Tag Archives: goal setting

Reflections & Goals for 2018

This time of year always results in the oddest collision of feelings–excitement for the family filled fun that comes during the holiday season, either stress over the projects I need to finish for the holidays or disappointed-letting-go of projects I will never complete in time, introspection and reflection on what goals I met (and didn’t meet) in the year behind me, eager anticipation and renewed inspiration for the possibilities that exist in the new year, gratitude for the gifts that I experience daily, and many more in between. As 2017 leads into 2018, these feelings seem to crash together like waves, one emerging strongly at one point only to be engulfed and buried by another the next moment. That odd transition from one year to the next, it’s really just the passing of a day like any other, so how does it hold such power? Does this happen for you, too? or is it just me?

goal setting planning for new year quilter's plannerEvery year, my dear friend Yvonne hosts a Planning Party on her blog Quilting Jetgirl, which really helps motivate me to sit down and sort through all of these feelings, reflections, dreams, and limitations, and try to determine my goals for the next year. I’ve decided to share my reflections on 2017 and goals for 2018 here, both to make a record of my intentions at this moment, and to maybe help inspire you to not only define your goals and determine steps to help you reach them, but also to be gentle with yourself when life doesn’t go as planned. Since honestly, when does life ever go as planned?

Reflection on 2017

Let’s start by looking at the goals I set for myself in January of this year. A few days ago when I read this over, I honestly laughed out loud.  I’ll give you a spoiler: I accomplished hardly any of these goals, but oh, I had such high hopes back in January! Here’s the list, with my comments in bold after each one.

  • Focus on incorporating repurposed textiles into at least three (3) quilt projects. Here I intended to pick up my repurposed 100 blocks in 100 days project that used all upcycled garments, but that wasn’t meant to be. I did use repurposed textiles in my contribution to Mel from Mel in the Attic’s Woman’s Work, so I’ll give myself a 1. I also am realizing I never shared about that collaboration here!;
  • Minimize new fabric purchases; focus on using the fabrics that exist in my stash already (not very measurable, but important to state!) I definitely did that this year. I only bought fabric for specific projects, or Alison Glass fabric (my weakness!), and not much at that.  I consider this one met.;
  • Experiment with at least six (6) of the #beesewcial prompts to help stretch my creativity and build improv skills. While I sketched out ideas for three (3) of these prompts, not a one made it into reality. I did not meet this goal.;
  • Use a purely green color palette (inspired by Patone’s color of the year, Greenery) on all bee and quilt along blocks to help create a visual statement on being “green” and to stretch my design skills by fitting them all together at the end. I did this!!! My Greenery quilt was really quite fun, and I did a fairly good job of making blocks from various bees here and there, until I had the idea for my Summer Adventure Quilt. Once my Summer Adventure Quilt began (see the most recent update here), Greenery took a backseat and has been sorely neglected. I do not have enough blocks for a full quilt yet and I’m still deciding what to do about it.;
  • Create a more concrete plan for my social action quilt idea, including:
    • a full sketch
    • 2-3 sample blocks
    • brief description I did not meet this goal. Fear, or fear that I would not be able to dedicate the time needed to organize, piece, and follow through with this idea has stalled me. It’s still simmering, but has not been met.
  • Dive further into the “Slow Fashion” movement:
    • Overcome my fear of garment sewing by making at least three (3) items of clothing I attended the Slow Fashion Retreat with A Gathering of Stitches in August and I very much am slowly wading into the Slow Fashion movement. I’ve made two tops–one of which I might actually wear!, and I’ve found a sewing buddy with whom I aim to sew 9 garments in 2018, so I did pretty well with this one!
    • {BONUS} hand stitch one garment. I did not hand stitch a garment, although I’ve mended 2 pairs of my jeans, a pair of my son’s shorts, and began repairs on my daughter’s jeans. Not what I meant by the goal, but hand stitched garments all the same!;
  • Complete two (2) quilt photography projects to deepen my repertoire and experience. I did this! I did quilt photography for Carole Lyle Shaw’s newly released book Patriotic Modern, did product photography for two local artisans (including Spring Fed Farm), and I also completed the epic Quilter’s Planner photography project of 14 quilted items for the 2018 Planner. Combined with ongoing photography projects for the Quilter’s Planner, I consider this goal met and surpassed!;
  • Teach at least three (3) different quilting and quilt photography related classes–spread the love and inspiration for creating beautiful things! Not yet! I am teaching at QuiltCon in Pasadena in February 2018, so that will be one (well, 4 courses and 1 lecture!). 
  • Use my Quilter’s Planner to set manageable goals and help myself feel successful and motivated–including building up to exercising 5 times per week! Sad to say the exercise habit hasn’t happened. I have built up to doing yoga 3ish times per week, and I did a LOT of hiking over the summer, but I consider this goal not met.
  • Stitch daily for 365 days as part of my participation in #1yearofstitches (more on this soon!) I very nearly succeeded in this! Near the end of the summer, I got off track, but so far have stitched for each day, even if it’s not posted on the correct day. I have a couple week’s worth of stitches to update on Instagram, but it looks like I’m actually going to meet this goal! 
  • Finish eight to ten (8-10) works in progress from last year!!! Oh goodness. No goal met here. I finished Finn’s Milestone quilt, but that might be the only WIP from 2016 that I finished. Oops. Yikes. 

