Thursday, December 29, 2016

Preparing for 2017

I can't believe how soon it will be 2017. In an effort to be more organized, I'm preparing for 2017 in several different ways.  I get so much more done when I am organized, and I have lots I want to do next year.  I'm not doing any major prep work, just small things to help me keep on track better. Some of these are quilt related, others just general things I'm working on to make life easier. Here are some of the things I'm doing.

1. Quilter's Planner. I have the 2017 edition and I've already started documenting things in it. I used the 2016 planner with some success last year, but found myself using it less as the year went along. So I'm trying to be more conscious about using it this year. I even bought some erasable pens to use with it this year.

2. Gratitude Journal. I've found that when I focus on the good things in my life I'm a much happier person. I've done challenges like 100 Days of Happy and such in the past and they have always helped me stay focused on the good. I decided this year I'm going to do a gratitude journal. I've done them in the past and they really are a great way to help me stay positive. I decided to use a composition book and I made a cover for it using some of my scraps. I made one for Sharla as well, but I'm not sure how she plans on using hers. These were fun to make and went together very quickly, mine is the purple and Sharla's is the pink.

3. To Do Lists. I've purchased a tablet of to-do list. They are meant to be a daily to-do list, but right now I'm using them as a weekly list. If I can master using them on a regular basis I will design some of my own and have Sharla print them for me. But for now I'm happy using the pre-made ones.

Now to the stuff without pictures, but still very important.

4. Move My Sewing Area. I actually did this in November, but I've been working on getting it organized in a manner that works for both Sharla and I. I think it is almost right. I was very lucky in that Tom and Mecca gifted me a wonderful top for my Raskog cart from Ikea. This cart sits between Sharla's table and my table, and with this piece we can iron or put a cutting mat on top of the cart and not have to get up to do simple ironing/cutting. The other two trays on the cart are used for storage. The goal is to keep the sewing tables as clear of clutter as possible.

5. Preset Project List. Sharla and I each selected 12 projects that we want to work on in 2017. We then had Cole draw numbers between 1 and 12 and we assigned each project a month. The goal is that we finish the top in that month. Now we have a ton of projects beyond this list, but this was a way for us to work on existing items. If we finish an item early in the month we can move on to the next months or add in something new. This is only the list for tops, I haven't decided how I'm going to do the list for tops to be quilted yet.
6. Unsubscribe Emails. I started on Christmas Eve really looking at the emails I get in my two main accounts. I found lots of duplicates and lots and lots that I don't even open, I just immediately delete. So I started to unsubscribe from as many as possible. I didn't count exactly how many I did over the holiday weekend, but I noticed a dramatic reduction in the volume of emails in my mailboxes this morning. So instead of wasting time deleting tons of emails each day, I can use that time for something more beneficial.

7.  Review/Edit My Blog Reading List.  This started by accident, when I went to classify a couple of new blogs I added and I saw the number of blogs I follow. I first went through and opened the latest post for each blog to see if I read it or skipped it. I was really surprised by how many blogs on my list didn't post anymore. So those were an easy delete. Then I looked to see if I really read the blogs or not. Some I started following and then found I didn't enjoy the writing style or quilting style or whatever, and I would just mark them as read, without even opening the page. So I deleted them from my list. I am still going through and doing some more edits, but mostly for categorization purposes.

8. Fabric/Project Organization. This is an ongoing project for me, I'm constantly, trying to get all of my fabrics and projects organized.  Since I moved my sewing table away from where my fabric is stored, I have to stay more organized. If not it gets out of hand very fast. How do I know this you might ask. Well in just the short time I've had my sewing table else where my fabric has gotten out of hand. Mostly because I pull fabric and don't put it back in the right spot. So my plan is over the New Years holiday, everything has to be put back in place.  I've been working on it some, but the goal is that it be complete by the 2nd of January.

Well that is my prep list for 2017. Each is of these is designed to either free up time or focus me in the right direction, both of which I need. Do I need to do about a zillion more things, yes, I could write all day about what I need to do, but that would get boring and leave me no time for getting anything done.  So for now these are what I'm going to focus on through this weekend (and into the new year).  I hope each of you has a wonderful New Year and please remember to be safe over the holiday weekend.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Best of 2016 Linky Party

I'm joining Cheryl from Meadow Mist Designs in listing my five favorite blog posts from last year. I was pretty sad when I went through my blog and realized I didn't get nearly as much done as I wanted, but decided I was going to do this anyway.  I may not have accomplished a lot, but I did have some accomplishments.

