Monday, January 5, 2015

New Year Challenges, Goals


Happy New Year, late. I hope you all had some wonderful holidays and now are sufficiently rested up and ready to take on 2015 and all the goals and challenges we often feel compelled to tackle when a new year rolls around. A clean slate sure feels good. I hardly ever make resolutions anymore (too much pressure) but every year I still "set goals" for myself. Honestly, I know it's the same thing but just the different wording makes me feel better and if I don't complete all of them within a certain time frame I don't feel like I'm breaking a promise, just pushing the deadline a bit. The other day I set a few personal, business and quilting goals for myself for this year. I wrote them down in a notebook and every now and then in the coming months will check the list and ask myself - "How're you doing on those?" 



In 2015, I plan to repeat one of my quilting goals - which is to make at least one Dear Jane block a month. Since I have many other goals to keep me busy, yes, it's a very small goal but one that still manages to motivate me. I often end up making make more than one block each month.


So far, in January, I've made 4 blocks in 4 days. Not a huge accomplishment, I'll admit, but this makes me feel great. One block I actually had to make twice, so really I completed 5. I say "had to" because to tell the truth the first one turned out pretty awful and I knew it would always bother me if I left it. As much as I try, my blocks are not expertly pieced and when I say one turns out awful, trust me.  I had the time to redo it and the second one came out much better after I found a different way to make it. 


I'm not especially good at curved piecing and the first version of the green block above turned out more sloppy than I expected (you're never going to see it, LOL). In doing the second one, probably because I had been thinking about disappearing four-patch blocks lately, I appliqued a large green circle on the background square, added corner triangles and then sliced the whole thing into quarters, rotated the pieces and Viola! Much easier for me than piecing those curves. Sometimes you just need to find a path you can follow.

Anyway, I know I will not be able to keep up the daily pace for very long but even if I become motivated to make more than one block every month I'll still be ahead. 


A little over a year ago, I started an online DJ group so that some of us could help each other remain motivated to press on, move forward and work on finishing our DJ quilts. (See sidebar for info on joining us.) 


Can't believe how much fun this is for me. To see the blocks grow month by month, year by year and know I have not given up is very gratifying.


One of the highlights of last year for me - visiting the Queen of Quilts on her throne.

I began my DJ quilt journey in January 2010. Stop me if you've heard this one before, LOL- it's a favorite topic of mine and one I never get tired of writing about here.  In 2013, after a few years of not accomplishing very much on it, I figured I needed to determine how important this goal still was to me. I looked at all the work I had already put into making some of the blocks and decided that Yes, it was still an important goal and then committed to making an attempt to complete a certain number of blocks by the end of that year. Despite a difficult (if not downright hellish at times) 3-4 year stretch in my life, it felt pretty good to be able to complete that goal of 50 blocks. I probably would not have been able to get even that far if I did not have the support of many of you who always say such nice things when I post photos of my progress. Along with some of my online DJ quilting friends who are also plugging away on it. Misery sure loves company and a kind word often goes a long way. 



In 2014, not wanting to stress too much about it, my only goal for working on my Jane quilt was to just. keep. going. With all of the other things I always need or want to find time for it's often difficult to keep this long-term project from slipping off the list, you know? I decided I would try to make at least one block per month, not a difficult goal, and, instead of becoming disappointed with myself for not working harder on it, I'd just try to feel pleased with myself for getting at least 12 blocks completed every year. Better than putting it away in a drawer, am I right? Still moving forward instead of just standing still. 

Some months I became busy and did not get very much done but other months were more productive and all in all I was able to complete an additional 35 blocks in 2014. Wow. Gosh, excuse me - but I'm VERY pleased with myself for this because there were times I'd see others' finished DJ quilts and think "I'll never in a million years be able to do that." I've made 88 blocks in all and hope to finish 90 by tomorrow. Who knew I'd actually get this far without giving up? I realized that this is what happens when I set reasonable goals and write them down. 



Have some goals of your own for the new year? Try putting them into a notebook and then make a plan to revisit them every month. Ask yourself which goals are the most important and doable. Don't give up - just break them down into smaller goals. See if you can keep your hands and feet moving (hands for sewing and feet for moving if you have goals to exercise more, like I always do) and ignore those thoughts in your head when your brain says you can't. 




19 comments:

Leeanne said...

Thought provoking post! You have made a great effort I say. Good luck and best wishes.

Pauline G said...

Makes me think - I should do this instead of writing and then re- writing long lists all year!

The Civil War Quilter said...

Your DJ blocks are looking wonderful! 88? Wow! You've past me!

Julierose said...

What a great post! I just adore the Dear Jane--but I am not a really good piecer and I, for example, tried to make a simple sawtooth star yesterday and...yep put the points on the wrong way round! I am not good at visualizing--kinda like having a shopping list and STILL coming home without something right on that list ACK!! I guess. I have NEVER done any angles...so when I look at those blocks..I get the heebie jeebies....And I hate to start and not finish--(I will be ripping those points and trying again!! Anyway, I like your path for 2015 a lot...will be taking a page from your book...hugs, Julierose

Samplings from Spring Creek said...

Being a goal oriented person, I find writing my goals down and reviewing them helps me to be more accountable--I also keep a list of my accomplishments and look at them when my motivation or self esteem is low

I believe your Dear Jane is going to become a reality. All your DJ blocks are just beautiful! We quilters want everything to be precise and sometimes we are our own worst enemies(critics)

Sue said...

I have been wanting to just get started on mine! Maybe I should join the group and just do it!
Thanks for sharing your enthusiasm with us!!

Kathleen Tracy said...

Amen.

Susan said...

Well done Kathy. I am 36 blocks into my red and white DJ.......and just keep going is my motto too. Your blocks look great, very inspiring.

lalaluu said...

Thanks for the inspirational post! I've mostly been avoiding these at this time of year, and I don't plan to do one myself either, but I admire your determinination to just push through and get something done, not beat yourself up if you don't meet the goal, and celebrate the accomplishments you did have. I think that's very important to keep in mind if you want to go through life in a positive manner! Best wishes to you this year; I will be stopping back by your blog to see how you're doing, for sure!

Scrappy quilter said...

What a wonderful post.

Donna said...

I'm rooting for ya!!

Jennifer M said...

Great post Kathy, sounds like you've figured out what works for you. Your Dear Jane blocks look wonderful and those little piles are becoming a reality! Your a wonderful inspiration to so many, myself being one:)))

quiltgrannie said...

Kathy, love how you made the green block!! I will be following you on that one!! LOL

Stardancer51 said...

Your quilt is going to be awesome! Great job!

Me and My Stitches said...

Love all of your DJ blocks! I still have the same stack sitting in my closet...untouched for a looooooong time! The applique did me in!

Heartsdesire said...

Your DJ blocks are looking fabulous. Not every project has to be done in a split second. Taking your time with these blocks will give you the confidence to keep going, and one block per month does seem doable. This is going to be a true heirloom quilt,
and you should be proud of yourself for getting this far.

Donna K. from N. Texas said...

Inspiring!

Yvonne said...

You can be proud of yourself. Your DJ is growing steady. Love your blocks!

Judy said...

Great post! I like your idea of having goals that you can check throughout the year. Less pressure that way, that's for sure. Enjoy creating your blocks and best wishes on meeting your goals!

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