You’re a Hard Habit to Break/Make

 

One, two, or three( cannot go beyond three), yes, we all have them.  Habits, whether good or bad, take up space in our daily routine.  I figure after sharing my quilt travesty why stop there? I might as well turn the page on the open book of Lisa Calle.

Bad Habit #1:  While I am quilting I have a tendency to throw all of my thread snips onto the floor.  This then requires me to vacuum up all those lovely little snips at a later date.  Dare I say a much later date, an extended date that I push-off as long as possible.  The consequence of this snip littering has me entering a store with various colors and lengths of thread dripping off my pants.    I look like an episode of Project Runway gone bad, really bad.  I keep forgetting to keep a lint roller in my car, definitely not the way to break my habit but it would allow me to keep an intervention from occurring.

Bad Habit #2:  Making sure my family is fed on days that I am immersed in my studio; which is typically Monday through Friday. Yes, they actually expect to be fed, they are obviously a bit clueless to what the addiction of fabric does to a quilter.  Let’s clue them in shall we…no dinner!

Good Habit #1:   And at this time there is only one that I am going to report, I need to think on a few others (or rather think if I have any others).  Prior to beginning a new project after completing one I MUST clean my studio.  I need to start my new design in an area that is nice and tidy.  But within mere hours I revert back to bad habit #1 as thread snips cover the floor, and various tools/materials take over my work space.

What habits take over your quilting life?  Please tell me I’m not the only one that allows their family to starve for a majority of the week? By the way there is always frozen waffles and pizza in my freezer!

It’s Not All About the Gift Wrap

 

So often we encounter quilts that are just stunning, I mean…AMAZING.  The bling incorporated into the design, the ribbons we see hanging from them; it makes us want to run and hide.  But believe it or not often it’s those quilts that don’t “sparkle” or haven’t won awards that are priceless.

It’s not always about the “gift wrap”.  Some of my most precious quilts are the ones that are utility quilts, or ones that I have created for those I love; not designs I made in order improve my quilting professionally.   For example the quilt shown below was a project for a dear friend who, at the time, was battling cancer.  There was no bling, or specialty fabric used, on the contrary, the emotional aspect of this quilt outweighed any materialistic part of this design by leaps and bounds.

Let’s also consider quilts that we receive as gifts.  My sister-in-law, Judy, who is kind enough to travel with me to shows (I’m sure many of you will recognize her in the picture below) made me that awesome quilt.  Now, I’m not insinuating Judy isn’t talented, my point is that this quilt wasn’t produced with all the bells and whistles seen at quilts shows, on blogs, etc.  Judy wasn’t “gift wrapping” her design so those in quilting community would rave about her talent.  No, this priceless piece was made just for me, and trust me this quilt and I bond every night on the couch (or taken on the road with me to shows).

The quilt displayed below was a gift my dear friend Mandy sent to me.  I was completely shocked to receive this beautiful quilt, as it was sent with the intentions of giving me a little “pick me up”.  Her mission was accomplished and she won the award for kindness and friendship!

So let’s face it, we can admire those talented quilters surrounding us. Fellow quilters that encourage us to better our techniques and push our creativity to another level are individuals we should respect.  BUT it isn’t always about the “gift wrapped” quilts.  Quite often it is those “silent” designs that in our hearts have ribbons pinned to them, and are wrapped with love; those are the quilts that truly matter.

Do you have a quilt that didn’t amazing “gift wrap” but mean a lot, or did you give a quilt that wasn’t all about the gift wrap? I’d love to hear your story!

Did You Hear Me?

 

 

What is a business without good communication? There is none.  How vital is communication with our customers?  It’s pretty darn vital.  I know that when I was quilting for customers,  I composed an intake sheet that allowed me to notate information regarding each client and specifics on what they wanted on their quilt.  Why was this so important?  Well, hello I am no super hero when it comes to retaining every single word my customer shared with during consultation.  I could review my notes and realized “I completely forget she had mentioned this, or requested that”.  We all have good intentions of listening closely to the wants and needs of our customers but can we rely on mentally keeping every detail tucked away in our heads…not this girl.

 I rely on contacting with people via email, rather than connecting with them by phone.  This is not something I am proud of, it is definitely an area I am trying to improve upon.  As I picked up the phone recently I became extremely aware of how significant that voice to voice connection is to both the customer and myself.  Those receiving my call were pleasantly surprised I had reached out to them.  And when I am the one answering the call my clients cannot believe it’s actually “me” fielding calls and not an employee.  Yep folks believe it or not it’s just little old me in my studio now that my red-headed assistant got a new job.  Yeah and boo all at the same time…

Bottom line–hearing someones voice, the tone in which they are speaking and having the capability to exchange words “VERBALLY” is huge!

