The 12 Week Year: Figuring out your Life Vision

I read The 12 Week Year during lockdown this year, and my life has dramatically changed as a result. I’ve read handfuls of goal-setting and time-management books over the years, and found much to like about them, but I cannot shut up about The 12 Week Year. Anyone who I can get to listen to me will hear about this book because, finally, I now know what I want out of life and how to create a plan to get it.

I’ve seen this book around for a few years, but the title, The 12 Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks than Others Do in 12 Months, led me to believe it was more of a business-y/efficiency/time management manual, and I’m a mother of four–I have figured out how to eke as much as I can out of my days already, thankyouverymuch. Pass.

But then I saw a random review of it online and the reviewer said it helped them define what they wanted out of life and helped them figure out a plan to actually work on the things that would get them there. And that “helped them define what they wanted out of life” line…I wanted that. So I borrowed it via e-loan from my library (because quarantine!) and…it just spoke to me, especially chapters 3 (The Emotional Connection) and 13 (Establish Your Vision).

I’ve read The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People, and I know about “beginning with the end in mind” and prioritizing the important tasks and mission statements. I’ve also read Getting Things Done and written down my random “5 Years from Now” and “Someday” goals/ideas.

But never had I ever sat down and brainstormed about what I want out of life or what a great life would look like for me. Which is such a simple exercise that I feel like an absolute moron for not ever making the connection to do it on my own. What would a great life look like to me? If I could have everything I was interested in, and everything went right and I did have it, what would that look like?

I had plenty of ideas of what other people had told me a great life entailed; some things I thought were good and some things I would never be interested in in a million years, but I didn’t know what my personal core-of-my-heart desires were, and if you don’t know what you actually want out of life, it’s pretty stinking hard to make a plan to live your best life…because you have no idea what that is.

I just lent my copy of The 12 Week Year to a friend, promising her that it will totally help her figure out her life vision. Only problem is, as I was reading through it while walking over to her house, I realized that the book doesn’t actually spell out the whole “figure out your life vision” exercise…and that maybe I had actually put a lot more effort into that part because I wanted to desperately figure it out for once and for all, so I figured I’d write a post to explain my process before my friends think I’m talking crazy about how this book is going to help you figure out your life direction and then not being to figure out how I came to that conclusion.

So, here it is, my Thanksgiving gift to you:

How To Figure Out What YOU Want Out of Life

Materials Needed:
*A ruled notebook
*A writing utensil
*~3 hours of uninterrupted time
*Optional: A copy of The 12 Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks than Others Do in 12 Months, by Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington (not really needed for this exercise, but it will be absolutely amazing in helping you start working on the things you figure out with this exercise)

1: Get comfy in a place where you won’t be interrupted. Open your notebook and write “ASPIRATIONAL VISION (Long-Term)” across the top of the first page. Below that, write “The Life You Deeply Desire”.

Now, write down the following seven categories, with a few blank lines in between them for listing ideas:

Spouse (or Relationship or whatever works for you)

These are the seven areas of “life balance” listed in the book. (Depending on which version you’re reading, they may have different names. I noticed that they were a little different between my e-loan from the library vs. my purchased hard copy.)

Take a few minutes to think about what a great life would look like in each of these categories in ten, twenty, fifty years. What would you like to be able to say those areas included in your life? What would you like them to look like?

Write down those thoughts next to the category they apply to. Don’t limit yourself here, it’s just brainstorming your pie-in-the-sky happy thoughts. No one is ever going to see this, so be free with your dreams.

2: On the next page, write:
A: What needs to happen in the next three years to move towards long-term vision?
B: What would a GREAT personal and professional life look like, three years from now?

Now you’ll write an “area of life balance” category (spiritual, spouse, family, community, physical, personal, or business) and then under that heading write “A:” and then list everything you can think of that needs to happen in the next three years to move towards the long-term vision you wrote down on the first page of your notebook for that category. (You’ll be flipping back to that page A LOT throughout this exercise!)

When you finish listing all those things, start a new line with “B:” and write down what a GREAT life in that particular category would look like, three years from now.

For example, on my first page/ASPIRATIONAL VISION, under the category of “Physical,” I wrote:
Physical: Healthy weight, would love to be able to run, as pain-free as possible, no meds.

A couple of pages later, for the Physical category, I wrote:
A: Lose weight, keep doing physical therapy, strengthen full-body, build up walking plan to running plan, control eating
B: Wake up and work out hard without fear of injury, can run. Move fluidly, no pain. Eat healthy diet–lean meats, lots of produce. Don’t crave junk. Food is healthy and good–don’t feel deprived. Kids are healthy. Ankles don’t swell and bones in feet don’t ache. Back doesn’t ache, and I can move easily.

A special note for the “personal” category: Because there were so many, unrelated topics in my aspirational vision for my personal life (read: hobbies and interests), I had to organize that section differently when I came to it. Let’s say you list, among other things, the three ideas of “can speak other languages,” “can play musical instruments,” and “travel.” I organized this category like this:

A. What needs to happen in the next three years?

I. Choose & learn languages
a. Spanish
b. Mandarin (or Cantonese?)

II. Musical Instruments
a. Piano: Keep practicing & progressing
b. Bagpipes: Find a teacher, rent a set, start learning
c. Other instruments?

III. Travel
a. Brainstorm/Research
b. Save $$$
c. Learn appropriate languages
d. Photography equipment/skills

B. What would a great life look like in this category, three years from now?

I. Languages
a. Can hold basic conversations in Spanish and Mandarin(?)
b. Can read easy books in target languages

II. Music
a. Piano: Can sight-play hymns
b. Bagpipes: Be a member of a bagpipe group and perform with them
c. Other: Violin? Play prelude @ church

III. Travel
a. Know of places I want to see/excited about specific areas/attractions
b. Savings for trips building up/have an amount that gets automatically deposited
c. Progressing in languages
d. Offered opportunities to travel because I’m good at what I do at work
e. Have the photography equipment to take good pictures, and I’ve practiced enough to do a really great job at it

(No, I don’t actually want to learn to play the bagpipes; I just thought it’d be a great way to show how to brainstorm about something out of your comfort/knowledge zone.)