So clearly, I did not meet many of my goals from 2017. It really was a year of very few finishes. In looking back at what quilts or projects I’ve finished, the list is very short: Finn’s Milestone quilt, two quilts for Quilt Theory: Staggered and Into the Forest, and my Superbolt Mini Quilt. I may have missed one, but that very well may be the extent of my finishes for 2017. So much for the mantra of “Finish what I’ve started.”

summer adventure quilt progress
Photo from about midway through the summer. There are many more blocks than these!

So what did I do in 2017? I did a LOT of hiking! We hiked at least once per week pretty much every week from March through September.

great pond mountain hikePaired with making an improv tree block before every hike, as well as other blocks to represent other summer adventures, my summer was pretty much filled with the Summer Adventure Quilt and all of the family adventures that went with it. I call that a win.

2018 Quilters Planner and mini-hi resI also did a lot of work for the Quilter’s Planner. Between photographing all 15 projects (I really need to share a post on this soon!), taking photos of the 2017 and 2018 planner both for marketing and for posting on the Instagram feed, and working as the Social Media Manager heading off the Instagram feed, I spent a lot of my time helping inspire others and providing tips on how to plan, stay organized, and create a positive routine of productivity and inspiration. In 2018, I aim to practice what I preach! (laugh with me here!) Honestly, though, the Quilter’s Planner is such an amazing tool, jam packed full of inspiration. Working with Stephanie is really fulfilling and I really do love it.  As with any job, it takes time.

Finally, of course I’m also the full time mom of three amazing children, the wife of a fun-loving husband, and the keeper of a lovely home in rural Maine. That in and of itself is a full time job. All this to say, I’m not disappointed in what I accomplished in 2017. I do, however, hope to use this reflection to help me set more manageable goals for 2018.

Goals for 2018

Where to begin? Since my high aspirations were a bit too high for 2017, I decided to focus on self care, family time, and finding a good balance of time spent on work and fun (both quilting and otherwise!).

I pulled out my 2018 Quilter’s Planner and opened to the Yearly Goals page (this planner really is amazing… and that’s not just my bias talking) to help me brainstorm and get ideas down on paper.

goal setting planning for new year quilter's plannerI chose 3 main goals, and then listed a few steps that would help me achieve each goal. Here they are:

1 – Sew for my family and me, and not just work

  • Finish Max’s Eye Spy quilt
  • Finish Moonstone pillow
  • Plan for 2-3 hours per week dedicated to me-makes
  • Finish Summer Adventure Quilt–finish making blocks, piece top, quilt, finish
  • Sew 9 garments for me!
    • Pick patterns
    • Find sewing buddy!

