Category Archives: Goals

January Monthly Goal

Happy New Year Everyone! Last year I set and linked up an OMG with Elm Street Quilts exactly once, in January. I finished the goal, so that was a good thing. I didn’t remember to link up the finish though. And that was the end of my organization plan for 2019! Anyone want to take bets on whether I can do a bit better in 2020? Who knows? I am going to give it a shot though. So many times I flit from thing to thing which doesn’t make for a lot of finishes. Hoping this will help me get a few things accomplished.

Progress shot of my Squared Away quilting.

This month I plan to finish my Squared Away quilt. Last week I got it basted and I have been quilting it with straight line patterns. It is going well and I would guess I am 30% done? So it should be easy-peasy to finish quilting it and get it bound. I really like the look of this so far and it is going well.

2020 Monthly Color Challenge Block.

I also got my first block done for the 2020 Monthly Color Challenge hosted over at Patterns by Jen. I was a lurker with this challenge the last two years, watching others make these fun blocks. So I am joining in. One block a month is attainable and while it likely won’t make a dent in my scrap bins, at least I will use a few! This month is yellow. It was actually tough to find two yellows to use together as apparently all of my yellow scraps are exactly the same value. This looks pretty good though. Side note – when I was looking at my scraps I couldn’t remember where the heck any of them came from. Then I remembered that Mari sent me lots of yellow pieces last year when I lamented not having a yellow bin. So, Mari – do these look familiar? Did you give me these???

Did you see this great story in the news? I love stuff like this!! To whomever left this woman a tip of $2020 – you are amazing!! I would rather read about these sorts of events than politics any day of the week.

OK – that is it for now. Today I have a Chemex Cozy to make for a customer. I am also hoping to get outside and help Ray with some yard work – the last four days have been migraine days so I have been a couch potato. Maybe some fresh air will do this quilter good. How about you?

Looking at 2019 and 2020 – Setting and Meeting Goals

Our community has a thing for setting goals for ourselves each winter. I enjoy hearing what others decide to focus on and also like to look at the recaps people post on what they did or did not accomplish during the year. It is a bit like setting New Year’s Resolutions except in the sewing/blogging/quilting world. Thank you to Yvonne (Quilting Jetgirl) for hosting a link up each year, reminding us to create some sort of organization to our making.

2019 was a year of change for our family. Julia graduated high school and started college. My husband retired last summer which has been just fantastic. Last year, I set five goals for myself for 2019. Let’s see how it went:

  1. Continue to grow my shops. This was a success. Sales in the fabric shop grew by 30% and the pattern shop sales increased by 14%. As I had planned last year, I started offering kits for existing patterns as well as QALs (such as the Beothuk QAL by MMM!Quilts, Mosaic Mystery Quilt by Meadow Mist Designs, and Quilting Jetgirl’s Push Pull QAL which is just starting. Kits are new for me as I personally had never purchased a set kit for a quilt. However my customers like them and they are a lot of fun to develop.
  2. Stay involved with charitable projects. Another success. Mercyful Quilts was a recipient for quilts made during the Hands 2 Help event hosted by Confessions of a Fabric Addict. We received so many stunning quilts. I am touched by the beautiful works of art donated to Mercy Hospital. I am hoping to continue coordinating this project and receive more quilts this year.
  3. Finish UFO’s. Epic fail here! I finished only one UFO. The rest sit exactly as they were at the beginning of 2019.
  4. Practice garment sewing. This was a reasonable success. I made one dress and two t-shirts for myself. Also a Halloween costume for my grand daughter, a pair of pajama pants I gifted to a family friend and a bathrobe for another friend. I don’t know why but I feel like I wanted to make more clothing for myself so I don’t consider this a total win. I have fabric and patterns ready to go – but they didn’t happen.
  5. Same as last year….  strive to accept my limitations caused by chronic illness.  I feel like this was a bit win. I am doing so much better at planning life around the migraines. I was able to work as a vendor at two quilt shows this year. I also started a medication that is a monthly injection I do at home. I think it helps? Nothing earth-shattering but I feel like the frequency is slightly less than it was before.
Projects Made in 2019

While I didn’t actually make too many quilts in 2019, I did make a lot of different items. Table runners, tote bags, and treasures for my grand daughter were a lot of fun and took time away from quilting. Additionally, I made 52 Chemex covers and 18 French Press cozies as orders came in through the shop. I like having a variety of projects as it keeps me from getting bored of doing the same thing over and over.

