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Discover the power of a word!

December 13th, 2017 by Morna

What’s In a Word?

Many people choose a “word” as a focus tool for the year. I have been doing this since probably 2005 when Kathy, the owner of the yoga studio where I practiced, passed around a basket with words. I chose “openness.” At the time I asked if I could pick a different word. After all, the woman next to me chose love, which seemed like a much better word. I remember Kathy telling me that I was stuck with openness because the word had chosen me.

I went home, taped the word onto my computer, and let it be an anchor as I went through the year. Looking back, I know that this made a tremendous difference in my year.

What it did was allow me to focus on being a person who was more open to opportunities, more open to challenges, and more open to other people. It required me to “be” or work on “becoming” a certain person.

That is what I like about choosing a theme, whether that’s one word, two words or a short phrase. It is not about resolving to do something. It is about becoming – becoming the person you want to be. You know those New Years resolutions you make every year? Lose weight, get organized, exercise more, the list goes on and on. The reason they don’t work is that you are still “being” the same person. You need to choose to “be” a different person. It’s the focus on being that makes a difference.

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Can you handle it?

December 6th, 2017 by Morna
Are you looking for help to craft business success from your creative passion? We can help! Sign up here for our Creative Arts Business Blueprint and Poster to get started.

Several weeks back I had a conversation with a colleague about her distress over a poor review of her book on Amazon. “But I want everyone to love the book,” she said, really meaning, “I want everyone to love me.” She believed that if someone did not like the book, they did not like her.

I think we can all fall into that trap, wanting to be liked. I can remember exactly when I decided I didn’t care if everyone liked me. I was working in the offices of an ad agency, and one of the men in the office told me he didn’t like me. Well, how could that be? I am truly likable. Then I thought about it and realized that I did not really like him. He had poor work habits, always sloughing his work onto someone else, and I generally did not like being around him. Why did I think I cared anyhow?

It is just not possible to avoid criticism, especially in our social media world. And, hey, it does hurt sometimes. And, you can learn to handle it.

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Are you confident?

November 29th, 2017 by Morna

 

When someone asks you about how confident you are about something, do you cringe and second-guess or question your abilities? And then self-doubt starts to set in. You feel stuck or paralyzed about taking action. You may be even one of those people who end up in a downward spiral to the point of giving up.

I feel confident about a lot of my creative skills. This Thanksgiving, I decided I wanted to make and decorate a cheesecake for dessert with our meal. The impetus came from a friend who made his living in the wedding industry. He had recently retired and shared a recipe. This recipe was good. So good, in fact, it paid his mortgage payment each month. And this cheesecake had a buttercream icing that was piped beautifully. Do I have those skills? Absolutely not. Did I feel a bit intimidated by the task? Definitely. Did self-doubt set in? Of course.

This is a just small situation, but it can play out every day in larger ways. Giving a speech to a large group for the first time or the 10th time. Entering your art in a show. Sharing a portion of your book in public. How did you get from feeling doubt to taking action to building confidence?  Here are some ideas.

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The under 45 quilter

November 15th, 2017 by Morna

The 2017 Quilting in America™ study took a specific look at a group of younger quilters, those under the age of 45. The complete study indicated an average age for the dedicated quilter of 63, down from 64 in 2014. Over time the average age had been increasing. This was the first time that the study delineated results for this subgroup.

The study reveals some important observations about this younger group of quilters. They are more likely to be an occasional quilter and less committed to the craft, largely based on time and work constraints. Here is what the studied showed about this important group:

  • Educated (4-year college graduate 35%; Post graduate degree 23%)
  • Affluent ($98,000 average household income)
  • More likely to be an occasional quilter, however, they still devote on average 10 hours a week to quilting vs. 13 for the total sample, which is substantial given the other demands on their time. And, this group is two times more likely to be employed full-time while devoting this time to her craft.

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Quilting is a $3.7 billion industry

November 8th, 2017 by Morna

HOUSTON- October 27, 2017- The results are in for the Quilting in America™ 2017 Survey. The survey shows that the annual industry value in terms of consumer spending is $3.7 billion. Quilting in America™ is presented by The Quilting Company and Quilts, Inc., but conducted independently by ORC International and Advantage Research, Inc.

Highlights of the Survey show an estimated 7 to 10 million quilters in the U.S., the total number of households with a quilter at 6 to 8.3 million, and an average dollar spending per quilting household at $442 annually- that’s a 48% increase over 2014. Modifications to information gathering for the 2017 Survey also reflect an even more accurate assessment than previous editions.

