I first met Monica in 2014; she was part of the same QCA bee in which I met Crystal from Raspberry Spool. Monica had me making the cutest improv chickies – I remember stressing about how accurate they were because as you will remember I am not at all used to improv. It turned out we live two suburbs away from each other so when it came time for me to be Queen Bee she suggested she drop her block off to me and we have been quilty friends ever since. Monica is a textile artist who oozes enthusiasm and I loved reading her answers because I could absolutely hear her voice in the words. I’m really interested in the two workshops she has coming up in Canberra – if you are at all interested in the artists’ journey you should seriously consider attending – and I am very excited to see where her artist’s journey takes her next. [Read more…]
I received a very exciting email yesterday from Hootsuite. For a long time now, I’ve been hearing from creative entrepreneurs that they wished they could both schedule Instagram posts and post to two Instagram accounts simultaneously. It’s something we can do on Facebook, so why not Instagram? Hootsuite has added Instagram to the suite of social media networks they work with so both these things are now possible. [Read more…]
I first came across Peta via Instagram some time last year. I love her clean, fresh style so when she when she was looking for pattern testers for a new quilt earlier this year I was very glad to test and edit her “Down South” quilt pattern. Life happened for both of us and we lost touch so I’m very glad she agreed to be the next interviewee in my Quiz the Quilter series. There may be a special offer at the end of the post for you, Dear Reader.
So, let’s meet Peta.
NB – all photos are Copyright Peta Peace of She Quilts a Lot and are used with her permission.
- Tell us a bit about you?
Are you a fanatic?
This morning after church I got chatting to one of my favourite people (let’s call her Jen).
One of the reasons Jen is one of my favourite people is because she is passionate and fanatical about everything she puts her mind to. She is passionate and fanatical about Jesus, she is passionate and fanatical about her family, she is passionate and fanatical about teaching and she is passionate and fanatical about tennis. [Read more…]
I first met Crystal at the beginning of 2014, through a quilting bee we were both involved in. I’ve been quilting for a long time, but I’d never ever done improv quilting. Crystal’s was the first block of the year and she asked for orange peel blocks in an improvisational style. I had no idea what to do! I remember that block with fondness because it introduced me to a totally different style of quilting rather than my particularly anal one.
Since then Crystal has participated in the Sewvivor Competition, released a number of patterns, exhibited at Quiltcon and is now teaching her unique style in classes across Australia. I thought it would be great to get to know Crystal and find out more of what makes her tick. Read through to the end and there may be a special surprise for you, Dear Reader.
1. Tell us a bit about you?
My name is Crystal, but you already know that! What can I tell you about me? I have been quilting for almost nine years now. I’ve always sewn, way before sewing was cool. When I was much younger, I went to fashion school before a quick detour into Beauty Therapy. I landed back in the ‘industry’, creating sporting uniforms for clubs and schools. After a few years in the public service, I have heard the call of the fabric and have answered with quilts. When I’m not quilting (rare!), blogging or taking photos, you can find me running after my two gorgeous children dancing, laughing and enjoying life.
2. When did you start quilting?
I started quilting around nine years ago when I was in my early 20’s. My mum has been an avid quilter for a long time, but the kind of quilts she made and the fabric she hoarded, I mean, curated, was, well, just not me. The style back then was a little bit ah, country without much in between. So technically I started one far earlier, a lovely dusty pink number. It never got any further than a few blocks. But, fabrics changed a few years later and once I made my first quilt, I was hooked.
3. Tells us about your first quilt?
The first quilt I made was a baby quilt with lots of very bright colours, animal appliqué and a bit of embroidery. I think of all the mistakes I made – I didn’t even know that you cut the strips across the selvedge… But I loved it and so did the family I gave it to and I think that’s what is important. Hey, we all gotta start somewhere! I learnt so much making that quilt – I wish I had kept a photo of it!
4. What attracts you to Modern Quilting – what do you love about Modern Quilting?
I’m one of those annoying people that always ask why. To me, there is nothing worse than doing something a certain way, just because that is the way it has always been done. I want to break free, challenge the status quo and break some rules. When I think of modern quilts, I like to think, how were the rules broken? Did I take something traditional and twist it into something new? Did I create something unexpected? That’s how I like to create, that’s where my inspiration sits and that’s why I love modern quilting.
