Met a goal!

I’m ready to cross something off of my New Year’s goals – to get a teaching page added to the website! I now have a page, “Classes”, where you can see all of my teaching projects (so far).

These projects are classes that any shop, guild or group can schedule. They are not available for sale to individuals. As I add teaching projects to my catalogue, I may “retire” some of the projects to be available for sale, but for now, they are classes only.

I do teach with the Shining Needle Society, so even if you aren’t part of a group you may be able to participate in a class. I’ll keep you posted here which classes and when they will be available.

Next step is to add a calendar to the teaching section, so you can see which classes and where, so possibly you can ghost a class or participate face to face is a class is available near you.

This is a goal I’ve had for several years, so I’m pleased to mark this one “done”!

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Making, and keeping, a schedule

When you work from home, you have great freedom to set your own schedule. Unfortunately, that means that you have great freedom to completely ignore your schedule, put things off, get distracted, lose motivation, and everything else you can think of to keep from actually working! I decided a few months ago to try to get a handle on my daily schedule, so I can get more things done! I’ve mentioned my schedule briefly before on my Facebook page, but thought I’d expound on it a bit more due to questions I’ve received.

My husband helped me set up my schedule in Microsoft Outlook, as appointments that recur daily. It works for me because I get little reminders that pop up on the computer throughout the day to let me know what I’m supposed to be doing next. I know there are other appointment managing or scheduling apps, but this is working for me. I do not set any “appointments” or tasks for the weekend; I’ll explain a bit later.

My day begins early, at 6:30 a.m. I usually am up before then. I am not a morning person! It’s really hard for me to get started in the morning, so I give myself a little time between actually getting up (usually 5:45 – 6) and when my tasks begin. My first task of the day is email. I also look at Facebook to see if there are any messages that need to be answered. I do check email throughout the day, but that’s the first thing I do.

Second task is breakfast. Yes, I schedule my meals! Believe it or not, it’s really easy to get involved doing something and forget to eat breakfast, until I look up and it’s lunch time. So I have “breakfast” on my schedule. It’s also when I feed the dogs. They are usually pretty insistent about getting their meals on a regular schedule.

Next is “walk the dogs”. You all know that if you don’t include regular exercise in your schedule, it won’t get done, right? So my regular exercise for now is to walk the “hooligans”. We have two Shelties, and are fostering our daughter’s Sheltie temporarily, so it’s quite the circus around the neighborhood with three yappy dogs braiding their leashes together. We usually get in two miles, sometimes more, then back to the house.

I shower, get dressed, put on make-up (yes, even to stay home) next. I feel more business-like and productive if I’m in actual clothes instead of lounging in my robe all day. I make the bed, put dishes in the dishwasher.

Now I’m ready to work, and it’s about 9:30 usually. What I’ve put on my schedule as far as business is “design and/or write instructions”. To have a regular time every day to take care of these kinds of creative things is very important. It’s really easy to lose focus, and not get the designing done, or to write the instructions, then get in a panic when deadlines approach. This is more systematic and has allowed me to get more done.

I work for 2 hours, then break for lunch. During my lunch hour I allow myself to play Candy Crush or read Facebook, goof off a little. I also have as a goal to work on my relationships with my friends, and lunch is a perfect time to do that. I can go out to lunch with a friend if I want – after all, lunch is on my schedule!

12:30 and time to get back to work. First up in the afternoon is “social media”. Nowadays this is very important, and something I haven’t been very consistent with. Social media is my email list, keeping up with my blog, Facebook posts. And yes, I have to work at it.

1:30 p.m. rolls around and my schedule says “stitch models”. Because I haven’t been very consistent with my time, stitching models has been often ignored. And that’s disastrous! So now I have it on my schedule, to take time to sit and stitch.

At 3:30 I have scheduled “organize”. This seems to be a never-ending task! Until about a month ago I had DebBee’s Designs all over the house. We are in the process of moving EVERYTHING into one room, to keep things confined and make it easier to keep up with things. We have a few more things to move into that one room, and then my husband can take a room to make into his “man cave” – a place for his ham radio equipment, to build his RC airplanes, set up his trainer for his bicycle, or whatever. When I finally get everything organized, hopefully in the next month or two, “organize” will turn into “paint”, because I’m wanting to start offering painted canvas.

I quit my work day at 4:30ish, to start preparing supper and get ready for Rod to come home. One of the primary factors in organizing my day was to reserve time for my most important relationship! I can still stitch in the evening if I want to, and do, but if Rod wants to do something I’m available. Ditto for keeping the weekends free, to have time for my husband. After 40 years we are best friends, but we still have to PLAN time for each other. I’m arranging my schedule so I can do just that.

This has been a very long post, and thanks if you read it all the way to the end! I’ll share a bit about my thread and DebBee’s Designs room organization in future posts.

