April 2009

Do you like stars?  I do.  I really do.  In fact, I am drawn like a moth to a flame to the various shapes and sizes.  The stars in the sky are very pretty but are just small dots of light to my naked eye.  Even when I searched online for close-up pictures of stars, they were pretty and I could see how shapes that we are accustomed to seeing evolved, but I think people made stars even more exciting by copying, designing, and creating new and old ones.


I’m particularly interested in quilts that have stars in them and am always on the lookout for new to me shapes.  There are many stars that are simple to make and are beautiful because of their simplicity.  Of course, I love them but oh…how I so love the complicated stars.  They sing to me…call my name out loud to come touch and recreate them.  It’s really become an obsession.  I know I will never live long enough to create all the different quilts and stars that dance around in my head. 


This week I borrowed a quilt book from the local library.  It’s called Simply Stars, Quilts That Sparkle and was written by Alex Anderson.  I love Alex and feel as though she’s a good friend even though we’ve never met face to face, spoke on the phone, or emailed back and forth.  She is a wonderful teacher and former host on Simply Quilts, a television quilt show.  She and her co-partner Ricky Tims now have a successful internet show called The Quilt Show (see link above if you would like to visit). 


Since I really like stars, I had to check it out when I saw the library had a copy.  The book really has a wealth of great information, and now I’m on the lookout to buy a copy for my library.  Hey, I know what you’re thinking and you are right.  I can’t add any more projects to my “to do” list, but hey it’s cheaper than therapy! 


So tonight, I’m playing with drafting up a double star on paper.  I’ve got my new colored pencils that hubby bought me, and I’m a happy camper.  I’ll leave you with an old poem that was in the back of the book.


Escape at Bedtime


The lights from the parlor and kitchen shone out

Thorough the blinds and the windows and bars;

And high over head and moving about,

There were thousands and millions of stars.


There ne’er were such thousands of leaves on a tree,

Nor of people in church or the park,

As the crowds of the stars that looked down upon me,

And that glittered and winked in the park.


The Dog and the Plough, and the Hunter, and all,

And the star of the sailor, and Mars,

These shone in the sky, and the pail by the wall

Would be be half full of water and stars.

They saw me at last, and they chased me with cries,

And soon they packed me into bed;

But the glory kept shining and bright in my eyes,

And the stars going round in my head.


–Robert Louis Stevenson, 1894

Well if this photo doesn’t just say it all, I don’t know what would. This is Dillan, our animal child. It really doesn’t take much for him to call it a day and retreat to “his” couch. We laugh at his antics daily. Yes, he really does have to have his own pillow, and no one had better try and take the “green” pillow. I tried to take the photo without disturbing the little prince but his ears are just too keen and he opened his eyes right as I was taking the picture. I waited a bit and got him in a deeper sleep and took another picture.  Are you owned by a member of your animal family? It is my opinion that people that have animal children are better people. They definitely are calmer folks. I have the benefit of having Dillan with me every day in the shop. My health is improved by his presence too because on “those days.” You know the ones I’m talking about; he instantly appears with kisses and that “come-on mom let’s play look” that causes my shoulders to relax and my breathing to deepen. It’s a great reminder that life’s way too short to allow the other stuff to get to you.

And if you happen to get all caught up on your daily activities, now you too know how to take advantage of a cold, rainy day and grab a little nap. It’ll do you good!


I love the smell of bread baking. I love my husband of 27 years. I love the feel of my baby dog Dillan. I love the morning sunshine and birds chirping. I love new colored pencils. I love collecting threads of all colors. I love snuggling with my husband and dog in the evening. I love scary movies. I love new pjs. I love to cook for my family. I love daydreaming of our next vacation destination. I love the smell of new books. I love the feel of paper and fabric. I love all the colors of the rainbow. I love the smell of tomatoes growing on the vine. I love flowers in the spring. I love watching my husband and dog napping. I love the comfort of our home. I love reading blogs of my TQS friends. I love surprising family and friends with handmade gifts. I love my Father in Heaven. I love the feel of good dirt in my hands. I love gardening. I love that I cry easily during sad movies or reading a sad story. I love that my best friend is my husband. I love the excitement that my dog has when I arrive home. I love salty snacks. I love life and learning. I love new experiences. I love dreaming of visiting every state in the U.S. I love the feel of my husband’s hands and his embrace. I love technology. I love seeing my customers’ eyes when I present them with their embroidered logo. I love that God has blessed me with so many wonderful years on this earth. I love that summer is coming and that sipping cold tea in the sunshine is only a few months away.

