I’ve been missing around here, enjoying the quiet and magic of the holidays, and the potential of a new year. I’ve really been thinking about my goals, and what I want to do, and where I want to go this year. It’s been a lot of thinking and a lot of decision making. I think it must be something us artist-types have to do on a regular basis (probably everyone else, too)–evaluating where our plans are taking us, and trying to evaluate and course correct before we get too far from where our hearts really want us to go.
Over the break, I jumped in and made a Scrappy Tripalong quilt (it’s all the rage on Instagram, just check out hashtag #scrappytripalong, and follow me: amrosenthal–or I’m posting my pictures on my Facebook Page, too)–and as I’ve been working on it, I realized it’s the first quilt I’ve made just for fun, because I want to. Every other quilt I’ve made over the last 10 years has been as a gift, for a deadline, to show a pattern, etc. It was a strange realization. Pair that with the fact that I’m having so much fun making it, and I think I’m on to something. Creativity flourishes when it’s set free. If you’d like to make one, the tutorial is here.
This year, I’m excited to learn more, slow down, develop my personal style, and really marinate and become the person I want to be–do the things I’ve always wanted to do. If not now, when? Each month, I’m setting 5 goals (a la Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project), each month building on the previous. It sounds like a tall order, but when each goal is truly a delight to work on, I think it will be blissful and restorative.
I’ve also joined in on a few other things that will help me Become (my One Little Word) who I want to be. I joined in on Fifth and Hazel and Ollibird’s 365 Pattern challenge. I’m creating a repeating pattern every day this year to move me toward one of my goals: cultivating the skills necessary to design fabric. I’m making a schedule and committing to blogging more regularly. (I hope you don’t mind). I’m using Project Life to document these fleeting days, weeks, and months. I’m picking up my Farmer’s Wife blocks again (Posts about these blocks: 1, 2, 3, 4.) I’m decorating my newly remodeled studio–my shelving gets put in Tuesday, and then pictures! I’m eating better, exercising early, and taking my vitamins and supplements (if you’re curious, I’m in love with my doTerra supplements). I’m keeping my family healthy, and enjoying these last few months before my kids start kindergarten. I’m trying to get up the guts to start up the IVF process again. It’s not for the faint of heart. It’s a year of nurturing and growth, for sure.
And in case you think I’m forgetting you, my sweet friends, I’m most definitely not. Many of my goals revolve around sharing tutorials, creating a community, and learning more about my friends. That absolutely means we’re going to have lots of fun this year. Together.
What do you think, friends? Have you done any reevaluating yourself lately? Any creative (or other) goals for the new year? I’d love to hear them. Maybe we can help each other along.
PS First up? That Block of the Month I hinted about in September. I can’t wait to show you. Who’s in?
PPS My Home for Harvest pattern is being featured on the Fat Quarter Shop’s Jolly Jabber blog today–go suggest a fabric line you’d like to make it in, and you are entered to win a $50 gift card. Score!
Fall is in full swing around here and I love love love it. October is easily my busiest month of the year, and this year has been no exception. With all the busy-ness, I wanted to pop in here and give a quick glimpse of what’s going on around here.
I’m sending out fabrics to my quilting bee ladies today (it’s my month! Yay!)
Putting up my Halloween bunting (print yours here), decorations, and finishing up my table runner.
Sewing, and sewing, and sewing for market, and getting my posts ready for the Blogger’s Bar Hop tomorrow and my turn on the Sweet Celebrations tour on Thursday (be sure to come back!) Schedules are here.
In the midst of all the things going on, I’m really trying to focus and be balanced. It’s easy for me to get caught up in the crazy and neglect that this time of year is my very favorite of all. We’re going to the little old man’s pumpkin stand tonight for Family Night to choose out Jack O’Lantern pumpkins, and we’re having Breakfast with a Witch on Thursday. I’m also trying to spend more time reading scriptures and having some quiet time for prayer and grounding before my day gets underway. Finally, a friend and I are getting up before the sun to exercise. I’ll be tired, but it’s time to get more movement into my schedule. If not now, when?
What’s going on with you? Is this your favorite time of year? Any suggestions (or encouragement) for my early morning exercise? (Trust me, I need it!)
The house was quiet this morning. So quiet, in fact, that the only sound I could hear was the humming of my sewing machine, and the soft brush of my fingers against the fabric as I finger pressed. Every now and then the dogs would sigh or snore, and after a while I turned on Pandora. Quietly.
I love quiet. Something about it makes me infinitely more able to concentrate, more creative, more grounded, and settled in my thoughts and dreams. Over the years, I’ve been in many places and situations where I was allowed the privilege of quiet–school, workplaces, and even my home before kids came. Now, quiet ebbs and flows. Sometimes I get more of it, and sometimes less–and it’s always obvious to me when I’ve had “less”–because that’s when I start feeling a little crazed, a little burned out, and a lot overwhelmed.
On the other hand, just a few hours can make a HUGE difference. For example, last week I was in that burned out place. You know the place I’m talking about, where everything is just a few degrees h arder than you want it to be, where things that aren’t usually a big deal suddenly are, and in a big way. When you can’t muster up the energy to do anything but get by. Then, Monday morning happened. I had nearly 3 hours to myself, and a better breakfast in my system than I’m used to.
