craft business

Slow and steady progress

Merry Christmas to me!  I wore my new, smaller size jeans to dinner tonight!

You see, I began this journey back in late June.  My original plan was to be at my goal weight by Christmas. Instead, I’ve made it to the half-way point.  That’s okay with me. I’m choosing to celebrate my progress rather than bemoan the fact I probably have another 4-6 months to go before I am at goal weight.  The reality is it’s much harder to lose weight in mid-life than it was in my early 20’s.  From mid-November through New Year’s, I merely want to maintain my weight and enjoy the holidays. So far, so good.

My Christmas present was a trip to the week long Featherweight workshop and Lori Holt quilt retreat in McCall, Idaho in June, 2019.  I WILL be at goal weight when I get on the plane bound for Boise with Juliette, my beloved Singer Featherweight sewing machine, in tow.

In this world of instant downloads, quick quilts and rapid weight loss, we tend to forget how hard it can be to achieve an important goal. Slow and steady progress is still progress and should be celebrated. It gives you incentive to keep moving forward toward the end goal. Last Friday, I went around with the reading incentive cart to reward students who’d read at least 10 books during the 9 week grading period. Several of my second graders had blown the doors off that goal. They were so proud when they showed me their reading logs. All of those readers had advanced by at least two full reading levels during this grading period.  Kind of like my weight loss. It might be slow, but it’s been steady and I’ll eventually get to my goal about the same time my second graders get to their year end reading level goal (Level M on F&P for those who are curious).

Merry Christmas and here’s to an exciting 2019!!




Kid's Sewing, craft business, sewing classes

Happy Turkey Day!

Mom asked me to remake my Grandmother’s vintage placemats that were literally worn out.  (She originally asked in 2017, but I am happy to report she got her placemats in time for Thanksgiving 2018.)  I decided to turn this into the November Kid’s Club project. I’m also happy to announce that thanks to numerous requests, an official pattern will be coming soon. 🙂



craft business

Professional Development Day = Reality Check

Today, I got to attend the state educational technology conference. I really enjoyed meeting up with some of the library colleagues whom I almost never get to see and compare notes on lessons, books and what’s working/not working in our libraries.  As much as the “research” shows fixed schedule media centers are definitely not best practice, more and more Cobb elementary specialists are being placed into the specials rotation. It was rather disheartening to learn today that one of my colleagues was placed in the rotation at her school this year.  When my colleague reached out to our district supervisor for help, she shared that she was informed that it was “her [my colleague’s] own fault that she got put in the rotation.”  Ouch!  (I’m sure there’s a lot more to the story on both sides.)  That said, I feel her pain. It’s the same supervisor who responded to my sewing/maker club by commenting “how quaint.”  Now, you see sewing machines as a regular part of STEAM activities and maker spaces. 

At the end of the day, I realized that while my situation isn’t ideal, I certainly don’t have it as bad as some other folks.  Think I will focus on being a little more grateful for the current job instead of bitching about it all the time.

Grateful for:
1. A job that pays decently well.
2. A job I enjoy most days.
3. A certain level of autonomy with what and how I teach.
4. The opportunity to be creative during the day (maker space).
5. Colleagues I really enjoy working with.
6. Admin that encourages professional development and skill building.
7. Opportunity to give back/make a difference (even if the munchkins don’t appreciate it.)

craft business

Outsmarting my Janome 8900 QCP

Gotta love computerized sewing machines.  Actually, I really do LOVE this machine. 🙂

I have the regular model 8900 – not the SE version.  It meant that some of the specialty needle plates would not work in my machine – like the 3 hole straight stitch plate. In an earlier post, I showed how hubs had drilled the right needle hole and I switched out the little doodad on the back with the one for the all purpose needle plate.  Wonders of wonders, the little plastic doodad underneath is what tells the computer what kind of needle plate you have.  I purchased a 100% authentic 3 hole straight stitch plate and the sewing machine wouldn’t recognize the needle plate. Gave me some error message about not being compatible.  Yeah, right.  Out came the screwdriver and I changed the little doodad on the back.  Bought a little HP Professional Foot online for $6.99.  Don’t understand why I need the HP Professional Plate with a left needle position when my 3 hole needle plate works just fine. I image it will work fine with the 2 hole straight stitch plate that came with your machine, too!

What really interests me, though, is the HP2 walking 1/4″ foot. The regular single Accuflex foot is a pain for piecing because you can’t start right at the fabric edge due to the “grabbing mechanism” behind the foot.  I wonder if the HP2 foot has that same set up, or if the foot was redesigned to incorporate the grabbing mechanism is such a way that you could use it from the edge without having to “help” the fabric move forward until the “grabber” can pull the fabric.  If so, I have a feeling it will work on the 8900 with my modified 3 hole straight stitch foot – just fine!

Anyone have this foot and can post side by side pics with the Accuflex single VD foot for comparison?

Update 11/24/2018 – The new HP2 foot is very similar to the Accuflex single foot with the grabber behind the sole. Probably works well for chain piecing, but not so much for the way I sew.  If you need a 1/4″ presser foot with walking foot capability, take a look at the Pfaff Passport or the Singer Featherweight C240. 

craft business

You charge how much for that?

Otherwise known as why I stopped making quilts for hire (except for special people).

I run a business – even if it’s on a part-time basis and not my primary source of income – it’s still a business. My goal is to make a profit.

As much as I enjoy turning treasured t-shirts into keepsakes for folks, I can’t do that for $75.00 ($300-$400 maybe but not $75) – but there are companies out there that can.  Will the workmanship be the same? Oh, hell no. However, the individual will be getting something that he/she feels will meet their need at a price they are willing to pay.   That’s what matters.

Switching my business model to primarily teaching and tech-editing has been very good for me. It’s something that I can easily do in tandem with the day job. If I’ve been on my feet all day teaching library classes, I can still edit a pattern on my computer that evening with my feet propped up.  It’s also fun to work with designers and help them bring new designs to market. I’ve learned new skills, as well. I’ve actually published one pattern of my own and have another in the works. Besides, I earn more teaching and tech editing than I do making t-shirt quilts.  It took me a long time to accept this.

Goals for 2019 include increasing the number of tech editing clients to a certain level. If you are in need of tech-editing services, or know someone who is – please drop me a line. I am currently accepting projects for January 2019.



craft business

Asking for what you REALLY want

Why are we, as adults, so afraid to ask for what we want?  My 2nd – 5th grade students have absolutely NO problem in this area.  They are absolutely fearless in asking for anything and it doesn’t phase most of them in the least if I say, “No.”  They just carry on.

I need to be more like my kids.

The school district’s HR department will soon be sending out forms asking what we intend to do employment-wise for the 2019-20 school year.  I will checking the TRANSFER box. If I weren’t so close to meeting my years of service goal for retirement purposes, I’d be checking the RESIGNATION box.  (Sad to say, many teachers I know feel the same way.) So, at the last librarian meet-up, I put my name out there as a candidate for any anticipated middle school vacancies.  Hormones I can handle. I also find that I actually prefer teaching 5th-8th grade students in my sewing classes. They are much more independent and have the stamina to stick with the project at hand.

I will be asking for a change in work assignment for the upcoming school year.  I’ve finally realized that things are not going to change at my current school. My supervisors choose not to utilize my talents, respond to requests in a timely fashion or appreciate my efforts. It’s like I’m invisible. I’m damned good at what I do as a librarian, library teacher, media specialist, learning commons coordinator – whatever you want to call it. I still enjoy matching my readers with great books and teaching them how to research the $%^& out of a topic. Until this changes, my sewing business will always be a side hustle. Nothing wrong with that.