Archive for the ‘Dale Anne Potter’ Category

Getting Organized – Day 3

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Sculpture at the Denver Art Museum, photo by Linda Moran, c. 2013

  I was looking through pictures to see about something appropriate for this third day of the series, and I stumbled upon one of my favorite sculptures from our trip east in July – the Broom and Dustpan at the Denver Art Museum. What a perfect way to look at a clean sweep of the least year and a new start for this coming year! Remember that you can start this series ANY TIME you want to. So…on to day 3!

 Dreaming the New Year

Now it’s time to think about this coming new year, regardless of when you consider your year to begin. When I was teaching, September was always the beginning of the year, not January. With retirement, my new year is the end of May. So you can do this at any time of the year, for however long a time period you want. Start with a month or two, or go for the whole year. If the process works for you, then consider doing a five-year plan. I promise you that this whole process really works!

First, though, you need to DREAM. If you need help in dreaming your goals, check out Dale Anne Potter’s website. She offers a lot of positive ideas for getting goals accomplished, and she has great resources. So does Alyson Stanfield, author of “I’d Rather Be in the Studio!”

I’m asking you to do away with limits on your thinking. No worrying about how much money you need, whether you think it’s actually possible to accomplish, or any other roadblocks you might place in your path. This is dream time. A year from now, what would you like to have accomplished? Just DREAM. Don’t limit yourself! And…don’t make it just about your business.

Here’s what I came up with in my brainstorming for last year:

a second online gallery carrying my artwork; publication of the book with my art quilts in it; a line of stencils for mixed media; two ebooks on marketing; an ebook on quilting marbled fabrics ; finish the ebook for a friend ; licensing some of my digital designs; at least four new patterns developed and available; at least three teaching gigs around the country; visiting Paducah to tour Quilt City; a trip to Kauai in the fall; visiting the Maritimes this summer; entry into at least two fiber/art shows; increase by 25% each the income from Ebay, the website, Etsy, and Cafe Press; another connection to the Martha Stewart folks for another article; additional writing and work done on my website; a visit with my foster son; visiting the old homestead in New Jersey; seeing my college buddy again; staying healthy; blog posts at least four times a week; articles in two art/quilt-related magazines; monthly lunches with my second mom; weekly Friday night dinners with my sister-friend; at least once a month something art/music-related to see; outdoor cactus garden established; and….a trip to Vienna to visit a friend.

Here’s how I did:

a second online gallery carrying my artwork (done); publication of the book with my art quilts in it (coming in June 2014); a line of stencils for mixed media (nope); two ebooks on marketing (got one, second in the works); an ebook on quilting marbled fabrics (just a tutorial); finish the ebook for a friend (done); licensing some of my digital designs (in the works); at least four new patterns developed and available (developed, not completed for sale); at least three teaching gigs around the country (did two, got one already booked for this coming year); visiting Paducah to tour Quilt City (done); a trip to Kauai in the fall (nope); visiting the Maritimes this summer (nope); entry into at least two fiber/art shows (nope, but not a priority any longer); increase by 25% each the income from Ebay (done), the website (nope), Etsy (done), and Cafe Press (nope); another connection to the Martha Stewart folks for another article (first article was a bust, not very cooperative, never got print sheets, not worth the time and effort); additional writing and work done on my website (nope); a visit with my foster son (YAY); visiting the old homestead in New Jersey (done – and in New York); seeing my college buddy again (nope); staying healthy (pretty much); blog posts at least four times a week (nope); articles in two art/quilt-related magazines (nope); monthly lunches with my second mom (done); weekly Friday night dinners with my sister-friend (done); at least once a month something art/music-related to see (done); outdoor cactus garden established (nope); and….a trip to Vienna to visit a friend (nope).

In retrospect, a lot accomplished, and some of the “nope’s” are not priorities any longer. The math person in me looks at 17 out of 30, a percentage of 57%. OVerall I’m pleased, because some other things got accomplished that I wasn’t anticipating, so a good year!

