It’s always interesting to look back on the previous year’s creative journey. This was a really busy, exciting and even challenging year, creatively.
Here’s more on each of these photos: (left to right, top to bottom)
- Baby Lattice Quilt tutorial
- A (rare!) clean sewing room prepping for Pattern Drop videos
- New Quilt Patterns for 2017
- Scrappy Nine-patch by the sea
- Patchwork Quilt Along free quilt blocks
- A Scrappy Quilt Top in the Wind
- Sunnyside Ave apple pincushions
- Giant Susannah block quilt
- Halloween Bunting quilt
To see more of what happened this past year check-out the Quilts I’ve Made pinboard.
I don’t think 2017 was my most prolific, but it was productive. It was especially exciting watching my first fabric collection, Gingham Girls come to life. I’m still completely away by the response. Thank you again for your support in that new endeavor. (And a big thanks to Riley Blake Designs for taking a chance on me!)
I’m really excited to see the next fabric collection, Sunnyside Ave come to life in 2018. (Watch for it in March! And, just between you and me, there may be another line in the pipes later this year… ) None of which would be possible without the support of all of you. Thank you. So much. Seriously.
Also in 2017, I wrote about 8 new tutorials, including:
- a new variation on the Patchwork Baby Star
- Five & Dime Beginner Patchwork Quilt
- Baby Lattice Quilt
- Four-patch on Point throw quilt
- Stars + Simple Patchwork
Tutorials are always A LOT of work, but it’s so fun and rewarding to see people create with them. This year’s most popular was the Baby Lattice Quilt. I’ve seen so many cute quilts made with that tutorial. Thanks so much for sharing your creations with me!
As I thought about doing a quick 2017 year-in-review perspective I decided to go back and to see if I wrote a similar post last year. Turns out I did – and much more extensively than I had intended this year. And it had some really great thoughts!
So since even I didn’t remember a year-in-review perspective from last year, I figured I’d share a few of those same thoughts again and see how I felt I did in measuring up. Also, because I think there are some great reminders to be shared. (If I do say so myself. 😉 ) Here’s a bit from that post. (You can read the full post here.)
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.
So how do I think I’m doing on that list from a year ago? I think I made good progress on a lot of those recommendations.
– I’ve cut back on a lot of commitments. I still had times this past year when I felt overwhelmed and regretful that I’d over-committed myself. Each time I do that though, I have a serious talk with myself and remind myself how much I hate feeling that way (not just because it’s uncomfortable, but it seems to suck the creativity right out of me). That’s always good motivation to really evaluate my time and how much I’m capable of as well as the projects I actually want to do and to make tough decision about where to best use my time. I can confidently say, it’s worth it!
For example – one of those decisions I’ve made for this stage of my life is to not travel to teach. My kids are getting bigger, but watching my oldest graduate from High School and head off to college this year has reminded me how fast this time of our lives is going to fly by and I’ll never get this time back! I really enjoy where my kids are at in life right now and I want to soak them up as much as I can. I still have to travel a bit here and there, (and in someways that’s good for them to all learn a little independence and self-reliance) but I want to miss as little as possible, while I can.
Things to do for 2018 –
Make more time to just be creative. Cut back on doing things that I’m ‘assigned’ by external commitments and do more sewing just for fun.
Focus on what I can control. I’m going to be honest – 2017 was pretty externally stressful and exhausting. So many problems and issues in the world- not to mention SO much negativity. It’s so easy to be dragged down by all of that drama. This year I’m learning to focus on what I can do in my sphere to be a force for good and kindness. To not get sucked into distraction, but to stay on track doing and putting good into the world. It’s hard to change the world single-handedly, but I do believe that the more people who are focused on seeing and doing good in the world, the better we’ll all be. I’m excited about our new plans for making time for good works in 2018!!
Make more time to just be still. That might mean less sewing and I’m okay with that. After some annoying (and exhausting) health issues in 2017 (most of which were triggered by stress) I’m more determined than ever to take care of my health – get a good night’s sleep, make more time to meditate, journal, be present with my family, go outside, and just be still.
In spite of some real stresses and challenges, 2017 exceeded my expectations! I have high hopes for 2018! Thanks to all of you for your friendship and encouragement. It wouldn’t be nearly as much fun without all of you.