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One Percent…

A guy emailed me tonight and asked if I consider myself a “one percenter”.

I had never heard this term until tonight. Here’s a good analogy that explains this:

Imagine that everyone in the world is a honey bee. Out of every 100 drone, worker bees, there is 1 queen bee.

That is your one percent.

What is the one percent? What makes us different? Do we have special genes, or do we all have this ability to go from an employee to business owner?

I believe it all comes down to a few simple questions and a choice.

The questions are simple: who are you and what do you want?

No queen bee is very successful if she doesn’t know how big she wants her hive.

The decision?

Never to give up, even when you get knocked down.

This month I received the very best news I could have thought possible. I won a ribbon with The Duchess in Denver.

But this win was also tempered with a loss. I didn’t make the final cut of the Quilting Arts 2010 Calendar.

Does this loss destroy my win? Never. Winning my first blue ribbon was a life changing experience that no loss, no amount of defeat can take away.

I’m a one percenter because I know who I am. I’m a damn fine quilter.

I’m a one percenter because I know what I want. I want to own a successful quilting business and teach people to become damn fine quilters too.

And I am a one percenter because I will never give up, no matter if my first place ribbon in Denver is the only ribbon I ever win in my entire life.

Thank god for tenacity,

Leah

Where’s My Nano Going? In the Trash!

Recently I purchased an Ipod Nano 3rd Generation.  Yes, I maybe broke the rules a bit by purchasing it on Ebay, but hey, that’s where I buy just about anything that I want to find for the best deal.

So let’s start with why I wanted an Ipod nano.

It’s not like I need a nano to sew fabric together or stitch my quilts, right?

Well, technically I do.  When I’m working in my quilting studio, I’m always listening to something. Usually I listen to one of my favorite audio books, like right now Morrigan’s Cross by Nora Roberts is in my CD player.

When I’m not listening to a book, I’m listening to music, usually movie soundtracks.  Some of my favorites include Narnia, Batman Begins, and Twilight.

Listening to music focuses the attention of the part of my brain that likes to wander and distract me.  I find that I’m able to work for much longer hours and with greater attention when audiobooks are playing.

But audiobooks aren’t the cheapest things in the world!

In fact, they’re usually very expensive.  My last audiobook that I purchased from a book store was the first book of the Twilight series and it cost over $20.

So I’m sure you’ve heard of Audible.  We’ve all heard of audible!  They must have an advertising budget of millions of dollars because I hear about them all the time.

Finally my curiousity got the better of me and I check it out, and of course, I fell drop dead, head over my heels in love!

With a cheap monthly subscription ($5- $15) you get points to buy the audiobooks you want.  You can horde your points and get the really big books like Stephanie Meyer’s excellent second series “The Host” or you can use single points to buy smaller books like Phillipa Gregory’s “The Other Boelyn Girl” series.

The wonderful thing about audible is its compatibility (supposedly).  You download the books, sync them to your Ipod and listen anywhere you want!

That sounds great on paper, but reality is always in for something new.

I was getting a bit sick of the millions of CDs I have laying around.  When I burn an audiobook to CD it’s often 6 or more disks!  That’s just a whole bunch of clutter in my already packed sewing studio.

So I started dragging my laptop into the sewing room with me so I could listen to everything easier.  But it wasn’t easier, it just made it more difficult for me to check email and get work done.

SOOOO…this is a very long explanation for why I purchased the stupid little nano in the first place.  Believe me, I was never someone who even understood the desire for a MP3 player!

But this is why I ended up with a 3rd generation Ipod nano that will not, I repeat will NOT, sync with my computer.  In fact my computer will not even recognize the full 8 G of space that I have!

After a full day of fighting with it and another full day when my husband and brother in law fought with it, I’ve given up. My nano will live out it’s life as a drink coaster for all I care!

What I’m shocked over is how anyone, after my impression at least, would ever buy this apple junk?  I really can’t understand why this whole line is so popular when it’s obviously not well made or even well maintained.

