Monday, December 30, 2019

Goofin' Off and Getting in the Zone

Have you ever heard anyone talk about being "in the zone"?  I feel like the past few weeks, as I have been focusing more on my personal goals and projects, I have been able to get "in the zone" more often.  For me, getting in the zone means a nice focus on the project at hand--everything else around me seems to disappear.  I set my timer and get to work...or maybe it's get to relaxing.  When the timer goes off, I can look at what I have been working on and smile at where I have finished my session of stitching for the day.

Getting in the Stitching Zone with Music

I know everyone gets "in the zone" differently.  What helps me get "in the zone" is listening to music.  I enjoy most types of music, but when I am working on a project, I enjoy listening to movie soundtracks and movie scores.  Can you guess what type of movie scores I like?  Ten guesses...anyone,  anyone?

If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, you can probably guess that I love to listen to soundtracks and movie scores from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, etc.   I even got a few new ones for Christmas this year.  My family knows me so well.  I got the music from the new Lion King movie that was well as Jumanji.

I am sooooo excited I got these.  I have already ripped them onto my laptop and added them to my MP3 player.  They are now mixed in with my playlists and I am excited to have these added to my collection.  More music means more stitching...right?

My question to you is...


Let me know below in the comments, if you like.  I'm always looking for new ideas and ways to be more productive and get in the zone.  I love it when my friends share their ideas.  

Christmas Fun

I had a really nice Christmas this year.  The gatherings were a bit small, but the time spent with family was priceless.  I spent Christmas Eve with me and my boys.  Two days before Christmas Eve, Mr. Goofin' Off decided he wanted to prepare Christmas Eve dinner.  My plans for dinner went out the window, but I was more than happy to let him do all the work.  He was in the kitchen all day long preparing food and washing dishes.  What a Christmas treat.  You know what I did while he was doing all the hard work?  I was upstairs in my office/craft room doing some stitching.  Yay for me!!!

Christmas morning we had my son over and opened up stockings.  Santa still delivers Goofin' Off Jr.'s stocking gifts to our house.  Maybe he hasn't received a change of address yet?  Not a problem.  We love having him over.  About noon the boys headed out to pick up my dad.  It was his second Christmas without my mom, and it seemed to go a little better than last year.  He told me he didn't want a Christmas dinner; he wanted a Christmas Christmas brunch it was.  We opened gifts with him and he and Mr. Goofin' Off watched some TV shows about cars while Goofin' Off Jr. and I took a little nap in the chairs next to them.  It was absolutely perfect.  

This Christmas was packed with lots of stitching and quilting gifts...all the more reason for me to get my act together so I can have more time for relaxing with my projects.  I received five 3-yard quilt kits from Fabric Cafe.  Their quilt kits go together really quickly and are the perfect size for Project Linus quilts...and each kit comes with their own pattern.  These was a fantastic sale for Black Friday, so I think Santa did a great job picking these out for me.

Star Trek 3-Yard Quilt Kit

Fishes 3-Yard Quilt Kit

Forest Animals 3-Yard Quilt Kit

Vintage Aircraft 3-Yard Quilt Kit

Floral 3-Yard Quilt Kit

Santa brought me this Ott light...well, technically this was my mother's Ott light that she had in her sewing room.  The lights had been broken out at some point while it was at my dad's assisted living facility.  Santa's elves got new light bulbs for it and got it working for me.  It will be an eye saver for me because the days are so dark here in the Pacific Northwest during the winter.  

Standing Ott Light

My last gift was from my dad.  He gave me money to purchase gifts for my family and wrap them up.  I chose for my dad to buy me the fabric and about one-third of the thread needed to get started on my Randal Spangler Sundae Delight pattern that I purchased from Heaven and Earth Designs several years ago.  My dad was tickled that he got to watch us open the gifts he gave us rather than just giving us money.  I hope to get started on this piece in the very near future.

