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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

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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

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

New Focus, New Goals

This October was an absolutely spectacular month for my quilting business.

No, I didn’t sell a huge quilt for thousands of dollars.

No, I didn’t get contracted to make patterns for a big name company.

No, I didn’t even finish my braided bag tote pattern.

Instead I just refocused my goals and decided to learn how to really finish a quilt.  I was feeling pretty down about my quilting ability.  Piecing is fairly easy for me and is no longer a struggle to cut and piece fabrics very accurately.

But my quilting has always been less than stellar.

It’s not that I’m a bad quilter, I always had a fair amount of talent.  The problem was I couldn’t “see” what quilting design to use on certain areas of a quilt.  I assumed (wrongly) that all patterns had to be freeform and built into muscle memory so I could pull them out whenever needed.

Now for background filler quilting patterns, that is definitely true.  It’s important to know how to stipple, McTavish, do paisleys, and echo quilting at will.  I already had this ability, what I lacked was the insight as to how to design the quilting pattern to support, if not set off the piecing.

So in the past month, I’ve been a little MIA on this blog, and for good reason.  I’ve been working.

What I’ve discovered is the wonderful world of trapunto and just how amazing this technique is for quilting. Using this newfound skill, I took this quilt top (view above) and instead of doing random, meandering lines all over it, I’ve finished it with style!

Of course, the first attempt at a new technique isn’t always perfect. I definitely learned a lot with this first project and will post more about those lessons soon.  What I gained from this experience was the knowledge of how to look at a quilt pattern and see the potential quilting lines that could enhance it.  How to “see” that inner pattern and have the guts to draw and design new elements for a quilt that might otherwise have been finished very simply.

My newfound focus and goal are definitely starting to play out with my life and quilting business. I’m ready to devote real time and energy to making this business a success and it’s so exciting to share this moment with you!

Evil Queen Costume Ideas

I always wanted to create a Halloween costume based on the Evil Queen in Snow White.  The problem I always ran into was her high collar.  This image doesn’t do it justice.  In the movie her collar comes up and halos her head.

When I was in high school I actually wanted to create a gown like this, but since I was already struggling to get a date, I just opted for a normal gown.  Looking back, I probably would have had more fun if I had created the Evil Queen gown and went stag.

Anyway, my idea for this gown will be slightly different from what she is wearing.  The gown beneath will be black and very basic, just a simple princess seamed dress.

The robe will be even more different and similar in shape to the neck thing that priests wear.

This will be a separate piece in black with the high collar rising up around my head.  I’ll use the same Timtex material that’s used in creating those fabric boxes and bowls to make it stiff and stand up around my head.

I was trying to brainstorm last night about a truly evil image to put on the back of the robe.  I’m thinking of two intertwined snakes, rising up the back of the robe.  At the top, one snake looks right and breathes out a mouthful of flame while the other snake breaths out a mouthful of ice.

I really need to stop imaging things while I’m supposed to be going to sleep, but I get such good ideas that I really can’t help myself.  I haven’t incorporated quilting with sewing yet, probably because I’m still recovering from my stint as a seamstress.  I think I’m finally ready to get over it and start making wearable art!

Find Inspiration Anywhere

While in Southport, NC on vacation, I ate at a little restaurant downtown called The Pharmacy.  This fine dining establishment was actually built in an old pharmacy and still the original wood and ceiling from when it was build.  This is just an example of how you can find inspiration for you quilting in any place, at any time.

Of course, this minimized picture really doesn’t do this ceiling justice, but you can still see the lines and symmetry that form the pattern.  This reminded me so much of traditional whole cloth quilting that I couldn’t help but take a picture.

I especially liked the area around the light fixtures.  The light fixtures themselves weren’t very inspiring, but the ceiling itself more than made up for their lacking.

This is just another example of how taking your camera with you wherever you go can really pay off.  I’m dreaming of a whole cloth quilt in black and blue fabrics using many of these motifs.

I’m also neck deep in thread painting and I doubt I ever surface!  I’ve been working on my block for the Quilting Arts Calendar and have really pushed my own envelope to create something totally different.  Unfortunately I can’t share any pictures because it’s supposed to be an unpublished piece, but I’m brimming with ideas stemming from this experience.

Quilting Videos

I quilted on camera! I’ve been doing videos on skin care for Leah Day Online for a long time now, and even did some demos of knitting awhile back, but I’d never filmed myself quilting.

So I was working on some simple Christmas quilts and suddenly realized that someone out in the ether of the internet might like to see how I bind and stipple my quilts.  So I’ve made two videos on binding and one on stippling that you can view here.

The binding videos turned out really well, but that’s such a tricky technique I’ve also written a three part article on it on my main website.

In the process of making these videos, I’ve learned a good amount about filming myself while quilting.  Here are some tips to keep in mind if you want to do this too:

  1. Good lighting is a must.
  2. Try to get as clear a shot as possible.
  3. Use contrasting fabric and thread so people can see your work
  4. Don’t bother filming your face – people are not watching to see you.
  5. Write out your words so you remember to say everything you need to.
  6. Don’t worry about perfection – you can always edit it later!

My videos aren’t very professional, but they will get better in time.  Check out all the quilting and knitting videos I have available to watch right now:

Machine Stippling

How to Attach Quilt Binding by Machine – Part 1

How to Attach Quilt Binding by Machine – Part 2

Learn How to Knit – Part 1

Learn How to Knit – Part 2

Learn How to Knit – Part 3