Having an online business does allow me to work with customer but in a different way.  Now, I utilize my blog , and newsletter to reach out to peers, and those in quilting community. Since I’m always striving to improve I’m also working on implementing more tutorials!

Speaking of tutorials thank you so much for all the kind words about my Baptist Fan tutorial.  It really makes my job rewarding when I hear how much viewers appreciate and benefit from my videos.  If there is something in particular you would like to see demonstrated let me know!

Has anyone struggled with finding a balance in communicating with customers? If you have found a balance what’s your secret? And don’t say you remember EVERYTHING!

 

I Will Not Deviate!

 

 

That is my way of thinking once I have a vision.  I am steadfast on moving right along the course I have planned, but there are times when a design does not transpire the way I originally anticipated.  This is especially true concerning the piecing aspect of my quilting.  Gauging the amount of fabric required has been an issue for me in the past. Unfortunately, when I miss calculated the material needed, I needed to incorporate some major creativity in order to make the project work.

Case in point would by my Hula Hibiscus:

Originally I planned to use more of the color blue so that I would enhance the outer portions of the quilt.  Obviously the end result was much different as I did not have enough blue and had to revise my plan of action!

Here is another example where I needed to abort the initial mission:

While producing the above small sample it became apparent that I did not have correct color thread.  My intended goal was to match the thread to the background, well change of plans for this quilter! My color choice of thread then had to be altered to a shade that was similar, or kind of similar to the background.  Again, not what I mentally manufactured for this design.  Boy oh boy does thread choice make a difference!  This little piece would appear completely different, if a blending thread had been used.

Regardless of the reason , sometimes being creative means revising again, and again, and again.  It may not be that you have miscalculated the amount of fabric needed, or neglect to possess the correct thread color; it could simply be that mentally your vision is taking your design in a new direction.  Whatever the reason, embrace what is being set before you and unleash the talent within.

Deviating from what you “thought” was the best plan, might just produce the most amazing plan ever!

Have you needed to revise, or deviate from your “original” quilt idea?  If so was it due to not liking your design, or (like me) you misjudged your design requirements?

 

“Raindrops on Roses and Whiskers on Kittens”

 

We all have a “few” of our favorite things. Those items that, if they went MIA,  would have us completely paralyzed from doing anything productive.  For me, there are those very obvious things like my longarm, and sewing machine that undoubtedly would prevent me from moving forward each day.  But in pondering the less obtuse items, there are three  favorite things that come to mind:

My Grandmother’s Thimble

 When I received my grandmother’s thimble I was thrilled to have such a pretty memento. To me thimbles weren’t a necessity to quilting. I felt they were very cute, and made nice, tiny decorative piece; but useful…no  I mean, really, how could a small piece of metal situated on your finger really become an instant force field?  Well, was I enlightened to the thimble’s importance! I felt like Mel Gibson in Brave Heart when I finally chose to spare my finger tips from being murdered by potential needle jousting. My fingertips and heart thank my grandmother on a daily basis!

Needle Threader 

 Even my red-headed assistant wants one of these (for those very, very rare occasions she needs to replace a button).  Once she saw me use this little gadget she was in awe and was very tempted to walk out of the studio that afternoon with mine in her bag.  No, replacing a button was NOT on her to-do list that evening she just fell in love with this handy-dandy device.  But for those true sewers, like me, I am happy to know that in a mere blink of an eye my needle will be threaded.  I can cast away those reading glasses, and wasted time making sure I am in a nicely lit area, this mini machine gets it done.  Since revealing this item to Drea I have kept a watchful eye out to ensure mine doesn’t go missing.  I might just bite the bullet and get her one for that once a year use.

Organizer

Okay, so this little beauty is so important that I felt simply posting a picture and writing a brief description would not do it justice.

Karen Kay Buckley’s Thread Bag

Karla’s Amazing Cherrywood Fabric

I have no affiliation with either of these two wonderful ladies…. Just love their products!!

  There you have it quilting friends, a couple of MY favorite things.

 

Now I know YOU have a couple of Favorite Things.   So please, do tell!

 

Classes Can Come to You!

Isn’t frustrating when you are dying to attend a class but can’t manage to participate in the show or shop due to distance, or time constraints? Does the option of online classes appeal to you?  If so, I might have a solution for you!