“Dedicated quilters are spending more time and money than in the past. It’s also exciting to see that over the past few years there has been a tremendous increase in the number of quilters who are utilizing websites, social media, and other digital resources to learn about quilting and buy quilting related products,” says John Bolton, Senior VP and General Manager, F+W Media.

“I know that quilters create with their hands, but they often speak with their dollars. And I am very glad to see that they are speaking loudly with their purchasing power,” adds Quilts, Inc. CEO and Founder Karey Bresenhan. “I am honored to be involved in such a creative and artistic community. An added bonus is that quilters are just some of the warmest and most generous human beings I’ve ever come across.”

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Sights and Scenes from Quilt Market

November 1st, 2017 by Morna

I spent most of the past week in Houston at International Quilt Market. I have been going since 1994, so I’ve seen quite a lot of changes over the years. I was talking with another vendor about how sophisticated the booths have become. In the “old” days we hung quilts on the poles and maybe did a little decoration. Today, some companies build an installation to showcase their products. It’s very exciting to see this energy in the industry. Here’s a bit of what I saw, both in words and pictures. If I had to narrow my impressions to one word, it would be streamers. More on that later.

Fusamat®

This is an appliqué pressing sheet developed by Sharon Bradley of New Zealand. The sheet has a “honeycomb” structure that traps the adhesive so it doesn’t spread. The transparent mat is tacky so your appliqué stays in place. It is also easily cleaned. You can watch a video of this product here.

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Hello Imperfection!

October 25th, 2017 by Morna

The other day I read this quote from Zen Monk Shunryu Suzuki: “You are perfect just as you are, and you could use a little improvement.” I hesitate to say that the quote struck me as “perfect.” Some of us spend too much time worrying about getting it perfect that we don’t get it done. I’m putting myself in this category as a recovering perfectionist. How about you?

The problem with perfectionism

At first glance, you may think that everything needs to be perfect, that you need to be perfect. And if it’s not perfect, you may put off releasing that new pattern, offering the new program, publishing your website, showing your art. This list goes on and on. And, you get so caught up in this spiral of trying to make everything perfect that nothing gets done. That’s the problem with perfectionism — it doesn’t work.

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Are you waiting to be rescued?

October 18th, 2017 by Morna

Do you remember the hit “Rescue Me?” I was listening to it on YouTube the other day. Depending on how old you are, the tune was recorded by Fontella Bass, Madonna, or Daughtry. While the lyrics are different, the theme is the same. The subject of the song is in need of rescue, rescue by someone else.

While you are not looking for a someone to save you in the terms of the song, do you have other instances where you are looking for a rescue? I will give you a few examples. Are you looking for someone to take over your books and then tell you what to do with your business? Are you delegating  some of your work and then not following up or keeping track of the work? Did you fall behind preparing for the next show and are scrambling for someone to get you out of the jam? When something doesn’t always work the way you want, do you look for someone to blame? If only she had ….

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Finding Your Social Media Platform

October 11th, 2017 by Morna

Do you get the feeling that you need to be everywhere on social media? And then you worry that if you are, you’ll never get anything else accomplished?

You are not alone with that thought. It does at times seem that everyone is everywhere. Just because it seems that way, it’s not really true. And, you’re right, you won’t get anything done if you are always on social media.

The good news is that you can have a presence on social media and have it work for you. Here are five tips for finding the social media platform that works for you, lets you connect, and helps you build a social media following.

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Lessons From Uncontainable

October 4th, 2017 by Morna

Have you ever been in The Container Store? One is located about 15 miles from my home, so I’m familiar with the store. I was a bit overwhelmed with the first trip. So many storage choices. I had no clue.

I wasn’t, however, familiar with its history. That’s where Uncontainable: How Passion, Commitment, and Conscious Capitalism Built a Business Where Everyone Thrives comes in. It’s written by the Chairman and CEO, Kip Tindell, along with Paul Keegan and Casey Shilling. It’s not just the story of The Container Store. It’s the story of Kip’s life and and how that showed up in his business. It also focuses on his commitment to what is know as the Conscious Capitalism movement. Interesting to learn that John Mackey, co-founder of the Conscious Capitalism Movement was Tindell’s roommate in college.

The book was the reading for our ICAP Members’ Studio Book Club in October. I originally selected it for two reasons. I liked his discussion of the corporate culture and the seven Foundation Principles of his company. And, his most trusted business advisors are women.

I’m not sure how many small artisans, particularly those who work from home and by themselves, take the time to think about what their guiding principles are.

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