Sunday, January 8, 2023

Thank you Mom and Dad!

Several years ago, I worked for a fabric company, and I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I won't go into detail, but let's just say we did not see eye to eye. I was let go (a..k.a. You're FIRED!), and I felt a bit sad at the time. 

However, I've realized that was the BEST thing that could have happened to me. The industry/market experience I gained was invaluable (yes -- enough to put up with the "issues"), and now I have an even better job. I'm working with technology which fires me up way more than fabric does. At this point, the fabric is only important to me because I can use it as a medium for my technology, but the actual fabric collection or pattern? I couldn't care less! 

With fabric, the only option you have is to encourage people to buy MORE. To be truthful, I'm not a salesperson (OK -- I'm an enabler), but I am, first and foremost  - a teacher. So working in the technology world, I teach people how to use the technology they have bought! Oh yes --- this is a match made in heaven!! I'm in my glory, and well --- this is something that I can do any day, all day, regardless of whether I'm working for a specific company or freelancing! 

It only took how long to get here? But a quote that I saw yesterday said, "you are NOT starting over, but you are restarting with experience."  Something like that. WOW --- and how profound these moments are when they come to your brain! That epiphany came while I waited for my oatmeal to cook this morning. I've been in this happy place for several years -- and it didn't happen overnight. 

I'm excited because I have two presentations this morning, and both are prepped. The presentations are done, and the demo bits are assembled and tested. Gosh --- the more I do something, the easier it becomes, and I'm becoming very familiar with Reference Guides, especially when it comes to software!

The more I do, the more I learn, and the more I want to know it ALL. I have just scratched the surface of what my embroidery software can do, but boy, it is exciting when it all comes together. 

So we had our first class on EQ8 software in the morning. Gosh -- I love that software, and again, there is so much you can do with it! I love taking any software and using it for OTHER purposes. It's design software, and anything you want to design -- why not? But then, can I use those designs with my other tech tools? You bet! 

Then we had the session on digital cutters. There is a HUGE need for information in this area. Again, there are so many things that one can do with a digital cutter. Expand beyond what everyone else is doing and think out of the box. How can this cutter help me with my day-to-day life? Yep --- I'm going to push those students, and they will push me, and at the end of the year, we're all going to be so much smarter! 

Here's the thing -- most tech companies don't care about your learning. OK -- that's not 100% true, but their focus is on the bottom line and how many units they sell. They often rely on third-party people to do the teaching/training. And here's a HUGE controversial subject. Is that a good thing if you are an ambassador for a company? Many industry people say NO, but those excited to get free equipment say yes. If you think about it --- the company receives "free" advertising whenever you mention their product, and they expect you to produce things made with it. And all it cost the company was the loan (not something they gave away), but the LOAN of a machine. 

It's all about the bottom line -- it's easy to "pay" people with an equipment loan or fabric, which doesn't cost the company the full retail price than to pay a marketing firm in CASH to promote their product. So for the company, having Ambassadors is excellent, but from an individual perspective, it can involve a LOT of time and effort, and you get very little in return. 

I know many people up in arms about the "slave labor" they perceive Ambassadors do. In a way, it makes sense because some Ambassadors pour their heart and soul into it, and I guess those are the ones that LOVE what they do and don't care if they are being "exploited." Everyone's situation is so different. 

Influencers are another ball game, and I'm not going there. 

I am NOT an Ambassador for any company, but I still pour my heart and soul into what I do. I could do many things that make way more money, but I love to do this, and I can afford to do it, so you are all stuck with me! 

I spent the afternoon puttering in the sewing room, but I don't have much to show. Some of it is for presentations this morning, and some for blog posts. But OH my --- I was able to accomplish what I wanted in editing my embroidery design. It is NOT perfect, but it works; that is all I care about. I'll take that learning experience and expand on it for the next project. Yep -- there'll always be a next project. 

I've averaged 12.5 KM a day of walking since the new year, which isn't that spectacular given that we are only one week into the year, and the weather has been amazing except for the lack of sun, which attempted to peek its head out yesterday for mere seconds. 

OK -- so I made progress on the cutting table, but not as much as I would like. 

The cutting table

There are still a few things that need to be put away; the rest is the CURRENT projects I need to complete this week. Stuff that I'm prepping or sewing or embroidering. I still have a lot of machine embroidery, and I NEED to get it done. Hopefully, this afternoon, I can tackle the remainder of it. But this is the best shape that the cutting table has been in. And I could have it perfect in about one hour, so I will try to find that hour today. 

Can you believe I only had one picture to share with you? Wait -- there's one more I took yesterday, and let me find it. 

Maybe that large shopping bag isn't such a bad idea. I read the flyer for the drugstore, and they have the most fantastic popcorn on sale, so I went to buy some. I bought four bags and had my few groceries in the bottom. That large bag was a godsend! The popcorn is my afternoon snack when I can get it on sale, and I won't pay full price for it! 

My large shopping bag came in HANDI! (no pun intended -- oh yes --- pun intended!)

