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Your Growing Business

December 2, 2014

Starting and beginning to grow a business can be a daunting task. There are so many directions you can move in and you kind of have to test them out to see what is the right fit for you and your potential customers.

When I first started Twisted Tree I was knitting like a mad person, just as fast as my day job would allow, one project after another. I felt like I had found my passion. Then I thought - why don't I sell some of this stuff? I love making it! So, I officially named my business Twisted Tree Knitting, got business cards, tax documents, and I opened my Handmade shop on Etsy.

Little did I know that soon I would teach myself to quilt. I made 2 quilts before I finally took a beginner class. I discovered I loved picking out complementary fabrics and slicing them up with my rotary cutter. I even enjoy the ironing believe it or not. Sewing all the pieces together in a particular order to come up with the shapes and patterns that make up the quilt top is exciting to me. Quilting the layers together and binding them feels like finishing a masterpiece. So, I decided to incorporate quilts and blankets into my Handmade shop as well. Except that now it was no longer Twisted Tree "Knitting".

Then I decided that I love fabric so much that I wanted a shop just for that purpose and Twisted Tree Roots was born. I really enjoy this shop. I like having the fabric at my disposal and being able to provide my customers with quality fabric at a reasonable price.

Now I am working on winding down the Handmade shop and opening my Happy Bags shop. Yes, yet another shop! There is no inventory in the new shop yet, but I have a ton of ideas and supplies. I swear as soon as I get done with all these Christmas gifts I will be all over this bag making stuff! Why did I sign myself up to make so many gifts this year? Oh yeah, because I love it, right? Nothing like a ton of projects and a hard deadline!

Anyway... I highly recommend thinking through as many of your ideas as possible when starting your business. Try to think of anything and everything it could become. Naming your business is very important and if I had it to do over again I would pick something less specific.

Something my very wise friend D said was that I don't have to decide what my business is right now. I need to just keep doing what I love and see where it takes me. I read somewhere that your business is organic. It is ever changing and growing as new ideas and new opportunities arise. So for the moment I am going to use passion as my guide to see exactly where this thing is going.

What business ideas are you working on?



Oprah's The Life you Want Weekend

November 3, 2014

The first weekend in September my friend D and I made our way down to Atlanta, Georgia. Nothing like driving in a big city when you are used to living in Podunk. But, like trips before this one, D was an excellent navigator and we made the trip safely.

We left on a Thursday afternoon and drove down to Chattanooga, TN where we stayed the night. Friday morning before leaving Chattanooga we stopped at Ruby Falls. While it seemed like a long trek through a cave for first thing in the morning, Ruby Falls was beautiful. The water comes into the ceiling of this room in the cave and cascades down and back out.




After Ruby Falls we headed to Spool a great quilting and fabric shop in Chattanooga. They also have excellent online purchasing options for all of their in store inventory. There were so many fabrics that I loved there! Here are the ones I narrowed my purchase down to...








Friday afternoon we pulled into Atlanta, found our hotel and checked in. I am thankful that my friend D is so resourceful and experienced when it comes to travel. Our hotel was really nice and just blocks away from Philips Arena, where we were seeing Oprah.

We checked in with our nosebleed section tickets and got our O Tour Wristbands. I used a shot from their website so you could see what the wristband actually looks like.




Here is my own wristband during the show. They lit up different colors at different points in the show and in synchronicity with everyone else in the audience. What a cool idea for concerts! My wristband is currently around the gearshift in my car. That way it serves as a daily reminder to live the life I want to live.



In O Town there were lots of tents set up, mostly for the sponsors' products. D wanted to wait in the really long line to get our wristbands scanned to see if we could win VIP tickets. Had I been on my own there is no way I would have waiting in that line! But, D wanted to and so we waited. They even told us that about 20 people in front of us was the anticipated cutoff for when O Town would close so everyone could head over to the Arena and get ready for Oprah's Friday evening presentation. But, still we stayed. Did I mention that it felt like the sun was about 2 inches from my head? The line seemed to be moving more quickly than anticipated. Very few people were winning tickets until several different people in front of us won. We finally get up there and they scan my wristband. I was not surprised when I didn't win. My friend D gets hers scanned and SHE WON! Yes, D manifested VIP tickets for us. She never doubted (like I did) and saw those tickets as ours.