I must be in the “what and why” mood lately. I believe it is beneficial to keep your childlike wonder into adult-hood. This week as I’m meeting various folks, I have been looking a little more closely and asking myself what is their “craft.” I find that I relate better to people once I learn more about what their craft is and where they are in it. Sounds silly I know but it is true, honest – just try it for a week and see how you change your thoughts and actions toward others once you learn more about them and their craft.

My craft is broken into many pieces but the main part of me is that I have a creative soul. I create even when I’m not physically creating. I finish whole projects in my head before ever tackling it. And on difficult projects, I’ve been known to wake up from a dead sleep with a solution that I hadn’t discovered the day before. As a digitizer and embroiderer, objects and shapes are very important to me. I can’t just look at a logo without dissecting the parts and pieces…what hidden shapes do I recognize and what would be the best way to properly recreate the logo into thread. I’m also a helper by nature, which means that I want to educate and help all of my customers obtain the best and most professionally prepared embroidered logo that is humanly possible. Color is another thing all in itself and I react emotionally to color and texture, which is why I love so what I do because I get to combine all of the above into my work daily. It’s very motivating and I’m constantly learning and improving on my craft.

Unfortunately in today’s society, everyone wants to have anything and everything they’ve ever wanted and they want it NOW. In order to achieve this, many people and companies have taken to shortcuts. Don’t get me wrong, shortcuts may be necessary in some instances but if done repeatedly, everything suffers. Don’t believe me? Just look at how our financial system is doing right now. People wanted houses … companies wanted to give loans … other companies wanted to show profits … and on and on and now we are getting back to the basics and removing shortcuts so we as a country can get strong again.

To become good at my craft, it has taken mountains of patience, education, perseverance, practicing, and then accessing where I am and where I need to be before I start the process all over again and begin the next PEPPA Olympics. I find that if I don’t start right back in again shortly after becoming proficient in one area that like a gymnast, my muscles become cold and my skills can actually slide. Only through continual training can I stay focused and sharp.

So now that you know more about me and my craft, isn’t it easier relating to me as a person and business owner? Try it for yourself and please let me know what you learn either about yourself or another person/business.

Why and who do you do business with on a consistent basis? What value do you place on the people/businesses that you choose to do work with, and do you prefer to work with a company/person that has a local presence or are you just as happy dealing with a company via the internet that you don’t know?

I ask myself these questions all the time, and it helps keep me grounded and more attentive to how the market is growing and changing. I, personally, have always preferred to do business with people that I like and admire and who are local to my geographic area. And maybe it is a sign of my length on earth that helps spur me on to work as partners with other companies and individuals. You see, as one larger internet competitor likes to call me, I am an owner of a “very small business.” I chuckled when I read the first page of their web site where they actually put down all small businesses by asking the potential customer visiting their site whether they would actually trust a company that has only a few employees…. because oh my — they may not be in business the next time you call. I’ve outlasted many online embroidery companies in the past many years of business and we are growing each year. But what’s very exciting for me is that small businesses are being created at an all time high and the majority of them are started as home-based. With so many large companies laying off or going out of business altogether, it is encouraging to see that others are stepping outside the traditional description of work and doing something unique and true to the person. Is it hard? Extremely! Are there long hours? Never enough in a day! Is it fulfilling? More than any traditional job that I’ve ever had!

Now back to my original question…. What value do you place on the people/businesses you choose to do business with. For me it’s all about the people. I value the company/person who I can meet with face-to-face and who has knowledge of my business and me. I prefer building relationships and knowing that the person I’m working with is out for my best interest. I also want the company that I do business with to make money on my purchases. I want them to succeed, grow, and prosper, because without their growth and prosperity, my business will suffer too. We really are all interconnected and together we and our businesses can remain strong regardless of our current economy.