Thursday, 6 December 2012

The week that was....

The weeks leading up to Christmas are busy, often hectic for most people. I am rarely organised and this year is no exception. I can count on one hand the number of gifts that I have purchased, and to this point I have managed to avoid all conversations regarding family events and who will bring what etc etc....LOL Sensible?? Probably not. But I have found the need to protect myself, create a little space to deal with things as they happen, and I only let something else in when there is room. Unfortunately my carefully choreographed dance of "avoidance till I am ready" doesn't always work....

Lets start this story last Wednesday.

I have 4 children, and in a short few months 3 of them will be over 18...combine that with the knowledge that my youngest is probably the most independent and sensible of the lot of them and it appears that the job of mothering is mostly done. Well all of us that are mothers know that is not actually the case...lol My brood are all still living at home and although I let the older ones go about their own business, their proximity does mean I am aware of all their comings and goings...Along with that comes a degree of worry. I am getting better and stepping back, but it is a learning/letting go process. On Wednesday morning my eldest son Hayden headed of on a big traveling adventure. He is nearly 20 and has never been on a plane in is life....and he chooses to go to Canada for his first venture!! Don't get me wrong I am very pleased he was going...there was a time when I worried he would never do anything but work and play on his computer....but I don't fly AT ALL anymore because of fear, so it was natural that I would feel apprehensive about him heading off. Thankfully he has arrived safely....and is enjoying his time, but those couple of days till I heard from him had me just a little worked up!

There were 3 more events on the family calendar between Hayden leaving and today....My Dad was to celebrate his 70th birthday on Sunday. On the same day my husband and I celebrated our 23rd wedding anniversary and on Tuesday of this week our youngest son Marcus, who has just finished his Year 12 exams, was to have a Mastoidectomy. This was a  follow up surgery to one that removed a large Cholesteatoma from his left middle ear 18 months ago. (If you want to know anymore about either of those medical terms...Google them...lol) The first operation went for 5 hours and was brutal...the recovery was long and painful, so to say that there was a high degree of anxiety for us all is an understatement.

So what we DIDN'T need in the middle of all that, was for our lovely, but very demented dog to take a turn for the worst. I bathed him on Thursday as it was lovely and warm. Bathing him had become traumatic for both of us. It was clearly uncomfortable for him and lately I have been reduced to tears each time realising just how poor his physical condition was becoming. Although difficult the bath seemed to have some sort of revitalizing power. I sat in the shade and watched him roll and gallop around the back yard trying hard to "remove" the clean I just put on him....lol That was the last day I saw him happy....From Friday we all noticed a very obvious deterioration. His ability to stand and walk was disappearing, he lost interest in food...which for a dog that is part Cocker Spaniel is almost unheard of. Where he had been sleeping very deeply and soundly for long long periods, his rest became fretful and he woke at the smallest movement around him. Most telling, he just looked sad....done in, worn out! As a family we have been both anticipating this time and dreading it...I had just prayed it would come at a time when we had the space to process and grieve. This we not the week for that! Husband and I decided at 1am Sunday morning ( as he was heading out to a night shift) that I would call the Vet in the morning and book an appointment for Monday morning, we just hoped he would stay some degree of stable till then. He did not. We returned home from the birthday Party at around 8pm on Sunday and decided we needed to put him at rest as soon as possible. We called the Vet and loaded him in the car....as the convoy prepared to leave, I balked. I made the decision to stay home while my husband, the 3 children not in Canada, 1 boyfriend & 1 girlfriend accompanied Socks on his final journey. In barely no time at all they returned without him.......

Monday we set up the Christmas tree: a pleasant and necessary distraction for us all.

Tuesday morning Marcus and I gathered our things and were driven into the Royal Victorian Eye & Ear Hospital.  Thankfully he had a late admission time as he was on the afternoon surgical list. We were both extra nervous as he had developed a mild head cold overnight and we were worried they would send us home. Thankfully the anesthetist was not concerned and were able to proceed...though it was still not a smooth ride. All the lights were flickering as we made our way to the basement in the elevator (I hate elevators). Upon arrival we were informed that the hospital was operating on it's back up generators as the power had gone off to the whole city block!!!There was a risk that the whole afternoon list would be cancelled ..... UUGGHHH! It was a very tense 15 min as I considered the possibility of having to come back and go through all the waiting and preparation again after Christmas....so we were VERY pleased when the word came we were back ON! I said goodbye to my boy in the anesthetic bay...and wandered off to find my mother so we could get lunch. Thanks goodness she was with us as chauffeur and distraction for me!! Pretty much 2 hours after I had seen him wheeled away I was called to say he was in recovery and awake!! The time frame was of significance to me....going in we had been told that quick meant everything was ok,  longer meant more work had needed to be done! Before even speaking to the Surgeon I KNEW we had a good result. The Professor confirmed that the ear was clear of any regrowth and we should expect to not need any more invasive treatment for this problem! Music to MY ears...LOL The hearing Marcus lost in that ear will not be recovered....but he will not lose anymore! A hearing aid is a possibility but is also not strictly necessary! I stayed with him till around 10pm when husband arrived to collect me....then home, dinner (yes at 11pm) put the bins on the curb then into bed! Then up to go back in to collect him mid morning! Was so VERY pleased to see him up and about and itching to get home. Such a far cry from the recovery phase of his first operation. He slept VERY well last night, and we are managing his pain. All is good.

2pm yesterday there was a wall, a truck or a bus....whatever it was I hit it or it hit me....I took myself to bed and rested for the afternoon.

Today I am just sad!

Picked up some groceries this morning....I nearly lost it in the pet food isle when I collected a bag of dog food for the dog we still have....who would have thought buying dog food could illicit such a strong reaction. Clearly my emotions are still very close to the surface!

I am teaching a class tonight, and on Friday I have a Christmas party for a volunteering job I do weekly. That will end my regular commitments for this year....then I must shop and prepare for Christmas. I have time, right?? I am looking forward to that week in between Christmas and New Year...I have long treated it as a free week:  a week that feels like limbo....a week where I can do whatever I want guilt free. I think I will sleep!

Thank you for letting me share.....it has been helpful to debrief......


cheers

Lynda





Sunday, 25 November 2012

THE WINNERS - Pattern Giveaway 3...

.....I KNOW I am late late late....(hiding head in shame!)

The gold box has been put to work again....can you see your name?? If so please email me your postal address so that I can send you your prize. (See profile for email address)

I am still waiting on a few previous winners to put their hands up...

Giveaway 1 Maggie Satchel - Sue....where are you??

Giveaway 2  Lorraine Tote - Kendra (Judybee) & El in Oz.....??