Tracey Russell, an amazing designer, just may be the answer to your dilemma.  Picture being a part of an amazing class that you can complete ONLINE. Yes, online!  Tracy’s business, Whirls and Swirls Quilting, has two classes open for registration.  Her online courses aren’t only insightful, but also readily available to those that can’t find the time or means to travel to events.  Take a look below at what she has to offer.

Option 1:   Curves, Curls and Leaves, Oh My!

Option 2:  Feathered Elegance

Anyone that knows me can probably guess that I am a little partial to the class entitled “Feathered Elegance”.  Any class with the word “feather” in it has me saying ,”Sign me up!”  So you won’t be surprised to hear that I recommend this course.  BUT once you have read the description on both of these classes, I find it hard to believe you won’t be signing up for one of them!

Tracey will give you an education in understanding your thread, and batting.  Upon completing these online courses you will be prepared to begin and execute your design.  So don’t give up your passion for quilting due to travel issues or scheduling conflicts, give Tracey’s courses a try.  Sometimes you just need to find the right course, and the right instructor!  Tracey could be the ultimate teacher, her courses might be just what you were looking for AND the opportunity to utilize classes online may be the perfect match for your lifestyle.

Let me know if you take one of her classes, I am a huge fan of Tracey’s and am confident you will be more than satisfied with the education you receive and the great price you paid!

 

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Perfect Piecing + Flawless Stitching = The Impossible

My current project is slowly, and I mean slowly coming along.  As I plug away every now and then I will stand back and scan the small progress I have made AND analyze my work.  When I say “analyze” I mean scrutinize every tiny minuscule stitch and aspect of my quilt.  Which has now led me to discovering a part of the design that does not appear exactly the way I feel it should.

 

 Rather than remaining stressed over a small mishap that I had observed due to my OCD of going over the project with a magnifying glass; I need to move on.  Is anyone going to be aware of my mistake? Not unless I tell them, right?!

 

 

 

 

Nope, no one will see that itsy, bitsy, teeny, tiny, imperfection when they view the quilt in its entirety.  Yes, I will forever know where that flaw resides, but I cannot sweat the small stuff.  Life is way too short.  And if I constantly chose to sweat the small stuff in my studio, OMG, I would achieve zip, zero, zilch! Besides the fact that I would be very unproductive, I also believe that those small imperfections allows me to perfect who I want to become.  So I pick my battles and strive to choose the ones that really matter!

And remember no one but you has to be in on that little “flaw”!

Quilt Show Etiquette

Quilting etiquette, is there is such a thing.  Yes, there most certainly is.  Whether you are vending, or attending, there are do’s and don’t’s to being a part of the quilting show world.  And although some of the “appropriate” behavior should be obvious, you would be amazed how many neglect to engage in the “Quilt Sh0w Etiquette”.

There are few major rules of Quilting Show Etiquette I’d like to share.

#1 Whether you are meandering the quilting venue or in a quilter’s booth, please be mindful that there are other people around you.

Like it, love it, or hate it.  If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it until you are securely locked in your car or hotel room.  It’s so frustrating listening to an individual rip apart a quilter’s project, a piece that has taken them much time and effort to create.  Remember, you never know who is standing right next to you and no one wants to overhear unkind words regarding anyone’s work.

#2 No Touchy

That’s right, unless you own the design it don’t assume it’s okay to feel the fabric,  or pull the quilt towards you in order to obtain a closer view.  That delicious chocolate bar you ate a few minutes ago might have a few tiny specs of sweet treats left on your fingers which will, according to  Murphy’s Law, find its way on that quilter’s prized project!  Or that Starbucks Mocha Latte Grande that you are slowly slurping while viewing the vendor’s quilting, again according to Murphy’s Law, will dribble onto the lightest portion of the prized quilt.  All a big:

Keep in mind that the owner is most likely standing within mental slapping distance!

#3 Conversing with the vendor.   The opportunity to speak with the owner of the booth is exciting. But again, please be mindful of others waiting to talk, or ask the vendor a question.

I love assisting guests with questions whether it’s regarding which ruler to use, insight on which classes to select, or simply exchanging quilting experiences.  That being said, I am very conscientious of other visitors who are taking the time to stop at my booth.  I encourage everyone to meet the designers they love (trust me, we want to meet you too!),  but I kindly suggest that you take note of others standing nearby who also may need a minute or two of the owners time.

What is you’re top Quilting Show Etiquette rule?