Monday, July 11, 2016

New Blogger's Blog Hop

2016 Advice and Tech Helpfor New Quilt Bloggers

Hello and welcome to my stop on the 2016 New Quilt Blogger's Blog Hop!  Thanks for stopping by! This Hop has been a fabulous experience for me.  I've made some changes to the layout and the look of my blog, and, I think I've finally started to get into a blogging rhythm, thanks to my participation.

Most importantly, though, I've discovered some fantastic blogs and bloggers, and I look forward to following them from now on.   Joining me on the Hop today are Shannon, Suzi, Kathy and Olusuyi, from my group, Hive Society.  Take a few moments and visit them, won't you?  Links to other great reads can be found by visiting the hostesses' sites, below.

I certainly do want to thank Yvonne, Cheryl and Stephanie, our hostesses and mentors for the time they've devoted to this  Blog Hop.  They are so dedicated!  Also, don't forget, there are fabulous prizes that you can enter to win if you visit one of our mentors' sites.

Now for the introductions!  My name is Tami and I've been sewing, quilting and crafting since I was a kid in 4-H.  My mom was a quilter, and also my 4-H leader! I have many happy memories of her quilting and teaching others to quilt.  Throughout high school and college, I sewed, embroidered, cross stitched and quilted, to some degree.  Even as a new bride, I kept up with sewing habits.  But, it all came to a halt when my oldest daughter was born.
These quilts were made years apart, but ended up going to sisters.  

As my girls got older, I began to realize how much I was missing by NOT having some creative endeavors in my life, but I wasn't very successful in making time to peruse my former hobbies. When a job change a few years ago resulted in an extensive schedule change, I was SURE I'd finally have time to do all the things I'd once loved!  I started this blog to keep track of all the wonderful quilts and sewn projects I thought I'd make.
Probably the most fun I've ever had making a quilt.
The letters were a Quilt Along from Temecula Quilt Company.
I didn't quilt along, instead I made them all a few at a time,
 long after the QAL had ended.  

If you check  my blog archives, you'll see that my first attempt at quilt blogging resulted in 11 measly posts.  I struggled to find a flow with both sewing and blogging, and the "Free Time" I thought I'd have, well, "Sew Much" for that!  (See that?  A reference to my blog title!  Get it?  Hahaha)
This is an OLD quilt.  Older than my oldest child!
This is the one quilt I made back in those days that wasn't given away.
 I spent many happy, child-free hours piecing and appliqueing.  

At the beginning of 2016, I decided I needed to try again.  I was spending a lot of time reading quilt blogs and drooling over pictures of quilts on Facebook and Pinterest.  I knew that lots of bloggers had close relationships with each other, and shared in the quilting and blogging process.  I wanted in!!!  So, here we are! I've been a pretty consistent blogger for the first half of this year, and I am getting better at managing my time to allow for sewing and blogging, both.
A quick, fun, and almost modern quilt.

It helps that my girls and now 10 and 13.  They are busy girls, involved in all sorts of wonderful stuff, but they are also self sufficient, and I can usually find an hour a day to spend in my sewing room, if I set a schedule and stick to it!

The pictures between paragraphs above are of some the quilts I've completed over the years.  Looking at them,  you'd get the impression that I am a traditional. not a "modern" quilter, wouldn't you?  I guess that's mostly accurate, but the truth is, I love it all!  The quilts I've been drawn to make have been more traditional, yes, but that doesn't mean I don't love the more modern patterns as well!  I just really love it all!

For me, it's not so much about what the final product looks like, its the creativity involved in the process.  It's the problem solving required when things don't go quite as planned.  It's the peaceful state of mind that comes over me when I sit down at the machine.  It's knowing I am part of a centuries old tradition of MAKING.  And, it's being part of an incredibly generous, knowledgeable and caring community.

This week, I will be sharing posts about three fabulous things happening in our on-line quilting community.  I am going to tell you about The 70273 Project, the Needle & Foot Book Share, and as I've been doing for a few weeks now, I'll link up my list of Five Things To Be Happy About on Friday with Gypsy Moon Quilt Co.  I hope you'll join me to learn about these things.  I have so much respect and admiration for the ladies behind these projects.  They are excellent examples of why I want to be part of this quilt blogging world.  Be sure to follow me on Bloglovin' or Feedly so you don't miss these posts!  There are links to both in my sidebar.

Now, it was suggested that we wrap up our posts with a quilting/blogging tip, a question for our fellow bloggers, and some random, fun facts about ourselves.  So, you go...

