Scheduling Time For Creativity

If you read through my last post, you’ll know I’m on a mission to be more organized and focused on what is important to me this year.One of the tasks I gave myself was to create a schedule that allows me to take care of everyday living ‘stuff’ as well as attend to all my creative babies.

DONE!

For a week I timed my normal daily household chores.  Actually there are still a couple things to add to the list, but they shouldn’t grossly impact on the schedule I’ve come up with.

Schedule your stitching time!

Schedule your stitching projects!

To see what I’m working on, click on the names in the following ledger.  Next week I’ll show you my progress.  I spend 2 to 3 hours on the pilot and at least 1 hour a day on the other project.  I’d say about 4 to 5 hours total stitching time per day, whether it be in the car, in bed with leg up, at the laundry, or in my seat.  As soon as I get my materials, I’ll have to add my Stitching Buddhas class to the schedule, but I’ve got that penciled in in my head for now.

Presents Presently is a year long project to complete birthday and Christmas projects in a timely, organized, and enjoyable manner and speed.  This is what I’m working on currently.

  1. Christmas Countdown…I want to do two more this year
  2. Erna Schuppelius…I wish to complete this just as Erna did with crocheted edging done in thread and ribbon weaving.  This is to be a birthday present.   I’m using Week’s Dye Works # 2271, Peony, 1 strand over two threads of  almost sheer Irish linen.
  3. Keyhole Shawl…This will be either a birthday or Christmas gift depending on when It is completed.  I am knitting it in Red Heart Collage yarn in Rose Dust color.

Pilot is a pattern in progress that I’m stitching for a designing friend.  When I have permission, I’ll show you the work.

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New Year, Old Contract

Last month I was inspired by a post by Sharon Boggon discussing dreams and goals.  It reminded me of a time when I was incredibly organized having been trained to train others in time management and organization.  I have been feeling pretty useless and quite the underachiever since my injury in September.  Sharon’s post inspired me to pick up my old skills and think about what it is I really want to be achieving.  Sometimes when you do that, you find you are not quite so far from your goals as you think.

And for any creative person who feels they are spending too much time in mundane activities and not enough in the creative outlets that feed one’s soul, the activity suggested by Sharon and described here are good tools.

Dreaming Big

Girl Dreaming

It resulted in the resurrection of a Contract With Me.  What is this?  It begins with identifying dreams that I have in several aspects of my life.  For example:

Physical Health:  I will reach a weight I can live with for the rest of my life.
Emotional Health:  I will be “happy.”
Finances:  I will live within my means without a sense of deprivation while honoring my obligations to others.
Spirituality:  Ultimately —become enlightened.
Creativity:  I want to be a virtuosi in needlework, especially blackwork.  I want to publish a book that sells well to my audience.  I would love to have my creativity support me and Jeff.
Social:  I hope I can always have at least one very close friend with whom I can shared my Dreams and hopes.  And, yes, woes, too.
Community:  I want to be well respected and looked to as an expert and reference in the stitching community.  I want to be able to give generously to the world, to the causes that promote  peaceful coexistence.
Occupational:  I want to support myself with my creativity and never have to work for someone else again.

Dreams are pretty vague, pie in the sky sort of statements.  It’s important to give yourself permission to dream and dream big!  

But to quote Thoreau,If you have built castles (i.e. dreams) in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations (i.e. goals) under them.”

cloud castle wallpaper

Free Wallpaper at this address

The next step is assessing your dreams.  How do they fit together?  Do some areas reflect the same dream?  Do themes run through the dreams, like money or health or art or connections to people or your Creator?  Make note of such factors.  They are important messages from your subconscious.  So, on to the step that comes before making goals or my…

Overview:   Most of my dreams dovetail from one or several of the others in the list.  Prioritization and flexibility will be key.  Hence review periods of 4 to 6 months should be set to see if it is time to introduce new goals, while maintaining previous progress.

