Friday, October 30, 2009 do or not to do?

It’s interesting how we can be strolling along in our daily life, with all our plans laid out, not thinking too much of anything other than what’s in front of us at the time.
Also interesting how just a phone call can make us take a different look at our “daily” lives and pay attention to something we previously hadn’t given too much thought to, if any. I was approached by two different companies this week who were both interested in buying my products wholesale or working as a drop shipment producer. I have to be honest - before Tuesday, I didn’t even know what the words “drop shipment” meant! I know, I know, where has this girl been hiding for the past 40 years - under a rock? Anyway, when I received the first call, I was sure it was some sort of scam or hoax. Since launching my website a year and a half ago, I’ve received several hokey email requests, and after determining they were of the dangerous sort, I deleted them immediately. I was actually a bit rude at first with this phone call because I was sure he was wasting my precious time. But, I soon learned he had a genuine company and he truly wanted to talk about a purchasing agreement of some sort. So, once I gleaned from him what it was he was interested in and I asked for a reference I could contact, I told him to give me a call the next day, once I had a chance to talk with my husband, think this through and call the reference, who happens to be one of his current suppliers.
Long story short, the reference gave a glowing report and my husband and I could see no way in which entering into an agreement with this company could be unsafe or financially risky, BUT, and it’s a big “but”, it could bring on plenty of pressure and extra stress and I wasn’t sure I wanted that. That actually didn’t bother me too much at first and I was ready for him to call me back so we could get started on our little business adventure. Skepticism morphed into anticipation as I ran thru my mind the ideas and plans for this new adventure. Right before I went to bed that night, something just kinda clicked in my mind….I can’t even remember what triggered it, but I started thinking a little more about the details this kind of agreement entails. One thing that would happen is that all my labels would have to come off my products. I like my labels, and I like putting my name on my product. I also realized that I liked contact with my customers, talking with them, getting to know them and for most of them, creating for them a custom product ~ a one-of-a-kind item, made just for their purposes. Growing up as a young sewist, I was always in a hurry to finish the item I was working on and my mother would constantly chide me that I needed to slow down because my quality suffered when I was in a hurry. Well, that rule still applies today! It’s one thing to be able to churn out a mass number of items in a short period of time, but it’s another to produce carefully made, quality items for your customers and not be afraid of them finding the hurried mistakes in it. I have strived over the past two years to do just that, and I knew that taking on mass production in ANY level was going to challenge me in that area. I had to remind myself of this by posting a note to myself on the door of my sewing room.

When our oldest child moved away to college, I immediately overtook her room and changed it into what I called my "funroom" because it had all the fun stuff in it...the computer, my TV, my sewing stuff, etc...Since then, another child has moved out and I overtook her room, too, because I had simply outgrown the first room and needed to separate the computer stuff from the sewing stuff (can't wait for the last to move out and then I'll have my kingdom complete....bwah-ha-ha-ha). Anyway, it's called the "funroom" because I have fun in there....tell me now, why would I want to change that by making sewing un-fun?
I think what really un-sealed the deal was when I remembered a recently-read Scripture verse and applied it to the situation

Proverbs's just a snippet:
...give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread...
Reading that again just helped drive it all home. What is even cooler is that my son posted a verse on facebook that was totally similar in meaning - Luke 12:15. I commented back to him, sharing my verse and how unique that we had stumbled upon similar verses and were being challenged in the same way at the same time. To add to that, my oldest daughter saw both our posts and added her own that just a day or two before she had read I Timothy 6:6-10 and it had impressed her in the same way. When God spoke to me on this one, He spoke in threefold!!

I’m just one child shy of being an empty-nester and she’s trying with all her might to get out of the house, much more so - out of the country (more on that story at a later time). But just because I have more time on my hands than a young mother with young children at her feet, doesn’t mean I’m ready to dive into a stressful, mass production business adventure just to make more profit. We’ve been blessed to not have a mortgage or any car payments so our cost of living is actually quite low and God consistently proves that He takes care of us and always provides what we truly need, and occasionally treating us by satisfying a “want”. I always knew that if my sewing became more of a “have to” than a “want to” I would begin to dread it and I never wanted that…I still don’t.

I am truly content and that means everything to me.

So, when the second business proposal arrived today, it was easy to shrug it off and keep my feet on the path.

OK, enough of the deep stuff…on a lighter note, the lazy susan that lives in the middle of our dining room table is on it’s last rollers. She has been replaced by (get this) a brand new double decker turntable.

Wow!! – we are totally upper crust bonetown rednecks now, buddy!

Thanks to everyone visiting and lending an ear to my thoughts on wholesale. I feel better now!

P.S. Did you see that awesome fish “quilt” on Survivor? It was a puzzle the contestants had to put together but instantly upon seeing it, you can’t help but think “Oooh…that would make a neat QUILT!”

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

More Rainy Days...