Blogging Tip:
Everyone, I know, finds what works for them, with regard to writing and posting.  It's a matter of trying different schedules and routines to find what feels right.  One thing that has worked well for me is to write a post in its entirety, in kind of a stream of consciousness way.  I just type, keeping in mind the pictures I want to post, but not putting them in.  Then, I try to walk away for a bit.  I find that when I read with "fresh eyes" I find quite a few things that I need or want to change.  I often decide to change wording, or I find a misspelling that wasn't caught.  Sometimes, I even decide to remove some content and save it for a different post.  After I'm happy with the post, I read through one more time, add pictures in the appropriate spots, and add links where necessary.  I find that I'm more efficient at these things if I do them all at once, than I am when I stop the flow of my writing to add an element.  Again, you need to find what works for you, but maybe there's an idea here you can try!

Question for YOU!:
So, how do you do it?  How do you manage to sew, blog, and do all the other things you have to do?  No matter what I try, I never seem to be able to quite find the balance that makes it all work the way I want it to.  Do you set a sewing schedule?  Do you finish one project to completion or have several things in the works?  Do you sew first thing in the morning?  Do you multi-task and blog while doing other things?  Is that even possible?  Give me all your best productivity tips, please!

Five Random Facts:
1.  I grew up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin.  No farm for me now (although I'm very grateful for that upbringing) but still a Wisconsin girl.
2.  My youngest daughter recently earned her black belt in karate.  It seems unreal to me that I have a black belt living in my house.  She's one of the most amazing people I know.
3. My oldest daughter is currently away at band camp, on a college campus, 100 miles away from home.  I just dropped her off today, and am missing her already.  She has gone to camp every summer since she was 8, but this seems different, somehow.  Keep your fingers crossed for a great week for her!
4.  My beverage of choice is usually ice water.  The more ice the better.  I also enjoy iced tea, peppermint tea, a good Bloody Mary or mojito and coffee, but ice water is the best.
5.  After being a second grade teacher for many, many years, I am now a Special Education aide.  I adore the kiddos I work with, and I am loving the more relaxed schedule that comes with NOT being a full time classroom teacher.  I am still a licensed teacher, and I tutor several kids in the summer.  I always have this nagging feeling I should go back to my "real job," but for now, I am enjoying life, just as it is.

Thanks for taking the time to read and get to know me! I hope you'll check back this week!  I'm so glad to be sharing this quilt filled world with all of you!


  1. Hi Tami, what a wonderful blog post. It is great to read even more of you. It sounds as if you have two gorgeous girls you can truly be proud of. Do they sew at all or do they roll their eyes at the notion of it? =) I like you blogging tip and adhere to that approach as well. Sewing, life and blogging - nah no balance whatsoever. I try for a minimum of 4 posts a month. If I have truly not made any progress with my own sewing, usually there might be a fabric mosaic contest or important or worthy project my somebody else, I might blog about to spread the word. Unintentionally, I have kept Monday evenings free for sewing for the last few months and that seems to work well. Generally though, I am always behing on the sewing projects but then who is not =)

  2. I'm just going to take a leap of faith and comment anyway, hopefully I won't come up as a no-reply blogger. I enjoyed reading your post and wow your daughters are impressive, I didn't leave home till I went off to boarding school at about age 10. Excellent tips too...and as for balance there's no such thing for me as much as I like to think I have things under control, every now and then something wins. Quilting is currently winning and taking over my life but that's because I am behind on a couple of deadlines and as for blogging I know I can do better but I am trying for at least once a week when I can swing it. I don't have schedule but I sew almost every evening till about mid night now that I don't have kids yet. I choose quilting over weekend outings too and I usually have a "sewing marathon" then. My husband said I was an introvert before but I think I have become a recluse now! It's good to learn more about you!

  3. This is a wonderful post that gives a real sense of who you are. How do we do it all. For me, like for you it is a constant struggle to fit it all in. I started quilting when my kids were older teenagers and my parents were older seniors. So I just fit the sewing in sporadically. More time freed up for me when my kids left home to go to university so my quilting time expanded and I started blogging. But now I have a senior relative 1 1/2 hours away with no children who takes up a fair bit of my caring time and of course I still work and volunteer with the guilds I belong to. I aim to post twice a week but I can't always meet that goal and that's o.k. So I guess after all this rambling I can say that balance occurs for a while and then life intrudes and that's o.k. too.
    Good luck finding your own balance...the main thing is that we keep sewing because that is what keeps us happy.

  4. Hi Tami, Hopping over from the Miss Bee hiving group. What a great post...I love meeting so many talented people. You quilts are great. I don't really plan my posts...I just blog about my finished projects. I need to start to plan my posts and come up with something so I blog more regular. Wonderful to get to know you. Thanks for sharing. Hugs, Heide

  5. I look at my blogs first thing in the morning when i am having coffee...Then in the summer i sew outside....under the pines....