It's still too large for most of my errands, so I will chop it down. 

Here are some examples of combining technologies in my world that excite the heck out of me. 

I created all four of these ladybug designs. The one in the top left is 100% machine embroidery. The next one is machine embroidery applique with fabric, the next one is machine embroidery using an outline stitch only, and the final one is done with cardstock. I started with an image in some software. Now that's pretty darn cool!

Four ways to make a ladybug

This next sample started with an image from a coloring book, and I did some outline stitching with machine embroidery. The one above the outline stitching is done with fill stitches in embroidery, the middle one is done with paper, and the one on the top right is machine embroidery applique. 

Projects created from a coloring book photo

That is so much fun, but it taxes your brain to make it all work and even think up the darn stuff! But I'm determined to make this all happen, and the more I do, the easier it becomes!

This is a tree that I cut using my digital cutter. I did this and shared it with you a while back. This is NOT perfect, and I need to experiment some more. That is on my plate for this month. 

My fabric tree cut on the digital cutter

These classes are PUSHING me and my brain to the limit to keep ahead of the students and to become proficient. So bring it on!!! 

I'm very happy filling in my Happiness journal at the end of the day, and I LOVE those colored pens, but I really need a holder for them. It's so much fun to read what happened on this day in 2012 and 2013. As the year progresses, I won't have that entertainment!

I'm not sure how I became a morning person, but I want to thank my parents (we never do that enough) for making me who I am. I know they didn't make me exactly how I am today -- I have a lot of personal experience (i.e., mistakes!) to thank for that. But setting good routines (we were NEVER allowed to sleep in), we had chores to do (as I'm sure most of you did), but just good character and, most of all, the LOVE of doing things with my hands and my brain. And being excited and curious! That comes from both my parents, and I can't thank them enough for giving me that gift! And while my body will grow old and tired, I hope my brain never does! 

Well, it's time to get the day started! So much to do and so little time! And I'm so excited about our classes this morning! 

Have a super day!!!



  1. I have no doubt that somewhere in your home is a cup shape container/mug/vase that will beautifully hold your colorful Happiness pens! Mine is a ski boot mug that my nephew painted for me when he was just 4yo :-)

    1. OH -- way behind on the comments. How sweet to have a nice mug for your pens! I found the perfect container that allows me to randomly choose the pen color. It's great if I'm going somewhere in the car, but not so great for a plane. I'll have to decide to how to carry them for the plane or just pick one! Have a super day!

  2. While browsing Instagram, someone spoke about their happiness journal and their new gel pens! They made a roll with individual pockets for each pen and kept it rolled up with their book. The two items apparently travel together with her when ever she travels! I was thinking about that and would like to make one which the book fits in a pocket or one of the covers is covered with the pens in thin pockets to the left or right. Am going to work on that today for my writing book.
    My next question is regarding Ambassadors for sewing machine companies, Bernina seems to have a large exposure on the media by choosing seemingly high profile quilters. And recently have added quite a few new Canadians to their repertoire! I met you through Stitch by Stitch and a few programs they were offering such as ‘know your sewing machine’ knowledge class, and ‘embroidery’ and ‘software classes’! Trying to understand the differences… You are an Educator working for Pfaff and Huskvarna (forget mother company’s their name) which pays a salary, whereas Janome, and Bernina ambassadors are not? Does Huskvarna have Ambassadors? I find that our machines do not have the same exposure or umph on public media, and Bernina owners perceive themselves as having superior machines! LOL! I have tried Bernina’s which are nice but I prefer our larger screens and feel they were technologically ahead of the pack!
    Also wondering if you have a website and how to join your various classes you talk about in your blog! Are they offered only through the various stores who have requested you to teach, like Stitch by Stitch in Kingston? I know in your blogs in Nov/Dec you said they were mostly full already! Just wondering as am not living not too close stores to take classes!
    As for technology I need classes on how to just operate a computer, since the iPad and iPhone came out I do not use my computer enough and forgot everything. Youtube here I come to get up to date on my nice new computer!
    I am amazed at how you walk so many Kms a day and do all the other projects you do daily! Am aspiring! LOL! Have a great day! Pat

    1. Pat -- how did you make out with your little roll for the pens? And the book. I'm using a little container and I'll figure out what to do with the whole thing when I travel.
      Hopefully I answered your Ambassador/educator question on my blog a while back. It's a challenge to keep up with everything that gets posted and the Husqvarna Viking and PFAFF teams are out there, it's might be just a wee bit harder to find us.
      I do not have a website - I need one. But I teach through three stores privately and through many with SVP. The best way is to get on their mailing lists. Then I have some clubs that I run myself and those are always posted on my blog when the sign-ups are open. Currently, we are started with all my private ones. I will be starting some new HV and PFAFF series (mostly HV) soon and I'll be linking to those soon.
      Yep -- even on retreat, trying to push out 12 KM. Always a challenge, but I need to clear my head everyday or I'm toast!
      Have a super day!!!!