Another Consolidation

I have a habit of making things harder on myself than strictly necessary. I have too many blogs (four at last count), and I just need to get it down to two. So I’m consolidating down to my main blog and the one I use for artistic endeavors. My photographs will be posted on the one for artistic endeavors, so if you’re still interested in following along as I relearn how to shoot, head on over there and bookmark it.

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Planning

I am not very good at planning things to do – I am much more spontaneous than planning usually allows me to be. I rarely follow a plan that I make, which can leave me feeling like a bit of a failure. I learned long ago that for me, a plan is usually self-defeating, so the best thing to do is to have an idea of what I’d like to accomplish but set no time frame for when it should be done. Unfortunately, this also leads to self-defeating behavior … primarily the inability to complete any project in a timely manner. Either way, I sometimes end up feeling like I have failed in one way or another. I am, quite frankly, my own worst enemy. I also happen to be my biggest critic. Nice combination, isn’t it?

However, I realize that in order to accomplish my goals for the new year, I do in fact need a plan of some sort which will allow me to at least outline in broad terms what I would like to get done this year in the studio. I’m not sure how detailed the plan has to be, but I think something with a general idea of what I’d like to get done is in order. Let’s take another look at my sewing-related resolutions …

Sew more garments – 1 every month
Learn to machine quilt
Take an intermediate/advanced quilting class

So, really, I only have three main goals I want to accomplish in studio this year – this may not be as bad as I thought. I do have a couple other goals I would like to see through, even though they aren’t part of my NY resolutions – I have some UFO’s I need to complete, and I have a couple of quilts I haven’t yet started that I would like to get done. I think maybe the key to a successful plan to get all of this done would be to set quarterly goals. If I can break this down into smaller pieces I might be more likely to follow The Plan.

1Q2011
January
Finish quilt #1 (a Christmas gift for someone who wasn’t able to be with us this year)
Make a pair of lounge pants for DS
Start new quilt #1 for DH
Begin planning for 2011 handmade Christmas gifts

February
Finish quilt #2 (to be put away for future gift giving; no intended recipient at this time)
Make a pair of lounge pants for DD
Continue working on new quilt #1
Start working on 2011 Christmas gifts

March
Finish quilt #3 (I am embarassed to admit that I started this quilt for my DD ages ago, misplaced the top and only recently found it)
Make DH a pair of pj’s
Complete new quilt #1
Start new quilt #2

2Q2011
April
Finish quilt #4 (another one to be put away for future gift giving with no intended recipient)
Make garment for me
Continue working on new quilt #2

May
Finish new quilt #2
Check into a quilting class (I’m putting this off till 2Q because we will be moving, but I’m not sure when or where. Move should be completed by this time and I can decide on LQS or online then)
Make a garment for … someone

June
Take quilting class
Make a garment
Start new quilt #3?

Seems a bit ambitious, doesn’t it? Hmmm … but really, it shouldn’t be too bad. It takes only a day or so to make the pj’s & lounge pants, and finishing up the quilts shouldn’t be difficult – they need only to be sandwiched and quilted, then bound. As for the new quilt, it usually doesn’t take me long to make the top; it takes much longer for me to get around to sandwiching, quilting and binding them.

I will continue working on 2011 Christmas gifts throughout the year, if things go according to plan … I already have ideas of what I want to do; I just need to firm up the plan and start pulling all the supplies together.

The main thing here is, I will not beat myself up if I fall of the wagon or don’t get everything accomplished. This is just a rough outline, and if it doesn’t all happen in this timeframe I will survive. The one thing I would like to see happen is the one garment every month. If everything else slips I can deal with it, but I really would like to complete one garment a month, since that’s one of my NY resolutions.

I think I might need a calendar to keep up with all of this …

New Year’s Resolutions?

To resolve or not to resolve, that is today’s question …

Let’s face it – my track record with New Year’s resolutions is not so good. I can’t even recall my resolutions for this year, save one – to read more books. I did actually keep up with that one – at last count I think I had read and/or listened to about 30 books this year. I’m pretty pleased with that, actually, but the truth is, I suck at keeping resolutions. However, in true Quilty spirit, I am making a few resolutions this year …

1. Continue to read and/or listen to at least two books a month (I have thoroughly enjoyed this year’s resolution, so why not continue it?).

2. Sew more garments, even if they are simple. In fact, I would like to make at least one garment a month for the entire year. That will be my resolution – to make one garment a month for the year.

