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!)
Sewing clothes for a dirty, well-loved monkey. Miss Lily picked out the fabric and the Christmas ribbon. :)
Admiring the leaves and taking long deep breaths of the (awesome) autumn air.
Watching the last soccer games of the season, and cheering on our favorite football teams.
Putting up my Halloween bunting (print yours here), decorations, and finishing up my table runner.
Getting my studio cleaned and put together.
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!
Sometimes I get a little carried away.
Or a lot carried away.
Sometimes, I start a project thinking it will be no big deal. That it will only take an hour to make 14 million zip pouches.
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.
The conversation went something (exactly) like this:
Me: “Am I just really dense or something? Do I just live in a complete fantasy land? Am I just really full of myself and think I can do super human things? What is my problem??”
Him: “No, not any of those things. Really, I just think you have no concept of space and time.”
I couldn’t stop laughing.
And now (much to his dismay) I can’t stop quoting him. Not because his assessment is particularly flattering to me. But because it is so, SO true.
When I get a creative idea, it is so large and full of newness and excitement for me that I tend to overlook critical factors.
Like, hypothetically, if the longarm machine will actually fit in our house.
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.)
Turns out, the answer was Yes, just barely to the longarm question, and yes, just barely to the pouch question too.
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.
If you’d like to make a pouch or two (or fourteen), you can find Elizabeth Hartman’s Perfect Zip Bags pattern here or here.
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.
Did you handmake any gifts this Christmas? How good are you at figuring out how long something will take? Please tell me I’m not the only one.