  1. My ability to manage my money is integral to a positive relationship with Jeff and with creditors, so Financial goals are a priority.
  2. My ability to do anything at all depends on my physical health.  My RNY post-op behavior affects my physical and mental health.  This is a high priority to set a right.
  3. Creativity is not just an outcome, it is like a tool for me.  It is a “medicine” for my mental health.  It is a catalyst to spiritual growth.  My community is founded in creativity and this ties me to them, makes a place for me.  It is the zeitgeist in which I want to live.  It is how I wish to make my “living.”  Because of how integral this aspect of my life is to my being, I cannot just “be creative.”  I must exercise and strengthen the creativity muscle.  I must have a “workout” plan for my creative muscles.  I must first identify what those muscles(skills) are and develop the appropriate workout schedule.  Something that has always been useful in the pas that must not be forgotten is the Dreaded/Craved Weekly Artist’s Date with myself.
  4. I tend to be an all or nothing sort of person, no halfway measures here.  This is nowhere more clear than in my community/social connections.  I have many blogs to read.  Three e-mail accounts that are quite active.  A number of virtual groups I belong to.  I tell myself that each is a tool for growing my potential business and connecting my potential audience.  This is true.  But, how much is enough?  Which connections are critical?  Which ones contribute to my overall growth?  Which ones are really creating connections?  I need to figure out how to evaluate these questions and more.  Then assess the situation and simplify to give myself more time for the critical activities that will truly lead to my overall well-being and making dreams a reality.

Summary & Recommendations:

  1. Develop and implement a plan to improve eating behavior.
  2. Outline a daily routine that will meet all goal implementation needs.
  3. Research ledger types and pick one that will make it easiest for me to monitor financial transactions.
  4. Look at financial transactions and define which are needs and which are wants.  Decrease spending on wants and give that money to reserve fund.
  5. Develop and implement a plan to meet needs to exercise all my creative muscles and develop those less often used.
  6. Data collection and research to create these goals should be completed by January 1, 2013, with goals to be written and implemented by January 15, 2013.
  7. Review periods should be set at one month (2/15), four months (5/15), six months (7/15), and nine months (10/15).  Annual review to begin 10/15 with recommended plan for following year by 10/31.

What do  you think?  Is this something that could work for you?  Would you like to see what the next steps look like?  Would you like help doing this for yourself?  Let me know and I’ll do what I can, including coaching you to creating your own Contract with Yourself.

Remember in a previous post I mentioned how interesting and worthwhile it is to track your time on projects. Janet Granger has come up with a brilliant method. I have followed her lead and created a PDF of her grid format. You’ll find it in the Reference section here.

And look at her Celtic Autumn piece.   35 shades of autumn in the lettering!!! Incredible!

Janet Granger's Blog

This past weekend, I made a start on the Lavender and Lace Celtic Autumn design, in the alternative colours. I stitched all the hours I had available, and, including a couple of weekday evenings, I’ve managed 10 hours of stitching so far, and it now looks like this:

I’m stitching it on Zweigart ‘Platinum’ 28 count linen evenweave from Sew and So, with DMC stranded cotton (two strands). There are 35 shades in this design altogether, so the shading is really subtle in places, plus gold thread (I’m using Petite Treasure Braid PB03), plus five shades of Mill Hill seed beads. It’s very tempting to add some beads now, ‘just to see how they’ll look’, but I mustn’t get tempted too much, as I’m stitching this with the fabric on a rectangular rotating frame, and adding beads now will mean that I can’t roll the fabric up properly later. When…

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Pinterest, Creative Property Rights, and Miscellany

Thank you, Linda!  Actually you have been “pinned” four times now.  I like to let people know when I pin their site so they can say if it’s okay or not.  After all, your blog is your creative property and you have a right to determine how it is used!  Further, your blog stats may not reflect the true power of your site when images may be being viewed by 30 pinterest viewers who have not clicked through to your site, but now know who you are! 

  • RE:  PINTEREST

Here’s the link to the four of your images that have been pinned so far:  http://pinterest.com/source/linda-hubbard.blogspot.com/  When someone clicks through the images, the clicking person is sent to your blog or website.  Pinterest is a relatively new phenom that combines searching with social networking.  The Pinterest subscriber (it’s free!) creates bulletin “boards” of his or her interests and then “pins” images that are related to that interest.  Like-minded people can see what has been found and share what they have found, too.  You can search for your favorite topic in Pinterest and get an image of every pin anyone else has made associated with your search term.  I use it as a kind of “rolodex” to save “scraps of paper” for addresses I want to see again.  More manageable than my browser favorites and with a pictoral reminder, too!  Your Cretan Stitch sample is on my Board titled “Beautiful Embroidery, Incredible Stitchers.”

  • RE:  STUMBLE UPON

A similar service out there that is not image dependant is Stumble Upon.  I belong to both services.  And when I find a blog I like I hit the “I like it!” button and if no one has ever donet that before the blog gets added to the Stumble Upon search list according to the category I assign the blog to.

