Sunday, July 08, 2012

scrappy Sundays-managing it all

Welcome to scrappy Sundays! Today Cheryl and I wanted to talk about how we wrote the book while managing everything else. You know, running the house, the family, the normal chores. When you sign a book contract the whole world doesn't stop. The kids still need three meals a day, the husband still has to work out of town, the house certainly doesn't clean itself. Kids still get sick. So, how do you manage all that while meeting the deadlines? Not that I have it all together, mind you, (I sooooooooo don't!) but I do have a few thoughts to share about the experience.
When we were writing and quilting for the book there was always a lot to do, but it was easier in some ways than normal. The reason? Because we had very defined goals. We knew what we needed to do and we knew when it was due. Then we just did it. (Heh. That might be a gross understatement.) But, looking back, I see that having the focus really helped me. Normally the possibilities of the what I could work on blow my mind. Overwhelmed much? Yes, that's me. So having the defined list of what we had to do was actually a relief.
Having a co-author was a definite plus. It was great to write with Cheryl for several reasons. First off, she's a darn good writer and quilter. It was very helpful that we each made several of the quilts in the book. I can not imagine trying to make 15 scrap quilts in a 6 month time frame all on my own. (oh. my! scrap quilts can take a long time.) Our quilts were better because of our tag team efforts, too. We pushed and challenged each other in just the right way. I even added purple into the Gumdrops quilt, for crying out loud. That's big! (I'm so not a fan of purple.) It was great to have a friend that was always as interested in the book as I was. My husband still got an earful once in awhile, sure, but it sure saved him quite a bit of hassle.
As far as the day to day logistics....I normally quilt a lot. I know, what a surprise! But during the book process I did quilt more than normal. I squeezed in extra quilting time before the kids went to school, after the kids went to bed, for a few hours in the middle of the night when I wasn't sleeping anyway. (Thankfully that was only an occasional occurrence.) My youngest daughter was still at home because she hadn't started kindergarten yet, so she watched PBS kids on a daily basis. In fact, Cheryl and I often joked that when we were done we should probably send PBS a sizable donation for helping us through. Ha! Some days there was more TV watching than others, but we still limited it. Thankfully my daughter is pretty good at independent play. When she needed some company she would join me in the craft room and play with some scraps or design her own quilt. There were always plenty of scraps to go around. :) Having her at home during the day forced me to take more breaks than I would if she wasn't, but that's a good thing. Otherwise I tend to get so wrapped up in my work that I eat lunch at 3 in the afternoon. She helped me stick to a schedule.
I recall asking a friend once who had raised 5 kids (the youngest two are twins) how she managed it when they were younger. Her response was "you just do it". I feel like I would have the same answer with the book. Looking back on it, knowing all the crazy life situations that were going on in the midst of it, you look back and realize, we just did it. And that's that.
The photos shown throughout this post are mini quilts that I made to thank my wonderful pattern testers. Some are mini versions of quilts in the book and some of them were designs that I thought suited my friends' tastes. It only took me a year plus after writing the book to get them made, labeled and mailed. A great example of why I think deadlines and focus are so very helpful. :)

31 comments:

Faygie Fellig said...

that was fun to read. thanx for sharing your amazing talent with us.

Jenny said...

The red is my favorite. It is fabulous!

Kim said...

You rock!
Let me know if you ever need a tester again :0)...very nice thank you gifts indeed.
Life has lots of moments like that...."you just do it" one foot in front of the other head down and get it done!

Congrats again, you have planted all kids of idea "seeds" in my head from your lovely book.

Happy Sewing

Angela Nash said...

Super cute minis.

I just read a great Forbes article about goal setting and starting small with very easy goals. It gets the momentum going and makes big goals achievable. That and a dose of PBS kids - anything can be done :)

Live a Colorful Life said...

What a great post. You put so much of yourself into both your quilting and writing, and it always shines through.

Jo @ a life in lists said...

Wow, what a lot of work! I know what you mean about just getting on and doing it though - I run a business in the evenings when my husband gets home from work, and we don't have any cleaning or childcare help, and whenever people ask how the heck we manage, we just answer that it needs doing, so it gets done. Although sometimes not the vacuuming...

Melanie said...

Love the quilts! I am really enjoying your book (I borrowed it from the library...but need to purchase a copy now :) )

Aliceart said...

