Lessons Learned in Business

I put my humor into my patterns

Your product must ooze with your personality.

I think that’s what makes a great company who I love doing business with, stand out from the crowd.

Take my own products. In most of my patterns, I insert at least a smidge of my personality into the directions. I like to write as if I’m talking to you, the end user.

I took the concept of adding my personality to a new level, a few years back while creating new patterns for the Row by Row Experience. I was asked to design a pattern that uses more than 1 of the Fabric Plates (by Debra Gebel of Zebra Patterns). I came up with 2 patterns for “Braggin Poles” which are long wall hangings that you can applique your plates into the design, showing where you’ve been on your Row by Row adventures. Hence the name “Braggin Poles”.

You can see the patterns HERE on my website.

When I was writing the first 2 patterns featuring the plates, my mind wandered around the common obstacle many quilters face . . . . . a husband or wife that doesn’t share their enthusiasm (some may call obsession) with quilting.
I began making up funny news stories that could easily be featured in any local newspaper.  And I thought it would be really funny to publish them as if they were actual newspaper clippings and print them on the pattern covers.
I wrote these patterns a few years ago, and have often wondered how many people actually stopped and read the clipping on the cover.
Anywho – I thought it would be fun news, in this newsletter, to share my humor with you, as it’s the channel my brain most often is tuned to.
Here are the 2 fake newspaper clippings featured on those patterns.

If you have these fabric license plates you’ve collected, I hope you’ll click on over to our webpage where we have all of the RxR patterns I’ve designed.

And, if you have a hilarious story to share about hiding your stash, your loot or fibbing about your hobby $’s – I’d love to hear it, and possibly share it in a future post. I can change names to protect the innocent.  Anywho, please email it to me at julie@patchabilities.com

Please share this blog post with your pals, if you feel it’s “worthy”.

Piece out.

-Julie

My Babes · My Favorites for the Season

What’s keeping me cool this summer?

Wow, summer is in full swing and the fun is just beginning.
. . . . and the pool is open Woo Hoo!!!


The boys and I jumped into our (first of many) closest pool yesterday!
OMG was it nice.

Yes, they look so grown up don’t they?  Lewie is now 7 and rocked 1st grade, Jack is 5 and is ready to jump into Kindergarten. They both have different likes and personalities.  Ahh, I love being a mom!  It’s the greatest job in the world.  And I get paid in kisses and hugs – the very best form of payment I say.

Know what else is good summer fun?
Traveling, visiting quilt shops, collecting good stuff, adding to your stash (despite groans from the peanut gallery) and . . . .

Makin Lemonade!  Yay-yah


Hate the thought of “machine quilting” a table runner?
I feel yer pain.
I designed this table runner to be 100 percent machine quilting free!
Yah-hoo
Yep, it’s a simple quilt-as-you-go method that anyone can do. Yes, even you.

Want it immediately?  Click HERE to order the digital download

Live Simply Blessed – table runner
Finished size 14 x 38 in. 
With refreshing light yellows as the back ground, each end of the runner has a vintage Ball canning jar vase for lemon branches and white daisies. The words Live Simply appliqued on each side of the runner and the words Blessed and simply embroidered on the Ball jar to mimick the antique Ball logo.
You can whip this up in one hot afternoon and sip lemonade on it the next.

If you’re lovin’ the lemons in everything this summer,
I have several Lemonade and Lemon themed summer projects –
click HERE on our what’s new page to see them all.