Fabric and About 1/3 of Threads Needed for Sundae Delight by Randal Spangler
Sundae Delight
Sundae Delight by Randal Spangler - Charted by Heaven and Earth Designs
The past few weeks, I was actually able to get a jump start on 2020 and do some tweaking to my schedule.  I found a bit more stitching time and was able to make some progress on my newest stitching project.  Here it is:  

Last Update on Mystery Project - December 16, 2019
Current Progress on Mystery Project - December 30, 2019
Any guesses on this one?  I really am enjoying all the pretty colors of this piece after working so long on my Mickey and Pirate Friends piece that is full of browns, dark grays, and oranges.  These purple, pinks, and greens are just what the doctor ordered for me.  This pattern is four pages, and I will rotate after I complete a page finish.

Now it's time to step away from the blog and prepare for our annual New Year's Eve party.  Thank you all for being such a big part of my stitching world.  You all make the world a better place for me.  

I hope you all have a fun and safe New Year's Eve!  

Monday, December 16, 2019

Goofin' Off and Tapping Into My Strengths

I apologize for a partial hijacking of my normal stitching and quilting blog to mix in some time management stuff.  I am working through time management on my own so that I can get back to the activities that give me the sanity I need to get through the other "stuff" that goes on in my day-to-day life.  I have a great life and am not complaining--I just feel like the past year has gotten away from me.  Feel free to read through if you think you're interested or just scroll on down to the day-to-day fun stuff with quilting and stitching pictures.

Still Life, Lamb, Stuffed Animal

"Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. 

We only have today. Let us begin."  --Mother Teresa

There is so much truth to this.  I can't worry about what time is past.  I can't recoup the time I've lost.  I just need to reorganize myself and my time so that I can just begin with today.  

Tapping into my time-management strengths

This past year has come and gone.  I wasn’t able to accomplish many of the things I would have liked to.  Recognizing I want to get more done in 2020, I’ve realized that I’ve got to treat my time like an investment.  If I want to make 20 charity quilt tops in 2020, that means I’ve got to invest my time in gathering fabrics, rulers, rotary cutters, and other quilting supplies; cutting out shapes; and sewing these precious squares and triangles to create completed tops.  That precious quilt top is the return on my investment…and the interest on that return is knowing that children, families and seniors will be able to enjoy a warm quilt that was made with my time, sewing machine and love.  (Isn’t love the most important investment to include in a quilt?)  

That’s what my 2020 is going to be about…taking back control of my time so that I know that I’m spending it the way I need to so that I can feel fulfilled and still be of service to others.  I’ve come to realize that even though I don’t always feel in control of my time—like when a Disney comes out with a new discount promotion and I have loads of vacation requests coming from clients unexpectedly OR the dishwasher breaks two months after the warranty runs out and all dishes need to be washed by hand during the holidays OR a family member is having an emergency and I need to go spend a large chunk of time at the hospital—despite all of that, I really am in control of many aspects of my time.

In order to take back control of my time, I need to take a deep dive into my life and look at my tasks and see how I can restructure them and put a new schedule in place.  I know this will me to take a self-examination and be honest with myself about some things.  In addition, I’ll need to some tools to help me along.  I have read more than my fair share of self-help books, so I need to go back over my notes and thoughts that stood out to me and see if I can recognize what has helped me in the past.

Assessing my strengths (and weaknesses)

I have reached a point in my life where I have begun to discover my strengths and appreciate them for what they are.  
  • I am a great listener.  
  • I accomplish the most when I am using a checklist.  Some self-help gurus say not to make checklists.  Without my checklists I would not get much accomplished.  
  • I am organized (although that organization may occasionally look chaotic at times to an outsider).  There is a method to my madness.  
  • I have a love and compassion for people and a desire to help them.  
  • I am good with numbers and enjoy looking for a good bargain without sacrificing value.  
  • I believe in quality over quantity—once I have mastered something to the point I can produce great quality, the ability to produce more quantity follows suit.  
Like any investment, I need to figure out which of these brings the greatest returns towards my end goals for the coming year.  I really missed the mark for my goals in 2019, and looking at the list I can see how not leveraging those strengths changed things.  I need to remember that I can’t try to do everything…or I’ll have time for nothing.

Now that I’ve talked about some of my strengths, I guess I should admit to and come to terms with my weaknesses.  
  • I try to do too many things.  
  • I try to please too many people and often don’t leave enough time to do things for myself.  
  • I sometimes suffer a little too much FOMO (fear of missing out).  For example, I want to join a quilt-a-long because I see so many of my friends doing them…except the projects that I really want to work on like a charity quilt don’t fit the guidelines of said stitch-a-long.  

