Sticking to the Plan...

This post is about the logistical parts of making my first full embroidered portrait. Above, you'll find images and explanations of the entire process, but first, a note about sticking to the plan:

I am astounded by this planning thing. It's a formidable power. I'm not traditionally a planner. I'm much more of a fly-around winging it type of sister. But by deciding what I want to accomplish in a given week, scheduling it all out ahead, and actually sticking to the plan, I feel...unstopable. It's amazing.

The downside is the thrashing I tend to give myself when I don't stick to it. Or the dread I have when I secretly tell myself I already know I won't do such and such, even as I'm writing it down. 

In that way, planning takes courage. You have to be wiling to risk falling short. Especially with al lthat we've got goin' on in our lives --kids, full time work, aging parents, housework, etc. But if you keep trying - even if it takes 100 tries, or 300, you'll likely stumble upon a solution unique to your obstacles, just like I did...

Curious about my Sunday planning flurry a month or so ago, my 15-year-old daughter asked what I was doing. After my explanation, she said she thought she could do it for me. So we devised a set of categories and criteria for each, and I started texting her list-items as they came to me.

All week long, she gathered my texts and plugged them into my Google calendar for the following week. And though that by itself is amazing, the shining side effect I hadn't expected was this: since she was watching, I couldn't let her down!

Now I do each thing on my plan, even though I often don't feel like it, because I am modeling for my child how to live in the world! (What would she learn from me if she scheduled my tasks and I blew them off?!)

All that was to simply say this: I am mega-productive these days because of a planning solution I so badly wanted but could not have imagined. In some sense, it fell in my lap, but in another, I created the opportunity for it to do so by trying and trying and trying, 52 weeks in a row. Had I given up in week 3, I'd have missed this awesome solution.

If you have a big project like this that you want to squeeze into your very packed life, keep trying! Eventually, you'll discover a path toward it. 

Right on schedule, I purchased & cut the wood 9/10
Because I'd need the needle to poke through the canvas right at the edge of the stretcher bars, I ripped each one at 45-degrees, then cut 45-degree corners. That solved the needle problem but made connecting & stabilizing the frame a bear because there wasn't much wood left along the inside edge where I could attach a corner piece. The miscalculation pushed my time window an hour over, but I was quick on everything else, so I still got it done.
I'd never used clamps like these before. Total Godsend. If you're trying to build a frame or stretchers, you'll be SO happy if you get some of these! (I promise --I've done it both ways!)
This is a long piece of hemp canvas, 53" tall, from Dharma Trading Co. (I do not have affiliate links or get any kickbacks --just sharing info). It cost about $20 & there's enough leftover for a few more pieces.
I used these pliers to pull the fabric taught (from opposite side to opposite side, around and around), while stapling with a plain old staple gun to attach the canvas to the stretcher. The total dimensions are 33.25" x 23.25" (84.45 x 59 cm). This size made sense for the place where I envisioned hanging the piece and the "landscape-oriented" composition I'd planned.
It's a bit dark, but you can probably make out the pencil sketch I did from the photo and the squares I superimposed ontop for pacing --the plan is to complete 1-3 squares on each of three working days per week, in 4-hour time blocks, for a total of 12 hours per week. There are 24 squares, so at that pace, I estimate I can finish in two months.
Here's the resource image I chose. Originally, I thought I'd compose a whole photo shoot, but as I thought more about it, I decided I wanted to capture her in a moment when she was just being herself. That way, the portrait would speak to its viewers and say all that mom would say, were she sitting with them. Here, the two of us were sitting on the deck, visiting among all the greenery, and I snapped this unplanned pic. It's JUST right!

Thans for checking out my blog, and stay tuned for the next post featuring my first stitches...!

Also visit my fitness website if you're interested in that kind of thing!

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