Friday, January 3, 2014

2014 - My year of FOCUS

2013 wasn't a bad year for me at all but I'm looking forward to an even better new year.
Like many others, I'm not one who makes resolutions either but instead pick a word or mindset to carry me through the year. My mindset for 2013 was to resist...resist buying fabric just because I only liked it and didn't absolutely LOVE it, resist joining in a ton of online bees, swaps and blog hops so that I could concentrate on my own projects and resist spending too much time sitting at the computer and actually sewing more.

So how did I do last year? Well not too bad but not what I had hoped for either. There are still a bunch of projects that I had hoped to get done last year (or at least started) that are still waiting. Blarg! I did buy fabric, probably more than I should have, but I did resit a lot of lines too. I only participated in a couple of blog hops and no online QALs, bees or swaps, other than the ones that I hosted of course.

As is typical, I started thinking about this year about 6 weeks ago and what I want to accomplish. A few months back I took on more hours at work and that just didn't work for me so I've cut it down a little again to a schedule that I think makes more sense and still gets the work done.

In 2014, I want to

and to go along with that word is my secondary word LEARN.

I want to quilt my own quilts and to do that I need to focus on getting to know my longarm Penelope a lot more and learn all that I can about her and the art of longarm quilting. To that end, I'm planning on attending MQX Quilt Festival-new England in April to take as many classes as possible.

I also want to focus on developing my own quilt patterns, all the ones that I have sketched out on paper and those I have floating around in my head. At some point I want to get them published, either in magazines or to sell. For my birthday a few months ago I got Electric Quilt 7 but I have yet to even load it onto my computer let alone actually use it. My focus will be to learn the program and use it to bring my pattern ideas to fruition.
I also want to learn paper piecing. MY LQS was having a class in the fall for a paper pieced winter table runner that I wanted to take but at the last minute the class was cancelled because the instructor was ill. They were going to reschedule but I don't believe that has happened yet so this year I'll be looking to see what other small project paper piecing class(s) I can find to learn this interesting technique.

Overall, this year I'm going to focus on finding a good balance between doing what I love and caring for who I love. 

I need to focus on getting fit. I'm not overweight per say but being petite, even a few extra pounds makes me really uncomfortable in my own skin. Plus the skin I have isn't anywhere near firm. So a bit of exercise is going to become part of my normal routine. I'm not the gym type and I refuse to get out to run or walk in the bad weather so I'll be inside my house most of the time. A small amount of time exercising a few days a week is certainly better than none at all and I know that seeing results will spur me to do even more.

Family has also got to be a huge focus this year. Too much of 2013 was spent running or catching up so I desperately need to get back into my normal habit of planning and prepping ahead. I don't like being behind the 8 ball. To that end, within the next few days I'll be finally sorting through the mounds of recipes that I've been saving to try and working out a 4-6 week meal plan for us. A friend did this and it sounds like the perfect idea. It will help keep us from throwing together the usual quick meals at the last minute, it will help us eat healthier, it will help us get more veggies into our diets and it will certainly help the big TIME factor. I'm really looking forward to the variety this will bring. I love to cook and can't wait to get back into it. If you have great crock pot recipes, please send them my way.

On the family front, we're also looking into some new activities opportunities for the kidlets and I'll be focusing on other things I want to get do more with/for them. Sunshine is into crafting in a big way and Santa brought lots of goodies for her to craft with. I need to make the time to do that with her. Our garden will get more attention this year and the kids are going to pick something to grow too.

I've been a cake decorator for 20+ year. Here are a few pictures of my work.
My life has been so insane these past 2 Decembers that I haven't had the time to make my own kids' birthday cakes. That isn't going to happen again this year. I can't change when they were born so our Decembers will always be really busy but if I can focus on getting the Christmas prep done earlier, I'll have the time to create the birthday cakes of their dreams.

Quilt blog land has so many wonderful people and this year I want to focus on being more in it. I think I want to perhaps participate in at least one QAL or BOM, but just one. I'm not going to join any bees this year because I'm already involved in one...The Primary Bee that I'm hosting for the young ones. I'm also going to try to participate in ongoing weekly and monthly linky parties more so that I can connect with more quilters, learn more from others and find new inspiration.