If you think you know these 3 ladies can you give them a little nudge please.....

cheers


Lynda

Monday, 5 November 2012

THE WINNERS - Pattern Giveaway 2

I have been playing with the special gold box again....can you see your name??



Ladies please email me with your postal address so I can mail you your prize. (See profile for email address)

For those who missed out remember you can find the Pattern for the Lorraine Tote in the store and TOMORROW there is a 25% sale to celebrate Cup Day... (use the code CUPDAY) on check out to claim your discount.

Lynda

Sunday, 4 November 2012

PATTERN GIVEAWAY No 3

Well I kinda mucked up my schedule..and yes Romona is correct I MEANT to say 4th NOVEMBER! But as I was late with Draw No1, I am delaying Draw No2 until TOMORROW (Monday 5th NOVEMBER!!!) So stay tuned for THAT (so you still have time to add your comment and share the blog post with your friends if you haven't already!!).......BUT right now I am putting up the 3rd new pattern....

The Accidental Quilt

Another project based on Fat Quarters (just 8 in this one),  and with the addition of some background fabric creates a decent size quilt measuring in at 170cm square. If you utilize chain piecing you can get it together very quickly. Shown here in the very yummy Mama Said Sew collection from Sweetwater. (I have just secured some more border fabric so will have kits available in the store as from tomorrow)

For you chance to win one of 3 copies on offer, simply comment under this, the original blog post. If you share the post let me know and I will give you a double chance... I will let this one run till Thursday (the 8th of Nov) evening!

Cheers

Lynda

THE WINNERS - Pattern Giveaway 1

So firstly I forgot to do this last night coz I was busy cleaning up the shed...YES it is clean!! Then today I got distracted again...you can blame the Crafty Camel....she dropped in to visit!!

SO...I used the highly technical method of writing all the names on a piece of paper, scrunching them up and putting them in the special gold box. I then did the Hokey Pokey and pulled 3 out!! Can you see your name????
If so, please email me (lynda@patchworkpromises.com.au) to claim your prize!! Congratulations!!!

Lynda

Friday, 2 November 2012

PATTERN GIVEAWAY No 2



Time to get another giveaway rolling!! This time the Lorraine Tote Bag pattern! This one is named for my mothers younger sister, my Aunty Lorraine. I was shopping with her the day conceived this bag. I made things challenging for myself and created 2 variations. (which of course meant extra writing!!!!)

 Style 2 is featured on the cover....it is the more challenging of the two styles with the addition of some nifty metal hardware.

Style 1 is pictured on the right and is quick and simple to knock together.

 For both I have used a large border style print, you know the kind you are loath to cut up as it is just so gorgeous!!  If all you have is scraps to work with, why not stitch together a panel and cut the outer bag from it....I really believe this is a versatile pattern that will let you explore your creativity. The bag is simple, so add to it with interesting piecing and emblishments!!

 So you know the drill, comment for your chance to win. I will draw this one on Sunday evening the 4th of December. Share with your friends and let me know for the double chance...and YES you can be in the draw for both patterns....LOL

Cheers

Lynda



Wednesday, 31 October 2012

PATTERN GIVE AWAY No 1

Anyone who visits my FB page will know I have been madly getting 3 new designs ready for the Craft & Sewing Show....2 bags and 1 quilt! It was their first public outing and they all were all received well. SO over the next couple of days I will be giving some patterns away to celebrate!! 

We are starting with the Maggie Satchel!

This bag is named for my sister in law Margaret because it is practical but fun!

 It is a messenger style bag that is fully lined with an internal pocket. It features some great hardware, contrast piping detail and has an adjustable strap. It also has a nifty magnetic clasp that just snaps together when the flap is in place. It is a great mid sized bag that is practical and functional!! It measures 25cm (H) x 23cm (W) and is 8cm (D). I have made this style many times over and have found the front flap a great place to personalise the bag in someway. 

The pattern is presented in booklet form and includes detailed instructions and many diagrams to help you along the way. There is also pattern sheets with full size pattern pieces. The pattern has been drafted with a computerised drafting program so you be assured of 100% accuracy.
 

I have 3 patterns up for grabs. I am sure by now you know the drill leave a comment under this post for your chance to win a copy. Share the post (& let me know) and I will give you a double chance....Winners will be announced on Saturday evening the 3rd of November!

GOOD LUCK

Lynda 






Reviewing the week that was.....

I have been absent far longer than I had wanted to be...but I am BACK now and it is going to be an exciting week!!

I spent Wednesday to Sunday last week at the Craft & Sewing Show at Caulfield Racecourse. Talk about full on!! This is the 2nd event at which I have partnered with Lara from Chocolate Coated Patchwork (Soon to re branded as Batiks & Buttons, but more about that later). We consider it our most successful collaboration to date and we now have even more ideas to try out next time. Each time we refine our presence & our prociess and we are both looking forward to what we can put together next year!!

This was the first time I have taken the opportunity to conduct a daily seminar. It was a great experience and I believe, well received by those who attended. We certainly noticed that both seminars ( Lara presents a great one on Simple Spectacular Backs for your Quilts) generated a lot of activity with attendee's following us back to the stand! That kept us on our feet and busy for most of the day, which made the days go fast, but left little time for breaks. Eating & drinking on the run is rarely fun or satisfying and I have some work to do in regards to keeping myself hydrated. Thankfully it is only 5 days!!

The BEST thing about any event like this is meeting all the wonderful people who are as passionate about patchwork as I am! Some of my new friends have already been in touch and I look forward to building those relationships over time.

Add caption
NOW back to Batiks & Buttons!! Lara and I both launched new products at the Show (& I will be telling you more about mine soon) but Lara ALSO started getting the word out about the EXCITING changes that are happening in her business life. Firstly, the name change: chosen to reflect a change in focus for her business. She has a new FB page and a website on the way. I would encourage you to head over and "like" the Batiks & Buttons page for starters. That is where you will now be able to get updates regarding all the happenings. The 2nd piece of HUGE news is that Batiks & Buttons is opening a REAL shop down in Gippsland. Lara is busily setting up in the Glengarry Railway Station as we speak ready for the GRAND OPENING THIS SATURDAY the 3rd of November. The building is located at 20 Main St, Glengarry 3854 just off the Traralgon-Maffra Road.  I have been told she has marked down a LOT of fabric for the occasion. Bolts and bolts and bolts of it!! I think it is certainly worth the drive down!!

Ok time for me to cook dinner...I will be back this evening with another blog post that includes a little bit of fun.

Cheers

Lynda


Thursday, 18 October 2012

Hindsight is a wonderful thing......

