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.
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.
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?
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:
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.
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.
Finish UFO’s. Epic fail here! I finished only one UFO. The rest sit exactly as they were at the beginning of 2019.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Continue to grow both of my shops.
Work on my free motion and long arm quilting skills.
I have three quilts in process right now and I want to finish them.
I want to set a goal to send birthday cards to my family and friends.
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!
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!!
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.
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!
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!
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!
When I sat down to write this post and thought about all that happened in 2017 I realized what a crazy, wonderful year it was. Our family had many big events – the marriage of one son, birth of our first grandchild, my husband changed jobs to a new company and new position, Julia raised two pigs for the first time, and most recently, my youngest son became engaged to his girlfriend. We traveled more than usual with two trips to Vermont and one to Toronto. The year was filled with so much joy and it buzzed by so very quickly.
Looking back at what was accomplished in the sewing room was also interesting. I made nine quilts, two shirts, a number of projects for my grand daughter, as well as numerous small projects like tote bags, mini quilts and zip pouches. Additionally, I made about 50 chemex cozies for my Etsy shop. I am happy with what I got done, especially in light of all that was going on in our family.
My biggest accomplishment has to be the expansion of my shop to include quilting cottons. I began this process at the first of the year. It has been a tremendous learning experience and a rewarding one at that. Figuring out how much to buy, how to market it, when to promote and when not – all of this has been a wonderful process. I am grateful for all of you who have shopped with me, supporting my shop. Thank you so much!
In addition to my fabric shop, I opened a second Etsy shop where I carry sewing patterns. This has been a great project but quite time-consuming. It is satisfying to have over 400 patterns listed, with another 150 or so that still need to be listed. The shop opened in June and I have had 145 sales thus far.
Now to look forward. In the new year I will focus on five goals:
Continue to grow both of my shops. Adding new fabrics and holding occasional promotions is something I am looking forward to. I also will be working with a group of quilt bloggers and creating blogger bundles each month. Stay tuned for more on that, beginning in January!
Work on my free motion and long arm quilting skills. I have an opportunity to work with a gal that lives quite close to me who has a long arm. She is interested in trading me time on her long arm for fabric from my shop. This will enable to me have access to a machine close by, rather than driving to the shop where I rent time. (That shop is 45 miles from my home.
I have three quilts in process right now. I would like to really focus on these and finish them up. I love each of them. My Twisted quilt top is about 50% complete. I have a scrappy HST project that I made as a Rainbow Scrap Challenge in 2016 and it sat in the closet all year, lonely and wanting to be finished. Finally, I have my Ring Me quilt. This is going to be such a cool quilt. I started it when I took part in a blog hop to celebrate No Scrap Left Behind, Amanda Jean Nyberg’s latest book last spring. Originally I was going to make it lap size but the more I look at it, the more I like it. So, I have decided to make it a queen size and it will be used in the guest room.
Not really quilting or sewing related, but I want to set a goal to send birthday cards to my family and friends. Seems like a small thing but I love receiving a note from someone in the mail and it is becoming a lost art. I have a huge family but I am putting everyone on the calendar and cards will be sent!
Finally, and most importantly, I need to work on acceptance of the limitations I experience due to my health. For years now, I have had this drive to be super productive as a blogger and quilter (and also as a wife and mom). But my situation makes it really difficult to have a consistent level of productivity. It has been especially apparent over the past six months or so with my unhealthy days far outnumbering my healthy days. This is really frustrating for me. So, the goal for 2018 is acceptance. Not that I won’t do what I can to stay healthy, of course i will. But on the days I am down with a migraine and unable to be out and about, on the computer or at my sewing machine, I need to be OK with it. Blog posts are fun to write and I really enjoy the on-line quilting/crafting community but there will be weeks with less interaction. Such is life. I am blessed in so many ways and on the down days, I need to remember this.
OK – Five goals. I am absolutely confident I can achieve the first four. It is the fifth that I will struggle with. I am up for the challenge though! What are you planning for 2018? If you are a goal setter, be sure to link up your post with the 2018 Planning Party hosted by Yvonne over at Quilting Jetgirl. You can link up until end of day on December 31st.
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:
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??
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.
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!
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!
Not sure how this happened but it is the beginning of the fourth quarter of 2016 and I never once set goals for the quarterly FAL that happens at She Can Quilt. Leanne hosts an event each quarter to incentivize each of us to get organized and approach our projects with some level of prioritization. Of course this means to participate, I have to actually think forward a bit and decide what is reasonable to finish up.
