The Saturday Zen Review: Building a Creative Business

I am sure many of you as sewers, quilters, and crafters dream of the day when you could spend your time making, creating or teaching what you love while being able to pay the bills and care for family and friends, too. We all read each other’s blogs and cheer one another on when we see a particular blogger’s work sky rocket off the web pages into our own homes through their patterns, fabrics, Etsy shops, studios, workshops and books.

Often, we don’t necessarily see ourselves as being “one of the lucky few.”

The mere thought of actually starting a business, especially for creative people, can be quite overwhelming. Even if we have some business background or supportive business folks in our orbit, creative brains don’t always match up with traditional business models of working. FEAR, FAILURE, STRESS, NO TIME seem to be the key words that keep us from moving forward with our dreams.

If you have ever thought of doing something different in your life, changing what is not working for you and starting a business you can call your own, it is not as difficult as you may think. I would encourage you to explore some new and simple business tools to help you focus your vision and create your dream.

The Right Brain Business Plan 

Jennifer Lee is the author of The Right Brain Business Plan  and Building Your Business the Right Brain Way, available through her site by clicking the header above, and also through AMAZON. She has created an entire program with tools, free and low cost, through her website www.rightbrainbusinessplan.com

Jennifer often offers free video trainings and she is an absolutely delightful mentor and coach. Her next free training (75 minutes, folks!!!) is Tuesday, October 28th at 3 pm Eastern Standard Time (12 Noon, Pacific ST and 8 pm London).

You will LOVE learning this business model and connecting with other creative folks just like you!

The Micro Business Course

Courtney Carver is a writer and the creator of the blog Be More with LessThrough her message of simple solutions for creating the life you want, Courtney has authored several books and developed a great course called The Micro-Business Course, for the grand sum of US$19.99!! To see the outline of the course, please click on the header link above.

If you want to start slow and simple, then this is the model for you! Her strategies  will help you with doable solutions  to jump start your creative focus, develop a concrete plan and connect with a creative community.

These creative thinkers are generous with their time, encouragement and resources. The lack of money should not be a barrier to benefiting from what Jennifer Lee and Courtney Carver offer through their sites and blogs. Any one of us can create the life we dream, whether big or small!

Please share this information with others. If you know someone who may have voiced their dream to you and who may not have access to the internet right now, please suggest they use the public library for the internet. Invite a few friends over and explore the blogosphere together, and share your books!

Let’s help support and make each other’s dreams come true!

All the best,

Mary

A Sew Zen Do and Review!

 

Simplicity Pattern 2372

Simplicity Pattern 2372

Recently, I made a blouse for my daughter-in-law with a cotton fabric that she chose when we went shopping during a visit together. This is not the pattern I intended to use but the fabric and this pattern were just meant to be!

After making a muslin with an indie designer pattern, I decided that I did not like the finishing on any of those blouse features. As a self taught, but older, sewer I do appreciate that many of the young independent designers around today are also self-taught. However, a couple of issues I have noticed with some of the more popular indie patterns is that not all patterns are drafted or drawn equally well, even within a particular line, and not all patterns use sewing terms consistently. I have found terms used like “tuck” when really the pattern should have read more specifically the type of tuck, dart or pleat needed for shaping in that area.

As a retiree who has downsized and gone digital, I really appreciate how many independent designers are using e-patterns for immediate use. However, I have found through trial and error that there is a lot of paper and ink waste, and it is very time consuming to put such a pattern together when making clothing.

All this to say I was deliriously happy to find the Simplicity 2372 pattern in my stash because it is well written with clear language and pattern layout. I cut out a size 12 for View C and made no alterations whatsoever. All of the pieces lined up perfectly and where there are tucks and darts, they were easy to match and mark on the fabric.

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The sleeve has dart details and the front neckline area tucks. I think the details of this pattern would show up very nicely in a solid or less busy print, and even in a stable knit fabric. This is a pull over shirt. It fit smoothly over Kaytee’s head when she put it on and the fit was great all over.

Because there are Center Front and Center Back seams, you can do a lot of redesign with this pattern such as adding a button down front or putting in a zipper or button back opening. I love patterns that do not take much effort in making them versatile after the work we put into getting a balanced proportion and fit. I plan on making all of the items for myself in this pattern since they come together so quickly and the style is simple but versatile. Good job, Simplicity!

I used Pellon 100% Cotton Fusible Interfacing for the neckline facing. It is my new favorite! Love that cotton! With CF and CB seams on a shirt, it is better to press open and flat finish reducing any bulk. With side seams, I press to the back and then top stitch down if I am not using a French seam.

I have returned to the “old style” of finishing lately using mostly cotton and silk threads since serged seams have too much polyester/nylon thread build up irritating my skin. OMG, it’s not just me but apparently skin issues are another new Baby Boomer problem!

BTW, to preserve and reuse my tissue paper pattern, I fuse the entire pattern to Pellon’s Craft Fuse, then trace off the size I need for the project onto medical exam paper. If it is a pattern specifically for me, I cut my size out of the tissue paper pattern , make any alterations with additional  paper, then fuse my altered pattern to the Craft Fuse.

Simplicity and Pellon have come a long way since I began using these products quite a few years ago and they will now become staple products in my sewing supplies. What do you like to use in your sewing?

 

All the best,

Mary

Fabrics, Fun and Food in Fairfield, VA!!!

Now it seems Fall is fast upon us, and life is even more busy, but I have to say, also extremely fun! I don’t mind being busy at all if I am sewing most of the time, or with friends who also like to sew!

Last month a couple of friends and I had the  opportunity to take a class at one of the area’s charming fabric stores, The Quiltery. This shop is located in Fairfield, Virginia, just in between Staunton and Lexington off of Interstate 81/Route 11. With over 2,000 bolts of fabric, from traditional to modern, it is well worth a shopping visit. Once you get there however, there is something you will experience that believe it or not is better than fabric- new friends!

You will wind up having a delightful time talking to shop owner, Maureen, and her assistants, Kim and Sandy. They will tell you all the about the store and town, and then give you directions to Frank’s Cafe, a very nice homey place with a beautiful view of the mountains a few minutes down Route 11.

If you take a class at The Quiltery or join their monthly Art Quilt group, the classroom space in the back of the shop will also give you a peaceful view of the woods. With my friends, Diana and Sandy, we took a great class on making an adaptation of the Grommet Bag by Indygo Junction. Though I was a delinquent and did not prepare all of my homework ahead of time, (did I mention life has been busy?!!), I did finish making my bag at home the next day.

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Maureen Smart, shop owner

Maureen Smart, shop owner

In class instructor, Carolyn

In class instructor, Carolyn

Speedy Sandy finished her bag first!!!

Speedy Sandy finished her bag first!!!

Diana finished second with an equally lovely bag!

Diana finished second with an equally lovely bag!

Kim, shop assistant

Kim, shop assistant

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This pattern was too cute to pass up, so I bought the kit to make my own!

This pattern was too cute to pass up, so I bought the kit to make my own!

Finally done! I came in last, as usual. Speedy I'm not!

Finally done! I came in last, as usual. Speedy I’m not!

We had a wonderful time in class with everyone and Carolyn is a great instructor. Several of us had packed a lunch and we were able to eat together on the back deck with a gorgeous view.

If you’d like a really special treat for yourself, and your friends, plan on making a visit to The Quiltery next week during  Tour de Quilt and having a bite to eat at Frank’s Cafe. Your friends will thank you for it, I’m sure!

All the best,

Mary