Wednesday, December 31, 2014

How it came to be - the story of one girl's journey to becoming a fabric designer

Can I share a small glimpse into my story?

I believe, no, I've had too many confirmations for that word, I know Heavenly Father has asked me to pursue becoming a fabric designer. Why? I have yet to have the question answered. All I know is one day I woke up and out of the blue,with a physical longing, an aching, to be a fabric designer. I had no prior history or knowledge of fabric design or a desire to even learn about such things and with only a small,vague conscious awareness that there was someone who actually designed the patterns on fabric.

You can imagine my surprise!

In 2009 just before I turned 30, with this new found seemingly unreachable goal, I made a game plan. Every time I began a new decade I would choose one crazy hard to accomplish goal. I gave myself the whole decade to complete it. For my 30s, clearly, the goal would be to become a fabric designer.

I wrestled with this goal a little. What is the world did it have to do with the eternities, with raising my young children (my youngest at the time was just over 6 months old), with returning to my Heavenly Father? And yet, I have been taught that we should use and develop our talents. That IS something that will help me attend to those other top priority items.

One of my talents happens to be art.

For the first week after I woke up with the new direction Heavenly Father had given me, I cried. Every night. I didn't know what I was doing. At the time there was NOTHING out on the internet to guide me. There is a ton now, but if you notice nothing published before Sept. 2009. I was shocked to realized the interwebs had failed to provide me with the information I asked for. Even the public libraries were no help.

I had just started and already was failing.

Have you ever been driven to do something and then, despite your very, very best efforts, you realize there is no way YOU, small little you, can make it happen? It's a rough place to be.

I was expressing this misery to Kevin, my husband, when he said, "I have a friend who owns a fabric manufacturing company."

I believe my words to him were, "You do not. Please don't joke about this. This is really important to me for some reason."

I mean I had been crying for A WHOLE WEEK. He knew what I was crying about, I'm not really the silent sufferer type. So you can see why I thought he was fooling around. But no. He meant it. He actually does have a friend who owns a fabric manufacturing company. Riley Blake Designs no less.

I was thrilled! They were local, Kevin knew them personally, I thought I was in! I thought, the intensity of the feelings I had been given  were a clear indication that things were going to fall into place rapidly.

Clearly, that didn't happen. In fact, they HATED my designs and told me in so many words. I was crushed. I kept it together long enough to get into my car and then I just cried and cried. However, I decided early on that, "no" did not mean, "never" it just meant, "not right now."

The next few years were filled with more leads, and open doors, and tears, and many, many, MANY no's. But with each No I'd try really hard to look at it as one no closer to my yes. I believed with all my particles that there was a yes. It was out there, I just had to keep working my tail off.

I kept teaching myself the computer programs I need to know like, Illustrator and Photoshop. I read anything I could get my hot little hands on that would lead me to more knowledge of how becoming a fabric designer actually happened. In September of 2010, I came across a blog, 7 Layer Studio. Shelley had just recently announced she had licensed with Benartex and was coming to SLC that spring because that's just where Quilt Market happened to be that year. Right in my backyard! I reached out to her and offered to be her minion at Market and that she could stay with me while she was here. I know it sounds crazy. I didn't even know this lady, but it felt like a door opening. At least I'd get to SEE what Market was like and I would get to help an actual, real life, designer. I'm a hard workers so I knew it could be beneficial to her as well. There's a LOT that goes into a booth.

She said yes! I couldn't believe it and she couldn't believe it either.

Market went great! Shelley's booth was in.cred.ible! You can see that here (May 15, 2011). She is SO talented in a lot of areas. It really is inspiring. She put me to work, we got things set up, and then I was off to walk the floor.

I showed my portfolio to a great number of manufacturers. The most common response was, "we like it, but it's similar to so and so's designs that we already have signed on. But THEN I got a YES! From Paintbrush Studios. You can read all about that here (May 13, 2011). In the end, it just didn't feel right to sign on with them. It was hard to say No to a Yes. REALLY hard. It felt ungrateful and pretentious. But at the end of the day, it wasn't a good fit.

Back to the drawing board.

The rest of the year I kept submitting work to various manufacturers I had met at Market, but had been unable to meet with them OR they had said they'd like to see more work. Benartex and I even began talking. I get SO close and then weird things would happen. With Benartex, the day I was supposed to have a final meeting with a bunch of the head people, their high rise New York building caught fire and their phone systems were out for days and days. We never made it on the same page after that.

