2020 – what a year it’s been already!
Where to start??
I kicked off the year energized and raring to go!
January and February were super intense as I prepared for my guests posts on Art Gallery Fabrics blog:
- Get to know Shannon Fraser Designs
- Cloud Surfing Quilt Inspiration
- Cloud Surfing Quilt Design Evolution
- Quilted Floor Pillow in Denim + Canvas
and also launched the Cloud Surfing quilt pattern at the same time – whew – that was intense!
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I went straight from that to releasing the Sit ‘n Sew Pincushion pattern that you’ve been LOVING! I love seeing these cuties pop up in my IG feed!
I took a slight detour to help you tame your scraps with the 7-day Scrap Sorting Challenge – which was SO fun to design and share with you.
I even snuck in a fun quilty chat with the Quilt Buzz Podcast team.
And then BAM – COVID hit and our worlds changed.
As self-isolation mandates spread through the country (and world – wow!), we found ourselves having a tougher and tougher time getting reliable food deliveries and so, we packed up and headed to the cottage. Definitely a more enjoyable place to self-isolate, but this also meant leaving my sewing studio behind – cue the tears!
No sewing machine and lots of patterns planned for release in 2020 isn’t an ideal combo! So, it’s meant I’ve had to pivot and re-strategize. This has been hard, but a valuable lesson (and great reminder). You can plan as much as you want, but life sometimes has other plans. This is where flexibility comes in and just rolling with it!
In retrospect, it probably wasn’t the worst thing as I took on B-School this year (which wasn’t planned). Something I’ve wanted to take for several years but kept hesitating. Not sure why I hesitated, because it’s been awesome. And overwhelming. And so much thinking – my brain sometimes hurts – ha! This one is all about what you put into it and I’ve been putting into it. It’s been eye opening in some areas and affirming in others. Most of all – it’s got me fired up to create amazing products and help serve you better.
COVID also inspired Cheryl Arkison to create the Canadian Virtual Trunk Show and I’m beyond thrilled that she reached out to invite me to participate. These (mostly) weekly Live Instagram videos (catch the replays here) have been an amazing way to connect with you, share tips and tricks and just generally get in on the quilty fun 😊 Before participating, I’d never done a Live before and it definitely pushed me outside my comfort zone, but I’m SO happy I did it. Because getting messages from you about how much joy these sessions have been bringing you, seriously means the world to us.
It’s funny because I was chatting with the hubz a couple of weeks ago and it dawned on me that the first quilt book I was ever interested in was *Sunday Morning Quilts and to think 5 years later I’d be participating in a virtual trunk show led by Cheryl (one of the writers of Sunday Morning Quilts) is pretty cool and amazing. A total pinch me moment 😉
Which just serves as a great reminder, that while you may have plans, sometimes life comes in and has other intents for you. If I had remained too focused and stuck in my original goal, I may have missed out on this opportunity.
And bonus – it fits in with one of my 2020 goals to collaborate more. I hadn’t envisioned it taking this form, but I love it. And a great reminder to be open to the unexpected.
These weekly live sessions have also led to others reaching out to ask me to do lectures. If you and your guild are interested in having me give a virtual lecture, you can find a list of topics here.
MID-YEAR UPDATE ON 2020 GOALS
Ok, so how have I been faring with my 2020 goals? Let’s dive in.
I was off to a great start with Cloud Surfing and Sit ‘N Sew Pin Cushion being both released the first quarter of 2020. I was on a roll and ramping up to release the Ecliptic quilt pattern and then I had to leave my studio and my basted Ecliptic quilt ☹ We had to come back to the city for a brief stint, which enabled me to get her quilted – finally! But I didn’t have enough time to get the pattern drafted.
While I haven’t been able to make progress on that front, I have been able to do lots of designing and I have so many new ideas to explore and share with you! Some are super easy for those times where you just want a fast and fun sewing session and others are a little more challenging to help take your quilting skills next level. The hardest part is being super inspired and not being able to bring them to life. All in due time, right? That’s what I keep telling myself. I’m where I need to be and I just need to make the most of it. That’s my motto!
When I had set play time as a goal, I had envisioned lots of freedom sessions. This hasn’t really happened. I’ve only snuck in a couple of improv projects, but I’m hoping as soon as I have more dedicated time in my sewing studio that this will become a bigger focus. We’ll see.