2 – Focus on Self Care and Family Time

  • Yoga-make it a routine at least 3x per week
  • Schedule and plan ahead more (using Planoly, scheduled blog posts, etc.) so that work isn’t constantly on my mind
  • Actually make goal #1 happen–finish the family quilts that have been on my WIP list for a year+
  • Say NO to some opportunities
  • Summer Adventure 2018?

3 – Continue to Grow and Maintain Night Quilter

  • Blog 3x per week
  • Newsletter 1x per month
  • Quilt & Product Photography – 2 jobs (Quilter’s Planner and ???)
  • Pattern Development:
    • Release 2-3 personal patterns
    • 1 submission to a magazine
    • Stretch: QAL
  • Teach – rock my QuiltCon classes and lecture and then evaluate direction from there–do I actively pursue teaching gigs, or focus on home and family time until my kids are older?
  • Take on no more than 4 outside sew-along, blog hop, or other pattern promoting projects unless it has a measurable impact to build my business.

goal setting planning for new year quilter's plannerSo there you have it. My goals for 2018 are laid out and in public. They now are real, even if they are still written in pencil in my planner.

Any tips to sticking with your goals and making it happen? I’m going to begin by using my Quilter’s Planner in a more organized way. Right now, I absolutely can’t live without it, but I use it more of a to-do list brain dump and “if all stars align and everything is awesome” weekly and daily goals list, than a meticulous plan with actionable, measurable, and attainable steps to get me there. The brain-dump helps keep me sane, prevents me from missing appointments, and helps me feel like I accomplished something even on my craziest days. Now I think it’s time to step it up a notch and work on improving my routines to help me make better use of my time AND take better care of myself.

Here’s to an inspired, productive, and nurturing year ahead!

What are your goals for 2018?

2018 Planning Party

I’m linking up with Yvonne’s Planning Party 2018 over at Quilting Jetgirl.

2017 Goals and a Lush Idea

In my style, I’ve well missed the 2017 Planning Party hosted by Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl, but I thought I would write a quick post with my 2017 Goals and word for the year, both to share my focus and to hold myself accountable!

I’ve been thinking long and hard about what I want to focus on this year, and I’ve decided that I really need to make my mantra: “Finish What You’ve Started”. I have ample projects that were begun with excitement and then quietly forgotten before reaching completion, and I also branched out into a few other big new endeavors in 2016, such as pursuing quilt photography work and designing for Quilt Theory. I’ve been helping Stephanie with the Quilter’s Planner Instagram account, and that has been extremely fun but also takes time. I also have a few potential teaching opportunities that I’m excited about in the coming year. Combined with being a full time mom of three little ones, keeping house, tending chickens, and in the proper season, gardening and adventuring along the coast, my plate is pretty full as it is. So it seems right to set my engine for steady on and just keep plugging away in the direction I’m going.

project planning for 2017
I’ve used the Projects at a Glance page in my Quilter’s Planner to list WIPs from 2016 on the left and new projects in 2017 on the right. The right shows my color palette choice for my 2017 bee and sew alongs–greenery!

That said, I also recognize that there’s no way I could go a full year without trying anything new. For that reason, I also plan to participate in a few Sew Alongs and a Quilt Bee, as I outlined in my last blog post. The relaxed, no-stress mentality will let me fill those block making moments in between my “finishing” so that I can stay fresh and excited about making. I also plan to play along more regularly with the #beesocial prompts, since they stretch my creative spirit more than anything else I’ve encountered. I’m already beginning with Stephanie from Spontaneous Threads’ first prompt for January–Resolution. Watching the video she included as part of her design inspiration prompt reaffirmed the word I selected to guide my year (I definitely recommend clicking over to her post and watching the video. It’s well worth 5 minutes of your time.)