5. What’s your favourite part of the quilt-making process?
This is really hard for me to answer. I make most of my quilts from start to finish and I can honestly say that I don’t have a favourite part, or even a part that I like the least. Except squaring up a quilt. That’s the worst. How does anyone ever do it without their fingers crossed and a small prayer before beginning. Am I right?
6. What project are you currently working on?
I have several on the go at the moment of course! There is nothing like a deadline that gets you moving on finishing a quilt. The Canberra Modern Quilt Guild is having a display at the Canberra Craft and Quilt Show this year, and I have two that I am finishing to include. One has been a work in progress for a few years, it is a modern hexagon quilt – A hexagon, within a hexagon, within a hexagon. This quilt is made with using several techniques, starting with English Paper Piecing for the 1 inch hexagons. I made my ‘own fabric’ with them, before cutting them back up to splice them into the six pieced hexagons. Finally I arranged them into a larger hexagon flower and completed it with hand quilting. When I made this quilt, I paid my respects to the rules on the way to breaking them.
The other one is the first in my series of #quote my quilt. An interpretation of the theme ‘Modern takes on traditional’, it literally spells out ‘modern quilt takes on tradition’ using improv style letters.
7. What do you love about designing quilts? How did your design practice come about?
Great question! I love bringing my imagination to life. That’s a really special feeling, knowing that I have given life to a design and it gives me a special sense of pride. And more than that, watching other people bring my designs to life, is kind of amazing. I can’t tell you what it means when my customers tell me how much they enjoy my designs, that it challenged them or that they loved it so much, they made it twice!
8. What’s next for you – where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
In five years time I look forward being able to dedicate more time to quilting as a business as I shift to being a quilter full time. That will include teaching at workshops around Australia and starting to work on my exclusive book deal.
9. Where can we find you? (FB, Instagram etc – also please feel free to put links to your upcoming classes here).
You can find me all over the place, and I’m am hosting two local quilting classes in Canberra this year, which I am really looking forward to. Join me as we embrace modern quilting with my fun and unique designs. The workshops will be held at Hobbysew in Belconnen, Canberra. For more information, please visit http://raspberryspool.com/quilting-classes-in-canberra/
If you can’t make a class, you can always download one of my patterns online from www.raspberryspool.bigcartel.com/!
Website – www.raspberryspool.com
Instagram – www.instagram/raspberryspool
Facebook – www.facebook.com/raspberryspool
As I mentioned, there is a special surprise for you, Dear Reader. Crystal has been kind enough to offer readers of Vine Lines Quilting a 20% discount on patterns from her store. To take advantage of this generous offer, enter VINE20 at the checkout. This special offer is available until Midnight, Sunday 1 August 2015.
If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you may have noticed that I recently deactivated all my social media accounts. The reasons are many and unimportant, but I’ve learned a few things from my time away.
1. I was becoming addicted to social media
I would look at Facebook and Instagram first thing in the morning and last thing at night – I was interacting with my friends and fans more than I interacted with my family. That’s no good for me and no good for them. I have become more present and available to my children and my husband, and become a lot calmer. I was becoming a ‘cranky old woman’ because of discussions that I observed in Facebook groups.
I have also been spending far too much time posting about current projects and things I want to do, and not enough time actually doing them and making them happen. In particular, my poor old blog was getting much neglected because I was constantly posting to Instagram.
2. Social Media is a very selective beast
What we see of others on social media is exactly what they want us to see, no more. It’s very easy to think that someone’s polished life that they display via their Facebook or Instagram page is how their life always is when nine times out of ten that’s of course not the case.
3. I wanted more – I was becoming discontent with my current life
I found that I was seeing so many beautiful fabrics, as well as seeing the lives others were leading and wanting to have their life rather than mine. This led me to not being content with what I currently have. Now, in terms of personal and business development it’s always good to strive to be and do better but that’s not what I’m talking about. I was chatting to a lovely friend the other day who was saying a similar thing – it’s so easy to look at what other people have and decide that what you have isn’t good enough. I’m very blessed to have some lovely fabrics, a loving family and a business which is building into exactly what I want it to be and so I want to be content with what I have.