This time I am joining in. Better late than never, right? Here is my list:
Finish the project for the Autumn Abundance blog hop that I am hosting next week. Obviously, there is no way to not reach this goal. Paintbrush Studios has generously sponsored the blog hop and we are excited to provide some autumnal inspiration for all of you! My project is nearing completion. I have been working on quilting it and now need to put some finishing touches on it and bind it. Here is a peek.
I am working on a little project that will be gifted soon. I am using a mini charm pack of Chic Neutrals, designed by Amy Ellis for Moda. I have only just started this one but it isn’t a huge project. Here is a shot of the patchwork. I really like the colors and geometric prints in this line.
Remember the Harmony Quilt? I was supposed to quilt this at the long arm shop last week. That plan was derailed (as happens far too often) by a series of migraines that caused me to lay on the couch for much of the week. But I really want to finish this. It is a wedding present for my nephew and the wedding was at the beginning of September. It is a gotta-get-it-done sort of project.
My scrappy projects will likely be done by the end of the quarter. I am going to prioritize my Scrappy HST quilt over Gemstones. Mainly because I am not entirely sure what colors I want to do to finish up the Gemstones piece. So – for sure – I will finish the flimsy of the Scrappy HST’s by the end of the year.
I have a whole cloth baby quilt that I just pin basted. This is a fun project, commissioned by my niece, for her friend who will have a baby this coming winter. Love the fabric for this one! I am looking forward to getting this going. However I need to wait for some thread that I just ordered from Craftsy. I think that is it. During the fall, I spend quite a bit of time sewing for my Etsy shop and usually end up making a few Christmas gifts. Since I don’t have the gifts planned yet, it doesn’t make sense to put them on the list. I suppose I could add in the Etsy items though since they will take a lot of my sewing time. Yes, that seems like a good idea. One more thing for the list. 🙂
6. Etsy Shop – I need to make about ten more of the Chemex Cozies and five of the French Press Cozies.
That should do it for the next couple of months. Plenty to keep me busy and likely there will be more but this is the list of have-to’s. How about you? Linking up this quarter? Today is the last day to link up if you want to join in.
Today is the last day of the Supply Sale at Craftsy. Great prices on all sorts of supplies like batting, needles, rotary cutters and blades, thread, etc. I put in an order yesterday for some basics. It is nice to buy this sort of stuff at a decent price for a change! Check it out.
Today Ray and I celebrate our 18th wedding anniversary. Eighteen years on the 18th of April. I like when numbers line up like that. 🙂 This is one of my favorite shots from our wedding.
We decided to have a night away to celebrate over the weekend. Ian was available to come hang out with Julia which was just perfect. We stayed at the same hotel that we had our wedding reception at in town, The Holbrooke. Like many things in this area, it dates back to the Gold Rush and is really adorable. The best part was we didn’t have to spend any time driving so we had time to play in the garden, visit with Ian AND spend a bit of time away. Isn’t it funny how we take what is all around us for granted? We live in such a pretty little town but we leave to relax.
Mom and Dad knew we were staying there so they stopped by with flowers and a card and asked the girl at the desk to put them in our room. When Mom explained why we were staying there, she upgraded us to the Bridal Suite. We felt very special!
Needless to say, no time was spent in my sewing room. I have so many projects going right now so I want to be diligent this week to make some progress on each. I have been successfully using my Quilter’s Planner to keep my to-do list organized each week. This is the list for this week:
Complete the block assembly for Stepping Stones QAL. (I have about 1/2 of the 143 blocks complete.
Make two items for my Etsy Shop. I need to build up inventory and if I don’t do a little at a time, it just doesn’t get done.
Finish quilting the art quilt I mentioned in my post the other day. I have just one border left to quilt and I want to make it look like wood grain. Lori has an excellent variation here that I plan to use. Last night I practiced it on paper and it is a simple motif. Should go together with ease.
If time allows, I will face or bind the art quilt.
OK – my list is now public and hopefully I can achieve each of these goals. What is the plan for your week? Does listing your goals help you keep things straight?
Just for your enjoyment – spring is here! A few pictures of what is happening in my garden this week.
The clematis are fully blooming.
This squirrel decided to hide out in a birdhouse. Last year some sort of critter chewed the opening to enlarge it on two of our birdhouses. I actually made (with help!) this birdhouse one afternoon in Ray’s shop. He was giving me a woodworking lesson which was a lot of fun.
Roses are all starting to bloom. They will be spectacular in a week or so.
Artichokes are growing! This plant is fairly prolific. We will probably yield a dozen artichokes from it. Ray has all sorts of lettuce growing and we should be picking some by the weekend.
Hope all of you get a nice mix of outside time (weather permitting in your area) and sewing time!
Linking up (for the first time) with To Do Tuesday at Stitch All the Things.