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How to Put an Ackfeld Wire Hanger on your Quilt Project

Hi Quilting Friend!
We had a question about how to use an Ackfeld Wire Hanger, so we made a little tutorial for you!
If you have an Ackfeld wire hanger (what we sell), there is a decorative metal part and a wooden dowel.  The metal can be bent slightly so that you’re able to pull off the wooden part.  Then you can slip that wooden part through the sleeve, and re-attach the wire part of the hanger.
Here’s a step by step picture tutorial-
Step one-  You have an awesome Ackfeld hanger.  Congrats!  You know quality when you see it!
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Step Two- Bend the metal away from the wooden dowel until the two come apart.
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Step three-  Take the wooden dowel all the way off the metal hanger.  Slide it through the sleeve you’ve created.
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Step four-  Reattach the wire to the wooden dowel.  WooHoo!  You’re done!
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And that, my friends, is How to Put an Ackfeld Wire Hanger on your Quilt Project.
Find some great one day, beginner friendly mini quilt projects at www.patchabilities.com   Don’t forget to get the hanger too!!
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Lake Area Quilters Guild – Quilt Show in Clear Lake, IA

Here at Patch Abilities, even in our free time, we are looking for fun quilt related activities to do!  So this past weekend Sabra and her kids took the opportunity to check out a local quilt show put on by the Lake Area Quilters Guild in Clear Lake, IA.

I found out about this show by reading an advertisement in a local paper.  There was a little ditty about the show as well as a coupon for some discounted fabric at a Clear Lake shop.  Of course, it caught my eye.  I promised the kids a trip to the lake and a cookie after visiting the quilt show.  Of course they said “Yes!” enthusiastically, although, I suspect it was more for the treat than for the show.  So off we went…

Lucky for you, I’ve documented the whole adventure, and I’m going to share it with you!  The theme of this show was, “Quilts Through the Seasons.”

When I first walked in, I saw this beautiful quilt.

Quilt Name: “Coneflower Garden”  Made By: Connie B.  Quilted By: Sandi S.

History of the Quilt:  “A friend of mine was making this pattern when we took a trip to Denver, Colorado.  I just loved the pattern and had to make it.  I grow coneflowers and love them.”

As you can see in this picture, there was a card attached to each of the projects. When I’m offering information on each quilt, it came directly from each card.


Name: “Stain Glass Garden”  Made By: Del Rae B.  Quilted By: Del Rae B.

History of the Quilt:  “Several years ago, I made a “real stain glass” project, but I cut my hand, and dropped the black liquid on my carpet.  Then I went to a quilt shop- WOW and figured out that fabric will be a great medium for my projects!  This is a quilt of love over many years of marriage, moves, flooding, etc.  It was finally finished in 2017.  It was a block of the month by Connecting Threads.  The quilting was quilt as you go method, although I did not realize that was a name for what I did!”



Aaron was more interested in the Easter basket display rather than the cute quilt next to him!
Name: “Twisted Bunny” Made By: Karen R. Quilted By: Sandi S.

History of the Quilt: “I saw this pattern made up at the Iowa Falls quilt shop and I liked it.  I wanted to try this twisted technique.  I think the technique waste a lot of fabric but like how it looks finished.”


1iebYu5oRGyJ5jolWTdV4gName: “Red & White Blocks” Made By: Kym B. Quilted By: Patti K.

History of the Quilt: “Creston Retreat IA & NE girls.  Everybody made a 12″ red and white block for a drawing.  I won them!  Each block is quilted differently by Patti K. I love red and white quilts!”


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Name: “Crown Royal” Made By: Cindy W. Quilted By: Marian E.

History of the Quilt: “The pattern used is Attic Window.  This was a gift to my husband, and he loves it.  He makes the bed every morning just to look at it.  One hundred and fourty three bags were used to make the quilt.”

Here’s a close up of this quilt for you.

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I would like to note – that’s a lot of dedication.  Not only to the drinking, but also to the collecting and the quilt making!  Well done!


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Name: “Halloween Witch on a Broomstick” Made By: Pam M. Quilted By: Marian E.

History of the Quilt: “I saw this wall hanging up at the Calico Hutch in Hayward, MN and instantly loved it.”


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Name: “Poke a Dots” Made By: Kym B. Quilted By: Marian E.