4. The trap of social media is that you think you’re interacting with people when actually you’re not
When you see people post on social media multiple times a week, it’s easy to think you’re interacting with them and that in turn can lead to forgetting to actually write to them or call them. As well as introducing you to people you would otherwise have never met, social media can actually alienate you from friends and family and it has the potential to damage existing relationships.
5. Over-sharing is easy
No one really wants to know that you had Vegemite on your toast for breakfast this morning. It can be very easy to fall into the trap of sharing EVERYTHING on social media – this also led me to be a grumpy old woman as I would post to Facebook about things that had got my goat as well as the fun stuff. If you have something negative to say about someone, say it to them, not the whole world via social media.
6. I have made some real and beautiful friendships through social media – genuine friendships with people I haven’t yet met in real life
There are some special people who I really miss not ‘chatting’ to each day. I’ve contacted one or two of them but there are a couple who I haven’t yet. One of the joys of social media is that it gives you the opportunity to meet people you would never otherwise have met.
So, where to from here?
I’m not gone for good – Vine Lines 2.0 will be launching very soon. While I’m away I’m working on some ideas for my quilting and virtual assistant practices – ideas that will combine both too I hope! I have a renewed enthusiasm for what I can achieve with hard work and courage and I’m thankful to the people who have believed in me and helped me get to this point – it’s onward and upward from here.
Until then, Happy Quilting 🙂
I first met Rosie at the Australian Virtual Assistant Convention, way back in 2010. She is the Founder and Owner of Virtually Yours, one of the largest and most well-respected Australian VA networks. I thought it would be great to meet her, to find out what makes her tick, and to ask her why hiring a VA makes so much sense for small businesses.
1. Tell us a bit about you?
I’m 36 years old and a very proud mum of 2 gorgeous, funny, cheeky girls. I live with them, my husband and my 2 dogs and run my own business. My partner and I have been self-employed in our own businesses for over 10 years now, and still find it interesting and wonderful.
2. How long have you been running the VYVA network; what prompted you to set it up?
I started Virtually Yours in 2004 as a VA myself and then very quickly upped that to a network when I realised how much I enjoyed the community aspect of the VA Industry. I started as a VA when I was working in the Disability Sector and could see that there was a need amongst small business owners for extra admin support.
3. What do you love about running the network?
Absolutely everything. I feel that VYVA is an extension of me, but made more interesting and stronger by the amazing members who contribute to it. I love coming up with ideas to help members achieve their goals; I love hearing their stories of success and supporting them through the tough times. I love the energy and joy that the network provides so many people.
4. What do you love about running your own business?
The best thing is that I never have to ask permission to do something new or drop something old. I really can do whatever I want. Obviously I need to be seeking ways to improve the business, but that ongoing search is what drives me and invigorates me, so it’s perfect!
5. What are the benefits for small business owners and entrepreneurs of hiring a VA?
Having a VA clears your mind of the clutter. There are so many aspects to running a business, and the CEO of a business has so much on their plate without doing all of the business administration too.
The right VA can be your sidekick – providing support, ideas, feedback. But they don’t rely on you for a living and they aren’t in your pocket. So you get freedom and support – to me, that’s ideal.
6. What’s one tip you would give small business owners and entrepreneurs when engaging and working with a VA?
Orientate. Always orientate the VA about your business and your goals. You would never throw a staff member into a seat and say “work!” without providing time to teach them about the business, and you shouldn’t do it with a VA either.
7. What do you enjoy doing in your downtime?
Spending time with my family and friends, and working on my backyard. I am not a natural gardener but I love pottering around out there and making it more beautiful.
8. What’s next for you – where do you see yourself in two/five/ten years’ time (whichever you feel like answering)?
I feel like VYVA has evolved a lot in the past year and I see even more growth in the next few years. I feel that now is the time for VYVA to really achieve what I want it to – which is to be an incredible resource for incredible business owners.
9. Where can we find you? (FB, Instagram etc)
If you would like to find out more about how a VA can be the perfect fit for your business, give me a call. I love working with creative business owners to help them achieve their goals.
