It’s that New Year Stuff

When I’m deep in the tired mind blahs, mindlessly wandering through my Feedly list can sometimes yield nuggets that flash in my brain and perk me up.  I follow Zen Habits, and this week Leo Babauta’s words plonked into my brain with a spark.

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Apparently even Tarot cards are aware of this brain-fog issue.

What caught my eye was How to Have More Focused Hours in Your Day.  I see a lot of these change-your-life-in-the-new-year articles.  After having lived a few years on this planet, I usually just ignore their advice, but I did like this:

[Any] success I’ve had in increasing my focused time comes down to three habits:
•  Asking myself what meaningful, impactful work I can get done today.
•  Creating space for the meaningful work instead of just doing busywork or being distracted all day.
•  Working in fullscreen mode and diving in.

So I was interested to see that he and I have the first thing in common. I’ve used something similar for years: after I’ve ditzed around for part of the day, I ask myself “What do you want to have done before you quit working today?” and after identifying that ONE thing, I get to work on it.  It’s cured a lot of procrastination issues when I use it.

He expands by noting that “Most of us just dive into our inboxes, social media, favorite online sites, and busywork to start our day. We might have some bigger tasks on our lists, but they get lost in the woods of our day. It’s an incredible habit to take even a few moments at the beginning of your day (or the end of the day before) to give some thought to where you’d like to concentrate your attention. What is worth doing today? What is worth focusing on? What is worth spending the limited time you have in this life?” [italics are mine]

He approaches the second idea — of creating space — in a more roundabout way.  It’s almost like we have to trick ourselves.  He says “Set aside the next 20 minutes for writing, or getting moving on a big project. I don’t have to do the whole project in this time, but just the act of giving myself more space to focus is a huge shift. This is more of a mental act than a physical one: you just tell yourself that it’s time to focus on this important task. You breathe, and say, ‘This is worthy of my attention and effort right now. Let’s put aside everything else and give this some space.’ “January 2020 Messy RoomBut it’s also hard to get going when your sewing space looks like this.

Notice the chair is clear.  I can still do some work.  That’s what he means of working in the third idea, fullscreen mode: ignore everything else around the edges, and just focus in.  I used to only be able to work in a very clean, very tidy sewing room.  But I got over that.  I still like to clean it up, and did leave it sort of clean when we went up to Utah to help Mom and Dad clear out their condo of 30 years, in preparation for moving to a senior community, but I brought back various sewing things, a small Viking sewing machine THAT WAS MADE IN SWEDEN (I know, I know!) and I just plopped them around.

I spent three days quilting My Small World, and now it’s ready for borders.  I need to put a slim border around my Temperature Quilt before I move forward, and just like that…I am making a list in my mind about what I want to do first.

It’s also helped that the busyness that has been present in my life since — say, about September — culminated with our First Monday Sew Day this past week (pictures, above).  It’s quite gratifying to see Hayley, a beginning quilter, turn out such pristinely perfect pinwheels (lower left corner).  She’s only been sewing for about a month, and puts me to shame!

Here’s our flier from that day, where we covered snowball blocks and half-square triangles:

FirstMonday Jan2020 Sample

For the handout, click on this title: FirstMondaySewday_Jan6_2020

Pattern HSH underconstruction

Still working on revising Home, Sweet, Home–there are lots of new illustrations to make — as I will be teaching this a lot this year and want a shiny new version to take with me when I visit Guilds.  I also began new duties as VP of Communications for our local Modern Quilt Guild, and have my first board meeting next week.  I’m impressed with all the service I hear that you give to your Guilds and wanted to do the same.

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Finally, I always begin the new year by writing my thank you notes.  These, from Quiltfolk, were perfect.  I hope you all have good beginnings to your new year!

