Welcome to my blog. I was inspired by the book, "Blogging for Bliss" by Tara Frey.

Welcome to my blog. I was inspired by the book, "Blogging for Bliss" by Tara Frey. My goal is to share a little about my life, and a lot about my longarm quilting business, Lone Tree Designs.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

An Organized Life

  Ever since I was a kid, I was what you might call a "planner."  I remember in upper elementary rearranging my room, organizing my closet, having bookshelves full of decorative items (which I liked to arrange and rearrange for fun), and always telling my parents I had a "better idea" for the way things should be done.  Given the fact that neither of them is an organizer or a planner, I was quite a trial for them.  They even called me "Mrs. Better Idea" to tease me!  Needless to say, I was quite offended!
  As I grew older, my tendency to be organized helped me feel in control of my life.  I find comfort in having a "plan" for everything.  I can't work in my sewing room unless it is clean and organized.  Some of my sewing sessions actually begin with a cleaning session.  It inspires me when everything is neatly in its place.  The above photos are showing bookshelves and cubbies in my sewing room where I keep my kits.  They are in clear containers so that I can see what I have to work on, and I know right where they are, rather than digging around in bags and Rubbermaid containers to find my projects.
  I have a separate scrapbooking room where everything is organized in a similar fashion.  There is nothing I love more than buying organizers and clear containers to use for my colorful papers (or fabrics).  Color inspires me to be creative, whether it is in my scrapbooks or in my quilts.  I want to see it, BUT, I don't want it to be a mess!~
  My tendency to organize has brought me through my wedding (which I planned pretty much by myself at age 19), college, 16 years of teaching, raising two kids, helping friends plan weddings, planning my daughter's wedding, planning lots of vacations with relatively little stress, and, now, keeping tracks of the roughly 30 quilts that I always have waiting to be quilted for my customers.  I have never "pulled an  all-nighter" in order to finish a deadline.  In fact, I don't recall ever missing a deadline.  Being organized is second nature to me, and I love to help others get more organized in their lives, too.  Here are some tips:

1.  When you have something coming up that you must get done, start RIGHT AWAY!  Do not wait until the last minute and then freak out because you have too much to get done.  Even if your deadline is several months away, just get cracking!  Who cares if you finish several weeks in advance--much less stress happens when you don't put something off!

2.  SAY NO!  If you know in your heart that you cannot do something and do it well without really stressing out about it...be honest up front with the person who is asking you to do it.  Say something like,  " I would love to help you out, but I just have too much on my plate right now to do ....well.  Thank you for thinking of me, and maybe try me again later."  That's all it takes.  No means NO!  Do not make excuses, or hem and haw around.  Be firm and matter of fact.  People tend not to argue with someone who is projecting confidence.

3.  Do a little bit every day.  Many people waste so much time every day just standing around waiting for their next action.  Use that time!  For example, let's say you are waiting for 15 minutes to take your kids to soccer practice.  Don't just sit around...pick up the living room, unload the dishwasher, look through the stack of mail on the table.  You will be amazed at what you can get done in little 10 or 15 minute snatches of time.

4.  Take 3 or 4 minutes each morning to make a "to do" list for the day.  Then, glance through and prioritize from 1 to whatever in order of importance.  Get to work on number one right away.  Finish it, and go on to number 2.  If you don't make it through your list, revisit the list the next day and either eliminate or add the items to that day's list.  Multitasking is NOT efficient.  There are all kinds of studies out there that suggest that multitasking divides your thoughts to the point that you do not do anything efficiently.  Pick one thing..and work on it until you are finished!

  If you find that you are constantly stressed out about your life, I would suggest that you need a little more organization.  Please don't use the "I'm too busy to take time to get organized" excuse.  I would argue that you may be too busy NOT to get organized.  Invest the time, and you will never regret it!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Christmas is Coming!

One of the gals in my facebook quilting group pointed out the other day that there were only 146 days until Christmas!  If you are like me, you haven't yet thought about Christmas rolling around that soon!  I had my first Christmas quilting project this last week.  Some people are already ahead of the game!  Considering that I now have a 3 month waiting list for my customers, I am starting to think that it is time for people to finish up their projects and call me to get their names on "the list" (which is just my way of referring to my data base where I keep track of who's quilt is next to be finished).  My life is now governed by "the list."  It tells me who is waiting, how long they have been waiting, how big their quilt is, and my estimate of how long it will take me to finish it!  Each time I finish a project, I go into "the list" and document when I delivered the finished project, look for upcoming deadlines, and see who is next to be quilted.  I also look to see if I need to call someone to get their quilt brought to me.  I try not to keep more than a dozen here at the house, and the rest are waiting to be called.  It is a good system.   If any of you other longarmers out there have a better way to be organized, I would welcome your suggestions!