Your list can be as long or as short as you wish. Please do not try and limit yourself, even subconsciously. I have found the key in planning is to shoot for the moon. You’ll get a lot farther into the atmosphere than if you try to keep yourself grounded on earth.

Also, DO NOT FEEL OVERWHELMED with this list! In the next installment, I’ll be sharing the idea of backplanning – something that I have used throughout teaching, especially when I was doing theater. Backplanning makes everything seem absolutely do-able – I promise.

Feel free to share your dreaming with us. Some of us might get inspired by something you mention and decide to include it on our list. Let a comment and tell us what you’re dreaming about. You’ll head in to the New Year feeling very positive about what you’d like to accomplish! When I introduce you to Backplanning, you’ll realize you can accomplish what’s on your list. Now go and DREAM!

52 Sparks: Week 7 – What Do You Love?

I am still behind, but I am thinking all the time…….I love life! I love everything about it – the ups, the downs, the music, the art, nature – everything!I don’t think we always appreciate that simple fact. Even when we have down times, there still is so much beauty around us, we just need to find it – or even something as simple as taking the time to find the beauty. Ever since hubby and I were dating, one of our favorite things to do was take a ride along back roads and go exploring. We found lots of great things: a very small car ferry across the Potomac, a flooded Harper’s Ferry, National Geographic Headquarters, a small sugar shack, sand dunes, an uncovered hulk of a ship off the Diamond Shoals on the Outer Banks. We still go for drives, but it’s a little harder in the desert….not as many options! But one of our favorite spots is Saguaro National Park East, about 6 miles from our house. It’s pretty brown this time of year, and I am looking forward to the first signs of green. But we had snow this week, so there was still some around, and some decaying saguaro cacti, which had incredible texture to them.

What’s left of the snow on the Rincon Mountains. The desert is so brown. You can make out the majestic saguaros at the bottom.

A more panoramic view, with a saguaro in the foreground.

Look at the texture!

Pretty serious thorns on this bush. The desert can look very deceiving!

52 Sparks – Week 6 – On Top of the World

I am behind, part of what’s making me so nuts lately. But I do so want to stay up with some of my projects for this year. So far I’m really not doing badly, and I know I need to give myself a break and stop being so hard on myself. So….Week 6: When You’re On Top of the World….

I feel giddy, I giggle, I smile, I talk a lot, and my mind goes crazy with ideas. I’ve often commented “It doesn’t take much to make me happy.” I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not! I’m thinking it’s a good thing – I like the feeling, and I want it to happen more often.

I often get this feeling when I complete a project. I just finished a commission as part of a house-warming, and about half-way through I started grinning from ear to ear. I LOVED the piece!! And then, yesterday, I bought a new sewing machine – with 90 decorative stitches…..I’m still grinning, and I can’t wait till Thursday when life is a little simpler to play with it and make my stitch  sampler. I’m still giggling at the prospect.

Nature also makes me feel on top of the world, and not necessarily when I’m on a mountaintop. A favorite spot just south of the Seven Pools on Maui, the lakefront on Champlain, the Pali on Oahu, cactus in bloom during a wet spring in Saguaro National Park……get me outside and I can feel on top of the world.

So here’s my free motion quilting piece for my friend Ali. There are SO many things I love about this piece – the colors worked even better than I thought, and I love how the blues kind of shine. The tension on the back for the most part worked really well. I used Bottom Line in the bobbin, Silk Kimono for the ribbon, Art Studio for some of the blue background, and King Tut for the overall design. The thread colors were great. The ribbon around the center celtic piece was the new FMQ challenge for this first part of the year from SewCalGal, and brought to us by Libby Lehman. I love how the ribbon is created. I’m not happy with how mine turned out – it needed to be larger, and I discovered that I really didn’t need a pattern – next time I will freehand the ribbon and not make the stitching as dense. I was even thrilled with the blocking, squaring off, and binding. Overall – on top of the world……

close-up of the “ribbon” work

52 Sparks, Week 2 – Appreciation vs. Approval, Plus FMQ

 This week of 52 Sparks had a really interesting question that I pondered a bit. The question: How do you appreciate yourself? I had to think long and hard about this one. I think I was confusing appreciation with approval, and it took me the longest time over the years to not worry about family approval. I needed to start appreciating me for me, and what I did and succeeded at because I was pleased, not someone else…..kinda rambling, but I hope it makes sense.

