Here we are again! The end of another year. I honestly feel like the years are flying by faster and faster. There’s something therapeutic about reviewing the past year and seeing all that was really accomplished. 2016 was a weird year in many respects – in some ways I’m kind of happy to see it come to an end – but quilting-wise, it was a remarkable one for me. Looking back through the pictures, I’m a little stunned at all that went down this year. It was full of so many “pinch-me” moments – I’m kind of amazed. It also explains why I feel so tired. 😉
Last winter I loved participating in Winter Quiltfest with Jen Kingwell and the chance to spend time with so many other lovely people. This was also my first year to attend QuiltCon – it was a great experience to meet and be around so many other inspiring and enthusiastic quilters, and I loved getting to hear from quilter-extraordinaire, Gwen Marston. I totally recommend both a quilting retreat or QuiltCon, if you get the chance!
It was also a year of a lot of hard work coming together. I try to put on a pretty face in the posts on my blog and Instagram, but behind the scenes are a lot of big messes! lol. In the spring I went to Denver to film my first Craftsy Class. Hind sight it was a lot of fun 😉 but in the moment and all the work to prepare, it was stressful. Like all things that stretch you hard and push you outside your comfort zone – it was scary, but so worth the experience.
Another treat this year was getting to visit the Missouri Star Quilt Company in Hamilton, Missouri and getting a tour from Jenny Doan herself. Another experience I totally recommend if you get the chance – it’s like Disneyland for quilters.
Another major goal crossed off the list this year was finally publishing 5 of my patterns into hard-copy versions. Sewing quilts is fun for me. Writing patterns and working on illustrations for hours is not on my list of fun things to do (even when I get help from people who know what they’re doing way more than I do!) – which is the reason it’s taken me years to get them done. But now that I’ve climbed that learning curve, I’m hoping the process will get easier. I’ll be releasing more patterns in 2017 including 4 this spring along with my first fabric collection (exciting! scary!) so watch for those in April.
Finally, a huge thank you again to all of you for your kind words and encouragement. To find out more about any of the quilts in the collages above, you can find all of the projects and links to the posts, on my Quilts I’ve Made pinboard.
I do want to add one more thing. I’ve had multiple people ask me how I get so much done and expressing frustration that they’re not able to be as productive. In answering that, I have to point out the fact that I treat this sewing stuff as my job – it’s become so much more than a hobby. When my kids are in school, I treat it as work. I feel beyond lucky that my job is something that I really LOVE to do, but I don’t want anyone to feel discouraged that they don’t get as much time to sew, or feel as productive. It’s a choice I’ve made, and it’s a lot of real work, plus a lot of sacrifice of other things that I don’t have time for. In the past I’ve often looked at what other people are doing and have accomplished, and I know what it’s like to feel slightly jealous or like I’m coming up short. Over the past few years I’ve learned a few things in regards to this business of mine that I’ll share for ‘what it’s worth’ to someone out there:
- Let go of perfection. One of my favorite mantras is “Done is better that Perfect.”
- Save your best efforts for that which has greatest value. Say No more that you say Yes, and then only say Yes to the things that matter most. I’m still learning this one – part of accomplishing what you really want to do means saying No to a lot of superficial stuff that can distract you.
- You can’t do it all. Especially not all at once. Trust me on this one – it’s a sure-fire recipe for burn-out.
- Stick with your goals, but constantly re-evaluate them and make sure you’re not letting short-term clutter (i.e. Facebook, Netflix, etc. 😉 ) get in the way of the most important priorities. (I totally recommend the book Essentialism if you want more thoughts on this topic.)
- Everyone’s journey is different, but everyone’s journey is exciting. DON’T COMPARE your journey to anyone else’s. Stay on your path and enjoy the people and opportunities that come your way. Focus on what is in your control, not on what’s out of your control.
- Cheer other people on. Be happy for other people’s achievements and successes. I’m a big believer in Abundance – if your perspective is to see the world as a place where there is enough success and happiness for everyone, you’re going to find a lot more of it in your own life.
- Finally – don’t fear adversity or struggling for something you want – sometimes that will change the direction of our lives in remarkable ways.
I recently came across a blog post that I wrote 5 (!) years ago that I’d totally forgotten about and it moved me. In that post I shared the backstory of how I got started in this quilting-business world 13 years ago. When I started working at a quilt shop 13 years ago I never would have dreamed where this path would take me. Heck, 5 years ago when I wrote that post, I wouldn’t have dreamed where this path would take me! I can’t wait to see what the next years bring. I have goals and plans and one of them is to do less. After all the work and stress of this year, I’ve decided I don’t want that for me or for my family. In 2017 my goal is to cumulatively do less, and invest my energy on what is really meaningful.
So find your path, stick to your dreams (even if it’s just to find a few minutes of sewing time a week), and remember that even with the bumps in the road, good things lie ahead.
Sending you all best wishes for 2017!