As part of the refocus of my blog, to include more creative business articles as well as quilting posts, I would like to introduce you to my lovely friend and bookkeeper, Amanda Knight. Amanda and I have shared some crazy road trips and conferences together, including sharing the back seat of our station wagon with my two small children (who were then a tiny baby and toddler) all the way from Canberra to Melbourne. She’s a very supportive friend and I’m so pleased to know her. Amanda introduced me to the Xero Accounting package a couple of years ago whilst we had a client in common and it has revolutionised my BAS reporting. It’s sooo easy to use! (NB this is NOT a sponsored post.)
I am very much looking forward to introducing my small children to Amanda’s alpaca.
I thought it would be great to meet Amanda and ask her about why a bookkeeper is vital to every small business owner’s support team.
1. Tell us a bit about you?
My name is Amanda Knight. I am in an unexpected chapter of my life but I am seriously loving life. There have been a lot of low moments in the last couple of years but glad to say that I have not only survived this but have come out stronger. It is quite funny how when you are going through something you think your whole world is going to fall yet later you realise that it was all part of the plan to make you stronger and a better person.
2. How long have you been running your bookkeeping business?
I actually worked this out the day and was surprised that I have been in business for 6 years. Over the last 6 years I have worked in other employment and at the beginning of this year I decided that life was too short to being stressed all of the time. So in fact even though I have been in business for quite a while in a sense it almost feels like my first year of business.
3. What do you love about bookkeeping?
I love the fact that there is no right or wrong answers with bookkeeping it is all clearly laid out in black and white. Bookkeeping to me is not just numbers instead is empowering individuals and businesses in how they are tracking which can then change how they do business.
4. What do you love about running your own business?
I love the balance, variety and flexibility that running my own business gives me. Running my own business has actually given me better health if I manage all of my commitments with the balance so that to me is probably the best thing.
5. Why should all small businesses hire a bookkeeper? What are the benefits of having a bookkeeper as part of their support team?
All small businesses should hire a bookkeeper because having accurate financial information and ensuring you are up to date with all of your obligations is paramount to the success of your business. It will mean that you will know that you can afford the staff you have employed and will empower you to be able to make wise financial decisions in your business
6. Tell us about Xero; why is it the accounting platform that you choose to use?
Xero is a wonderful cloud accounting platform. I have used other cloud based and desktop accounting packages but find that the usability, flexibility & the other programs that talk to Xero are incredible for not just streamlining the bookkeeping of your business but can change how you handle the administration of your business. It also makes the client, bookkeeper, accountant relationship really open and honest as all can have access to the same information at the same time and in different locations as long as you have access to the internet. I have been locked out of houses, stuck in grocery lines and I have still managed to process a payrun or reconcile accounts. I always thought that I was a little weird for loving Xero so much but my clients also love Xero too!!
7. What do you enjoy doing in your downtime?
I love reading, if I don’t have a book on the go I am thinking about what book I should be reading. I am also trying to use the creative side of my brain more so I am also big on crocheting blankets at the moment.
8. What’s the one tip you would give small business owners when setting up and managing their accounts?
I would say this: even if you are going to manage your own accounts to get the proper set-up from the beginning and the proper advice of practically how to do things for your business from a bookkeeper. Time and time again I see many businesses reach out for our help and they are behind in their obligations to the ATO and employees and their accounts are a mess because they haven’t had the proper systems in place.
9. What’s next for you – where do you see yourself in two years’ time?
I see myself in two years’ time continuing with helping small to medium businesses in not just the bookkeeping of their business but streamlining the administration of their business, giving them back time so they can focus on what they do best. My dream office would be just on the outskirts of Canberra, close enough to come into town but far enough away to enjoy the rural life and be the proud owner of an alpaca.
10. Where can we find you?
If you would like to have a confidential discussion with Amanda regarding how she can help you streamline your accounting needs, please contact her via her website and let her know I sent you.
Happy quilting (and bookkeeping)!
Hello all! How was your weekend?
As I alluded to in Friday’s post, I’ve been working for a while on merging my virtual assistant and quilting businesses. I’ve been re-branding as The Creative VA and for quite some time I’ve been wanting to work with designers to assist them with their administration tasks so that they can free themselves up to spend more time designing and making fabulous quilts. After discussions with a very lovely designer I did some pattern testing and editing for, I am very excited to now put in place the first step of that process.