And…that’s it. When you’re done with this exercise, you’ll definitely be prepared to follow the rest of the 12 Week Year plan and start moving forward wisely towards goals that actually mean something to you. The book tells you how to set it all up and track it, so there’s no point to me reiterating it here.

Writing down and figuring out your life vision is the keystone of this goal-setting system. I remember when I was in the middle of my first 12 Week cycle, and in the depths of despair over my (seemingly) sluggish progress towards my goals, and wondering if I should just give up or if any of it even mattered, and I happened to read through whatever chapter said that part of my planning/strategic time each week should include re-reading my life vision and checking and seeing if I was still emotionally connected with it.

So I did. And I cried. Because, YES, I wanted to be able to say that my life consisted of those things! It gave me the psychological boost to keep showing up and performing the actions I knew I needed to do to move towards those goals. I was even able to condense my vision down into two sentences after that, and I repeat those two sentences to myself all the time because they make me excited to keep doing the hard work that will eventually get me to those goals.

And the beauty of having written this all down in a notebook? You can use the remaining pages for figuring out what goals you’re going to work on in future 12 Week cycles, keep track of your tactics, and all that other good stuff. All my brainstormings, to-do-lists…in that one notebook. Easy peasy.

I hope this clears up any confusion anyone may have had about what I’ve been talking about!

(If there’s interest, I can also write a post about how I choose what my next goals are going to be, and how I plan my week so I can actually find time to work on my goals.)

At the End of Week #2 of COVID-19 School Closures

We are now 1/3 of the way through the initial school closures here in Washington State, and are now enjoying the escalated “Stay Home” measures that were announced this week by the governor, dictating that we not leave our houses unless there’s an essential need (groceries, medical, etc.).

The kids are doing really great with their online learning, and I actually learned that their school district is one of TWO that made the immediate jump to online learning for the school closures.  Cue the “I’m so glad we moved into this particular house” gratitude.  We get to walk down to the bus stop each morning to pick up the school lunch deliveries (practicing safe social distancing of course), and I get to have a quick chat with some of my neighborhood mom friends, so we don’t feel completely socially isolated.  It’s not that bad, actually.

Crafting-wise, I basically just sewed up medical masks this week.  Not exciting at all, and a little anger-inducing because all I can think about while I’m sewing these up is how frustrating it is that we don’t have enough medical supplies on-hand for something of this nature, despite the fact that scientists have been warning us for years that we were historically due for a pandemic of some sort.  And then my thoughts wander down more angry roads, and I just end up steaming mad about lots of things.  So…no, I don’t like making medical masks AT ALL.  BUT, I have friends who work in the medical field and one of them texted yesterday asking if I had made any because her hospital really needs some, so I drove the twenty I’d made over to her house and left them on her doorstep.  I guess I’ll need to make more, but I need a break before I go back to them.


I’m going to use my “break from the masks” to attach the binding to my March Blank Quilting project, which just arrived back from the quilter this week; and I’m starting to work with the “Best Friends Farm” fabric that Jaftex/Henry Glass Fabrics sent me as a bonus for April; and I did my part to support a small business by buying up some yardage of an absolutely gorgeous floral print from Style Maker Fabrics that I’m hoping to turn into a dress by Easter.


So, because goals are my self-love love language, I’ll end this with a “Goals for the Next Week” list:

  • Finish the Florabelle Hexie Stripes quilt.  Photograph it and share it online.
  • Finish piecing the individual blocks for the Best Friends Farm quilt.
  • Finish the muslin for my Blue Floral Easter dress.
  • Photograph and share the dress I finished for Renaissance a couple of weeks ago.
  • Move forward in some meaningful way with my sewing pattern database/spreadsheet.  The plan, pre-COVID-19, was to have it completed by the end of the next week or so, but things got way too crazy to keep up with it, so it’s a minor project that’s limping along at the moment.  I’ll worry about it more once things calm down in the future.
The week after next is Spring Break, which means there will be no online learning and schoolwork to keep the kids entertained throughout the day, AND we’ll still be mandated to stay home, so…I guess I should come up with some ideas for that as well.  Any suggestions?

Sleighbell Sampler Quilt


Four and a half years ago, I began working on it.  I was just getting started in quilt-making, and absolutely fell in love with both this quilt and Farm Girl Vintage, so I threw caution to the wind and decided to join both of their quilt alongs.  I did great on sewing up the blocks, but when it came time to put the sashing and borders on them, I FROZE.  It took me years to finally break through that block, but I eventually did it and now I get to bask in the delight of a freshly-completed Christmas quilt draped across my favorite couch.  I love this quilt so much.

Pattern: Sleighbell Sampler, by Sherri Falls, from her “Winter Wonderland” pattern book.

Fabric: “Holly’s Tree Farm,” by Sweetwater, “Jingle,” by Kate Spain, and a few scraps from the stash. The backing is flannel from Bonnie & Camille’s “Vintage Holiday” collection, and I cannot remember exactly what collection the binding came from, but there’s plenty of bias candy cane-striped fabrics out there to choose from these days, so you’ll be ok to find some if you need some.
(Also, can we start a petition to #bringbackhollystreefarm in the future, please?  Love that collection.)

