Saturday, December 19, 2015

Planning Party

I'm represent both ends of the planning spectrum, from agonizing over every possibility while initiating nothing, to going about things so willy nilly that I forget my intentions and miss out entirely.
With three little ones, it's easy to get distracted, so I believe there's value in thinking through what I aim to do. I'm not likely to accomplish anything unless I make a conscientious effort.
To show my dedication to the cause, I'm joining Yvonne, aka Quilting Jetgirl, for her 2016 Planning Party.
2016 Planning Party

My Quilty Aspirations for 2016:

  1. Decrease my UFOs. I won Craftsy's #WorksInProgress, which was simultaneously awesome (being rewarded for my procrastination with a free class) and embarrassing (81 unfinished things is hard to admit, especially when you neglected to take a picture of the UFO under the cutting table and the one in a basket on the floor). 
  2. Prepare a course offering. While I can't get away for more than a few hours at a time due to my sweet babe, I enjoy teaching very much. I've also found it to be a more promising method of making a modest income than working at a quilt shop (immersive fabric-buying temptation).
  3. Give back. The ability to bring comfort and beauty to the lives of others provoked my desire to learn to quilt. I want to keep this motivational factor stoked.
  4. Enjoy the inspiration. I love attending quilt shows to soak in the inspiration. I must remind myself that I don't need the ability to replicate in order to appreciate. 
    Kan Oh Chi Rai---Prediction by Study the Past by Yoskiyuki Ishizaki
  5. Keep an appropriate perspective. My family takes precedence. I must bear in mind that, for a time, I need to prioritize my personal goals and delay some professional ones (book writing, soliciting a multitude of sponsorships, etc.) until it is more reasonable to dedicate myself more completely. Consistently cooking and getting my body back into a shape that remotely resembles a no-longer-pregnant lady wouldn't hurt to have as aspirations.
    Photo by Jessica Inman
  6. Critically analyze my participation. I have served on the board of a local guild and participated in many others, joined swaps, and created quilts specifically for challenges. In the coming year, I aim to limit my participation to groups that provide an outlet for building friendships and fostering creative inspiration. When I join a group, I feel a sense of obligation to attend every meeting, whether or not it is a beneficial use of my time because I have already committed the money. This year I am continuing with the Albuquerque Modern Quilt Guild, since the evening meetings serve as a Mom's Night Out opportunity. However, I'm not going to religiously attend other guilds where the focus is on fundraising events, or far-away daytime meetings make focusing on the meeting with children in tow an unattainable dream. I thoroughly enjoyed being part of bees and a round robin, but repetitive monthly commitments that don't take nighttime newborn feedings into account are not ideal. Mailing costs, trips to the post office (30 min. lines and no bathroom is a mother's version of the underworld.), and blocks that may not be arrive or be up to par are additional discouraging factors. I prefer commitments I can take on a case by case basis, such as blog hops and linky parties. Challenges have resulted in some great accomplishments for me. However, I am prepared to refocus on things I've already bought and started. I prefer not to purchase fabrics, materials, and/or memberships I would not have otherwise chosen; spend time creating something under parameters that limit me creatively; pay an entry fee; and then have a high likelihood that my piece will not be juried into a show or win a prize.
  7. Host a linky party. I'll be starting a linky party in January. I'd love it if you'd consider joining along to share your "If only I had known..." experiences. If you don't have a fount of humbling experiences to choose from, as I do, that's perfectly fine. Observations, inspirations, revelations, new-to-you techniques, pointers, and anything else a quilter may benefit from knowing will also be welcome.
  8. Track and share my progress. If I take pictures and notes as I create it will be easier to explain how I arrived at the final product.
  9. Design a Quilt Along. I aspire to design a quilt so astoundingly awesome that the populace will be powerless to resist sewing with me, fabric companies will toss fabric my way to see their prints shine in the design's radiance, guilds will book me to teach said epic pattern....(Cue sleep-deprived, deranged ramblings of an ambitious optimist.)
  10. Make a masterpiece. I want to make something original that pushes me. While there will undoubtably be imperfections, I want to make a piece that I feel confident enough to enter in a show--one that I love whether or not it is accepted, because it represents what I can do when I'm giving 100%.
Something I believe is equally important to making goals, is figuring out what you don't want to do.
  1. Start a long-arm business. I have discovered that I enjoy the motion associated with sitting and moving a quilt with my hands. I enjoy crazy-dense detail in my quilting, and therefore prefer smaller quilts that are more manageable on my current machine. If I make a gargantuan quilt, I know long-armers who do amazing things.
  2. Sell quilts at a loss. While I'm happy to donate quilts to worthy causes, I am not interested in parting with my pretty creations for less than the cost of materials, solely to carve out cabinet space. It is difficult for many to comprehend why a small quilt should cost so much given that you can acquire a complete "quilt" set for $20 (shipping included). However, if it's all the same to the recipient, I would prefer to present her with a $25 gift card to the Wal-Mart, and tuck my own children under what cost me $130 in materials and fifteen hours to make. Heck, she's even welcome to shop Anthropology, where they have minion robots or house elves or thirty poor indentured servant children working at no more than $2.33 per hour (assuming materials fell from the sky and incurred no cost). Not to worry folks, it was a "labor of love". Ok, I think I'm done with that tirade now.
  3. Work for free. It's easier than one would think to fall into this trap. There's the shop samples aimed at promoting fabrics customers would otherwise dismiss. These necessitate unpaid hours piecing and creating a free pattern, along with out-of-pocket costs for batting, backing, and possibly compensation for the long-armer. There's the guest postings that require tutorial development and content exclusively available on the host's website in return for mention of your existence and a portion of the materials required to create the original project featured. I aim to ask myself:
    1. Is this something I would have otherwise picked to do in my free time?
    2. Is someone else being paid to do what I'm being asked to do without compensation?
    3. Is the person asking profiting by offering donated or wholesale product in leu of actual money?
Thanks for joining me on this planning adventure. I wish you clarity of direction in the coming year. May all your goals come true!
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  1. oh man you have put a lot of thought into these! It is a really good list, I can definitely relate to most of them! I really like the motion of moving small quilts under my machine for really little detail stuff. But I dream of having a longarm because I want to be able to do that kind of stuff on big quilts without shoving some massive thing around and rotating it a million times! But I think mini quilts will always be done on my domestic. I love the idea of your linky party and will plan to participate!

