The road ends, but the journey continues...

Goals, ToDos & TryOuts – part 1

From January’s first attempts at tackling the freshness of the New Year,

“While many have detailed their goals in a manner worthy of the New Year, I have been floundering in my own Sea of Lists.”


to finding a starting point in the beginning stages within a poem,

“Let us step outside for a moment
As the sun breaks through clouds
And shines on wet newfallen snow,
And breathe the new air.
So much has died that had to die this year.”

From, New Year Poem by May Sarton

to “feeling the freedom of moving forward” with release, lightness & joy...

Goals began forming naturally, without limits. Dropping into loose categories of definition and prioritization.

Included in the mix are what I call ‘quick ToDos & TryOuts’. They surfaced as important periphery components orbiting the developing picture of individual goal categories.

An example of a ‘quick ToDo’ would be a Scrap Wrap-Up. In this case, a swift and decisive finish on a project lingering over the past ten years. This specific Scrap Wrap-Up involved the saved scraps from the original scraps used in creating my “Coffee Beans Means Love to Me” quilt (2014). This was a wall hanging quilt created with irregular shaped scrap strips gathered (dumpster dived*) & kept during our 3-year journey between homes**.

Coffee Beans Means Love to Me (2014)
“Coffee Beans Means Love to Me” (2014) – No matter how tough things got for us during our between homes time, my hubby did his best to provide a bag of beans for me to grind up for my daily brew.

Once this quilt was finished, I had in mind at the time to stitch the scraps of the scraps into mini mats. The thinking being to use them as a bonus marketing item once the recorded/published portions of my Swimming with Swans: the music and vignettes of our three-year journey between homes project*** were released.

In time, I realized that idea embodied more of a lingering emotional need rather than an actual creative or marketing need which in fact the actual quilt already fulfilled. So after a few rounds of fabric purges, I stashed a few select scraps of the scraps into an already existing bin marked, Coffee Related Fabrics. 🙂

Scroll up to 2024 and my coffee mat with accompanying mug rug is a ‘quick ToDo’ finish.

My Mini Coffee Station – Coffee is my fuel of choice. Leaded of course!

more to come featuring a few musical ‘quick TryOuts’ in part 2

*the story, feelings & circumstances behind the quilt as it was being constructed can be found here.

**our between homes dates: 6/2009-6/2012

***a portion of this project, my Swimming with Swans: Goat Suite (Saga) – The Music and Scores was released March 2022, with its accompanying set of vignettes in the cue for another stab at publishing. Several non-Goat Suite SwS compositions are recorded & fully scored, awaiting the recording of the remaining pieces to complete a final album & score set. Obviously, this has become a long-term project! 🙂


  1. Annika Perry

    Laura, your post reinforces that nothing is scrap! I love your coffee station, so inviting and pretty! The quilt is a work of art during years of upheaval for you. I found your music on Spotify and it’s wonderful, mesmerising and draws me to another place totally! You are truly gifted, my friend! Hugs, Annika xx 💕

    • laura bruno lilly

      Your comment touches me deeply, Annika. Thank you for that! hugs

  2. cedar51

    awesome catching up with your scraps – sorry I’m a bit behind with blogs – how is that your folders suddenly have so many emails to read!

    • laura bruno lilly

      Thanks for stopping by, Catherine…we both enjoy scrappy projects, don’t we? 🙂

  3. Ally Bean

    Your projects are beautiful. I like the idea of a coffee mat and a mug rug that match allowing you to start your day all pulled together. As a Lady of the List I like your term Sea of Lists. Very clever.

  4. The main quilt and the mats are wonderful! I love that your dumpster dived the scraps – ha! By the way that is a very cool coffee mug – definitely handmade – probably hand built pottery than hand thrown pottery (or whatever the proper terms are)

    • laura bruno lilly

      Thanks, Tierney. That mug is from a set I have that I bought decades ago in Mesilla, NM back when we lived in Las Cruces as newlyweds. 🙂

  5. Jane's Heartsong

    My goodness, I am just reading your post now, at five minutes to midnight on the brink of Canada Day. It is a month of endings of various courses, retreats, studies, so I neglected some of my blogs, both reading and writing. I am consistent with my coffee at least, if nothing else. I like your mini coffee quilts and your coffee station, also the counter top (you wrote about that before, I think) and the wood grain of the table that they perch on. I have a 12 inch piece of counter between the wall and the stove where I keep my coffee pot, filters, and supplies in a cupboard above and a small drawer below for my battery-operated whisk. I look forward to your next compositions.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Happy belated Canada Day, Jane. I missed your comment, so sorry to be late on responding. Isn’t it funny how something like coffee can bring a sense of normalcy to our lives? Our mini rituals and such! Thanks for the likes on everything – I’m glad to hear you’re all stoked up from a glorious month of learning and gathering with others in pursuit of all you enjoy.

  6. Marty

    I have to show your coffee station to my wife. She recently created one for her office, but was complaining about how it looks. Yours looks fab, I must say. Leaded, of course. 😉

    • laura bruno lilly

      I’d be honored if Gorgeous took a look. Here’s to simple pleasures!

  7. deborahbrasket

    Piecing things together, tying up loose ends, forging forward. I hear you. I’m doing the same. Trying to bring long time projects to fruition. Feeling a time crunch, only because these projects take so much time and there are so many of them. And insisting on Feeling joy in all I do. Not always easy but so important.

