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!


the helpers

I’ve been writing more lately, but not necessarily quilting or happy thoughts. So I thought today I would share some fun. I’ll tell you right now, if you are not a fan of cats, then you can read at your own risk.

I have 4, all of which were ‘rescued’. I have almost always had cats around, but when I got divorced I didn’t have any. And then Fred came along. We found him in the Walmart parking lot at dark as we were leaving. He was a kitten with a scuffed paw, black and gray (white but he was SO dirty)!

He still gets dirty like that when he climbs into the fireplace, looking for the birds chirping from above.

Kaela implored me to get him, so I did. Not for one moment have I ever been sorry for that decision. He’s a total mommas boy. He’s fat and half dog. Before he lays down to sleep he has to circle three times. He lays on the floor with his legs out behind him,

he licks the shower door when I’m done, and taught the other cats to do it too.

He lays on his back sparing no one’s vision of that big white belly.

I love him, even when he awakens me at midnight for a headbutt and some scratching.

But Fred got lonely when we left town for the weekend. I knew because when we came home he was super lovey and then would wrestle with my arm and play mean. And when he climbed the ladder he shot lasers out of his eyes at me.

So we decided to get some friends for him. We found Iris and Kelley at Petsmart during their Saturday adoptions. Kelley was fluffy with incredibly bright eyes,

Iris was angry looking and her tail looked like she had lost some fur.

They are supposedly sisters, but Iris has this motherly prescence, and Kelley has this needy LOVE ME PET ME PICK ME persona. She still chases her tail. They drink out of the toilet together. I have proof. What’s really funny is to watch one come sauntering out of the bathroom like nothing is new, and a few minutes later the other one comes out. Mhm.

They also drink out of any glass or vessel possible. Most often that would be the water glass next to the bed. Much like Fred taught them the fun of licking the shower, they taught him the art of getting water out of a glass his head doesn’t fit in.

If you scratch Iris just right in her ears, she drools. Scratch right above her tail and she licks like there’s no tomorrow. I mean, licks whatever is in front of her (like Kaela’s computer). When Kaela is gone for the night, Iris goes up to her room and drags down her assorted belongings. We’ve found socks, bras, undies, shorts, tank tops, blankets and TONS of barbie clothes.

Because of this instance, we thought for a while that it was Fred, and then I caught Iris in the act.

These two look like Russian Blues with long hair. After they got comfortable in the house, Kelley lost her weight playing Nascar all night on the stairs, and Iris fattened up and regrew all her fur. Sometimes you can’t even tell them apart.

Iris is playful sometimes, like around 10am she goes to the 2nd stair and sees something that makes her bolt. Then she sneaks back over, back twitching and attacks the side of the step again. Sometimes she plops down to lick herself, throws her leg up and just sits there. Other days, we’re lucky enough to catch her sitting on the couch like a true couch potato.

Iris has the most amazing amount of fur. I call her the nappy ho. In fact, she doesn’t know it yet, but she’s getting shaved week after next. This should be interesting.

And then theres CJ.

Kaela brought him home from their dad’s neighborhood the weekend we were in Galveston. CJ stands for Captain Jacks, which is where Joe proposed to me that weekend. CJ was a handful at first, with bad diahrea for the first month and trying to mark. He also hadn’t been fixed, so I took him to the vet and resolved these things. I had to take him back again because he had some allergies that needed treatment. sigh, high maintenance little guy.

Once he was fixed, he turned into a total kitten.

He playfully attacks every other cat in the house, feet under covers, awakes me with a wet nose on my arm in the middle of the night, or bringing his crumpled paper toy up on the bed to play with… His favorite toy is a blue bow he stole off a gift Amy had wrapped. He’ll play with it, then pick it up in his mouth and carry it somewhere else to play with.

He also meows incessantly sometimes. He will do that and go by the back door if he wants to go out, or by the pantry door if he wants baby food (stops the diahrea). Sometimes he just sleeps, for hours and hours and hours…

Most of the time he, um… sings? It’s like a trill and meow and brrrrrrrrpppp with TONS of tonal fluctuation. Like he’s really singing or saying something different to you. And then sometimes it’s just whining.

My cats are a great source of happiness and entertainment. I feel a great bond with Fred, and when I’m not well, he curls up next to my head for the entire time I’m down. Some people prefer dogs – I don’t know what to do with them. But I know how to make a cat purr, and I appreciate that little bit of attitude they give sometimes. Maybe because they’re like me. 🙂

I’d have 20 cats if I could. But I’m pretty sure Joe wouldn’t have that. sigh. I just love them all so much!