Quilting: I tried out a new quilter this time ’round, Ashley of Hen House Quilting, because she’s more local than my usual go-to.  I’ll definitely be using her again; she’s really sweet and very professional, and I only have good things to say about the experience of working with her.  She helped me pick out a beautiful snowflake quilting pattern that just goes beautifully with the quilt, and I love it so much!  Thank you, Ashley!

Modifications: None.


Yay!  I have a goal of a Christmas quilt or blanket for every bed, couch, and armchair in our house, and this guy puts us at a total of five…only six more to go!  Ha ha.  (Hey, we all need goals to work towards, don’t be afraid of how big they are!)


My “New & Improved” Plan for Battling UFOs and Scraps

Last year I came up with a plan that would allow me to work through more UFOs, whittle down the overflowing scrap baskets in my craft room, and allow me to work, guilt-free, on some new projects.  In the past, I always start the new year with grandiose plans to blast through all of my UFOs, and the white-knuckle willpower would only last about six weeks because the textile world is constantly releasing new fabric, yarn, and pattern collections.  So, I came up with this project rotation:


The Original Project Schedule

And it worked really well for about six months until I discovered a glitch with my system–I never chose fabric from my stash when it came around to make a “new” project, choosing instead to use new fabric from a new collection that excited me.  The stash was starting to grow faster than normal, and I had this weird reluctance to cut into any of it because it was dear to me.  You don’t buy fabric or yarn with no plan unless you’re really in love, which makes it hard to use said fabric or yarn.  But, as a wise homeschooling parent told me about art lessons with my kids, “Art supplies is meant to be consumed, not conserved.”  The same is true of fabric and yarn.  USE THEM.

Plus, I’ve been noticing a lot of my contemporaries breaking into the pattern market, and they are killin’ it, which made me start wondering if perhaps I should start at least trying to write my own patterns for my use?  I know how patterns work by this point in my creative “career,” and the challenge involved excited me as well.

And then we did some charity blocks in quilt guild and it just made me feel good to make those.

So my project rotation schedule needed a few tweaks:


And it’s been working WONDERFULLY.  I love the challenge of coming up with my own patterns, and I really love the idea of #everytenthproject being a service project–it’s like paying tithing on my creative abilities, for which I am so grateful to possess.

I kept a spreadsheet detailing my projects for last year, and it really helped me with my stash management and with branching out of my comfort zone:


(It also alerted me to the fact that I tend to only knit with new yarn, which led to the decision to stop stashing yarn completely…because once it goes into the stash, chances are high that I’ll not be interested in using it EVER after that.  Interesting.)

It worked extremely well until I started sewing again for Fat Quarter Shop–by the very nature of those projects, they are always “new” fabric projects, which very quickly started eating up the next available “new” slots in my plan.  I’ll have to watch out for that this year, and possibly come up with a plan to accommodate those projects–the turnaround time on them is tight, so it’s not possible to actually have a “plan” to include those projects into my schedule.  I might leave them out of the “rotation” altogether, actually, and just enjoy the ride when I’m asked to ride along…because, duh.

Oh, another important note: Babies and weddings don’t have to follow the schedule because they are also impossible to plan around.  I just plug them into the spreadsheet where they belong and then work around them as necessary because I LOVE BABIES AND WEDDINGS.  I’m a gift-crafter at my core.

What I find, though, is that this schedule greatly reduces the chances of acquiring more UFOs.  I’m horrendously distracted by the new-and-shiny, but when I’d start thinking about cutting for or casting on a new project, I’d consult my spreadsheet and see if it could fit into the next category up for grabs.  If it didn’t, I’d tentatively schedule it; but more often than not, when I came up to its turn in the rotation, my excitement for the new pattern would have waned and I could move on to something that had been on my bucket list and would truly bring me pleasure.  I started 2017 with thirty-eight UFOs, finished (or donated or frogged) nine UFOs, and am taking in two new UFOs–that means I now have thirty-one UFOs, which is totally an improvement!  I have never ended a year with less UFOs than I had at the beginning of it.  Feels good.

And now it’s onwards to a productive 2018!  Happy New Year, and may you find a little time each day to move forward on your projects.

clementine-qal-e1504126058289And if you’re looking for an idea for a service project, maybe you want to consider joining Fat Quarter Shop’s Clementine Quilt Along?  I’ve committed to it, and it would be lots of fun to have some more friends quilting along, too!

You can find more information about the Quilt Along by clicking here to visit the Fat Quarter Shop Blog.  Proceeds from this quilt along will benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.


Best of 2016, and Planning for 2017

I love reading everyone’s “wrapping up the year” and “plans for the next year” posts so much!  The online creative community is so interesting in that a lot of us are pretty transparent about what we do, which I really appreciate because online creativity *can* become an overly-staged, whirlwind-finishing sort of thing very easily…but then there’s those souls who refuse to get caught up in it all and just stay real, and I love reading their blogs.

Best of 2016

Trying to nail down my “best” projects of 2016 is really hard because almost every single one was a gift I made to be given away, and I don’t want anyone to think that I hated making the gift I gave them because it didn’t show up in this list…NO.  If I didn’t want to make a gift for you, I didn’t make you a gift, end of story.  I actually had four more gifts scheduled to make this year, but I quit one about 2/3 of the way through because I hated it so much, and with another one I just wasn’t feeling it, and will probably finish it up in 2017, and with the other two I just didn’t have time once all the crazy post-op stuff went down.

Oooh!  Categories!  Let’s see, five categories to round out the year:

Prettiest:  The baby quilt that my daughter and I made for her teacher who had a baby girl in May.  I loved working with Vintage Picnic, and the design of the quilt was just perfect.  For some weird reason, this quilt was blogged on our family blog, so if you want to see more pictures of it, you’ll have to head over there.


