Monday, February 29, 2016

Here's why you should be EXCITED for National Craft Month...

March is National Craft Month and that means we've got a lot to celebrate!

It also means we have a lot to be thankful for.

This is a unique way for you to do more of what you love while giving back during this special month.

Today though March 13, use this link to shop for any Craftsy class and you'll be automatically entered to win $1000 for the craft-focused charity of your choice!  (Be sure to use the link because that's how you'll be entered to win!)

At the end of the month, Craftsy will select one lucky winner at random and notify them that they've won! The winner will then choose a craft-focused charity to receive the $1000 prize. It's an easy, fun, and impactful way to make a difference. 

I'll be featuring a few of my favorite Craftsy classes throughout the sale but ANY class you purchase will enter you in the drawing!

p.s.  All of the classes are on SALE!

Happy Crafting!!!



Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Stitch Fix #25

WOW! It doesn't seem like this is my 25th Fix, but since I have a stack of papers outlining what's contained in each Fix, I really can't deny it. I've seen other people review their Fixes and they seem to have a consistent stylist, but mine seem to swap around. Diana was my style person this time and it was sort of a mixed bag.

The first thing I tried on were the navy culottes with the suggested white eyelet blouse. I thought the outfit made me look dumpy even with the Coach wedges (also suggested -- well, not specifically Coach, but wedges) that I wear a lot in the summer. So I decided to tuck in the blouse and see if that improved the look.

Not an improvement, IMHO! The white blouse is definitely going back, but Diana did include an alternative that could also be worn with the culottes (I think I despise culottes, but I'll try anything once...)

Still dumpy! Culottes and second shirt go back to Stitch Fix. Two more items to try!

Think I'm going to really love this dress -- love the colors and the fit is good, so let's see what I have in my closet to wear with it!

Calvin Klein black cardigan is one option, especially if I want to wear the dress before Spring shows up.

Option #2 from White House Black Market -- love, love, love! In fact, I think I'll wear this outfit while I'm teaching in Orlando this weekend at Wandering Stitches -- will I see you there?

Stitch Fix hardly ever sends me accessories because I always send them back and this is no exception. It's cute, but I already have so much stuff....

Verdict on this Fix: One piece kept and four sent back. But I love the dress -- what do you think of everything they sent me? From what I have read, most people keep 2-3 pieces from each five piece selection and I usually do, too. Although I have had three or four Fixes over the past couple of years where I kept everything.

I like Stitch Fix because I live in an area where boutiques don't exist and it's Macy's or Dillard's for grown ups or Buckle and Papaya for the young adults, so getting clothes selected for me according to my profile and sent to my house where I can try them on with things I already own is AWESOME! If you are in a similar shopping desert (or if, like some of my friends, you just don't like to go out and shop) and you'd like to try Stitch Fix, there's a link on my sidebar.

Opinion time: Is the dress a major keeper? Should I not have sent the other stuff back? Was I just having a dumpy feeling day? Culottes? REally??


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Sale on Craftsy's Most Wish-Listed Classes -- 50% OFF!!

Craftsy just released their 1,000th class! To celebrate they're having a 50% off sale on their most wish-listed classes!

Cake decorating, crocheting, drawing, embroidery, cooking, gardening, jewelry making, knitting, painting, paper crafts, photography,  quilting, sewing, wood working, the list goes on and on!

And they're all on sale!

Click HERE for the sale!  I hope you take a class and LOVE it!!!!!!!

Check out the sale pics below... just a few samples to get you excited!!!!

Hope you have a fun and creative Wednesday!


Sunday, February 7, 2016

"Nuts About" Blog Hop!

Marian Pena of Seams to Be Sew rocks and she hosts these fun blog hops from time to time.  I am so excited to be a part of Nuts About Blog Hop!

If this is your first visit here… WELCOME!  If you’re a follower of mine already, take time to visit each blog on the hop each day… there are creative ideas, fun stories, and fantastic giveaways at each stop (including a $25 gift certificate to Fat Quarter Shop and a free pattern from each and every day of the Hop!).

So... what am I "Nuts About"??  Well there are lots of things but one of the easiest is PINK!!!  And what is better displayed in PINK than hearts???

This is my completed Shoofly Hearts pattern!

