Ch…ch…ch…changes!

Way back when, I remember making a Contract With Me.  Maybe you remember it, too.  Maybe you did something similar.  Mine’s not working for me any longer.  How about yours?

I had set things up so I could work on every work in progress each week.  I did that for about four months.  I liked the fact that nothing was being set aside.  What I didn’t like was the feeling that I wasn’t making any progress on any particular project.

Bygone Stitches Quaker Virtues

Quaker Virtues to date

Ink Circles Cirque des Coeurs

Cirque des Coeurs—moving along. Love working on this, too!

And, I found myself resenting projects.  I’d just feel great about getting to a point in Quaker Virtues and have to set it down to move on in the schedule to Cirque des Cœurs.  I found myself hating Cirque because it was taking me away from something I really was loving working on.

Then some people (i.e. those wicked stitchers at Superstar Serial Starters and Divine Disciplined Divas Facebook Group) mentioned a SAL they read about in a blog.  So I had to do that. Then I found out about another at one of the numerous blogs I follow.  That one led to another.  You get the picture?!  Those little SAL are delightful—quick, easy, small, fun, achievable.  How can you not participate?!

So, I gave up the schedule.  I’ve been working on the little SALs as they come along.  If I don’t finish when the SAL is done, that’s okay.  I’ve been working them with materials I wanted to test or using fabric scraps.  And as tools for learning finishing techniques new to me.

Claire93 SAL project

Seba Freebie stitched

I’ve also picked up whatever I wanted to work on.  I determine how far I want to get to feel like I’ve accomplished something.  While I’m working on that I decide what I will pick up next.

Almost done with B. Blok sampler

I still have to finish the borders. This is waiting room stitching.

And so it goes.  WIPocalypse is at hand!

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Over the Hump vs. Into the Slump

Everyone knows Wednesdays are Over-the Hump Day.  We have made it to the half-way point.  It’s mostly downhill for the work week from Wednesday on.  Mondays aren’t so bad because you’ve just had a couple days off to refresh your mind and body.

By the time Tuesdays come you’ve lost that burst of energy.  And if your work involves any kind of bureaucracy, Tuesdays are often meeting days.  They really suck the life right out of you.  Mindless posturing of bureaucrats wasting the time you really need to be doing your actual work that you will now have to squeeze into shortened breaks and later departure for the rest of the week until you can crash again in preparation for the next week of meaningless  gainful employment.  But Wednesdays are a day of hope.  Only two more to go!

Januaries are the Mondays of the year.  We get so energized with the lights and love and hope that comes from that last week of celebrations in December that in January all things seem possible.  And we make plans to improve our lives and our selves.  And we mean it.  The things we plan are things we’ve been thinking about, the things we know will make us more of who we truly are.

And we do pretty well with these plans, these things we have resolved to accomplish.  But Mondays end.  Then comes along comes life-sucking Tuesday.

I’m in the Tuesday of the year.  I actually think there are two Tuesdays in the year.  August is the next one!  I’m not following my stitching schedule regularly.  I’m not logging my food.  I’m not eating right.  I’m not walking.  I’ve frogged more than I’ve stitched and I can see the totally useless nature of TUSAL!

I’m not whining.  Just speaking the truth.  But the joy of truth is that it is not constant.

I can get back on schedule.  (Or I can accept that the schedule is meant to make life easier, not lock me into deadly time-trap.)   I can start logging my food.   (Even if I have to start a new account because I can’t remember my password.)  I can be mindful of my eating in any minute.  (Without becoming the Food Gestapo.)  I can always go out and walk around the trailer and that will be more than I’m doing now.  (And the next day do it twice, then thrice, etc.)  As far as frogging goes—c’est la vie!  (My TUSAL jar really is pretty and the more orts, the more impermanence prayer flags I’ll make!)

While things look bleary it’s not the end of the world, but I do have to mention WIPocalypse as this is the Show and Tell portion of this meeting.  I have had one Finish.  So, that’s something, even though it wasn’t a UFO!

A few more orts for the jar.

I’ve done more frogging than stitching. And more to come.

Side by side monthly comparison of Ort Jar for TUSAL

Feb is on the left and March is on the right.

Needlebook cover, pattern Ink Circles stitched in Caron Waterlilies Cranberry

Needlebook cover, pattern Ink Circles stitched in Caron Waterlilies Cranberry

Detached Buttonhole Stitch closure

I used a detached buttonhole stitch to create the closure to match the vintage button.

Needle sheath in its own place on the front inside cover.

Jeff made this leather scissor sheath as a value add for me. He’s so sweet!

Personal touches added to the needlebook.

Added a little pocket in the back for packets of needles or whatever else the end user might like. And a special place for a threader!

Center top of Cirque de Coeurs by Ink Circles

No more frogging!

Cirque de Coeurs by Ink Circles using Caron Black Cherry

Another view, tried to edit to get more realistic color, closer.

Cirque de Coeurs variations evident but not the richness of the Caron Black Cherry color

Unedited Cirque de Coeurs, wish you could see the real color.

Into the second page of Bygone Stitches' Quaker Virtues

Slowly making progress. I love every minute stitching on this.

Close up of Quaker Virtues

I love the colors in this piece. I done good with Shanghai Nights and Turkish Red!

New Year’s Resolution: So Far So Good!

How are things going with your New Year’s resolutions or contracts you’ve made with yourself?  Good, I hope!  Things are going pretty good here, too!

Update on Contract With Me
  • My schedule is working!  There is structure, yet it is not so rigid that failure is even possible.  And I feel like I’ve accomplished lots every day.  In fact, I accomplish more than I even plan!
  • I have made the goals I planned to make.  I won’t bore you with the details, but I will be able to actually collecting data to monitor progress on January 15 as planned.  Loyal readers will find reports here about my Artist’s Dates in the future as well as news on how the schedule is amended as projects are completed and new projects added.
Project Updates

I think I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves, but here’s what’s included in this week’s projects*:

*  If you would like to see the model images you can check out the links included in the legend in the previous post about scheduling time for creativity. These links are just for the home pages of the copyright owners of the patterns.
†  I unstitched the the top larger heart motif once and the left upper square side once as I was off by one stitch.  I am pleased that the shadow from the previous stitching is fading the more I stitch over.
‡  This link is for the image of the stitching completed by me for Christmas this year.  Two more families need one!

Have you made any stitching resolutions for this year?  How’s it going for you?  Still on target?  Going to restart?  Given up?  Tell us your story!

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.

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.