Posts Tagged ‘deadlines’

The Music of Deadlines

November 22, 2017

Deadlines have two kinds of music. The first is a lovely “tah-dah!” when you finish everything on time. The second, which I hear too often, is a sad cello solo followed by a soft “whoosh” as the deadline passes.

I’ve explored all sorts of systems for keeping on task, with varying success. The last attempt for my quilting projects involved putting fabric collections in clear plastic bags. The idea was that if I could see the collections I would be more likely to have an inspiration for them.

Fabric collections waiting for inspiration

It didn’t work quite as well as I hoped. As you can see, both shelves are crammed with bags. There might be good news next year, however, because Amador Valley Quilters will offer a challenge to finish our projects.

Step one is to identify all them. That is more complicated than you might think, as some of my unfinished tops are nearly inaccessible.

I have no idea what is under this stack

I stacked my unquilted tops, some with backings and batting, on a shelf in the closet. Over time, stuff got piled up in front of the closet. I can clearly see (and probably reach) three projects here, so they’ll go on the list. Heaven only knows what I’ll find when I manage to extricate the projects on top.

The brilliant part of the guild challenge is that we’ll be paired up with another quilter. Accountability is essential (at least for me), so I’m hoping my buddy will be on the taskmaster side of the personality scale.

All of which is to say if I’m ever going to take over the world, I’d better have a friend help me meet the deadline.

Luck and wisdom!

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Fighting Procrastination

September 13, 2017

I’ve known for ages that I’m pathetic without a deadline. No matter how good my intentions, if there isn’t a date circled on the calendar the project may not get started (much less finished). This year I took a position on the board of my quilt guild, so I’m using that to fight procrastination – and use some of the fabric in my stash – by declaring my intention to make at least two quilts for the guild’s charity drive at Christmas.

Cut patches, ready to sew

I found these cowgirls and some blue squares in a plastic bag on the shelf.

Cut squares, sewn in pairs, multiplying before my eyes

Who knows where they came from, or what I intended to do with them. All I know is that I looked at the bag and said, “Self, you can let these go. Someone else will be much happier with the quilt than you could ever be.” I started with the dimensions the charities prefer and worked backwards. This is the quilt-in-progress.

Cowgirl quilt in progress

I have a gazillion collections of fabric that still appeal to me, but not as much as when I bought them. Having it all languish on my shelf makes no sense when there are plenty of organizations in my community that want quilts. Turning these collections into charity quilts gives me the pleasure of using the fabric without the burden of figuring out what to do with it. I’m also training myself to fight procrastination – a lesson that I need to relearn on a regular basis.

Luck and wisdom!

Bribing Yourself: A Disciplined Approach To Finishing Quilts

July 27, 2016

The paths in my studio are wide enough now that I no longer have to do the Sewing Room Shuffle to get from the door to the sewing machine. This is great news, because it means I’ve consolidated enough of my piles to get some swinging room. The less great news is I can see the only way I will make more progress clearing up is by finishing projects.

Falling Flowers - finished and logged

Falling Flowers – finished and logged

Most often I finish projects based on deadlines. If the quilt is a gift, there’s a deadline. If I’m entering a contest, there’s a deadline. If I’m entering a quilt show, there’s a deadline. The hard part is finishing the art quilts. I usually have no deadline for them, because I’m trying to create a body of work that I can use for contests and shows and thus avoid the panic of meeting the cutoff date.

Now, the disciplined artist would just get herself settled into the studio and do the work. Me, I need a bribe. Currently, that bribe is my log book. I note every quilt I finish, and at the end of the year compare the number of projects completed to previous years.

Lani Longshore log book

The clever part of my discipline bribe is that I’ve defined finished as quilted, bound, labeled and sleeved. Until all of those things are done, the quilt isn’t finished. When they are done, the quilt goes in the log book, and is available for contests and shows. My output has been low, but now that I can actually get to all those unquilted tops there is always the log book bribe to keep me going.

Bound, not labeled, not logged

Bound, not labeled, not logged

Luck and wisdom!

Forward, Backward, Sideways

August 20, 2014

I made some progress, had a set-back, and slid to the side in my on-going battle of the piles. The step forward is we rearranged some of the furniture we are minding for our daughter while she is in graduate school (or at least until she moves to a larger space).

My purple plate collection

My purple plate collection

This collection of dishes began with a purple plate that Margaret Misegades gave me. The top bowl is from a Progressive Party outing to the local paint-your-own ceramics place to celebrate Maya Madhavan’s birthday. The collection used to live on my ironing board. Now it can be admired.

