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I often get questions about my daily schedule or if I piece/quilt all day everyday.
Well, not exactly. . .. as the owner of a small business, everyday is different, but everyday is full.
I thought it would be interesting to everyone to see a sample day when I am home. . . just a day in the life of a traveling quilt instructor/author/pattern/fabric designer.
Hang on, here goes:
- Grab iPad and check email and online class before getting out of bed. Answer questions, delete spam emails, answer a few quick emails.
- By 7am, walk dog, feed dog, feed and pet neighbor’s cat who likes to live part-time on our front porch, water ferns, flowers, herbs on front and back porch, sweep porches, unload dishwasher, clean counters, throw in a load of clothes into washer.
- answer emails for schedule requests in my upcoming calendar (which leads to some tentative schedule, have to check on that before answering about possible open dates in calendar
- Send requests for teaching packets
- Print out, add into QuickBooks and pack orders that came in over-night, print out postage, walk to mailbox and give the dog an extra lap around the block
- Notice neighbor’s cat (who is still on our front porch) seems hungry, feed her, a bit more petting while she purrs and coos to me.
- Back in office, while packing orders, notice we are low on one pattern. Contact printer, email file, request patterns printed. Add into calendar to pick up from printer.
- Contact landscapers (who should have been here by 8am to trim landscape, remove and replant a few bushes that didn’t make it through the winter. Rain has delayed them, they aren’t coming until next week, correct in calendar
- Need to meet Gail, to pick up fabric she has cut and packaged for classes. (Before leaving house, gather up garbage and recycling, will drop off on the way to get fabric.)
- Stop at Dump/recycling center, meet Gail and get fabric packets. Stop at grocery story and for a much needed stop at Dunkin’ Donuts. Drive home, unpack groceries, put clothes into dryer.
- Sort fabric packets into colors and put into our storage area.
- While putting fabric away,, notice we are low on a few colors of fabric for the webstore. Make note to call and order fabric.
- Grab a quick bite of lunch, and text husband about the landscapers
- Check email, distributor order came in. Reply back with shipping date, pack order, back to QuickBooks, print postage. Walk back out to mailbox, another lap for the dog.
- My FB message notification goes off, can I donate a quilt for an my upcoming class reunion? I can, make a note in calendar to decide which quilt to donate, when to send description and photo graph.
- Plans have shifted, since landscapers are not coming. I can shift some work that needs concentration to this afternoon.
- Pull out schedule for next week, teaching at conference, look at supply list and pack patterns, handouts, fabric packets for the kits for class. Print out handouts for one class, collate and staple. Print out “trip check-list” note class handouts and kits have been packed. Pull travel details and contract for this trip from file, add to growing stack for “next trip”. Prepare invoice, add to stack.
- While printing handouts, notice toner and I-Units for laser printer are low. Go online and order printer supplies.
- While checking printing supplies, double-check paper supply. We are fine, bought paper two weeks ago, no need for more at this time.
- While checking paper supply, check store notions, make sure we have supplies for upcoming classes. Make note of areas that are low, add to “to-do” list for ordering next week.
- Check calendar to make sure I’m up to date on all flight and hotel reservations for upcoming trips. Add note to calendar when next hotel reservation needs to be made.
- Check email, question about my new fabric line, research answer and reply
- Run upstairs to laundry room, pull shirts to finish drying so no ironing is needed, finish drying rest of clothes. Notice the dog has slopped food on the floor, near his food dish. Grab steam mop, do a quick clean-up
- Notice UPS has pulled up to the house. Totes and boxes from booth at Spring Market is being delivered. Carry 3 totes and several large boxes downstairs, unpack quilts, re-organize booth supplies for next Market, put booth supplies into storage totes
- Back down to office, pull notes for new pattern for the latest fabric line. Pattern is due in a few weeks, must start rough draft. Turn off radio, all SM notifications so no distractions. Write first draft of pattern, using notes I made while making quilt and double checking measurements with actual quilt. This takes several hours. On another day, I will need to format, check spelling, double or triple check the math, add illustrations and start cover graphics. (One pattern down, two more to go)
- Check email, request for fabric for block challenge for an upcoming trip I will be teaching at. Check on availability and possibility. . . it is affirmative. Get mailing address and prepare to mail.
- Make notes for next fabric line, ideas/concept/color, add deadline to turn in to calendar.
- Check to-do list and deadlines. Magazine article is due shortly. First and second draft of article have been completed. Give a quick read-through, make notes in red to changes needed. Will finish next week, add deadline to calendar.
- Check email again, questions about fabric line that has been discontinued 5 years ago, reply and give options for finding out-of-print fabric lines.
- Think about dinner, text husband about his ETA, dash to kitchen fix salad and prepare meat for grill. We eat, clean up kitchen, chat for a few minutes and back to work.
