Friday, November 28, 2008

Balancing Blessings

I have been so abundantly blessed in my life. I have a wonderful family, dear friends, helpful neighbors, talents that bring me joy and fulfilment etc...

Because of this abundance I fill I would be ungrateful if I did not give back. Here in lies the balancing act we all must perform. I think women especially struggle with this act. If we take time to develope our talents and interests are we taking away from our families, especially our children? But if we spend all our time taking care of others we feel spent and our well runs dry. How do we find the balance? This balancing act has been on my mind a lot lately. As things have begun to grow and change in my life.

A few years ago, when my baby went to school, I was faced for the first time in 14 years with a chunck of time that would be all mine. No interuptions. No "Mom, I need..." "Mom, where's...", "Mom, he's..." you get the idea. In a way this was sad and I felt a hole in my life. A void that needed to be filled. So to fill it I started sewing displays for a local quilt shop. I figured I could do this at home on my own time so if there was a field trip, a sick child or I was needed in some other way my job would not interfere with it. This worked great. I loved it. I was doing what I love and still there for my family and friends when needed.

Well it grew. The owner, Ruth Ann, of the shop had some fabric that she was trying to move and asked me if I had any ideas. Also at this time was our annual neighborhood quilt project. A friend of mine had given me a bunch of fabric for this. I was piecing it because no piece was big enough by it's self. And by accident I came up with something that would work with Ruth Ann's fabric. I showed her. She liked it and told me to make it into a pattern and she would sell it in the shop. So not really knowing what I was doing I wrote directions. Had my sister, Becky, photograph it. My sister, Julie, helped me design a pattern cover and get everything ready for the printer. My first pattern was born.





This was quite exciting. I have always wanted to be a designer, although in high school I though I would be a fasion designer. Ruth Ann had some oriental fabric that she was having a hard time moving so while at my mom's I played on some graph paper and came up with this. It was more successful than my Taffy Pull.

And this little hobby/addiction of mine grew again. This time a neighbor of mine, Kathy, whose family owns a wholesale business that sells fabric and notions to area shops heard what I was doing. She told me she was having a venders market at her wharehouse would I like to come to it and see how I do. WOW! I took her up on her offer. I came up with a few more designs and gave it a go.I met wonderful shop owners who were kind and bought my patterns. I met fabric reps and got to see all that was new and upcoming. It was a wonderful day for me. Over the next couple of years I continues to design and sell my patterns. When Ruth Ann retired I stopped sewing displays for her shop. I was busy designing but felt obligated to her. After all she was the one that got me started on this great journey. I picked up a few distributors. I was content with my little hobby/business. I made enough money to feed my sewing habit.

Then this summer I was invited to a picnic for local designers given by Valerie Burton and Annie Smith. Although I was unable to stay for the pod cast with Annie, hubby was in the hospital with an infection from his burst appendix, she encouraged me to start a blog. So when life settled down I started this blog. I was hesitant to bring up that I design and sell patterns. Even after all that has happened it is hard for me to put myself out there. Also I have seen the great success of my sister Julie. Although I don't think that could ever happen to me, the possiblity scares me to death. That could really throw my balancing act out of wack. But my mom, above mentioned sisters, and friends kept encouraging me. Then I started selling patterns here without telling you that I do this little thing. I would get a comment asking where I got a pattern for one of my quilts and I would have to say it was my own design. I talked to Nanette about her selling patterns on her blog. I really appreciate all that she told me she was ever so helpful. I thought about doing like she does and just putting the patterns on the side bar. But I feel a little weird about trying to sell things to my friends. I never give those house parties where people come to buy things like Pampered Chef. I never want my friends to feel obligated to by stuff because they are my friends. So I created a website. Or rather I had one created. If you are interested stop by. See what I have done.

22 comments:

  1. That was really wonderful to read. So nice hearing all your background! I feel just the same as you about the selling/friends bit. Exactly the same:) I wish you every success:)

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  2. Well done Em....you are one clever lady!! CAthy

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  3. My goodness Emily - your patterns are wonderful. My favorite is Blowin' in the Wind but several others caught my eye as well. Congratulations on the new website - I know it's going to be a wonderful addition to your life. blessings, marlene

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  4. Well done on all your pattern designing and good luck in your new website. Loved the story about how it all came about!!

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  5. What a fabulous success story. Thanks for all the links as it will be fun to research them.

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  6. Good for you! Glad you are sharing online - I think it will only help your success :)

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  7. It was fun to hear about your background. Your site looks great. How wonderful how things have worked out! You are very talented.

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  8. Sounds like the same path I have been following, with publishing some of my designs. I am hesitant to offer them for sale on my blog,although some local quilt shops have carried them for me. Thanks for sharing your story - gives me inspiration to try harder.

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  9. Love your website. As soon as I can get my paypal straightened out, I want to order a pattern. I had to replace my debit card as my identity was stolen and it is taking awhile to reestablish things. People sure can complicate your life. Good luck on your business venture.

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  10. Hi Emily thanks for popping in. Congratulations and good luck with the new chapter of your life.

    The leaf and star patterns are very beautiful. I have a real soft spot for Autumn and it's colours.

    I couldn't see a price for the patterns though on the page or if there was international shipping or emailable PDFs to avoid things like import duty which we have on parcels over £18 in the UK. It's probably me just being a typical luddite and not looking properly. :-) Can you tell I'm not very technical?

    Well done on taking this brave step. I know what you mean about trying to balance craft/family/rest. It can be so hard especially at this time of year.

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  11. A superb post, Em. Skilful in its telling of your journey thus far. I am another that encourages and cheers you on as you move ahead, uniquely you.

    Success is along the path my friend, not at the end of it.

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  12. Fantastic! You have taken the plunge! You should never feel strange about selling the patterns you design. Quilters are wonderful people and love to see what is out there. If they truly enjoy what you are doing they are glad to stop by and shop. Your are very talented.

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  13. Good luck with your new web page venture.

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  14. YEA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Congratulations Em,beautiful web site.Your patterens are great for just being a beginner.I wish you great success and everything happens just as it is supposed to.
    Keep up the good work.

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  15. your story is inspiring and shows that we must be open to adventure...and see what comes, and be willing to take some risks.

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  16. Congratulations Em! You should be proud to sell your designs. It is important that designers get the proper credit for their work. I wish you all the best with this venture.

    Cheers Shari

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  17. We all have a journey don't we - to where we are now. How exciting and I'm very happy for you!

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  18. congratulations em! that's so great!!

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  19. Congratulations! That's very exciting. I hope it goes well!! I really like the Dancing Lanterns.

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  20. Congratulations on your patterns. That is so awesome and I had no idea! Best wishes on your continued success!

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  21. What a wonderful story/situation Em!!! Good for you! Wonderful patterns! I wish you much success! 8-)

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