 

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New Year’s Goals

Notice I didn’t say resolutions! It’s always appropriate to think about goal setting, not just on New Year’s Day. With that in mind, here are my goals for 2016.

Submit more teaching proposals. I’ve been working on teaching projects, and have done pretty well for just getting started with this aspect of my business. In 2016 I’ll be teaching for Great Lakes Region seminar in April, the Needle Arts Mystery Retreat in July, and ANG National Seminar in August. I’d like to have a couple of Shining Needle Society classes in 2016. And I’m working on proposals for seminars for 2017. Hopefully travel will be in my future!

Here’s Angles, a class I’ll be teaching at ANG National Seminar in August:

Angles

Update my website. This should be a relatively easy goal to achieve, but life interferes. I want to add a page for my teaching projects, to make it easier for groups to see what I have available and when. And I need to keep new projects added as needed.

Stay on top of social media. Currently I try to keep up with my Facebook page and my blog, plus the Facebook page for Needle Arts Mystery Retreat. And I have email lists for NAMR, my retailers and consumers. It’s a chore to stay on top of all these things, and I confess I haven’t done a stellar job. Maybe 2016 will be the year I develop more regular habits!

Stitch more. What?! Don’t I stay home and stitch all day?! I wish I did! But with all the above, sometimes there isn’t much time for stitching. And I admit Candy Crush and Words with Friends takes their toll on my time. So for 2016 it’s time to focus more and stitch more!

Finish organizing my business room. I made a start this year, culling things I no longer need, trying to put my thread lines in an orderly fashion so I can find threads and not buy duplicates, and moving everything scattered throughout the house into a single room. I’ll share more about this later, but I’d like to finish the job sometime this year.

To achieve these goals I’ve set up a daily schedule that will hopefully help me stay on track better. I have certain activities that are a part of everyday life, like walking the dogs, breakfast and lunch. But I’ve put on my schedule design time, stitching time, social media and organization, so hopefully every day I’ll be able to accomplish something.

That’s probably enough for now – time for the parades! Wishing all of you the best in 2016!

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A little setback

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I’m continuing to work on Glitz & Glamour Citrine and have made some progress. I decided to add in Petite Very Velvet to the other threads, but haven’t figured out where to use it yet. I’ve added waffle stitches, sprat’s heads and Milanese so far, with some other fun stitches yet to go.

Last night as I was working away, I ran in to a little setback. I’m working on the area between the Milanese sections. I decided to use two threads for the stitch I have in mind, but when I started stitching with them I didn’t like them so had to rip that out, and choose two others. Still not convinced I’ll use two threads there, but it’s looking likely.

The biggest problem, though, is with the stitch. When I design, I work everything out in my charting software BEFORE I begin stitching. It usually saves a lot of ripping later on. But sometimes, I can’t remember what I was going to do! It made perfect sense when I was charting everything. However, those black lines on my chart don’t offer any clues to what I was thinking when I laid everything out.

So I started working things out last night. I started one way, but the charting didn’t work the way I thought it would. I started over, and again, what I thought would be perfect turned out to not work at all.

I know some stitchers who run into problems during a stitching session, and put everything away until they can approach the problem more clearly. That’s what I did last night. Today I’ll have a fresher outlook and can hopefully solve this problem, because I’m anxious to be done with yellow!

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Diversions

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For the past few days I’ve had to abandon Glitz & Glamour Citrine for another aspect of my job, kitting class supplies. Criss Cross class supplies need to go out as soon as possible, but alas! There’s a problem.

When I ordered supplies from my regular supplier, I specified that if anything was back ordered, to please let me know so I could acquire from a different source. I heard nothing, so I assumed that everything would be in the box. The shipment arrived while I was away tending my mother, and I couldn’t open the box while I was out of town. When I opened the box to begin assembling kits, I discovered that not one, not two, but three different items were back ordered and not in the box! Frantic phone call to the supplier, who confirmed that the items were indeed back ordered, and no hint as to when they would ship.

I spent yesterday trying to find other sources for the missing kit items, and hopefully they will be on their way soon.

I also had to revamp the instruction book to include a fourth color way. Instructions rewritten, books printed  and ready to ship as soon as the missing kit items arrive. But the clock’s ticking and I’m getting nervous about getting things out in a timely manner.

Why not order sooner? Good question, and one for which there’s no easy answer. I placed my orders as soon as the registration period ended, and there’s a built-in time cushion to allow for supplies to arrive, assemble kits and mail. When a supplier lets me down, though, that time cushion quickly evaporates. Ordering in advance of the end of registration is fraught with problems. What if I order too much? I have to pay for the supplies and am stuck with them unless I can find another use, or have the class again. What if I order too little? It’s also a problem because I have to pay shipping charges for each and every shipment – far better to place one order and have one shipping charge!

So while I’m waiting for my missing kit items, I’ll get back to Citrine. Fingers crossed the supplies arrive quickly!

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