Monday, October 19, 2009

E-Book on Sale!!

As you've read in earlier posts, my Chicagoland tour was a great success . . . I debuted my book, "Beyond Symmetry: A New Perspective," and sold over half of the books I had printed.

Well, I've got good news, bad news, and more good news . . .

Because of the ideas and suggestions from the participants in the design workshops, I'm working on a second edition of my book . . . my original book is now outdated . . . because so many of you have been patiently waiting for this book, I'm offering an electronic version at half price (only $10).

Here's how it works:
If you're interested in buying a copy of the e-book, please email me at, with "E-Book on Sale!!" in the Subject line . . . I will email you a PayPal invoice . . . once I've received confirmation that you've paid for the book, I will email you the .pdf file.

I'm currently waiting for PayPal to confirm that I am indeed the owner of my bank account. Once they're satisfied, I'll begin sending out invoices (hopefully by Wednesday).

Thank you for your patience . . .

Thank you for reading my blog . . . please leave a comment and follow me!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Rockford/Hinsdale '09 Tour is over!! . . . (was it all a dream??)

My feelings of euphoria faded fast when I woke up this morning in front of the computer terminal in the office--a pile of files beside me, and a line of people with requests in front of me (ok, maybe that's an exaggeration . . . the people in front of me at least asked, "how was the vacation??" before they asked, "could you do this for me??" and handed me another file).

Did I dream it all??

Last Thursday, I repacked my rental and drove north to Willowbrook, IL, a southwestern suburb of Chicago. I had time to check into my hotel, shower and change before leaving for the Hinsdale Community House for my lecture. I got a little turned around, but managed to arrive five minutes before the guild meeting started. A woman pointed me toward the stage at the front of the crowded room (there were about 200 women there), and pointed to the digital projector. "You can just plug your laptop into here," she said.

Um, er, I don't own a laptop, and I have a carousel of slides. "Don't you have a slide projector??" I asked. "I'll go ask," she said and bustled off.

I set up my display stand with my "Mardi Gras Men" quilt on it . . . I set up my framed magazine articles . . . I laid out my business cards . . . I unpacked my "trunk show" quilts . . . all in plain view of my expectant audience.

My contact, Terri, came up to me and said, "they don't have a slide projector . . . can you punt??" I said, "I guess I'll have to, won't I??" I sat at the foot of the stage while the guild conducted their business meeting . . . my mind was working a mile a minute. When Terri introduced me, she said that through no fault of my own I'd be unable to show my slides (there were audible moans).

I took the stage, opened my slide carousel, and held up the first slide. "This is my first quilt," I said, "and here is my third," holding up another slide. There were chuckles in the audience. I replace the slides in my carousel. Slides?? Slides?? We don't need no stinkin' slides!! I talked off-the-cuff and off-the-top-of-my-head for 45 minutes about how I started sewing; how I taught my father to sew; how I started quilting; and, I told stories about some of the quilts I've made (punctuated with, "I wish you could've seen THIS quilt!!"). I answered questions as I went along (instead of saving 'em for the end). I had volunteers hold up and parade the quilts I'd brought with me. Then, I dropped the bombshell--all the quilts had been made from the same set of templates, which segued into a talk about my design system and construction techniques. Several volunteers passed out my free design tiles, but ran out (I'm gonna have to send 'em some more before their next meeting). At some point, I asked if they'd heard enough of me, and the audience burst into an emphatic NO!! LOL!!

After my talk, I sold plenty of books, templates, and muslin foundations; many also took my business card, eager to get online and see what all the fuss was about!! Many agreed it was the best slide show they'd never seen!! I was in my element!! It was a great night!!

I had a small class on Friday morning for the design workshop. We had a fun day of coming up with new patterns. I had my copier with me, so the students could make copies and color 'em in. They were eager for Saturday's construction workshop. I asked Terri if she knew how many had signed up for Saturday and she told me 14. FOURTEEN?? I didn't have near enough muslin foundations for 'em all. Friday night found me in my hotel room, stamping muslin foundations to beat the band!!