  • FOR THE NOVICE BLOGGER

For novice bloggers out there, this is another reason why tagging your photos and giving them good descriptions and captions is SO important.  A Pinterest tag cannot occur if you do not have photos.  And your photos might not be found if they do not have keywords associated with them.  Give your photo title one ripe with key words and give the alt title other good key words to ensure you get noticed by search engines!  (An aside:  Another pet peeve of mine is when bloggers or web site writers create a link that opens on the page you’re on.  To ensure your readers don’t stray from your page, have your links open in a blank page.  That way when they close the link window, they are still on the wonderful, incredible resourceful site that is YOURS!)  For more tips on blogging (especially for wordpress sites) check out Time Thief at her blog One Cool Site.  She is the absolute best.  Her tutorials on using HTML tables to present your photos in a neat fashion are excellant and you can copy her code to create your own template even if you know nothing about HTML or any other computerese.

  • MISCELLANY

As far as my header, thank you so much.  This image snippet was from the first needlepoint project I completed as an adult, the second of my life.  Actually my first project was petit point and I never wanted to do it again.  My EGA friends pointed out most needlepoint is not quite as challenging and is easier on the eyes.  The petit point I did as a teenager.   The header pattern can be found (free of charge) under the American Needlepoint Guild’s Education section.  It is called “Honey, I Shrunk the Heart.”  Check out this pattern and the other wonderful info to be found in the Stitch of the Month resource!

  • A NOTE TO ALL WHO COMMENT

In my reply to your comment, I will link back to your blog or website.  Some people don’t know that by clicking on your name they can contact you or your site.  If I put a link in my reply it makes it easier for others to find you.  I don’t have room on my blog to list all the wonderful sites I visit.  Where I can, I will add your site to Stumble Upon or Pinterest (and let you know that I have done so.)  If this is not acceptable, please use the contact form found under the TSS Mission Button at the page top to contact me privately, or tell me not to link back in your comment!  I appreciate all the kindness I have found in this community! 

  • READERS 

Please be kind to my commentors and check out the links in my replies to their comments!

Orts

In my effort to make this blog a resource as well as a kind of stitching travelogue, I have added two new pages that will be updated when I have new info to add.  I may add more of such stand alone pages.  When I make changes in this aspect of the blog I’ll send out an “Ort Alert.”

The first ort is simply a page of quotes that I would like to work into a sampler one day.  Until then, I’ll just try to fit them into conversations!  These won’t be your run of the mill sayings.  I find inspiring or thought-provoking words in the books I read.  I jot them down on paper to remember.  I need some place to put them.  Now I have a place.  I had tried to put them in a file.  I can’t remember where I put the file.  I always remember where my computer is, though.  So, when I find that file, I’ll add it to this page of orts and I’ll always know where it is.  I’ll even share it with you!

Same thing with stitch diagrams.  When I was working on the CyberPointers’ ANG 40th Anniversary project, I searched high and low in as many cyber nooks and crannies as I could find to come up with appropriate stitches.  [You see, when you live on the road carry books is not a great idea.  I tried.  I put all the books I thought I would have to have in my section of the book storage place over the couch.  I packed very neatly and used the space incredibly well.  The first time we went for a little drive towing the trailer to have our signage painted on, the shelf collapsed.  Luckily, Jeff is an engineer and fixed the shelf so it could carry more than a half a dozen tee shirts.  Nonetheless, books are heavy and we need to travel light.  Let’s face it, we could all stand to travel a little lighter!]

Anywhooo…I carry less than a quarter of the books we started out with and only a couple stitch guides, so I depend on the digital world a lot more.  I love that there are more craft type books that are jumping on the electronic bandwagon, but mostly they are publishing for Apple devices.  I don’t use Apple devices.  Which brings us back to the topic.  [I drive Jeff nuts with all my asides in conversation.]  I bookmarked every website that had a good section for stitch instructions with clear, coherent images.  Of course, I now have all that info mixed in with my bookmarks for cool shops and patterns on my wish list and who know how many other really super important reasons for bookmarking a site.  As usual, I finally got smart and created a category for patterns I want, which has become a wish list for anything I want!  My file for stitch guides is woefully small although I know I bookmarked at least 20 sites!

So, I’m sorting orts.  As find the orts appropriate for the pages, I’ll add them.  As I find a collection of orts that need to be grouped and organized as a whole, I’ll add them, too.  Maybe I can save you some grief from your ort sorting!  Let me know if it helps!