1. Tic Tac Toe Quilt Finish. This was my 2015 Bee Hive bee quilt.

2. Piggy Bank Challenge Reveal.  Sharla and I saved a total of $233 with our loose change and we bought some very pretty fabrics with it.

3. Box Trot Finish. Sharla still loves this quilt and wants to make another one in the same pattern this year.

4. Stash Bee 2015 Quilt Top Finish. I still need to quilt this one, and it is still probably my most favorite quilt top I've done.

5. 4 X 7 Sewing Challenge Wrap Up.  I really got a lot done during this challenge, and I hope to participate in it again this year. I was so happy to finish all of my crosses for my cross quilt.

For 2017 I'm hoping to have many more finishes, but only time will tell if that comes true.  If you want to see what other's have picked as their favorite or best blog posts, check out Meadow Mist Designs Best of 2016 Linky Party. And you can even join in if you want.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

2017 Planning Linky Party

First let me say, yes I am alive and I'm sorry for dropping off the blogging cliff. I don't have a good excuse, I just didn't want to blog.  I can't even say why I haven't wanted to blog, I've not gotten lots done, but I have done some things I could blog about. I think it is more that life in general took my time and my focus.

But enough about what I've not done, let's talk about what I am going to do. I'm joining Yvonne at QuiltingJetGirl for her #2017PlanningParty. I've linked up with her the last couple of years and while I may not have accomplished everything on my list, it is still a good thing for me to list goals, if for no other reason than to push me to make them.

Last year I cut my list of goals down quite a bit and although I've working on all of them some, I'm not sure I mastered any of them. So I think I'm going to use them again this year.  Yes I know that seems like cheating, but I really do want to be better at all of these things.

1. Use More/Buy Less.  I did really well with this until about July. I participate in the Annual Piggy Bank Savings = Money for Quilting Challenge and when I counted up my money I went on a bit of a spending spree, that lasted way too long. Not to mention the Black Friday Sales.  Now I realize that to say I'm not going to buy fabric is just plain silly, that isn't going to happen. But what I have done is listed 12 projects where I currently have everything or almost everything to complete the top, and each month I'll pick one to finish that month.  They range in age from 4 years to just purchased, and are all really easy quilts, so I should be able to complete the top in a month.  Here is my list

To keep it interesting, I'm going to randomly pick one each month to complete. I've also decided to join The Honey Pot Bee this year, and I've decided that I will use my stash. I am going to use the ton of low volume fabrics I have with pops of colors all coming from my stash. Currently I have two tubs of low volume fabrics and I would like to get that down to one. I gave up tracking my usage last year around June or July, but I'm going to try again this year.

2. Quilt for Others. I did the more last year than ever before, but didn't quite get it completed. I have a king sized quilt for my sister-in-law, that was supposed to be her Christmas present that is going to be just a little late.  Luckily I have the top completed so I can at least show her progress.  And if you look at the list above there is one for Callie and Beau and one for Cole on the list. I know that isn't a lot, but I am more about taking small steps.

3. Balance and Organization. I did use the planner last year for part of the year, and they everything just stopped. But I've purchased my 2017 planner, have a to-do tablet on my desk to keep me on track and a mindset to get myself organized.  I've always been a list maker, now it is time to start knocking things off the list.  I've also done some real organization of my projects, it isn't complete, but it is so much better than it was. It lets me find things and hopefully keeps me purchasing something I already have.

4. Find Reasons to Be Happy.  This one is different from last year. Last year I wanted to stop comparing myself to others, and I've done much better. So although that will still be a goal, I want to focus more on finding the things that make me happy. Little things, big things, it doesn't matter the size. In 2015 I did the 100 days of Happy Challenge and that really helped me focus on finding joy in little everyday things and I want to focus on that in 2017. Will I have 365 days of Happy, that is doubtful, but I'm hoping to find something to be happy about on most days.

5. Keep Moving Forward. I hope that this one is always on my list. I always want to do new things, shed things holding me back, and change direction as needed. Yes that is vague, but for 2017 I just want to do something different. That could be join a guild, learn a new skill or tap dance naked down main street, ok let's knock one of those off the potential list.  I already know of one new thing I'm going to do and that is quilt a king sized quilt, so hopefully I will be off to a good start.

That is it for me for now. I hope each of you has a Very Merry Chirstmas and a Happy New Year. And if you want to check out other's goals head on over to QuiltingJetGirl's Blog.