Setting Intentions for the New Year – Abundance Wall Hanging

At holiday time last year, I created a gratitude calendar as a way of recounting what I was grateful for from the year that was drawing to a close. With the start of 2013 just a few days away now—in addition to practicing gratitude—I'm setting intentions for the shiny new year to come. I know many people like to set an intention for the year by selecting a single word that they will focus on as a background-music-sort of theme, and while I've never had this as a practice, I will say that for me, 2013 is going to be a year of abundance for me and this will be an intention I will personally be meditating on regularly. I've been mediating regularly  (at least five days a week) for six months now and it's made a very big difference in my life. One of ways I mediated was by taking part in Deepak Choprah's 21-Day Meditation Challenge: Creating Abundance. This was free at the time it was "live" but when it was finished,  I loved the teachings in this series so much that I purchased the dowloads so that I could listen to them anytime and it was from this experience that I decided to carry it into the new year. So, how is this related to a wall hanging? Let me stop babbling and just get on with it! The idea here is to set an intention for the year that is summed up in one word (such as abundance). Then each month, an aspect of that intention (such as love) becomes the focus for daily meditations in that month. At the onset of hanging the finished art, thoughts around what each aspect means to you are written on a piece of paper and tucked into a loop next to each month's word. At the start of each month, you pull out the paper and read what you wrote you hoped for yourself when you began the year. If your thoughts have changed since then, you can write new thoughts, too. But the basic idea is that you'll get loving encouragement from yourself at the start of each month. I began by choosing a color to dye a decent amount of unprimed canvas. I chose orange for its symbolism of sincerity, enthusiasm, creativity and vitality. Next, I selected twelve words to help me hone in on setting intentions around abundance. I pulled these from some of the themes of the Choprah meditations. To paint my words, I used a combination of just painting the letters by hand, using a liner brush, and using assorted letter stencils. (You know I can't just completely get away from using stencils!) For paint, I used Jacquard's Neopaque White, and I cut individual strips from my dyed canvas, for the words, that were about 3" x 14". After you've painted your own words on your chosen fabric, sew the long sides of the strips together as if you were making a quilt. Remember to stack them in the order you want to visit them throughout the year. When all words have been stitched together, use an iron to flatten out the seams. I like to top-stitch the seams, just because I love top-stitching! But you could skip this if you wanted to. Trim up your block of words so that it's squared up. Measure the height of the block and cut four long strips of fabric to sew along the sides of the block (mine were about 2" wide). Set two strips aside, take the other two and sew one to each side of the block. (I then top-stitched along both sides of the side seam.) To make the loops that will hold the strips of paper, begin with one long strip that is 2" x 48" (or, two 2" x 24" pieces). Iron this strip folded into quarters and then stitch down the entire length, near each edge. This should give you a long strip that is about 1/2" x 48". Cut this into twelve smaller strips, 4" each. Along the side edges, sew these loops down, with the loops pointing inward, and alternate sides with the words and the loops. Sew the second set of long strips to the first set, right sides together, sandwiching in the loops. You could skip the step above, but I found it much easier to tack the loops in place first, since they were too heavy to pin. After sewing on the second set of strips, top stitch both sides of the seam, securing the loops flat and inward. Trim up your block again and finish as you like. I added narrow strips of contrasting fabric to all four sides, and also sewed in loops to hang at the top. Then I sewed a solid piece of the same fabric to the block, right sides together, turned it right side out and top-stitched along the border. You are now ready to set your intentions for each aspect of theme you decided to focus on for the year! I plan on writing these out on New Year's Day. Hang your intention wall hanging in a place where you will see it regularly and where it will make you smile each and every day. (At least, that's the idea!) Happy New Year! xoxo  
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