I started and finished four quilts this year. Three baby quilts and a memory quilt for my friend, Susie. I also made two quilt tops but they are in the unfinished pile at this point.

Ok – so what about 2020? Honestly, the goals aren’t terribly different!

  1. Continue to grow both of the shops. Kits have been a lot of fun and I would love to continue working with pattern designers to develop this portion of the business. I strive to add more selection so customers are more likely to find what they want. Recently I was asked to carry some repro or traditional fabrics and have just added a number of them to the listings. Also I have been trying to develop my selection of solids. Finally, notions and patterns have been added and the selection of those will increase over time as well.
  2. Scrappy Projects – I made only one scrappy project last year. The bins are packed full. I plan to do one scrappy project over the year. I am thinking it might be the Monthly Color Challenge which is hosted at Patterns by Jen. She held one last year and I liked watching everyone’s progress. This certainly won’t clear out the scrap bins but at least I will use a few.
  3. Garment Sewing – I will continue to focus on this as I really enjoy it and want to improve my skills. I have a plan sketched out in my head and will share that plan with you soon.
  4. UFO’s. They were on the list last year and I sure hope they aren’t here next year! The number increased by two (making it a total of five quilt tops) since I made two tops this year but didn’t finish them. What can I say? Having them quilted is too costly so I hope I can balance my time well and get these finished up!

Of course, this list could go on and on. However if I do a good job with these four categories, I will be satisfied. I know myself and will surely make things not on the list but that is all part of the fun. Those squirrels come by on a regular basis. It can’t be helped! 😉

Wishing each of you a happy new year! (2020 sounds so crazy to me.) I hope the year holds great things for each of you!

Linking with #2020PlanningParty

Grammy Time in Vermont

As I mentioned, I am going to be spending several weeks in Vermont.  My DIL is away for a 4 week seminar and I have the privilege of hanging out with H for a bit.  Of course, I had to plan for some sewing time. This girl is a good napper so I should have two hours in the afternoon to sew.  Luckily my DIL has a machine she loans me while I am here!

I brought supplies with me – most of which are duplicates so I plan to just leave them here. That way I know I will have the basics when I come to visit. (Thanks Wendy for the great idea!  Up to now, I have been carting them back and forth with each trip.) I think I may have been a bit over-zealous when planning projects but I wanted to have choices!

I plan to make this cute turtle for H.  I thought she would enjoy helping me stuff it when I get the body made.  The (free) pattern is by Purl Soho and can be found here.  I think the Denyse Schmidt print will be so cute for the shell and I have some Andover linen blend for the hands, feet, head and tail.  Wool felt will be used for the tummy.

I also brought a stack of blocks I made last year during the Squared Away BOM hosted by Mari (Academic Quilter). I started this but didn’t finish it.  I do have thirteen blocks though and Mari suggested I just alternate them with a neutral fabric to make a quilt.  I think this looks great!  I need to square the blocks and then will stitch the quilt top together.  It will need some borders but that can wait until I get home.

This pile of scraps is the leftovers from my Twisted quilt.  Some of them are already stitched together and need to be squared but many (MANY) of them need to be stitched and squared.  I am excited to get this done because I think it will be fun to use these somehow.  Maybe a baby quilt or a springy floral mini?  The majority of the fabrics are Kaffe Fassett and it will be fun to have these to play with.  First I need to get through the tedium of squaring them all up though.  Have to pay to play, right?