- Check online class, answer questions, check email, answer what needs to be done, check calendar/deadlines. Text daughter, meeting her tomorrow, plan meeting and plan work before I meet her.
- Write first draft of next online newsletter, write draft of next blog post.
- Brisk walk with dog and husband, walk around yard and discuss landscaping.
- Make notes of a new quilt design that popped in my head while walking the dog.
- One more check of email/class/Social Media, starting to get tired. . . winding down. . . . and off to bed
This is a pretty good example of a sample day when I’m home, between teaching trips. Helps to be organized and helps to multi-task. Some days, I actually make it into my sewing studio!
I’m so excited about this cruise! As you may remember, I’ve been working with Quilt Seminars at Sea for the past few years and we have gone on some faboulous cruises and fantastic places.
Kim, Amy and I have been working on this cruise for some time and we are very excited to share it with you. We have some wonderful experiences planned for you. . . . and be sure to bring an empty suitcase! When you return home, it will be filled with amazing batiks.
The flyer and details about the cruise are below.
Space is limited, so I hope you can join us!
Batiks of Bali (Indonesia)Quilt Seminar at Sea
Dear quilters and friends,
2016 brings a unique opportunity to experience the fabric haven of Indonesia! This exclusive cruise and tour will sail on Holland America’s ms Volendam and be led by instructor, author and fabric maker, Karen Combs.
Discover the rich traditions of Bali
This 14-day cruise of a lifetime begins and ends in Singapore. Visit the Indonesian ports of Jakarta, Semarang, Surabaya, Probolinggo, Lombok, Komodo Island and overnight on board ship in magical Bali. Tour along the way in ports that will show you a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the Indonesian fabric industry.
We will visit the biggest textile market in South East Asia, Tanah Abang Market, on Jakarta. While on Java, we will not only visit traditional markets, but observe the process of making batiks. Once you’ve observed, step in and learn from a batik expert as they guide you through designing and creating your own hand-made batik to bring home! While in Bali, visit the center of Balinese hand-woven fabric, and find the unique Kamben Grinsing (flaming cloth), which villagers believe protect its wearer from evil.
Round out the cruise with a tour to Komodo Island where you can visit the amazing Komodo Dragons in their natural habitat. With lectures, shopping time and surprises along the way, this will be an unforgettable trip of a lifetime! To know the exact schedule and route of the cruise, view the detailed itinerary.
Cruise and learn with Karen Combs
Karen is an internationally known quilter, teacher, author and fabric designer. She is fascinated with optical illusions, these are the subjects of many of her workshops. Designing fabrics for the quilt industry since 2001, Karen is known for her beautiful fabric designs, both batiks and quilting cotton.
Karen has found a home designing fabrics for Riverwoods Collection for Troy Corporation. During this fantastic cruise, Karen will share information about fabric design, production and some of the secrets of creating batiks.
Teacher, Author, Instructor
Amy Ross and Kim Hedges
Quilt Seminars at Sea
Schedule of Events
On this unique and exciting itinerary you will automatically be included in all of our fabulous tours and lectures. There is no need to sign up for them along the way! This is not your typical Quilt Seminar at Sea, but instead an exclusive and inclusive look into the fabric industry of Indonesia. Bring a hand-work item from home if you would like to work on a project, but there will be no classes along the way.
You will be included in lectures, special tours on and off the ship, “sewcial” opportunities, special meals, and parties!
Tuesday, January 5, 2016Singapore
|Welcome & Orientation|
Wednesday, January 6, 2016At Sea
|Learn from Karen: Creative Fabric – Batik Production!|
Thursday, January 7, 2016Tanjung Priok, Jakarta, Indonesia
|Included Exclusive Tour: Tanah Abang Market|
Friday, January 8, 2016Semarang, Java, Indonesia
|A Batik Course on Semarang|
Saturday, January 9, 2016At Sea
Sunday, January 10, 2016Probolinggo, Java, Indonesia
Monday, January 11, 2016Benoa (Denpasar), Bali, Indonesia, OVERNIGHT
|Included Tour: Exclusive Tour of Bali Batiks Full Day!|
Tuesday, January 12, 2016Benoa (Denpasar), Bali, Indonesia
Wednesday, January 13, 2016Lembar, Lombok, Indonesia
Thursday, January 14, 2016Komodo Island, Indonesia
|Included tour: Komodo Island Trek|
Friday, January 15, 2016At Sea
|Learn from Karen: Creative fabric – Creating cottons for the Quilter!|
Saturday, January 16, 2016Surabaya, Indonesia
Sunday, January 17, 2016At Sea
Monday, January 18, 2016Singapore
|Included Exclusive Tour: Singapore Lights|
Tuesday, January 19, 2016Singapore
Serendipity Fabric line!
