Scheduling for Maximum Creativity

OK, after publishing my last blog post I decided I needed to readjust how I work to keep the fabric artist in me happier.  It’s just plain silly to go around feeling sorry for myself when I am in control of my own work schedule.  So I have decided to carve out time for making show quilts, playing with my camera,  and limiting my work on my little microbusiness downloadables and books to something less than all the time.  I also need some time to just chill.  All of these things are important, and all are needed for maximum creativity.

So I am going to be a tough boss and tell myself I have to:

  • Take breaks
  • Take vacations (probably will be quilt shows)
  • Adjust work on sale items to a more comfortable level…it is, after all, a micro business just to supplement my retirement income.
  • Find time for other creative outlets (photography, painting, exercise)
  • Do my very best at everything…reach to make the most beautiful fabric art I can and not be concerned if my quilts do not place (or even get in a show like Paducah).

Sew I am working on the design for my next two show quilts.  I’ve told you before that I like having two quilt projects going at once.  I am an oddball in that I don’t have UFOs hanging around  I think it came from my whole work background where finishing was not an option..I had to finish projects on time.  So I like to run two quilts at once for when I get stuck on one and need to leave it alone until I suddenly know how to solve it.

The first quilt will be a three dimensional deep forest quilt with woodland creatures and oversized three dimensional insects.  It’s something I’ve had in my mind for some time, but I am finally working on the full design and digitizing the embroidery for this quilt (I plan on having a lot of embroidery for this quilt).  I find it hard to describe, but think about it like a pop up book with multiple layers of paper providing some dimension.

The second quilt is finally going to be my Sashiko/Ikebana quilt I have had in mind for several years.  This will have a background of irregular rectangular blocks with Sashiko and the foreground will be as Japanese Ikebana “flower arrangement” probably using broiderie perse and possibly some embroidery for the flowers and a digitally painted vase.  I will be making this with Peppered Cottons, which I have been collecting for a while now.  They seem perfect to me for this quilt.  I’m thinking I might even do the Sashiko by hand…that remains to be seen.  I’ll try a block and see what I think.

Oh, and yes, I will continue to work on my book and downloadable for my little online store, probably three days a week, and not expect so much of my sole employee (me).  😀

My next blog will star a new quilt journal for one of the two quilts, or maybe both. Looking forward to sharing the journeys with you.

Sew happy everyone!  Adjust your schedule  to help reach maximum creativity.

Painting and Writing and Missing Quilting

004Over the past couple of weeks I have been working hard to complete my book “Ten Skill-Building Projects for Bernina V7 Effectiveness”.   I have all but two of the eleven chapters and accompanying project designs complete and have only the two hardest ones left.  I also have several informative appendixes partly written. I will have to test everything, working through the book and making any corrections.

I also have been “painting” horse appliques and preparing a package for each horse that will include instructions for printing and appliqueing and patterns for stitching the tails and manes.  I have two horse designs ready to test and am making progress on learning the things I need to consider for building each applique package.  I will have to test everything for these too.

I have not, however, been working on a quilt.  I miss it.  But this is a temporary situation.  My plan is that after I finish the first book manuscript I will set up a weekly schedule that will divide my time equally between writing, embroidery and applique designs, and quilting so I can still make several new show quilts every year.  Eventually I will finish the writing too.

It’s all wonderfully creative work though, sew I’m still having fun.

Sew happy everyone!

Design, Screen Capture, Write…Repeat

The haul from Houston
I’ve been making slow, but steady, progress on “Ten Projects to Bernina V7 Software Effectiveness”, a book that starts with the setup and carries through with ten skill-building projects.  It ends with appendixes full of additional helpful information. I have had this idea for a couple of years, and had actually started it with v6 just before Bernina came out with their V7 version. I gave myself the upgrade for Christmas, and set about to learn the differences and the new things introduced in V7.

I really like v7 and learning it has opened up some new possibilities for use with my Bernina 830 LE, but the software also works for many other brands of embroidery machines, complete with hooping and formatting options.

I am writing this by having three programs open..a screen capturing software, my word processing software, and V7. First I carry out a bit of design work on a project, screen capture the various stages, and write the step-by-step project with lots of illustrations.

When I finish the manuscript, I will then work through the entire book and stitch out all the projects as if I were a newby on the program, and then ask someone else to do the same.

I hope to complete this for publication by the end of May through my son David’s Fennec Fox Press.

If this works well, I have other books in mind that I actually have already blocked out.

Please let me know if you have some skill you particularly want to have included.

Sew happy everyone! Teach someone to sew or quilt. You’ll learn a lot in the process.