Which brings me to my “one little word”–the one word to guide my year. 2017 will be my “green” year. There are so many influences to my selection of this word, from my lifelong love of nature, my degree in environmental science, to all that’s been happening in the world around us. Sparked initially by Chawne Kimber’s quilt “The One for Eric G”, the first statement quilt I saw that made me hold my breath as my stomach took a nosedive, and made me realize that this amazing craft can be used to inspire positive change (more than just making the world a more beautiful place one stitch at a time), further melded and inspired by the Make Do Quilt challenge posed by Sherri Lynn Wood last year, and always continuously inspired by Hillary from Entropy Always Wins and her focus on using reclaimed textiles in her creations, I have decided on “green” as my word of the year and “finish what you’ve started” as my guiding mantra.

I love how Cheryl from Meadowmist Designs set measurable steps for herself in her goal setting post, so here is my attempt at the same. This year, I will try to:

  • Focus on incorporating repurposed textiles into at least three (3) quilt projects;
  • Minimize new fabric purchases; focus on using the fabrics that exist in my stash already (not very measurable, but important to state!);
  • Experiment with at least six (6) of the #beesewcial prompts to help stretch my creativity and build improv skills;
  • Use a purely green color palette (inspired by Patone’s color of the year, Greenery) on all bee and quilt along blocks to help create a visual statement on being “green” and to stretch my design skills by fitting them all together at the end;
  • Create a more concrete plan for my social action quilt idea, including:
    • a full sketch
    • 2-3 sample blocks
    • brief description
  • Dive further into the “Slow Fashion” movement:
    • Overcome my fear of garment sewing by making at least three (3) items of clothing
    • {BONUS} hand stitch one garment;
  • Complete two (2) quilt photography projects to deepen my repertoire and experience;
  • Teach at least three (3) different quilting and quilt photography related classes–spread the love and inspiration for creating beautiful things!
  • Use my Quilter’s Planner to set manageable goals and help myself feel successful and motivated–including building up to exercising 5 times per week!
  • Stitch daily for 365 days as part of my participation in #1yearofstitches (more on this soon!)
  • Finish eight to ten (8-10) works in progress from last year!!!

Phew, I’d better stop there. I think this is a great start to my goals for the year, and I’m curious to see how successful I am at meeting each of these goals. Note that I have not included pattern design in my specific goals this year. Aside from Quilt Theory patterns, two of which I plan to develop and release this year, I am letting pattern writing be more relaxed this year so that I may focus on my other goals. It doesn’t mean it won’t happen, though!

quilter's planner WIPs from 2016So far I’m off to a decent start and have made good progress on one WIP (Max’s Eye Spy Picnic Plaid), and have finished another, which I’ll share later this week. (Note that I’ve added quite a few old WIPs to this list since this photo was taken).  I’ve begun to play with the #beesewcial prompt, and am incorporating repurposed textiles into it! Baby steps!

I hope your year is off to a great start!

I’ll be linking up with Sew Fresh Quilts’ Let’s Bee Social so that you can all hold me accountable this year!

One Little Word for 2016: Nurture

I’m not one for making new year’s resolutions. Perhaps it’s the knowledge that there’s a really good chance I’d be setting myself up for failure, or perhaps it’s the fact that I make resolutions and goals for myself all year long, but I’ve never really jumped on the resolutions bandwagon. I do, however, love the reflection, reevaluation, and goal-making that comes with beginning a brand new year. Many have chosen a single word on which to focus; “one little word” to guide their year. As Ali Edwards explains on her blog:

“The premise is simple – choose a word to invite into your life for the coming year. You live with it. You let it speak to you. You might even follow where it leads. There are so many possibilities and no right or wrong way to approach the adventure.”

Last year, I chose “balance” as the word to guide my year. It’s hard for me to move my focus in another direction, since I know from the depths of my soul that balance is still very much at the top of my goals list, and most likely will always be there. In reflecting over the past year, I think I did a really great job of balancing quilting with family, friends, and the rest of life, at least up until the last couple of months. Toward the end of the year, I let my excitement at my success at making time to sew despite my full plate bubble over, and I bit off more than I could chew. I’m still floundering to get caught up so that I can feel that refreshed new year, new start feeling. I’ll get there.