Can't remember the last time we had plenty of sunshine....its been overcast and occasionally rainy for so many days, which really doesn't bother me as I'm nice and cozy inside with nowhere to go. It kind of fits my mood, too....quiet, cloudy, moody....perfect weather for holeing up in my sewing room and plugging away at quillows.
Here's a completed stack ready for tags and storage in my craft show boxes. I really enjoy working with these fun novelty fabrics!

I searched high and low for the right size boxes to transport my quillows to and from craft shows and finally ended up with the best deal at U-haul. The price was great so we bought about 8 of them and it looks like I'll need all 8 of them for the big craft show in Myrtle Beach this December.

I've also been working on these little guys in addition to some checkbook covers from the same fabric.

This idea came from my youngest daughter when she suggested I design a pouch similar to what she and her friends carry around on college campus. The zipper pocket is for their money, the clear pocket on back is for their school ID and the keyring holds their dorm key. So glad she suggested that because I sell so many of these at craft shows and they are a lot of fun to make.

After reading Dana's blog this morning, Old Red Barn Co, I think I might find some time to work on my computer chair today!

What a great solution, Dana ~ thanks!

I've finally completed my Stepping Stones quilt! I think I started it back in March...can't quite remember. Anyway, I still haven't been able to get some good pictures because the sun won't cooperate, but I wanted to at least get something so I could get my quilt listed in my shop, so these will have to do for now.

Now, one of my tasks today is to get something ready for hand quilting so I'll have a project to work on tonight while watching Biggest Loser.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Rainy Day

My weekend is coming along nicely. We didn’t have a craft show anywhere so I get to revert back to what I consider a “regular” weekend. The kind of weekends I used to have before I started my sewing business.
On Friday my husband and I finished up some of his folding chairs for delivery to a customer.

He makes them out of treated lumber and then I make the "slings".
We drove about 90 miles to make this delivery.

I didn’t mind the ride at all as it gave me a chance to get back to my needlework. I put this down several months ago and have been waiting for a chance to pick it back up again. I actually did this one from start to finish on our short trip!

Then, we made good use of our trip to town and I visited all the fabric stores and bought a TON of fabric – ALL for quillows!

I live 30 minutes from a fabric store of any kind (Wal-mart is the closest and there’s only ONE true quilt shop within a 90 mile radius!)

We topped the evening off with a lovely dinner at Longhorn Steakhouse. We’ve been sharing our meals lately and this way we can enjoy the whole gamut – appetizer, entrĂ©e and dessert - and it costs much less than if we bought two meals! We were so full that we even had dessert leftover and took it home to our daughter…she was pleasantly surprised! Not often do you get a hearty piece of chocolate cake delivered right to your bedroom door with a fork stuck in it! SURPRISE!

This morning we had breakfast at waffle house – no sharing there, thank you. Then I had to do more fabric shopping because I couldn’t find all I was looking for last night. After that, we picked up our weekly groceries and headed home.

Now comes the part I’ve dreaded all weekend…time to clean house. So, I cranked up the tunes on my mp3 and sang my way thru the tasks in record time! I’ve borrowed a few of my youngest daughter’s music CDs and play them for just this sort of need…Justin Timberlake, Madonna, Spice Girls and Vitamin C are great companions when it comes to housecleaning!

Right now the hubby is napping in living room, the oldest daughter at work, and the house is quiet and peaceful except for the distant hum of the washing machine.

I am enjoying this rainy day, baking and blogging….strawberry cake with cream cheese frosting (no big deal - just a box mix) and now I’m working on peanut butter cookies (scratch) to send to my boy away at college. To me, peanut butter cookies MUST have the criss-cross on the top or they just don't taste the same! Don't you agree? :)

I don't really feel like sewing today so perhaps I’ll get a chance to do some tomorrow afternoon. I finished my Stepping Stones quilt on Thursday and wanted to take it outside to get some good pictures, but the rain made that a little tough ~ guess I’ll try another day.

I feel like snuggling up with a hot chocolate and peanut butter cookies and watching The Little Mermaid! Wanna join me?


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Quiet Times

So many things on my mind this morning. It's like this most every morning.This is where I try to spend my mornings, having a quiet time.

Quillows on my left

and right,

waiting to be completed.
The computer in front of me, beckoning me to sit and surf.

What I really need to concentrate on is what's right in front of me....

I drink my coffee, read, pray, write in my journal, but most often I find my mind wandering and thinking....wondering....dreaming....This book has helped me for many years to focus my thinking in the morning hours.

I actually gave it to myself!

I highly recommend it for anyone who's looking for a good devotional book.

It has a reading segment each day that includes Scripture and an area to write your thoughts.

I don't always use this writing area, either because I'm not stimulated to write about what I've just read, or I end up writing those thoughts in my journal because the space in the book is not large enough to contain my thoughts. I try to write the year next to any thoughts I write in this book, because it's interesting to go back and see what I was thinking and feeling in past years and maybe how I've learned something or overcame a struggle. It's important for me to spend this time each morning, meditating and praying and just calling upon my Lord for direction and blessing each day. I lift my children up each day asking for protection, guidance and the blessing of a closer walk with Christ as they grow and mature. It was much harder to get to this quiet time when my children were little and I had to get up and get them ready for school, but now that they're all grown and almost all out on their own, the house is quiet and I have more time.

