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Reframe, Reflect + Reap the Rewards

rrr-planning2

December is often the month to look back at your year and plan ahead for the next one. In a recent blog, I discussed starting to plan by taking a look back at the good, the bad, and what you learned during the year.

This is the perfect time to evaluate what you learned and look for ways to reframe the challenges that you faced.

Reframing

What exactly is reframing? It’s a technique to help you look at a belief,  situation, person, or even a relationship to change its meaning in your mind. This shift in perspective can make a difference in your interpretation of a situation or belief.

Since we are artists, it’s easy to understand reframing in art terms. Any time we chose a new frame or a border for our work, it changes the look. It’s the same way with our minds.

Questions to ask yourself are:

What are the rules that you believe?

How could you change them to serve you better?

For example, if you believe that artists are not good with money, then it’s likely you won’t be good with money. If you try to create a rule that empowers or serves you better, you’ll see the results. In this example, you might reframe your rule as, “I’m smart enough to easily learn what I need to about money so that I can pursue my art and make a profit.” This puts you in charge of your results.

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Looking Back and Moving Forward

The end of the year is often filled with planning activities. For many creative people. though, the thought of planning is beyond boring.

It can be black and white — after all it does involve looking at numbers. When you get right down to it, though, getting your big dreams and goals down on paper and figuring out how to accomplish them is creative. Especially when you get out those colored markers and pencils!

For more than ten years, I hosted an annual Planning Day, and we always start with looking back. Instead of jumping into what next year looks like, take time to clear out this year. Look at the good, the bad, and the lessons learned. This will let you celebrate what you accomplished and put you in a positive place to start the new year.

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Evening rituals complete your day

Some time ago I wrote about the power of morning rituals, and how they set you up for success.  Evening rituals can be just as powerful to end your day. They add a sense of completion, build confidence, and set you up for the next day.

If you think about it, your evening rituals can have a significant impact on how your next day goes. A good evening can translate into a good morning. Unfortunately, a bad evening often leads to a not-so-good next day.

I think of rituals as mindful practices that you make that can be come habits. I have evening habits, or rituals, that make a difference. And, when I feel off one day, I can often trace the cause to the previous evening.

Here are some rituals to consider.

Review your day.

Take time to look back on the day and see what worked for you. At the end of his day, Benjamin Franklin asked himself “What good have I done today?” It was a follow up to his morning question of “What good shall I do this day?”

Consider what you learned. It’s not always something specific to a task, like a new way to use the software you just purchased or a shortcut to one of your art techniques. It could also be something that you learned about yourself.

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Behind the scenes at Quilt Market 2018

 

International Quilt Market was filled with inspiration as usual. Fabric. Notions. Quilts. Friends.

I filmed several Facebook Lives during Market. They are on our Facebook Page, so take a look and get a closer view at some of what inspired me. I toured Moda Fabrics, FreeSpirit, Northcott, RJR, and Benartex on the Market side of the floor. I also did an interview with Cathy Wiggins about her leather saddles in the Festival side of the floor.

Overall, I found that while I still found some brights in familiar lines, eg, the lines from In the Beginning and Westminster/Free Spirit, I did notice that colors were more pastel and a bit dustier. Backgrounds had more cream/beige than whites, as in the past. I saw also saw more small prints.

Garment patterns continue to be a strong addition to Market.

And tuffets were everywhere. It seemed every designer had a specially created tuffet to match her/his new line.

Here’s just a bit of what I saw

Fabrics

Michael Miller introduced 38 new color ways to its Color Couture line, which now features 214 colors for 2019. The colors seem to be a bit dustier or toned down, so it’s a swing from the very brights that we’ve seen in the past. I did a tour of the booth showing several new lines, which you’ll see on Facebook.

Forest Gifts, from Axelle Design and Michael Miller, is based on a family walk through the woods. The prints feature mushrooms, nuts, berries, leaves, and birds.

Susan Emory’s fun new line with Michael Miller is called Goat Island. She was inspired by an island in the Lake Gaston (NC) area of Pea Hill Creak. The line features, of course, goats, as well as a plaid, small prints, fish and sailboats.

In the Beginning Fabrics has digitalized its Dit Dot collection with the Dit Dot Evolution line with 40 colorways. The tiny dots make a great blender fabric.

Paula Nadelstern is celebrating 20 years designing with Bernartex. Her newest collection is More is More. The 22-piece collection includes an exquisite medallion panel to cut apart, a complex “fusion” allover, an interesting stripe, and lots of rich, textured allovers in brilliant colors. To celebrate the designer’s 20 years, Benartex hosted a scavenger hunt throughout Market. In addition to the fabric, Paula had two of her quilts on display as well as some large opulent beaded ornaments. 

Modern Quilt Studio in conjunction with Bernartex’s Contempo Divison has released its 18-piece Warp + Weft collection. These yarn dyes are full of color — reds, pinks, yellows, and greens — and texture — plaids, stripes, and wovens. They pair wonderfully with MQS’ Dots Crazy and Printology collections.

Northcott Fabrics is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its Stonehenge fabric brand. The newest collection is called Stonehenge Solstice. It features a panel representing the Stonehenge in England and 22 other complementary pieces. 

Linda Hahn introduced her first collection with Northcott’s Banyon Batiks brand. Titled Island Vibes, the nine pieces have a definite beachy vibe.

