Sunday, August 27, 2017

Measure twice cut once...

if only we applied this to our lives!


The skills of learning a hobby teach us valuable life lessons.

Starting any type of project ask yourself whether you have the skills needed or do you need to take a class or two first?

Do you have the needed tools to create the project or do you need to do research before purchasing needed equipment?

Possession of the necessary knowledge with the added skills of positioning, proper hoop skills, and testing before stitching on the “end” product will save dollars, frustration and time.

Setting up a work-space for efficiency is an additional smart move. When a work room is laid out with specific purposes to accommodate steps along the way, any job finishes faster with better results.

Designing a realistic budget for the planned project is essential. The shorter the deadline, the less chance you will have for sale pricing. If you can plan, then more time is available to shop the project taking advantage of specials, and seasonal pricing promotions.

The incredible attraction to machine embroidery is with a push of the button a beautiful design will stitch on a selected project with great results. But before that can happen one must know how to pick the right stabilizers, needle, and thread
Supplies and equipment needed take space and planning the room arrangement and lighting in advance will serve you well.

All the above applies to building, cooking, photography, home repairs,  quilting, sewing and daily living! Whether measuring or taking on a new project weigh out the possibilities twice before moving forward ;)

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Brain clutter It is not always the stuff in the room that is a good toss out!

I remember years ago feeling sorry for friends who could not multitask. When my kids were little, I would write notes in my gray notebook that I carried for ten years.  Every day I would have a schedule written out crossing items off throughout the day.  I would drive my kids all over town for different activities after school. I do not mean just 10 minutes away; I am talking about an hour away so they would have the best coach, the best tutor, and filling vacancies with the doctor and dental appointments.   While they were in school, I was busy running PTA committees, serving on the tennis board, running a book club, and booking restaurants for the “Lunch Bunch.”  The list was endless, and because I appeared to be so organized to others, I was regularly approached to do one more thing.  My house was neat, the crock pot was my best friend and my friends marveled, except for one. I multi tasked so well that the one person whom I did not focus on was myself.

I look back at the friends who did not multitask and realize they were happier keeping life simpler.
I learned to embrace a simple statement,  “I would love to but I cannot.”  If I need to decline an opportunity “thank you so much for thinking of me, I am booked” and offer an alternative.

I recommend this now to all sewing students who get embroidery machines and software.
Committing to projects you are not ready for can ruin a great hobby.  Just say, no! Keep it simple. Don’t run the story of what others will think. Live in the moment.  That is something I work at every day. I invite you to join me in this quest.

The less you have in a room, the easier it is to focus on the task at hand. Start a new project in a clean, organized area; you will finish the project faster.

The same rule applies photography. First, de-clutter the background If you want to draw focus on a particular item or person.   What is the back drop? Does it add or subtract from the content you want to emphasize?
People who play television/music in the background may feel more relaxed, but they work at a slower pace.

The brain can focus on only one item at a time.  Forget what the efficiency experts tell you. Stay mindful at the moment.

Moreover, if you lose concentration and your mind is not in the same location as your feet watch out!









Thursday, June 1, 2017

Un-Clutter Your Life, then focus on the sewing room!

The best way to organize anything in your life is to discard the things you do not need.

This can include material items, unnecessary expenses, time commitments, and unsupportive relationships (such as the “friend” who judges you constantly or a relationship wherein you and the other hold discrepant core values).

The list goes on and on.  I realized in 2016 that I had a lot of "stuff" that added no real value to the relationships and life goals that matter most to me.

Do you have ‘things’ stopping you from achieving your goals and keeping you out of alignment with your core values?

Here's an example from my own life: I wanted to change the direction of my blog yet there were commitments that kept getting in the way. In the process of traveling for RNK, I took time off from CookiesCreations.com to really look at my value system and examine whether or not those each item that required my personal or professional time aligned with these values.  Yes, I still filled orders, but blogging, newsletters and posts took a backseat while I sorted and discarded items and commitments that did not line up with a short list of values. I started small and have continued to refine my list.

My short list: family and friend relationships, helping others, and a career that aligns well with personal core values. Identifying your core values provides you with a road-map to becoming your best self and makes it easier to identify that which you are better off discarding. I'm not implying that it’s easy to decline commitments or to let go of things; however, it is easier to say no to things once you recognize that they do not reflect your values and life priorities.  Wisely setting limits also saves you from later feelings of resentment when commitments build up, clutter accumulates, and social engagements become unnecessarily draining.

Here are some self-realizations about sewing that came to light once I removed cluttering thoughts, commitments, and unproductive relationships and then reclaimed time to realign:

  • I love sharing embroidery, sewing and quilting skills with others. I enjoy teaching and my position with RNK supports this value.
  • I hate clutter in the sewing room and in all areas of my life. When there is clutter on my desk, I can't think. When there is clutter in my email, I get derailed from my task at hand. Taking the necessary time to set up mail filters has streamlined my inbox and allows me to stay focused.
  • Keeping the tools of the trade organized on a peg board in view is better than searching through drawers.
  • It's more productive to spend time with people who share many of the same values (That doesn't mean people who think differently should not be friends.  I am talking about core values).
Before removing clutter and organizing your own sewing space, make a list of your core values and the order of what matters most to you.  If you love to sew, this will free up time to make this aspect of your life wonderful and improve all the areas that matter most. Schedule in your sewing time as you would other appointments and watch your creativity become unleashed.
Ready to organize?  Check out my board:





Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Do your skills and talents line up with your daily choices?