Appreciation: I go for walks to think about what I’m doing, I take time off to read – some times days at a time to just immerse myself in some books. Mostly, though, I appreciate myself by giving myself free rein to make art. And with retirement, I am taking more time to appreciate what I’m learning and creating. In fact, three new commissions over this week. It is just so delightful to quilt away for hours (with the occasional back break) and see the progress.

That said, here’s what happened with art this week. Last time I had the stencil traced on to the green fabric in preparation for my first whole quilt. Now all I need to do is square it off and bind it. I LOVE IT!!!! I NEVER thought I would be able to free motion a whole cloth. Yay me!

So here they are – better pics when the binding is finished.

 All are Superior Threads, Bottom Line in bobbin, Silk Kimono in background, and Fantastic variegated in the design.

 

52 Sparks – Week 4 – Aloneness

This was an interesting question this week: How do you feel when you are by yourself?

I spend a huge amount of time time by myself, usually working on something artistic. It seems like I have always been by myself growing up…and yet, you can never be by yourself when you have a good book. And that is still true.

But I never had a lot of friends. I am quite the introvert, so moving to something artistic just seemed a natural. I think my introversion became even stronger, given my position in a family of extroverts, coupled with emotional abuse. So I am accustomed to being by myself. My husband and I do most everything together – we are each other’s best friend. The fact that we can – and do – work at art together is a great plus for us.

I can remember my dad asking me how I was, one time when he came to visit. I said I was lonely. I did a lot of things by myself, and I could always read, but I think it was more a case of seeing friends with others of the opposite sex, and I would wonder what was wrong with me. I finally decided if I was going to be single, then it would not keep my from doing whatever I wanted to do.  Alone can be very good – I get a lot of work done on fiber pieces, a lot of planning. Especially with retirement. So when I do have “alone” time, I plan projects or lose myself in a good book.

So since I haven’t started something new, I decided to try a “whole cloth” quilt because of the class I’m taking on Craftsy with Cindy Needham. I had the really great stencil from about 12 years ago…..I finally found where I had “stored” it. I pulled a green piece with some interesting tonal print to see what would happen. Here’s the latest “in progress:”

Of course, most of the yellow marker has already rubbed off…….

52 Sparks – Week 3

Week Three of Dale Anne Potter’s 52 Sparks asks about our favorite color. I’ve had an interesting week thinking about this one. My first thought was purple, as I wear that color a lot. And…I have a lot of purple in my fabric stash. But the more I thought about it, the more I kept going back to basic black.

Growing up I did a lot of work with pen and ink, as well as charcoal. In fact, the year I was 14 for Christmas I gave my father a drawing I had done from a holiday card. This was the old-style pen and having to load the India ink each time. He had it framed, and it eventually passed to me when he died and my mother remarried. There are times when it looks vary amateurish, and times when I see the perspective and the light sources. I still like the piece. Here it is:

There is something so basic and stark about working in black and white. I was very linear when growing up, and as a naive, young adult, a lot of life was black-and-white, with few shades of gray. That has certainly changed!

In college I had to buy a black dress for orchestra performances, and I have always loved the idea of the “little black dress.” Wearing black and white in the summers was a favorite, and I was delighted to learn in the 70’s that I was a “winter,” and crayon colors were perfect for me. But I have also realized I wore a lot of black when I was teaching. It’s a great discipline color, and it was a staple in my wardrobe, and I could mix and match just about anything.

Speaking of wardrobes, black also is slimming, so that’s another reason why I have so much of it – accented with purple, of course.