History of the Quilt: “Creston Retreat IA & NE girls.  We each had to bring any kind of poke-a-dot fabric to exchange to make 10″ blocks.  I made this for my Granddaughter, Elynn Rose.”

I personally loved this one so much!  The blue is so cheery, and who doesn’t love polka dots?!


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Name: “Seven Sisters” Made By: Kym B. Quilted By: Patti K.

History of the Quilt: “The hand sewn circles, 72 in all, are from Warren’s grandma.  The fabric is very old & fragile!  So I decided to hand applique them. It was a three year process that I did during road trip.  Patti K’s quilting made the quilt so beautiful.  It will be a great heirloom to treasure!”

Here’s a close up of her handiwork… so beautiful!

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I have no information on this sewing machine cover, but it’s super adorable!!!  Love it!

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Name: “Spider Web” Made By: Marian L. Quilted By: Marian E.

History of the Quilt: “The spider web is a fun way to think about spider webs we find both inside and outside.


Sorry this picture is a bit wonky!  I was holding one of my kids… we were nearing the end and they were tired out!

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Name: “On Ringo Lake” Made By: Kym B. Quilted By: Marian E.

History of the Quilt: “This is a bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilt from 2017.  It reminds me of the sunsets & walking beaches of South Padre collecting seashells.  The backing is all seashells.  This quilt was made from my stash fabric.”



There wasn’t any information on this quilt, but it’s a quilt made up of county fair ribbons!!!  Years and years of ribbons from different counties around Iowa.  (The black box is close up look of the quilt for you.  If you can see, the big North Iowa Fair Ribbon is from 1925!)  It was a beautiful project rich in history and handiwork!

There were so many more beautiful quilts that I didn’t have the chance to show you.  If you’ve never been to a quilt show, I encourage you to find a local show and take in.  It was a really great adventure for both myself and my kids!


This was the final picture I took at the show…

LOL. I wore them out (for a few minutes anyway!)

Thanks for taking the time to check out the show with me!  Kudos to the members of the Lake Area Quilters Guild – You put on a great show!

 

 

 

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Check Out This Shop: The Quilter’s Nook in Versailles, IN


We’d like to introduce you to one of our shops!
The Quilter’s Nook in Versailles, IN 
The Quilter’s Nook is located in Versailles, Indiana- a great small town in South Eastern Indiana. They have have 2400 square feet of fabrics, notions, books, patterns and kits for you to enjoy.  They tend to lean toward the modern quilting trends.  The Quilter’s Nook loves to carry fun and bright fabrics!

Meet Owner, Chris Combs

In Chris’s own words, here’s the how The Quilter’s Nook came in to existence!  “From 1996 to 2014 I worked at a casino. I was a Black Jack dealer, supervisor, and pit boss. I ended up being a casino host. I got to work with the customers and made sure they were well taken care of! During my time there, I learned how important customer service was.

When I went to quilt shops I was never greeted or made to feel welcome. I didn’t like doing business with people that didn’t care if I was there or not. It was at that point in 2008 when I decided I could do better. I spent the next 5 years researching quilt shops and how to be a retailer.

In 2013 I quit my job, bought some land and built a building. In October of 2014 The Quilter’s Nook opened its doors! I made it my mission to always greet everyone that walked in the door and make them feel comfortable, welcome, and glad they came.

When you visit The Quilter’s Nook, you are always greeted with a smile and a “hello” from the fabulous staff (usually me) 😊   We are here to help you in any way we can – choosing a project, finding a pattern, or a gift for a friend. We will also show you the great Sparrow Sewing Machines that we sell. Try ‘em, you’ll love ‘em. We also love our Quilter’s Select rulers, mats and cutters.”

We love paper piecing!

The Quilter’s Nook has a “Judy Club” where they get together once a month and work their Judy Niemeyer paper piecing projects – the bigger the better!  They’re obsessed!!!  If you visit their Facebook Page, you can see all the amazing Judy projects, but we’ve included some pictures for your viewing pleasure.