Today I’m launching the Vine Lines Quilting Pattern Testing and Design Agency. The model is simple; quilt designers need to have their patterns tested before publishing but this takes time and concentration that could be better used to make more things! There are a lot of talented pattern testers who would love to test for designers. So, this Agency will fill that gap and streamline the pattern testing process. Put simply, I will have a group of testers who designers can call upon but instead of you as a designer having to contact the testers directly, you will contact me and I will handle the entire process from then on.
The benefit for designers is that the hassle of the pattern testing process will be managed for you and the benefit for testers is that once you are registered with me, you’ll have access to some fabulous designers who would love to work with you.
Would you like to join me? If you’re a designer who would love to work with me and have your testing process streamlined, please email me at (linden at vinelinescreative dot com) and I will send you an information pack. You might also like to join my new Facebook group, Vine Lines Quilting Designers’ Group.
if you are a pattern tester, of any ability, and you would like to register, please fill out the form below. You’ll need to be registered with me to receive pattern testing opportunities. I’ve created a Facebook group for you, here: Vine Lines Quilting Pattern Testers’ Group. This will be where opportunities are advertised as well as any discussions relating to pattern testing.
Please have a read of the form below, and if this is something you’re interested in, fill the form out with your details.
In time there are other services I’ll be offering to designers; I’m really excited about the plans I have and I hope you are too.
I look forward to hearing from you. Until then, happy quilting. 🙂
How has your week been? The weather has turned cold here in Canberra so the winter woollies have all come out.
I’m in the process of merging my VA and quilting businesses into one; it’s been a dream of mine for quite some time to provide VA services specifically to the quilting and creative community and it’s well on the way to happening. On Monday, I’ll have a big announcement regarding my new direction; I’m very excited and I hope you will be too.
I’ve had an Instagram account for just over a year now. In that time I’ve built up a following of almost 850. I really love Instagram, in my opinion it’s the friendliest of the social media platforms and of course it’s a perfect platform for quilters because it’s so visual. I’ve written this post of things I’ve learned about business from having a successful, interactive Instagram following and I hope you are able to take something away from it.
1. FIND YOUR TRIBE – KNOW WHO YOU WANT TO ATTRACT
A tribe is a wonderful thing. It’s taken me a while to know who my ideal client is, but funnily enough, they’re not a million miles away from who I am. When you find your tribe you will find a group of loyal customers, friends and colleagues who will appreciate you and who in turn you will be able to help and interact with.
2. ENGAGE WITH YOUR TRIBE
You’ve heard it many times before – it’s called SOCIAL media for a reason. People want you to interact with them; they won’t continue to follow someone who doesn’t reply to their comments or appreciate their interactions.
It’s the same in business. Do you have a strategy in place to ensure that all initial enquires are responded to within 48 hours? If your potential clients don’t receive a reply within that time frame, they’re very likely to look elsewhere.
3. BE CONSISTENT
I post to Instagram every single day, with very few exceptions. The successful Instagrammers post at least that often, most would post two or three times a day.
Do you have a system to ensure that your newsletters go out when you say they’re going to; that your parcels will be sent every Monday, Wednesday and Friday if that’s what you’ve said you’ll do? This is such an important part of brand management – your clients want to know that they’ll receive what they’ve asked for.
4. GIVE PEOPLE WHAT THEY WANT
My Instagram followers know they’re going to get lots of photos of quilts along with hints on quilting, quilt storage and some business and administration advice. Once you’ve found your tribe and have started engaging with them, make sure you are giving them what they want. If you don’t know what that is, ask them. Then make sure you deliver it.
5. HAVE QUALITY CONTENT
Quality is king. On Instagram, that means great photos. This was the main reason I created my “Quilt Photography 101” workshop; so that quilters and Instragrammers could learn how to take fabulous photos of their creations. For me, it means ensuring I always have matching seams and pointy points
What does it mean for you and your business? Do you have systems and strategies in place to ensure you have consistently deliver quality content to your clients?
If you need any assistance putting some systems in place, I’d love to talk to you further. Make sure you come to the blog on Monday because I’ll be launching a very exciting program which I cant wait to share with you.
Until then, happy quilting!