We survived the ice storm last weekend with only a 10 minute power outage and the four inches of snow that fell this weekend caused no trouble at all. I've spent some time stitching and (gasp) sewing curtains for Mark's office. I've also been trying to stay caught up on my blog reading. I've been too lazy to leave comments like I should, and I apologize for that. There is so much to see out there in the land of blog!
While reading blogs today I noticed Katrina's post about making lists and setting goals. I found myself leaving a lengthy comment, but decided it would be smarter to put my thoughts here instead. By the way Katrina, what a neat surprise to see you on the 30th!
Making lists...ahhh, one of my favorite things! Setting goals...not a favorite thing, more like a necessary evil in most areas of my life. I try to keep my stitching goals to a minimum, otherwise it feels like work. Of course stitching should be fun, not work. I love to be organized. I love organizing. Organizing is nearly as much fun as stitching. You would think this would translate into a precise rotation schedule, tracking of stitching hours, and goals mapped out for the next 5 years. Ahhem, no. All of that is too much like work.
Rotations (other than the screaming variety) don't work well for me. I set "goals" for my obligation stitching, things like PIFs, gifts and exchanges, because there is a deadline to meet. (Wow, that sounds like work!) Otherwise I'm pretty relaxed about stitching goals. Katrina talked about making lists and feeling obligated to cross things off. I have a list "system" and I think it works for me because I use it as an organizational tool, not as a checklist that must be followed.
I have a series of lists in a single Word document. The first list in the document is for projects that I am kitting up, including the items I still need to buy or track down. The next list is of projects that are fully kitted, followed by a list of WIPs and finally a list of finishes for the year. I use page breaks in the document to keep each list in its own space. Projects "travel" within the document from one list to the next. For instance I am kitting up the Sampler Calendar project from My Mark Designs. Right now it is on the "Need to Kit" list, but when it is ready it will move to the "Kitted, in bag, ready to go" list. When I start the project it will move to the "WIP" list and eventually to the "Finishes" list. When I say the project "moves" on the list I mean that I cut and paste the info from one part of the document to another. Within each list all of the projects are alphabetized by designer. It is just easier to find things that way.
Sometimes I change my mind about a design and it gets deleted from the list. Sometimes I come home with something new and it gets added to the list. Sometimes things get complicated with a project, like I need to change a floss color or maybe start over on a different color of fabric. I try to remember to make notes about everything. Eventually every project in the document becomes a little paragraph or journal entry. If I put a project down for months and can't remember if I was stitching with one thread or two, the list will tell me. If I pick up a new project and can't remember if I cut the fabric for over one or over two, the list will tell me. At the end of the year I cut and paste the entire Finishes section of the list into a new, separate document. This gives me a record of what I finished during the past year and a clean slate in my Projects document for recording finishes this year.
Hopefully all of that made some sense. It probably sounds much more complicated than it really is, and it only takes a minute or two to keep track of things this way. I'm sure I'm not the only stitcher using a Word document to record my stitching adventures. Anyone else? I think handwritten journals are pretty popular right now, too. In some ways this blog is also a stitching journal, but I don't put as much "nuts and bolts" information here as I do in my Word document.
Thanks to everyone for the wonderful comments! So many of you said nice things about my finishes and my progress with the craft table. Thanks a bunch, it means a lot! I do have a comment to respond to.
The Silver Needle asked about the box in this post. The box was a class project with Lori Markovic, the cross stitch designer aka La-D-Da. Honestly I'm not sure if the project qualifies as altered art. I'm afraid the only altered art I'm familiar with are books put to other uses. I do like the mixed media aspect of this project, mixing glue and lace and brads and velvet and cross stitch with a wooden box...not the usual sort of thing for most needleworkers. It is great to branch out a bit, but I won't say it is outside the box. That would just be wrong. *wink* Lelia asked if the floss for this project was overdyed. You guess it! I think it was mostly Sampler Threads.
Finally, I hate to sign off without including a single picture, so here is a shot of one of the curtains I made for Mark's office.
The curtains aren't anything special and the picture quality is the worst, but it is proof that I didn't clear off the craft table for nothing. The fabric was $1/yard at Wal-mart. Woot!