Of course, we love doing Patch Abilities projects (they rock)!

Of course.  LOL.  Right now, The Quilter’s Nook is participating in our 2019 Mystery Project of the Month!!!!  If you were really sad that you didn’t get in on that program, you can still sign up through The Quilter’s Nook.  Give Chris a call at 812-689-0980.

Here’s a teeny-tiny peek of their January Mystery…

Yes, this is a Patch Abilities design, that you can’t get anywhere else unless you’re in the 2019 Mystery Program…
Okay, need a closer look?  This is Julie (owner/designer of Patch Abilities sample.)


Now you’re really jealous, right?  Sign up!!!  Get in on this fun program.

Special Offer For YOU!!!
Once again, Chris Combs, owner of The Quilter’s Nook, has a message for you.
“I would love for you to come visit The Quilter’s Nook. Stop by and mention “Patch Abilities” and receive a free gift along with 20% off your purchase.   Our address is 82 Hill Street, Versailles, IN 47042.  You can phone us at 812-689-0980. We look forward to being able to serve you!

My special talent is making sure you enjoy yourself while at “the nook”. If you don’t have fun and leave with the perfect purchase, I haven’t done my job! You are family when you visit us. We love to see what you are working on and want to help you find exactly what you need to make your project special.”

So there you have it!!  Another one of our fabulous quilt shops!! 

We are a big advocate of supporting local quilt shops.  You can get “stuff” anywhere, but when you go to a local shop, you are supporting local families & your local economy.  Plus you get some pretty amazing service that you might not get online or a big box store.  Please keep this in mind the next time you’re looking for a quilting project!!

-Team Patch

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Mystery Project of the Month

Designing new product is easily my biggest ongoing project and it lasts all year long.  I’ve learned in my 14 years of designing patterns, not to rush the design process and politely say “thank you for the suggestion” when someone asks me to design up a particularly specific theme like a college sports team for example.  You can’t force creativity.  However, sometimes my creativity needs a “spark” to start the flow.

Well, a few months ago as my team and I were brainstorming new product ideas for 2019, an idea jumped into my head.  Let me set the backstory on this first.

I do my best designing for Christmas, as Christmas is fast approaching.  Likewise for the rest of any seasonal designing.  This results in my new patterns releasing just before the holiday/season is upon us.  It makes sense to me that I’m most inspired to create, let’s say, Easter designs at Easter or just before.  Not in September when my head is in the pumpkin patch.  And, I love to design fast which means from the time I get the idea, I can pick the fabrics, make the model, write the pattern and self-publish the pattern in as little as 2 weeks. We have a printer in house and do all our own printing, so wait on no-one when I get to the printing point. Yahoo!

I give you this backstory because my tendency to design so close to the upcoming holiday or season is often viewed as a bad tendency.  By myself and distributors.  But . . . . it’s how I like to design . . . . . but it’s not enough time for distributors to market the patterns before the season.  UGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  So, I’ve always looked at this as my problem to overcome by forcing myself to design Easter in September.  And as a result the problem persists because I’m trying to force it.

I quit!  I quit should-ing on myself (thanks Tony Robbins).  A couple of months ago, I decided to quit telling myself I should do this, or should do that.  And instead, embrace it.  Figure out a way to make my design-on-the–fly work FOR ME, not against me.  So, I came up with the “Mystery Project of the Month”.

There’s opportunity in every situation, if you’re willing to look deep enough and perhaps from a different angle. And so, here is what we have offered to our entire retail and wholesale tribe:

I will have a BRAND NEW pattern EVERY month in 2019!

What will it be? What will it look like . . . . . well, that’s the big mystery.

YOU could receive THE mystery pattern in your mailbox every month of 2019?!
. .. . yep, 12 mysteriously fun, secretly brand new patterns from Patch Abilities in all.

