Thursday, August 5, 2010

A Little Secret

Dear Reader,

Lend me your ear and I'll tell you a little secret. I bribe myself into doing things I'd rather not do. Often my fellow grad students ask how it is that I find the time to read, write, attend meetings, grade homework AND bake cupcakes, go on picnic adventures, and knit. I don't tell them how, because it sounds very silly and I may get some eye rolls, but I really do just bribe myself into it.

For example, I've been working on a couple of mega projects lately (including my thesis) which include dozens of little tasks I may not feel like doing any given morning. To make sure I cross a few off of my list each day I bribe myself by saying something like, "If I work on (insert boring task here) all morning, in the afternoon I'll make that recipe I've been dying to try and plan a wee picnic for the weekend."

So simple. And it really makes me feel much better as I trudge through the day. Because really, I'm just not always thrilled to start my day with pages and pages of data entry. I need something to look forward to in my life. When I spent a (very) brief period as a collector for a credit card company I daydreamed of the delicious pancakes I would make over the weekend or compile my Christmas cookie list between calls. Believe me, this made an unpleasant job much, much better. (Plus, I read once that Martha Stewart likes to do the same thing, breaking up the workday with a few minutes for hobbies. I did not make this up.)

And that is how I got into making this set of coasters. I had loved them the moment I saw them in Martha Stewart Living (MSL) ages ago, but when I really needed something to get me out of my funk and trudge ahead with data coding, this is what inspired me. The project is really easy once you get the hang of the quilting and I highly recommend making them like an assembly line: cut them all, stitch all of the sides, stuff the little things, and quilt away! It's almost meditative and I love projects like that. Also, a walking foot is a must-have. Trust me on this. I tried with my machine's regular foot before locating my walking foot and it wasn't pretty: lots of frustration, wasted thread, and seam ripping.

Bonus: I used some old cotton batting I had on hand and leftover fabric from a screen I made for my mother so this project was not only extremely inexpensive but it also coordinates with my black and white dishes and dining room.

Project from MSL October 2007

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