It's time for me to set some guidelines for meeting my goals in 2020 and recognizing and embracing which of my strengths will help me accomplish these goals.  It's also time for me to diagnose which of my weaknesses are hindering me the most so that I can work towards eliminating them or improving them.

What are your strengths?  I am glad we don't all have the same strengths.  The world needs a variety of talents and strengths to create balance that helps us function as a whole.  Thank you to all my fellow bloggers who share their strengths, tips, and talents.  I have grown so much because of you and all that you so willingly give impart!

Elf-ing Around Last Week

I was able to attend a work conference last week for my travel business.  It was held at the Sheraton Grand Seattle.  Since the conference included complimentary valet parking, Mr. Goofin' Off and I decided to carpool in together for the day.  He starts work at 7:00 a.m. and the conference didn't start until 10:00 a.m., so that gave me about three hours to do some reading, catch up on emails, and visit the gingerbread display at the hotel.  You could actually see his building from the room where the conference took place. 
Mr. Goofin' Off's Building is the One With the Large Diagonal Beam

The theme for the gingerbread display this year was "ElfLife".  Often, the lines for the displays can get very long.  Fortunately for me, when it opened at 9:00 a.m. in the middle of the week, I was the only person there.  I got to spend quite a bit of time enjoying the gingerbread displays.  Here are a few shots of my favorites: 

Gingerbread Display Inspired by the Movie "Elf" - (Santa, I know him!!!)
Inspired by the Keebler Elves
Santa's Workshop and Elves--Wait, Is That Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks as an Elf?
Aren't they just so delightful!  

Goofin' Off With Update from the Week of 12/08/2019

Okay, so it wasn't much...but it was something.  As the winter begins to wear on, I needed to work on something with color.  I went to Etsy and found a design I fell in love with.  I made a new start and will be rotating this with my Mickey and Pirate Friends piece.  This new project's pattern is only four pages...and three of those pages are partial pages.  I'm not telling you what it is just yet.  But here is my start.  

Progress on New Project as of 12/16/2019

This may not look like much stitching to you, but for me this was a real win to sit down and work on this.  I am so excited to see how it will turn out.  This will be a block that I will be sending and donating to Love Quilts. 

Any guesses yet?  It's hard to tell from this picture, but this is going to be loaded with lots of purples and pinks...just what I need to beat the winter blahs.

Monday, December 9, 2019

Goofin' Off With a Little Bit of Time

The year is coming to a close real soon here.  I can't believe how long it's been since I posted.  The past year has been pretty good with my travel advisor job really taking off last summer.  I feel lucky and grateful for that and have been able to check a couple of items off my bucket list this past year in addition to planning vacations for clients.

We had a new addition to the family in 2019..thanks to Mr. Goofin' Off.  Hubby knew the minute he saw it that he wanted it and what he wanted to name it (yes hubby likes to name his cars).  It has been named Nemo.  Although we've had Nemo for a number of months now, he's actually only been driven a few times.  Nemo has needed a lot of tinkering and Mr. Goofin' Off loves to tinker with cars.  It's a win-win!

Image may contain: car and outdoor
Welcome to the family, Nemo!

As I write this post and reflect back on this past year, I am reminded of a little whimsical prose written by Dr. Seuss:

How did it get so late so soon?
It's night before it's afternoon.
December is here before it's June.
My goodness how the time has flewn.
How did it get so late so soon?
--Dr. Seuss

The year has flown by.  The holidays are upon us.  As I have pondered the past 11 months, I am grateful for all the wonderful things that have happened.  But I have also felt a large hole in my life where my quilting, stitching, charity work and blogging were.  My time has been limited by my new career as well as helping in taking care of my dad.  

