Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Goals for April

I've never understood how anyone could put together a five year plan. I barely know what I'm doing next week or next month, let alone a year from now. No way can I begin to guess what I'll be doing or where I'll be five years down the road. My weekly "to-do" lists were the only thing that kept me remotely on track and productive. If I look too far into the future, I tend to fret about things that I can't do anything about yet and that fretting takes time and energy away from the things I need to do now. So I guess that has been my rationale for never having set long range goals.

Back when my life was in disarray and I decided to start this blog, I made the connection that I'd let my habit of "to-do" lists fall by the wayside and that was one of the reasons I felt so out of control in all aspects of my life. I realized that the lists were just compilations of short-term goals and that I could easily do the same thing for my quilting life as I'd always done for my regular life. Thus started the posting of weekly goals here.

Doing this goal setting at the beginning of the week worked wonders, and I found I could do a fairly good job of guessing at what I could accomplish in this short period of time. I had no problem moving an undone task from the previous week into the current week. But I never thought beyond the current week's activities until about the middle of March. Suddenly, I found my mind speculating on what could be accomplished in the week or so following and decided to jot those down too as "tentative." It felt like a huge accomplishment to find I wanted to and indeed could look a little farther into the future.

As it turned out, the last two weeks in March took a different turn, but as I looked to my goals for this week, I had my tentative list to refer to. What's more, I found myself thinking in terms of the entire month, just not one week. I didn't want my thinking and planning to be restrained to the shorter time frame. I think this is real progress, but perhaps I shouldn't be surprised at the development. Setting goals, no doubt, is like everything else we learn to do in life: It takes practice to learn how to do it and get good at it.

So I started with what I wanted to accomplish by the end of the month, then slotted each goal into each week with an eye to any deadlines or other events that would effect priority. I could quickly see that to reach these goals, I'd have to get out of the vacation mindset I've been in and apply a little discipline to my daily routine. I'd also have to quit circling some technical issues, just trust myself and get on with it. Otherwise, I will be creating undue stress or letting opportunity slip away. I want to do neither.

So here are my major goals for April:

First and foremost, I must finish a small piece I'm calling "June, June, Strawberry Moon" that I want to submit to Small Works II, deadline May 1. Here I go leaving things to the last minute again, but "all" it needs is a little hand quilting of the discharged design and mounting on the background which I plan to stiffen to work like a mounting board (see picture below - click for larger picture). I did this with my piece "Camelot" and liked how it worked.
The next two things are equally important to get done soon and I'm a little torn about which to do first. I want to get the Cobblestones top quilted, bound and sent off to my friend who's baby was born prematurely back in late November. I've kind of been waiting to make sure the baby survived - it was pretty touch and go there for awhile - but things seem to be fine now so I'd rather not delay any longer. And I want to make the piece using the candy foil (actually two - a journal size as trial, then a larger piece for show) by Easter, as that will be its title and it will be done up in those great pastel Easter colors. I'm testing my most recent glue finds and if I can't get satisfactory results, I'll just have to alter my plans and quit fussing about it.

Lastly, I'd like to piece and quilt a wall size quilt for the child of another friend. I'd made a quilt for her first child, but got very sidetracked about getting one done for the second child - the same problem I had with my nephew's wedding quilt. I've had the pattern and fabric set aside for 5 years - I think I'll feel a lot better to get it out of the stack of someday projects and off to its rightful owner.

This may be my last big push before having to divert my attention and energies to relocating out in Idaho. Anything I do after this will probably be "what I can get to when I have time" or "something to work on to get my mind off the logistics of orchestrating a move." I'll probably allow myself some latitude for playing and experimenting rather than concentrating on specific projects, or perhaps finish up some UFO's that don't require much creative impute. At least, that's how I anticipate it will play out.

Here is what I'll try to get done this week:
  1. Catch up technical journal. I still have some results of my photo transfer and painting experiments to notate.
  2. Complete glue samples. Did that today and they need to sit for 24 hrs before I know the results.
  3. Journal quilt trial using candy wrapper foil and decorative thread couching.
  4. Sandwich & baste Cobblestones.


Patricia said...

Goal setting is important and you seem to be getting the hang of it. I have found your diary and as a crafter, I find your comments informative, after all, I am never too old to learn.

margaret said...

"Strawberry Moon" is lovely! -- those birches....