10 Women, 9 States, 1 Common Bond

I love sewing. I don’t have any local friends to get together with for a sewing day, so I have learned to love to sew by myself. But I cherish the connections I’ve made through blogging with so many other like-minded women, who are also different and fun and interesting. I always try to seize the chance to meet them in person, this time for a weekend together sewing and quilting.

(Terri, Amanda, and Cindy)

I love making lists, so I made a list of words and phrases to describe our weekend quilting retreat:

New WIPs, More UFOs, Stash Building, Idea Sharing, Inspiration, Advice, Motherly, Sisterly, Friendship, Laughter, Bonding, Heartwarming, AMAZING!

Since most people don’t like to have their picture taken, I took pictures of everyone’s sewing machines and workstations instead. We all love to see people’s creative space, so I thought it would be cool to see  our work stations at retreat. (Doris has a group photo, which I think she will share soon.)

Cindy’s work space

Amanda’s work space

Doris‘ work space

Shelly’s work space

Rene’s work space.

Rene’s sister Michelle joined us, but I missed getting a photo of her workspace before she had to pack up to return home. Sorry Michelle!
Toni’s work space

Stephanie‘s work space

Mary‘s work space

My work space (which I photographed in between projects so it looks a little too neat and clean!)

How far would you travel  to spend time with a group of like-minded women you know but you’ve never met before? If it means the privilege of getting together with such an amazing group of women, I highly recommend it!

PS – I got a lot of projects done at retreat which I will plan to share with you in another post.


A few of my bloggy friends have shared bloggy awards with me lately, and I have only thanked them personally with an email. So today, I wanted to say thank you and introduce you to Kathy from northern Wisconsin, Cindy in sunny Fresno, and Teje all the way in Crete!

With each of these awards, the recipients are supposed to share a few things about themselves. Here’s the juicy stuff: (not really!)

1. I love coffee, especially coffee drinks like lattes. My current favorite is called a white zombie, which is from the cafe on campus where I hang out with friends in between classes. It’s a a nutty latte prepared with Cafe Bianco (or very lightly-roasted coffee) and a favorite flavoring, such as hazlenut or caramel.

2. I am discovering that I really like to draw and illustrate.

3. I love red wine, especially the bottles from South America and Australia.

4. My favorite season is Spring. Have I ever mentioned that before? Probably. I look forward to the hope of new life and the fresh, bright green color of the plants peaking up through the ground and the buds sprouting on the trees. I also love the longer days. (these are from last year)

5. I love blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries.

6. I love chocolate truffles and biscuits from Godiva.

7. I have always wanted to learn how to surf.

Happy Friday everyone!

Three Years

I started this blog THREE years ago today! Wow, that feels amazing to me. I’m not a big talker, but I do love to write, especially letters to friends. So naturally, that’s what I have been doing here for the past three years.

I continue to love talking with you about fabric, sewing, patchwork, my bag obsession, making quilts, my design and illustration classes, gardening, farmers markets, and the various adventures I take in life. Hope I haven’t bored you or babbled on too much!

I just wanted to drop in to say Happy Day to everyone, and to thank you again for stopping by to see what’s happening around here. I especially appreciate those of you who have reached out to become friends because that’s what this is all about – these fabulous connections we’ve made.

“It’s friends we meet along life’s path who help us appreciate the journey.” … quote from my good friend Tami.

My Cheeks Hurt!

I can’t remember the last time I laughed so much that my cheeks hurt! I just returned from my first quilt retreat – what an amazing weekend.

The retreat center was amazing, and the quilt shop was overwhelming and wonderful.

The best part was our group of women. You know them:

Shelly S of Shelly’s Quilts

Shelly P of Prairie Moon Quilts

Andrea of The Little Collection

Mary of Mary on Lake Pulaski

Doris of Threads of Conversation

Amanda of Crazy Mom Quilts

Toni of All Tangled Up in My Underwear

Rene of Rene’s Creations

Heather of Anka’s Treasures

Victoria of Bumble Beans Inc.

If you haven’t visited these blogs lately, go straight there. Your cup will overflow with inspiration and happiness.

I also can’t remember the last time I sewed ALL day, and then stayed up past midnight to continue sewing!

I got these two quilt tops almost finished (the one above needs a couple more rows, and the one below needs a wide white border).

I made progress on a third project, with all the blocks made and sashing on about half of the blocks.