I don’t know why in the world I decided to write patterns.  Maybe it was because I considered myself a math/science girl rather than an art person and the geometry of it all fascinated me, but about three years after making my first quilt I decided that I wanted to make one that was entirely my own.  I was an accurate piecer, but didn’t like anything too complicated.  Quilts were great, but wall hangings were better.  As I gave this more and more thought, I started jotting rough drawings (rough is the best I can do!) of what I thought the quilts might look like and then made a few of them.

Shoofly Hearts was my very first pattern – if it hadn’t sold so well, I probably wouldn’t have designed any more!  I was so happy with the initial reception of this easy beginner pattern that I designed and published eight more and then went to Quilt Market as a vendor for the very first time!  It was all so new and exciting and fun!  That was the time and place where I met Alex Anderson and started the lifelong friendship that means a great deal to me; no wonder I love this pattern so much!  I published a bunch of patterns in 1994, then a few sporadically since so that at one time we had 19 patterns in the line.  I’ve since cut out the ones that haven’t sold as well to come down to the present number.  But I don’t think I’ll ever take away Shoofly Hearts.

In playing with this quilt and making it your own, you could use any block where my Shoofly is.  You can also rotate the quilt and sew it together either with the bottom of the hearts pointing in or pointing out.  There’s a lot of play value with this one!

See this pattern and other fun things on my website!

Now for the line up…

February 4, 2016

February 5, 2016

February 8, 2016

February 9, 2016

February 10, 2016

Sponsored By The Fat Quarter Shop

And finally… how to enter the giveaway.  And a BIG THANK YOU to Marian Pena of Seams to Be Sew for putting this together and to Fat Quarter Shop and for sponsoring this blog hop and donating the giveaways!  

 To enter, simply click on the Rafflecopter below!

Good luck and thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Habits and Getting Organized

I'm not quite sure how Ron Friedman's Peak Work Performance Summit made it into my inbox, but as someone who is always trying to get better at the details of running a business, the whole deal intrigued me. Here's a guy who has written "The Best Place to Work: The Art and Science of Creating an Extraordinary Workplace" and who knows a lot of experts in various fields who agreed to be interviewed for his Summit. Over 10 days in January, each subscriber had access to these video interviews, generally either three or four per day. It was free to sign up for the Summit and I had free access to all of the interviews in the 24 hour period in which they were aired. If you wanted unlimited access to all of them at any time, it was $149, proceeds of which were donated to charity.

I paid for the access so that I would be able to go back to my favorites at any time and also the ones that didn't apply to me right now but may in the future. Some of the interviews applied more to people who work in an office or who are members of a team, so not as directly influential on me. But then, I thought -- aren't I part of a team every time I go to a quilt shop and teach? I may want to look at some of those again, too.

All of the speakers were authors and I did buy some books. I'll tell you about the ones I've finished and then share more with you as I go through the stack. I was very impressed by the speakers that Dr. Friedman chose and definitely wanted to learn more from some of them.

Gretchen Rubin was definitely my favorite. Her common sense attitude toward our habits of daily life and the big changes you can make by tweaking them was a great book. There are a lot of areas with pink highlighter in my copy of "Better than Before: What I Learned About Making and Breaking Habits -- To Sleep More, Quit Sugar, Procrastinate Less, and Generally Build A Happier Life". I also signed up for her e-mails and her weekly podcast "Happier with Gretchen Rubin".

My favorite sentence of the book: "Nothing is more exhausting than the task that's never started, and strangely, starting is often far harder than continuing". When I've got guilty thoughts swirling about the new class sample I need to do (lack of confidence in my technique?) or the caramel peanut butter truffles stalking me in the kitchen or the morning I really DON'T want to roll out of bed at 5am for that three mile walk, I think about different things she said and somehow persuade myself to get 'er done, including asking my husband to hide the caramels. Couldn't quite bring myself to throw them away!

I also bought the companion book "Better Than Before: A Day-by-Day Journal" to record the habits I'm trying to make or break, thoughts about them, etc. My first habit is more frequent blogging. When I first started this blog in 2009, I blogged every single day. Once you get away from it, though, it's really hard to get back to! So blogging at least three times a week is my challenge to myself. Quit sugar? Procrastinate less? One can only wish -- maybe I'll have to read the book again!

