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.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Never a Dull Moment in Quiltland!

  So, this past month has been a whirlwind of longarming graduation quilts for customers, and running around doing my thing.  I am pooped!  However, all of my deadline quilts are caught up (for now), and my craziest week so far this year has just ended.  So, I have some time to share a bit of what's been happening in my life.  
  One thing that I was privileged to do was to design this year's Row by Row pattern for the Quilters Cottage in Kearney, NE.  It isn't quilted and bound yet, but the row is complete and the picture of it has been sent in to the coordinator!  I am very pleased with how it turned out.
Row by Row complete with barn quilt and an old fashioned pickup with bolts of fabric in the back!
  Another really enjoyable experience was a four day retreat in Bennington, KS at the Kansas Troubles retreat center.  Lynn Hagmeier and her husband Robert were so sweet to us!  A group of 9 had such a great time and got a lot done.  If you have never been to Kansas Troubles, it is a pilgrimage that you must make!  Words cannot adequately describe the retreat center in the upstairs of an old downtown building.  It has the most gorgeous tin ceilings I have ever seen and is filled with antiques.  I loved every square inch of the place.  The fact that I got to sew with friends for several days was just icing on the cake!  Sorry the photos aren't great.  It's dark for cell phone photos everywhere except for the sewing area where there is plenty of light.  To see more photos, be sure to check out my Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/lonetreedesignsquilting/
  In addition to keeping up with my customer quilts, I had two speaking engagements this past week!  The first was in Holdrege, NE where I gave a program using my quilts on color selection.  It was an hour long, rapid-fire trunk show using my quilts as both examples of what works and what doesn't work in selecting fabrics for an attractive end result.
  I also spoke in Wahoo, NE during this past week giving a one hour trunk show.  It was a very nice group of ladies who call themselves the "Crazy Quilters" :)  I loved their guild name!    
  *Sidebar:  My Facebook page for Lone Tree Designs is a great place to find lots of pictures and comments about what I am currently working on for myself, and to see pictures of customer quilts on and off the longarm.  I encourage you to Like that page and follow me on my many adventures in Quiltland!
Kansas Troubles retreat center uses lots of antique quilts.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Snippets of Time: How to be Efficient

My interpretation of  Bonnie Hunter's Double Delight Mystery 
   The first three months of this year have absolutely flown by!  I have been running like crazy, and have managed to get quite a bit done in the little snippets of time that I find between events, working on customer quilts, and time with family.
  I am often asked how I manage to get so much done.  That's an interesting question, and it's worth talking about.  First of all, there are people that get way more done than I do.  However, those people don't sleep as much as I do:)  Sleep is a priority in my life, and that's my first tip:

1)  Be well rested.  No one is as productive or efficient as they can be when they are running around sleep deprived.  Our bodies and minds are so intimately connected that our brains will not operate well if we don't take care of our bodies.  For me, that means at least 7 hours of sleep per night...even more than that a couple of nights a week.

 2)  Take time out for fun!  As you all know, I am a professional longarm quilter.  I work from my home.  In other words, I could work 24/7.  At any given time, I have at least three months worth of work hanging out in my sewing studio just waiting for my attention.  It is so important for me to spend time working on my own projects, going to guild meetings and retreats, and hanging out with family.  Those activities feed my creativity and make me more efficient overall because when I do work on customer quilts, I am refreshed, motivated, and ready to create beauty on their work.

Tula's Neighborhood in progress from the
Moda Be My Neighbor free pattern.
 3)  Let go of perfectionism!  Done is GOOD!  Some people are so paralyzed by their perfectionism that they cannot manage to finish anything.  They are constantly unsewing seams to try to make them perfect, or second guessing design choices to the point where they can't make a decision.  I often tell my students that in quilting there really isn't a "right" or a "wrong" choice.  It is really a matter of taste and preferences.  Your quilt is your quilt, and you can make it however you want it.  That being said, wait for it...

4)  Do things as accurately as possible the first time.  In other words:  cut accurately, sew an accurate 1/4 seam, press properly, trim, if necessary.  Each step in the process needs to be done well in order for the end product to turn out great.  I don't waste a lot of time re-cutting, ripping out mistakes, and re-sewing because I try very hard to focus on each step and make it right.

