New Year Incoming!

I have realized that I am not so good at the finishing thing when it comes to sewing. I am very good at the starting thing, but not so hot at the finishing thing. This is evidenced by all the projects I have “in progress” that should have been finished long ago, but are still languishing in one state or another in my studio. From clothing to quilts to home decor, I am an equal opportunity procrastinator. I don’t know if this is the result of too many ideas, not enough time, or maybe adult onset ADHD, or just too much going on in general, but this year has been one of my all time lows in completions. And it makes me very sad.

Not only that, but I really have not spent enough time sewing in general. I moved my studio downstairs this year in the hopes it would make me more productive, and it did for a while. And really, I have spent more time in the studio this year than I have in recent years but still not nearly enough, and not focused at all, as evidenced by my lack of finished projects. I would like to pretend that I don’t know what’s causing the issue, but I do, and it’s nothing more than a mental block. A mental block I need to get past and stop letting it interfere with my creative process. My kids are grown now, which I always thought would mean more time to pursue sewing and other hobbies, but instead it’s resulted in less time in the studio. I really need to get my head back in the game … err, studio. And I need to quit messing around about it and just do it.

I really don’t like to make new year’s resolutions; I think they lead to bad feelings and they put a lot of pressure on you when you probably really don’t need it. But since I know there are areas of improvement I need to make, I am going to set some goals for myself, on a monthly basis. Actually … I think I’m going to make the goals on a weekly basis, at least to start out. For my purposes, the week will start on Fridays (convenient because tomorrow is Friday and it’s also the first day of the year; see what I did there? 😉  ).

So … goals for the week commencing January 1, 2016 …

  • Treadmill at least 20 minutes, four days
  • Sewing at least 30 minutes, four days
  • Catch up on laundry
  • Remove & put away Christmas decorations
  • Re-arrange bedroom to better fit treadmill

I won’t say, “Now, how hard can that be?” because we all know how hard it can be to commit to something like this. Or to commit to anything, really (except my husband; that wasn’t difficult at all). I’ll report back in a week and let you know how it’s gone, and then I’ll set new goals for that week. I’ve even set a reminder on my calendar to come back and do the update, so I don’t forget.

Wish me luck. 😀

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2014 – The Year of Challenges

Every year, I make several New Year’s Resolutions, and every year I make little or no progress in attaining them. So this year, I decided to scrap the ideas of making resolutions and instead, choose a word or phrase that would embody what I want to accomplish this year. After a lot of consideration of words like create (as in, create new things), make (ie., make a difference), and accept (you know, accept the things I can’t change), I landed on challenge and I knew it was the right word for 2014.

The challenges I’m thinking of involve things like learning new quilting techniques and taking on more intricate projects. Challenge myself to make healthier choices, and to get to the gym. Once I do start back at the gym, the challenge will be to increase my work out levels. Challenge myself to get more organized, or to clear out the clutter. The point isn’t to make a specific set of goals, but to just strive for … well, I guess you’d call it continuous improvement. The idea is to continue to move forward in life, not rest on my laurels and be content with the way things are right now. I mean, I AM content with my life on the whole, and I’m not looking to shake up every detail in my life, but more to remember that without some self imposed challenges, I won’t get better at whatever it is I want to improve upon – my health, my quilting, my professional life – whatever I may decide I want to focus on during a given period.

Now, this might sound like a recipe for failure, or that I’ve got no goals, and that isn’t true. There will definitely be goals involved, but they will be smaller and more manageable than setting one big goal at the beginning of the year that I will likely forget by March. For example, in January, I am challenging myself to spend at least 15 minutes every day working on my free motion quilting skills. I am also challenging myself to rid the house of high calorie, low impact (well, low impact to everything but my ass) foods. Good bye cookies and cakes. Hello, fruits and yogurt. No specific weight loss goals in January, just a desire to do better with my eating and general health.

If I don’t make it to the gym for a couple of days, or I have a bad day or two of eating, I can challenge myself to get back on track. If my free motion quilting doesn’t look as good as I want it to, I can challenge myself to improve. One challenge I’ve already set for myself is to finish up by mid-year at least three of the UFO (unfinished object) quilts I have in my studio right now. I want to take on more complex quilting projects, too.

So, 2014 will be The Year of Challenges. I’m looking forward to taking on a variety of projects that will push me to step outside my comfort zone and allow me to expand my knowledge and skill set in the coming year!