NOTE: these patterns will NOT be available to the general public until . . . . . well, no one knows for sure just yet as that too is a “mystery”. Who knows how long the general pub’s will have to wait?
But, you won’t.  Mwah ah ah ah ah!

Quilt shops interested in participating – contact us for details.

Mystery POM 2019 (option A)

Receive BRAND NEW Patch Abilities mystery pattern each month of 2019!
Could be 6×22, 6×12, table runner, 12×14 or a new size. Whatever is BRAND NEW, you will be the FIRST to get it and play with it.

Cost: $13.99 (this includes shipping!)
What you get: One Pattern and buttons (if there happens to be any on that design) each month…charged and shipped out on the 1st of each month via US Mail- first class.
Starts: Jan 1st, 2019!  Last shipment will be sent December 1st, 2019.
SO AWESOME! You’ll receive NEWEST designs FIRST!!  …Seriously, HOT off the presses NEW!

How do I sign up?
The initial membership fee $6.00 is charged when you sign up and guarantees you a spot into the 2019 Mystery Project of the Month Program.
Thereafter, you will be charged as indicated in each option..usually on the 1st of each month.  (Please note, if the 1st is on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, you will be charged the following Monday.)

Call us  (Mon-Thurs 8am-4pm CST)
563-778-2101
Please know that there are limited spots available.

 

And what has been the response?  Phenominal!  Folks are excited at the mysteriousness of it all.  And as for me, a huge weight has lifted off my shoulders.  I can design as my heart and soul desires without guilt or “should-ing” all over myself.

Designing is the easiest part of my business.  It’s marketing that challenges me more than anything.  Making the decision to quilt “should-ing” on myself has been the tippy top best business decision I’ve made in years!  And seriously, I do have Tony Robbins to thank for teaching me not to should on myself.  He’s been my personal mentor for the last year and he doesn’t even know it! Ha. Thanks T-Rob!

So, what do you tell yourself you “should” do that you could turn into an opportunity?  Try letting go, relax and look at it from a different angle.  There could be a secret opportunity just waiting to be discovered.

Lessons Learned in Business

We Want You to Help us Decide What Products we Offer in 2019?

Hey Tribe!

Here we are in the last quarter of 2018.  The new year may be two and half months away (yikes that’s closer than ya think), but here at Team Patch we are looking ahead.

We are committed to bringing you “KNOCK YOUR SOCKS OFF” customer service and “I WOULD JUMP OFF A CLIFF TO GET THAT” products, so we’d LOVE your input to help us create our product and service offerings for 2019.

By the way, I write the way I talk, so don’t wonder if I’m on morning leave from the looney bin. . . . . cuz I’m looney, goofy, creative, curious, and crazy-fun. This also explains why I love, love, love being a crazy-fun mom.

Okay, back to the whole point of this post, which is to ask you for your help.

How can we serve YOU in 2019.

We’re contemplating what, if any, block-of-the-month programs we can offer in 2019.  I have designed BOM’s over the years – I lovingly call them “Monthly Minis” because they are a “mini” dose of stitchin’ fun, every “month” for creating small wall hangings or table runners.  Lots of shops have had these MM’s available, however we recognize some of you, may not have a kick-butt local quilt shop and you’ve never seen some of our MM’s series.  I know, it’s sad to think some people don’t live near an awesome, inspiring quilt shop . . . . but it happens.  So, since I don’t have the time to franchise my Mom’s quilt shop (Merry’s Stitchins – which is kick-butt, inspiring, helpful and downright contagious) in every under-served community, we offer to bring it to you the only way we know how – – – ship it to your mailbox each month.

What that means is every month for the entire year, we ship you a goodie box/envelope containing: 1 seasonal pattern (for the upcoming month) and include the cute buttons &/or hanger.  This starts in Dec or Jan and ends in Nov.  You get it a month ahead of when you hang it up – so you have plenty of time to get it finished.