Machines + Notions

Bernina has introduced the Q 20 foldable table. This longarm sit-down machine opens to 47.25″ and folds to 9.” The size is perfect for those who need to put your machine out of the way at the end of the day. The SRP is $8999.

Quilters Select™ and Alex Anderson introduced Free Fuse, a semi-permanent fusible powder. This powder creates a semi-permanent bond between most fabrics, battings, and textiles. The bonding agent is activated by a medium heat iron and is needle-friendly and easy to use. It comes in a 2 ounce shaker and refills are available. Available in 2 ounce shakers.

Pudgie Parrot LLC has added four new colors  to its Your Nest™ line. Your Nest is now available in Martin, Flamingo, Hummingbird, Peacock, Bluebird, Cardinal, Raven. Your Nest is perfect for sewing or office supplies, even your phone, to keep yourself organized. It’s handy is so many places beside your sewing room. SRP is $18:95.

Special Exhibits

In addition to the premiere os Quilts: A World of Beauty, the judged show of the International Quilt Association, the show included nearly 50 special exhibits of quilts and more. Some of the exhibits that I enjoyed were the Power of Women; OURstory: Human Rights Stories in Fabric; the Best of Dinner at Eight Artists; Rising Stars — Jill Kerttula and Cecilia Koppmann; and Tactile Architecture™. You can see pictures of the winning quilts in the IQA exhibit here.

We were also treated to exhibits that were not quilts. Quilted Leather Art Saddles featured quilted, one-of-a-kind art saddles. You can see a video on our Facebook Page with Cathy Wiggins, the artist. And Cheryl Sleboda shared her Adventures in Comics and Cosplay. The exhibit featured Cheryl’s new cosplay-centric product line and her quilts, which were based on a series of techniques of legendary comic book artist Jack Kirby and reinterpreted.

It’s your turn!

What did you see at Market that struck you?

 

The Fortune Is In the Follow-up

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How good are you at follow-up? You know, that is where the money is.

I was talking with a few of my clients who were heading back from Quilt Market with lots of follow-up items. Some were clearly immediate, such as filling orders, and those get processed right away.

The problem for my clients was that they came back with all these notes that weren’t really money related or where they couldn’t see the clear money connection or where they couldn’t remember the conversation. Plus they felt overwhelmed getting back in gear. And, the follow-up is in question.

What I have found through the years is that when I pay attention to following up on a consistent and timely basis, it lets me build better relationships, which is really my goal, and that means adding to my business bottom line.

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Leverage to grow your creative business

 

You’ve probably heard people talk about leverage. And not the TV show of recent years. Leverage is about using a resource to its maximum advantage.

When I think of leverage in your business, I think of it as a triangle with Time, Money, and Knowledge + Talents + Passion as the three sides. When you start your business, you have all these elements in varying degrees. And likely some are limited.

         TIME (1)

As you grow your business, you begin to have more of each and can use each to its maximum advantage. And, you can leverage other people’s time, money and knowledge, too.

You invest in each of them because you want something back in your business. You have an expectation of a return on this investment.

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What’s Your ROR?

 

You’ve heard of ROI – return on your investment. It’s where you figure out if the amount of money you invest comes back to you at a greater return, whether that is a profit or cost savings. Technically your ROI could be negative, which means you lost money.

You may have heard of ROTI – return on your time invested. You look at where you are investing your time and determining whether or not it produces a return.

I have a new one to share: ROR – Return on Relationships.

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Are trade shows worth your time?

 

Quilt Market, the quilting and soft crafts industry trade show, starts in a few weeks. I’ve been going since 2004. I’ve gone as a vendor, a member of the press, and an educator. Today when I’m not teaching, I spend my time walking the floor, networking, and making connections.

I have always been a fan of trade shows, partly because I love all the tchotchkes. I have buttons, coffee cups, pens and even a couple of stuffed animals from the trade shows I have visited. I have developed quite the reputation among my family and friends for enjoying trade shows.

If you are on the fence about going to Quilt Market or any trade show, here are some reasons why you should make the time.

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Building a Healthy You and a Healthy Business

Do you give much thought to how your general health affects your business? You may not think they are connected, but they are.

Truthfully, your own personal wellness should be a priority. Without a well you, your business suffers. In the extreme, you become run down, exhausted, and burned out — and so does your business. In the short run, you can lack focus and just aren’t as productive as you need to be.

In my own life I’ve seen this. I used to prioritize nutrition and exercise and sleep. At one point, I started down a slippery slope. I wasn’t exercising like I should. I used to have a personal trainer who came to my house, and when her schedule changed, I started to slack off. I used to go to yoga. When my personal schedule changed, I didn’t fit it in. Sure I was still walking every day with my friends, but that wasn’t enough. As I would learn, I was actually overexercising or doing the wrong kind of exercising.

On the nutrition front, I thought I was eating healthfully. And, while I probably was for the most part, I wasn’t eating enough. I’m sure you know the mindset. You must cut your calories to lose weight. And, of course, you have to give up everything that you love to eat!

And, this showed up in my business, particularly around focus and energy.

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Finish the Year Strong

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It’s  the beginning of October and, if you are at all like me, you’ve look at the end of the year and at all you want to accomplish before then. It could be trade shows, new patterns or programs, a rush to get your sales where you projected. And, then, of course, the holidays  — Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah — will be here before you know it.

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