Resolutions, 2013 edition

Like most people, I’m not as good at keeping resolutions I make for a new year as I would like to be, so this year I’ve decided to make January resolutions. I’m making resolutions that will only last for the month of January, and then after that, I’ll re-evaluate and decide if I want to keep going with the same resolutions, if I want to tweak them, or if I want to give up on trying to make and keep new year’s resolutions all together. So, in no particular order, here are my January resolutions.

1. Improve eating habits, i.e., revert back to where I was pre-holidays. I was lucky and I didn’t gain any weight over the holidays (first time in ages!), but I didn’t eat nearly so well as I should have. In January, I’m going to pack my lunch on the days I go to the office and avoid the cafeteria as much as possible. This also includes breakfasts – since I leave the house prior to 6 am most mornings, and I don’t like eating early, I will take something that fits into my eating plan each day for breakfast as well as lunch.

2. Try to get in at least 5,000 steps a day. I know that the “gurus” push you to get in 10,000 a day, but let’s be realistic here – I haven’t done any real exercise in years, so I’m going to have to work up to it.

3. Try to lose some of the work-related stress I’ve been carrying around the last two and a half years. I need to remember that I’m not the one in the hot seat, and that others need to start standing on their own two feet.

4. Try something different in my studio. This month, I’ll be testing out some fabric dyeing techniques. I realized a few months ago that the looks I want in some of my quilts just aren’t possible with the commercially available fabrics, so I’m going to try doing some of my own. I have tried once before, years ago, and I liked my results, I guess. But back then I used some cheap unbleached muslin from Joann’s. The colors had a muddy look to them, so I’m going to try out a couple of different fabrics – I’m not giving up completely on Joann’s muslin, but this time I’ll use a higher quality bleached muslin. And I’m going to give a couple other cottons a try too – like Kona’s prepared for dyeing (PFD) white.

5. Blog more often. My goal is twice a week for January. I don’t know if I can get up to daily, but I’m going to give twice a week a try and see how that goes. Look! I’ve already blogged once this week. Of course, this week is already nearly over … Some of my blog posts may be nothing more than a photo, but at least it’s something, right?

So there you go, five January resolutions that I will hopefully be able to keep. I’ll post my progress here, to keep myself honest.

Speaking of progress, I’ve already made some progress on numbers 1, 4 and 5. I started on a healthier eating plan today and it’s been great, I ordered a dye starter kit to play around with, and I did this blog post today. 🙂 What are your resolutions?

Yep, I suck

At posting here, that is. I could make all sorts of excuses about how I’ve been busy (I have been) or how I’ve been sick (I was) but the reality is, I just haven’t made this blog my priority. I should, though. It isn’t because I think I have lots of cool things to say that others can’t wait to hear or anything – it’s more because this blog is therapeutic for me. I don’t care if anyone reads it – it’s more about how it allows me to blow off steam, think things through in print, and … well, it’s a great journal. I need to do better.

I’ve been considering what sort of New Year’s resolutions I want to make this year. I make them every year but then by March, I’ve generally forgotten what they were. It doesn’t make me feel bad about myself that I don’t accomplish my resolutions, because I do accomplish many other things, and frankly, once I forget by March what I wanted to do in December … well, it just doesn’t lend itself to bad feelings, if you know what I mean. How can I feel bad about something I can’t remember? 😉 Anyway, I’m thinking that this year, maybe one of my resolutions will be to blog more often. Once a week, maybe – whatever is on my mind at the time. Whether it’s about something that’s happened in my life (like some moron ruining my Christmas), a quilt that I’ve finished (like my Christmas quilt) or some photography I want to do (like some winter shots around the bay) … I should post more here.

Also, I want to do more quilting. I could do more quilting – and more photography – if I wasn’t always so freakin’ tired every day after work. I think the problem is simple – I don’t get enough sleep. I got a Fitbit One for Christmas, which tracks, among other things, the amount of sleep you get in a night, and the number of times during the night that you wake up. I would have told you that I get plenty of sleep, but since having this thing for a few days, I can tell you that during the week, I’m not getting nearly enough rest. So, more rest it is. Maybe I’ll feel more like doing something in the afternoons.

Really, those are my only goals this year. Post more and sleep more. Oh, there are other things I want to do – more photography, more quilting, lose more weight – but right now, I’m only interested in focusing on these two things. Maybe, if I make it to March successfully, I might decide to add something new. But for now, this works for me. 🙂