BOM’s not your thing?  We’ve considered that too, keep reading.

And this is where YOU come in.  Rather than guess all day, as to what we “think” you’d like to see us offer, how about we simply ASK you.  Ya know, hear it straight from the “horse’s mouth”.

We’ve included 1 question in this post and it has several possible answers.  You can help us decide what great products we offer next year.  That’s a pretty big deal and that’s because we seriously care a whole lot about what brings you joy, and if we can bring joy to your world, then . . . . . mission accomplished.

So, I talk mostly about what BOM’s we could offer next year, but not everyone likes to commit to a whole year of projects, so we want to know from you non-BOM’ers too.  “What type of projects do you want us to offer?” Table runners, baby-room decor projects, laundry-room wall hangings, farm house themed quilted wall hangings, quilted decor of a certain size, quilted wall hangings of a certain theme.  I want you to dream about what you want to create.  You have permission to dive down the rabbit hole here and I hope you will bring me along.  Perhaps you’ve seen something in an image on the web somewhere that shows a framed wall hanging but it’s all wood or metal and you’d love to create it using fabric. . . . . I want to tap into your creative dreams. Please, if you’re willing, share your creative dreams with me.  Comment below, include a webpage link, mail me a torn page from a magazine, whatever it is, . . . . .  I want to create what you want to create. It’s that simple.

Here is how you can help.  Click below to answer the burning question.  I’ve attached an image next to each MM answer, so you can see what you’re “voting” for.   Even if BOM’s aren’t your shiz, we want to know what iz your shiz.

Tell us! What would you like to see us offer in 2019?

Thanks a million!  Your opinion matters.

-Jules

Lessons Learned in Business

Why Do I Feed Overwhelmed by Social Media

Hey y’all.

Today in business, I feel like business owners are supposed to use every channel available to market their products, connect with their tribe, etc, etc.  And I don’t know if you’ve checked lately, but there are a cornucopia of social media channels to use: Facebook, Instagram, e-mail, blogs, Pinterest, Twitter, Snapchat, Periscope . . . and that’s just the ones I can remember.  It’s overwhelming, for me anyway.  Currently we here at Patch Abilities, Inc headquarters, use 5 channels to connect to our tribe.  Jeeze, I had to look at the list and count how many we currently use and I am suprised we use that many.  I know there are apps and gadgets that help you to “simplify” posting on all these platforms, but it still feels a bit overwhelming to know we’re expected to consistently post great content on all these channels every week/day.

Sigh. Take a deep breath. Creating content for 5 channels feels like a mountain of work for me. I have my trusty sidekick Sabra (our Rockstar Customer Service Gal) to help create and post content. But honestly, I still feel overwhelmed with the entire load of content creation.

Why do I feel like social media is this gigantic mountain of work that I quite honestly, do not “want” to do? Shouldn’t I enjoy creating great social media content about my biz? I mean, I’m full of creativity, I’m a quilt pattern designer for crap’s sake.  Then guilt starts to set in – guilt that I don’t enjoy the social media aspect of business and I’m supposed to enjoy it.  I am supposed to love posting on social media right?  Isn’t there a law somewhere that says so?

I then compare myself, by business to other pattern designers who are kickin ass and taking names on Facebook and that never ends well, when you begin comparing yourself to others. Nope, never good.

So, I hate this feeling that I am not living up to my “pattern designer responsibilities”.  That, and my gut tells me we NEED to have a strong presence on social media to stay in the game.  “Okay Julie, why does creating social media content feel overwhelming”, I ask myself, attempting to solve this riddle. The answer is multi-level.

First, I come to the realization that I don’t have clearly defined goals for each social media channel.  Well, sure that makes sense that it feels like a mountain then. If I don’t know where I’m headed, how can I map out how to get there? Not having clear goals is the most obvious and easily managed answer. . . . now for the rest of the answer. . .. promise you won’t laugh when you see this.

