The Free Motion Quilting Project: Listing Priorities

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Listing Priorities

Today is What's Leah Working on Wednesday so let's take a trip into the sewing room to see what's going on.

free motion quilting | Leah Day

As you can tell, my studio is a wreck right now. A combination of too little time and way too many projects has combined to form a big mess over my sewing tables.

If you think this isn't that bad, you should know that this photo was taken after cleaning the table off for 2 hours. The fabric up front in the photo is actually folded! I'm still uncovering yardage, tools, and the odd pair of scissors out from under all this stuff.

I think I'm just a naturally messy person. I was never very good about putting my toys away and it looks like my son James is the same.

I have to laugh when I walk into his room and find his floor looking exactly like my studio tables. You can't teach what you can't do yourself, so that is one battle I'm not even going to try to win.

But my giant messes are usually indicative of my general state. If the room is a wreak, generally I've been having a pretty good time, such a good time I haven't wanted to stop and clean.

And things really are great right now!

I started thinking about it the other day how often I will talk and write about being busy, stressed, or dealing with some personal issue from my past.

It's easy to ignore the bigger picture: that I am, on a daily basis, extremely happy and feel overwhelmingly lucky to be building something so awesome.

I jump out of bed in the morning hours before Josh and James not because I have to get work done, but because I can't wait to get back to work!

I love this business, I love quilting, and I absolutely positively love sharing it all with you!

Of course, sometimes I bite off more than I can chew and it doesn't feel good to have a million ideas and goals in my head and only so many hours in the day to work on them.

That just feels overwhelming - all the options, all the possibilities, swirling around my head clamoring for attention.

It's especially difficult when it's a choice between two important things for the business. I'm trying to build the business big enough to support my family in a very short amount of time and the feeling of time running out is a constant presence in the back of my mind.

So when this happens, rather than running around like a chicken with my head cut off, I instead go out to lunch.

Yes, getting out of the house definitely helps and there is an excellent Indian place in town perfect for eating, talking, and planning out a priority list.

So what is on my plate right now? Here's the ever growing list:
  • Launch the new Beginner DVD - both physical and download version.
  • Launch a download version of the Basics DVD.
  • Design the DVD covers, disc art, etc.
  • Design the beginner book cover.
  • WRITE the beginner book.
  • Quilt and film the extra quilt square photos that will be needed to finish the book.
  • Add new items to the quilt shop.
  • Design and quilt new designs.
  • Bind Shadow Self and get it photographed.
  • Make some Christmas projects (ornaments, etc)
  • Design and quilt some beginner quilts.
  • Clean the quilt studio.
While you may not have a list like this, you might have a list of quilts and quilt projects swirling around your head. It really helps to pull them all out and get them on paper so you can see what is the most important to finish right this second.

It was only after making my list, for example, that I realized that of all the things I feel like I SHOULD be doing, the one thing I HAVE to do is finish Shadow Self and get it photographed for a deadline at the end of July.

free motion quilting | Leah DaySo that is what I'm busy with today! Had I not made the list, I'd probably be running off on another tangent and it feels really good to have a solid focus.

Once the quilt is bound, I'll return to my list and figure out what is the next most important thing to finish.

So that's it for my Working Wednesday! I'm off to download a new book to listen to as I hand bind this quilt. My goal is to finish by this evening so I better get going with it!

Let's go quilt (or hand bind),

Leah Day


  1. Leah,

    Most people have messy sewing rooms. It just means you are using it. Unless it bothers you or impedes your work, don't worry about it. Focus your energy on your other projects, and it will get cleaned up if it is really a true priority to reach your other goals.

  2. Leah, I'm right there with you on your piles and lists! I also find that a good list helps me get organized. I can then prioritize and get to work! If i don't write it down, then i just kinda have all these thoughts swirling around and I just can't get anything done. I also just LOVE marking those things OFF my list when they are complete. Gives me a great feeling of accomplishment. Claire

  3. Leah, I'm 'Queen of Messy' but my studio is so messy right now that I can't even get to my mid-arm and practice more of your wonderful quilting designs (and FREE yet!)... I don't know how you can come up with so many but we are so blessed that you do... Love your blog and "personal" information and can't wait to see you at our guild on Monday night, hopefully with "Shadow Self" in hand... Saw your other two last month at the Quilt Show in Charlotte; when I walked in the door...there they were...right at the entrance...pinned with ribbons.. I almost cried getting to see them in person... WOW!! Everyone needs to see your quilts in person!! I showed them to my friends who don't have a computer and was telling them so much about you that they thought somehow we were related. LOL

  4. That is so funny Gail! I can't wait to come to SC on Monday and meet everyone in York County.

    See ya soon,

    Leah Day

  5. Leah,

    I always thought type A folks were tidy. Good to know you are just like all the rest of us.

    I really envy all of those who get to see your work in person. I live here in the middle of the country. We do have a great Quilt Study center in Lincoln, Nebraska. It would be great if someday you could have a quilt on display there. Right now they have quilts from India, Pakistan and that area.
    Beautiful work!

    Dorothy in Nebraska

    Dorothy in Nebraska

  6. Morning routine: shower, breakfast, get kids out the door with hubby, sit down with cup of tea and make a list of the day's priorities....can't focus without one (and I'm not even trying to support my family!)

  7. Good idea to make a list. I think I might have to do one of those soon. I feel the same, so many exciting things to do, but never enough time!

  8. I totally know what you are talking about, finding that balance is a battle for me most days and having a blog although good can be time consuming. I find lists work for me too.

  9. Leah, why don't you hire someone to do the researching for your online store - to find new products, etc. - pay them a commission of what's sold and adjust your selling price to allow for that? No up front out of pocket expense, and one less very time consuming project off your list! Need some help?

  10. After finding your blog you have ignited a spark that I would have never thought I would light. I have been given a Juki machine just like yours to explore the world of machine quilting. Thanks to your hard work and dedication thousands of us have entered a world that in the past we thought without the longarm set up there would be no machine quilting. Now with your step by step instructions a whole new world has opened to us and we will be able to finish our own projects. Your endless energy and creative designs will continue to inspire.

  11. Leah, at the end of your post, you mentioned downloading a book to listen to . . . do you get your books at (I do) . . . what do you like to listen to??

  12. Hey Raymond - Most definitely Audible! I really love the "girl with the Dragon Tatoo" series. There's another post around here about the best audio books of 2009...Just search around back in posts from Dec 2009 and you're sure to find it!



  13. I'm new to Audible, myself (only a couple of months) . . . my partner and I used to read out loud to each other (though I tend to be more expressive) . . . now, we can BOTH listen to the story (though I miss making up voices, LOL)!!

    I was just looking at the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo earlier today . . . I'll check out your list, too.

  14. Hi Leah: I have had my own business, and I know what you are feeling. Just remember to stop and breathe deeply, and don't let the days pass without doing little things for yourself, like going to lunch, taking a 15 min walk (fresh air helps), or the like.
    I want to tell you how much your free form blog has helped me. I just started quilting this summer and you have given me a freedom I wouldn't have given myself. I'm having SO MUCH FUN! Thank you, thank you, thank you for being so generous. I hope one day I can buy all these 365 designs on DVD and keep them forever.

  15. P.S. You can't be creative AND tidy, I'm convinced...however, having said that, I finally hit a point where I can't go on without stopping and straightening out the mess before starting a new one. I look at this as thinking time, time to germinate my next ideas.


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