Friday, August 11, 2017

It's a Problem

I have been inundated with emails and calls this week from subscribers who could not open their free block of the month in the August Newsletter.

Let me just say for the record, I feel your pain.  Now, go read this post.

Yup, there are those who come back and say, "it's still not working, what should I do?"

I gotta tell you this really gets me frustrated (RANT BEGINS HERE) because I take each of these calls and letter seriously and try to help them troubleshoot the problem.  Sometime I even revert to sending the file cuz I am so tired of typing the same thing over and over.  But that has burned me to, because i get countless requests to send files and I don't have the time to do that.  Plus, My work is copyright protected and it gets passed around from friend to friend when it is free and easy to get.

 I get ripped off every day by otherwise good people who ignore my copyright and share my patterns with friends, or shops that copy a pattern and sell it without paying me for it. Good hearted people just like you.  Of course YOU don't ever share my patterns with others.  You tell friends to go and download their own free copy!

But I am not a computer geek and I cannot troubleshoot your computer.  I am a pattern designer that provides a free service for my subscribers.  I am constantly on the phone with my web site tech people trying to find out why things go wrong at times and beg them to fix it fast.

For example I just found out yesterday that when people write to me from the CONTACT REEZE page on my website that the emails do not come to me!!!!  I get angry customers on the phone who ask why I did not respond to their email, and I dumbly respond, "What email?"  Sheesh, I finally went on the website and found out how to locate those email in the site archive and there 156 of them!!!!  LET ME REPEAT. . . .156 emails to me with questions and problems, and even some store orders that I never got!  I was sick. As in wanna puke sick because that was 156 people I have let down.

I was on the phone with my website faster than you can say WTF, and asked them to fix it ASAP.  In the meantime I tried to trouble shoot the form myself and it all looked good and was pointing to the right email!!!

So if you have written me from my contact form on my website, and I have not responded, I am sorry.  I did not blow you off.  I just never got your email.  All 156 of them.   &%($%#*&^&)*&^.


Now, I know it is NOT YOUR fault and I should not vent my frustration on you, my faithful and loyal subscriber.  So if I have managed to not piss you off yet, I want to tell you what I have done to try and fix at least one of the problems you are experiencing.

I set up a page on my site with a "secret link" for subscribers only to click on and download my free blocks.  How do I get the "secret link" you ask???

Well, for the sake of convenience, right HERE.

I will put it in every newsletter rather than the current blue buttons which go through my email service.  It is nice to get the stats showing how many people clicked on each button but it is nicer to have happy customers!

Let me know how it works by sending me a cheerful and uplifting email, and I will send you a free pattern for your trouble.



Friday, August 4, 2017

New Patterns for August

I have been designing patterns for Northcott Fabrics for the past 2 years and love getting to see the new fabric lines as they come out.  This month I have completed three new patterns for their beautiful new line of Poppy themed fabric called In Full Bloom by Deborah Edwards.

The first pattern uses running yardage of poppy flower blocks surrounded by a funky border.  I call it Poppy Picture Window.

This is a smaller throw or lap size quilt, 38" x 44". It is an easy pattern for a confident beginner since the only pieced part is the border. You could put any panel or large scale print inside the border.  The In Full Bloom fabric will be shipping to your local quilt shop this fall.  Ask for the fabric and pattern at your LQS, or buy the pattern on my website.

Starlight Poppies is a larger lap quilt, 52" x 52" which is appropriate for an intermediate quilter, although I think a confident beginner could do it if they can do set-in seams.

Yup, there a few set-in seams in this pattern, so you may want to brush up on that technique before you tackle this one.  But the vivid colors and poppy prints make it worth the effort.

The last one is called Amazing Poppies and is an intermediate level pattern, although it is all just squares and rectangles with quick corners. The challenge is making sure you have the fabric oriented with the stripe in the correct direction.  The pattern provides complete instructions and illustrations for assembling the quilt.