Other than Myrtle the Turtle, this is probably my top priority.  I posted this picture on Instagram two weeks ago.  My friend Susie lost her husband to lung cancer in September 2018.  She is ready to deal with his clothes now and asked if I would make a memory quilt.  Of course I am happy (honored actually) to do this for her.  I have cut the shirts into four inch squares.  Some of the shirts were kind of thin but she loved them and wanted to include them. I reinforced them with a very light weight interfacing and I think they will work fine.  We looked at patterns and she chose a simple patchwork. I am doing four patch blocks and sashing them with a neutral, low volume fabric in a creamy off-white. She also gave me two photos she had printed on fabric of the two of them. Those will be incorporated as well.  I am hoping to get the four patch blocks stitched up during the trip.

I know, this is sort of ridiculous but I have one more project.  A while ago, Sarah of Sarah Goer Quilts sent me these sweet fat quarters during a book share I hosted.  I love them and thought they might make a cute purse for H to have.   There is a tutorial here, created by Pat Bravo.  I think it will be perfect though I plan to reduce the size a bit.

What do you think?  How much of this will happen during nap time over the next three weeks?  It’s anybody’s guess!  But I look forward to sewing when not playing with H.  She is such a cutie pie and we have lots of plans.  There are tea parties to enjoy, the children’s museum to visit, and maybe a trip or two to the library. Such is life while visiting in Vermont!

January One Monthly Goal

This year I have decided to participate in the monthly goal setting link up hosted by Patty over at Elm Street Quilts. Each month Patty has a fun link up for quilters to share what they plan to finish during the month.  Doing this should encourage me to actually look at what I want to get done and set some priorities.  So, now that you are just dying to know….. here is the goal for this month!

I completed the Fireburst Mystery QAL top in October.  But with holiday sewing I never got it finished up.  However I am trying to stay on top of things.  So, this one will be finished and bound in January. Of course there are another five billion things I want to finish or make this month but darn it, this one is at the top of the list.

If you are a planner/list maker like me, check out the link up at Elm Street Quilts.  I think today is the last day to link up.  Patty has great sponsors though – so if prizes motivate you, that is another good reason to think about what you need to finish up this month.

 

While we are chatting, I want to let you know (or maybe remind you?) about the quilt drive happening for the victims of the recent Hurricane Florence in North Carolina. I am sure you are aware of the devastation that resulted from this disaster.  As always, quilters from all over are helping families by making quilts for them. Carole, of From My Carolina Home, is the organizer of this drive.  She has been working diligently to collect bed size quilts for families as they rebuild their homes and replace belongings that were destroyed.  Over 4500 quilts are needed but, not to worry – the drive will continue into summer of 2019. Carole is kindly facilitating long armers with quilters who want to donate quilt tops.  As long as they are bed size, she would love to have them.  For more information, read her posts here. She plans to keep updated information available for quilters wanting to help with this drive.

OK – that’s it for today.  Hope all of you have a wonderful week!

Linking to Elm Street Quilts, One Monthly Goal.

2019 Planning

Being the list maker I am, it is a strong part of my nature to plan.  Of course plans don’t always go the way I hope but still, I try! Last year I set a list of a few goals I wanted to achieve with my business and I think it is helpful to take a look at those to see what was achieved before creating a plan for 2019.  Here goes! I set five goals for 2018.

  1. Continue to grow both of my shops.
  2. Work on my free motion and long arm quilting skills.
  3. I have three quilts in process right now and I want to finish them.
  4. I want to set a goal to send birthday cards to my family and friends.
  5. Most importantly, I need to work on acceptance of the limitations I experience due to my health.