Most Fun to Make:  The Dr. Seuss baby quilt.  It was a last-minute decision, so I picked a pattern that was on the wonky side and wouldn’t need perfect seams and the like, and I just had fun slapping it all together.  The fabrics were super fun and bright, and I really enjoyed the process of just making and not getting bogged down in the minutiae of perfection. I’ll have to remember to throw a wonky/improv project into the mix every now and then when I’m starting to feel a little stale.


Biggest Skill Stretcher:  The Beehive Swarm swap blocks.  There was a lot of foundation paper piecing, which I tend to shy away from because I don’t like it, but there’s nothing like it for perfect piecing.  I still don’t like it, but I’m better at it now, and can grudgingly admit its superiority for certain qualities.  I also tackled curved seams for the first time with August’s block, and they are not as difficult as I psyched myself out to believe!


Most Popular:  Within the walls of our home, it’s the Layers of Charm Flower Sugar Quilt.  It sits proudly on the back of a couch in our living room and it gets used pretty much every day.  The kids fight over it, and I’m always finding it snuck into one of their beds.


Outside of our home, the Art Gallery Fabrics Blithe pillows have been the most popular, garnering 25% of the blog’s web traffic this year, and also being the only project about which I’ve received comments from my friends and neighbors when I’m out in the real world.  Pink and mint are hot, people.


Project of the Year:  Not really a project, but 2016 was “The Year of All the Baby Quilts.”  There were a lot of baby quilts this year.  All good things, but man, I’m going to take a break for a while.  If you’re expecting, do not expect a quilt from me in 2017.  I’m just done for a little while.

Planning for 2017

First and foremost, my health.  If all I accomplish in 2017 is to raise my health to an enjoyable level, that will be enough for me.  It’s been three years of pain, almost two years since my back surgery, and I am simply to the point where nothing else really matters to me other than feeling good again.  Luckily, we found another source of some of the pain I was experiencing, hence the surgery in November, so I think I’ll be able to move along the path to better health a little easier, and hopefully a little faster.

When I woke up from my most recent surgery, I had no back pain, which we were hoping would be one of the side effects of that particular surgery.  Upon being cleared to do normal things again after six weeks of lying around with very little to no back pain, I ambled on down to the ol’ Craft Dungeon, and did a little sewing.  I felt some familiar discomfort in my back, decided that was enough sewing for the day, and stopped.  Unfortunately, the discomfort increased steadily throughout the evening until I was forced to give up, take some serious pain meds, and just go lay in bed.  I think using my sewing machine is needlessly adding to my back pain!  It’s happened a few more times, so I’m pretty sure I’m correct, which makes me incredibly hesitant to sew at all anymore.

It’s my hope that after a few months of consistent strength training (read: if I can manage not to injure myself for that long), that my back will be strong enough to handle sitting at the sewing machine.  Until then, I’m making a goal to just not worry about the crafty side of life, and to give it a go when I think I’ve gained some strength.  If I’m not strong enough at that point, then I’ll wait a few weeks and try again, rinse and repeat.

Of course, there are some projects that I would love to start, finish, adore…but I’m going to be patient, and when the time is right, I’ll resume my place in the Craft Dungeon.  A few months isn’t going to hurt anything.

Randomly in November

  1. I saw the sign-ups for the Bee Hive Swap in time this year, and got in!  :::happy dance:::  So excited!
  2. My own swap group that I’m running liked it so much that a bunch want to do it again next year!  So, busy with setting that up at the moment.
  3. Yeah, two year-long swaps…talk to me at the end of next year.  🙂
  4. I wrote up an exhaustive inventory of the many works-in-progress taking up space in my craft room, and then hammered out a plan to plough through almost all of them in the next year.
  5. The first WIP that will reach completion as a result of my awesome new plan is probably a pair of socks that I started back in Australia.


  6. A newly-finished pair of socks right now is kind of perfect, given that the snow has started.  I was actually thinking the socks would be a Christmas present for someone dear to me, but my feet are freakin’ freezing, so I’m going to keep them.  Mwa ha ha.
  7. The second WIP that will probably get finished is a baby boy quilt I started almost eight years ago.


    The kid in this photo is Penguin, who is now nine years old.  She’s drinking from the mug I received after giving birth to Junebug, who is now seven-and-a-half years old…

  8. It’s funny how you can start a project with so much excitement, but with each passing year of not completing said project how much that excitement turns into resentment and shame.  So much so that I definitely don’t want to keep the quilt when I’m done, but fear the repercussions of giving a new life an item infused with so many negative feelings from myself.  The act of giving wipes off all the bad juju, right?  Right?

  9. I’ve also fleshed out a “Baby Gift Flowchart” to help me decide what to make for tiny humans on my radar.  In this age of social media, I find that I’m inundated with the awareness of many a pregnancy, and the baby-lovin’ crafter part of me really wants to make something for every one of them.  However, given the physical limitations of time, I can’t.  So I came up with a way to shrink the pool a bit and ease my conscience.  A line had to be drawn somewhere, or I’d never be done with making baby gifts.

    Baby Gift Flowchart

  10. I’m currently aware of nine pregnancies, and of three women trying to get pregnant.  That’s twelve impending births in the next year.  My flowchart narrows the gifts down to five recipients, which is still a lot, but gives me back a bunch of time.  I am raising four children of my own…
  11. My son broke the teeth off of the zipper of his winter parka the first day he wore it.  Of course.  Even better, he broke off enough teeth that the actual zipper pull fell off, too.  So, instead of working on WIPs, my time is needed to repair a zipper in a parka.
  12. Once again, making plans is a dumb idea.

2015 Crafting Goals

No, I can’t sit without pain, but I am mandated to laying flat on my back for a couple of days, and it turns out that I can type rather well whilst supine.  Also, bed rest is very conducive to pondering and planning.  What better situation is there for drawing up some crafty goals?  Exactly.