So what about my hosting plans for this year? Well I just don't know yet. Other than the ongoing Primary Bee, I have yet to decide all that I want to do this year. Absolutely YES I will be hosting the Kate Spain Charm Swap Round 2 (announcement and sign ups to start soon) but I'm not sure if there is enough interest to host a Modern Mini Mystery Round Robin 2014 or perhaps a Mini Mystery Round Robin with a theme such as Halloween or Christmas. I hope the masses will speak up and let me know what you'd like to see this year from me.

There are just a few more things I want to focus on this year.

The kids' life books and baby books are still languishing but I'm determined to make progress on this somehow. There are literally thousands of pictures printed and waiting and I'm going to make time to work on this each month.

We've been in this new house 2 3/4 years and I still have 3 rooms that aren't painted at all. In my defense, I'm waiting on hubs to get the wainscoting up in 2 of the rooms and it was only just prior to the holiday season that I found the right color for the 3rd room. The goal will be to have all of these completed before summer comes.

Quilting life wise, I hope to focus on expanding my online connections, to bring you more in the way of tutorials and giveaways and to that end I'll be contacting some companies about sponsorship opportunities. Hopefully this will turn into a Win Win situation for all of us. I'd love to do more product reviews. I'm looking forward to making some serious industry connections at MQX in April and I'm even considering trying to find a way to attend Quilt Market this spring in Pittsburgh (anyone need some booth assistance?). My ultimate goal is to leave my accounting life behind and make my quilting business my career.

So this list is plenty long enough and if you have read down this far, I thank you deeply. I knew that this would be a long post and that is why it has taken a couple of days to get it done but I really needed to get all of this out of my head and in writing so that I can really start focusing on my goals for this year. My condensed list for 2014 looks like this:

1. Penelope - learn to use her and get my own quilts done
2. MQX Quilt Festival New England - attend to learn and to make industry connections
3. Electric Quilt 7 - learn to use it to develop my patterns and get them published
4. Learn paper piecing
5. Exercise to get fit
6. Develop and use a 4-6 week meal plan
7. Craft and garden with the kids
8. Christmas prep done early, before Thanksgiving
9. Make my own kids' birthday cakes
10. Join 1 QAL or BOM
11. Participate in regular linky parties to connect more with others
12. Work on the kids' life books and scrapbooks
13. Paint 3 remaining rooms
14. Blog sponsors
15. Spring quilt market

How does that look? Too much? Maybe...but I've got to start somewhere and making a list is always the 1st thing that I do. No matter what your own plans are for 2014, I hope that you can make great huge strides this year to accomplish them.

11 of you added your own colorful comments:

kathyinozarks said...

Good morning, I think you have set some really good goals for yourself.
I have lots of books on paper piecing that were my Moms that I am selling if needing any books let me know-I want to find homes for her quilt books.Hope the New Year is all you want it to be.

Kathy @ Kwilty Pleasures said...

Hi Michelle...quite a list. I'm sure you will be focused on all you can do and I'll be here watching for all the fun!

beaquilter said...

What a great way to FOCUS!! all sounds good...
You'll love PP :) especially since you can design them yourself in EQ, how about trying the hummingbird block or an easy kaleidoscope block, just make one block and keep it for later or make a pillow or if you go small, make a pin cushion :)

Diane-crewe said...

well I think just TRYING makes you a winner x Keep on and you will be fine x
Personally I have LOVED (as you know) the Mini-Round-Robins you have organised in the past ... just say the word and I will be there x

HeatherK @ A Reformed Heath'n said...

You are one of the most focused and determined people I know--I'm sure you'll do great this year. I'm in for the Kate Spain swap again, and I've really enjoyed the two round robins I've done with you, too. I like the ones that stay away from the holidays, but that's because I don't have any themed fabric in my stash. I'm looking forward to some guest posts and product reviews!

ChristaQuilts said...

I think you are off to a great start! Half the battle is writing it down and narrowing down what you want to do. Good luck with it!

Sarah Craig said...

Good goals! If you figure out how to get to Quilt Market, I wish you'd let me know! I'd love to go, too - it's one of my "bucket list" goals, right up there with running a quilting retreat site! Anyway, good luck on your goals - it will be fun to see how it goes for you this year!

Val's Quilting Studio said...

Welcome to 2014...with can do this!

Judy1522 said...

That is a great list of goals and I wish you only the best in accomplishing them.

Sewgreen said...

I would LOVE to participate in a robin robin!! It's something I have never done and really want to do!

Tina said...

Good goals Michele but relax, Sister Dear! Focus is good but not too many. Set a few goals but then after those, anything is a bonus!