  6. I really enjoyed getting to know you better today, Tami! You know, life balance is one of those things that I find I work on daily. Some days I go to bed feeling like I did great and was able to do do a bit of everything... and some days I have to force myself to go to bed even though I still have things I want to get done. All I know is that giving myself permission to evaluate it on a day to day basis and learning how to let go of some of my attachment for "doing it all" has helped a lot.

  7. So nice to get to know you better, Tami! I too like to write out my blog posts then step away and review the content with fresh eyes. Once I have most of the content organized, I then start laying out the post in Blogger with the pictures to finalize flow. I often make small edits to the content as well. I like doing it in stages as I find I always improve upon my post by reviewing it with fresh eyes. As for how to balance everything, well, that's still a work in progress! And I think that's normal. I have a general schedule I like to follow, but I also build in plenty of open time slots for those unexpected bursts of creativity :)

  8. Tami,

    Loved reading about you. 4h is such a great program. I, too, am more traditional in quilting. And yes, my drink of choice is ice water. I agree, the more ice the better. Love your blog.

  9. Hi, Tami! So nice to meet you! Great introductory post! Finding time to sew....make it easy by keeping sewing handy (handwork by your favorite TV chair or in the car)(sewing machine easy to get at) But the most important point is making sure to keep it fun even if you only get 10 minutes to sew that week. There will be lots of opportunity for sewing after your daughters are grown (and kids grow up so fast), spend time with them and enjoy them now and you won't regret that.

  10. Hi Tami, great post. I'm a Wisconsin girl too, though via college (Go Badgers!). I'm starting a new job next Monday and am very worried about finding the balance between finding time to blog, and finding time to do enough things to share on a blog. Let me know when you figure it out! I'm looking forward to the other posts you have coming this week.

  11. Hi Tami! Great post. I'm a Minnesota Girl, but I went to WI for college. How do I do it? Well, I sneak time any time I can. I draw in the car while I'm waiting. I can bring applique anywhere. I steal minutes and I try to stay organized. Try probably being the operative word!

  12. Hi Tami! It's been great getting to know you better. We seem so much alike! Like you, I love both traditional and modern quilts. I mean, what's not to love! It's quilting! Also like you, I have trouble when my daughter goes away. She's about to start her second year of college and I miss her already even though right now she's only a few feet away. Sigh. As far as blogging and quilting, I haven't found the thing yet that makes it easy. I keep lots of lists and that keeps me on track. I sometimes get ahead of blogging but not always. I have to remember to take photos when I do sew, so I can post! Endless cycle, but fun.

  13. Hi Tami! I envy those with such great memories of sewing with their moms. ❤️ Do your girls show an interest in sewing? I have two teen boys that compliment my projects, but I guess they think it's a girly thing. ;) Your quilts are beautiful and it's nice getting to know you! ;)

  14. Hello Tami. I know what you mean about not having the time. I am a single mom with a full time job. Finding the time to get lost in my sewing space is something I sometimes have to fight for. I get through it by not setting a schedule for myself, that way my sewing time is always enjoyable and my blog posts are always ones I want to write, even if both are a bit sporadic sometimes.

  15. Tami, it's always fun to stop by your blog and see what you're up to. Your writing style is so easy to read and follow along. I especially enjoy the lack of grammatical and spelling errors! Ice water with a few lemons is my drink choice! I don't have any tips on getting those blog posts written because I'm usually behind. You are doing great!

  16. Yay! It's finally your turn. I have been waiting!
    Awesome and sweet post Tami. It gives me an even better idea of the kind and genuine person that you are. I had not seen the pictures of that more modern quilt. I like that one and it would be a fun, simple project to tackle.
    What struck me as interesting is that your blogging hint is almost exactly how I post too! First I edit a series of photos. Then I write and write without giving too much thought to mechanics. Finally I come back to it and do an edit. Add pictures or graphics and smooth it all out. Great minds think alike!
    Balance? Keeping track? I am always trying to figure that out. Actually I am mostly trying to figure out how to get the are minimum of life taken care of so I can go sew! It's a balance and it doesn't come easy.
    I am always missing my kids. It is hard having them live so far away. But this is as it should be and I enjoythem now that they are adults. Your girls seem lovely (and talented to boot.)

  17. Hi Tami, it's been nice to hear a bit more about you. I have a limited amount of time that I can sew in and I schedule it daily so I don't miss out on getting to it (after dinner). I guard this time like a bulldog. I'm a bit like you in trying to find a blogging schedule that's going to work for me. I've impressed myself with my regularity since joining the hop and I hope to stay with it. I like your blogging tip. I attended a writing course for work a couple of years ago and that was the same advice the lecturer gave us - write whatever comes into your mind and then go back and edit.It works for me, sometimes just starting is the hardest part.