Looking at these I think I did well for the most part.  First one was so rewarding!  I worked very hard to expand both my fabric and my pattern shops. I am very happy to see the growth that has happened this year.  I achieved 33% growth in sales for the fabric shop.  Also, the average order value increased from $21 to $27.  Looking at the increase in average order value is pleasing – it doesn’t look like a huge increase but considering the number of $10-$12 orders I ship, it really is.  There have been many more large orders which is great for the health of my shop.  The pattern shop did well too.  However I only have 6 months of numbers from 2017 to compare to 2018 so I didn’t get exact numbers.  But I feel like I have a solid base of customers for that shop and the orders are quite steady.

The second goal was not achieved.  Not even close!!  I did almost no free motion quilting and didn’t get to the long arm shop more than a couple of times.  So, that one still needs work!!

Goal number 3 – I finished two of the three quilts I had on the list.  Both my Twisted and my Scrappy HST quilt are done.  However, I didn’t touch the Ring Me project.  I do love this pattern and hope to finish it this year.

Number 4 seemed so easy.  But it fell off the radar by summer time.  I have such a huge family and really hoped to stay in touch more by doing this.  I will try again.  I sent off a card just yesterday.  Sending and receiving ‘real’ mail is becoming less and less common so I want to try this one again!

Number 5 – by far the most important goal of all.  I think I knocked this one out of the park.  I really tried to stay in the moment and not sink into that dark misery that chronic illness often causes.  My  neurologist and I worked diligently together and adjusted meds a few times.  The migraines are still constant (2-3 each week) but they are far less intense and I am able to deal with them better.  I am also much better about working within the limitations my health sets for me. I missed a quilt show that I was supposed to vend at (huge expense there but I just couldn’t do it). Also missed my sister’s 60th birthday party and was incredibly sad about that.  However, this is life.  And so many people out there have it much worse than I.  Keeping things in perspective has been really helpful.  So, yes – I rocked this one!

 

OK – Now to look forward!

  1. Continue to grow my shops.  I have a some fun things in store for you, my loyal customers and friends. I have some great giveaways coming your way, quilt kits that will be created and offered to you, and the occasional blogger bundle planned.  I will give details to you soon but it will be such a fun year!!
  2. Stay involved with charitable projects.  These make me feel satisfied and provide the perspective I need to always appreciate the blessings I receive.  Last year I loved working on my Spread the Love campaign with Amy at A Doll Like Me.  Now I am working with Mercy Hospital on the #MercyfulQuilts project.  Both of these are near and dear to my heart.  Again, you will continue to hear about these wonderful organizations in 2019.
  3. Finish UFO’s.  I have four at the moment (hmm….  I had three at the end of last year and here I am again!). I need to quilt and bind my Postage Plus quilt top (remember the hop for the Modern Plus Quilts book?  I have not yet finished my project!!). Also, I need to finish the Fireburst Mystery quilt.  The top is done and basted, so just quilting and binding remain.  Then I need to finish the Ring Me quilt. Finally I have a quilt top I had made for #MercyfulQuilts which I need to finish up. Also, since clearly this isn’t enough…  I am adding two projects to the quilting list this year.  I plan to make a whole cloth quilt for my bed and also want to make a Quilt of Valor for the #MercyfulQuilts project.  I have never made a QOV so I am looking forward to that one!
  4. Practice garment sewing. I made a number of things to wear this year.  Some were successes and others, not so much!!  But I have a couple of patterns lined up and will keep on sewing.  I love making clothes so this is a fun one to plan!
  5. Same as last year….  strive to accept my limitations caused by chronic illness.  One big adjustment for this year is I will not be vending at quilt shows (with the exception of possibly our local quilt guild’s show in May.) I cannot reliably plan to feel well on any given day.  In 2017 I had to forfeit my booth at one show and the same happened in 2018.  Between the two shows there was a loss of $300.  This is too much for a small shop like mine.  The work involved in these shows is quite a lot.  I have had to look hard at this and accept that it isn’t the right thing for me.  Kind of disappointing because I enjoy the shows and talking with all the wonderful quilters but such is life.  Making the decision has actually been a relief which tells me it is the right thing to do.

