Reflections on 2017 and Plans for 2018

The turning of the calendar year.  Reflections and plans.  Admittedly, I’m not the best at assessing my past year and then setting goals for the upcoming year.  I think it’s a great thing to do, but I tend to approach life with a “fly by the seat of my pants” mentality.  I’m a very “in the moment” person and I’m easily distracted.  I often start things and don’t finish them, but I don’t dwell or worry about what’s in the past.  I’m always looking forward, never backward.  All of this is to say, I’m not very good at following plans and time management.  But I find joy in the process and my expectations are usually high.

I’m so glad there are other bloggers out there who inspire and motivate me to become a better blogger (and a better “creative”).  Cheryl at Meadow Mist Designs is hosting a Best of 2017 Linky party and I’m joining her for that right here.  And Yvonne at Quilting JetGirl is hosting a 2018 Planning Party – yes, I’m up for that one, too.  There’s no time like the present, and time is such a gift!

Let’s start with my best blog posts of 2017.  I’m going to highlight my top five from this year based on the number of page views – starting with number 5.

Reflections and Plans for 2018

5.  I Love Home Block 4, plus tips for finishing a quilt fast.  I had so much fun participating in Jacquelynne Steve’s BOM this year, and so did many others!

I Love Home BOM Month 4, plus tips for finishing a quilt fast. By Julie Cefalu


4.  Easy Scrap Fabric Storage Bins.  I shared how to convert a collapsible storage bin into color-coded fabric storage, and I finally organized my scraps!

Easy Scrap Fabric Storage Bins @ The Crafty Quilter


3.  I Love Home BOM, Month 1.  This was the first blog post in Jacquelynne Steve’s popular block of the month program.  I really enjoyed turning each block into a seasonal mini quilt.

I Love Home BOM, Month 1 by Julie Cefalu for Jacquelynne Steve's BOM


2.  Roundup of Turned Edge Applique Techniques.   This blog post was in response to many comments I received on your favorite applique techniques.  I did some research and consolidated some great tutorials and references for you.

Roundup of Turned Edge Applique Techniques by Julie Cefalu @ The Crafty Quilter
Original appliqué pattern designed by Anne Sutton for The Splendid Sampler Book


  1.  Quilted Heart Tutorial.  My most popular post this year and one of my favorites, too.  How can you resist these cute, vintage hearts?

Quilted Heart Tutorial @ The Crafty Quilter

It was a good year all in all.  I gave my first guild lecture and workshop this summer – check!  I released two patterns for sale on Craftsy:  Star Spangled Heart and  Hexagon Advent Calendar and Pillow. Check, check!

Thanks for all of your support and encouragement in 2017.  I’m not good at keeping resolutions, but I think goals are a great way to start the year off on the right foot.  Perhaps I should schedule a mid-year check in?

  1. Continue with Sew Thankful Sunday on a monthly basis.  I’m glad to know that most of you enjoy this monthly roundup of tutorials and ideas from other bloggers/designers.
  2. Create more videos for The Quilt Show.  Yes!  I will be doing 12 videos for TQS this year and they will be about basic quilting tools and techniques.   If you didn’t know, I already have a classroom on their website (here) with a variety of short quilting videos.  The new videos probably won’t begin to be released until March of 2018.
  3. Co-teach a new block of the month, The Vintage Sampler, at my local quilt shop (The Granary).  I took this year off of our BOM, but I’m excited to start up again in 2018 with this beautiful quilt designed by Barbara Eikmeier.  

    Vintage Sampler BOm Quilt by Barbara Eikmeier
    Vintage Sampler BOM Quilt by Barbara Eikmeier
  4. Participate in Jacquelynne Steve’s next BOM for 2018.  I’ve gotten a sneak peak at this next year’s design, and I am SO excited for it!  You guys will love it, too.
  5. Participate in the Stellar Stars BOM at Purple Daisies.  I couldn’t resist this beautiful quilt and I hope I can keep up with it.  (I’m already giving myself an out.)  Stellar Stars BOM @ Purple Daisies
  6. Host at least one quilt along.  I have so many charm packs, and I want to do a quilt along that involves the disappearing 9-patch block and charm squares.  This will most likely happen in late spring.
  7. Keep working on those UFO’s.  They’re like rabbits!  Every time I turn around there are new ones waiting to be finished.
  8. Make a busy book (or quiet book) for my granddaughter.  This is something I really want to do.  I’m thinking of posting my progress and perhaps tutorials along the way.  Anyone interested?
  9. Start my Christmas sewing in September.  I really fell behind this year, so I’m going to plan ahead and work on some projects sooner rather than later.
  10. Spend less time on the computer and more time in my sewing room.  I’m going to buy a timer to limit the amount of time I spend getting lost on the internet.  And I want to set myself up in the sewing room so there is always something ready to pick up and sew.  I found this article, Time Management for Quilters, by Sherri at A Quilting Life very motivating.
  11. Submit at least one pattern to a magazine.  Just do it, is all I have to say!
  12. Keep producing new tutorials for all you wonderful followers.  I like the ease of free tutorials in that I don’t stress about the professional quality as much.  They tend to be smaller projects as well.  And at the same time….
  13. Create new patterns to sell.  I’m enjoying the ability to make my own designs and sell them online.  Plus the extra bit of money helps keep my blogging costs down.  I’d like to set up a Payhip store and become more proficient at graphic design software.  Which leads me to…..
  14. Learn new publishing and graphic design programs.  This is something I’m always struggling with.  There’s so much trial and error with learning new software.  If anyone has suggestions, please let me know.


