Sunday, November 23, 2014


I just returned home after spending 5 days and 4 nights among the company of 17 wonderful fellow quilters and artisans. We sewed, we quilted, we laughed we shared and there was even the opportunity to learn about INSTAGRAM! We were also taking pictures with our phones and cameras and the photos here in this blog post were captured by many of the retreat attendees as well as by myself.

We arrived just prior to lunchtime on Wednesday. Most everyone quickly unloaded their vehicles, chose a spot to sit and sew and a room. It was a pretty orderly process and everyone helped each other with getting their things inside the building and set up. That really set the tone for the entire stay. After a quick walk over to the log cabin for lunch, we headed back to sew our hearts out. The sewing machines started to hum almost immediately and continued throughout the week. There was a really fine vibe and buzz in the air as everyone introduced themselves to each other and checked out what items the others had brought to work on for the duration of our retreat. Some people brought one thing, some brought two or three and many brought multiple items even six or seven!

The one thing all of us had in common was quilting and sewing. There was a multitude of sharing that went on at all hours. We may have come to retreat as strangers or mere acquaintances, but we left as close friends and in awe of each others talents and abilities to complete the beautiful projects we worked on.

As we walked to dinner on Thursday evening, it was very cold, dark and it had just started to snow lightly. We sewed into the wee hours of the night and much to our surprise, woke on Friday morning to 2 inches of snow! It made our surroundings a beautiful winter wonderland. Everything was white, shiny, glistening with nature's chill.

We even ended up being visited by a tiny snowman on the deck railing outside the common room where we sew. Frosty ended up acquiring a cute little scarf to keep him warm in the freezing temps. The sun was out and eventually everything melted, but for a few hours we all felt and enjoyed the magic of winter's first snowfall.

I am sure you are probably wondering what things were finished during our retreat. Here are some photos...

We were never too far from technology with the free wifi and some of us even got INSTAGRAM lessons from Ruth.

We even played a quick 10 card round of Cards Against Humanity. It was super fun because we sat in the middle of the room with the non-players around us and they were laughing right along with us. Mary Kirchoff was the lucky winner of CAH, and it was her first time playing the game.

We had brought five design walls with us and there was always something beautiful to see at any given moment on each of them. In addition to the walls, there were comfy chairs and couches, often adored with quilts and works in progress.

Okay, so we managed to take a group shot before some of the quilters left on Friday evening.

And then just for fun, the funny face picture! Pick your favorite one!

I didn't really finish anything that I brought with me. I did manage to get these hexies pieced, but had forgotten the other fabrics and pattern I needed to complete the top. LOL! I did finish a 3 dudes top which I had started in my jelly roll class last Sunday. Did not take a photo. I guess I will blog about it when I finish it. I also managed to wrap a couple of clotheslines with fabric that have since been made into baskets for the upcoming Holiday Boutique in December at rock,paper,scissors.

Thanks to everyone of my quilty friends that came to the NJMQG retreat 2014. I don't know about you, but I had a wonderful time and I can't wait to do it again. See you on Instagram and Facebook soon!

#NJquiltretreat14 #quiltingretreats #friendsquilting #modernretreat

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Long Arm Quilting Business Lesson Learned

I have always been a believer that competition is a great thing. In business, it keeps us honest and on our toes.

I was at quilting retreat and on vacation last week and weekend. I had a wonderful time. I will blog about that in another post. However, being on vacation means that I was not at my studio, working and taking in new customers.

Due to a much appreciated referral, I received a phone call while I was gone and the nice lady left a message that I should call her back that day. It was a Friday. I received the message on Sunday evening when I returned home and I called and left a message for the quilter that I had been gone and would call her on Tuesday when I would be available to speak freely with her.

I did call her as promised on Tuesday afternoon. Unfortunately for me, she had already found another quilter to perform the custom quilting job. She apologized that she had gone to someone else and I explained that she didn't need to apologize, as I was the one that had not been available. We actually had a lovely discussion about her quilting, guild membership and other stitchy subjects. She had planned to call me last night to let me know that she was taking her quilt to Allentown, PA to be quilted. She is looking for someone closer to where she lives in Northern NJ.

I gave her my cell phone number so she could always reach me in the future. I wasn't upset over the loss of potential income, as I am quite back logged at this point in the busy season of long arm quilting. I just felt bad that I did not have the foresight to forward my business line to my mobile number while I was gone. herein lies an important lesson learned by me this month. Hopefully, this quilter will come to me the next time and I will earn her business in the future.

I am wondering if other self employed artisans have thought about this? I hope that by writing about it I can help others avoid a missed opportunity. Comments and feedback welcome!