I don’t hesitate to use black when needed in my artwork, and of course I love doing zentangles. Last week I showed the beginning of the zentangle – in glorious black and white – that I have started as the first step in a piece for an art show. After three days of a lot of intense, fine work, my zentangle is approaching completing, and then I can go on to the next stage. Here it is, as I’ve started to square off the sides, and not too much to finish.

I wear red, I wear purple, but I am still drawn to black…even if I don’t have to worry about discipline any more.

52 Sparks – Week 2

I’m participating in Dale Anne Potter’s weekly art journaling project for this year. This week’s prompt was “Right now – what drives you?”

I spent a lot of time this week processing that. Travel certainly is a driving factor, and I want to try and get as much in as possible in the next few years. But…on a day to day basis, I’d say it has to be creating with fabric. It’s not all art, but a good chunk of it turns into something pretty wonderful. And I find I am really trying to get as much art time in as possible, what with trying new ideas, redoing old ones, and just generally learning more about materials, fabrics, and techniques.

That said, I was looking at the lists I’ve developed on year-long projects, month-long projects, and weekly tasks. For the last two years I haven’t entered Fish Follies because I haven’t gotten anything new made. I had a fabulous idea last year, but the deadline was as we were coming back from StashFest in La Conner. I had the who piece worked out in my head, but the very first piece would be creating the zentangle artwork that I would need as the base for all the fish.

So as I’m looking at my lists today and contemplating writing about this question, when it occurs to me to just start doing the basic artwork. Start on it, so I can see the progress and realize I really am working on creating, not just reading the lists. I figured if I created the zentangle on a large sketchpad piece of paper, then scan it, I could create the fish I needed and they wouldn’t all be exactly the same. So two hours later, here’s what I have so far….and a long way to go before this part is completed……

Lots more to go, and it will be interesting to see how it photographs – I think it will be too large for the scanner, but at least each of my fish will look very different.

What I like about this prompt this week is the sense of commitment to creating, and when I combine it with my word for the year – optimistic – it feels like a really good fit!

Call Me a Cock-Eyed Optimist……

  I’ve always been known as an optimist, and since I only see out of one eye now, it seems that “cock-eyed” is appropriate. I have been mulling over a bunch of words for the year: liberate, enthusiastic, positive, optimistic, focus, abundance, willing. I do want to be more positive, as I have been sinking down somewhat this past year and worrying more. But it seems, as I review everything, that “optimistic” covers a lot more ground than “positive.” I feel that “optimistic” encompasses the whole year in a more vibrant, inclusive way than “positive.”

I’ve marked all my new moon dates in my calendar so I will be sure to write my abundance checks. And there is a bit of mathematics in “optimistic.” For the last three years, the business has been growing each year, a little more. This past year saw about a 75% increase in sales and opportunities, and already the possibilities for this coming year are increasing….exponentially. With the exponential growth model, things start out increasing very slowly, and then grow very rapidly. If I were to actually model business income for the last three years, I would see exponential growth at the very beginning. So I am optimistic that the growth will continue and will pick up pace. I’m putting in the time and doing what I need to, so optimistic really does describe how I want to approach the year.

I am committing to two year-long activities (which is a 100% increase in what I committed to last year – the Free Motion Quilting Challenge). The first is part of Art Quilts Around the World, with a total of six two-month challenges of art quilts for the year. The first one is about completed, and I did struggle with it, but I learned a lot. I’ll do a blog post when it’s reveal time. The second is participating in Dale Anne Potter’s 52 Sparks. This is journaling a response to a specific question and creating a piece of art along with it – each week.

This is definitely breaking out of my comfort zone. I am getting used to writing a lot (hey, I am at nearly 800 blog posts), but I usually don’t try and create artwork to go along with it. As part of “optimistic,” I was thinking about what I could do for art. The idea of “is the glass half-empty or half-full” came to mind, and I’m always the one who sees the glass as half-full. So I thought about doing some sketching of a glass. A very long time ago I used to work in charcoal, and it occurred to me that using charcoal again would be quite the risk, especially as I am not always confident with my sketching.