We talked, we shopped, we browsed the MN Quilt show, we sewed, we shopped, we loosened up, we ate, we sewed, we laughed, we sewed, we laughed, we sewed, we slept a little. I am so thankful to know such wonderful women! I feel lucky to be able to call them my friends.

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Don’t forget to check out my post about the upcoming Christmas in July Ornament Swap!

Best Practice – Customer/Reader Appreciation

“The customer is always right.” How many times have you heard that? I used to work in the retail industry, and I always rolled my eyes when I heard that speech. At the end of the day, I think every corporation, small business, and individual maker of handmade goods will tell you that customers (and blog readers) are the #1 most important element to their business (or blog).

I know, you don’t need to hear from me how important it is to appreciate your shop customers or your blog readers. Crafters are kind folks by nature, right?! Just look at the steady list of giveaways taking place every single week as proof of that.

I am not an expert in marketing, and I am generally a shy person when it comes to marketing, making it hard for me to drum up new customers or new blog readers. I try to appreciate the ones I have. I just wanted to share a few of the things I try to do, especially here with my blog.

If you have ever left a comment on my blog, you have most likely received an email from me thanking you for taking the time to stop by and leave a comment. I love comments. I love hearing from readers. That has also been the start to a few email conversations that have led to great friendships I cherish.

Offering Tutorials
I think tutorials are a cool way to offer your readers something for free. Who doesn’t love a free pattern?! I wish I were better at offering more tutorials!

Participating in Swaps
Exchanging supplies or handmade goods through swaps is a great way to meet people and share similar obsessions. Some of my blogger friendships began from swaps. (That reminds me, don’t forget about our Christmas in July ornament swap coming up.)

Interact and Engage
Sometimes I can be indecisive, so it’s good to know I can ask you all for advice, such as with my recent patchwork arrangements project. I loved reading your thoughts on which half-square triangle arrangement you liked best. I like it when other bloggers ask for an opinion or feedback because it initiates in a creative conversation, which is beneficial to all of us.

Amy frequently posts surveys on her blog, seeking feedback on sewing topics or ideas for content she could offer. I love that! Personally, I think surveys are fun to participate in because they make me feel like I have a say, like I’m contributing to the success of another creative person. I’m all for that!

I adore this little matchbook notepad I got from Randi’s shop with a recent fabric order!

I am going to make a supply of these little drawstring bags to include in orders from my shop. Just a little something extra.

I mentioned above the number of giveaways that take place every week. I’m not telling you that you should do a giveaway. Just saying I like doing giveaways, whether it’s an extra goodie with an order, a giveaway for a blogiversary, or participating in a sponsored event like the upcoming Sew,Mama,Sew‘s May Day giveaway. (Be sure to check back next week for the giveaway I have to offer!)

This series has been fun for me to do. It has challenged me to take notice of and share the things I do to keep myself organized and to keep life running smoothly. It’s also been good writing practice for me. I hope you have found it to be useful in some way too.

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Previous posts about my Best Practices:




Bobbins, Pins and Folding

Business Cards

Carry Your Product

Seven Things

How nice that Emily shared a blogging award with me! I love following Emily’s blog. She shares great sewing projects, from quilting to bags to all sorts of fabulous gifts for her family and friends. She’s also an English teacher, which I can relate to because I was an English minor in college and loved those classes the most.

To accept this award, here are the rules:

1. Thank the person who gave you the award. Thank you, Emily!

2. Paste the award on your blog (see above)

3. Link the person who nominated you.

4. Tell 7 interesting things about yourself (see below)

5. Nominate 7 blogs (see below)

6. Post links to those 7 blogs (see below)

a frosty Sunday morning

Here are seven things about me that you may not know:

1. I am a Sagittarius inside and out, the good traits and the bad traits. (Let’s just focus on the good ones, okay?!)

2. I listen to hard rock music.

3. I used to have big hair that looked exactly like Jon Bon Jovi‘s hair in 1988.

4. I have rheumatoid arthritis in my knees. I try really hard not to let it slow me down.

5. I lived in Las Vegas after college. No, I was not a showgirl! I actually worked at a travel agency entering traveller information and accounting info.

6. I have always wanted to see the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio.

7. I would love to meet Kat Von D someday.

And here are the seven bloggers I would like to share this award with:

1. Paula

2. Dorrie

3. Vicki

4. Cheryl

5. Kim

6. Jaqueline

7. Rebecka

Can’t wait to see what you share with us, ladies!