With all of that in mind, I’ve finally settled on a word to guide my 2016: nurture.

nurture one little word 2016Even beyond the obvious–the nurture of my three kids–this word is one that I hope will guide my year in a positive way on all levels. Yes, I will aim to care for and encourage the growth and development of my children first and foremost. That almost goes without saying. But I will also use this word to guide other areas of my life:

  • My relationship with my husband–so easy to let slide as our family grows
  • My family as a whole–family fun time all together!
  • Myself–making time for self-care IS essential
  • Relationships with friends–mommy playdates even when the kids are in school soothes my soul
  • My piecing skills–I want to master curves, and always keep learning
  • My quilting skills–more free motion quilting practice, hand quilting, stretching my quilting style 
  • My handwork–I want to sew all the things! embroidery, visible mending, applique, sashiko…
  • My creativity–regularly sketching and developing new patterns helps exercise my creative mind
  • Quilting community–I love this community and want to continue to share inspiration, ideas, and creativity with you. YOU nurture me!
  • The business side of quilting–finding a balance of business commitments that nurtures my creativity while staying true to my ideals and working toward my goals
  • The garden–I let the garden go last year because of Finn’s birth, but this year I want to nourish our bodies with homegrown food again

I suppose it’s a good thing that my biggest problem is wanting to say yes to everything, and wanting to create even half of the ideas that inspire me. But balance is key. This year, I hope to let NURTURE guide my creative, personal, family, and business decisions and continue to let my creativity shine.

I’ve been letting my blogging slide a bit so far this year, but plan to get back into the rhythm of sharing inspiration here. As I mentioned above, I bit off more than I could chew at the end of last year, so I’m still working hard to catch up and meet some final deadlines. I miss you, and will share more soon! Thank you for following along with my creative process, and I look forward to many inspiring conversations in the year ahead! May this blog help nurture your creativity as well!


3 Tips on Making Time to Sew Daily: #sewtake20

We all have busy lives. Whether it’s work, family, hobbies, friends, or chores that fill your days, there’s always something that needs to be done. As a full time mom with a newborn, I know that there is an endless list of chores–laundry, dishes, cooking, vacuuming, gardening, cleaning up after two busy toddlers, did I mention laundry?–on top of keeping my kids alive and of course loved and engaged in fun activities that easily fills my days and nights. I’ve been asked a few times how I find time to sew with three kiddos include a newborn. My answer is simple: I make time.

life is full with three kids
Life is full, but you can still make time to do the things you love.

At first I felt guilty taking time to sew and quilt when there was always a long list of chores that could be done.  But over the past few years, I’ve learned that I need to make time for myself in order to keep my sanity. Taking time regularly to create something beautiful (since that’s always what we’re doing when we quilt, right?) helps me to recenter and rejuvenate. “Me time” is a necessary part of my existence as a happy full time mom and wife. I know that now.

So how to “make time” in an otherwise jam packed schedule?

1. Set small attainable goals

For me, setting small attainable goals has the most success in helping me find regular sewing time while staying motivated and enjoying the process. As a yoga teacher, students often struggled with maintaining a personal practice at home. The best advice I heard during one of my teacher trainings was to set your bar LOW: make it your goal to roll out your mat and stand on it each day. That’s it. Roll out your mat. Stand on it. Goal accomplished! Once you are standing on your mat, it’s so easy to take a deep breath and do yoga. Rolling out the mat is the hardest part.

set a timer for 20 minutes and just sewThe same applies for sewing. Set your bar low. Make it your goal to step into your sewing space each day. Set a timer for 20 minutes and aim to create for 20 minutes per day. If the 20 minutes passes and you’re still going strong (and don’t have any crying kids or impending business meetings), go ahead and take 20 more!