I was feeling hopeful and utterly discouraged at the same time all the time. Which, consequently,  really drives a person to the chocolate! The rest of 2011 came and went. No contract. Still working hard. Still putting my work out there. Most of 2012 came and went very much the same. BUT in October of 2012 my dream came alive! Out of the blue. Well, not really. It came after YEARS of putting my hard work out there and all the networking finally came full circle. I signed my contract with Modern Yardage  Oct. 24, 2012 ! You can read all about how that came to be here (October 24, 2012)

Now that I'm on the other side of it, it's weird. I remember all the hard work. I remember the tears and the sleepless nights for longing to fill this hole in my soul. But on this side it feel like, "well, of course it had to be like that." I'm finding, in my old age, many trials end up feeling that way on the other side.

I am beyond grateful that this is part of my story. This is part of the legacy I will leave my children. That big dreams CAN come true with a lot of hard work. It won't be easy and I'm grateful for that too. I hope they reach. I hope they shoot for something they might fail at. I hope they even fail a little along the way, but learn to use the "No" as the next step up to reach the "Yes". I hope working for it brings them fire in their hearts, sleepless night of longing, and sends electricity through their bodies.

Everyone should have a chance to feel that at least once.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Inside the mind of the 5

More reading adventures today. 

Looking at the picture You would think the sounds of the top row would belong to the letters "C, G , & Q". Instead the kindergartner quickly told me the sounds of each word belonged to "B, N, & F". "B" for black cat, "n" because he's a Naked gorilla, and "f" for the picture of the two friends. Clearly.

Sanders =1 boring answers=0

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Sanders turns 5!

Oh, Sanders.

Your 5th birthday (March 2, 2014) was SO highly anticipated by you. I kept asking the day before if you were sad this was the last day you'd ever be 4. (Truthfully, it was because I was feeling a bit sad it was your last day ever to be 4). Each time you'd look at me like I was crazy and say, "NO!" You could not turn 5 fast enough.

Your birthday landed on a Sunday this year. Earlier in the week you suggested, "So....if your birthday is on a Sunday, you don't have to go to church!" You are really disliking having to go to church every week. Partly due to the fact that you have to change out of your pajamas (which you hate to do everyday anyway) and into church clothes. And partly due to the length of time sacrament meeting takes. I can't say I disagree with you on that one.

Your pre-school birthday balloon hat Mrs. Karen made you.

You wanted legos and you got them! You have been building, imagining, and building some more.

We had a family party for you that Sunday. You wanted a lego cake, but you made sure to let everyone know that even though the cake was green it was NOT a GREEN lego party. Just a lego party. It was not the finest cake I have ever made. In fact, every time I passed it, I laughed at how messy and sad it looked. But when YOU  saw it for the first time you gasped, got the biggest smile on your face, and ran to grab your siblings so you could show them the, "awesome Lego brick cake mom made!" Thanks for seeing past the imperfection to the love.

We had lots of people come. You are very loved. Nana and Pappa weren't there because they are in Nebraska this year, but we got to skype with them in the evening. Grandpa Jim wasn't there because he is working out of the country, but he got to skype with you too!

We had your friend birthday party on Saturday, March 8th. The theme? Legos! We had a free lego build,

played lego bingo

put together lego paper dolls (you LOVED this)

I can't get this to NOT be upside down. Weird. 

Opened presents (almost all legos and one very special picture of Sonja and you in a small frame) and had doughnuts for a treat.

Clearly you weren't happy about the candy AT ALL!

You can see the picture Sonja gave you on the stool in the background. We didn't get a picture of her standing next to you :(

We forgot to play the game Lego, Lego, Build that you made up. It's like duck, duck, goose. Our hearts were both sad when we realized that too late after the friends had left.

Other than that you had a wonderful time and were smiles the whole party through!

Sanders, you are so snuggly. Every morning your grab your froggy blanket and you climb into bed with me for a few quiet moments of hugs before the crazy of the morning seeps into our lives.

You like things YOUR way and often question why I should have ANY say in how you conduct yourself throughout the day. But when you decide YOUR way includes trying to be obedient, you have such a glow about you and you can't wait to tell me all the good choices you are making.