I did it.  That sums up my reflections on 2017 and plans for 2018.  Whew!  By the way, I love my Quilter’s Planner.  It is a creative way to keep me organized in my sewing room and in my household.  This year’s planner is even better than before with colorful stickers, an awesome reference section, project planning pages, and 12 monthly block patterns that can be used to make a sampler quilt.  You can purchase your own Quilter’s Planner here (affiliate link).

I’m linking up with Cheryl’s Best of 2017 Linky party.


And I’m linking up with Yvonne’s 2018 Planning Party.


Happy New Year to everyone!

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  1. I have enjoyed your column. Last year a lot of changes came into my life and now I am reviewing my reading habits and working habits and spending habits and setting new goals for 2018. Thank you for being a lovely influence that I plan to keep up with in 2018. May this next year be a wonderful and blessed time for you and yours!

  2. Hello Julie; I was very inspired by all you accomplished in 2017 and all you have planned for 2018! I thoroughly enjoy your blog and everything about it, especially though, that you do just do so many things on the spur of the moment and they are always fascinating and fun to read about. Plus, the project always turns out fantastic also! I am joining up with Yvonne if I can remember how to open my blog….how do you wipe off cobwebs from a blog…LOL. Thank you for sharing all you did in 2017 and all that you will in 2018! I did sign up for Jacquelynne’s BOM this year, I discovered her blog to late this year. Keep us posted about yours! Have a Happy New Year!

  3. Great post Julie! It sounds like you will have a busy and fun year! Thank you for all you share also and best of luck selling your beautiful patterns. Learning new software is always ongoing for me and so much fun…..just wish I was better at retaining new things LOL!

  4. You had a great year and a good one coming up! I love you Sew Thankful Sundays and so many of your tutorials. I know I will make those hearts some day. Good luck on all those blocks of the month – one is more than enough for me to handle. Best wishes for a happy and fulfilling new year.

  5. Well I can certainly identify with #10 as I’m sure many others can. You have very ambitious plans for 2018, but then busy people get more done. I thank you for the Sew Thankful Sunday posts which are always enjoyable and I thank you for offering free tutorials even as you are trying to earn some income. It’s a big help for us retired folks who need to watch their budgets. Happy New Year to you and your family. I look forward to following you in 2018.

  6. Wishing you a happy and healthy new year! It looks like it will be productive!! Thank you for all the inspiration and tutorials!!

  7. To sum it up-I enjoy ALL your posts-EVERYTHING. You have beautiful ideas and projects, excellent tips and tricks, a wonderful family. interesting stories, decorating displays, great recipes, etc….. I look forward to reading your posts and copying many of your ideas-infact, I just finished my quilted heart tree yesterday when i was off. I actually bought a white tree in Hobby Lobby in the after Christmas sale. This might be my tree of all seasons, but we will see 🙂 I plan on displaying it on my office desk. I also made that little Moda sachet (your version) after receiving some lavender oil for Christmas. I have a note book with a list of things i plan on making for each holiday and my Christmas list of gifts for 2018. I was so glad to have finished all my sewing gifts early. Thanks for the continuation of inspiration and look forward to crafting in 2018! 🙂 Happy New Year!

  8. WOW – what a busy year you are planning. I hope I can keep up with seeing all you make. It is always inspiring and I love Sew Thankful Sundays. Happy New Year.

  9. Hi Julie, Love all your plans especially the busy book I will look forward to seeing that and so pleased so thankful Sunday is to continue. A big thank you for everything you have put together for us all to enjoy over the year and totally with you on less time getting lost on the internet and more sewing Happy New Year to you and your family, looking forward to reading your newsletter over the following months.

  10. You had a wonderful 2017 and I can’t wait to see your creations in 2018! Your applique post was so helpful to me and taught me so much. Thanks for linking up and I hope you have a wonderful new year!

  11. It is SO comforting to know that I am not the only one with UFO’s. I do believe it’s an international malady. Your solution to spending less time on the internet and more time in the sewing room sounds like a very positive endeavor…. sticking to it is another challenge. I hope 2018 is as good for you as you have been for us.

  12. I would love to see what you come up with as a busy book! We are expecting our first grandchild in April and I’m making flannel blankets and bibs right now. My mom made busy books for my 3 boys and they spent many happy hours looking at them and I want to do the same for our grandson. Thank you for the tutorials, tips and techniques and all the other goodies.

  13. Thank you so much for sharing and linking up. I hope the combination of your Quilter’s Planner and thinking through the goals you want to achieve for the year here that you know exactly what you want to work on and say “yes” to throughout the year. Best wishes for a Happy New Year!

  14. Julie thank you for a great and informative 2017. so so looking forward to whatever you have for us in 2018. I really enjoy all you put out there and hearing about your family is also lovely.
    Happy 2018 to you and your. I dont stress to much about what has been either, afterall cant do much about it really, time can be wasted thinging backwards
    happy days
    Gayle Z

  15. Hi Julie,

    I totally relate to your comments about focus! I so enjoy the moment that I don’t even regret not getting things done. This year I have 3 king quilts that I am working on and would love to finish next year. We’ll see.

    I always look forward to receiving your blogs!

  16. Good luck with the Vintage Sampler. I found the instructions very difficult from cutting to construction. I finally gave up, pulled all the fabric from each months bag and decided to use it to make something easier to understand. I enjoy your blog and look forward to 2018.

  17. I love your blog. I thought about your busy book idea, and of how cute that could be! Also, it came to mind that a book with all your skills and talents of your small projects in it, might be a possibility, too!! Your projects are so good. I always enjoy getting your newsletter. I know you are skilled in all you do. Something to give thought to. Happy New Year!

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