Welcome to my blog. I was inspired by the book, "Blogging for Bliss" by Tara Frey.

Welcome to my blog. I was inspired by the book, "Blogging for Bliss" by Tara Frey. My goal is to share a little about my life, and a lot about my longarm quilting business, Lone Tree Designs.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Just Saying "No"--the Fine Art of Achieving Balance

 
My latest finished quilt--Radiating Star

A customer quilt that I finished last week.


A customer quilt for a teenager's fair project
  So, here's the thing...life gets hectic.  Even when you quit your full time teaching job to pursue, shall we say a "less stressful" workload by starting your own longarm quilting business, before you know it your calendar is jammed full.  At least mine is.  How did it happen?  I am asking myself the same thing.  All I know is this:  looking ahead at my calendar for the next two months, I don't have a Saturday free until October 2, and even that is iffy.  Then, not another one until November 2.  This is a problem, and a blessing.  How can it be both?
   Well, when I started my business almost 6 years ago, I was substitute teaching part-time, and working as an administrative assistant part-time to make enough money to supplement the quilting thing.  I was quilting 5 or 6 customer quilts per month. Gradually, I stopped subbing.  I cut back from 4 days a week at my administrative assistant job to 3, then 2, and finally 1.  Eventually, I took the leap and went full-time on my longarm.  I've never been without enough work to keep the bills paid and food on the table.  My workload has remained in a steady upward trajectory for the past 5 years.  It is truly a blessing to work at home in my pj's doing something that I really enjoy.  It is a blessing to be able to take time to help my mom at the quilt shop, to keep my grand-babies for a few days now and then, and to have time to teach, speak, and do trunk shows.  These are all good things.  However, when the schedule begins to run me, rather than me running the schedule, I have to wonder, "Where can I cut back?"  Immediate answer...nowhere!  Long term, though, I really need to learn to say "no" a bit more often.  My problem is that I just love teaching a class, even if I only have a couple of students.  I love travelling to Kearney several times a month to help my mom at her shop.  I love getting to events like Quilt Nebraska to fellowship with others of like interests.  Hmmmm...well, maybe saying "no" more often will have to be on my "to do" list for next year :)

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Quilt Nebraska 2015


  Each year in July the Nebraska State Quilt Guild holds their annual Quilt Nebraska convention.  The location moves around the state, but the dates are always the last full weekend in July.  Convention starts on Thursday with Quilt History Day and opening receptions, and then continues through Friday and Saturday with lots of classes, lectures, and banquets with speakers each night.  The winning raffle ticket for the raffle quilt from the year before is drawn, and the new raffle quilt is revealed.  A small quilt show featuring quilts from the participating teachers and the year's challenge quilts, along with a vending mall, is available not only to participants in the convention, but also to the public.  All in all, it is loads of fun and there is always something going on.
  Part of the fun of convention is seeing and hanging out with friends and acquaintances from around the state who share a genuine love of the art of quilting.  The variety of styles, tastes, skill levels, and preferences is mind-boggling!  Those that plan the convention always do a good job of providing a wide variety of classes in an attempt to appeal to the many interests of those that attend.
  This year in Norfolk, I had the privilege of teaching a class at Quilt Nebraska 2015!  I had to send in a proposal for a class and then waited to be accepted or rejected as one of the regional teachers.  The conventions always bring in several national teachers from around the country and then fill in the rest of the schedule with regional teachers.  I was accepted and taught a "make and take" type class with my original design for "My Nebraska" wall quilt.  As those of you that follow my blog know, I had designed the center for the AMB solids blog tour sponsored by Clothworks last spring.  After the blog tour was over, I wanted to extend the size of my original 6 x 9 inch design and added a row of chasing flying geese to represent the many migrating birds that cross our state every year.
  I had 13 eager ladies sign up for my class, and they each made a great start on their wall quilt.  In a three hour class, they were able to completely finish the center of the quilt, and hopefully went home with enough knowledge to finish their little project at home.  I had a blast doing it!  I do quite a bit of teaching, but teaching at Quilt Nebraska felt like a real honor.  I may just apply to do it again in the future!
  Next year, the convention is being held in Lincoln at the Cornhusker Hotel.  I, for one, will be there with bells on!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

It's Row by Row Time!



  As a former high school teacher, my year was governed by:  1st semester, Christmas vacation, 2nd semester, and summer break.  In fact, if you count all the years that I was a student myself, my life was governed by those terms for 35 years!  Often, I still find myself thinking of the year in that way.
  Nowadays, though, I am more likely to think in terms of "graduation quilts," "wedding quilts,"  "Christmas gift quilts,"  NIFS Spring Shop Hop, and now the annual Row by Row Experience.
These times of year determine my professional schedule and, I am tentative to admit, my vacation plans!  I have already been scheming to figure out how I can get my husband, who is extremely busy with construction season, to take me on a trip before September 8 so that I can collect some rows from out of state.
  As I ponder my plans, a light shines on me, and hubby says:  "I need to go to Kansas City for training on August 4.  Do you want to come along and we can make a weekend of it to celebrate our anniversary on August 2?"  DO I???  Now, the question is:  how many quilt shops in the Kansas City area are participating in the Row by Row, and how many can I legitimately get to in a three day period:)  The best way to figure that out is to explore the website, check for cute rows on Facebook, use my trusty atlas and GoogleMaps, and formulate  my plan.
  Last year, we went to Paducah, KY via Hamilton, Hannibal, and St. Louis, MO so that I could pick up rows.  With only 35 states participating last year, we covered a lost of territory that was "row free."  This year...all 50 states are playing!!!  If you are traveling ANYWHERE this summer, you can find rows kits, license plates, and free patterns.  The pictures on this page are of the row that I designed for the Quilters Cottage in Kearney, NE.  I made the row so that it can be made either vertically or horizontally.  On Facebook, all you have to do it type in the name of the state followed by rowbyrowexperience and you can see pictures of many of the available rows and where to find them in that state.  Genius!!!
  If you haven't yet begun, there's still plenty of time!  So, get out there and experience the fun of collecting rows for your own personal travel memento!