All the tutorials I had planned had to come to a screeching halt. Not having my tools and machine makes it a little tough to share step-by-step photos of a quilting process – ha! These will resume once I’m back in the city.
PERMISSION TO DISCONNECT
I’ve done REALLY well on this front! There were several weeks where I limited my time on social media. I have a love/ hate relationship with Instagram (surely, I’m not the only one?!). I love it for connecting with you, but there are times where I feel completely overwhelmed by it, start having feelings of inadequacy and can sometimes feel really down after being on there.
To help save my sanity, I’ve been trying to be more mindful of when and how long I’m on social media. It’s a challenge. One thing that has helped is turning off notifications! Wow, so simple yet so effective. If you haven’t tried this, I highly encourage you to give it a go. Not being constantly pinged during the day, means less interruptions (and, ergo, more focus) and means I’m in control as to when I check-in. I’ve been trying to do this only a couple of times of day. Focused connecting time, rather than mindless scrolling.
CLEAR THE WIP PILE
As you can imagine, I haven’t been as successful in clearing my works in progress pile. Not gonna lie, it was so tough seeing everyone enjoying their sewing spaces during those focused months of self-isolation. All I wanted to do was be at my sewing machine working on projects too! But I was smart and packed several hand quilting projects, which have been glorious to work on.
I’ve also been very mindful of starting my day by creating before I consume. This is a novel concept that I first learned from Marie Forleo and later saw reinforced and applied by Cheryl Arkison through her #morningmake. I now get up, grab a cup of coffee (‘cause coffee is life for me!) and settle in for some slow stitching. No phone. No emails. No social media. Just me, Pips and my stitching. Bliss.
This one has been uber challenging to honour in 2020. I haven’t seen my family since early February. That’s just cray-cray to me. Thank goodness for technology making it easy to stay in touch, but I know my mum in particular is having a tough time not being able to see us in person. Hopefully the restrictions lift soon, and we’ll be able to resume family dinners 😊
I always try and take a step back and see what I can learn from the current situation and what I’ve noted is this:
I’ve been sharing my #joytriggers in my weekly newsletter (sign up here to get in on the fun!) and I’ve loved hearing yours too! Thank you for sharing them with me. This simple practice of focusing on daily joy triggers has reminded me to focus on the small things. Like my morning cup of coffee (did I mention coffee is life?!) or seeing butterflies. Super small, but oh so fun when you actually take a moment to appreciate them.
I don’t need much to keep me happy, but my sewing machine is an important part of my mental health. This is not a ‘nice to have’ but a ‘must have’ in my life. I snuck home last weekend for a little me-time and literally cried while chain stitching away (tutorial here if you’re not familiar with this awesome quilting technique) – it just felt so good to be back in my element. This means giving myself permission to not feel guilty when I prioritize my stitching time.
I don’t need a lot of stuff. I’ve been in a low-buy mode for several years now and I find it beyond liberating to realize as I get older I need less and less. I haven’t bough any fabric, or clothes or…well, really anything. This also means less stuff in the house to deal with. Win/win!
Taking more time to just chill is super important. While I’m no slouch when it comes to work, I realize how good it feels – both mentally and physically – when I give myself permission to take time off. The whole concept of hustling and glorifying lack of sleep because I’m working so hard, is not something I subscribe to. Having worked crazy long hours in my previous career (and seen way too many people head off on burnout), I know that can be a recipe for disaster – more specifically, it really takes a toll on you physically, mentally and emotionally. Hard work is important, but so is self-care and balance.
Bottom line is this – life is unpredictable. Never would I have ever imagined that the entire world would shut down and everyone would be mandated to stay home. Looking forward, I can see life will most likely never return to what it was pre-COVID. In some ways, this is really disheartening, but in others I can see some real positives.
I try hard to remember that I can’t control life, I can only control how I respond to it – which is why I tend to be a glass half full kind of person 😉
So, there you have it! This is how I’m faring with my goals – winning on some, falling behind on others. But I’m not stressing (much – ha!). Several things have been beyond my control and instead of freaking out, I’m rolling with it and staying positive. I figure all I have to do is just keep moving forward.
Hope you join Yvonne over on Quilting Jetgirl and link-up for the #2020MidYearCheckIn.