So today I’ve just purchased (yes, on Ebay again) a sandisk sansa clip 8 G MP3 player.  I’ll let you know how it does!

Off to quilt!

Leah

The Duchess Has Left the Building

duchesscenterfinThis week I had the feeling of a mother watching her young child leave on his first day of school.  No, my 2 year old isn’t going anywhere, these feelings were for a quilt.

It’s kind of weird that I should be so very attached to a quilt, but after 300 hours, I guess it’s expected!

The Duchess is my first wholecloth whitework quilt that I created from November 2008 until February 2009.  She is quite simply, perfect.

But such beauty really can’t be kept to myself!  I had to show this quilt, I made it to show!

So this week I went to the UPS store and shipped her to the Denver National Quilt Festival, hoping and praying that she gets there safely and comes home fine too.

I almost don’t care what happens at the festival so long as the Duchess comes back in one piece.  Well, almost!  I certainly do what the quilt to do well, but just the fact that it got in is enough for me right now.

So while the Duchess has left the building, I’m reminiscing by watching the video I created while working on her.  This video takes you through from the beginning when the quilt was just a plain piece of muslin, through marking, trapunto, and hand embellishment.

It’s so wonderful to see a beautiful quilt, but it’s even more fun to watch it being made!  Check out this video and larger photos of The Duchess here.

Face Lift and New Start

So the day style blog’s just had a major face lift. Much more than a 15 minute treatment of L’Bri’s Facial Masque!

I’m wanting to use this blog to be more in touch, but to also share more about my quilting life.

This blog isn’t the only thing that’s changing for me right now.  The Duchess, my first wholecloth quilt will be shipping to Denver for the Denver National Quilt Show tomorrow.

After that, she’s headed to the North Carolina Quilt Symposium, then the National Quilting Association show in Ohio.

Needless to say, creating show quilts and teaching is my new focus!

This week I’ve been working on a series of simple quilts, probably to be called “Simple Blues” to showcase exactly how far you can “quilt it up a notch” even on the simplest quilts.

To celebrate my new focus and path, I’ve been expanding and cleaning my sewing studio.  Up until now, I’ve mostly sewn in my basement kitchen.  It’s a nice room, with plenty of space for my tables and machine.

Recently I purchased a new Bernina, and decided that it was time to split quilting and piecing.  Quilting will now take place in a smaller room off of my sewing studio that I’ve previously used just for fabric and sewing  junk storage.

It’s absolutely amazing how much sewing junk you can accumulate in just a few years!

Going through it all hasn’t been fun.  Deciding what to keep and what to throw away is very difficult, especially when I have several completed tops just waiting to quilt, but no time to finish them.

As overwhelming as it can be, I’m resolved to take everything one day at a time.  Today I will finish cleaning and block “Baskets in Bloom” and tomorrow it will be photographed.

Off to sort fabric!

Leah

Stitched Stuck

buildingsandwichSo I’m feeling really stuck lately.

Like I’ve just stitched myself to a quilt (though not literally, that would be very painful).

Instead I feel stuck between the skin care business that I’ve slaved away tirelessly on for two years and my new budding quilting business.

Why stuck? Shouldn’t I feel GREAT that I’ve got a ton of work to do in the middle of a horrible recession?

Yeah, in theory, but the grass is definitely greener on the other side.

See, skin care is now taking up a considerable amount of my time.  Scratch that.  ALL OF MY TIME.

Where is the time to quilt and work on my quilting website or videos when I spend all of my time helping people with their oily skin?

Don’t get me wrong I really like helping people with their skin, but I LOVE quilting and really feel drawn and called to quilt daily.  To help people learn to not only quilt, but to quilt amazing things that they never thought they could make.

In looking back over my life of the last 2 years I see that I took the easy path with skin care.  Not that that’s a bad thing, it’s just that I was terrified of failing miserably if I started a business in quilting so instead I went with skin care feeling that if I completely failed I would still be okay.