I’ve had so much fun with my Serendipity fabric line! Serendipity is a graduated fabric collection with a lovely batik-like texture. It graduates from light to medium to dark and back again. Each value yields approximate 14″ of a value, from selvage to selvage. It is perfect for applique, when you need to shade something within a color family. I love it for piecing as well. No more looking for the “light” fabric that matches the “medium” or “dark” fabric. It is all on one piece of fabric. It really is a “work horse” fabric!
The texture is lovely! It is available in 22 colorways – click here to see it.
NEW COLORS OF SERENDIPITY!
But wait, we have some exciting news! We’ve added 6 new colors to the Serendipity fabric line! Our new colors include Sky Blue, Cardinal Red, Evergreen, Willow, Spice and Ink.
Newsletter and social media
I’m currently working on a newsletter, it will probably go out by the end of the week. If you would like to sign up for my Quilts of Illusion newsletter, please visit my webpage at www.karencombs.com, you will see a box on the left side of the webpage. To receive the newsletter, you can simply add your name and email address to this box. You will be automatically added. Don’t worry, you won’t be swamped with newsletters, we only send them out a few times a year.
If you are a member of Facebook, please “like” my Karen Combs’ Studio Face Book page. I try to post on my FB page every few days. It is the best place to see what is new, as soon as I can share it. You can access my public FB page here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Karen-Combs-Studio/249393216311
As shown in my Market notes in the previous blogs, I have several new fabric lines.
Napa Balis is my newest batik collection. It is an elegant collection, inspired by the landscapes around Napa, California. The collection features intense colors of violet, red-violet, deep green, rich browns and beautiful textures of grapes, trellis, leaves and a batik spray textures.
Napa Balis work perfect with Napa Cottons by Pearl Louise for Troy’s Riverwoods Collections. We worked together to create a coordinated batik/print line with perfectly matched colors and elegant textures.
The Napa Balis Batik collection can be seen below:
I enjoy being part of the “Troy Team”! It is a pleasure to be designing fabrics for them!
We had a busy Market, but I made sure to take some photos of my booth and the entire Troy booth.
Here’s the entire booth, just before Market opened. On the right side, the sales team and on the left side, the Troy’s Riverwoods Collection designers
Owners of Troy Corporation are Terry and Dorothy Troy. They distribute many different fabrics from different companies. They also have their own in-house designs, Riverwoods Collections.
I can’t say enough good things about their fabric line, Riverwoods. The hand is fantastic, the colors are beautiful and the line is a dream to work with. The Troy’s do not skimp on the quality of their fabrics and it shows.
Riverwoods has several different designers, creating their fabric lines. Some of the designers were at Quilt Market and here are some of their booths.
Pearl Louis always has a lovely booth! Here she is, in a beautiful booth, just filled with quilts! Here new lines; Blizzard Bunch and Napa. Napa is a collection that Pearl and I worked on together. More about that below.
I always enjoy seeing Pearl’s fabrics and her patterns. They are always so pretty!
The Blue Underground is another new designer for Troy’s Riverwoods! The Blue Underground Studio is a company started by Amy Walsh and Janine Burke. I love their modern and fun designs, just so creative! You can see more about The Blue Underground here.
Their new line; Xanadu is beautiful, so colorful and just fun!
My booth is pictured here. Click on the photo, to see an enlarged photo.
I love the booth! You know, as you prepare for Market and plan out a booth. . . you just never know how it will turn out. You plan and plan, make samples creative displays and hope it all comes together. Well, everything just fell into place and I couldn’t be happier with the booth!
Here’s a bit of a close-up of the booth and a look at my Go Team fabric line.
In another blog post, I will show each new fabric line in more detail, but here’s a sneak peek:
We’ve added 6 new colors to the Serendipity line! A sky blue, cardinal red, evergreen, willow, spice and ink!
Napa is my newest batik line! The colors are so pretty!
This is the fabric line that Pearl and I worked on together. She created the beautiful cotton prints in this line and I created the batiks. You can see the entire line here. The colors and prints flow together flawlessly. They can be used separately or together.
I just love my Midnight Blue fabric line. It’s been so popular and we’ve had so many good comments about it.
While at Market, I had the opportunity to chat with Abby, from Annie’s crafts. They have a lovely catalog and several of my quilts are in it. Midnight Blue Star is one of them and it is a favorite of mine.
As I talking to Abby, it hit me. . . many of you who read this blog, may not know the quilt pattern and/or kit is available from Annie’s and may be interested to know about it.
Over the next few weeks, I will mention some thoughts from Market and also mention different quilt items available in different catalogs.
The Midnight Blue Star quilt is lovely, but very quick quilt! While it looks very hard, the surprising part. . . NO set-in seams! Just fun piecing with a lovely quilt when you are finished.