OK – that is it for this year.  How about you?  Do you have something you hope to work on or work toward?  Tell me in the comments!  Let’s encourage each other along the way.  Happy New Year friends!

Linking to Quilting Jetgirl’s 2019 Planning Party! Be sure to visit this link up.  It is quite inspiring to see what everyone is working on.

Postage plus

April One Monthly Goal

I was just over at Val’s Quilting Studio catching up on some blog reading.  I didn’t read a whole lot when we were in Vermont last week so I am a bit behind.  Val was setting her April OMG and it made me realize I have not been looking forward and setting very many specific goals.  So!  Here goes.  This month I commit to finishing the Postage Plus quilt I made for the Modern Plus Quilt book hop I participated in.  Remember I had to take out a ton of miserable quilting?   Well the plan was to go back to the long arm shop and quilt it up a few weeks ago.  Unfortunately, I was down with a virus so had to cancel the appointment and then we took off on our vacation.  I know I can easily finish this — all I need is an afternoon of quilting and some time to bind it.  Easy peasy!

postage plus

I plan to donate this to a charity via the Hands 2 Help event on-going over at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

I love this annual event and somehow I didn’t get involved last year.  I am happy to be back on track this year though.

 

 

Ok, you heard it here.  I am finishing this quilt and will be sending it off by the end of April!  Linking to the One Monthly Goal link up over at Elm Street Quilts.  Join in and set a goal for April – you’ll be glad you did!

Choices, Choices – 2018 Quilt Along Decisions

It is my hope to be a bit more mindful this year.  Maybe sew with more intention or planning.  Time is precious and I want to use it wisely.  To this end, I have been looking at the myriad of quilt alongs and block of the month programs popping up in our community.  Just search on 2018 QAL and you will get approximately 16 million hits.  (Truth – when I did the search, I got 16,200,000 results. Of course many are duplicates or things that don’t totally match my search criteria, but still – you get the idea.) But after checking out many of the opportunities I have decided on two.

My criteria were to have one scrappy project to use up some stash and for any program to be a monthly one.  I did the Sewcial Bee Sampler this year which was great, but a block a week sets a different pace. I want to make a monthly plan this time around.

Classic Stitches Row Quilt, February 2016

First on the list is this. Mari of Academic Quilter has hosted a quilt along/block of the month for the past three years.  I joined in with her first one which was a row quilt. (Above is the finished quilt from the Classic Stitches QAL.) She coordinates her QAL’s with Angela at So Scrappy and uses the monthly colors for the annual Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  I didn’t participate in the last two QAL’s because the blocks were more challenging than I was comfortable with.  But this year, Mari assured me the blocks were based on squares and not very fussy. (I am not a fussy quilter who likes to deal with 9 billion tiny pieces.)  This will be a block of the month and begins in January. I am happy to, once again, follow along with Angela’s RSC 18 plan and use my scraps. I sort of missed that interaction last year and my scrap bins hardly close so I clearly need to use them.  I know Mari well and she writes an excellent tutorial. Probably due to her long time teaching career, she is able to clearly explain the process and when I had questions she responded quickly. Per a recent post on her blog, Mari plans to announce the details for the 2018 QAL tomorrow, Saturday, December 30th.

Aurifil 2014 BOM; Quilt Top

Next on my agenda is the Aurifil Design Team’s annual QAL.  Each year Aurifil sponsors a fun QAL with a team of creative quilt designers.  Wonderful boxes of Aurifil thread are given as prizes each month.  Maybe this year is the year I win one?!?  The last time I followed along with an Aurifil QAL was in 2014.  I made the colorful quilt shown above using (mostly) Malka Dubrowsky’s fabrics.  It is one of my favorites because of the bold color scheme.

