Thursday, December 30, 2010

It's been a great year! Word for the new year: Time Management

So much better than 2009.  I shouldn't complain, but seriously, 2009 really sucked. This is really the time of year to take stock, look back at what worked, and look forward to new ideas, projects, and plans to make it an even better year than last. 2010 was pretty darned good.  I'm ready to make 2011 even better. Now all I need is the time to make it all happen.  I don't know about you, but I'm constantly trying to figure out how to fit this in or that.  Recently it's been trying to paint my kitchen, making new Kindle 3 cases, or reading any one of the great books I have stacked up to read.  I need better time management skills.  Or maybe I need less of a social life (I didn't just say that out loud).  I'm not sure what it is, but there is never enough time to do everything I want and plan to do.  It's the age old song that's been sung for time immemorial.....

....I've just started listening to the Autobiography of Mark Twain (yes, listening, because the only time I have is the time I spend in my car from work to home and to the store, etc.)...and even before they've reached Chapter one, the narrator is talking about how Mark Twain started an autobiography over and over and over again during his lifetime.  Sometimes dictating it, sometimes writing the words down, agonizing over how honest to be or how close to play his cards.  He never really finished it, although he managed to write a tome of over half a million words when he could focus on it.  He also had the foresight to have his autobiography published 100 years after his death (1910).  Another unknown fact to me was that it took him, on average, a total of 3 to 7 years to write each of his major works.  It normally took him this long because he inevitably had trouble keeping focused on a project and often put it aside for long periods of time. He mused on time a lot.  Things don't change......
I find myself wishing I lived in a simpler time.  1910 for instance.  But it wasn't any simpler than it is now, maybe worse, not sure, on the cusp of World War I, everyone realizing some of the fallout from the industrial revolution, etc. etc....  Maybe the 1500's....  Only if I could be nobility in some rich, stable foreign country.  Honestly, all I want is some time to read a book.  
In my reading stack now:

Just Kids - Patty Smith
The Murder of Bunny Monroe - Nick Cave
Packing for Mars - Mary Roach
Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk  - David Sedaris
The Sea Glass Chronicles - Christophe Brunski
The Mind's Eye - Oliver Sacks

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Meanwhile, I teeter on 499 sales!!

It's true, and I feel like I'm reaching a big milestone with the shop, and of course, want to have an excuse to get excited and celebrate...even if it's something small and only means a lot to me :) You guys get it! My next sale will mark my 500th sale in my quilt shop! Yay!

Meanwhile, my wonderful and most excellent friend, Jeff Derose, has taken some photos of some of my quilts in a gorgeous field in Amherst, MA. Nicole, at Lillyella had so kindly interviewed me for a featured spot on her blog, so I needed some really nice shots of the quilts, and an actual photograph of me to include. Thanks, Jeff :) Check out his websites. It's great to get someone else's perspective on your work, and hiring a professional photographer is pretty amazing. I highly recommend it, because they really see things that you just do not. Or, as in my case, I have a certain way that I photograph my items, for consistency in the shop and all that. Anyway, here are some of the photos from that shoot... enjoy!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Come and See Me! At the 24th Annual Cottage Street Studios Holiday Open Studios and Sale

December 3, 4, and 5. Friday 12-5, Saturday 10-5, Sunday 12-5. Come and see me and forty-four other artisans, when we open our studio doors for the 24th Annual Cottage Street Studios Holiday Open Studio and Sale! You'll find me in Studio 420 with my quilty items and paintings!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Get in on this giveaway, People!

Photo credit: Jeff Derose
My shop is being featured on the wonderful Lillyella blog... Thank you, Nicole!
Be sure to check out her many interesting posts, including recipes, cool projects, and fashion ideas. I'm offering a giveaway from the shop, so check out the post to find out how to enter to win something cool from btaylorquilts!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Awesome weekend

Participated in the 1st Annual Easthampton Studio Tour Day on Saturday, Oct. 2. We totally lucked out with the weather, after two miserable days of steady rain it was more than awesome to wake up to the sunshine. I was not intending to be outside with my table, but decided to move it outside when the weather just kept getting nicer. I've never set up my machine to sew outside before, and it was really fun...a little bright, you can tell by the sunglasses, but still completely fun.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

New Camera :)

It's pretty exciting around here...I've gotten a new camera. A Canon, EOS Rebel T1i 500D. It's a digital SLR and is really beautiful. A friend has lent me a lens to try and I'm just starting to learn functions, etc. The last camera that I really enjoyed was my Canon AE1, 35 mm film camera. It was simple. Basic. I loved it. It was easy to use, everything was aparent, with no menus or complicated settings. A short novel came with the new camera and with some time I hope to be able to take some nice photos, including images for my Etsy stores. So far I've only had one willing model:
He's going to read the manual while I'm at work today and let me know the fundamentals when I get home.