1. Oh, this hurts, but I have to do it:  STOP FEEDING THE STASH.

Seriously, I am amazed at how much fabric stash I have.  I’ve always been aware of the volume of my yarn stash, and I’ve been good in past years in curbing my yarn purchases; but with the move to Australia, I had to pack up my house, and now that we’re back I’m unpacking my house–and I don’t know which boxes were packed up right before we left, and which ones were just “stuff that’s been in boxes for a while.”  It’s ridiculous–I’ll open a new box and discover that it’s packed to the brim with fabric that I totally have not seen in over five years.

After this “surprise box of fabric” thing happened a few times, I realized that I needed to organize my fabric in a much better manner than random cardboard boxes, and now that it’s all pretty much visible (I’m still finding a box or two, and some random cuts shoved into weird places) I’m a little astounded as to the amount of fabric I own.  So, no more “because it’s pretty” or “because I really want it” fabric purchases in 2015.  (Sobbing.)

Exceptions:  Backings and bindings, and those random little cuts I might need to finish projects.  Thread.  Oh, and the stuff that’s already been reserved for purchase as they arrive on the market.  No more making reservations, though.
Ugh, to keep me honest, here’s what’s been reserved:
A. Fresh Cut Jelly Roll, February
B. Farm Girl Vintage book, April
C. Winter Wonderland book, May
D. Evergreen Jelly Roll, May
E. Cold Spell Batiks Charm Pack (2), June (These are for my oldest daughter, so they don’t really count as mine, but I’m being 100% transparent here.)
F. Jingle Layer Cake, June
G. Tinsel Fat Quarter Bundle, June

I have a serious Christmas fabric obsession.  There’s another ELEVEN collections due to come out this year that I really, really want to own.  I missed out on the Solstice collection this past year, and I resent that.  Deep breath, be strong…maybe I’ll just put a bunch of fabric on my Amazon wish list and hope big hopes come birthday time…it doesn’t count if someone else buys it for you, right? 😉

I made significant progress on this in 2014.  It is a long, slow project, but I am determined to finish it this year.  I was hoping for March, but I’ve had a hard time getting the twenty rows in each week that I was able to do in Australia.  I’m kind of tired of this project, so I’m going to shoot for twelve rows a week instead, which will still get it done by July, before the County Fair, where I think it has a serious shot at contending for “Best in Show.”

I’m insane.  I kept seeing all these sign-ups for Quilting Bees, and then finding that they were all filled-up, so I decided to ask Facebook friends if anyone was interested in forming our own Quilting Bee, and I am so excited to announce that there were SEVEN women who wanted to participate!  So this is going to be a very big thing for me this year.

About half of us are rather seasoned quilters, and the other half range from zero experience to just a little bit of experience.  Each month will be an increase in skill and/or difficulty in regards to the construction of the quilt blocks, and I’m hoping that by the end of the year we’ll have a rather proficient group of quilters who would like to sign-up for a Year Two.

In addition to the blocks I’ll make for sending to Bee members, I’m making a goal to make another set of the same blocks in some of my bountiful Christmas fabrics for myself.  I want Christmas quilts, and so I’m just going to jump in and make one.  It shouldn’t be too hard, just an extra block or two a month.  I’m super duper excited about this.
So this is really three quilts in one–the blocks for the other ladies, the blocks for my own Bee Quilt, and the blocks for my Christmas Bee Quilt.  My Bee Quilt will probably be complete by January of next year, and I hope to finish up my Christmas Bee Quilt before Christmas of this year.  I have a spreadsheet, and it all works on the spreadsheet…let’s hope reality is as kind as my spreadsheet.
This is the quilt that never ends.  I’ve sat down with my spreadsheet to figure out how I can keep this going, while still moving ahead on other things I want to work on, too.  I’ve given up on the idea of having this go along with the kids’ bedroom makeover, and now it’s just a quilt I’m making that will be pretty.  That being the case, with its new schedule it won’t be done until next year.  Who knows, maybe my motivation to finish this will come back and I’ll speed through it at some point, but for now, I’m content to take a “slow and steady” approach.
I’m planning on finishing this during this year.  Most of the hard work is done, and I’m shooting for a completion date of September.
After sorting all my fabric I realized that I had an obscene amount of some folksy snowman fabric, purchased for a well-meant “Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone on this side of the family had matching Christmas stockings?” project some eight or nine years ago that I just up and abandoned when I came to the conclusion that I honestly did not care enough to continue with my grand plan.
Seeing that all this snowman fabric was seriously clogging up my blue scrap bin, I decided that I should do something with it and get it out of my house.  Enter the Scrappy Snowman Pillows, which are only in need of their backing.  Of course, I didn’t have any pieces of the snowman fabric large enough to make the backings, so I’ve ordered some fabric (backings are an exception, remember?) and plan to finish these up in February.
A random aside:  I have found EVEN MORE of this snowman fabric.  There are cuts of this in almost every box that I open as I unpack.  I cannot escape it.  Perhaps a throw quilt is in order, yes?  Dear goodness, I am amazed at how much of this fabric that I don’t even care for is in my stash.  I do know a handful of people who really, really like snowmen, so it’s not that big a deal to find someone to make cute things for…but geez, snowman fabric EVERYWHERE.  I’m not a fan of the folksy look, so it’s got to go!  Plus, it’s not quilt shop quality fabric, as evidenced by that see-through white HST, so it just really needs to stop being at my house.  Most people in my family don’t care about seam allowance ghosts, so it works out for them.
My mother gave me a jelly roll of Modern Roses fabric for my birthday last year, and I started making a quilt with it, but then it was interrupted by the big move down under.  I’d like to finish this up in April.

