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Goal Setting and Quilting

L'Bri Pure n' NaturalWhen I’m not quilting, I’m a skin care consultant for L’Bri Pure n’ Natural. From my training with L’Bri I’ve been setting goals and working towards them regularly for the last two years.

When I want something, I’ve found that if I think about it enough and work towards it hard enough, I usually get it.

But for some reason, I’ve not been doing this with quilting.  Not regularly at least.

Last October, I did create the goal to become an award winning quilter, and did with the creation of The Duchess.  But after this goal was reached, I didn’t sit down and plan out a new strategy.

Upon realizing this today, I’ve added 2 more lists to the 3 lists I write each day in my journal:

1. Love list – Write a list of 10 things you love about yourself.  This was a really hard list for me to write at first.  I’ve struggled with low self esteem and a monstrous negative voice for much of my life. Starting each day with a clear focus and love in my heart is making a HUGE difference.

2. 5 Reasons I work L’Bri – There’s no point in working a job or owning a business if you don’t know WHY you do it.  Every single day I write down the top reasons I work my skin care business.  These reasons change on a daily basis because my needs change constantly too.

3. 3 Goals for L’Bri - Continually working towards a goal is extremely important.  If you aren’t working forward, you’re either standing still or going backwards.  Three goals work better than just one because again, needs and desires change on a daily basis.

4. 5 reasons I work Day Style Designs – Today is the first day I put this list on paper and I was delighted with the results.  I like skin care, but I LOVE quilting.  Understanding why I work this business on a daily basis will make a huge difference in what I accomplish each week and month.

5. 3 goals for Day Style Designs – Just like with skin care, having a focus is extremely important.  I’m realizing that setting goals with quilting is just as important as setting goals in skin care.

Many times I get distracted and unfocused, unclear what I really want from any of my businesses or my life for that matter.  Starting the day with a list of what I want is the first step to actually getting it.

Before I learned about business training I thought that my inability to finish even the smallest projects was my fault.  Now I realize that to finish a big project like The Duchess or Light in Me or even How to Piece Perfect Quilts requires more than just tools and materials.  It requires dedicated thought, planning, and determination to see the project through from start to finish.

Writing a list might not seem like the first step to finishing a quilt, but I’m going to see if it makes a difference for my life and my quilting business for the next few weeks.

After all, what do I have to lose?

Happy quilting,

Leah

What really counts?

tornadoI just received an email from a friend with bad news.  A big storm blew through our county this week and a tree was literally blown onto her husbands car, totaling it while he was driving home.

Everyone was okay, but this event stopped me short.

It made me ask myself: What really counts?

Lately I’ve been obsessed with making more money.  Not in the greedy sense.  I don’t want to be filthy rich, I would just like to stop feeling so stretched and tight all the time.

I’ve realized that by spending wiser, we could have more money for the things we really want.  My spending habits are definitely changing, but the focus on making more money remains.

But does money really matter?

Does any of this stuff really matter?  My husband and I drive one vehicle that’s less than 2 years old.  We live in a house that could easily house a much bigger family, and we do generally have the money to invest in our hobbies: quilting and aquariums.

But does it matter?  In 10 years will I look back at the floor I installed in my den, or the afternoon I spent with my son? Will it matter that our yard looks out on our neighbor’s junkyard?  Will we look back on the years spent in this town with disgust or fondness?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a waxing sentimental.  I’m not deluded enough to think that only happy memorys of lazy summer days stick around.  I know without a shadow of doubt that my son will probably remember the bad days before he remembers the good ones.

I guess my problem is I remember growing up poor.  And I don’t want that for my son.

But was being poor really that bad?  Yeah, my clothes didn’t fit and girls at school liked to point it out.  Big deal.  Several of the girls who were shallow enough to comment ended up pregnant by the end of high school.  I guess that was nature’s way of evening the odds.