Hosted by Pat Sloan, this year’s event will be themed “The Places We Go” and blocks will be inspired by places the quilt design team has been.  I am curious to see how the blocks created by this team relate to the theme.  So many talented quilters are on the team this year.  Take a look:

2018 Aurifil Design Team

Jan – Katja Marek from Katja’s Quilt Shoppe
Feb – Scott Hansen from Blue Nickel Studios
Mar – Jo Avery from My Bear Paw
Apr – Yvonne Fuchs from Quilting Jetgirl
May – Minki Kim from Minki Kim
June – Kerry Goulder from Kid Giddy
July – Sherri McConnel from A Quilting Life
Aug – Rebecca Bryan from Bryan House Quilts 
Sept – Sharon Holland from Sharon Holland Designs
Oct – Sheri Cifaldi-Morrill from Whole Circle Studio
Nov – Sue O’very from Sue O’very Designs
Dec – Amy Sinibaldi from Nana Company

The designers are using black and white with a splash of color.  I am not sure if I will follow along or if I will change the pallet.  I do plan to use my scraps though so my colors will likely be based on which of my scrap bins are overflowing the most! I will need to make a decision soon though so I can get started in January.

These two monthly events should be easily integrated into my ongoing sewing.  I find interesting how after looking through the numerous events that are starting up, I ended up choosing two that I have already done.  Is it because I was successful and enjoyed them that I choose to do them again?  Or because I am timid and not wanting to venture out and try something different? Either way, I am looking forward to these. If you are planning to follow either of these QAL’s, let me know.  I would love to sew along with you!!

I am off to the sewing room.  Last night was a migraine night so I am running at half speed today.  But I have a bit of quilting left to do on a baby quilt and really hope to finish it before we turn to 2018.  Maybe I will have another post this year sharing this finish.  Wish me luck!!

 

 

Q1-2017 FAL Plan

I wasn’t going to post again this week but I decided I should do a quick outline of my quilty plans for the first quarter of 2017. I will be joining in with the FAL event hosted, in part, by Rhonda at Rhonda’s Ramblings. I joined in last quarter of 2016 and I liked having that list to work toward. In fact I finished all but one item.   Here is the plan for the current quarter.

  1.  Baste, quilt and bind the Harmony quilt. This WIP is moving from last quarter’s plan to this quarter. The issue is that I really want to use a rental at the long arm shop to finish this one and between their schedule, my schedule and my unpredictable migraines, I haven’t gotten there. Surely I can manage this over the next couple of months though.
  2. The second goal is going to be so much fun!  I will make – cut, piece, baste, quilt and bind – a sweet baby quilt for my first grandbaby. The baby is due March 3rd. I hope to have it done by then. It is a simple pattern of HST’s set on point that my kids chose.  Called Simply Snuggly, the tutorial  was written by April Rosenthal. The pattern finishes at 52″ x 61″ so I will be cutting it back a bit.   The parents-to-be chose a lavender, gray, white and pink color scheme. I have the fabric – all of it – for piecing, binding and backing. So I am ready to go. When I get back from our trip this week, I will get it cut out.
  3. I have another baby quilt to make this quarter as well. My niece is expecting her third child, a sweet baby girl, at the end of March.  My plan is to make a quilt from one oversized block. I am thinking of doing a big granny square block with bright, cheerful fabrics. I don’t have the fabric for this project yet but if I look through my stash, I suspect I will find at least a portion of it.
  4. I also plan to make some progress on the Sew Fresh Quilt Bee Hive blocks I am doing for the Canadian Ronald McDonald houses. I have 3 1/2 blocks completed.  I am sure I will be able to squeak these in between the other projects.
  5. I would like to make at least one, and maybe two, garments. I have no plan for these yet but I have a few pieces of fabric that would be fun to use. Two of them work for a baby outfit for that little grandbaby we are all waiting for. Or, I have that vintage border print I have mentioned before. I would love to make a little skirt for myself with it. I can fit those in, right?
  6. If there is any other time left for sewing, I will start a scrappy project. I decided not to follow the RSC17 color of the month this year. I have two scrap bins whose lids no longer snap tight. The green and blue bins are overflowing. Tons of scraps!! It would be fun to make a quilt with greens and blues and a pop of – something? – maybe yellow or a tiny bit of orange?  I will use Amanda Jean Nyberg’s and Cheryl Arkinson’s   book Sunday Morning Quilts for inspiration. I look at that book all the time, drooling over the ideas within. Maybe I should actually use one of them?!  Did you know Amanda Jean is soon to publish her second book, No Scrap Left Behind (love that title)?  I can’t wait to get my hands on it!!