3. Learn to machine quilt, both on my home machine and my mother’s long-arm.

4. Take a quilting class, either online or at a LQS. I would really like to learn how to do pictorial quilts, so that’s one potential class right there!

5. Make more of an effort to eat more healthfully and exercise at least three times a week. Notice I did not say “lose weight” even though I definitely need to do that. Rather, I am going to focus on cutting down on sugar (not eliminate it all together, but I do need to cut back significantly), work harder on reducing the amount of boxed foods we eat, and work out more often. I used to be really good at all of this, then I let myself slip back into old habits and … well … here I am, making a resolution to do better.

6. Find a good full-time position with benefits.

7. Move from my lifeblood-sucking house into something more manageable and smaller – smaller payments, smaller footprint, smaller everything (except for the studio – can we make that bigger?).

8. Spend more time with my extended family – hang out with my sister (something we have NEVER done, but I’ve always wanted to do); spend time with my mom quilting; have people over to the house (wherever we may be living) for dinner parties and such.

9. Get out and shoot more photographs. Practice the craft and get better at it. Spend time with my husband, trying to teach him a bit about photography, as he has expressed an interest in learning.

I think that’s about it for the number of resolutions I can have and feel comfortable not achieving … Anything more to screw up and I might feel like a failure. :-\

Christmas presents, unveiled

I’ve been talking about the things I was working on for Christmas, but I couldn’t reveal them until they were firmly in the hands of the recipients. Now that they are, here’s a few pictures for your viewing pleasure …

First up is my dad’s quilt …

Dad's Quilt

His biggest hobby is fishing, and the minute I saw this fabric back in the spring, I knew it was for him. I used the free pattern put out by the fabric manufacturer, but I had all sorts of issues – for one, the two outer borders were not part of the pattern. I added them myself. The pattern instructions weren’t quite as clear as I would have liked, but I think my real confusion came from the person who “helped” me a the LQS where I bought the fabric. I told her I wanted to make the quilt bigger so she was “helping” me figure out the borders, and by the time I walked out of there, I had no clue as to what I was going to do with it! But it turned out pretty well, I think … and all’s well that ends well, isn’t it?

The second quilt was made for my mother-in-law.

Sylvia's quilt

This was made using the Turning Twenty Around the Block pattern. I love this pattern because it’s so easy, and uses primarily fat quarters (I have a fat quarter obsession). I don’t know how well it will show up in the picture, but I embroidered a rose outline in each of the large center blocks of the quilt.

Center of each block has a rose embroidered in it

And finally, my sister’s present was a tote bag, filled with wine …

Ann's tote

It looks lopsided but it isn’t … This was a very easy pattern (once I actually started making it) I found somewhere on the internet. Unfortunately I didn’t bookmark it so I can’t give you a link to it, but I think I did print it out so if I find it I’ll give you the website. The tote is lined and could very easily be used as a reversible bag. It features nice sized pockets both on the inside and outside. Made in a different size, it would make a fantastic reusable shopping bag (this was a little too tall and too narrow for that purpose, I think), but it makes a great wine bag!

All in all, I was very pleased with the way things turned out – I worked on my dad’s quilt till shortly before we left to have lunch and exchange presents on Christmas Eve, so I was sweating it a little – and I’m thinking that next year may feature even more handmade gifts for my family. Of course, that means I need to get started right now!

What did you make for Christmas this year? I’d love to see, so please leave a link to your pictures!

It’s almost Christmas!

And once the holiday passes, I can FINALLY share what I’ve been working on the last several weeks. I can hardly wait to show you what I’ve been up to, but really I have to wait a few more days.

I wish I had been able to get more done, but I waited too late to get a good start. Next year, I plan to start making gifts much earlier (like, January! No, really … January) and just stockpile them until the holidays.

I have some New Year’s Resolutions when it comes to my studio as well, but I’ll be posting them next week so keep your eye out to see what I have in store for my space and the time I spend in it.

For now, I have to get back to work, and then I have to go home and work on … Oh, I wish I could tell you. This weekend, I swear! This weekend!

Wishes

1. I wish I could share with you the items I worked on this weekend. Unfortunately, they are gifts for people who do occasionally see my blog posts, so I cannot show you what I’ve done. But once the holiday is over, I will post them.

2. I wish I had more time in the day to get things done. Mostly, things that deal with sewing.

3. I wish I was home right now working in my studio! I keep trying to think of a way to make a living doing that but … so far, no luck.

4. I wish you all would share with me what you’re making for Christmas this year!