Was it the small clothes or the lack of extra money or the fact that my parents were too young and badly suited for one another?  It’s hard to tell…

No, I don’t think more money would have made our lives better, but I do think it would have eased the strain.  But again, this is me as an adult looking back on what I would change for my parents when I was a child.  Rather silly and completely implausible.

It makes me wonder though.  What will my son think of me when he’s 25?  What will really count to him?  What will have left the biggest impressions?

If he grows up poor, will he focus determinately on becoming rich?  If he grows up rich will he take it for granted?  Will he hate the money and privilege we’ve worked so hard for?

I can’t answer these questions, but I do know what really counts.

Love for myself.  Love for my husband. Love for my son.  Love for my family and friends.

You can’t eat love.  It won’t feed the hungry or clothe the poor.  But it is what really truly counts.

To love,

Leah

Journaling on a Daily Basis

In the book “The Artist’s Way” you are instructed to journal every single day.  It’s called morning pages, and it consists of 3 pages of streaming thought.

The first time I tried this I was shocked at what I was writing.   My mind was full of rage.  I was angry at my husband.  I was mad at my son.  Everyone around me was annoying, loud, obnoxious, distracting, and doing it all on purpose.

It took a week for me to get my rage onto paper and then the weirdest thing happened.  I lost a lot of the anger and frustration I felt on a daily basis.  How could journaling, putting my most private thoughts onto paper, actually have a tangable, positive impact on my daily actions and reactions?

I stopped questioning that it worked.  Journaling did help to focus my mind and center my life.  I can’t say that I stuck with it religiously.  Weeks would go by and I’d avoid writing.  I used old standby excuse that “I’m too busy” when really the reasons were “I’m lazy and don’t like what I’m saying on paper.”

It’s not a good feeling to realize that 99% of your thoughts are selfish and angry.  It was an eye opener, but not one that made me feel great about myself.

But after awhile, different thoughts started to swirl.  Ideas for quilts.  Plans for new projects.  I would journal about my insecurities and miraculously, my insecurities stopped being a hindrance to my daily life.

Keeping a daily journal isn’t easy.  It’s not always pleasant and can make you see and confront things you may not want to see and acknowledge.

I can honestly say that I haven’t been 100% on morning pages until now.  This week I started something completely new with my journal.  I began each day to write a list of 10 things I love about myself.

Starting a day with this list, a list of love, has been an amazing change.  How can I be anything other than happy when I start the day with love?

Dissatisfaction happens.  We all have bad days.

But to start the day with love in your mind and your heart, I believe that’s the best thing in the world.

Love,

Leah

New You Tube Video

How to Piece Perfect QuiltsI’ve just gotten a new You Tube Video uploaded.  This video is special because it’s actually a sample video from my new Ebook and Video set “Stitch it Up a Notch: How To Piece Perfect Quilts.

This set is devoted to all things piecing!  I pieced 15 blue and white 9 patch quilts, over 100 9 patch blocks for the making of this project.  I don’t think I will ever look at a 9 patch block the same way again.

But making all of those quilts was necessary.  I really wanted to show not just how to piece, but how to plan and design a quilt from start to finish.  I focus on sashing, or the space between your quilt blocks, as an excellent area to create designs in the quilting process by widening this area and leaving more space between your blocks.

Quilting Beyond the DitchThe great thing about having 15 quilts, is that now I have to quilt them all!  My next ebook and video series will be “Stitch it Up a Notch: Quilting Beyond the Ditch.”  It should be finished by November 2009.

So here’s the newest video:  This is a sample video on Paper Piecing.

Enjoy!

Leah Day

2009 North Carolina Quilt Symposium

This past weekend I traveled to Raleigh, NC for the North Carolina Quilt Symposium being held by the Capital Quilters Guild.

The symposium itself was terrific.  It was well organized on Peace College Campus very close to downtown Raleigh.