Announcing “Betty Jo’s Fabric Arts” and What I Plan to Do With It

S009EEEK!  I’ve actually done it.  I’ve gone and set up a micro-business!!!

This week I received the finished paperwork on establishing my micro-business “Betty Jo’s Fabric Arts”.    I have a few more more steps before I can start offering downloadable items, and those are getting a shopping cart arranged and filling the shop part of my business with items you might want.

As some of you know, I retired from my intense US Government job on 31 December 2012, and have been slowly pursuing my plans to open this micro-business ever since.   My expectations are to make enough money to pay for my fabric arts pursuits, provide money for attending some of those marvelous quilt shows, have a little spending money for fun and to travel to see my family in California.  Sew it is very much a “Micro” business.  This will also provide me a way to share more of what I have learned in my sixty plus years of sewing and art pursuits and eight or so years of taking art quilting seriously.

The first three years of my retirement I spent largely in setting up my workspace and learning, learning, learning…filling in all those gaps that exist between expert sewing and expert art quilting. I hope that I will continue to learn.  There is so MUCH to learn.  That’s part of what makes fabric arts so great…lots to learn, lots to experiment with, lots to share.

The process I used to set this up, as requested by my friend Maggie:  As you may be aware, over the past few years I built my website and blog, and shared where I felt I could.  Last week, I also registered the website name www.bettyjosfabricarts.com with GoDaddy and connected it to my existing website www.bjfabricartist.com This past month I went through Legalzoom.com and set up my “Doing Business As” or DBA.  The cool thing about them is by using their questionnaire and putting in what you want, what state you are in, and so on, they take it from there.  They work out the paper work, they send it to you.  You take it and get it notarized, and send it back to them.  They deal with the government entities and send you your license.  They have lawyers available to talk to if you need to.  I think it is just right for a micro business like mine.  If you are setting up a more involved business, you might want to talk with a lawyer and get them to take this on.  But this only cost me right around $150, plus the cost of my GoDaddy and Blog accounts.  Not so bad, considering.  I’m sort of a do-everything-myself kind of person, so I built my own website through GoDaddy.  There are some really good tax and record keeping programs out there to help you with keeping the books too.  I use Intuit who make TurboTax, but there are several good ones.  This is a vast improvement over the way I had to work more than 30 years ago when I set up my own fashion design business in Ithaca, NY. and did everything on paper.  The bookwork was dreadful, and took a large chunk of time.  Of course, then I had two employees, the hiring of whom cost me all of my profits for a while, but I will not have employees for this little business.

You may be wondering what I am planning on offering for downloads.  My intent is to provide you with the tools you need to make the fabric art visions in your head or improve the projects you purchase from someone else.  Here is my initial list and it is truly subject to change:

1.  Embroidery items for your embroidery machines like trees, flowers, flags, other small items to spice up your landscape quilts, or small in-the-hoop projects.  I am currently working on a set of trees.  Trees seem to be something I have needed a lot over the past few years and I have been unhappy with downloads I have purchased in the past, so I am digitizing them myself.

2.  Patterns and/or step-by-step instructions for building your own incredible pieces of wall art.

3.  I am writing two books (or is it a series of worksheets?).  One is on all the different techniques I use for machine applique, and when to use each type.  The second is on surface design…painting, thread work, beading.  It’s entirely possible these will boil down to a series of worksheets complete with some projects and step-by-step instructions that will help you practice, rather than actual books.

4.  Digitally painted items you may wish to download and print on fabric using your own inkjet printer, such as faces and hands, horses ready to applique and add threadwork for their tales and manes, small characters for appliqueing on your landscape quilt.  These will come with instructions.

5.  And finally, worksheets with learning projects on using technology in your sewing and quilting studio.  This would include, for instance, how to use Corel Draw with Bernina v7 software to produce a provided wall art project.  Or using a digital painting program, such as Corel Painter 2015 and a Wacom tablet to paint and draw your own faces and hands, or horses and dogs for printing on fabric.  Or even a project with worksheet in taking your advanced sewing machines through their paces to help you to create that incredible piece of fabric art of your own.

6.  Videos may accompany some of the items above.

In truth, I don’t expect many downloads to be available much before summer, and after that, they will be added from time to time.  I plan on putting just a few up in the spring to help test the download, and shoppng cart system.  I will be looking for guinea pigs, ur, testers and reviewers for some of my things as they come out, sew keep that in mind if you are interested.  Sew this will probably take me a few months to get really rolling even though I now have the structure set up…kind of like building a house.  I have the foundation made and the walls up, but I have to put all the inside finishes in.

Sew happy everyone!  Learn a new technique every now and then and practice, practice, practice.