I am seriously smitten with this quilt by Lori Holt over at Bee in My Bonnet.  I don’t have time for it, and it’s outside of my realm of usual projects, but I adore it and am eagerly awaiting its release in April.  I’m going to take another slow and steady approach to this, and aim to complete one block a week.  At that rate it won’t be finished until June 2016, but it just looks like so much fun, so I’m giving myself the gift of working on it.

It has a strawberry block, and a sheep block!  And there’s a ridiculously cute cherry block that makes a great quilt on its own!  It’s all so cute!  Exclamation points!!!

I’m going to attempt to make my Farm Girl quilt purely from scraps…we’ll see how that goes.  And upfront, I am designating this as a fun project–it will be OK to slack on this one if I’m crunched for time.

Because I have a lot of Christmas fabric, and I’m going to be receiving more as the year goes along.  Why not?  Another fun quilt that I plan to start working on in May, hopefully to-be-completed in November so we can enjoy it this year.  No stressing allowed on this one either.

I have something coming up next year that I need this for (more on that later!), and I will start working on it after I finish the Peacock Shawl this summer.

There are no plans to work on this, but I’m writing it down in case I find myself with some extra time.  It was an impulse project that I started last year with no real plan, so it’s suffering from the consequences of rash crafting.  As it is, it’s about 32″ square, which makes it somewhat unusable as anything in my house, so I need to add some borders or filler edges or something to make it serviceable.  I’m awaiting inspiration.

Another quilt that is not scheduled for work, but I have everything to make it and am listing it here just in case I find time for it.  I know exactly where it will go in my house at Christmas time; I just need time to make it.  (Note to self: Stop buying Christmas fabric and patterns!  You already have too many Christmas projects in the wings!)

And that’s where this list ends.  Of course, I have two other daughters who would really like quilts of their own, but I guess those can be goals for another year.  Maybe one of them will like my Quilting Bee quilt?  Or maybe I’ll just go ahead and have my Quilting Bee quilt made out of MY FAVORITE colors and love it and squeeze it forever?  My girls have hands of their own that could make quilts instead of playing video games, just sayin’…

And I keep seeing fabric that would be so cute for my nephew, and I keep smacking my hands away from buying it all.  Sigh.

So, in short, the crafting goals for 2015 are, in finishing order:

  1. Quilting Bee blocks (Monthly, ongoing)
  2. Scrappy Snowman Pillows (February)
  3. Modern Roses Friendship Braid Quilt (April)
  4. Peacock Feathers Shawl (July)
  5. Rocket Age Quilt (September)
  6. Winter Wonderland Quilt (November)
  7. Quilting Bee Christmas Quilt (December)
  8. My Quilting Bee Quilt (January 2016)
  9. White Shawl (February 2016)
  10. Star Spangled Diamonds Quilt (May 2016)
  11. Farm Girl Vintage Quilt (June 2016)
Now, let’s see how well I stick to this list.  I reserve the right to amend my goals if weddings and new babies pop up on the radar.  I’m such a sucker for weddings and babies.
AND, in order to keep me motivated, I’m going to post updates on my crafting goals at the end of each month.  Oh yes, these projects are going to happen.

Re-visiting My Crafting Goals for 2014

I laughed out loud when I read my crafting goals list that I wrote last year.  I was set to really do a lot of crafting in 2014, but then we got sideswiped by a last-minute (read: three months’ warning) MOVE to Australia.  I took along the bare minimum of projects, and really got ahead on those two things; which was good, because they are time-intensive little suckers.

However, I love to look at my lists and use the strike-through thing on words, so I’m going to go through last year’s list and see what happened:

2014-specific crafting commitments and dreams 
  1. Faberge Shawl for a sister’s wedding day:  I started this and got through the first section, but she never got back to me about some questions I had in regards to her original plans for it.  As far as I know, they didn’t get married either.  Communication is a little scarce with that stepbrother.
  2. “Star Spangled” quilt for my third daughter:  I am halfway done with this, which is precisely on-schedule.  It’s a beast; pieced entirely by hand.  It’s my goal to finish it in 2015.
  3. “Rocket Age” quilt for my son:  Two blocks done.  It got left behind in the States because it requires a sewing machine for the string blocks.  
  4. Peacock Stole for my granny, which I promised to her four years ago:  Over halfway done!  I’m hoping it will be done by the end of March this year.  This is the other beast…besides a couple of pairs of handknit socks, I only worked on this shawl and the Star Spangled Diamonds quilt for my daughter while we were in Australia.  Love them, but…yeah…looking forward to being done with them!
  5. 2 Christmas quilts:  Nothing.  I signed up for the Fat Quarter’s Shop Christmas Fabric Club, so I have a few fabric collections to choose from in the future.
  6. Baptism wall hanging for my 2nd daughter:  Nope, but I could make good on this still.  She didn’t want to get baptized in Australia, so her baptism will take place this spring.  We’ll see.
  7. Church crayon bags for all four of my children:  Nope
  8. Advika mittens for myself:  Nope
  9. Winter accessories for my first daughter:  Another nope
  10. Sample Tweedy Pumpkin hat for pattern re-market in the autumn:  Sigh, no.
  11. Sample Harmony Wave Cowl(s) for pattern re-market in late autumn:  Nuh-uh
  12. Woodland Winter Mittens, as many as possible:  Laughing hysterically.  NO.
  13. Socks for me VICTORY!  One (1) full pair, and half of two other pairs.
  14. Aprons:  I bought four new ones in Australia.
Almost Finished (less than a week’s worth of work):
  1. Matryoshka dress:  I just divided it up into my new scrap bins.  The child intended has grown out of it.
  2. Cowboy baby quiltStill needs its binding.  THAT’S ALL!  Geez.
  3. Pastel Flower baby quilt:  I started the quilting on the border at some point…about 40% of border quilted.
  4. Hexie bag:  Nope
  5. Patriotic ruffle skirt:  Into the scrap bins.
  6. Pink Vest:  I realized that wearing vests makes my son break out in a heat rash, so this was frogged.

