I’m trying not to make excuses

fall view of the backyard

I got back early last week from the Pacific International Quilt Festival. What a wonderful world of colour, inspiration, creativity, learning, sharing … I hope you took in some of the images I posted on IG and FB. I was planning on posting more … but you know how it is … life got in the way.

You see? I came back from the Cotswolds and three days later got back on a plane to go to Grande Prairie, Peace River, really, to teach a wonderful group of ladies. I also talked about and showed my work and shared my lecture on Architecture as Inspiration. I got back from that trip with Covid, which meant that nothing much got done, except add labels and binding and sleeves to quilts I needed to pack for my exhibit at the Pacific International Quilt Festival in Santa Clara, CA.

I had 8 days in between trips to get over Covid, thankfully test negative just in time to celebrate Thanksgiving with my kids, and enough energy to sew sleeves and labels and put a binding on a new quilt. And then I was off again. 5 days of setting an exhibit up, teach 4 classes in 3 days, socialize, take in a few lectures, take down the exhibit, pack and fly back home on an early flight.

And then … I crashed. I managed to unpack, do laundry, set up my house cleaning, order groceries in, go run some errands, etc. etc. etc. And what else did I do? Not much. I read 5 books, watched some TV and ordered my IKEA furniture which arrived on Friday and got assembled yesterday, Sunday.

I did not sit in my studio to create at all: well, I did create, just not what I wanted. I wrote emails, took care of business, chatted with Canada Revenue Agency about my GST returns – yikes! (I’m thankful to my accountant who figured it out) – and then went back to the living room and read a book. Recorded a video, prepared another one. Wrote some more emails. Sent some information. Gathered some.

I mentioned that I ordered and received the IKEA furniture for the basement, which meant that before it came, I needed to go downstairs and make room for it so it could be assembled. Meaning what? Moving furniture around, collapsing tables and chairs, and shoving everything in one half of the room, so the other half could be empty. The half where the two units will be mounted to the wall.

I pushed and shoved and piled and boxed and packed some more stuff around the area. The tables are piled high with stuff ready to go for the Studio Sale on November 25th (more on that later).

And then, when the area was cleared, I decided to remove the carpet. Meaning? Emptying the newly rearranged bookcases so I could lift them and get them out of the way. Confession time: I tried to move them with all the books in them because I did not want to empty them. Was I successful? Of course not!!! And I knew that, but I had to try. So off came all the books and then I was able to move the one almost empty bookcase out of the way enough to lift that piece of carpet from under it. Now I have to rinse and repeat with the other bookcase and the cabinet full of fabrics. Oh well … that’s for another day.

image of basement with new ikea pax

So no, I did not create anything in the bigger sense of the world. I find that whenever I have stuff that I need to do, it weighs on my mind to the point that I NEED to get it done so I can move on. This time, it’s been reorganizing the basement and getting stuff ready for the Studio Sale. The Ikea Cabinets are part of that reorganization. Once they are placed where they go, I’ll be able to fold and put away some of the quilts I’m keeping, plus organize all my class samples, work in progress and a lot more.

By the end of the day, I sit and take stock of my time and how it was spent and feel guilty because I did not create anything tangible. People always ask me if I sleep. How I do all I do. Or seem to do. And the truth is, I don’t know. It just gets done. Realistically speaking, I know I DID stuff; proof positive is that things are getting done. Maybe not the ones I’d like to be working on, but the ones that NEED working on.

I’ve had to make choices. Not sewing or making this week means that in the next few weeks other things will get finished. Every choice I make has implications. Do I necessarily think them through before I make those choices? No, not really. Sometimes I just react to a situation. Take the bull by the horns and get it done.

Right now, that means reorganizing my basement – well under way. It means organizing my studio sale – 2/3 done! It means planning for my next trip which is coming up in less than three weeks.

I tend to work one deadline at a time: with three of them drawing near, plus commitments of information, contracts to be signed, possible exhibits, classes coming up and all that, maybe creating something tangible will wait for a bit.

I’m struggling with this. I fear the judgement of others some days – “how come you haven’t made anything?” “Don’t you have anything new to show?” “What have you been doing with your time?” “You haven’t posted on IG, FB?” But I don’t need anyone else to admonish me. I have a voice in my head that does that.

Today, it’s all a matter of where my priorities are. Today. So I’ll make choices for today. Understanding that if I choose to do X then maybe Y won’t get done. And I’ll have to be OK with that. Because tomorrow is another day. And tomorrow’s priorities will be different once today’s choices are done and dusted.

I’m looking forward to free time in December. After the trips are done. And the studio sale is completed. I will have two full months before my next trip. Two full months to plan and create and relax. Content in the knowledge that the choices I made in the past were made with a view to the future. Because I have plans. And every choice I’ve been making has been moving me one step closed to fulfilling those plans.

Stay tuned. I’ll share more with you soon. Until I write again, keep creating! One choice at a time,


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  1. Ana! You know this! There’s no rushing an artist!! There are no ‘shoulds’. Clearing the mind by clearing your ‘space’ is part of preparing the canvas for the next work of art to flow. Respect your ebbs and flows as an artist, you’re not an artist on demand! LOL

  2. I’m so glad you’re better now. Hope your preparations for what’s next go smoothly

    I just thought about the “big book” title that you spoke about during the Making Stones class at. PIQF that had so many ideas for inspiration. Or was it during the paint stick class in the morning? When you recover your strength I would like to know the title of the book

    Thanks so much and take care.

    1. Thanks for the reminder. The book is called “The Intentional Thread – A guide to Drawing, texture and colour in stitch” by Susan Brandeis

      1. Thanks for the title of one of your favorite books. It looks very interesting and I hope to get my hands on a copy soon!

        1. You are welcome. Did you get an email from Diana about the books? I had to send it through her. Hope you received it.

  3. Wow! You have been really busy!!! It’s always an internal struggle when you want to create but just can’t because of other demands on your time. In order to get to your end goal you have to do the non creative things…but it will be so worth it in the end.
    Try your best to not let others judgement make you feel guilty about not posting new projects on social media. It is very time consuming!
    You have to do what is needed and right for you… unless you have figured out how to be superwoman and do it all!!! Lol!!!!

  4. Sounds to me like you get a LOT done! It’s been a month since my right total knee replacement and I’ve gotten a new bad habit of sitting on the couch with my leg up and taking a daily nap. That’s what I will be trying to stop. Hugs to you!

    1. Naps are good. They give your body a chance to recharge and relax. But they do make us feel guilty, right? Do pay attention to your body. And here’s to a fast recovery. Take care,

  5. amazing post . Check out Elizabeth Gilbert of Eat. Pray, Love new group on love Letters to yourself, on Substack, it it just so beautiful, check it out if you haven’t already, I continue to follow all your posts, your courage, your vulnerability, always bouncing back, much to be admired by you.You are such a busy lady, so many balls in the air. Stay well👍

    1. Thanks so much Marilyn. Your words mean the world to me. I have not seen Elizabeth Gilbert’s group. I will check it out.

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