I noticed a number of things in the sketching. First was extreme tentativeness. I haven’t held charcoal in a very long time. I really studied the wine glass I set out. I wondered about how to capture the light in the glass and the cuts in the crystal. Finally I just started and got a good beginning oval. I left blank some spots where the light seemed to make the glass transparent. I got the basic shape of the top, but my proportions are seriously off on the bottom half of the glass. I really got hung up on how it didn’t look like the glass, that the stem wasn’t as long as it should be.

Then I started using my finger for blending, adding details, and the next thing I know, I have captured some of the essence of the glass. It is definitely fragile, a bit tipsy, and delicate. I found I wasn’t looking at what I thought was wrong with the glass, but what I found interesting and true in the drawing. That is a major breakthrough for me. And I really liked the charcoal. I will continue with that for a medium for a while. Here’s my finished piece:

The use of different media should be something I try this year. Crayons, markers, ink pens, water colors…I have them all, and I don’t use them. I think I need to push myself with something new – maybe a different medium each month.

That said, I think I want to add another year-long piece to my goals, that of creating a 12 x 12 piece each month as part of the online gallery I am in: Galleribba.

I have been busy working on goals and lists and loose ends, but I must say, four days into the year, that I am certainly optimistic about a really good 361 days left.

Part 2: Getting Organized – Start Dreaming!

Here comes Part 2 in my Getting Organized Series. You can follow along on the blog and get a head start before the posts appear on the Handmadeology blog. Share comments about your dreaming at the bottom of this post.

 Part 2: Dreaming the New Year

Now it’s time to think about this coming new year, regardless of when you consider your year to begin. When I was teaching, September was always the beginning of the year, not January. With retirement, my new year is the end of May. So you can do this at any time of the year, for however long a time period you want. Start with a month or two, or go for the whole year. If the process works for you, then consider doing a five-year plan. I promise you that this whole process really works!

First, though, you need to DREAM. If you need help in dreaming your goals, check out Dale Anne Potter’s website. She offers a lot of positive ideas for getting goals accomplished, and she has great resources. So does Alyson Stanfield, author of “I’d Rather Be in the Studio!”

I’m asking you to do away with limits on your thinking. No worrying about how much money you need, whether you think it’s actually possible to accomplish, or any other roadblocks you might place in your path. This is dream time. A year from now, what would you like to have accomplished? Just DREAM. Don’t limit yourself! And…don’t make it just about your business.

Here’s what I’ve come up with in my brainstorming, in no particular order.

  • a second online gallery carrying my artwork;
  • publication of the book by Linda Seward with my art quilts in it;
  • a line of stencils for mixed media;
  • two ebooks on marketing;
  • an ebook on quilting marbled fabrics;
  • finish the ebook for a friend;
  • licensing some of my digital designs;
  • at least four new patterns developed and available;
  • at least three teaching gigs around the country;
  • visiting Paducah to tour Quilt City;
  • a trip to Kauai in the fall;
  • visiting the Maritimes this summer;
  • entry into at least two fiber/art shows;
  • increase by 25% each the income from Ebay, the website, Etsy, and Cafe Press;
  • another connection to the Martha Stewart folks for another article;
  • additional writing and work done on my website;
  • a visit with my foster son;
  • visiting the old homestead in New Jersey;
  • seeing my college buddy again;
  • staying healthy;
  • blog posts at least four times a week;
  • articles in two art/quilt-related magazines;
  • monthly lunches with my second mom;
  • weekly Friday night dinners with my sister-friend;
  • at least once a month something art/music-related to see;
  • outdoor cactus garden established;
  • and….a trip to Vienna to visit a friend.

Your list can be as long or as short as you wish. Please do not try and limit yourself, even subconsciously. I have found the key in planning is to shoot for the moon. You’ll get a lot farther into the atmosphere than if you try to keep yourself grounded on earth.

