CreativeLive

Create Before You Consume

Scrappy Cabin Blocks

Last week I changed a habit. It's totally changed my life.

What is the first thing you do in the morning, after your victuals? Don't lie. How many of you said check your phone or get online? My hand is up, that's for sure. Yet how many times have we been told that is the worst thing we could do for ourselves? That it kills the soul a little and reduces our effectiveness. Like a smoker who won't quit or a certain person, ahem, who can't stop eating cookies even though she needs to lose weight. We are bound to our social media.

I've been watching the 30 Days of Genius series here and there from Creative Live. One interview really struck me, especially one part of it. Marie Forleo is a life coach and as life coaches can be is pretty cheery and full of clever commentary. She and the host, Chase Jarvis, got to talking about the consumption of social media. She started comparing it to the consumption of a certain disgusting alcohol (to be clear, I like booze, but Goldschlager is nasty stuff). Then she said the words that stopped me straight in my tracks.

"You need to create before you consume."

Number 1, I've never really thought of my time on social media or the internet as consumption. That framing makes so much sense to me though. It might be because I am trying to lose weight so consumption as an act is front of mind. It might just be the thing I needed to hear to make me see that it needs to be managed better.

Number 2, while I often do my best creative work in the morning it generally takes me about 15 minutes to get to it after waking up. I make tea, catch up with the things that came on my phone - email, instagram, twitter, facebook, even texts - overnight. Only then, with a cuppa and the finally feeling that it is time to buckle down and be creative do I get to work. That time is all wasted time for me.

Now, I've been getting up at the same time but skipping tea. And this is the most important part:

I do not look at my phone. Nor do I even unplug it from the charger on the nightstand. 

That's right, I keep it there, plugged in and alarm off. Then I shuffle straight into my sewing room and the first thing I turn on is the sewing machine. For the first 15 minutes of my day now I am sewing. No music on, no radio, no podcast. Just me and my machine and a stack of fabric. 

This is, effectively, a morning meditation for me. I am not going to start actually meditating, I don't feel I need to because the act of sewing first thing like this has me quiet and centered as it is. Then I can tackle a short workout, work on an article or bigger project, and attend to the kids and their morning needs until they are out the door. And bonus! Quilt blocks get made. In just one week of 15-30 minutes first thing in the morning I finished the last 6 of these scrappy improv cabin variations. 

I can't say that watching this interview will change your life as well, but I would definitely encourage you to take the Create Before You Consume message to heart. See what it does for you.

Note: The tea and social media are still there when I get to them a few hours later. 

 

2015 Goals - A Review



The last day of the year. I can safely say that this year hasn't gone like I expected. Then again, I'm not sure what I expected? Setting goals are a good way to find some focus and keep on track. But when the world does not cooperate with you it is also important to be flexible.

I did not meet all my goals. A part of me is certainly sad about that, no doubt. But being able to respond to changes in family conditions is important too. And no matter what, my family does come first. So, for example, if I have to back away from something I don't see it as a failure because I didn't meet my goal. It can be frustrating, but it isn't a failure.

Here goes. How did I do?

1. Start, and possibly complete, the next two quilts in my Alberta series.

This one is never far from my brain. I would really like to get on this. My Mountain Meadows quilt is one of my favourites and it is received so well when I show it. These quilts would be the closest I get to Art Quilts too. That, in and of itself, is a personal challenge I like. It is always good to get out of my comfort zone.

Working with a local shop, My Sewing Room, I designed the background for their Row by Row Experience. We went with a Prairie sky/landscape. This is one I definitely want to expand upon. And a recent winter drive had me thinking about snow on the Prairies a lot too.

It is quite likely that this goal will carry forward, with some more focus.

2. Record at least 1 new online class or set of classes.

Finished this in the first quarter.

My CreativeLive classes are available and so much fun. 
Improv Quilting Basics
Quilting With Low-Volume Fabrics
Translating Inspiration in Quilting
Playing With Pinwheels in Quilting

Online classes are a great way for me to reach more students with teaching. I cannot teach in the US right now, as much as I would love to, so this way more people can have access to me.

