Expectations and Other Stuff

Here’s the thing: I almost always expect I can do more than I can actually do. And then when I can’t get it all done, at least not in the time I think I should, I get very frustrated. And whiny, and tired and irritable. It’s not fun for me and it’s likely not much fun for Jim, and it doesn’t make anything better or get it done more quickly or easily. After I had a long grumble and whine yesterday, I decided (and already knew this) that the best solution to my problem is simply to change my expectations.

One way to help that is to take a hiatus on the 100 Day Project. While I still think about my project pretty much every day, and I spend time investigating ideas, looking at books and videos, and mulling options. But my EXPECTATION that I actively, physically work on it daily, and post about it regularly, has become a burden for now. Time to drop that expectation.

You can see where I was on day 31, some time last week. The rooster is in parts that are not fused down. Likely the background will change a bit, and his tail might change slightly, too. I have ideas for how to border and finish it. He won’t go anywhere, so for now he just needs to wait.

* get graduation quilt top finished, quilted, and bound before 5/24
* get Fiesta! quilted and bound for friend’s secret present before mid-June
* finish rooster, time indeterminate
* resume 100 Day Project, picking up with day 32, time indeterminate
* publish blog posts about the other four quilts I’ve already finished this year but haven’t shown you, time indeterminate
* resume work on book project, time indeterminate

While this doesn’t change what is on my list, it does moderate my expectations for when it will get done. Hopefully that will increase my enjoyment and lower my stress, letting me enjoy the chattering wren and mewing catbird outside my kitchen, as well as the other pleasures around me all the time.



31 thoughts on “Expectations and Other Stuff

  1. piecefulwendy

    I can relate to this. I can get myself into a corner just because of my high expectations. Funny how just altering them a bit allows me to breathe a little easier and enjoy the process once again. Why do we do that to ourselves? It’s a learning curve, I think!

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Why do we do that? Because of excitement! and ambition! and pleasure! and all sorts of good things. But then we (some of us who have been “achievers” all our lives) push a little too far, managing to suck a lot of the enjoyment out of something that can be enjoyable, if we just let it. Thanks, Wendy!

    1. Paula Hedges

      Oh, I like that word “float”! My new attitude while being creative without parameters of time or deadlines. Thank you! I feel released from self-imposed deadlines.

  2. jmn

    Melanie, done a great job selecting fabrics for the rooster! I particularly like the curlicues in the tail and the crisscross in the neck and body. Depending on what you see going outside this current block the red might be the right fabric, you never know.

  3. tierneycreates

    Very smart to realize you might need a break and to actually take a break. I mean the world will keep spinning if you do not get all you to do list done, right πŸ™‚
    (I have to constantly remind myself of this!)
    The rooster looks AMAZING!

  4. Kerry Leach

    I think the tail feathers go really well. He’s a handsome dude! But agree have a time-out because it sounds like the frustrations are getting the better of you. That’s the time for a break because forcing yourself to do something may mean you rush it and you know you won’t be as happy as if you pounced on it all fresh as a daisy!

    Here we are busy packing up the belongings in boxes – how much fabric?!!!! Oops! Our house sold and we have found our new home – hopefully we can alter the Man Workshop to a Kerry Quilt Studio! LOL! My frustration is that I won’t be sewing for a while!

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Oh my! Well, see if you can find things to enjoy about your forced hiatus. When I’m gone on vacation for a bit, I find it pretty easy to settle in to a different routine without sewing. It feels a bit odd, but I’ll get back to it soon. So will you. πŸ™‚

      1. Kerry Leach

        Thank you Melanie – I think I’ll have to keep some hand sewing free to relax with! πŸ˜€

  5. katechiconi

    Great fabric choices in that rooster! As the queen of self-inflicted stupid deadlines, I feel qualified to say: take a break, think about something else, sit down and read a book. Only those first two items on the list have real, meaningful deadlines, and even they will give their recipients just as much joy if they are just a little late.

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Yeah, you’re the one who should write a post about “self-inflicted stupid deadline.” πŸ™‚ I do actually take breaks all along the way, but then I get all fussed up about it again like I did yesterday. I need to even out … something, so I can enjoy the changing pace more. Thanks for the understanding and encouragement.

  6. audrey

    What a fantastic rooster! Love all the texture in the chosen fabrics! High expectations can be good or they can be self defeating. Sounds like you’re doing the best thing for the situation!

  7. Paula Hedges

    Melanie, glad you recognized what you need and are acting on it. We can be so hard on ourselves with expectations that are humanly, shall I say, impossible sometimes. Enjoy a new day and a new outlook. Just “float” like Cjh said!

    As for fabric selection on the rooster – who, by the way, is gorgeous – I like the background. It is like the rooster is strutting beside the barn!

    Have a fantastic day!

  8. knitnkwilt

    No help from me, only commiseration. Pacing is a major challenge. I like the red background on the rooster everywhere by by the comb. And agree with all who said he is a handsome dude.

  9. zippyquilts

    One of my best coping skills is to ask myself, β€œif I take on this project, what will I need to drop?” I am always overcommitted and I know you are, too. That means anything new I take on requires that something be dropped, at least for now. Realizing that helps me say no, even to things I would like to do. Sometimes πŸ˜‰

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      That’s great advice. I’ll try to keep that in mind. The main thing on the 100-day project was that I really did clear “space” for it. Except not really, because this grad quilt, mostly. And we’ll be gone for big chunks of time, and and and… πŸ˜€ But aside from the grad quilt (and the various guild duties, and daily life…) I do not have other deadline-y things going on. So I will get back to it. I just can’t fit it in this minute. Thanks as always, Mary.

  10. KerryCan

    Isn’t this the second time recently you’ve taken on a sort of long-term, do-it-every-day commitment, only to get frustrated and drop it? I think that says more about the arbitrariness of the rules of engagement than it does about you–maybe you know yourself well enough to pace yourself without NoNoMoWr (or whatever that is!) or other challenges? You’re always SO productive, just by being you!

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Yes, you’re right. And surely it’s not *just* the second time! I think there is a bit of a difference, though, between the two experiences. For the plan to blog daily for a month, I decided that just isn’t important to me. For the plan to carve out time to just learn a new skill, which is the 100-day project, that actually IS important to me. And once I get the grad quilt done and am back from the trip to deliver it, I’ll be able to get back to it in a more comfortable way. What I’m saying is, I think the difference is in the goal. The blog-writing goal was production and the engagement that comes with it. The 100-day project goal is learning new skills so I can take my quilting in a different direction. One seemed like busy work, the other doesn’t. Thanks for your thoughtful comments. It helped me sort out the difference for myself.

  11. Cindy Anderson

    Melanie, It’s always hard to admit that we can’t get everything checked off on our to-do-lists in the allotted time. I understand your frustration. I succumb to this dilemma OFTEN! At least you challenged yourself and made progress at the same time. I simply love the rooster. Great fabric choices! I look forward to seeing how he turns out. πŸ™‚

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Thanks so much, Cindy. I got the graduation gift quilted, so I feel a lot better about “progress” and “time.” πŸ™‚ Also today I took a fun workshop with art quilter Cathy Geier. I have no means to work on the Green Man project daily right now, other than with learnin’ about stuff. But I am doing that. Rooster is still waiting, but he is patient. !!! thanks!


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