.....or what a difference a day makes!

To say that the last couple of months has been stressful might be an understatement. Having a family, home and business to run certainly keeps one busy and at times there is stress but lately there has been EXTRA stress.  This extra stress has been business related, but it was external, unnecessary and due to the actions, or in this case the INACTION of 1 person. I only feel free to talk about it now, as it is mostly resolved but only just as of lunch time yesterday. The situation has taken a toll emotionally, physically and financially and like most situation that escalate out of control it is frustrating to acknowledge that it was completely unnecessary. I am not exaggerating when I say that it has put the future of my business at risk and I am fighting with the what is left of my confidence and pride to pick myself up and hold it all together. I am afraid that most of you are going to have be satisfied with me talking around the actual issue and maybe you may wonder why I am even bothering to post about it. Well I am for several reasons. Firstly it is hopefully a partial explanation as to why my blogging and FB activity has dropped off the last few weeks. It got hard to put on a brave face but it there was also things that became a priority. Secondly I want to draw a line in the sand: This situation, and this individual will no longer steal my energy, my focus and creativity. I am not good at moving on, I am a muller, a dweller...generally a hang on to hurt. But I KNOW that is not good for me. So this post is IT! And lastly I want to thank the few people who have been privy to the full situation. You girls know just who you are....and I doubt I would have come out the other side without your support, your wise council and your practical help. OH and hugs I have had plenty of hugs!!! I really think hugs make the world go around. I know for me they are worth 1 million words!!

So I am licking my wounds, counting my blessings and recognising what I have learnt during the drama! But most importantly I am moving on!!

cheers

Lynda

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Beginner Tutorial 1 - Cutting Tools Part C: Rulers

The Ruler! The 3rd and final part of the basic cutting tool trio!

Rulers that are created for patchwork are most often made out of a thick perspex style plastic. The ones I have used are 2.5mm - 3mm thick. The plastic is just the right thickness to keep the rotary cutter on track, but not so thick that it makes the ruler too heavy and impractical to use. They are always see through and have an imperial or metric grid marked on them. Like the mats they often have a series of angle lines on them also. Although you would assume you use the ruler for ruling or measuring your cut, I actually use a combination of the mat and the ruler to achieve a higher degree of accuracy. I keep hinting at a technique post and that is where I will cover the actual method of cutting.

There are many many brands and many MANY types...so many types it is VERY confusing to know what you do and don't need. Although it is handy to have 1 of every size and shape, it is certainly not necessary. Having a couple of basic shapes will get you through most projects. It is also handy if you have friends that patchwork; consult when you are buying equipment like this as then you can buy different specialty rulers and lend them to each other.

Most rulers on the market have the grid printed onto the back. There is one major issue that I have found with this that is problematic. Simply, over time the printing rubs off! This has affected the usability of the ruler somewhat but not entirely. As you can see it would be tricky to measure anything that is between 10" & 12" but anything under 10" is perfectly fine. It is also perfect for squaring up a block, as long as I need that block to be 12" finished. Given that this ruler is around 10 years old I guess it is not too bad, but I did stop using it regularly around 5 years ago! You can get printed rulers in a wide range of colours, usually depending on the brand. If you buy this type of ruler think about the colour of the line in relation to the fabrics it will work on...will you be able to see the line?

My preference if for rulers that have the markings etched in. Obviously the markings will not rub off, that is a good start! They also have another quality that I love and I have tried to capture it in the photos at the right. The etched lines have a fiber optic affect, as in the etched lines seem to capture light and focus it. The picture on the left is taken in direct light. For the one on the right I stood in the path of the direct light, therefore casting a shadow. To my eye, the lines on the right are actually more readable, in low light?? Seems a bit mental really but it is true. It would be great if we were all working in wonderfully well lit area's but I we don't do we? The only thing I DON'T like about this brand is the colour....it sometimes hurts my eyes. LOL
What I DO love about these rulers are the massive range of sizes and shapes they come in...AND that some are available in left and right handed options. I also love that they are made locally just down the road from me! It is great to be able to support local business.

Rulers can also come with gadgets. Be careful is all I can say! Gadgets often add to the price but do they add to the value?? Try and see a demonstration or use a friends to see if it is really worth the hype! I have a couple of dinosaurs I regret spending money on!

Just a quick word on the units of measurement.

If you are new to patchwork you may still be puzzling over why everything is referenced in Imperial measurements. Well everything other than your requirements which are almost always given in Metric if the pattern originated here. I have asked this question myself over many years and the answer always seems to be that we had to source so much information ie patterns fabric tools etc from the USA that that is just the way it came! Remember we only switched to Metric in this country rather recently (FYI it was an 18 year process to convert every facet of Australian industry, business and education from imperial to metric. We were not completely converted until 1988!!!) So there is a whole generation of patchworkers that are comfortable working in metric, but some of the newer metric babies might find it a challenge. Trust me it is easy to get a hold especially if you make sure you tape measure has metric one side and imperial on the other. Just flip and check!!!There has been some attempts to revolutionze the Australian patchwork industry and covert on mass....but they have never really gone anywhere and I think there is good reason for that. So rather than fight it, I embrace it and see that rather than a standardised unit of measurement for a particular country, I recgonise the universal language of Patchwork. And really, what does it matter?

What sizes would I recommend for starting out?  The most useful sizes I have are:
  • Rectangle 14" x 8"
  • Square 12.5"
  • Square 5"
Or close enough to those sizes. I have many others, but these are honestly the sizes I find myself using the most. I have listed them in order, so if you can only buy 1 at a time, start at the top and work down. Once again shop carefully and compare prices and features and then buy the best you can afford.

I use and recommend  Matilda's Own Fiber Optic rulers and templates. Take the link HERE to the shop to see what I am currently holding. If you don't see the size you need I can get them very quickly. Don't forget if you are lefty there is a WHOLE wonderful range of rulers I can get for you and they don't cost one cent more...email me to discuss a special order.

I am still collection entries for a prize draw....I have a few more posts to go in this first series and I will let you know soon when it will be drawn and exactly WHAT is up for grabs. For this post all I need to you do is comment, just simply say hi! AND share this post and the others with your friends....tell me you have and I will give you another entry!!

Cheers

Lynda



Friday, 28 September 2012

Beginner Tutorial 1 - Cutting Tools Part B : Cutting Mats

 A Cutting Mat is the necessary partner of the Rotary Cutter; it is hazardous to use a Rotary Cutter without one. The main purpose of the mat is to Protect your work surface, but it also serves to protect the blade from the work surface. They were not made exclusively for use in Patchwork. Like many things cutting mats were first used in an industrial setting with the principle being co-opted for a variety of domestic applications. As you can imagine they would be very useful in paper craft or model making...in fact any activity where you use a sharp blade of some description.