This ‘N That • November 2016

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Quilt #171

First up is finally completing my little house quilt, which I titled Celebration.  I thought it was a 4th of July house quilt, but now I think it may be sort of Christmasy (or not), so I went vague on the title.  It’s made from my Home Sweet Home Mini Quilt pattern, and works up quickly.  I need to make a Halloween mini houses quilt.  Soon.celebrate-small-house-quilt_label

And since I’m still jet lagging, this is the label, so I can call it done.  I love that fabric on the back.travel-2016

Sometimes I get discouraged about the pile of stuff around my sewing room, and realize one reason why I don’t get a lot completed (which is why I pushed forward to get that little house quilt done) is because this has been a year of traveling.  Other trips not on here are Kansas City, San Diego, Sweden (which was in conjunction with Copenhagen), and Switzerland.  It’s been fun, but now I’m ready to stay home for a while.
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I snapped this photo of my daughter and my mother together (my mother’s namesake) while we were in Utah, another one of our trips.chucknohara1290

I finished up my final four Chuck Nohara blocks.  I really like this one, and plan to use this design again.chucknohara1208 chucknohara823 chucknohara612 spelling-bee-block-nov-2016

I finished up Cindy’s blocks for our Spelling Bee group.  Our group worked together for a year, swapping blocks with each other as we made words based on the alphabet on my Quilt Abecedary Blog.  She asked for dark fabrics on low-volume backgrounds for her words.spelling-bee-block-nov-2016_detail

Since her blog name is Live A Colorful Life, I couldn’t resist this black fabric with little bits of colorful triangles floating around in them.mcm-bee-block-nov-2016

I also finished Nancy’s blocks for her request on Mid-Century Modern Bee for November.  It was a slash and fill approach to making trees, one on light blue and one on green.  I hope she likes them.  She’ll trim them up to her preferred slant, so they are bigger than she requested (she wants them at 6 1/2″ by 12 1/2″ finished).  After four years of working together, our fearless leader decided it’s time to go, so I have only one more block to complete.

I see a lot of bees collapsing and going away, as people seem to have moved on to doing QALs or 100 Block Assemblies.  I am still part of one bee (Gridsters) which, as a mark of faith in the bee concept, begins next year anew.  I enjoy getting to know the women I trade blocks with over time, and will continue to follow them even though the bee is ending.

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Finally, a note about yesterday’s election: In 2004-2005, I lived in Washington DC for a year, while my husband took his sabbatical at the State Department.  I was able to attend the Inauguration Ceremonies of President George Bush’s second term.  I did not vote for the man, but attended this display of our nation’s ability to keep our system of democracy rolling forward.inaugurationgreentckt

That cold January day was an emotional day, full of patriotism and pride in our country.  When I was in DC a couple of weeks ago, they had already started building the massive platform which will hold the band, the dignitaries, the guests, and the future leaders of our country.  I applaud our country’s ability to focus on what’s important, and hope that I can some time soon feel more enthusiastic about our recently elected officials, in both the Executive and Legislative branches of government.

I still believe in our democracy, and am glad to have participated in expressing this belief by casting my ballot Tuesday morning.

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Final note: usually when I can’t decide how to typify my posting, I call it a This ‘N That post, and just throw stuff up.  The downside?  The title is so vague, if I scroll through later, I can’t tell what I’m talking about.  (I also have the same problem when I visit my friends’ blogs, looking for something.)  Thankfully, the search box on this blog is run by my software, so you can find just about anything by typing it in the box.

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My blogging software puts ads here so I can use their site for free. 
I do not know about, nor choose, the content, nor do I receive any money from these ads.
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Patriotic Home Sweet Home

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Had a little fun yesterday, prepping up for the class I’m teaching this morning.  Patriotic Home Sweet Home_2

I decided I needed a mini patriotic Home Sweet Home mini quilt to show for a class sample.Patriotic Home Sweet Home_front

Finished it last night.  It has to wait its turn to be quilted, as I’m already working on a bigger quilt right now.  Pattern is up on Craftsy and it will finish at about 18″ square.  Choosing all those fabrics was waaaay harder than I thought, so if you make this, take your time.  The square house in the lower right has fabric from my first pieced quilt, decades and decades and millennia ago.

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I unpinned Shine: The Circle Quilt, sandwiched in another layer of (wool) batting, and re-pinned it this morning, and I’m now starting to quilt it, digging into my Summer 2016 Goals.

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Just a wee post today, as I’m having fun teaching!