I keep a disorganized office space nearly 99% of the time. This causes a disorganized mental space for me as well.  Pictures are a must in any blog post, so I just took 2 pics of my office/sewing room/design studio to show you what I’m talking about here.

Um, all I can say is please don’t show these pictures to anyone else!

I’ll give you a minute until you stop laughing.. . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . still laughing? . . . . . . . . . . . ..  . . . . .

 

All good now?

I bet you’re asking  yourself “how in Haiti does she get ANY patterns designed and published in that space?”  That’s a valid question, my friend.

Little elves sneak in during the night and it all magically appears in the morning.  You should get some elves!

So, where in tarnation was I?  Okay, back to my epiphany as to why I haven’t been able to get my social media shit together.

I figured out the answer!

  • I must have clearly defined goals for each social media channel
  • AND my work space must be organized with a clear desk, with everything in it’s place. (uh, which you can clearly see, it is not at this moment)

Problem solved!  Right!  Yep, easy peazy.  I’ll just sit down, write out my goals for each social media channel and then clean my office and clear off my desk.

Until next week, when my desk looks like that again. Ugh.  Changing your habits isn’t as easy as that. I’m gonna have to work at this. Here’s a good start though, check out this list of goals:

  • take 10 minutes at end of each day to clean off my desk
  • put in place a couple of baskets to house things like papers/projects IN PROGRESS, etc. – to keep all papers organized
  • purge thru all the crap on those bookcases – is there anything that can go?
  • create a storage space for all my large wool pieces – stacked so I can see the colors for designing
  • find a home for everything that’s on the floor

I think that’s a dang good start.  Want me to post “after” pictures when I’m done?

Wanna know something?  I feel better having written this blog post. A little weight has lifted simply by letting it all out of my head. Coming up with clearly defined solutions makes it even better!

My guess is that you are creative too and if that’s true, then you too may experience your own disorganization in some way.  But here’s the thing about creative brains – – we’re not always organized, but we feel more creative and inspired when we are in a space where everything feels in it’s place (uncluttered if you will).  So, knowing this about myself will keep me motivated to get and stay organized.  Will my work space be neat and tidy 100% of the time, probably not, but I will keep the word “TIDY” at the front of my thoughts from now on.

I’d like to back up a tad and say that of all my social media channels, I’ve always had a clear goal for my blog and that’s because it’s stated right at the top of the blog. This is where I give you a peek into my world of Patch Abilities.  This is my channel where I get personal, share my challenges, my triumphs, my family.  And, you must like it because you’re still reading.  So for that I say “thank you” for reading.  Perhaps you’ll find something useful in here, or at the very least a good chuckle.

Thanks for peeking in on me.

~Julie

 

Uncategorized

Look What I’m Designing for Christmas

Christmas I find to be a super duper easy theme to design for. No. “Super duper easy” doesn’t accurately describe it – it’s more like, I could sneeze and pop out a cute Christmas design.

As I said in my previous post (click here to see previous reveal), at this very moment in time I am working on creating several new patterns, and I am at my favorite part of the process.  I’ve created the design, fused it all down and now it’s ready to applique by machine or hand. And, let me say that it’s nearly impossible for me to convey in words, the pure exhiliration of this exact moment in my designing process.

Here is one for all you Farmgirls out there:

It features a windmill for the ‘O’. It will measure approximately 6.5″ x 13″ when finished. This one is done in cotton (see below for a wool version) and would you again like to know about that background? That is gray/white (version) with white snowflakes and an all over sparkle to it (“Forest Frost” by Sentimental Studios – for Moda.)This picture does not do it justice, as pictures never do. By the way, I tried searching for this fabric line online, and it looks like several quilt shops still have some of it. But fabric companies only print a fabric once, so if you love and find it, ya better snag it. Don’t dilly around is all I’m sayin’.

I couldn’t resist doing it in wool too.