There are 2 types of Cutting Mats
  • Self Healing
  • Hard
 Self Healing Mats
These are the style of mat that has been most commonly available. A great deal of mystery surrounds their actual composition, this is one of the few time Mr Google has failed me. I can tell you they are made of several layers, the core most likely some form of vinyl which acts to stabilise the outer layer of mystery polymer. This type of mat does exactly as the name suggests: the surface heals when it is cut. That first mat of mine, the one I showed in the previous post is the self healing variety. It may have been cheap, but it certainly stood the test of time. Name brand self healing mats will be at the higher end price wise,but my experience has proven that even a knock off will do the job. No matter the price you pay, this style of mat has one major draw back. They must be kept completely flat at all times or they will buckle. If they warm up ie the sun hits them through a window...they will buckle also and no amount of reheating and squishing will make them flat again.

Hard Mats
Thes are thinner and lighter than a self healing mat as they only have the one layer. The brand I am most familiar with is made from 100% recycled materials and is manufactured in a carbon neutral factory. They are also made in Australia by an Australian owned company. Somewhat surprisingly they come in at a more affordable price than the self healing variety which is not often typical of products manufactured at home. I am also told that the surface of the the hard mat is kinder on the blade of your cutter. Unlike the self healing mats, hard mats are warp resistant. (Trust me that is quite a big selling point)

Life span of either style will depend on how much you use the mat, how well you care for it and maybe a little surprisingly HOW you use it. Your actual cutting technique plays a significant part in the life of your mat AND the blade of your cutter. (There will be a cutting technique tutorial coming in the future.....)

Size
Matilda's Own 17" Rotating Cutting Mat
You can buy anything from a 12" square travel style mat up to a 54" x 26" counter mat that is used in a retail store. There are also a new style of round mats, or smaller square mats that incorporate a Lazy Susan style mechanism. It is useful to be able to spin the cutting surface rather than disturb a neat pile of fabric. This also improves safety when cutting as it eliminates the temptation to cut awkwardly. What size you buy will depend on what money you have to spend and the space you have to use and also store the mat. When I worked in the house on the dining room table I had an 18" x 24" mat. I currently use a 22" x 34" self healing mat, but I now have the luxury of a large table in a dedicated studio. I am thinking of getting a counter mat, I mean why wouldn't I? Honestly bigger isn't always better, so don't fall into the trap of mat envy.  With the correct technique you can make good use of whatever size you can afford & store.

Mats that are designed specifically for patchwork feature an imperial grid with the addition of some 45 degree angle lines also printed on the surface. Some mats are double sided, and usually those that are feature a metric grid on one side, the typical imperial on the other. These lines aid you when cutting fabric for your quilts, but more about that in the Cutting Technique Tutorial.

Traditionally all mats have been a dark green with yellow writing. Lately I have seen mats in a rainbow of colours....the colour makes no difference to the performance.

So how do you choose? Here is my list of things to think about when buying your first or even upgrading your cutting mat. 

  • What size is practical in the space I work in.
  • What size is practical for me to store safely.
  • How much do I have to spend.
Yes the list is quite short, because in my mind they are the only 3 criteria you need to address. Let me give you an example. If you are a Grey Nomad who packs up for several months a year to travel the country in a caravan.... choose a small hard mat. Obviously space is tight in a caravan for using and storing a mat but also the warp resistant nature of the hard mat suits an environment where there is potential swings in temperature.

Pictured below are 2 mats by the same Supplier, one of each type. The size is not exactly the same but is the closest I could find for comparison. As you can see the difference in price between the 2 types is quite significant even factoring in the size disparity. In this situation spending more is not necessarily getting you a better quality product. You could ask why you would spend more when a quality product is available at the more affordable price? I have used both and find I have a preference for the Self Healing Mat....but if my circumstances or needs changed I would absolutely consider the Hard variety.

22" x 28" Hard Cutting Mat RRP $35.00            24" x 36" Self Healing Mat RRP $89.95                  










So my final word? In this case you are spoiled for choice. I truly believe it is hard to make a wrong decision.

You will not presently find Cutting Mats listed on my Website. I am still working through which is the most user friendly size, generally speaking and the safest most cost effective shipping method. In the meantime I will happily special order anything I don't have. Or if you would just like some more advice, drop me a line.

NOW for today's treasure hunt! Can you make out the Brand name of the mats I have featured in this post?? See if you can, and then see if you can find out where their Head office is...leave your answer in a comment here!

Cheers

Lynda

PS Don't forget to share this blog.....the more the merrier!!

PPS I may not have Cutting Mats...but I have LOTS of other awesome stuff....so why not stop by the store anyway..... SHOP HERE!

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Beginner Tutorial 1 - Cutting Tools Part A: Rotary Cutters

Commencing any new craft adventure can be expensive. On top of the materials you need, there can be a long list of equipment that is seen as either necessary or at the very least desirable.  In this first Tutorial we shall look the basic cutting tools that are available to assist you in making quilts.  It is important to understand that the 3 pieces of equipment I will introduce must be used together to cut fabric. There is a lot of information for all of the components and this post could quickly turn into War & Peace: Therefore I will present a post on each part over the next couple of days. Today our topic is Rotary Cutters.

Let me just say before I go any further, that you can make beautiful quilts with a pair of good fabric scissors, some chalk or a pencil and any old ruler! Prior to the late 1970's it was the only option available and there are AMAZING quilts from around the world as evidence of this. I don't want anyone to think that you MUST have the equipment I am going to talk about.  Just know that you can Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can. When you are ready to invest in this specialist equipment, you will have the knowledge you need to make a good purchase. If you already have a Rotary Cutter, I hope this information will still be useful and interesting.

My first set of cutting equipment.
When I began quilting, a friend offered to lend me some of her tools, but that was not good enough. For me, waiting is not an option: I want all my OWN tools, yesterday. Pictured here on the left is my very first set of tools. I purchased the mat & the cutter from a discount store, around $20 for both and the ruler which came from Spotlight was probably also around $20. None of it the best quality available but it certainly did the job for a while and obviously I still have them. I hope this post will explain why I upgraded sooner rather than later, and why I might have been better to spend a little more in the first place.