This is plenty to shoot for this quarter! Now to see what actually is accomplished. Are you planning along with this quarter’s FAL?  If so, I look forward to seeing how the quarter progresses for you too.  OK – this is probably, almost certainly, the last post for this week. Probably, maybe, I think so?

New Beginnings

I remember when I was a kid, I didn’t really like the New Year’s Holiday. I think it was because to me it signified Christmas was over (oh how sad I was to see my mom take down the Christmas tree) and school was starting up. I didn’t like school a whole lot as a child – I would much rather be at home!  Anyway, New Year’s wasn’t my thing, that’s for sure.

Now it is signifies a clean slate, opportunity, and a new beginning. While I do love putting the tree up and decorating for Christmas, by New Year’s Day, I am ready to take it down and clean the house. Time to embrace the new year and the awesome opportunity that lies within!

For 2017 I have a few major goals:

  1. The first of which is to greatly expand my Etsy shop. I have a plan blocked out for this but I believe I will save the details for another post. I am excited to share this with you but need to finish a few things up before I do. Now you’re all curious, right??
  2. The second goal is to continue to improve my free motion and long arm quilting skills. I feel like I made great strides in 2016 and want to keep the momentum going. To this end, I am plan to:
    • Make some smaller projects (baby quilts and several minis) because I can quilt those with ease on my home machine which provides lots of practice.
    • Additionally, last night I made a stack of small-ish quilt sandwiches to practice on. Using batting scraps that I stitched together and old fabric, I pinned four sets to be used strictly for practice. For whatever reason, I usually think I need to actually “make” something before quilting. Really, I just need to practice. Using up scraps and weird fabrics will be an economical, quick way to get some practice in.
    • I have two larger quilts planned for this year which will be provide practice on the long arm that I am able to rent. Also, I still have one quilt in my UFO pile and will quilt it on the long arm as well.  (It is the Harmony quilt that was made for a wedding gift for my nephew. He was married in September and I still haven’t finished this. Not for lack of trying though!  I have made two different appointments to rent time on the long arm but both times woke up with a migraine and had to cancel.  Lucky for me, they are very kind about these things. Hoping to schedule time later this month to finish this up and then I can mail it off to the newlyweds.
  3. Next on the list is to fit in a few garment projects. I have several really nice patterns that I would like to make. These are patterns I have picked up while collecting product for my Etsy shop.  Refining my skills in actually fitting a garment would be wonderful. Seems like the main thing that holds me back from making clothing is the difficulty around fitting the pattern. There are a billion tutorials for this, many of which are found at www.collete.com. I subscribe to their newsletter and follow their blog. This year I am going to actually implement some of what I read on their site! First off, there is a vintage fabric I found a long while back. It is a border print and I think it would be cute for a simple skirt. Wish me luck!
  4. Last on the list is time management. There is SO much I want to accomplish. The best way to ensure I can do this is by managing my time wisely. Between sewing, blogging, my Etsy shop and taking care of the house, I seem to run out of hours in the day. To achieve this I plan to:
    • It is my hope to use the Quilter’s Planner even more this year. (I was fairly good about using it last year too.) If I can set goals for each week and plan blog posts out for a few weeks at a time, that would be great. Last year I tried to sketch my week out each Sunday. This year I would like to sketch out farther than one week at a time.
    • Stop multi-tasking. Seriously. This is my downfall every time. If I start one thing, invariably I stop to “just do one quick thing” and then I don’t finish the first thing. I need to stay put. Finish the quilt block, complete the Etsy listing, write the entire blog post, etc. Finishing what I have started would be hugely advantageous. Texting is a big distraction. Turning off the sound on my phone is very helpful
    • Meal plans also help. I do love to cook but if I don’t have a plan for the week’s meals, it feels like a chore. Trying to come up with something at the end of the day often results in dinners like omelets (thanks to our ever diligent hens).  Let’s just say Julia is sick and tired of eating eggs! I love knowing what I plan to make for dinner. It allows me to put more energy into the rest of the day, especially if I prep meals ahead.  Meal planning is something that I do sporadically. It would be so helpful if I planned at least four meals weekly – so that is the goal here. It makes grocery shopping much more efficient as well. I make more quick runs to the grocery store when I don’t have a meal plan. (This is actually a fallacy; from my house to the grocery store is a 14 mile round trip which  means there is no “quick run” to the grocery store!)