Also, DO NOT FEEL OVERWHELMED with this list! In the next installment, I’ll be sharing the idea of backplanning – something that I have used throughout teaching, especially when I was doing theater. Backplanning makes everything seem absolutely do-able – I promise.

Feel free to share your dreaming with us. Some of us might get inspired by something you mention and decide to include it on our list. You’ll head in to the New Year feeling very positive about what you’d like to accomplish!

Next: The Concept of Backplanning

Top Ten Tuesday – New Art Blogs

It’s been a while since I’ve written about some of my daily go-to blogs. I’ve discovered a lot of new ones over the last year, both art-related and not, so here’s an update of blogs you don’t want to miss.

365 Project – aside from the fact that there are amazing photographs each week, the site has you start your own daily photo journal.

365 Project homepage

 

Waiting, by John

Elizabeth Barton writes a blog with tips, inspirations, art work, and wonderful pondering thoughts on your own art. If I could choose a mentor for a few months, it would be Elizabeth.

The Art Biz Blog is essential. Alyson Stanfield gives you spectacular advice for managing and promoting your art business. Start reading her if you aren’t already.

I love Larkin Van Horn. Not only does she create amazing work, but she likes using our fabrics! I had a chance to reconnect with her this past March at StashFest for the La Conner Quilt and Textile Museum.

I follow the C&T Publishing blog for two reasons: I like to see what’s new….and they do giveaways, and one time I actually won! If you’re in the business, you need to keep up with trends,

Dale Anne Potter got me started last year on positivity and the Law of Attraction. She is a great artist, and she has been helping others achieve their dreams.

Vicki Welsh does some of the most amazing hand-dyes, with color gradations to dye for (pun intended)!

Generation Q Magazine just made it into print, after a year of online articles and features. Lots of potentially great stuff here!

Insights from SewCalGal is my go-to site this year for machine quilting. My skills have improved tremendously, I did a tutorial for Darlene, and there are great giveaways – fantastic site!!

And last, but certainly not least, the Textile and Fiber Art List, a group of over 300 artists from 30 countries. Amazing eye candy! Take a trip through blogs and Etsy stores for artists in everything “textile and fiber” you can imagine! A wealth of awesome information.

Reflections

It’s been an interesting time for reflection this last month, as it’s been an emotional roller coaster of a year. This time last year I was excited because I had decided to retire a year early, in May of 2012. Three semesters left felt do-able. However, I was also still stuck doing lesson plans every Sunday for most of the day. Yet I told myself it was better than the previous year, because I wasn’t spending as much time week nights marking papers, since I had an additional prep period each week.

Then came January 8 and the Tucson shootings. I had almost convinced hubby to go to the Congress on Your Corner, but by the time we were finished with his chiropractic appointment, it was too late to head over. There but for the grace of God…..Like most Tucsonans, we were glued to the television all day, through the NPR reports that Gabrielle Giffords had died to all the aftermath.

By Sunday afternoon I was working on the Art From the Heart website as a way of dealing with this tragedy. To date we’ve had artwork from 14 states, and some amazing artwork it is. President Obama came on Wednesday, and hubby and I sat transfixed in our living room, listening to his speech. On Friday I faced another challenge as a teacher – the Westboro Baptist Church had said it would boycott Christina Taylor-Green’s funeral, and then decided to boycott my high school instead for their ethnic studies program.

Here’s where I realized how much teachers are also first responders. It had been a hellish week, trying to get teenagers to understand what was going on, and how to respond in a nonviolent manner to a group like WBC. You can read about it here, here, here, and here.

Events like this make you really question so much about your life, especially when it appears to you to be a close call. The depression began to sneak up, slowly, and everything at school just became more intense. I began to think about leaving the classroom in May. After all, it had been 40 years. The end of February we attended some meetings with state retirement and made the decision that May 27 would be my last day as a teacher. That made me smile.