Unknown bags - maybe mine, maybe not

Unknown bags – maybe mine, maybe not

The step backward was discovering another collection of bags in our daughter’s room. Two of them are mine, I think. It’s been so long since I’ve seen them that I can’t remember acquiring them.

Something more to sort

Something more to sort

The sideways step is this new pile of my stuff that had been road-hogging our daughter’s closet. Now it is in a corner of her former room. My husband has rearranged that room to suit himself, which is only fair as I have colonized almost every other room in the house. The new pile is at least tidy, and I don’t have a deadline to sort it.

Of course, given that I’m pathetic without deadlines, he might regret telling me I can deal with the pile at my leisure.

Luck and wisdom!

Notebooks and Deadlines and Lists, Oh My

November 27, 2013

My pumpkin pie is baking as I write. The good news is I won’t have to hide it from the family, because we’re celebrating Thanksgiving today. My son works tomorrow, and my daughter is house-sitting for traveling friends, so today is our day.

 

Tomorrow is list day.

 

Every year, I leap feet-first into a major panic at Thanksgiving. Did I remember to buy the stuffing (I forgot one year)? Do I have enough wrapping paper for the presents that have to be mailed in the next week (and can I find it)? Have I overbooked myself once again with things that sounded like so much fun when I said yes in August (and do I dare turn the calendar page to look)? Can my aging brain cells keep all the things I need to remember in a safe place?

 

I’ll never know the answer to that last question because this year I decided to use a safety net.

 

My brain for the next six weeks

My brain for the next six weeks

 

My notebook collection includes one that is festive enough to find easily. I jammed it and the pen in my pocket as I was heading out yesterday, determined to write down all the stray thoughts, stocking stuffer ideas, and notes to self about projects I agreed to do. I filled two pages in three hours.

 

“Self,” I said, “you’ll probably need another pocket notebook. It should be sturdy, bright enough to be seen under the stacks on your desk, and cheap.” Then I remembered one of my many abandoned projects.

 

My back-up brain for the next six weeks

My back-up brain for the next six weeks

 

I bought some shiny red card stock months ago to make . . . well, I can’t remember what I was going to make. I cut it in half, then folded it, then gave it the pocket test. It’s slightly bigger than the notebook I’m using now, but it will work.

 

Finding paper to put inside was a snap. I have lots of stationary left from the days when I sent newsletters via the post office rather than the internet.

 

Who's old enough to remember this?

Who’s old enough to remember this?

 

Since this notebook only has to last until Christmas, New Year’s at the most, I decided to bind it with quilting thread.

 

Not time seeping through a crack in the universe - just thread and a flash

Not time seeping through a crack in the universe – just thread and a flash

 

The tiny knot on the inside doesn’t interfere with folding or writing at all.

 

Hurrah for the quilters' knot!

Hurrah for the quilters’ knot!

 

I am inordinately proud of myself for finishing this project. It is useful, pretty, and made from supplies I already have. Best of all, it might even calm my jangled nerves when my holiday panic hits, knowing I can find my notes.

 

My pie is done. Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

Stuff With Deadlines

July 10, 2013

On winter evenings, when I’ve run out of energy and ideas, I serve the family stuff on rice for dinner. Whatever is left in the fridge goes over rice – sometimes with a sauce, sometimes not. This week, as I prepared to fly out to visit my mom, my studio presented me with stuff with deadlines (no sauce).

 

Actually, it was only one deadline and I could have dealt with it after my trip but getting those quilts finished for my great-nephews inspired me to submit to the Quilting Arts challenge before the very last moment. The theme is hands.

 

hands-Lani-Longshore-7-10-13

 

My hands are human and alien. Look closely and you’ll see two of the hands have only three fingers. I included a quote from my book (with Ann Anastasio), When Chenille Is Not Enough.

 

hands-detail-Lani-Longshore-7-10-13

 

Since I hadn’t worked with sheer fabrics before, I did a “practice” project. It turned out so well it became my August block for the Progressive Party calendar project.

 

Lani Longshore Progressive Party August

 

August represents apple harvest time to me. We have a Granny Smith apple tree in the back yard that produces enough fruit for a freezer full of apple sauce, several apple cobblers and more than a few pies.

 

The Progressive Party calendar project begins this month. I leave you with my July block, which celebrates the 4th of July, Bastille Day, and Canada Day.

 

July-Lani