Now 2 years and a giant dose of self esteem later, I feel more than capable of trying and failing and continuing to try to build a quilting business.  Can’t have some success without some failure.  Heck, you should look at some of the terrible quilting mistakes that I’ve made over the years!

But with no time to devote to a quilting business now, I feel like I’ve been stitched stuck and placed on the edge of a cliff.

I have 2 choices:

1. Stay stuck – Try to pursue both businesses to the same extent and hope that I don’t have a heart attack or wake up in 10 years and find that my son is grown and my husband has left me.

2. Seam Rip Myself Free – As painful (and stupid) as it may sound, severing my connection with skin care would pave my way, and open up my time for starting my quilting business.

Sometimes my path seems so clear and easy, but other times I absolutely don’t know what to do or what direction to go in at all.  For now, at least, I will stay stuck and take each day as it comes.

I think that’s all anyone can do right now.

Leah

Where have I BEEN???

Lost and Wandering in the world of quilting

Lost and Wandering in the world of quilting

You know what happens when you go away for awhile?

You go away and you think: “I’ll get in touch with everyone when I get back.”  Then you get back and think: “I’m too busy now. I’ll worry about it when I have more time.”

Then things get busier and life happens and suddenly you wake up one day and wonder where you’ve been for the past four months.

That’s right, FOUR MONTHS!

I aught to be seriously scolded for leaving my blog to suffer like this.  I aught to be put on a fabric buying diet. No new fabric for me…

Naw, I’ll just resolve to post more often, which probably won’t do much good seeing as I still have far too much to do and far too little time to do it in.

Why am I complaining?  I’m not really…well, yes, I guess I am, but I feel kind of stuck right now and I don’t know if there’s any way of becoming unstuck anytime soon.

But despite my sticky stuckness I’m back and going to be posting MUCH more often with tons of fun tips and tricks on quilting, plus more on my journey through The Artist’s Way, my new favorite / most hated book (you’d understand if you read it).

This is kind of like an addiction though.  I need you all to help me get addicted again so please comment, rate, post, whatever to let me know that you’re out there and love, like, or hate what about what I have to say.

Be an enabler!  Help me get blog addicted again!

Leah

Tips for Photographing Quilts

cameraFor the longest time I struggled to take decent photos of my quilts. I really tried everything: hanging them on the wall, spreading them over a bed, adding bright lighting, etc. and nothing seemed to work.

Finally I came to the realization that I’m a quilter, and just not going to get the professional quality photographs I want. I needed a photographer to take care of this job for me.

Now, I know this sounds like sacrilege. For some reason we believe that just because we can hem pants, sew quilts, and mend jackets that we should also be able to photograph our quilts, knit, and god knows what else.

Sometimes it’s better to just admit that someone can do a better job!

So I went to my local camera and video store and spoke with the man that owned the store. He happened to do in store photographs of artwork and quilts for just $5!

Another reason why we’re probably resistant to getting photos made by someone else: price. I don’t think anyone can argue that $5 a quilt is definitely worth it!

It also made me a little miffed at my own prejudging. We naturally assume that a photographer will charge $50 or more for a photograph, when we have a hard time asking $10 for a decent blind hem. Talk about unfair!

I had a really good experience with my local photographer though. I would advise bringing long, 2″ straight pins so you can pin your quilt to the backdrop. Otherwise the photographer might use clips that will eventually show up in the photo.

Also understand that quilts are made from fabric and are never going to hang in a perfect square. Crop your photos so they include some backdrop and it won’t matter if your quilt doesn’t hang perfectly (for real quilt hanging problems, check out the article: “How to Block Your Quilt).

Also make sure that the entire quilt is photographed from edge to edge. If you plan to submit the photograph to a juried quilt show it will need to show the whole quilt, binding included.

Check out the following professional photos of The Food Quilt and The Rainbow Quilt, two new pattern available at Day Style Designs Online.

The Food Quilt

The Food Quilt

The Rainbow Quilt

The Rainbow Quilt