 There are 2 basic styles of Rotary Cutter:
  • Classic Stick (4 Blade Sizes: 18mm,25mm,45mm & 60mm)
  • Comfort Grip.(3 Blade Sizes: 25mm, 45mm & 60mm)
Classic Stick
This is the original style of Rotary Cutter as invented by Yoshio Okada in the late '70's. As such a 45mm Stick cutter is the most common you will find, available in a lot of different brands with a huge difference in prices. It is always tempting to go for the cheapest, but I discovered the hard way that you get what you pay for. On the original "cheap" stick style cutter I purchased, the mechanism for retracting the blade back and forth was decidedly uncooperative. This made opening and closing the blade a perilous activity. I therefore tended to leave it open, which was also flirting with danger as I had 4 small children hovering around me while I worked. The device cut the fabric adequately but I purchased another quite quickly rather than risk my hobby becoming a blood sport!! If you are counting your pennies, a Classic stick is probably your best buy, but choose a reputable brand and if possible try one out to see how it feels.

Comfort Grip
The name says it all really! If you are doing a lot of cutting, the handle of the Stick style just doesn't cut it (Ha, yes pun intended) The Olfa cutter pictured is called the "Deluxe" for a reason. The manner in which you grip the tool for starters lessens fatigue in your hand. This one also features a trigger grip handle. As you can see the blade is currently retracted safely. As soon as you grip the handle, the blade moves to the open position and is ready for use. Once you put the tool down, thereby releasing your grip on the trigger, the blade pops back to it's safety position. There is also a one touch locking button that can be used to lock the blade either open or closed. The cutter shown is the 60mm size which I have recently upgraded to. It is right at the top end price wise, but it will be the last Rotary Cutter you need to buy.

Size
Regardless of which Style you use, you also need to choose the most suitable size for the work you are doing.
  • 18mm & 25mm: Used for cutting around the curves of patchwork and applique templates
  • 45mm: General patchwork
  • 60mm: Perfect for cutting larger stacks of patchwork fabric or heavier fabric
The 45mm blade is almost considered the "standard" size for use in patchwork and this size will serve you very well. As I mentioned I recently upgraded to the 60mm, but as you can imagine I do a LOT of cutting.

Care of the Blade
The retractability of the blade not only serves to keep YOU safe, but helps to protect the blade from damage when not in use. It is extremely important to only cut fabric and to only do so on a self healing mat (which I will tell you more about it Part B of this post). These cutters are brilliant for cutting card and paper, but I have set aside one of my old Rotary cutters for this specific purpose. Replacement Blades are readily available for all size, and in my experience have been universal (ie  I usually have one on hand, because Murphy's Law dictates that you will need a new blade when the shop is closed! You can also purchase a blade sharpening tool for each of the 25mm, 45mm & 60mm blades. This can't return your cutting edge to it's original degree of sharpness but it will remove any bumps or burrs and extend the life of your blade significantly. I keep the blades from my fabric cutter and demote them to the paper cutter for use before I finally throw them out. 

Just one final word on safety: A good friend found out that an Olfa cutter will insulate you from electric shock! How did she ascertain this interesting and valuable fact?? By slicing through the power cord of her sewing machine......I KNOW! Not something I recommend and it certainly highlights the importance of keeping all power cords safely away from your cutting area.

So how do you choose? Here is my list of things to look for when buying your first or even upgrading your rotary cutter.
  • Is the blade retractable
  • Does the blade lock
  • Is the blade reversible (to suit left handers)
  • Which size will best suit my main purpose
  • Which handle style is best for me
  • What can I afford to spend
In the years I have been Patchworking, I have tried many brands and styles of Rotary Cutter.  This trial and error process has led me to the Olfa range of cutter which I use, recommend and now sell exclusively. Why?? Because they tick all the boxes I have mentioned, simple as that!

Visit the Patchwork Promises Online Store to see the range of cutting tools I stock! If you have any questions about this post you can email me on lynda@patchworkpromises.com.au.

Cheers

Lynda


PS Fancy a treasure hunt? Visit the Olfa website and find out why Yoshio Okada decided to make the Olfa products Yellow. Leave you answer here in a comment to be in the running for a fabulous prize. SO wanna know what the booty is?? At the end of this 3 part series I will gift someone the PERFECT cutting tool starter pack! (There will be a chance to enter in each part of the series and yes you may enter at each one giving you multiple chances) TELL YOU FRIENDS!!



 

Thursday, 20 September 2012

How did I get HERE?

Some days I feel like I am doing exactly what I am meant to be doing, others leave me fighting the urge to run away screaming and pack it all in. But mostly I just wonder at how I got here at all. Right here, just now?? I remember always wanting to have my own business, the first I made a dash at was Madonna style mesh singlets in the mid '80s. (You remember the ones, right?? lol)  In fact I come from a line of women filled with entrepreneurial spirit: plans, dreams and ideas in plentiful supply. And despite a lack of measurable success a tenacity to just keep chipping away coz one day, ONE DAY something might just work! Every idea that I can think that we thought of over the years had a common thread, it was always an idea based on some form of creative pursuit. For me that has meant dabbling in a LOT of different types of craft. Most I have left behind, except Patchwork.

This week I have been mulling over some longer term plans for the business and somehow in that internal conversation I began to reminisce. Just how DID I end up here, in a Shed in my backyard, doing what I do? I believe it can be traced but to 1 event, and 1 person.

I have always sewn. I was given my first sewing machine at around 12. I had access to fabric and SCISSORS and the freedom to make whatever I wanted. My first job at 15 was on a production line in a womens clothing factory. Upon leaving there I worked in retail, but ended up back at school in my late teens studying dressmaking and design. Then marriage, children and part time jobs sewing or in retail. Really just variations on a theme over many years. Until my best friend of the time was turning 30 and I was stuck for a gift. I wanted the type of gift that money couldn't buy, a gift that expressed my feelings and was also a representation of me. A new friend (Yes Elizabeth Poland I am talking about you), suggested that I make a small fabric wall-hanging. Over a cup of tea one afternoon we poured through her quilting magazines to find a suitable project. I was a little amazed by the projects we found. I mean, who had thought of using a sewing machine for anything else other than bridesmaids dresses, clothes for the kids and the occasional set of curtains? Well I had made a doll for my eldest daughter, but dressing her had been the best bit! We selected something small and manageable in the time frame that included a touching verse about friendship and away we went. First hurdle....you want me to hand stitch the applique design?? lol The project was finished and gifted and I think appreciated (it was a long time ago...lol). But more importantly it set some embers smoldering, got the old brain ticking over.