Have you dipped your toes into the wool pool yet? Wool gives you portability – you can hand stitch on a small wool project anywhere, not to mention it can save your sanity should you find yourself waiting (for-ever) in any Dr. office.

If you’re reluctant to get into the wool pool, would you please share with me “why”? I’d like to know. Perhaps create helpful tutorials for you and others with the same fear.

And, which threads will I be using to machine the cotton sample . . . well  my Valdani 35wt variegated threads, of course, which I use for 99% of my machine blanket stitching needs. I’ll likely be using the brown, cottage grey and vibrant reds for this particular design.

We have my personal thread collection available on our website – click here. In case you need a simple, go-to thread collection that is.

And don’t forget, this is just the 2nd look at several new designs in the works. Oh yeah campers, there’s more sneekin’ and peekin’ a comin’.

Happy Stitchin’ folks – thanks for keeping me on your radar.

~Julie~

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Take a Tour of My Raised Garden Beds

Want to see a gorgeous garden? Our raised bed garden sits between our home and my office. It’s deliberate placement is so I get to walk thru it every day to get to work.  So, today, Sept. 27, 2017, I am taking you on a tour of my garden.  For your safety, please keep arms and legs inside the ride at all times.

This is a full view of our garden as I stand outside my office and look towards our home. That’s Harper, our Golden Retriever – easily the best dog I’ve ever loved.

This simple trellis has pole beans planted and climbing on the left and very very very tall gigantic sunflowers on the right. The trellis is a piece of cattle panel fence, which my husband bolted to the wood bed on either side. That’s all that holds it there. I’ve loved it all season. Simple, functional and beautiful. What more can ya ask for.

This is actually a crop of winter onions, also called “walking onions”.  While they are smaller than your typical onion, they are perennial and never freeze out in our Iowa winters. I love the idea of “not having to buy seed onions”. They reproduce like crazy, so if you’d like to give ’em a try, I’d be happy to send you an envelope of small starter bulbs.

And what kind of a garden would it be without tomatoes? This year we have a bumper crop, so far that is. These shown are Brandywine – easily the tastiest eating tomato of all time. We have 12 plants total and have already canned countless quarts and pints of tomato soup, salsa, chilli, more salsa, ketchup (yes, we painstakingly made our own ketchup) and pizza sauce. Yum yum.

And then there are strawberries. I have 3 beds of strawberries that look like this. My little boys are frequently in here munching on berries, in between playing in the empty bed over yonder – We deliberately leave one raised bed empty thru the growing season, so they have one giant box of dirt to play in. There’s usually an assortment of trucks, skid loaders, tractors . . .you know, boy stuff in that dirt bed.

We love love love our berries. Here is our yellow razberry bed. yep, yellow. They’re sweeter than the red. More like scrumptious. Here’s a closeup.

Are you enjoying this tour? I hope I’m not boring you to tears . . .. I guess if I had, you haven’t read this far down anyway, so I can share a couple more pics.

At the other end of the garden is my entry trellis. My favorite spot in the whole garden. Again, my husband made this – he’s a handy fella. The closest vine is a hardy kiwi (I haven’t seen a fruit yet, but I patiently wait for a bumper crop one of these years) and the other vine is a fuscia morning glory – it’s full of blooms in the early morning.

Here’s the view as I stand at the beginning of the garden, looking toward my office.

So, that’s my path, to and from work everyday. Sometimes I stop off in the garden for a snack – like this morning for yellow rasberries.

I absolutely love my garden and being in it. It beckons not only me, but my whole family. Our little boys love playing in the dirt and snacking on snap peas, cucumbers, berries and carrots.

And that folks, concludes today’s tour of “Julie’s Garden”. Please exit to the right and leave a comment if you enjoyed this tour and would like to see more “inside peeks”.

Don’t forget – if you want to give winter onions a try, holler and I will send you seed bulbs. I love sharing garden bounty.

Happy stitchin, and happy gardening.

~julie