    • laura bruno lilly

      The time crunch thing is what makes my personal need to mindfully assess/address ‘goals, todos & tryouts’ in as focused a manner as is possible without erasing the spark of spontaneity or JOY in the process! 😉
      Sounds like we’re on the same wavelength, flower sister!

  8. Andy

    Like Linda, I’m glad that you are returning to the studio. Long term projects can be the best, allowing things to germinate and develop organically. (I know and appreciate that you are familiar with my poetry), my last collection I think, was the weakest of the three *
    Written over the shortest period of time to mark my 50th, I was still a few poems short when the deadline was upon me. I resorted to a couple of lines in the public domain to kick-start my creativity, and late on the final night I wrote two about the singers I was listening to in the wee small hours: Stina, and Sofia.

    *There are still some in there that I’m quite proud of and would include in a ‘Selected Poems’ collection 😊

    • laura bruno lilly

      Thank you for this, Andy. You are describing a facet of our lives as ‘working, true’ (he)artists that we often forget. I don’t know about the ‘weakest link’, but your latest collection is part of your on-going, evolving body of work reflecting who you are, how you express your (he)art, developing your voice and ‘staying in the game’ as a poet. This is what it means to be a ‘true’ (he)artist. And as you know, we learn from each release, yet we still bring our (he)art to the ‘outside world’ because it demands this of us!
      The fact that we care about quality makes each ‘release’/performance/etc resonate with individuals more so than if it were generated by AI and/or someone who just decides to plunk out anything because it’s so easy to do on multitudinous social media platforms. Anyway, I digress! I look forward to a future ‘Selected Poems’ collection…but I think you’ve many more volumes to write/publish/do readings on before that becomes a completed project!

      • Andy

        Spoken like a true (he)artist !

  9. Jennie

    Goals always leave me feeling like a failure, or a child getting punished. There is nothing positive about goals. On the other hand, lists are a lifesaver, and I find great success in scratching-off what has been accomplished. Hubby knows the back of old envelopes are my list-makers. I love your quilt story/evolution and the coffee mug mats. Best to you, Laura.

    • laura bruno lilly

      I suspect you have goals, but in a way that doesn’t make you feel like a child getting punished. For myself, I realized I needed to reign in my Sea of Lists into some cohesive form. Some handily fit under already existing umbrella goal categories leaving others to shine more on their own for me to decide if indeed they were really worthy of my attention.
      Thank you for your personal take on the subject! I’m sure your students never felt like failures! 🙂

      • Jennie

        Thank you for this, Laura. You sum it up beautifully. 😀

        • laura bruno lilly

          You’re very welcome, dear Jennie.

          • Jennie


  10. marissthequilter

    Me thinks it might.
    Apologies for the misreading. Coffee Bean quilt looked brand new!

    • laura bruno lilly

      No apologies necessary…just wanted to clarify.(especially since that’s also a 10yrs younger me!) HA!

  11. marissthequilter

    Good to read that things are lighter and brighter. Your Coffee Bean quilt is a lovely manifestation of the brightness. Well done on stitching the scraps.
    Your phrase “sea of lists” reminds me (not sure why) of “slough of despond” (from John Bunyon).

    • laura bruno lilly

      ‘slough of despond’ sounds a bit more ominous…but then that’s John Bunyon, right? BTW: the Coffee Bean quilt pix was taken in 2014…I mean, 10 years ago! Doing this little ‘quick ToDo’ was way overdue, me thinks! (I wonder if ‘me thinks’ could pass as a Bunyonism?!)

  12. Laura

    A sense of grounding is very good, and there is nothing wrong with having a Sea of Lists! Just this week, I reminded my Mom about having written down a password that I had given her. Her response, “Which piece of paper did I write that on?” Ha, ha! The thing about the scrap…they will wait until the time is ripe. They may even multiply! 🙂

    • laura bruno lilly

      A ‘Laura’ to the rescue – we’ve got each other’s backs! HA! I guess scraps could be a metaphor for ideas: because, they often wait until the time is ripe…and then always multiply… How’s that for an intellectual elevation of the lowly scrap?!? 🙂

  13. Marie A Bailey

    What a beautiful quilt … and the mat and mug rug! I love the idea of using scraps to make useful and artful things. It can be harder work than just buying new materials, but so satisfying. 🙂

    • laura bruno lilly

      You’re right about it being ‘harder’ to use scraps, but really, that’s part of the fun of it: the challenge!!!! Thanks for stopping by Marie.

  14. zippyquilts

    Funny how those projects become long-term when we didn’t think they were! But hooray, you used scraps!

    • laura bruno lilly

      Oh yeah, I know you get it, Zip. But the thrill of being on a roll with a project we love is worth it!

  15. petespringerauthor

    I love the term “Sea of Lists.” I used to tease my mom about this because she had a list for everything. More than once, she would say, “I know I wrote that down somewhere on a list. I just can’t remember which one.” Any bit of progress, short or long-term, is a step in the right direction. You go, girl!

    • laura bruno lilly

      That’s hilarious! I think she would have understood my dilemma well. And you’re right about any bit of progress ‘counts’. It’s all part of the process. 🙂

  16. L. Marie

    Laura, I’m so glad you’ll return to the recording studio with your finished compositions! So exciting! You have been busy! How do you feel, now that you’re at this stage in the process? Love your coffee mat and mug rugs! The finished quilt has so many beautiful colors!

    • laura bruno lilly

      At this stage, I feel like there’s been a redefinition & re-encouragement of purpose in projects that are important to me. Plus, a sense of ‘grounding’…if that makes any sense. 🙂
      Thanks so much for your support, L.Marie. It means a lot.

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