Not only did we get awesome seats for the show on the left hand side of the stage where we could actually see everyone without binoculars, we even won special Oprah bags with lots of goodies!




This is my favorite goody that was in our bags and serves as a second daily reminder to live my best life. These mophie cases are pretty handy when you are running out of phone charge!




Oprah brought along a few of her "trailblazers" to present with her. D and I both are familiar with and enjoyed being in the presence of  Deepak Chopra (why we went to Altanta, GA instead of Michigan) and Elizabeth Gilbert, author of "Eat, Pray, Love". We were introduced to both Rob Bell and Iyanla Vanzant, which neither of us were familiar with. All of them had amazing and inspiring things to say. This was an experience that I will not soon forget.

Every day since this amazing experience I have thought about whether I am living the life of my dreams. Each day I try to take some action toward my definition of bliss. Check out this link from the show. I have watched this several times since being in Atlanta to help me remember to stay on the path.

What are you passionate about? What is the definition of "the life you want"?







Holiday Count Down - List of Projects

October 31, 2014

There are so many gifts to start and finish before the holidays arrive! I thought I would share it here so I have someplace to keep track of all these projects. I am a planner by nature and this will help to keep me on track. Did I mention I am a fan of lists?


1. A holiday table runner for my mother-in-law with Riley Blake - Home for the Holidays fabric collection. I made her a quilt last year (see it here) and she really loved it, it was still on her bed in July, so I thought I would make her something else quilted.



2. A bag for my sister-in-law, M with ADORNit Fabrics - Dancing Daisy fabric. I got this fabric at a LQS while visiting my hubsband.



3. A bag for my other sister-in-law, M with Heather Bailey - Lottie Da fabric collection.



4. A music album quilt for my daughter, K. I am going to take album pictures and turn them into a quilt for her bed. She is 14 so it is difficult to make things she actually likes and will use, but she seems excited about this quilt.



5. Raggedy Ann quilt for my friend D's daughter. Hopefully a matching pillow too if time allows.



6. Raggedy Andy quilt for my friend D's son. Hopefully a matching pillow too if time allows.



7. A Happy Bag for my friend D with Michael Miller - Affirmations fabric. I am just getting started on Happy Bags. I can't wait to tell you more about that!



8. A holiday island runner for my mom with Riley Blake - Home for the Holidays fabric collection.



9. A Happy Bag for my other sister-in-law, K with Moda Fabrics by Ingrid - Forest Friends fabric collection.



10. A Happy Bag for my (almost) step-mother-in-law, M with Moda Fabrics by Sweetwater - Main Street fabric.



11. A manly quilt for my father-in-law. The floral pattern will be in thin strips so it shouldn't stand out too much.



12. A baby quilt for my nephew, M. I got this fabric at the Nautical Needle LQS while on our 40th birthday trip.




It looks like I better get on the ball! This is more than one project a week before Christmas!




New Stuff and an Awesome Husband

October 29, 2014

My husband works outside of the state where we live. Having a long distance marriage has it's challenges, but it is temporary and we are doing a good job of making it work. I went to visit him recently and not only did he get me a new laptop (shift keys that work! woohoo!), he took me to the LQS (local quilt shop) for some fabric.

If you ever get to Bismarck, ND, I highly recommend Bismarck Sewing and Quilting. There isn't much on the website, but it is a wonderful shop with a great selection.

Here are some of the fabrics my husband treated me to at Bismarck Sewing and Quilting:









Did I mention a few weeks ago my husband also got me a nice new DSLR camera that took these beautiful pictures? I am not sure if I can say enough times how grateful I am that my husband is so supportive of my creative endeavors. No matter what my crazy idea, he is always there to say "go for it baby". That is one of the many things I love about him.