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!

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Resolutions vs. Goals

I’m an avid listmaker. Always have been. Before I had things I actually needed to make lists to keep track of (like my daily to-do’s), I made lists of things, words that rhymed, types of animals, whatever entertained my childish mind. But as an adult, it’s no surprise to me that I continue to rely on, and actually enjoy making, my variety of lists.

One of those lists revolves around 2013, and quilting. By default, I decided not to make any resolutions this year. Actually I didn’t even think about making any, I just plumb forgot. So I guess it’s not that important to me.

What I decided WAS important to me was making some goals, personal and professional. I haven’t delved into personal aspirations yet, but have made my list of professional goals for 2013. They’re pretty basic, but I think making them will keep them in the forefront of my mind, and help me keep focused every week/month/quarter to ensure I’m doing the best I can to grow my business in the direction that I want it to go.

Some are more specific than others, but all are measurable. For example, I have decided that I need to spend time every week on a charity project. Even if that means working for an hour piecing a top to donate, then I have satisfied my self-imposed requirement. I like this goal, because I know how important that work is to me and how good I feel about doing it, so it isn’t a chore, but this goal is a good reminder to do a little bit every week; make time for it.

I (of course) want to generate more income on a monthly and annual basis than in previous years (which would indicate a successful business from the standpoint of most people, I think), but this year I want to ensure I am putting aside funds for taxes on a regular basis, so it doesn’t feel so painful when Uncle Sam comes a’knocking.

I have a few goals with respect to my guild involvement and marketing, fabric buying (this might be tough, because I want to cut back), updating the pictures on my website and blogging regularly. All in all, I think this list is functional, rather than a string of pipedreams or unattainable measurements. Just enough to keep me focused for the year.

Happy quilting!