If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter you know what happened: 11 pieced quilt backs, several works-in-progress finished, a quilt put on my longarm, and several other projects started. And not only did they get done, but I was happy and running to do it. The house got cleaned more thoroughly than usual, and menu for the week was made. I’d love to say that everything on my to do list and everything in my world just magically fixed, happened, was effortless–and though that’s not the case–things just felt lighter, easier. More surmountable.
I’m starting to realize the importance of realizing how I recharge, and harnessing my world to take advantage of those times. For Pete’s sake, I know how I get burned out–it makes sense to know how I regroup, too. I have a hunch that this same thing applies to most people, especially most young moms, who find themselves in the midst of a life that is all about extending yourself to accommodate, nurture and enrich everyone around you. It’s not even that I feel like I’ve forgotten to take care of myself as much as it is that by the time I remember, I have nothing left to give to the effort. It’s easy to imagine that I’m the only one who drops into bed at the end of the day and thinks “Maybe I’ll get a few minutes tomorrow to sew/eat/shower/dream/think/plan/organize/be happy tomorrow. I’m done today.” But I know I’m not the only one, and that’s why I’m writing this–as a gentle reminder.
Take a few minutes. Center yourself. Figure out when you can have a few hours to rejuvenate–whatever that means to you. Consider it a little spring cleaning for your soul.
PS Hugs and kisses to Miss Lily, who let me photograph her “clean pretty bedroom!” for my post. There’s just something calming about lamplight, don’t you think? I happen to believe I can’t feel “quiet” inside without some major cleanliness outside. But that’s a post for another day. Mwa!
Or a lot carried away.
In the middle of this project, I asked the Mister why it was that I start huge projects and don’t realize how huge they are until I am in the middle of them. He just smiled, because I always do this, and he always warns me.
Or like if there are actually enough hours between now and the craft night before Christmas to make fourteen zip pouches and still have time to sleep and eat. (Let alone enjoy the holiday with my kids.)
Someday I would like to say that I have a better concept of space and time. But until then, I’ll be very, very grateful for patterns like this one, that go together in a snap and have perfect instructions for the novice and expert alike.
And believe me, if there had a been a problem, I would know. I made fourteen in the space of about 36 hours.
Thanks for the great pattern, Elizabeth. You saved my tail feathers.
PS: I made these pouches exclusively from scraps I had sitting around. The only thing I bought new were the zippers. The twill and denim came from pairs of my husbands old pants that I couldn’t figure out what to do with but felt bad throwing away. The back of each pouch is made from a piece of solid twill or denim to match the solid strip at the bottom on the front.
What’s going on in your world?
Okay, not really. But don’t I wish.Yesterday I helped out with the preschool field trip to a local apple orchard. And seriously? I just wanted to pick up my stuff and move on in. Not only was it beautiful, but there was open air, space to breathe, and of course trees and apples as far as the eye could see. Beyond that? Mountains. I always tell Jacob that I just want to plop down a house in the middle of nowhere, but close enough to civilization to not run out of gas before I get there. Somehow I think creativity must be incredible in a place like that. I feel so inspired when I’m there for 5 minutes, I can only imagine living there. Plus, that porch? Those rocking chairs? Perfect for some hot cocoa and a nap quilt. Sigh.Anyone want to visit when I move in? ;)
Don’t forget to enter the giveaway by reading the post and commenting here.
It was a long night. With two little sickies and a thunderstorm, I think they were up at least every hour. You all know that kind of night, for whatever reason: kids, insomnia, stress, weather, illness. You also know I bet, what the morning feels like after one of those nights.
Scratchy eyes, oversensitive ears, a temperament that’s less than pleasant, everything is overwhelming.
Kind of Exactly like you’re walking around trying to be conscious while your body is still asleep. It takes a while to wake up on these mornings.
I’ve been thinking about this concept though, in the creative arena. How it takes a while to “wake up,” so to speak.
As a business owner, I’m fairly new to the scene. My first patterns were just released last fall. I’ve been to market once. I’m still in that “just waking up” phase in regards to meeting people, blogging, and marketing. Taxes make my eyes hurt, and my temperament less-than-pleasant. My ears can get oversensitive to other people’s opinions, and yes, things can get overwhelming sometimes.
In other arenas, though, I feel like I’m fully awake (finally!). I’ve been designing things for others for years, but am finally hitting my stride and solidifying my own style. I’m in a place where I like what I design, and know what I don’t like, even if it’s popular. My ears aren’t as worried about criticism these days, and my eyes can pick out what’s not working pretty quickly. Designing makes me happy, especially when I can really take the time to do it just right. I do still get overwhelmed on occasion, but it’s not a constant state anymore, and it’s not a despairing overwhelmed, it’s a life-is-so-full overwhelmed. (My darling friend Sarah just talked about this, here). When I feel like that, my sweetheart Jacob will always remind me to just do one thing at a time, intentionally, and with focus. Whatever the most important thing is.
Oh, and assigning all the Quickbooks work to Jacob.
Maybe that’s the solution in both the “I haven’t had enough sleep” mornings, and the early mornings of a new endeavor. Take it one thing at a time, on purpose. Step-by-step, waking up a little more with each action.
You know what I mean?