I had a pattern in mind for the students who hadn't taken the design workshop. Students bought templates and muslin foundations and cleaned out my inventory. I walked 'em through my sandpaper-back templates: how to cut 'em apart and how to use 'em to cut their fabric. Everyone fell to cutting out fabric, some quicker than others. I walked 'em through the muslin foundations: where to start and how to sew 'em. Several students who hadn't taken the design class HAD taken the free design tiles at the lecture and came prepared with their own designs. For the rest of the students, I had to bite my tongue--once they sewed enough of the squares, they started designing patterns that were not the pattern I had in mind. I gave them free reign.

I couldn't have been happier as I drove back to St. Louis . . . not because I was leaving Hinsdale behind, but because of the great people I had the pleasure to work with, and the great input, feedback, suggestions, and ideas we all shared. My only regret was not having another guild lined up for NEXT weekend, LOL!! As usual, my partner, Ed, was glad to have me back home (Rambo and Sambo could have cared less) . . .

Thank you for reading . . . please leave a comment and follow this blog (there's more to come) . . .

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Rockford Files . . . a report and a reprieve

The trip to Rockford was a rousing success!!

The drive north was mostly uneventful (emphasis on "mostly"). I was listening to "Nostradamus Ate my Hamster" by Robert Rankin (read by the author). It was an interesting listen involving time travel, a subliminally-charged movie that literally converts the world, and Adolph Hitler (who gets his head bashed in to put him out of his misery). Unfortunately, I was so intent on hearing the end that I missed my exit (and the tollway). Several locals got me back on course, and I arrived at my hotel around 9:00 p.m.

I gave two lectures on Thursday, one in the afternoon and one in the evening. There were about 100 people at the afternoon lecture, and 50 people in the evening (the cold, rainy weather may have affected the evening attendance). Like at my lecture in Flint, MI last month, I gave away free copies of my design tiles to the guild members. I sold a dozen copies of my book and donated one copy to the guild library.

There were eight people in the design workshop Friday morning. Colleen, one of my students, told me her elderly mother had been in the audience the previous evening and took my design tiles home with her. Colleen said her mother was busily playing with the design tiles that morning. She thanked me for coming up with something to keep her mother occupied!! Do you think I should target nursing homes next??

There were five people in the construction workshop Saturday morning. I gave each student one set of my sandpaper-backed templates and sixteen pre-stamped muslin foundations. They asked if I had any muslin foundations for sale, and bought about a dozen bundles of eight foundations!!

I got some great feedback, suggestions, and ideas from the two workshops. I have a lot more material to add to the book later this year. Since the patterns are basically shape-driven, I've come up with a change of the design tiles for emphasis. There's interest in more products (templates, stencils, and muslin foundations) for sale.

I returned to St. Louis early Sunday evening. My partner, Ed, was happy to see me (the cats could have cared less). We had a relaxing evening . . . end of report.

On Monday morning, I bought and prepped more muslin . . . while I was washing the muslin at the laundromat, I met the part-owner of the video production office next door. Did I ever tell you about the DVD of my lecture in Flint, MI?? The audio was terrible!! The camera had no direct-feed microphone, so there was an echo-y quality to the sound, and you could also hear every cough, scraped chair, etc. in the room. Ryan said his company could fix that. He said they had studio facilities to film other presentations as well.

If you think my quilting is "out-of-the-box," just wait till you get a load of my videos!! I'm thinking/dreaming of lectures and workshops on DVD for those who would never see me otherwise. Just think: individual classes on the design tiles, block construction, and color theory you can watch again and again!!

I'm writing (and designing) copy for "packaging" for the templates and muslin foundations. I cut an additional 450 muslin foundations to stamp, but I may leave that for something to do in my hotel room.

I had been rushing around to get ready to leave Wednesday, but late Tuesday I learned that my hotel in Willowbrook is booked for Thursday, not Wednesday . . . a reprieve!! Now, I have additional time to make the sandpaper-backed tempates, bundle muslin foundations, redesign the design tiles for the workshop, etc., etc., etc. . . .

I'm a little busy at the moment . . . later, sweet taters!!

Thank you for reading this post . . . please leave a comment and follow this blog!!