Elizabeth then invited me to a craft class at her church. It was to be a mixed craft kind of class but one of the first projects on the list was the fabric wall-hanging pictured here on the right. As you can see FULL of applique, some simple piecing and embellishments. It caused me SOOOO much stress! Thankfully with the guidance of Elizabeth and her partner in crime Sally,  it was finished and finished well. When I look at it now I can see so many things I would change....but really how can I consider it! This is the piece that really started me on the path to where I am now and Elizabeth and Sally have to be credited with giving this dressmaker an excellent grounding in Patchwork. Their willingness to advise and explain some of the peculiarities of the craft gave me the confidence to branch out and tackle larger projects on my own. I remember those classes and their kindness with much fondness. Because you see I wasn't always a compliant willing student. I KNEW how to sew for goodness sake, I have been been doing it since I was a child. The more I think about it, the more I wonder they didn't throttle me!

I need you to bare with me, I know I have just taken you down the garden path but I do have a point and now that I have told you a story I might just be able to get around to it....lol

I asked the FB group this week where and how they learned to patchwork. (and you thought my "Question of the Day:" was just random...but no...it is important research!!) Surprisingly few attended formal classes, some were instructed by friends or family members. But leading the way undoubtedly are the self learners. Gathering information from books, magazines, trail and error and maybe not so surprisingly in this day and age....online!!

I LOVE to teach. I taught dressmaking at a Bargain Box store in a previous life, so the progression to teaching patchwork was a natural one. I have been lucky enough to facilitate a class to the same group of ladies for a close to 4 years now. We started of meeting monthly, and this year increased that to twice monthly. I truly believe I have gained as much as I have given and I want to do it MORE! Especially focusing on those just dipping their toe in for the first time. I will be seeking more in person type teaching opportunities, but I have also decided that I can do that right here?? This blog can be anything I want it to be...so why not turn it into a resource for those who are remote or housebound or wanting to learn at their own pace in their own space.....

I have been mulling this for a while....but now IT MUST BE DONE!! Still working out the schedule and content but you have been warned. WATCH THIS SPACE!! LOL Tutorials are coming!!

Cheers

Lynda

PS got any idea for content?? Shoot me an email!! You gotta give the people what they want!

PPS if you haven't had a look at the website lately...you should! New fabric has been added and it is YUMMY! Click here to visit the Patchwork Promises store!


Thursday, 13 September 2012

Confidence......

........it's a tricky thing! I have been pondering this word a lot lately...and in particular business confidence.

As you know I have been making changes to Patchwork Promises over the last year: I have re-branded,  created a new selling platform, developed an actual marketing strategy and I am adding new products & designs. I had pottered along for the first 5 years, honestly only working Patchwork Promises as a hobby. The construction of the Studio was the first step needed to start building something a bit more serious, but taking the leap that I finally have this year, well they took a little longer to eventuate. Why?? Confidence or rather a profound lack of it and in particular BUSINESS confidence.

The decision to step up was not taken lightly and the closing of the ebay store was the defining moment. Initially I felt liberated, giddy even..... free to make decisions about what face I wanted to put on MY business. Set my own terms....give MY customers a unique shopping experience that was mutually beneficial rather than one designed to line the pockets of the middle man. Unfortunately that first flush of bravado didn't last long and recently my business confidence has taken beating. Because while I was busy having meetings and issuing instructions to web developers and graphic designers, while I was booking print advertising and ordering stock, I realized that some of assumptions I had made just weren't panning out. Some of the things I had counted on, just didn't eventuate. Have you heard the term analysis paralysis?? Well I got myself in this vicious never ending thought pattern, trying to work out what I was doing anything wrong, was I in fact doing anything wrong?? Apart from the fact that I couldn't make sensible business decisions, I  also created a MASSIVE creative block. I started to question if I have the skill to design, write and teach in this industry. "HHhhmm Maybe that is the problem, doesn't matter if my business skills aren't great....my designs and my work just aren't up to scratch...it isn't as good as blah blah blah...." I think you get the frame of mind I have been in!

 Amongst all this negative chatter....there has been one phrase that will occasionally pop into my head:

NO APOLOGIES

In truth, this has seemed too simple to be the answer that I have been seeking..... I have spent hours trying to reason out answers and justifications for my predicament and I am tired from it...exhausted even. So from now on I surrender to the simplicity:

NO APOLOGIES

I will no longer seek to hide or explain away my short comings. I am who I am. I bring a LOT to the table and what I don't know, I am capable of learning.

My work is good, in fact it is better than good. I will not stifle the creative process by comparing myself to others. I will find my niche, I just need to embrace the journey.

I AM IN BUSINESS....aspiring to make money is not a bad thing. I will no longer undervalue my work or my time!

Goodness, that feels good!!

Today I put all that into action....It has been an interesting kind of day. AND I took one very particular bold step! Once the details are fleshed out I will fill you in....but until then you will just need to wait!!

The line is drawn....and I am powering on!

Cheers

Lynda


Thursday, 6 September 2012

Friendship!

Specifically online friendships: are they real? Can they translate into real life? Do they NEED to move into reality to be valid or is a purely cyber friendship as meaningful and deep as an I.R.L. (In Real Life) relationship.

Not beating around the bush with this one...my opinion YES they are real, meaningful AND personally some of the most valuable friendships I have. The responses on my FB page to this particular question overwhelming support my experience and some of the stories are quite amazing. For example: I have three friends, yes THREE friends who have built relationships online that have turned into love and marriage!! And these were situations where meeting up for coffee to see if it would work wasn't an option....we are talking oceans between them!!

I felt that I knew someone so well from our online interactions, that when I did meet her in person for the first time I was quite blase. We said a quick hello and I remember a funny look crossing her face which I didn't really understand. I sat down, started my work and then the pieces of the puzzle connected in my head: we had never actually met!!  I had the sense to find her and apologise for being so flippant with what was obviously a momentous occasion. Thankfully she was gracious enough to understand and accept my apology and we are still friends....yes Gail Pan..I am talking about YOU!

But I guess what prompted me to even ask these question of myself was a sudden and tragic event in the life of one of my online friends this past week. I am sure there are a lot of my readers who are also friends with Di Jobbins, and like me are probably still reeling at the sudden death of Di's husband Boak. I met Di once, for a total of about 5min....I had never met her husband. WHY was I so distraught at the passing of a man I had never met? Simply, my love and respect for Di was such that no other response was appropriate. And that for me is the true measure of friendship, no matter it's origin or form, the bond is REAL and totally grown and nurtured in cyber space.