As a non-degree alumni of UNCA, not I appreciate any campus that has cohesive architecture. Just in case you’ve never seen the post-modern building monstrosities of UNCA, rest assured that you’re not missing anything.  Imagine unfinished concrete and you’ve pretty much got the jist of the new buildings on campus.

Unlike UNCA, Peace is a gorgeous campus with lots of red brickwork, lush gardens, and curving pathways.  You can easily get lost in the variety of courtyards and hidden nooks and crannies the campus offers.  Think “The Secret Garden” and you’ve got the right idea.

The show itself was beautiful as well.  This is the first show I’ve attended where The Duchess has been ribboned and on display.  She won 1st place large wall quilt in Mixed/other techniques.  It was fabulous seeing the quilt among all the others and hearing some of the comments.  Kind of made my head swell up a bit too!

I really liked that there were many hand quilted quilts competing as well. While I don’t hand quilt myself, it’s always nice to see that some quilters are still finishing their quilts with a simple needle and thread.

Unfortunately I only had 20 minutes to enjoy the show.  I realized while going through it that I really need to set rules for myself when first going through a show.

I like to walk through completely alone with no one jabbering at me.  I want the freedom to look and (if I have a glove on) touch and appreciate the work without passing any judgement.  I find too often that spectators can be short sighted and too quick to judge with their comments.  It’s better to go through alone and look with an unbiased eye and a closed mouth.

While my win at Symposium was wonderful, it was kind of dampened by the speeding ticket I received on the way there.  Nothing can ruin a good mood faster than flashing lights, believe me!

The Duchess is heading to Ohio for the National Quilting Association show next week.  I have  hopes that it will do well and help me forget the mishaps in Raleigh.  It’s such a true statement that you can’t have everything in life!

Leah

Quilted Jewelry???

Quilted Jewelry CuffI’ve had an idea bouncing around in my head for the last 2 months fighting to get out.  The idea is quilted jewelry, specifically bracelets and cuffs.

I was a jewelry and beadwork buff for 8 years before I got into quilting.  Though I collected beads, made jewelry, and even worked in a bead store, after getting into quilting I realized just how much beadwork was a struggle for me.

For some strange reason I also had a very firm view of what “beadwork” was and somewhere in my limited teenage mind I convinced myself that beading on fabric was “cheating”.

Of course The Duchess has completely destroyed that silly view and I’m interested to see how I can incorporate beads into more quilts.  I plan on beading large sections of Light in Me, but what about smaller projects?  What about quilted jewelry?

Quilted Jewelry Cuff ClaspSo after 2 hours of playing with fabric, batting, and my machine I produced 2 cuffs.  The first was so terrible I’ve already thrown it out.  My mistakes don’t usually last long enough to photograph, a tendency that I’m working on.

The second was much better.  I haven’t yet embellished it with beads, but plan to add a border of black or dark red beads around the edges.

The thing I love most about this cuff is the fit and shape of it.  It fits my wrist absolutely perfectly and even though I’m only using a hook clasp, it’s never fallen off even with heavy use.

Of course, now that I’ve made one cuff, I really want to make a thousand of them.  I keep thinking of doing a cuff with quilted circles and dense micro stippling and then to showcase a bead within each circle.

I’m off this weekend to quilt symposium and will hopefully have some time to play in Asheboro with more quilted jewelry!

Piece,

Leah

Feeling happy to feel sad

weirdguySo I’ve been feeling really sad for the last few days and everyone has been trying very hard to cheer me up.

But that’s not the point.

Sadness is an emotion that few people are comfortable with. Cry in public and you will find yourself a social outcast.

But there’s nothing wrong with being sad!

Sadness is a very strong, necessary emotion. Only by feeling sad do we know what happiness feels like.

So when I feel this way, I avoid people. I avoid conversations. I avoid closeness.

Why?

Because I am perfect happy feeling sad thank you very much and don’t need to be cheered up!

I will cheer up on my own, on my own time, when I am ready.

Until then, piss off.

Leah

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