my 2017 projection

Well hello there! Yes, it has been a while… a LONG while. there’s a good reason though, and that reason is that 2016 was crazy busy. I had the busiest year by far out of my seven years of longarm quilting for the public! Like 140% of business compared to the prior year!

This has all been a good thing, because things happened: I paid off a student loan, I put money in savings and CD’s for my girls, and I sort of learned to say no. Most importantly, I had an intervention with some quilty friends at retreat. They sat me down (more than once) and explained how important I am. That I have value, and that I need to make time for ME.

So that’s the plan. This year is all about balance, and about keeping myself as a top priority on my to-do list.

Last year I had quite a few friends that made resolutions to finish UFO’s, to not buy new fabric, to not start new projects but finish their old. My resolution (if you want to call it that) this year will be to start new projects! Ha!

I would like to say one per week, but I think one per month is more realistic.

There is another fuel propelling me towards this goal: I went a little crazy on buying fabric over my holiday time off. I mean like, $6-700 crazy. It’s been a long time since I really went on a spree to buy anything just for me. Usually it’s something to finish customer quilts, bolts of black, or stabilizer. Not necessarily the fun stuff.

When I got home and had the opportunity to fondle my purchases, I decided to see if I had some things in my stash to match or coordinate with my new things. I was appalled. Absolutely embarrassed by the amount of fabric I have hoarded, yet at the same time, I can’t stop. I cannot stop buying beautiful fabrics within which I see great potential for beauty when combined in the right group with other fabrics and a great pattern.

The interesting thing is that I noticed that my fabric tastes have changed. I purged a lot of fabrics over the past few years that were cottagey, boho chic, sort of floral in favor of marbles, solids and blenders, with colors being the opportune eye catcher of the quilt. Interesting to note, at least for me. I have also picked up quite a few black and white prints.

What to do? USE IT. I need to make things. Well, not just things, but QUILTS. So today I started.

Actually it was yesterday. I set out some focus fabrics on my table and some fabric groups. But today I cut fabric from three sets into ‘kits’ that will work with the patterns I chose for them. I’m having surgery next week, and I figure I may not be able to cut or quilt or do heavy lifting, but I could certainly sit at the machine and piece.

So I guess what I have to say about all of this is:

  • if you love fabric, buy it. eventually you will use it or give it to someone that will.
  • use it, and use it now. don’t save the stuff you love for another day. a friend of mine said she knew a lady that did just that, and suddenly went blind, so could no longer play with her favorite fabrics she has saved.
  • start new projects. if you have UFO’s you can’t get back to, give them to someone at your guild, or in a friendship group. It may just become a cherished, and finished project.

I’m a scrapper, so I use a lot of them in quilts and just love the way scrappy quilts look. If you aren’t a scrap saver, give them to someone who is. They will find a good use for the fabric! If you do applique or postcards, the smallest piece of fabric is often still usable.

So, like I said, for me this year is about balance. Balance, meaning I will find time for the gym, to cook some dinners, and most importantly, to make some quilts that I want to make. That does mean that my business goals are less aggressive, financial goals less skyward, but in exchange my happiness level should be stable, achievable, and daily. AND less stress to boot!

Essentially, this is a re-evaluation of my measure of success. This past year was about driving my income over and above the year before. OK, check that off, done. This year, that’s less important than finding peace with a balanced lifestyle, and a holiday season that isn’t overwhelmingly busy to the point of no time for family.

I’m quite excited for this new year. I hope you are too! Happy quilting my friends!

Advertisements

TEXAS state fair

As with every year, the state fair did not disappoint. Actually I would be happy to attend any state’s county or state fair; I have never walked out of the gates of one feeling let down. I have some great childhood memories that fuel my interest in going every year, even though those memories are very non-specific. I remember going and having fun, leaving with feet hurting but eyes and tummy bursting from all the eye-candy and fried food beheld within.

So, I have ensured my family gets to relive the experience year after year. This year we had really nice weather and low expectations. Meaning, I didn’t have an agenda of what I wanted to see and do, or how long we should spend there. So the day went by smoothly. We actually took the DART train to get there and back, which was a nice experience. The train system is new and functions very smoothly. By the time we arrived the train was quite full, but we had seats going both directions, which was nice on the way home with those aching feet.

The train station was directly in front of the main gate of the fair. We bought our tickets and entered the fray. Before we made our way very far through the fair, we had to stop for grub. We all made some pretty healthy choices, despite the reputation that there is only a thousand fried foods to choose from. We had pickles (yes, on sticks), a corndog (a must), a bratwurst, tamales, greek salad, sauerkraut, ice cream and LOTS of water. 

We watched Dan the Pumpkin Carver doing his magic in the arboretum.

 That’s one of my favorite places within the fair. I just love the plants and trees and the lush greenery.

Next we made our way through the Midway, where Amy and I played some games. She won a small banana (she was going for the big jamaican banana), and then she rode as many coasters as I would let her. After Joey and I had enough standing around in what little shade we could find while she rode, we walked over to the buildings.

We were distracted on our way over to see the Arts and Crafts and the Food and Fiber Pavillion by the arena. We ended up inside to watch the Amazing Doberman Show. It was pretty good, and allowed us to rest our feet for a bit. Next we were off to the Food and Fiber Pavillion for some free samples!

We ate a bite of hot pickle, a dip of salsa, small cone of ice cream, chunk of ham (we didn’t all eat these things…) and part of a burger. Sipped tea and coffee and checked out the quilt that I quilted last year from the block contest for the fair. Still looked amazing :).

Next to the wine garden, which was right outside the building. We sampled quite a few varieties, my favorite of which was a local white. Llano Chenin = yum. Very fruity but not sweet or dry. Just the way I like it!

We heard something of a parade heading by, and Joe spotted the USMC band passing by, so we followed and watched them perform. AMAZING!

We headed over to see the Arts and Crafts to check out the winning exhibits in the many contests that the state fair hosts every year. I was certain to pay close attention to the winning canned foods so that when I remember to enter next year, I take an easy first place in all my categories! AND we saw an amazing LARGE sculpture from butter!

Lastly, we headed through the marketplaces, checking out all the items for sale at “special fair prices”. You could name anything and it was probably for sale there, which is part of the fun of the fair. As we were walking out we spotted Crystal Bowersox playing on stage.

We waved to Big Tex on the way out, decked out in his new Dickies outfit this year, as we headed back to the train and home. What a great day.

Funny thing is that we missed many shows, the petting zoo, the museum, the animals and the entire cultural building. SO MUCH TO SEE! That THAT is why I love the state fair. It’s always worth going, no matter what you really want to see while you are there.

Last weekend’s run

OK so this is on a bit more of a personal note, but expect me to share more than just quilting. Last weekend my girls and I participated in a 5K to raise money for lung cancer research. I was so proud of them. It was a bit warm, but the event didn’t begin until 2pm, so the temperature was in the high 80’s, with the sun shining brightly.

With the heat creeping in on us, and the innate difficulty of doing a longer race than you have done before (for Amy it was, Kaela has already run a few), Amy and I made a motto to keep ourselves going. If you have ever watched the claymation Christmas movies, you’ll remember the song about putting one foot in front of the other. That’s it! 

The result is encouraging. It wasn’t a timed event, so by result I don’t mean how fast we ran (actually Amy and I walked most of it). I am excited that all three of us want to continue finding weekend runs to join!

Next weekend (4/16) we will be running through the Fort Worth zoo in a timed event. Or walking. But the point is that we will be up and moving, exercising as a family. It feels so good to help my girls find and grow healthy lifestyles, and be happy and good feeling as a result.

lung cancer fundraiser 5k