5)  Finally, and most importantly, use the small snippets of time that are in each of our days between the other things we "have to" do.  If we wait for several hours in a row in order to work on a project, we never work on that project.  I have found that whether its house cleaning or sewing, we can get a lot done in 15 minute increments of time.  Do you need to leave the house for an appointment in 20 minutes?  Don't waste that time waiting to leave!  Pick up the living room, throw the dishes in the dishwasher, or, better yet, press the half squares that you sewed before bed the night before. Use that time to gather fabrics for a project, cut out a couple more blocks, or sew a few seams.  Those little bits of effort really add up over time.  Nothing on tv in the evening but reruns?  Go to your sewing space and make a block or two.  Those blocks will turn into rows, and then into quilts!

  We all have more time than we realize.  We just don't use it as well as we could.  Our lives tend to be overscheduled and more busy than is really good for us.  In order to make the most of our leisure time, we have to be strategic.  Plan ahead in order to be ready to use those little snippets of time.
Kim Diehl's Simple Whatnots Club has been a fun
activity this winter.  Cute, small projects!
 I literally have small quilts all cut out and in plastic sandwich baggies all ready to go if I get a few minutes to work.  I use plastic storage containers to keep projects organized and ready to go.  If I have time on a Sunday afternoon, I might cut out a bunch of blocks or a whole quilt and put it back in the plastic box to work on at another time.  Sometimes when I meet with friends to "sew" for a few hours, I don't even bring my sewing machine. I just bring stuff to cut and have organized for another day.  Being organized and ready to go is essential to being efficient.  Perhaps that a blog topic for another day :)

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Best of 2016 Quilty Thoughts

Me...on the path to turning "50"!

  As one year ends and a new one begins, out thoughts often turn to  reflecting on the past and dreaming of the future.  In order help us do that, Meadow Mist Designs has once again posted a link up party for those that want to share.

Meeting Angela Walters:  #1 for me was my final post of the year in which I shared that I had the chance to meet Angela Walters on a recent trip to Kansas City!  As a fellow longarm quilter, she is such an inspiration to me!

What a Difference Color Choice Can Make is #2:  As an employee in my mom's quilt shop, one of the things that I do the most is help people choose fabrics for their quilts.  When I speak and do trunk shows for guilds, they most often choose to hear my thoughts on color choice.  I had purchased fabric to make a stack and whack One Block Wonder.  Rather than make one huge queen-sized quilt, I decided to explore what the blocks might look like set the same way, but with very different fabric choices.  Heads and Tails #1 and #2 were the result.  Which is your favorite and why?

Bonnie Hunter Quilt Retreat was another favorite, and makes it into the #3 spot.  Several good friends and I had a fabulous time meeting Bonnie in Sioux City, IA at a retreat there, and I got a chance to share pics of my friends and of the projects that we worked on for two days with lots of fun ladies.  Quilters seriously are the BEST people!  Just realized that two of my top five involve meeting my quilting "idols"...:)

Crazy, Quilty June hits #4.  I was so busy with quilting fun in June that the month went by in a blur!  I started the month with a quilt retreat in Creston, IA and was barely able to catch my breath before I loaded up all my best quilts and headed to Aurora, NE where I was the featured quilter in their annual guild quilt show.  The post includes tons of pics of some of my favorite people, and lots of my favorite quilts!

Which Type of Quilter Are You?  is my pick for #5.  As I thought about all the quilters that I know and the ones that I read about in magazines, watch on tv, and follow on Facebook, Twitter, etc., I started to really ponder why each of us makes quilts, and what we choose to do with them.  What I ended up with was one of my favorite posts of the year because in the end, it doesn't matter why we quilt or what we do with the quilts we make.  What matters is the community we have while we do it!  Each to his or her own!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Meeting Angela Walters!