2. Just do it! 

Nike was on to something. Take it from me, if you spend the entire day thinking you will take your 20 minute sew break later, there’s a good chance you will be too tired when “later” finally comes. Regardless of whether your goal is to go for a run, clean the bathroom, write a letter to your best friend, or sew for 20 minutes, it’s best to accomplish it sooner than later. Besides, who doesn’t want to start their day with a “win”? Get the hard stuff out of the way early in the day, and you will be surprised how much lighter and more motivated you feel. Who knows–maybe you’ll be inspired to find time to take 20 more later that day!

3. Be gentle with yourself

This is the most important rule, in my opinion. We are our own worst critics, and it’s easy to fall into the pit of “I can’t” or “I should have”.  I wish I could remember who told me: “Don’t should on yourself.” (say it out loud–get it?). Should is such a helpless word. The past has passed; there’s no changing it and no use in thinking about what you should have done. Think instead of what you will do now.

be gentle with yourselfTry to create new habits with a gentle heart. If you currently are not consistently sewing at all, maybe make your goal to #sewtake20 four out of seven days this week. (Remember tip #2, though–getting those days under your belt early in the week will keep you feeling pumped and motivated). Once you get into the rhythm of MAKING time for yourself, even if it’s only 20 minutes at a time, up the ante for your goal and try taking time for yourself five days a week. Before you know it, you’ll be taking those 20 minutes daily, feeling efficient, and seeing progress on your formerly stagnant sewing projects.

My friends Stephanie at Late Night Quilter and Mandy at Mandalei Quilts and I are trying a new project to help us make time for ourselves. We’re using hashtag #sewtake20 on social media to help track our progress, and create a support network for those of you who want to join us. We invite you to post your progress, your challenges, and your quilting eye candy so that we can all help encourage and inspire each other.

Are you feeling overwhelmed at your mountainous to do list? #sewtake20

Feeling like there’s just no way you can accomplish your goal? #sewtake20

Want to find a way to make more time for yourself?

The wise Lau Tzu said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Taking 20 minute sewing escapes daily WILL result in a finished project. And you just might be a happier, more relaxed mom, wife, friend, or coworker to boot. I know I am.

3 Tips on Making Time to Sew Daily

How do you make time to sew?

I’m linking up with Late Night Quilter’s Tips & Tutorials Tuesday.

July Goal {ALYoF}

July came in with a literal bang, and here we are already a week into it! I’m squeaking by with my July goal setting post for A Lovely Year of Finishes (ALYoF) just in the nick of time. This month I have a super fun but secret project to finish. I have a pattern coming out in the September issue of Make Modern eMagazine, and my goal for July is to finish it all up! I need to trim, bind, and photograph the quilt, and need to finish proofreading the pattern write up.

make modern quilt peekI can only show you tiny peeks until the issue comes out, but you can count on a full reveal come September.

alison glass ex libris
I plan to bind the quilt with this Alison Glass Geometry print from her Ex Libris line. The fabric designer aficionados among you probably noticed that the quilt includes the 2015 Sun Prints by Alison Glass… surprised? 🙂

I’m confident that I’ll meet this goal, since, well, I have to! The deadline is a week away. For this reason, I considered choosing a different project as my July goal, but ultimately opted not to. ALYoF emphasizes the selection of ONE goal per month, which really helps me prioritize my project progress. Finishing this quilt submission is my biggest goal, so it is a perfect choice for ALYoF.

As a mom of a newborn, and newly a mom of three, my progress is made in very small bits. I have learned that if I set lofty, time consuming goals, I set myself up for failure or at the very least, a stressful anxious push to complete the goals in time. On the other hand, when I set small, attainable goals, I’m motivated to complete them without stress, and then feel good that I’ve actually accomplished something, which then motivates me to create more. Just because I complete my ALYoF goal before the end of the month doesn’t mean I can’t then work on other projects. It’s a win-win of positive, fun quilty progress without stress.

I’m linking up to A Lovely Year of Finishes July Goal Setting party with Fiber of All Sorts and Sew BitterSweet Designs. When I complete this month’s goal, you’ll get another sneak peek or two to hold you over until September!