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, June 20, 2017

Focus on one Quilt? Why?

A baby quilt of my own design for a special couple.

Tula's Neighborhood from the Moda Be My Neighbor free download.
   In the past month, I have been a busy bee!  My baby quilts for this summer are all completed and given to their new owners.  My customer quilts with July 1 deadlines are all done, except for the one that is on the frame right now.  The retreat that I helped plan and organize over the past year has finally taken place and was a big hit!  We had so much fun, and I can't wait for the next retreat in Iowa in June of 2018!
  I thought I would share today some of the other projects and pics from things I have been working on that are either nearing completion or are complete, and why I am constantly working on new projects!
  My creative energy never wanes.  If I am not working on a project, I am thinking about what I would like to be working on!  Everywhere I go, I see colors that inspire me.  I find quilt patterns and samples in shops that make me want to get home and get busy!  I look around my sewing studio, and there are project half done all over!
Every day, I spend at least an hour on social media looking at Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and other quilter's blogs.  Consequently, I am never lacking for something to work on or an idea to begin a new project.  The idea of working on one thing until it is finished is totally laughable to me!  I do manage to finish quite a few things each year with my crazy methods, though!
  My Tula's Neighborhood quilt went together very quickly.  This pattern was a free download from Moda called "Be My Neighbor" that I saw on Pinterest.  The blocks are huge, and they go together very quickly.  I decided that this would be the perfect project to use up some of my massive Tula Pink stash!  The large pieces in the quilt afforded me the opportunity to fussy cut some of her fun motifs.
Felicity, my sewing studio mascot.
I can't wait to get started quilting my neighborhood and get it finished, but, for now, having completed the top after just starting it in January of this year is a big accomplishment for me:)
  Our quilt retreat theme this year was "Pink Ladies Quilt Camp."  We got the nickname "Pink Ladies" from Bonnie Hunter at a retreat we went to where she was teaching!  It was fun, and it stuck.  We started out with campers and that led to flamingos, which are often know as "Pink Ladies" and happen to be a big favorite of mine!  In my daughter's words this past weekend, "Mom, you are kind of obsessed with flamingos right now!"  LOL!  True!  So, I made a lot of flamingo stuff and purchased a lot of flamingo stuff in the past year or so, and have created a fun and colorful collection in my studio.  The flamingo wall quilt that I named Felicity hangs right in front of my longarm machine, and I look at her all day.  She is fun, colorful, and so pretty:)  As a person who loves pink, and is inspired by color, she is the perfect mascot for my room!
  At retreat, we presented our polka dot quilts made from the squares we exchanged last summer.  I designed my own pattern, and ended up loving the quilt, even though I was pretty skeptical when I heard "bright polka dots" and thought...this is going to be ugly!  All the quilts were beautiful!  Joke's on me, I guess!
  So, all these projects were going at the same time, along with countless others!  When a deadline, or a whim, or the light at the end of the tunnel strikes...I finish:)  It works for me:)  I would love to hear how you prefer to work!  Those of you that do one project at a time?  Convince me!

My design for 10" polka dot square exchange...

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 :)