But, the temptations are still there....some mornings it's hard to concentrate and I have to force myself to stay quiet and wait upon the Lord when I want to jump up, get to work or even just veg in front of the computer, reading blogs and such. My days are so much better and more peaceful when I've allowed myself this time.

I took a little walk out in the yard this morning and noticed I still have flowers, despite the near freezing temperatures lately.

This bumblebee is so cold he can't move!

Yesterday, I was all set to take a nice long walk around our field before supper, but when I turned on my mp3 player to listen to my Jane Eyre audiobook, I heard about 3 words and then the battery died! I was truly upset, but went on my walk anyway. It was so beautiful and so relaxing even without my story!

Perhaps I'll charge my player and try again tonight!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sewing Sunday

Sometimes I think I get more sewing done on Sundays than on most other days of the week. Yesterday I didn't get a blasted thing sewn! Of course, I do try to reserve weekend sewing for things for myself or things I want to do and not necessarily items for customers or stock for my shop.

Today I started by chalking the last border segment of my Stepping Stones quilt and I'll probably finish hand quilting it tonight during The Amazing Race (I LOVE that show!)

Then, I finished piecing the border to my scrappy nine patch from amanda jean's quilt along. I taped it to the floor, layered it and pinned it.

I debated as to whether I would machine quilt or hand quilt it and the machine won. I've seen lots of free motion pebble quilting lately and really wanted to give it a try. I also wanted to venture beyond stippling and meandering! So, I did a little practice and then dove in! I'm keeping this quilt for myself so I figured it was OK to practice on it. Actually, it was probably imperative that I practiced on it if I ever wanted to get any better at machine quilting!

I noticed after a while that gradually my circles got more uniform and neater looking and that I did better moving in a counter-clockwise motion. This is the largest thing I've ever machine quilted (64 x 70) so working towards the middle was very tough for me and I still feel like I'm struggling and not relaxing enough. A tutorial I watched suggested going around each circle at least twice but I found it looked too oversewn for me and I go around once and sometimes a bit more to get where I want to start the next pebble.

All in all, I got about 1/3 of it completed so far and used up 3 bobbins! Time for a break, though, and maybe I'll pick it up again next weekend.

It's been cooling off slowly down south here and this morning we finally had to turn the heat on as it was only 64° in the house! Brrrr! Nothing a hot cup of coffee can't cure, of course! My husband always makes breakfast on Sundays so it was nice to wake up to a fresh pot, homemade breakfast burritos and a warm house!

Life is good!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A Peck of Pickled Peppers?....NOT

I guess this is what I'll be doing this weekend after the Saturday craft show. A friend gave these to me this morning and there's still more on the plants! If we don't get a freeze soon, I can go back and get some more once they turn red.
I plan on making stuffed peppers, spaghetti sauce and pizza sauce and I'll probably slice some of them up and freeze them for future use, but definitely no pickling here!

I just wish I had a basket identical to this full of fresh tomatoes!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

My Mystery Quilt

When Amy of Park City Girl announced the Bloggers Quilt Festival, I have to admit that since I'm so new to the blogging world, I really didn't completely understand how it worked...I still don't, but I am catching on a bit. I also couldn't really think of a quilt worthy of sharing because I really haven't made too many (I've made tons of quillows, but only a handful of true quilts). So, this morning, I realized that I did have a quilt that was unique to me and very memorable, and since I cannot figure out how to do Amy's thing and it's probably too late to enter anyway, I thought I'd go ahead and share my quilt with you (I may even try posting with Amy, hoping it works and I don't look like too much of a blogger-dummy!)

Some of you may have participated in this same quilt along. Helen Stubbings of Hugs from Helen hosted a Summer Mystery Quilt Along last year. Since she is in Australia, it was summer for her - winter for me here in the states. It sounded like so much fun and so interesting to not know what it was you were making! She gave us a list of fabrics needed, suggested color variations

and then every few days or so she would give us a little task to do, a small piece of the quilt to assemble.

It was so exciting to receive the next installment in our quilt journey, always anticipating what it was going to look like

Several weeks later, we were able to see our finished product as we put the final top together.

Rose Trellis.

I made my quilt out of fabrics I had stashed in my closet and couldn't begin to tell you what line they were from, if any. I also hand quilted it.

I truly loved every minute of it! Helen is a great quilting teacher! I even hope to make the quilt again some day in a different color scheme.

This quilt is living with some one in Ireland now, I believe.

I will definitely keep a link to the festival and try to look at all the quilts over a period of time...perhaps after the holiday rush is over and I can justify sitting in front of my computer for hours on end, drooling over everyone's quilts!

Thanks so much for visiting!

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