  2. Some great goals. I can relate to your UFO problem! Mine are scattered all over my sewing room because I'm scared to do an inventory. I love the idea of deciding what you won't do.

  3. This sounds really great, Afton. YOu have really thought things through. I hope you are able to get a lot done this year, but mostly I hope you enjoy your kids. My daughter is a senior this year and will be going off to college in the fall. It is killing me to think about her not being around everyday. I will only survive because I know she is going after HER dreams! My son is a Sophomore and is learning to drive. Pretty soon, they just won't need me on a daily basis anymore. I know its hard to appreciate the demand of being a mother every day, but the day when that demand diminishes is far closer than you realize. I miss my quilting and going to guild meetings because there just isn't time for it when you work full time and have kids at home. Unfortunately, in a few years, I am afraid I will have more free time than I want.
    Wish you and your family all the best this holiday season!

  4. An awesome list for the new year! I love the theme of recognizing your self worth and putting what matters most first. It can be so easy to slip into doing things we wouldn't have done otherwise simply because it was spur of the moment. Good luck with keeping true to your goals, I'll be looking out for your linky party! :)

  5. This is a very enjoyable post. You've put a lot of thought into it. Your goals sound like good ones for you that will stretch you but not overwhelm you. I like also that you have used your experience to figure out some things you don't want to do.

  6. What a great list.

    Good luck with the JFOs. Don't stress them too much. I too had a huge list a few years ago and have whittled it down by working on the projects I still love and finding a new home for the ones I don't.

  7. wow....this is fun to read glad you will stay with ABQMQG as you inspire so many of us with your creations. hope you have a happy holiday season with your kiddos and hubby. I am anxiously awaiting my Quilter's Planner and hope that it will help me to organize myself and my projects/plans so I can get some older projects completed this year too!

  8. This is a fantastic post, Afton! I definitely agree that it is equally (if not more important) know know what you don't want to do, and you eloquently described many of the items I think it would behoove us all to try to avoid. Beyond that, I am really interested in the Lessons Learned Linky Party, so I will definitely look forward to learning more and participating if I can!

  9. I love that you added the things you don't want to do. I think its so important. Good luck on your goals :-)

  10. Afton, your goals are great and very specific. Wouldn't it be great if we could all finish up those UFOs lurking in hidden places. I look forward to your Linky party and what you create for the quilt along.

  11. This is an amazing post, Afton. I really enjoyed reading your thoughts and hearing about your goals for the coming New Year. And I would love to join in your Lessons Learned linky party! I can really relate to your "Don't Want To Do" list also. Looking forward to following along and spending 2016 with you!

  12. I love that you included a To-Not-Do list! I agree with all of them :) Your goals are great too. Good luck whittling down that WIP pile!

  13. Oh, things not to do this year is a good idea! Your list has excellent points...I'll have to think about some myself too.

  14. I might imitate your "not-to-do" idea, Afton!! The linky party idea sounds interesting, I've made a note to check it out after the New Year!