This pattern uses just two fabrics in the quilt center.  A poppy flower strip and solid white.  It was fun to design and make.  At 48" x 56" it is a bit too big for a wall quilt but great for a throw or sofa.  All three patterns are on my website, or ask for them at your local quilt shop.

Thanks for taking a look!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

August Block of the Month

The August BOM block is going up on the website today.

I have been traveling and got home Tuesday, August 1.  Wednesday was Bruce's birthday, but today Thursday, after a morning of physical therapy and Dr. appointments, I am determined to get my block up on my blog and website. PHEW!  Mission accomplished.

I love being retired.  I come, I go, and I enjoy the slower pace of doing things at my own speed.  Most of all I love having time to design and quilt. And spending time with my grandchildren.  It is a dream come true for me.  My knee is getting stronger every day and I will be done with physical therapy very soon.  I am so thankful to the patient and skillful physical therapists who have been helping me work through this amazing time.

Amidst all this craziness, I got the August Block pattern written and here it is.

It is Block #8, checkered star, and it is free for the month of August (or until I get the September block posted.)  You can download it for free by clicking on the 2017 BOM tab on my blog, or on my Website.

If you haven't joined my BOM Facebook Group come on over and join.  It is free, of course, and you will get to see some amazing pictures of completed blocks.  It will please, delight, and hopefully motivate you to work on your own set of blocks.

The bonus block for August is a fun one to make.  If you want it for free it will come in my newsletter which will go out Friday August 4 and again on August 15.

Click here to subscribe to my newsletter if you want to get the bonus block for free.

Thanks for stopping by to visit. I would love the hear from you, and see pictures of what you are working on.  And as always, I love to hear your suggestions for the next Block of the Month for 2018.


Saturday, July 8, 2017

July Block of the Month Coming Soon - Sorry it's late

I have been ill the last two weeks and it has delayed the release of Block 7 of the Block of the Month series.  Sorry for the delay, the block should be out in the next day or two.  Finally starting to feel better and the room has quit spinning around so I can finally see.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

I Found the Tweezers!

Under most conditions this would not be an event to celebrate.  However, I needed these for my students at the Curved Piecing Without Pins class I was teaching this past weekend at the Kansas City Regional Quilt Festival.  And I thought I had packed them, but when I arrived at class they were not there.

I looked EVERYWHERE.  I spent 2 days looking for these dratted tweezers.   You need them to hold onto the ends of the curved pieces while they go under the needle.  Really makes it easy to get your ends to match!  And I didn't have them for my class on Friday morning and have been kicking myself ever since.

Today (after a well-deserved late rising) I went downstairs to my studio, and there they were, big as day, sitting on the bookshelf next to my cutting table.  That was the one place  I had not looked on Friday night and again Saturday morning when I was running around frantically looking at them to take back to have in my booth on Saturday.

Well, I promised my students they could get there tweezers and now they can.

Click here to go to my website and order a pair, and I will honor the student price of $5.00 for the next few days.  The regular price of $6.50 will return after next week when I get home from Reno.

The second of my super flubs of the festival was not having enough handouts for my Demo on 60 Degree Diamond Stars.  If you were at the demo and didn't get a handout, click here to download a copy.  Thanks for attending the demo.

A special thanks to my readers and subscribers who came to visit in the booth.  It is always a treat to put a face with a name and I loved hearing how you were using the patterns I have shared over the years.  It was a great show, and I hope you had a great time too.

Monday, June 5, 2017

June Free BOM Block now available

It is time to download your free BOM block for June.  Click on the 2017 BOM tab on my blog navigation bar to get the link.  Yup it is free for the whole month of June.  This is block 6 Swirly Star.

If you subscribe to my newsletter you can get the free bonus block.


The link to the bonus block is in the newsletter, which is sent to subscribers on the 1st and 15th of each month.

If you want to get it there is still time to subscribe and get the link in the June 15th newsletter.

Plus there are some 1/2 price patterns and a new deco garden block.