Needed by a Specific Date:

  1. Matryoshka Dress–spring/summer, daughter will outgrow it otherwise.  She outgrew it.
  2. Storybook Hexagon baby quilt–a gift for a friend, due this spring.  I DID finish this, and it was beyond beautiful.
    Patriotic ruffle skirt–spring/summer, same daughter will outgrow it otherwise.  (She hates to wear pants.)  Outgrew it.
  3. Pink Vest–making slightly large for my son, but it’d be good if he could wear it this winter as well.  Frogged; vests give son heat rashes.
  4. Purple Fingerless Mitts–these need to get done, it’s been too long.  Best friend’s birthday’s in April, but otherwise they need to be done by October.  Not a stitch.
  5. Gray Rock Island Shawl–a wedding shawl with a weird back story, I’d like it to be done by October.  Knit a little of the edging.
  6. Faberge Wedding Shawl–wedding’s this summer, I’d like it done by June to avoid last-minute stress.  Never heard back from the bride about it.
  7. “Star Spangled” quilt–I’m re-doing the “Little Kids” bedroom this summer, so by August.  Ha ha!  By August.  I’m insane.  Got a lot of work done on it during the last half of the year.
  8. “Rocket Age” quilt–ditto.  Couldn’t take to Australia
  9. Peacock Stole–this could win ribbons at the County Fair, so by July if I’m interested in that.  Otherwise, it’d make a great birthday or Christmas present for my granny, whose birthday is also in December.  It’d have to be done by Thanksgiving for that.  More than halfway done, expect to be finished in March 2015
  10. 2 Christmas quilts–I know should give up on this idea, but I really want Christmas quilts.  Too bad.
  11. Baptism wall hanging–her baptism will be over Labor Day weekend, so preferably done by August.  Maybe this year?
  12. Church crayon bags–wonderful Easter basket gifts, yes?  Nope.
  13. Tweedy Pumpkin Hat–done by mid-August so I can do all necessary photography and re-marketing.  Nope.
  14. Harmony Wave Cowl(s)–ditto.  Ditto.
In Conclusion:
2014 wasn’t a quantity year for crafts, but I did finish that beautiful Storybook Hexagon Quilt and made significant progress on both the Star Spangled Diamonds Quilt and the Peacock Shawl, with a few little things done for a handful of other projects.

Wrapping My Head Around WIPs on a Wednesday

I’m moving to Australia in a month, and my main concern is around crafts at the moment.  I guess I just need something else to fixate upon, now that passport applications, check-ups, dentist appointments, and optometrist appointments are complete.  I’m trying to get all my projects to whatever place they need to be before we leave, and I’m just about to the point where the constant reviewing of my plans in my head is starting to cause headaches, so I’m going to write it all down and let that list live somewhere else.

Current Projects:

  1. Junebug’s Star Spangled Diamonds Quilt
  2. Baby Girl Quilt #1:  Meadow
  3. Monkeyboy’s Rocket Age Quilt
  4. Friendship Braid Quilt
  5. Storybook Hexagon Label
  6. Baby Girl Quilt #2:  Pink
  7. Baby Boy Quilt:  Cowboy
  8. Aspen Frost Runner
  1. Storybook Hexagon Label–I always space the quilt label.  Do this immediately before I decide it’s not important anymore.  (I’m a historian at heart, and think there is significant historical importance in regards to labeling quilts.)  The main hold-up on this is buying a fabric pen for writing the information on the label.
  2. Baby Quilts–all three need to be completed and delivered before we leave for Australia.
  3. Rocket Age full blocks need to be assembled before leaving, so I can applique the hexie blossoms to them while we’re away.
  4. IF the above are done, I can finish the Braid Quilt before we leave.  It’s so close to being done, but it’s a random side project that I started working on because I was waiting for supplies for the other quilts.
  5. The Star Spangled Quilt will be pieced completely by hand, and it’s portable–work on this while at softball games, park day, etc.  It’s going to take a loooong time to complete, don’t worry about progress at this moment.
  6. Aspen Frost–this can wait until we come home from Australia.
June 18-21
  1. Piece Meadow top
  2. Bind Penguin’s blankie
  3. Purchase:  Fabric Pen, Meadow backing, Meadow batting, thread, binding fabrics for all three baby quilts, supplementary gift items to include with quilts
  4. Pre-wash fabrics
June 23-28

  1. Piece Meadow backing
  2. Create quilt labels for Storybook, Meadow, Pink, Cowboy.
  3. Applique label to Storybook, Pink & Cowboy; machine stitch label to Meadow
  4. Finish quilting Pink
June 30-July 5
  1. Quilt Meadow
  2. Create binding for all three baby quilts
  3. Purchase gift wrapping supplies for baby quilts
July 7-12
  1. Bind baby quilts
  2. Wrap quilts & ship
  3. Cut foundation papers for Rocket Age quilt (40)
  4. Start piecing Rocket Age blocks
July 14-19
  1. Finish piecing Rocket Age blocks, pack for trip.
  2. Finish piecing Braid strips.  Pack for storage.  Will have to finish when we return.
OK.  It just feels better to write it down and look at everything in a realistic time frame.  Everything was going fine until the baby quilts popped up onto the radar.  (All an issue due to my own misinterpretations of information.)  And now that I’ve posted my intentions, I can also check back in with progress updates, which are fun for me.  Happy Summer of Sewing!

