A winning smile and a great personality

Photo by Charity Banks.

By Kristen Banks

Several years ago when I first started quilting, I got a lot of snickers from my friends. When someone would ask me what I’d been up to lately, I would enthusiastically tell them about my latest quilting project. Usually I’d be met with a quizzical smile and sometimes a chuckle or two. You could tell my friends were a little confused and amused by my new hobby. I’m not sure what they thought I should have been up to, but you could tell they expected it to be something a little hipper than quilting.

Seems like these days people put more value on things that look or sound cool to their friends rather than things that are actually fulfilling and have substance. This was never more evident to me than recently when something interesting caught my eye.

I was driving in a big city when a billboard caught my eye. The image was of a woman with bright red lipstick and slicked back hair. She was baring her teeth in a sort of seductive snarl, or at least I think that was what she was going for. She actually looked more like a Bulldog lusting after a pork chop in my opinion.

Anyway, she was dressed like a Vogue model and in big letters the sign read “SEXY TEETH”. I thought possibly this was a concert advertisement for some new musical group that ‘the kids’ were listening to these days, but as I got closer I was surprised to find that it was actually a billboard for a dentists office.

Now of all the things I need my teeth to be, sexy is the very least. Tops on the list would be clean, no cavities, and pain free. In a perfect world straight and ‘all there’ would be nice, but I could live a pretty successful life without those last two things.

Sexy? Really? Since when does everything in the world have to be sexy? I’m not oblivious to the fact that some things are more attractive than others. I guess that’s just what makes the world go around. However, I can remember a time when we didn’t judge EVERYTHING by sex appeal. We used to think highly of people who were warm, friendly, and kind. Once upon a time, people valued integrity, maturity, and stability. Those things were attractive in and of themselves. Nobody was looking at how cool or sexy each others teeth were, at least I wasn’t.

I think a lot of people might find making and talking about quilts all day boring and dowdy, the complete opposite of cool and sexy. However, I can’t think of a better way to spend my time than making something I love, investing in people, and paying absolutely no mind to what either of us look like while were doing it.

When I make a quilt I start by asking myself, ‘Does it make you feel warm, was it built properly, did I put my all into it, and can it stand the test of time?’ If I can answer yes to those questions then I count that as a success.

I think the same can be said about life. I could have pursued a path that sounded so awesome that it made all my friends jealous. I could have gotten a job that I could brag about and looked cool on paper, but I was never really pursuing that kind of path. I was always trying to find the road that was right for me no matter what it looked like to others. I wanted to find that thing that made me feel satisfied, complete, and hopefully added a little something special to other people’s lives.

Some people are just never going to have ‘sexy teeth’ and apparently I’m one of them, and that’s OK. I’ve found something that’s far more important to me than being cool or sexy. I’ve found purpose and pleasure in the everyday kind of things in life. I’ve learned how to just see people for who they really are not what they look like on paper.

And I’ve found most quilters feel exactly the same way. What is cooler than that?


  1. Carrie Gannon says:

    Absolutely..the best way to be…life is here for us to enjoy. And work at something that gives us pleasure and are proud of..thats what teenagers today need to know and understand…Gid only made one of them. …instead of trying to look and act like someone else….old saying..”Be True to thy self”