Bonus Block 54 Big Blue Rose

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Did I Mention it was Free? . . . . . . .

I love my Newsletter Subscribers.  They send me such lovely notes wishing me a speedy recovery on my recent surgery, showing their appreciation for the Free Block of the Month I offer every month, and for the bonus blocks I give to my subscribers just as a small thank you gift for hanging out with me. 

Occasionally I get a note from someone who had trouble getting the free blocks.  Over the years I have tried lots of ways to make this easier for my subscribers.  
  1. First I used (free) until it became very glitchy.  
  2. Then I got, ($$) which worked really well for most people but some people had trouble with it.  I pay $100/year to upgrade Dropbox to the Pro version to be sure that my free pattern files get priority access when requested by my subscribers.  I want you to have an easy and pleasant experience when you go to get your free block. Still I got a lot of complaints. At the same time I had a new website developed ($$$) for Word Press to upgrade my look and improve the reliability of my shopping cart.
  3. In January, I went to a whole new website Host and Software system ($$$$) to make my website easier to navigate, make my shopping cart more problem free, and to insure I had a trouble free file download service to make sure those free blocks got to you without any problems.  I thought I had finally found a goof proof delivery system after 8 years of supplying free BOM patterns. In an attempt at full disclosure, I pay A LOT more for this new website!  In addition to several thousands dollars set up fee I now also pay a monthly fee, nearly as much as Dropbox cost me for a year! (Ok, do I have you feeling all sympathetic and oooey goooey yet?)

Despite the trouble and cost involved, I occasionally get a subscriber who either can't get the block, or, as in the case below, can't open the block.  I have sent literally hundreds of emails to subscribers to help them troubleshoot the problem and get that FREE block delivered. 

The problem is, this takes time.  And I don't have much of that left after I design the BOM blocks, write patterns for each of them, upload the FREE block patterns to my website, and write out a newsletter which delivers links to those FREE block patterns twice each month to over 3,500 subscribers!  WOW  

Oddly, I spend the rest of my time writing patterns, designing, yes, and occasionally I get to sew!  So in an attempt at reducing my problem-solving time, and increasing my revenue-producing time,  I offer the following advice if you are having trouble getting the FREE block each month.  (Did I mention it was free?)
Since two people this week mentioned they could not open the pdf files, here is what I suggested they do.  I am sharing it with all of you and hope it helps.

1.     Download and save the file to your computer first.  Then open and print the file.

2.     The files are big (2 mg) and may take longer to download than you are giving them.

3.     Use a different browser.  Not all browsers like PDF files equally.

4.     If you are on a mobile device, wait until you have access to a computer and then try to download the files again.  (see items 1, 2, and 3 above).

5.     Monthly blocks can also be downloaded from my blog and my website.  The link is in the block description on my website, and on the 2017 BOM tab on my blog.  

Unfortunately the bonus blocks can only be accessed from the newsletter. That is how I keep those blocks exclusively for subscribers.

6.  Call your spouse, son, daughter, grandson, great granddaughter, neighbor, milk man, UPS driver, or other tech savvy individual to help you.
7.  Kick something.  It never helps but I usually feel better after 1-6 don’t work.

Before you give up and call or email me,  try 1-7 again. 

If you still have a problem please be aware that . . . .it is possible. . . not in your case of course,. . . . but for others. . . . . .that it could possibly be. . . . .dare I say it. . . . .USER ERROR?????  

When you can unconditionally rule that out. . . .then consider that you could always purchase the block and the bonus block on my website.  


I know, I know, you want to get it for free, you need to get it for free, you deserve to get it for free,  you count on getting it free every month, you got all the other ones for free so you should be able to get this one too!  Yes, and I also know that you are on a fixed income, receiving disability, under collections and chapter 11, just lost your dog and your best friend, your computer crashed and you lost all your free blocks, you are undergoing treatment for an unpronounceable disease and look forward to your free block as your only solace in an otherwise bleak world.
So if everything else fails and you decide to call me

or shoot me an email,  just remember,  I like chocolate. 😎

(and I might be in the tub.)