Now, mostly my experiences online have been positive...but I know just like I.R.L. friendships, cyber friendships can go pear-shaped. It is so easy to "over-share" online and FB particularly, if we let it, allows daily, hourly or even min by min insights into our lives. I am sure we have all had the experience of bumping into people we have not seen in months, and being reminded that they know EVERYTHING that has happened to us lately...I learned very early on to check what I post before I post it. I have honestly deleted more status updates and comments to posts than I have actually posted....and yet there are some that I deleted after they had gone live and still others I WISH I had pulled down. If I have learnt anything over the last few years, it is that EVERYTHING we do and say is subjective: that my understanding of a situation WILL be VERY different from everyone else's...even if we all saw, read or heard the same thing at exactly the same time. 

In light of this understanding I now look at my friendships very differently, whether they be I.R.L. or cyber friendships....I seemed to constantly have my feelings hurt, people and friendships never lived up to my expectation and I was always sad and disappointed. WHY do people treat me like this, WHY are they mean, WHY do they hurt ME??!! Truth is they weren't hurting ME...they were just going about their business with their own understanding and expectations. Truth be told we all just stumble through life don't we....mostly making it up as we go along? In all relationships there is a need for a HUGE dose of grace! Meet people where they are....remember that we all have bad days, lower your expectations and most importantly learn to apologise....of all the things I have learnt this has been the hardest and yet the most rewarding. And sometimes....well sometimes you need to draw a line....there is nothing wrong with deciding a friendship has run its course....everything has it's season.

So my final word...I am grateful for ALL my friends. My intention is to no longer classify them as I.R.L. or online friends and most importantly, to longer feel the need to justify calling my online friends simply friends. I have been places and done things at the encouragement of "those" friends that I would never have dreamed I would do....I am supported, encouraged and blessed in so many ways every day by the people who are in my life. Thank you!!

Lynda

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

To Stash or NOT to Stash....

.....that is the question I posed on the FB page earlier this week. Unsurprisingly I received a mixed bag of answers, and if you haven't added your thoughts....you can still head over and contribute to the conversation. To this point, I have only asked the question.....but what do I think?? To Stash or NOT to Stash.....

Like any interest, Patchwork and Quilting can be seen as a sub-culture. Generally a sub-culture comes with it's own set of rules or idiosyncrasies: and more often than not a language all of it's own, a language that those within the circle speak with confidence and ease. I consider myself an extremely competent sewer: I understood the language of dressmaking so was unprepared to feel so much like a fish out of water when transitioning to quilt making. I don't like not knowing stuff. (yes it's a vanity thing)...so I asked quiet questions and listened in on the sly until I grasped the meaning of every term and acronym I came across.

 I still remember the first time I heard the word Stash. It's meaning was instantly clear and needed little explanation but what I still have trouble grasping is the concept, the rationale behind NEEDING a stash. You see that is how it was presented to me....that if I was to be considered a TRUE Patchworker....I NEEDED to have a stash?? I asked but WHY?? The answer?? Because that is what you do?? It has caused me to wonder over the years how many people have just gone with the flow and started collecting fabric without even reasoning out why they are doing it!!

You may be sensing that I am coming down on the anti Stash side of this argument....I am afraid it is not quite that clear cut.  So..... do I have a Stash? Well as a matter of fact I do, and I have included a photo as evidence. (No I am not always that tidy....this photo was taken on a good day! LOL) But it was on a day when I was cleaning up and sorting my collection of fabrics that I really started to question the practical and financial ramifications of intentionally buying fabric at random. I think most of us would fall over in a dead faint if we sat down and worked out the retail value of the fabric we are holding...and if you gave serious thought to how long it would take to make it all INTO something...well it is fair to say you could be chained to your sewing machine well into the next century. So why do we do it....

Let me be the first to make this public declaration....

Hello...My name is Lynda and I am addicted to fabric!!

Man that feels better!! Acknowledgement of the problem is always the first step. LOL

But all joking aside I KNOW that seeing fabric, touching it and smelling it even, taps into the pleasure center of my brain. I find joy and contentment in stroking it and pondering the possibilities....so then why so often do I come home and STASH that fabric....like a Bowerbird collecting pretty things? Coz one day...just MAYBE one day...the perfect project will turn up for that VERY SPECIAL piece of Holy fabric you purchased 1 million years ago?? Honestly...how often does that really happen? Not as often as you find the need to go and buy MORE fabric to suit the project you wish to start....it is a vicious vicious cycle.

It is this particular Merry Go Round that I decided to step off. I am not saying that I will NEVER buy fabric on a whim again.... some day's a perfectly folded, shop bought FQ is the ONLY thing can make a girl smile. But my goal from this point on...is to have an unintentional Stash...one that grows from left overs of intentionally purchased fabric....

So the final word from me??

A Stash can be a useful resource....but keep it under control...it shouldn't take on a life of its own.

Cheers

Lynda








Monday, 23 July 2012

The Winner is.....

I thought it was about time to announce a winner for this one.....only 2 people guessed correctly and one of them has recused herself as she really had an unfair advantage. (Being a good friend and all.....lol)

So that left us with just ONE person .....and that person is Annette!! Yes I turned 45 just last week....and I feel I am wearing my age well it seems based on some of the very generous guess's you have put forward over the last week....Annette can you please email me your postal address so that I can send you your prize!

I really need to update my profile as a lot of you took your clues from there. In reality I now have 2 teenagers and 2 young adults...They all still live at home but the older 2 work, drive, vote...you know all those grown up things...In fact my oldest daughter is now around about the age I was when I had her!! THAT is a frightening statistic!

So now that we have taken care of that....what else is news?? This week I am heading off to work with Cecile from Unique Stitching at the Melbourne Craft & Quilt Fair. If you are local why not pop in and see us at Jeff's Shed. The show is open 9am - 5pm Thursday to Sunday ...... Cecile is running some amazing hands on classes ON the stand....remember to stop by and book early ......places go SUPER fast!!

I would also suggest you stop by and visit my friend Lara from Chocolate Coated Patchwork on her stand. She has stock of my Hexagon cushion pattern AND she has made some kits in beautiful fabric from Leesa Chandler! She has been previewing the samples on her FB page and they look amazing! She will also have a supply of my fabric badges....why not go and have a fossick through the basket!!

Thanks again to those who played this guessing game....

cheers

Lynda

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

So it is my Birthday today.....

Birthday badges made by me for me!
....and as usual it has been a very full day! Walking in the sun, friends popping in with flowers, pressies left on the door step, parents ringing from way way up in the Northern Territory, dinner with the family. OH and making BADGES.....lol such excellent fun! 

If you have missed me going on about Fabric Badges (and I really don't know how you could have....) you should go and check out the store by clicking here! I have about 30 sets listed there and will add more as I put more together. By the time I am done tomorrow I will have made about 750 38mm badges and 250 fridge magnets....since last 3pm last Thursday. That was the exact time I received the machine and first set of components! IT IS SO MUCH FUN!  But I must stop going on about it...I am sure you are all over it!! 


