Counting your Blessings


I’m about to set my New Year’s Resolutions for 2015.  I used to pick one of those “Words of the Year”, but in 2014 I didn’t.

You see, my family was in a bit of a crisis.  In mid 2013, my husband lost his job.

As 2014 rolled in, we were in a panic.  I work full time in the comic book industry, so we had some income, but it wasn’t proving to be enough.  Little by little, our savings were depleted to zero.  We seemed to have everything go wrong at the same time.  Refrigerator broken, car needs major repairs, the one cat got very sick then the other cat did also, and all the while we cut everything that wasn’t necessary that we could.  Things like the dishwasher that broke didn’t get repaired. We cut our cable. We cut out everything.  No vacations, no dinners out, no shopping trips.  We clipped every coupon.  We ate a LOT of ramen noodles that were only 25 cents.  The debt we spent 18 years removing started to pile up.

I felt like we did when we were first married and lived paycheck to paycheck.  The luxuries I was used to were gone.  And this whole thing was a huge stress in our lives, and loomed over us constantly.  I wondered if we would ever get out of it.  We considered bankruptcy.  We considered closing our 401K. Our house, my beloved but recently purchased classic car… we would have to sell them.  I couldn’t sleep… all we did was bicker and fight.   We had no Christmas.  The tree in our living room only reminded us of years past with outrageous budgets for gifts and sat as a reminder of what we did not have this year. It felt like everything was crumbling.

help is on the way

When I’d see this in elevators, I’d think “I have to keep my spirits up. Help is on the way.”

In early 2014, I saw no end in sight.  I had to do something about it.  I thought about quilting for other people, selling artwork, anything I could to make money.  I doodle at work while on conference calls, and on this notebook in early January I drew a skull.  I knew that this was it.  My husband’s skill set is Marketing and Communications.  So I found him a job: Working for me… and with our last $300, I launched a business.shirt

We cleaned up the artwork from the drawing and turned it into a graphic. Then we sourced a company to make shirts.  Mugs. Things I would want to have myself is what we used to decide what to make with our little logo.  And in the meantime, I promoted it on every platform I could.  Word of mouth and social media were the only places we advertised.

14QM15My DVD launched, we developed a plastic template to complement it, and we got distributor orders!  I wrote articles, I wrote patterns, I made videos.  If you asked me to do it, I probably did it. And I still worked full time.

StoreImage_SmTmp11And they all took off.  They saved our home.  My car.  From us sliding into major debt. Joe and I worked together on the business.  It saved us.

I know many of you who follow me on social media probably had no idea that this was happening, and I didn’t really want to advertise how dire things were for us.

My husband found a job in November (HOORAY!), but it will take a long time to remove the debt we incurred and rebuild our savings.

20140416-215238.jpgSo, even though 2014 was one of the worst for me, it was also THE BEST.  I pushed myself further, harder, and as fast as I could to save our home, our marriage, and our sanity.  We learned A LOT, especially that things are just things, and family is best. I don’t think we’ll ever spend like we did before Joe lost his job.

Out of 19 months of adversity came my little cottage business.   And now when I go to sleep at night, I count my blessings.  If you bought something from me this year, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your help. Each order is a blessing!  There’s much more to go, and I’m not stopping now!  Have a wonderful holiday and new year!

Modern Machine Quilting DVD Blog Hop

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I’m pretty excited to be part of my friend Catherine’s blog hop for her brand new DVD on walking foot quilting!  Catherine and I have been friends for some time now, and you are probably used to seeing us at shows and things together since we live about 30 minutes from each other!

I’ve seen Catherine do this type of quilting dozens of times, and I have seen all of the quilts in the DVD numerous times, several while they were being made, so I can tell you that Catherine is a top notch quilter.  What can her DVD do for you if you are an experienced quilter?  Let’s check it out.

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Here I am pinning my sample quilt top using her pinning instructions.  Catherine has a great introductory chapter letting you everything you need to know to be successful from the start.

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Here’s my crazy looking walking foot.  I think I have only used it three times total, so it was a real learning experience.  The stitches there are one of the methods Catherine teaches on the DVD.

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So here’s my quilting fresh out of the machine!  Catherine makes you feel okay about mistakes, and being able to cross over your other lines, so I did!  Those precision points and turns in the triangle parts are all part of her technique that she demonstrates.

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Here’s a shadowy shot of the sample quilt all finished so you can see that quilting!  I was really pleased with how it turned out, thanks to Catherine’s DVD.

You can get a copy of the DVD or a digital download of it at Interweave’s shop, (which you can get to HERE), and Catherine is doing a little giveaway of her own to win one over at her blog (which you can get to HERE)!

Don’t forget to visit all the blogs on Catherine’s hop, there’s some great folks on this list!

Monday 15th December:        Faith Jones
Tuesday 16th December:        Bonnie Hunter
Wednesday 17th December:   Cheryl Sleboda
Thursday 18th December:       Maddie Kertay
Friday 19th December:            Svetlana Sotak
Saturday 20th December:       Julia Wood
Sunday 21st December:         Laura Wasilowski
Monday 22nd December:       Pokey Bolton
Tuesday 23rd December:        Susan Brubaker Knapp
Wednesday 24th December    Catherine Redford

Technique of the Week – Week 19- Shading with Mistyfuse

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This week we are using Mistyfuse to make the main design of the quilt! Check out this week’s video:

Skill Level: Confident Beginner
Time Commitment: Afternoon
Cost: Under $10

Mistyfuse is a great fusible used by many artists in the process of fusing fabrics to each other, but I thought it could be front and center on the top of the quilt.  The nice thing is that you can layer the Mistyfuse down without ever having to iron it down.  It has a little cling to it, so it’s great to try out your shapes and designs before committing to it with the iron.

Please remember to cover your work surfaces with a non stick sheet, and the Mistyfuse “Goddess” sheet is great for that too.   Check out Mistyfuse at www.mistyfuse.com!