You hate changing out of your pajamas and leaving the house. You love preschool after you get there, but hate getting ready to go and leaving. We argue about this most preschool days and I worry for when you have to go to school every day.

You LOVE your siblings and will chase them half a block away in the mornings if they gave you no less than 5 hugs and kisses each. That goodbye time is important to you and you follow them around like a puppy in the mornings because you don't want to miss it.

You also love movies, t.v., and the computer game, Mine Craft. We argue a lot about how much time you'll get with those. You are convinced there is no good reason I should have all the control when it comes to the amount of time you get to enjoy those activities.

You complain about what we feed you most nights. Usually with a loud, "YUCK! I will NOT eat that."and some tears before you have even seen what is for dinner. Which gets you sent to your room until you feel like you can be grateful you have food to eat and you didn't have to prepare it. Your happiest meals are when we say, "It's cold cereal for dinner tonight." Karaia groans and you run around like a crazy person doing a happy dance.

You like to give me random hugs and kisses. I like them too.

You eat a peanut butter and honey sandwich almost every lunch.

You can read! And have been able to for about 4 months before you turned 5. You can read a lot of three letter words, but you don't like learning new words so you usually guess when I ask you to sound something out. You loved learning to read at first and now it feels too hard. We are working on making it fun together.

You tell us Dad is your favorite grown-up, but won't let anyone but me help you with most things. Even if I am the only one busy.

We love you so much and are so happy you are part of our hearts!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

In a magazine? It's ok. You're second!

Sanders and I are quite the team these days. Everyone else is in full time school and while he'll lament, "I am behind everyone!", he gets a lot of perks for being the only one vying for my attention that I really don't feel too bad for him. 

But, after today, maybe I need to step up my game. 

We were walking into Joann's to see if we could find the magazine that had an article about me in it (I KNOW!!! More on that in a second). I told him I needed to hold his hand in the parking lot, but he was welcome to let go when we got to the side walk.

"Plus," I added, "I know you like me a little bit."

 (side note: I was being totally sarcastic because normally he won't let anyone BUT me do things with him. A serious mama's boy...or so I thought)

"Okay. You are my second favorite adult."

"Second? Who's your first?"

"Dad! It goes in a pattern Dad, you, Dad, you. "


When Kevin got home from work today, armed with the knowledge of the above story, he asked,

"Hey, Sanders, who's your favorite adult?"


"Who's your second favorite?"

"Mom!" Looks over at me as if he's just given me the greatest gift EVER.

"Who's your third favorite?"

"Sonja's mom! Well, actually my third favorite is Sonja's dad. *sigh* I've never seen Sonja's dad."

"Okay then...what about the grandmas?"

"OH! Actually, Nana is my fir...," looks at Kevin as if he's torn, "Okay, see there is a boy first and a girl first. Dad is the first boy and Nana is the first girl."

"Hey!" I shouted. " I don't even make it as your first favorite girl adult?!?!?"

"Mooom," he said soothingly, like someone trying to sell some really bad news by pretending it's awesome,  "you are riiiiight next to Nana! You're second!!!!"


Good thing the magazine thing has me on a high today.

That's me! In an actual magazine you can buy at a store. A store other people go to and might buy it and bring it into their homes. SO weird and cool! I bought mine at Barnes and Noble, but, as I mentioned, I headed on over to Joann's to see if the magazine was available in a more main stream quilting location. 

It totally was!

The Quilter Magazine published an article about my journey and Modern Yardage in their Feb/Mar 2014 issue. It ended up being THREE pages. 

Hold on a sec while I pick my jaw up off the floor.

It also features some projects I have sewn as well as some sewn by my Sister-in-law Danica
 (My projects are the skirt --worn by Karaia in this picture--- and the faux cathedral window pillow. Danica sewed the tea towels and the table runner)
It's true you can't win them all, but I am sure grateful for the balance in the universe today!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Sucked back in

Sanders called me from the bed he was supposed to be sleeping in, "Mom, I have to tell you something so hurry up and say, 'What?'".



"You're cute, Mom."

How do they do that? Just when you are ready to put them up for sell, they suck you right back in with their cuteness.

Dang, cute, kids.

Also, isn't Ferb the best?!?

Monday, January 27, 2014


"Daniel is SUCH a friend. He helps me through all my pains."

~ Beckham, 3rd grade, Age 9...going on 60