December is a crazy month for me!  I am finishing up customer quilts in time for them to be bound and given away for Christmas gifts for the first couple of weeks.  I try to be finished by the 15th so that I can prepare for the holidays with family and work on my own projects for at least a week or two before I have to get back to working on customer quilts.
  This year, my lovely hubby decided to take me to Kansas City to see the lights, something that I have wanted to do for many years.  It was awesome!  The weather was great, and we hit the hot spots:  IKEA, Union Station, Country Club Plaza, Joe's KC BBQ, and, or course a few quilt shops!
  When I found out that we were going to Kansas City, I had one thing on my mind...going to Angela Walters' quilt shop and meeting her!  She has inspired me as a longarm quilter so much, and I was super excited to get a chance to meet her.  I even Facebooked her to see if there was any chance that she might be at her shop in Liberty, MO during the time that I would be in town.  She is a very busy woman, and I could only cross my fingers!  Believe it or not, that sweetheart actually responded to my message and told me when she would be in the shop!  My plans were set!
  On the morning of my trip to visit Angela's shop, Quilting is My Therapy
we made our way from downtown Kansas City
to Liberty and were there right when the shop was set to open.   Angela wasn't there yet, so I had a great little visit with her friend that was working.  She was such a friendly gal!  We got to talking about running a quilt shop, something with which I am quite familiar since I have been around and helping my mom at her shop for over 15 years:  The Quilters Cottage.  I was even able to share some helpful tips and ideas with her while we waited for Angela to arrive.  While we visited, I looked around the shop.
  The quilt shop is on the historic downtown square in Liberty, MO.  The building is everything that I love in a quilt shop.  Beautiful 15 foot ceilings, brick walls, historic light fixtures...just a wonderful feel.  The fabrics in the shop are bright and colorful.  They include not only Angela's latest lines, but also her good friend Tula Pink's fabrics are represented.  In addition, lots of other fun, modern fabrics are available.  The usual notions, patterns, and kits line the walls.
Most exciting for me, the walls were also lined with wonderful samples covered with Angela's signature quilting!  I have all of her books, and have taken most of her classes on Craftsy. While I don't generally choose to quilt as heavily as Angela does, mainly because most customers do not want to pay for that type of custom work, I do use ideas from her books all of the time!When Angela arrived, it was like a breath of fresh air blew into the room!  She is so cheerful and approachable that I felt like I was visiting an old friend.  I was just so excited to actually meet her, and she was really sweet.  We talked, took a photo, and she kindly signed her latest book for me.  When I told her that I had brought the book she and Tula Pink did together for her to sign, and then forgot it in the hotel room, she surprised me with a peel and stick label to add to my book signed by both her and Tula!!! I was thrilled!  I asked if I could use the photos and write about the visit on my blog and she gladly gave her blessing, so here we are!
  If you are ever in the area, I would highly recommend stopping by the town of Liberty.  The downtown has several really cute shops including a fun coffee shop and a very lovely flower shop.  It is easy to find and in a picturesque little community.  The people were friendly and very welcoming to both my husband and I.
  Angela's shop is on the Row by Row, and she still had license plates, so I snagged one of those, along with a kit for a quilt hanging on the wall that I just had to have.  I bought her latest book which tells her story and is filled with great photos of her work.  I walked away with a memorable experience and some fun mementos, and enough quilty inspiration to last me for quite awhile!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Mystery Quilts and Control Issues

  There are two categories of quilters.  Those who will take a chance on making a mystery quilt, and those who won't.  I have always been of the first group.  The problem is that lack of control is quite scary for me.  I want to know that the time, effort, and money that I am spending on this project are going to be worth it.  Adding to my aversion to mystery quilts was that several times I had customers bring me quilts with the following statement: "This was a mystery quilt.  If I had only known what it would look like, I would never have placed fabric X in that spot."  They weren't totally happy with their quilt, and I was thinking, "Why would anyone ever do a mystery quilt?"
  Enter Bonnie Hunter from Quiltville.com.  I was invited to attend a Bonnie Hunter workshop with some friends last spring.  It sounded like a lot of fun, so I signed up.  Then, I went online and started researching the woman and her style of quilting.  I discovered stunning photos of her past mystery quilts. I met others who had made lots of her mystery quilts and loved them. At the same time, I had signed up to do my first mystery quilt, mainly to support my friends in my Central City guild, and had recently discovered that it was, what else, a former Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt called "Double Delight" found free on her blog.  I also noticed that my all time favorite Bonnie Hunter pattern, Celtic Solstice had been a mystery quilt.  I made a "Pineapple Blossom" and saw how easy and user friendly Bonnie's patterns were.  I bought several of her books.  I watched last year's mystery quilt, "Allietare" pass me by.  Cue this year's mystery quilt:  "En Provence",
  So, here I am, a tentative mystery quilt convert.  I am planning to start on this year's mystery quilt this coming weekend.  The clues come out on Fridays, and the information can all be found on Bonnie's website.  In order to do this, I had to trust Bonnie.  (It helps that I have met her, and she is a fabulous person, as well as a great quilter.)  It also helps that I didn't have to purchase anything to do the quilt.  I went into my stash and gleaned all the yardage that I will need to make the blocks for the 87 x 87 quilt.  I did decide to sub in turquoise for the yellow in the quilt. I love purple, pink, and turquoise together, so how can I go wrong?  I can't wait to see how this quilt turns out.  Sometimes a little mystery is just what we need to step outside the comfort zone and be inspired!  Thanks, Bonnie!