The next one that I read was by Dr. Jason Selk, a performance coach for top level athletes as well as Fortune 500 executives, and Tom Bartow, a winning college basketball coach turned financial advisor and business coach. With a forward written by John Wooden's son, Jim, every word was gold. I read it straight through and again, highlighted with reckless abandon. The reader is introduced to 8 precepts that the authors urge you to adopt as habits -- there's that word again! The authors recommend that you choose the habit that seems to be most needed in your life, business, family, etc. and follow it for 90 days. Then, once that habit is integrated into your daily life, choose another.

The one I chose is to, well, organize tomorrow today! In other words, each afternoon, choose three things that I really want to get done the next day and designate one as the most important. They call it the '3 Most Important/1 Must' and it's the priority filter that goes over the top of whatever to-do list I've already amassed for the day in my ever-present planner.

I read a couple of others on my Kindle --- kind of hard to take a picture of -- and I did a bit of highlighting there as well, but these are the two I read in January that had the most impact and that I think I will definitely read again.

So have you read any good books lately? Have any of them helped you with your resolutions, no matter what time of year you made them? Leave a comment below -- I'm always looking for my next good read!


Monday, February 1, 2016

VDTA in Las Vegas

VDTA stands for Vacuum Dealers Trade Association; the show is held in conjunction with the SDTA which stands for, you guessed it, Sewing Dealers Trade Association. Everyone calls the show VDTA, though. It's usually in Las Vegas, although it was held in New Orleans for a couple of years -- but, boo hiss, I didn't get to go those years! I can still daydream about New Orleans food, though!!

I was in the booth of Amann-Mettler Group; you most likely know them as the people who bring you those great Mettler cotton and polyester threads that I use all the time in my piecing, applique and quilting. I'd probably use them for other sewing things, too, except that -- well, I don't know how to DO any other sewing things!

Here's Mary Newton and me in the Mettler booth; we even managed somehow without prior messaging to coordinate the colors in our clothes! The booth is so colorful on its own it probably didn't need any help, but we do try.our best.

Rhonda Pierce (I think it's so cool that she's Schmetz' main needle lady and has the last name Pierce) stopped by the booth to drop off some great luggage tags that have an explanation on them of the new color coded Schmetz needles. I love that now you can tell by the color banding on the front of the needle not only what type it is (I.e., blue for Jeans/Denim (natch), purple for Microtex Sharp) but also a second colored band below the needle style band is for size (I.e., blue for 90/14, orange for 80/12). You'll no longer have to stick a Post-It to your machine or, if you have one of the machines where you can input this info, you won't have to remember to actually DO it. Ask me how I know about this particular problem....
Over my right shoulder you can see a huge phone screen that is showing the "MettlerMe for iPhone" app, one of the most fun things to come along in a very long time. You can take a picture of your quilt and then pick a color of thread in the app and move the thread up and down your picture to see what that particular color of thread will look like on the various fabrics in your quilt. Once you've decided on the color(s) you want, the app tells you the color number so you can go to your local Mettler dealer and get it. Scott built the "phone" around a big TV screen so it was just huge in the booth. We were telling everyone it was an iPhone 7.....
You can get the MettlerMe app in the App Store for free!

After we finished for the day, Mary changed to this shirt before we went out for a glass of wine -- think I need this one! When she tells me where she got it, I'll share!

I wandered off to the Brother booth to visit friends and they pointed out this banner "Brother IS Quilting" -- there will probably be something in the works here for me to tell you pretty soon, so stay tuned!
All in all, VDTA was a way for me to promote my very favorite brand of thread, meet new people, draw a new winner of my two day "Fluff & Stuff" class (hint: It's in the mid-West this time and will be announced very soon) as well as visit with friends and dealers I've worked with already.
And HINT: If you are in Las Vegas and don't mind spending a bit on dinner, go to Envy the Steak House, in the Renaissance Hotel. Alex Anderson was staying there and was at loose ends so we folded her into our group and went to Envy for dinner. I had sea bass and it was probably the best I have ever ever eaten. It was kind of funny that we went to a steak house and we all ordered seafood, but all five of us agreed that the food was superb. And the lobster mac & cheese was to die for -- Alex and I ate it for dessert!


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