Shop news: I've been busy lately taking some time for vacation and relaxing. I haven't mowed my lawn for about 7 weeks (it's actually not that bad..only in spots). I'm also busy with a personal sewing project that is taking an inordinate amount of time. Soon I will be listing new things in the shop....soon :)

Friday, June 4, 2010

New Kindle covers in the shop!

I'll be listing some new Kindle covers in the shop over the next few days. I had borrowed my Sister's Kindle to see if I liked it...I was comparing the Nook and the Kindle, and had briefly entertained getting an iPad, but it was just too heavy and big for what I wanted to use it for.
In exchange for borrowing her Kindle I sewed up a cover for her. She was toting it around in her bag with no cover. Honestly, it was in near perfect condition anyway, so that attests to its durability with hard use.
A few weeks ago my own Kindle arrived in the mail and it is truly awesome. It is my "model" for my Kindle cover photos that you see here. Of course, I got really excited about the covers and have been making them a lot...part of my obsessive nature I suppose :) But they are fun to make and so very useful. I've made myself two so far and will probably make a lot more, so I can have a variety depending upon my mood. The Kindle feels good in the case, which is made of one layer of heirloom quality 100% cotton batting and all cotton fabrics. It's simple really and snug enough to hold the Kindle without slipping out all the time. Check them out in the shop, they are selling for $20 each.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Open Studio weekend at Cottage Street Studios. Come and see me!

This weekend, June 5 & 6th, Cottage Street Studios holds its 22 annual Open Studio Spring Sale. For directions and hours and a huge list of participating artisans, please visit the Cottage Street Studios website.

Come and see me working in my studio (#420), and check out the more than 30 artists with their doors open. They are all amazing artisans and are all looking forward to seeing you. We've got glass workers, potters, painters, photographers, woodworkers, illustrators, poets and more. There will be something for everyone.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Look at What I Got!

I actually won a giveaway! Spectaclealamaison was having a giveaway on her blog, just about the same time that mine was going on, and I entered. I've only one a few things in my life, including once when I accurately guessed the weight of a huge squash at a country fair. I was only around 9 years old at the time, and I still remember that the prize was a dinner gift certificate at Bonanza or something like that. My Mom got a kick out of it, and we all had a good time going out to dinner for free :)

Well, lucky me, and my name was drawn, and here is my prize! A beautiful, handmade cuff, which arrived packaged up like a surprise gift!

Thank you so, much, Sanne, for the lovely cuff!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Went to a Really Interesting Meeting Today! What'd you do?

That's John, asleep at our table. Stuart had wandered off aimlessly, but eventually came back to his seat when the next speaker appeared.

Actually, the meeting was pretty good...John really didn't fall asleep, but maybe it was because of the energy drink he consumed! Titled "Shop Local, Strategies for Starting A Community Campaign" it was held by the Massachusetts Downtown Initiative and Pioneer Valley Local First, and included some really amazing speakers from the Eastern part of the State. If you are interested in Buy Local campaigns, or maybe just exploring ideas about how to go about starting something in your town, check out the links at Pioneer Valley Local First.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Quote of the Day ~ Yoda was a smart guy

"Do or do not.
There is no "try"

[Luke:] "I can’t believe it."
[Yoda:] "That is why you fail.”

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

And the winner is!!

Yay! Ginny Huber has won the pot holders in my Birthday giveaway! It's been fun reading all of your comments about what you'd do if you knew you'd live to 100. Ginny, I'll need your mailing address so convo it to me!!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

btaylorquilts birthday giveaway!

Win this set of pot holders in my second giveaway! The chances are pretty good you might win because you actually have to do something to win the prize this time, and as of today I have only three comments!! See the post below for more details.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Happy Birthday to me Giveaway! Tell me what you'd do :)

To celebrate my birthday this year, I want to have a giveaway surprise! Next Tuesday, the 27th at Noon, I'll be holding a drawing for this set of pot holders. Read on for details.

I want to share this bit of inspiration: A few years ago I read about a local woman who had recently passed away. She had died at the age of 100. They quoted her in the article..... "If I had known I was going to live this long I would have started taking violin lessons when I was 60. I would have been playing the violin for 40 years."

Painting by Tali from Tush Tush

THIS is important. As I get older I try to remember this quote. We just don't know how long we've got, so why not do those things that we've always wanted to do. It's not too late. Even if you might think it's silly. Who knows, you might have another 40, 50..... 70 years to live. Do what you love.