A new stage in my life: working for another company, outside of CookiesCreations.com that I have come to love. It didn't happen overnight. I was using many of their products for years thanks to Marc Briley at Ashby Sewing in Kennesaw, GA.

 For the last several months, I have been focused on creating new projects and samples while learning new techniques for my position at RNK Distributing I can only smile when I tell you that I love the products and my new talented friends. And in truth, I knew many of them from the beginning days of machine embroidery. For those on my Facebook Fan Page, you have been making this journey with me while my blog has been put on hold. Now after 4 intense months of stitching in-between events, I am happy to be back online here.  Oh yes, it means I had to let a few other "jobs" go. That's part of the learning process of life, right?

Floriani Americana Applique
It is amazing how all the lifetime skills you have learned through experience will pull together all at once and then you realize how all the "growing pains" have served you well.

Remember when parents said, "that which doesn't kill you makes you stronger".  While death was never a threat, there have been things in life that felt over whelming.  On the other side of those moments, you can see clearly how those same things provided a strengthening of character and perseverance.  Those type of challenges provide us with time management skills like the ability to say no, or to prioritize items in the order of importance or heaven forbid "impact". Oh, and let's not forget learning to have a poker face at the worst times of your life.  It's a skill through lessons learned.

RNK Thread Nest Tool
Tips from recent last few months learned through RNK:

  • Flying is fun, 
  • You can do Facebook posts and planning strategically up in the air! 
  • Embroidery and sewing or any skill must be a passion for you not to burn out while creating samples for work.  
  • If I read the product and stabilizer directions and follow them, I will have beautiful embroidery. If I don't do it correctly, I will have many samples of what not to do for my machine embroidery attendees. 
  •  Same holds true for following the recipe directions for dinner and avoid getting overly creative at the last minute.
  • Midnight sewing is not an occasion but rather a way of life when you don't say NO enough times. 

I expect to be getting my doctorate in "kNOw" within the close of 2016 - that is the art of saying no without any chance of a yes.


Things I have come to love in my last year with RNK: besides my Hot Fix and Thread Nest tools which I use weekly:


  • I now love quilting, paper piecing and hexagons, who knew?
  • Back of my Hexi's is so cool!
    Great companies attract nice peopled who strive to provide exceptional service. RNK yes!
  • If you disagree with something, share your thoughts with those who can initiate change.
  • Different eyes looking at a project can be the best gift for ideas ever.
  • Knoxville accents are adorable, and can be contagious!
  • You can love not only what you do for a living but also the people you interact with.
  • A critique is a good thing; it means someone cares enough to take time out for you to help improve skills.
  • Never stitch a thing without Floriani Chrome needles, I put them in my Babylock, Bernina and Brother machines. No more frustration with skipped stitches, broken threads, and shattering needles. Safe at last!.Not a sales pitch, it's a fact I embrace.
  • List things in alphabetical order to avoid favoritism as everyone has a favorite brand of machine!
  • Keep a log of projects and post them for inspiration with frequency.  
Anything that I have learned, is something all of us deal with in one way, or another. It's the realization of how all the puzzle pieces of your skills and talents fit together that makes a good opportunity a great choice. 

How do your skills and talents line up with what you do on a daily basis? Heading to Ohio this week, can't wait!



Friday, May 13, 2016

Fear of Flying has been overcome thanks to machine embroidery!


Work, family, and even hobbies can force us to face our fears. At times, this can mean confronting a long-held fear from childhood, but it can also be times in which we must perform a skill in which we lack confidence. 

I remember being on a plane with my dear friend, Pat Patterson, who shares my fear of flying. Pat and I became friends after meeting through an online embroidery forum.  We did exactly what we tell our kids not to do and exchanged info and met up. Pat and I became fast friends and soon decided to be daring and fly to Las Vegas to participate in one of the earliest embroidery conferences.  

Pat and I white-knuckled it together on the flight over. We quickly realized that if the plane went down, our children would never want our machines and they would go wasted.  We began writing our wishes on paper.  We left each other every machine with the exception of our simple straight sewing machines. We knew our kids would need at least one decent sewing machine, whether they believed it or not.  Being able to mend items at midnight matters!  Luckily, we arrived safely in Las Vegas and had a fabulous time, purchasing tons of designs and connecting with fellow embroidery enthusiasts.  Brimming with new sewing tips and ideas, we flew back to Atlanta, still nervous during the flight, but no longer writing out last will and testaments. 

What I learned from this experience was that my “fear of flying” was less about planes and more about my lack of confidence in exploring places on my own.  Few people would work for the airlines if planes crashed on a regular basis. They really are safer than car travel. And the real laughter I have is coming to the realization YEARS LATER, that if the plane had crashed, neither Pat or I would have "inherited" our prized machines.  In fact, no one would have read our lists!  

What made me revisit this experience was my recent travels to California to teach machine embroidery-related classes. During that trip, I met up with Betsy Phillips, another attendee from the Las Vegas event of so many years ago.  We reminisced about that spectacular time and as we parted, I was again struck by how a hobby can be the catalyst to helping us conquer our fears.