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

May is Slip Slidin' Away. . . .

I missed the whole month of May!  And it is one of my most favorite months of the year.  I recall glimpses of things here and there, but for the most part it is gone, fogged by a groggy brain, turtle-like reflexes, and lots and lots of sharp pain emanating from the new titanium joint in my knee.  Yup I have been totally out of it.  Don't get me wrong, I am grateful for the pain medication that made it all possible, but I had not expected how much it would knock me out.  Can you spell dysfunctional?

After losing May I am more determined than ever that I am not going to lose June!  I am up and walking without assistance now -- both cane and walker have been shelved along with the commode, depends, and pillow-lined hall way.  I still have another knee to go so I am not getting rid of the sick room gear just yet.

Buster and Buffy have been my constant companions through the dark times.  They take turns sitting on my lap, drinking out of my water glass, and meowing at me if I attempt to sleep.  They have both learned to dodge the cane when it comes toward them.  They are more nimble than I am at this point so they have to get out of the way or get mowed over.  Max is very protective of me and is my constant shadow, tucking himself under my recliner whenever I sit there making it impossible to put the feet down without smashing the dog in the chair.

And Bruce has been my driver, nurse, cook, laundry dude, and all around go and fetch it for me guy.  He has been great through all of this craziness.  I am especially impressed by his cooking!  He is a fast food kind of guy, but he has been fixing me nice meals with veggies, homemade meat balls, and salads.  Not fancy, but tasty and filling.  If it can be made from hamburger, he can make it.  He has graduated to frozen chicken breasts, and is attempting the occasional soup.  What a guy.

Now 6 weeks post op I am finally coming out of the fog, working on patterns and quilts, preparing teaching notes for classes at the Kansas City Regional Quilt Festival June 14-17 in Overland Park, KS.  The following week I go to Reno, NV to teach 6 classes at the Sew and Quilt Expo.  I am putting together kits, class supplies and ordering replacements for everything I sold out of earlier this year.

It feels good to be working again, although at a much slower pace, after a month of indolence, incomprehension, and incontinence.

So  with all that as an introduction, check out this month's free block of the month on my 2017 BOM tab on my blog.  Yup, its free, and is available as a digital download only.  It is called Swirling Star and I just love the little applique swirls in the corners.

And this month's bonus block, free to my newsletter subscribers, is called Swish N Swirl. I think it is a beauty, and in a way sort of tells the story of me and the month of May.

Thanks for hanging out with me in June.  I missed you.

PS.  The knee surgery went well, it is healing fine, and I am back on my feet.  Thanks for all the good thoughts, wishes and prayers.  It really helped.  HUGS

Friday, May 5, 2017

Block 5 Snowy Window Fair Isle Winter BOM

The free pattern for Block 5 is now available.
Click on the 2017 BOM Tab at the top to download the free pattern.

Comfortably Numb

Yes, I had to explain to my son that there was a time in my life when I listened to Pink Floyd. And this explanation was required because he asked me how I was feeling after my knee replacement surgery.  My response, "Comfortably numb" a multilayered response to both the pain meds I am taking and the complete loss of time I am experiencing as I recover at home.

Yea, he didn't get it either.

So is it any wonder the May Fair Isle BOM is late this  month?  Nope, didn't think so.

But as I scrape through the fog I discovered the May BOM could not remain concealed for long.  It is now available on the 2017 BOM Page.

Knee Update:  quit reading now if these sort of things makes you want to hurl.   My knee is healing nicely.  Staples are out, I am now permitted to shower for real, and I am doing physical therapy, as required by my Physical Therapist, Debbie the Good.  Entering week 3 post op and still lots of pain, but I am now doing stairs, and using a cane instead of a walker most of the time.  I now have an official ADA toilet in my bathroom, and can get in and out of bed unaided.  Now when I can get the bolts out of my neck and retire the Frankenstein shirt I will feel a lot better.  :-)