So now, to be in my birthday giveaway, and with this quote in mind, all you have to do is tell me what you would do or what you've always wanted to do. (Oh, and follow my blog and/or Facebook page!) Would you travel? Where to? Would you give money away? Would you buy yourself a new toy, or violin lessons? If it's a bunch of things, list 'em!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Spring ~ Happy Easter

It's quiet around here today. Only thing stirring is the rooster at the farm across the street. Well, the cows are up too, but other than that not a car has gone by and it's nearly 9 a.m. I love holidays for this. That sense of the world has stopped for a moment and everything has that muffled quietness about it. To celebrate the quiet and sheer wonderfulness, I wanted to share a couple of items from artisans in my Etsy Project Embrace team. Enjoy the quietude!

"Don't Wake Me if I'm Dreaming" Photo by Lori H.

Cottage Rose Plates by 5gardenias

Wedding Jar in Vanilla Tears Design by dbabcock

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

finally a treasury

I know not all of you are Etsy sellers or buyers, but I think a majority of you are. If you are not, I highly recommend taking a look around Etsy. There are so many wonderful, handmade items, including cleaning supplies, home decoration, edibles, fine art, ceramics, perfume, soap, not to mention the vintage arena!

Click on the photo above, which will bring you to the treasury west area of the website and the current treasury that I have curated on the start, these sellers are part of Team Etsy Project Embrace, which you are all familiar with if you've been reading my blog for any time now. If not, most of them donate a portion of their profits to the American Cancer Society, which, in my opinion, is one of the most pressing health issues of the human race. I know there are many many other issues to be dealt with, but cancer is just insidious, and touches almost all of our lives in some way. It has effected me personally so many times..even my pets are not immune.

To read more about this fine team of artisans working to make a difference, please see the Etsy Project Embrace Forum thread. And please support their handmade efforts. You get something really nice and they are giving back in return :)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Etsy Easter Voter and Team Etsy Project Embrace

Team EPE is well represented again in this week's Etsy Voter! My friends, Kerrin, from Sigmosaics, and Kim, from Slinkymalinkicat are in the running in this week's Etsy Easter Voter! Please take a minute or two to visit the Voter and cast your vote for your favorite item. The theme this week is "what would you like to get in your Easter Basket?"
Kim's chromolithograph from Rev. Canon Atkinson's 'British Birds' Eggs and Nests', published by George Routledge and Sons, London. Circa 1880
Kerrin's super-cute mosaic eggs!Visit these seller's shops by clicking on the items above! They both have such amazing and beautiful items on offer for your Easter Sweetheart. Enjoy!
To find out more about Team Etsy Project Embrace visit the forum thread...there you can find out what we are about, how to join, and what's happening today!

Friday, March 26, 2010

What's been happening over there?

I know, I know...I've been so incredibly busy that I haven't had a spare moment to post for over two weeks now. One minute it was pancake breakfast and then all hell broke loose! It's been better weather for I've tried to be outside as much as possible. I believe I mentioned my new friend too:
Thomas says hello!

Let's quilt came in first place in the Etsy Voter :) Thanks so much to all who voted for it. It really generated a lot of interest in the shop and I had a flurry of sales and custom orders come in, so it's been a little crazy around here. There were so many wonderful shops in the Voter selection..they were all so great. Ruby included my quilt in her Friday picks blog post today. Thanks Ruby!
I also managed to get my taxes done! Wow! Every year it's the same thing..I scramble around for a week, putting together all the information, trying to find forms, and cancelled checks, and excise tax bills. Somehow I just cannot manage to stay organized for the whole year. Seriously, already three months into the new year and I haven't managed to straighten out the record keeping system. It always seems like I have better things to do than deal with receipts and paper. Anyway, it's done and I don't even owe money this year!! Yay!! On the way home from the tax accountant's office, I was texted by my good friend Dan to stop over their house for dinner. Andrea was making scallion pancakes and eggs! YUM!

Mollie, at roughmagiccreations also asked me to do an interview for the Etsy Project Embrace blog, which should be posted today at some point. If you do not know about EPE, we are a Universal Coalition of Artists whose main purpose is to create awareness and support for people who have been diagnosed with Cancer, whatever kind it may be. The project began as a way to help our friend and wonderful Etsian, Laura Slocum, who has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and is currently having chemotherapy. You can read more about Laura and her incredible uplifting journey here: (taken from loveartworks post in the team forum thread. I donate 10% of my profits to the American Cancer Society!
A star from Laura's shop!