Thank you for this. As someone who lives a pretty rushed and stressful life, I suspected this might be the key to getting my quilting done. It just seemed like something that would made a fun thing (my quilting) into another stressor, but I think you are right. I'm going to try this to see if it makes things better and more productive for me.

I LOVE your book, bought it as soon as it became available!

sew.darn.quilt said...

wise words, wonderful quilts

made by ChrissieD said...

what a fun read and really quite inspiring :)

Gra said...

Amazing experience! Beautiful quilts!

Kris from Duke Says Sew What said...

Such pretty minis! I love the colors of the candy coated.

Katie @SwimBikeQuilt said...

I really enjoyed reading this, but I admit that it made me tired just thinking about it. Great advice--

Chara Michele said...

These mini quilts are just gorgeous! Lucky pattern testers! :) Loved reading this, thanks for sharing a bit more of your process/life :)

Sarah Craig said...

Wonderful post, Amanda Jean! It's nice to see "inside" the process of writing a book. And you're right - focus does help, along with identifying all those times of day that are basically wasted time. For me, that's the hour I spend in bed each morning pushing the snooze button and reading. Imagine how much quilting I can get done in that time!! Sometimes I actually even find out.

Oh, and if you ever need a pattern tester again, I'd love to help out!! It's such a great book, and so many of the patterns are on my bucket list now!! I'm sure any books you do in the future would be just as well used!!

Cherie said...

Great post! It's nice to know the story behind something1 Loving all those great quilts. Amazing what you can make with scraps =D

J. Thomas said...

A very interesting post, and inspiring. I don't have kids, but I think any lessons on balancing spinning plates are helpful.

And I love, love my copy of the book that I bought direct from you. :) You ladies did a wonderful job, and should be proud of every inch of extra work that went into it.

(I especially love that you added notes on the quilting - that was very helpful for a beginner like me!)

Annalia said...

Deadlines are good...but I definitely think those little quilts were worth waiting for!

Esch House Quilts said...

Thanks for a great post! What you said about it being one task/goal instead of many really rings true to me too. I do find myself spending time trying to decide what I should be doing next. That focus - and the deadlines - must make that pretty clear :)

Nell said...

A really interesting post. I laughed about the PBS as some days we think ABC2 is a godsend (Australian Kids tv) Your book has become my current favourite quilty read. You should be suitably proud of such a great book!

Quilt n Queen said...

Amanda Jean...I enjoyed this post as you described how you get everything done...and you are right, to meet deadlines, 'you just do it'. I love my gum drop quilt....and I do love gum drops. Have a wonderful week!!

Jessica Christensen said...

LOL! I would eat lunch at 3:00 in the afternoon too, if it weren't for little people demanding things of me. ;)

Pam said...

I love scrappy quilts, I have a group of friends who look out for remnants of material for me when they are out and about. I am now busy cutting them into jelly rolls for future use, this way I have fabrics from all over, so very scrappy. Thanks for the inspiration.

Becky said...

You definitely made some memories along the way, as well as all those fabulous quilts! Such a great book too!

Emily {Creative Chicks} said...

The only thing cuter than your quilts, is your quilts in Miniture!!

Clair said...

I like the little quilts...though I don't make many unless I need a gift for a little girl.

Andrea said...

Oh my, did you ever make a quilt that suits me. The longer it is hanging in my house, the more I love it! Thanks Amanda!!! So fun to see all those quilts on the line and to hear the honest inside scoop on how you got it done.

Congrats on such a great success!!!

Terriaw said...

I can't even imagine how much work this was, while managing your family and household. Your book turned out fabulously, which is a testament to yours and Cheryl's strength and perseverance! (thank you for the fabulous mini quilt, btw! It was an honor to test a pattern for you.)

Mama Pea said...

No wonder it takes you so long to write a blog post. They are so full of great stuff. I enjoyed reading this, Amanda Jean. Seems like that's how I have to approach life. Just do it. Congrats on your success. I'll pattern test for you any time. Especially for that reward. :-)

Ina said...

Hi Amanda Jean. I love your book! I bought it as soon as Amazon had it for sale.

I also love the Flying Geese mini quilt you show in this post. It is not in the book. Where can I buy it? I love the look!

Kristyne said...

Dude, you KNOW I'm lovin' those minis! ;) Super cute.

xo