AND because I am in a festive mood I will give just one little thing away....Everyone seemed to like the Hexagon Cushion the other weekend...so the prize will be a Cushion Pattern & a set of my fabric badges to the person who correctly guess my age! IF more than one person gets it right I will take a random draw from all the correct guesses...I will let this run for 24 hours...


PLEASE leave your comment here on the blog..if you are reading this on the FB page after it is picked up by Networked Blogs PLEASE click the link to bring you to the blog to comment for you chance to be in the draw.


SO HOW OLD AM I??


Good Luck...


Lynda

Monday, 9 July 2012

6th Birthday Wrap-Up.....

Well haven't the last couple of days been fun!! 
 
I thought it might be a good idea to put all the winners from Saturday & today in the one place. Here we go! The following people need to give me their postal address so that I can send you a pattern. (Some of you have already done so....you know who you are...LOL)

Pattern Winners: Patty McNamara, Wendy Lansdowne, Shirley Adams, Sue Stubbings, Maureen Terblance & Waverlee Ferguson.

Pattern & Kit Winner: Veronica Wuthrich

 These people need to email me (lynda@patchworkpromises.com.au) so that I can send you a code to go shopping.

$50 Voucher Winner : Bronwyn Beazley

$40 Voucher Winner: Carmel Hyland

$30 Voucher Winner: Connie Wolf.

Congratulations to the 10 ladies who have won something!! It is very exciting to give things away. SO MUCH FUN....

Lastly as a thank you to EVERYONE who participated..I have set up a discount code for the store (www.patchworkpromises.com.au)...when checking out use the code HOORAY to receive a 10% discount off your product purchases. 

cheers & thanks again


Lynda



Friday, 6 July 2012

Happy Anniversary to ME!

On the 1st of July 2006 I registered my business! So by my calculations Patchwork Promises is 6 years old! 6 YEARS??  I always wanted to be my own boss....I don't really know why it is just a desire I remember from way way back. For a long time I couldn't name it. A proper idea stayed just in the haze of my subconscious and I was never able to grasp it. I stumbled from one job to another, threw in some study along the way, ever really seeing a pattern, never connecting the dots. Honestly feeling that I was a classic Jill of all Trades, Master of NONE!. I know that I underestimated the value of those experiences and for a long time underestimated myself also.  The thing that I find most fascinating is that seemingly random collection of skills makes me uniquely qualified to do just what I am doing now?  I feel a bit like the past 6 years I have been serving an apprenticeship. It is only in the last few months that I have been brave enough to start moving the business to another level.The changes I have made have always been part of the long term plan, it just need me to be brave enough to say Let's do it NOW!  Sometimes I lament the time that I wasted dithering, but then I recognise the unique set of events that set me on this particular path early this year and I know that before then I was just not ready. Everything in it's own time they say?! I am very grateful that I can do what I do mostly as this particular business is not just transactional...it is personal!  I get to share my love of fabric and thread with real people who also love fabric and thread. I receive as much as I give and it is only through the generous spirit of others that I am still plodding along.

On that note I propose a celebration. A celebration to mark not only the reaching of this particular milestone, but one also that looks forward to the future of Patchwork Promises. 

The best way to celebrate ANYTHING is with presents............. .............. ............... .............. .......... SO WHO IS SENDING ME SOMETHING!! ......................... ROFL!

Nah..........I wanna give YOU some.................It is going to be a weekend of hit and run type give aways...so PLEASE STAY TUNED! I will be doing this via the FB page as it is more immediate with the possibility of real time interaction. This shall be FUN and don't forget to tell anyone you know who might like what I do. The more the merrier. 

cheers for now


Lynda

Monday, 2 July 2012

How Does One Measure Success?

This past weekend I set up shop at the inaugural Mad Quilters Gathering in Melbourne. I was only able to do this by partnering with Lara from Chocolate Coated Patchwork.  Lara & I met for the first time at the AQC just this year. At some point recently she suggested that we have a go at working together for this event. We had a great time! It seems we work well together, our inventory is complimentary and so are our personalities, knowledge and experience. Stay tuned for news of our future adventures.

So how was the Mad Quilters Gathering? It is fair to say that attendance at the event didn't quite meet the expectations of the exhibitors or event management. When you are in business an obvious measure of success, in general and at a specific event, is sales. But what if you are in a situation where you can see sales will be limited! How do you measure success? Can you use another scale?? Should you?? Are sales the one and only way? These are all question I had cause to ask myself over the 3 days, and lets face it...there was sufficient time. Here are some of the conclusions I came to.

As a test event for Lara & I it was just perfect. We were able to have a real go at setting up our combined inventory in the allotted space for a real event. I have never prepared for or presented at an event of this scale, so that experience is invaluable to me. We were able to run a live test of our P.O.S. systems allowing us to give customers a seamless experience at our stand. ie they are unaware they are in affect buying from two separate businesses. I also got to use this nifty trolly and wear a bright yellow vest!

The slower pace enabled a lot more interaction with the customers we had. We met some lovely people, really lovely!! We answered some questions, solved some problems and sometimes sold them something good. In each instance I am confident we sent them away happy! I also took some time to get to know our fellow exhibitors. There were a few I know well and many that I recognised from patronizing Craft Shows over the years but it was really great to get to know the people who stand behind the stand. And what a great bunch of people they are too!  This time to chat is a luxury you wouldn't normally get and I grateful I had the sense to make the most of it. (I know some of you are sniggering ....YES I like to talk!! lol so why wouldn't I think getting to chat was a good thing!!)

The show also served as a kind of Trade Show for me..... I have now established a wholesale relationship with some of my fellow exhibitors. In particular I am VERY excited that I will be able to stock some great new Quilt Hangers....these will be sourced from Sue & Darren of Mallee Country Crafts! The quality is exceptional and I can't wait to order some!

Probably the most important test of the weekend was of ME! In the past I have not always handled stressful situations well and this was potentially a weekend FULL of stressful situations. The only melt down I nearly had was in McDonald's. I had pulled into the drive through to get some dinner on my way home and I was given the wrong order; only realising as I was mostly back on the main road. It is fair to say that by then I was VERY tired but I managed to not cry, or get too grumpy before I left with my correct meal. (20 mins after ordering??)

So in summary do I count this event a success?? Absolutely! Would more customers have been better? Of course. But did I learn something, did I come away better informed with more knowledge? Did I meet interesting people and make useful business contacts?? Did I have fun? You bet!! The things I feel I have gained are priceless and I am looking forward to doing it all again real soon!

cheers

Lynda