stitched to a mat and framed in a shadow box:

Can you imagine what a wonderful world it would be if we all followed these House Rules?


  1. This is phenomenal! Thank you so much for posting. What material did you use for the cut-outs of your family members? A white material with special fabric colors/markers? I'd love to use your templates for a children's program coming up in a week. Thanks!



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