Crafting Goals for 2014, or, Consolidation of Mental Energy Regarding WIP’s

Oh my, my, my…

I don’t have a lot of progress to show on any projects right now because I succumbed to a mean little germ late last week, which forced me to spend a couple days laying down, which then made my back go all wonky.  (Such a waste of a weekend!)

I came back to my craft room today for the first time in many days, only to feel overwhelmed by the plethora of different projects I have going on all over the place.

Intrigued, I decided to go through the entire house and round up all the works-in-progress that I have strewn about, and consolidate them into one pile so I could wrap my head around what needed to be done.

Alright, in no particular order, the molehill of WIP’s include:


  1. The “Blue Daffodil” quilt, started in 2006.
  2. The Matroyshka dress, started in 2013.
  3. The Cowboy baby quilt, started in 2008.
  4. The Pastel Flower baby quilt, started in 2008.
  5. Green & Pink Hexie bag, started in 2014.
  6. Free-motion quilting quilt-as-you-go sampler quilt, started in 2014.
  7. Storybook Hexagon baby quilt, started in 2014.
  8. Batik Hexagon quilt, started in 2014.
  9. Aspen Frost mini quilt, started in 2014.
  10. Patriotic ruffle skirt, started in 2012.  (Not pictured)
  1. Dragonfly Stripe Shawl, started in October 2013.
  2. Pink vest for my son, started in August 2013.
  3. Purple Echo Flower Shawl, started in March 2012.
  4. Purple Fingerless Mitts for my best friend, started in August 2012.
  5. Gray Rock Island Shawl, started in October 2013.
  6. Crocheted Christmas Granny Square Afghan, started in November 2012.
  7. Peach Fair Isle Baby Cardigan, started in January 2010.  (Not pictured)

2014-specific crafting commitments and dreams I’d like to also (start and) finish this year:
  1. Faberge Shawl for a sister’s wedding day
  2. “Star Spangled” quilt for my third daughter.
  3. “Rocket Age” quilt for my son.
  4. Peacock Stole for my granny, which I promised to her four years ago.
  5. 2 Christmas quilts
  6. Baptism wall hanging for my 2nd daughter (And I should probably make one for my first daughter as well…never got around to that.)
  7. Church crayon bags for all four of my children.  (I’d like to keep their regular backpacks set aside for school-related stuff, instead of switching out contents all the time.)
  8. Advika mittens for myself.
  9. Winter accessories for my first daughter, which were supposed to be done already.
  10. Sample Tweedy Pumpkin hat for pattern re-market in the autumn.
  11. Sample Harmony Wave Cowl(s) for pattern re-market in late autumn.
  12. Woodland Winter Mittens, as many as possible
  13. Socks for me.  🙂
  14. Aprons.  There’s a serious shortage.  Aprons in April…I like the alliteration of that.  Easter?
Geez, no wonder I always feel overwhelmed!  I’ve found that writing a blog post like this helps me to focus, and then I can also come back and re-read it whenever I’m tempted to add in a new project.  Bear with me.
Some sort of eliminating criteria needs to be applied here.  Alright, two categories:  1. What’s close to being finished already?, and 2. What has a definitive “need by” date?:
Almost Finished (less than a week’s worth of work):
  1. Matryoshka dress, but only if I shelve all my ideas of embroidering and lining it.
  2. Cowboy baby quilt, only needs binding cut and sewn on.
  3. Pastel Flower baby quilt, needs the edge quilted, binding cut and sewn on.
  4. Hexie bag, just needs the sides sewn together and zipper, etc.
  5. Patriotic ruffle skirt…maybe.  I think I may have to start over, but it would probably take less than a week to make from beginning to end anyway.
  6. Pink Vest, attach pieces, add ribbing.
Needed by a Specific Date:
  1. Matryoshka Dress–spring/summer, daughter will outgrow it otherwise.
  2. Storybook Hexagon baby quilt–a gift for a friend, due this spring.
  3. Patriotic ruffle skirt–spring/summer, same daughter will outgrow it otherwise.  (She hates to wear pants.)
  4. Pink Vest–making slightly large for my son, but it’d be good if he could wear it this winter as well.
  5. Purple Fingerless Mitts–these need to get done, it’s been too long.  Best friend’s birthday’s in April, but otherwise they need to be done by October.
  6. Gray Rock Island Shawl–a wedding shawl with a weird back story, I’d like it to be done by October.
  7. Faberge Wedding Shawl–wedding’s this summer, I’d like it done by June to avoid last-minute stress.
  8. “Star Spangled” quilt–I’m re-doing the “Little Kids” bedroom this summer, so by August.
  9. “Rocket Age” quilt–ditto.
  10. Peacock Stole–this could win ribbons at the County Fair, so by July if I’m interested in that.  Otherwise, it’d make a great birthday or Christmas present for my granny, whose birthday is also in December.  It’d have to be done by Thanksgiving for that.
  11. 2 Christmas quilts–I know should give up on this idea, but I really want Christmas quilts.
  12. Baptism wall hanging–her baptism will be over Labor Day weekend, so preferably done by August.
  13. Church crayon bags–wonderful Easter basket gifts, yes?
  14. Tweedy Pumpkin Hat–done by mid-August so I can do all necessary photography and re-marketing.
  15. Harmony Wave Cowl(s)–ditto.
Alright, let’s see what we can do with that information.  Things nearly finished should just hurry up and get finished, while things that are needed by a certain date definitely need work no matter what, plus there should be enough “just because” projects because this is a hobby, not a career.
I’m going to think on this for a couple of days, just so I can weed out the unnecessary projects–there’s a lot of “must be done by” projects this year, so I’m going to have to be a little severe in my selections if I actually want to finish the stuff that’s important to me.

How are your crafting goals coming along?  I saw a bunch of posts about them at the beginning of the month, so now’s a good time to do a little assessment!