March and April are blurs pretty much, just existing and coping with the depression. I was reading on a blog by Dale Anne Potter about how positive she was and how many great things were happening to her. I emailed and got the information about Cocreating Our Reality and practicing the Law of Attraction. On May 1 I was determined to enter my first 100 days of this challenge being positive. You can read about that here. This really was the beginning of the turn-around for me. I finished school grinning from ear to ear during that last month, driving teachers I worked with crazy.

I wrote my Abundance checks with faith that everything would work. And it did. These seven months of retirement have been wonderful. Some health challenges, but hey, who hasn’t? The marbling business has picked up, great things are happening, and I’ve been able to create some new art. Two successful seasons of 100 days and working on the business – doing things – and creating art  that I hadn’t been able to do while teaching full time.

But December was a melancholy month for me, which was a change after the past six months. Some things weren’t right. The vision had gone in one eye, I had started a new set of 100-days, but the motivation wasn’t there. The weight issues got me down almost immediately. In retrospect I think it was the consumerism and blatant conspicuous consumption (yes, I know….redundancy….) that weighed on me. This led to some decisions to go a very different route next year with gifts – making donations in family’s names to nonprofits they support. Giving back, rather than giving to.

Along with that, the continued violence around us….it seemed like no matter where you turned or what you watched, there was violence all around. I can’t watch the news anymore, as I just get too upset. Movies and television shows are full of gratuitous violence. People are unkind, peace seems so far away, and our politicians – and those who are supposed to lead us – aren’t doing their jobs. I find everything about this country – and the world – to be so topsy-turvy. Nothing is right, we can’t seem to learn from our mistakes, and our country is lost in its original path. Part of me wishes to withdraw completely, and the other part of me wants to make the changes. I look ahead and see no hope…and 10 months of a VERY LONG election season.

So now it’s New Year’s Eve. I need to look ahead, as we are having some great things happen for us. We are making fabric like crazy, heading for an overnight at a king suite in a local hotel so we can do planning for the first quarter of 2012. Tutoring clients are coming in, finances seem to be assured, and we’re both feeling positive. I know there will be decisions ahead, as I think 2012 is going to be a pivotal year. But right now all I can do is all I can do.

Here’s wishing you and yours peace, happiness, and prosperity for this coming year – and whatever else you would like. Life is good, and we need to embrace it!

Day One, Season 3

  I chose my “Explosion” piece for today because that’s the kind of excitement I feel starting this new season three. Seasons one and two of Cocreating Our Reality were eye-opening and exciting, and for the last few days I have been building up to starting a new journey today. First, I am so blessed to be retired and able to work on art when and where I want to, for as long as I want to. I get to spend every day with my hubby, and life is pretty much wonderful. Health problems – of course, who doesn’t have them at our age. But – that’s not stopping me from living a great life.

I discovered over the last two seasons when it was time to evaluate my goals, that I hadn’t really stretched myself – or thought big enough. So I have been pondering that for the last week or so. What is it I actually want to do?

First and foremost, kind of came to me last night in the moments before sleep, is probably the one most on my mind. I need to take this season and concentrate on me. It sounds selfish, but it isn’t. I have health issues that really need to be addressed, and for so many years they went to the side as other things – students, work, hubby – took their place. If I expect to be as creative for as long as I want, and get out and be politically active, and write – do all the things I want to – than I need to focus on my health. So that is goal number one for this season: take the cholesterol medicine, take my vitamins, watch what I eat, get out regularly and exercise, track my food intake, get some yoga teachings, get my blood readings where they need to be. I actually started thinking this way a few days ago, and I’m pleased to say the exercise has already increased, as well as having a bit more control over appetite.

A second goal is tied in to all this. I am getting a second opinion on my vision issues and will work to find strategies to help with the depth perception and balance issues. A new doctor’s appointment is scheduled for next week Thursday, and I have a teacher friend to talk to about some basic yoga stretches. I always knew this day was coming, and now that it’s here, I need to learn to work with the new limitations.

Overall, for the first time, these two goals seem very positive. One hundred days from now, March 10, I expect that I will have been enormously successful at these first two. That statement alone is a major change for me. It’s very positive, rather than using the word “try.”