Since my mother passed away last year, my dad has needed a lot of extra time.  Early in the year we moved him into assisted living.  Then we began the task of getting his home ready for sale.  This was a monumental job because my parents had lived there for over 50 years and raised five kids there.  I like to tell people my mother was an organized hoarder.  It was unbelievable how much stuff she had managed to tuck away under beds and oozing out the dozens of closets throughout the 2700 sq. ft. house.  It was all good stuff and in brand new condition.  She liked to purchase clothing and knitting and sewing projects through catalogs.  It would have taken her several lifetimes to complete all the projects that she had bought.  I guess a lot of us quilters, cross stitchers, or whatever type of crafter you are, can relate to this (I write as I stare into my closet overstuffed with fabric).  It literally took us weeks of working 20 to 40 hours a week to go through everything and get all the items that were donate-able donated.  

Then this fall my father fell in his assisted living apartment and broke a hip.  He spent time at the hospital, then three weeks at a rehab center.  This time, he really needed more help when he left, so we found a fantastic group home for him.  My brother and I had toured a number of homes and this was the only one we felt good about.  We were so grateful that they were able to take my dad on and for the care and compassion he receives there.  

Professionally, this year has been great, too.  The month of July I booked more travel for people than I had the entire year before.  I now have money coming in each month.  I have met people at conferences and through my travels that have become great new friends.

I've even checked some things off my bucket list.  For Halloween, I went to Disneyland with my two sisters.  I dressed up as Edna Mode to go trick-or-treating at Disneyland.  What a fun experience!


...there has been next to no time to quilt or cross stitch or work on charity projects.  I just don't feel complete at the moment.  I am committed to doing better in the coming year.  I'm coming at 2020 with full steam ahead.  I'm so excited to see what I can accomplish this coming year.  

All About My Time and Priorities

I know that in order to give myself more time for things that are important to me--and absolutely necessary for me to keep my sanity when things get insane--I must start making some time for myself to do the things that I enjoy.

I've already gone and purchased my planner for next year.  I understand that everyone's day has 24 hours...that's 1,440 minutes...which is 86,400 second.  Once a day is gone, we can't borrow against yesterday's hours...or trade for tomorrow's minutes.  I need to make be sure to prioritize my days to get the most out of my time for them.  I've got to plan better to be sure that the things I want to get done have the time allotted for them and not just wait for "spare time" to magically appear.  

My 2020 Planner and Pretty Pens to Get Me Started
In the past, I've been able to reshuffle priorities to be able to accomplish what I want charity quilts and cross stitch projects...especially Disney projects.  It's time to get back to that.  I know if I'm willing to invest more to quilting and stitching that I'll be able to get some sanity back in my life.  

In order to feel like I've had a successful 2020, I know I'll need to find a better balance that will keep me on track to finish some projects and start some new ones.  I'll try to keep you updated on this journey (although blog posts will probably be the best indicator).  I look forward to jumping back into the swing of things.  Now for a pictorial show of how much I have (or maybe "haven't" is a better word) accomplished this year.  

Time for Quilting in 2019?

This is where I left off at the beginning of the year.  I had picked out these fabrics for my first (and apparently only) quilt of 2019.  I had cut out all 624 pieces and...that's where I stopped until about June when we finished getting my Dad's house ready for sale.  

By the end of June I had managed to sew a few pieces together:  

Where I left off last summer.

It felt great to sit behind the sewing machine and piece together these triangles.  But that was the last time I sat behind my sewing machine.  Because in mid-July, my business really took off.  I'm not complaining about my business.  I have lots of fun helping people plan their vacations.  It's a real win-win for both my clients and myself.  

As things quieted down a little at the beginning of Fall, I had my first conference to attend (in Florida, of course), a wedding to attend in Portland, Oregon, my dad took a tumble and broke his hip, we had to find a new place for my dad and get him moved in, and then hubby had a conference (back to Florida).  I just haven't managed to get my sewing machine back out.  It's time to take back control of my life and get back in the sewing room.  

Stitching Time...

Now I have managed to get a little stitching in.  And this is where I am now with my Mickey and Pirate friends cross stitch piece.  Hey, any progress is still progress in my book.  Right?  

So thanks a million for following me through this journey of my 2019.  Now it's time for me to put some time management skills to work and find more hours for the activities that will bring me some sanity.

I look forward to reconnecting and keeping up with all of you, my friends.  Wishing you all a Happy Holidays for all of the great things that you are celebrating this coming month and into 2020.