And coming up is an entirely new experience. The Mighty Lucky Club is a monthly challenge and I'm thrilled to be a part of it. The first month is about to come out. I've seen a sneak peak and it is awesome!

3. Launch 2 more print patterns.

The Sewing Machine Quilt will launch next week!

I will fully admit to this being a tough one for me. Not designing patterns. That, I can do. It is the step  to printing that I seem to procrastinate on. I'm still deciding whether this is something I will pursue further. But I committed to this pattern and the work is done. Look for the launch.

4. Attend 1-2 quilting retreats as a guest and not a teacher.

Nope. And I'm pretty sad about it. I can't even squeeze out the time for a guild sew day. 

Thankfully, I am finding time to retreat into myself for some creative inspiration. I've been stealing mornings and taking advantage of the inconsistent naps my son takes. A few days or whole days would be awesome, but I will take every moment I get. It is amazing who one can recharge in only 15 minutes when sewing is involved.

5. Pick up 3 new freelance clients.

This was one of the ones that had to change. I love freelancing - the constant creative challenge of new articles, the editors I work with, the ability to inspire and educate. It does, however, take time. And my time to work was drastically reduced this year. I had to pick and choose and this is one thing that had to scale back significantly.

I am going to be writing for another publication in 2016 so it is good to add another magazine to my portfolio. It should be a great experience. 

6. Celebrate the launch of You Inspire Me to Quilt, because I never did that for A Month of Sundays and I missed that.

Well, there was never a big party and that's okay (You only turn 40 once). I am, however, still totally celebrating You Inspire Me to Quilt.

Right now I have a promotional giveaway going on. 

Share a photo of the person or people in your life who bring you to the sewing table to create. Tell us why too. It  may be your partner, your kid, your grandmother. It might also be someone famous who inspired you or another quilter. Share it all. Tell us, who inspires you to quilt?

Post your photo on Instagram or Twitter, using the hashtag #youinspiremetoquilt. All posts will be entered to win one of these amazing prizes.


7. Explore print and pattern making through regular sketching, play, and learning design programs.

Oh my goodness! So much fun. I haven't shared much of anything about this on the blog, but this creative play is amazing. And there are some fun things coming on this front in 2016. And still so much more I want to do.

8. Lose 20 pounds. Actually, closer to 25 if we count the holiday weight. I lost 20 pounds last year and want to continue on the road to health.

Not. Even. Close. In fact, I am nothing if not consistent in my weight.

I will say that I think I've mostly succeeded in adding exercise to a regular schedule for me. It isn't as much as I would like, but I have to realistic with the demands on my time. There is just too much to do in the time I have. But I do carve out 20-45 minutes most days now. 

So the weight isn't changing. If I got real serious about my eating I'm sure it will come. But seriously? I love cookies so much.

9. Find an agent/publisher for the children's books I wrote.

It's probably too early to report, but there is definite movement on this particular goal. And I am ridiculously excited by that. Not only that, it has inspired new possibilities and ideas in this genre. Too. Much. Fun.

10, Spend at least 1-2 hours a week working on one, any one, of the outstanding Quilts Under Construction. Focused, steady progress should move some of those through the list, even when I'm starting new quilts all the time.

Okay, so it didn't happen every week, but I definitely moved some of these quilts through the piles. Then others stayed exactly where they were with nothing more than a sideways glance of guilt. Oh well.


Yes, oh well. I am not going to get hung up on the number of quilts in the pile. every single one represents creativity and the pursuit of joy at different times and in different ways. 

Overall, I am pleased with 2015. It was a good year for me personally and professionally. I responded to challenges instead of cowering. New things are always tough, but I truly believe it is worth facing new stuff to keep ourselves going forward. Like an ever changing river, not a stagnant pond. Sure, the pond can look pretty (but probably won't smell great) but it doesn't have the power and energy of the river.

Having defined goals kept me on track professionally and I will definitely be gathering my imagination for the year ahead. Watch for the 2016 post.