  18. Lovely post Tami, it comes actress as so honest and sincere. I find it hard to balance blogging and sewing with work, my home and my dogs, plus my husband of course. We all juggle so many balls nowadays. Missing your kids never stops, even when they are grown with children of their own, it's called being a Mom. Sometimes you just have to accept it and do the best you can. My problem is if I try and blog twice a week I don't get enough time to sew, and if I don't sew I haven't got stuff to blog about, so I blog once a week unless I have something I want to share, like the new quilters blog hop which meant an early post this week.

  19. Hi it's great to meet you. Wasn't yesterday great. So many people came to visit my blog, I was overwhelmed with the response as I'm sure you were too. I loved your old quilt with the applique. It still looks fabulous. And thanks for the great links.

  20. Great to meet you! I am loving this blog hop so much! Since I am retired, you would think I have all the time in the world...but honestly..I don't know how I ever had time to work! Setting self imposed deadlines keeps me on track with projects. At the beginning of the week, I make a to-do list and post it in my planner. It is not rigid...just keeps me on track and I feel I accomplish more because I like to check off the items on my list! Thank you for the links! I do love linky parties!

  21. Really enjoyed reading your post and looking at your colourful quilts. I did the hop last year and benefitted greatly. I now follow lots of blogs and feel part of a lovely on-line 'community'. I follow pretty much the same procedure as you when producing a blog. I have subjects, sentences and ideas floating around in my mind for days and finally get to bursting point, sit down at the computer and type it all out! Enjoy the rest of the Hop and keep stitching ☺

  22. Good Morning! I began following Yvonne quite awhile ago and am just amazed at everything she accomplishes. Plus, being a quilter who is a more traditional but with an open mind for learning; I have learned so much from Yvonne and even though I still have not attempted to make a modern quilt....I know I will because her vibrancy comes through with every post.

    Tami, I just wanted you to know that I am thrilled that I followed the link and chose to visit your blog first. While reading your post, it amazed me at what you revealed to me about myself and blogging. I have blogged on and off for over 10 years, but this time I just can not seem to get my "blog mode" by any means. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and how you are dealing with them. It really did make me open my mind and know I need to rethink my process and so forth.

    So how do I manage it "all"? Right now, I blog only occasionally and for various reasons. I spend everyday quilting/sewing for many hours or just a short time. My hubby is perfectly content with the fact that my quilting takes over the entire house and time so I try and complete project by project. Often though, I have a ton of projects going at the same time and somehow they eventually all get done. LOL.

    Thank you for sharing and have a fantastic day! I will be following your blog for sure!

  23. Tami, I learned to sew in 4-H too! It was fun to get acquainted with you through this blog hop. Enjoyed reading your post.

  24. Hi Tami, great getting to know you more today. I also have difficulty finding time for everything. But making things is so enjoyable, the process, like you've described, so I just keep trying. And it's fine not doing everything every day, I think.

  25. Hey Tami! Great introductory post for the Blog Hop! I enjoyed getting to "meet" you and hearing about all the things that are important to you. LOVE the 70273 Project post. Fascinating! I was wondering if you would consider adding the gadget that let's people follow you via e-mail? I do use bloglovin but it seems like I miss a lot of blogs that I signed to follow that way. My method of balancing blogging and life is kind of haphazard. Some weeks there just isn't time to do it all. I may not blog at all and other weeks, I might blog 3 times! I like leaving it free and open for me to just talk about the latest thing when I'm able to. If I try to follow a schedule, I start feeling pressure when other things have higher priority and I can't get to it. This is supposed to be fun, right? Can't wait to get the book from you! I think I'm next on the list!

  26. I enjoyed reading your post and learning a bit more about you. We have something in common besides quilting, as I was a first and second grade teacher for much of my life. I'm retired now, although I do some tutoring,too, but there is still never enough time to do everything! Your blogging tip is what's been working for me, as well.

  27. Tami, nice to meet you! Like you, I love it all from traditional to modern. You mentioned dropping your daughter for band camp. I had a similar experience with band camp, but we had moved over 600 miles to a new town. I was a senior in high school and knew no one and we left for band camp the next week after we moved. I think my mom was worried sick, but I made new friends quickly and all was good!
    I'm still trying to find that balance, so no real advice here! Great intro post!

  28. Lovely post Tami! Its nice to get to know you a bit better. I am just starting to do creative crafts with my 4 year old son. He is quite interested in needles and fabric. Cheers!

  29. Tami, when you come up with the answer for fitting it all in, I would love to know it. :) There is never enough time in the day, and I have to make sure I don't get so caught up in getting everything done that I miss out on my family. That is my biggest fear, because they are growing so fast.