Business-wise I have some very specific goals.

Number three in my list is to solve the newsletter/collectors’ information issue. I am, as was said to a friend of mine, “leaving money on the table.” This has to be a regular business goal. I am considering taking Alyson Stanfield’s “Cultivating Your Collectors” class in February. That will depend on a number of things, primarily finances. I am good at reading and implementing, and since I accomplished four of Alyson’s goals in I’d Rather Be in the Studio!, I should be able to accomplish at least three this new season. So: newsletter, portfolio (which we will need for a major event the end of March), and I will look through the list for at least one other. Newsletter once a month should be definitely do-able. A collectors’ newsletter once a quarter should be reasonable. I’m sure there will be others to add here.

Number four is searching out wholesale suppliers for cutting back basic costs of making marbled fabric. As of yesterday I have a new wholesale account with Kona Bay fabrics, as we use their colored cotton quite successfully. We are looking for wholesale sources for premium white cotton, silk/satin ribbon (like Offray), and probably some other materials.

Number five is ramping up our Etsy shop, our Fine Art America galleries, Cafe Press, and looking in to Red Bubble, Three Sisters, and at least one other online selling site. My overall goal in all this is to be able to update these sites once a week, as well as include items from these sites in our soon-to-happen newsletters. I’ve tried setting monetary goals for Etsy and Ebay, and they are very fickle, depending on the economy. I do tweet my Etsy and Ebay offerings once a week, which certainly drives traffic to the site, but I don’t see it converting. However, I know that it is only a matter of time, as is the case with this blog. I am about to hit 1500 viewers per month, so I know it is consistency. (Concerning the blog…when Facebook changed its latest set of operating, my blog numbers dropped. Turns out, on exploration, Networked Blogs was a casualty and needed to be reactivated. Once that happened, I saw numbers increase again…..I am amazed at how net-savvy we need to be these days!)

Art-wise I also have some very specific goals.

Number six is to enter a major show with new work. The deadline for this is mid-February, and I am already hard at work on the first of two pieces. The fabric has been created, and the ideas are flowing. Here’s just some of the fabric…..

Unpolished red satin

If I get accepted, great. If not, I will have two new lovely large art pieces for our body of work. But I am putting out to the Universe that this will be show-worthy art.

Number seven is to create the kit for Marbled Seasons. Yesterday’s blog post showed the first of the four small quilts/table runners. I used to have several patterns, all of which I sold the rights to. So I just need to make more. For this goal I want this set of kits completed, and two new ideas for pattern kits, plus a rewrite of my Polynomial Quilt pattern – which I used the quilts for that very successfully in an adult algebra class to teach multiplying, and it was highly successful.

Number eight is to be completely prepared – except for minor loose ends – by March 10, for StashFest at the La Conner Quilt Museum in La Conner, Washington. We have been invited to participate, and it means marbling about 400 fat quarters in the next three months…..another reason for looking carefully at wholesale outlets! This is an interesting goal, because after our last guild presentation, I put out to the universe that it would be fun to travel and do demos in the Southern Arizona, southern New Mexico area. Well, two days later I had this email…..as Dale Anne Potter, my muse with Law of Attraction said, I was open to the possibilities.

Number nine will build on the previous. Develop a letter/sample to go to local guilds for demos and classes. I think just the development at this stage, because we will be focused on making fabric for Washington.

Number ten, under the category of Miscellaneous, comes continuing to work on Art From the Heart, a site devoted to spreading peace and nonviolence in the aftermath of the Gabrielle Giffords shooting. We had two new entries this last month, and I am hopeful for more.

Now that I have these written, I have to chuckle in that I was concerned about trying to get my goals coherent for this season. These are more detailed than the past two seasons, and they will certainly stretch me.

So Day One – I’m going to sew, work on some lists, and get ready for a small craft event on Saturday. Plus, it’s the holidays, and I want to “do more good” this year on a daily basis. May you have a really awesome day!

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