With these goals listed, I have a plan. Each objective is easily broken down into steps which makes achieving them much more likely. Go 2017!!! I am off to begin reaching for these goals. Later this week I will share the book that I selected for the Winter Book Share. Stay tuned! Happy New Year everyone!

 

2016 — What a Great Year

I have to tell you — I had a whole lot of fun blogging this year. I met quite a few new friends – some bloggers, some readers, and all so very kind. Let’s take a quick look at what went on here over the past year.

I feel like it was a year of growth. Not just with my quilting and sewing skills but also with regards to my blog. For the first time, I held several events here. It was a fun learning experience, between approaching companies to sponsor the events with giveaways, to creating the theme of the event and then publicizing it; it was all new for me. I think it was both successful and rewarding. I have more up my sleeve for 2017 so stay tuned. Both of the book shares were great fun. The next one is coming soon. I will post the new book during the first week of January. If you want to join in, watch for that as it is first come, first served.

While working on expanding the blog, I was also trying to improve my quilting skills. To this end, I worked on my free motion skills quite a bit. I am loving creating pictures, or motifs, with my quilting. Also, I learned to relief quilt and did several projects using this technique. Finally, I took a long-arm class (I believe that was the only class I took all year!) and it was so much fun! Since the class, I have quilted two more quilts and have one ready to go. I am sure I will continue to practice both my FMQ and long-arm skills throughout 2017.

One of the goals I set for myself at the beginning of 2016 was to write more tutorials.  They are one way to give back to this community. I have certainly used my share of the amazing tutorials that are floating around this community and it is only fair to create some for others to use. In addition to those that are shown in the pictures; French Press Cozy, Reusable Sandwich Bags, and THREAD Relief Quilting tutorials, I also posted a tutorial on Sew Mama Sew.  These are only a few of the tutorials I posted on the blog. If you would  like to see more, click on the Tutorials link at the top of this page. I have very much enjoyed sharing these with you and plan to create more in the coming year.

While I do love to quilt, I have also been enjoying making things like bags, zip pouches, and even two dresses! Sometimes these projects are just what I need to give as a gift or to satisfy my need of a quick finish. They don’t take nearly the time that a quilt does! I will say that if I make any bags in 2017, I will explore a new pattern. I have used my Noodlehead 241 Tote pattern three times already. Time to move on!

However, this Washi dress pattern may be used another time or two. It is so comfortable!! I have seen people make it as a tunic and it looks really cute. Possibilities, so many possibilities!

I hope that 2016 was a good year for you as well. The new year is just weeks away. I have some really exciting plans to tell you about but let’s save that for another post. For now, I am grateful for all that I learned this year and for all of the friendships that have occurred via this blog. I look forward to another fun year with each of you.

Linking with Meadow Mist Designs Best of 2016 event!