Thursday, August 31, 2006

Welcome to fall, everyone! We know that we'll still have a few hot days coming up, but for some reason, we always get a cool spell at this time of the year to mark the season.

School has started, Penn State is playing football again, it's Labor Day weekend, and we're ready for you! Our newsletter has come out. If you haven't gotten one by now, please let us know and we'll send one right out. Our website shows our classes in brief, but the newsletter will give you all the nice, juicy descriptions.

We always visualize that when people get it, they sit down, prop their feet up, get a comforting drink, and read about all the possibilities.

We're so excited about fall. We have a lot of great events--UFO amnesty day, calendar clubs, mystery tablerunner, and the list goes on.

Please join us. We can't wait to see you!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Mystery quilts are fun: We give you the yardages for the lights and darks you need, and we give you a new set of instructions once a week (or once a month, for a bigger mystery). You take it from there and put it together.

The instructions are always written in a way that you can't tell what the pieces are going to look like until the very last step. It's fun to guess along the way!

This past year, we did a mystery quilt that was bedsized. It was gorgeous. Here are pictures from just a few of the completed quilts.




And Cynthia's:


Cynthia has a little sewing to do yet. (Every once in a while, feel free to ask her how her mystery is coming along.)

Intrigued? Sign up for our smaller-scale Mystery Christmas Table Runner, coming this fall. Our new newsletter will be in your mail in just a few days! Call to reserve your place!

Monday, August 14, 2006

One of our favorite things to do is go out and play together. We don't get to do it often, so it's a real treat when we do. We're happy that we are good friends as well as business partners, and we have a great time when we go on little trips together.

We recently went to the Quilt Odyssey in Hershey, PA. We had a great time while Kirsten took good care of the store. We'd love to give you a small glimpse of some of the stunning quilts we saw:

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The newsletter will be coming to you soon. Many of you have been asking for it. We're working on it--and it will be in your hands in just a little bit longer (end of the month).

We thought you'd like to know what our process is.

Believe it or not, we start each newsletter in earnest about 2 months before you see it. (Our overall plans for shop events often begin over a year ahead. For example, we've been thinking about the 2007 Block of the Month since last January 2006.)

We have about 15 teachers, and we need to call each one of them to find out what they plan to teach. That's where we start. (For the upcoming newsletter, we started in June right after our anniversary open house.) Then we need to figure out when they can and can't teach. And we need to juggle their schedules and ours. (We always schedule ourselves last, figuring that we can be the most flexible of anyone.)

If a class is new, we consult with the teacher and write a description. Then we put the descriptions in the newsletter, and type in all the times that the classes are scheduled.

We also type in those times on our computer calendar. Our computer calendar is wonderful: We can color-code ourselves, our events, and our teachers. When we first opened the store, we were scheduling ourselves for crazy numbers of evenings out teaching. (As fun as work is, it's still hard to work all day and then teach all evening for 4 nights in a row!) Now we know to limit it to two nights a week, and we have a system that shows us quickly and easily when we have reached our limits.

We write the front page, which shows all the events that will be happening over the coming months.

And then we start proofreading. Both of us were writers and editors in previous lives, so this process takes a looooooooooong time. We do not like even a single spacemark out of place. We go back and forth several times, each of us spending hours proofreading, until both of us are satisfied. (It doesn't matter how many times we read it; there is always one more typo. It's the reason no writer should ever look at a book after she has published it.)

When we are satisfied that it is ready, but still fearful of typos, we take it to the printer.

People often ask us why we don't e-mail it. There are several reasons:

1. We would look like a spammer to many ISPs.
2. People change their e-mail addresses with every change in the wind: Boing! Boing! Boing!
3. The file is huge. We would have many grumpy people trying to download it.
4. Snail mail is simply much more fun than e-mail. E-mail is too often ignored because we get so much of it. We always visualize that when people get their newsletters, they sit down with a hot cup of coffee or tea, or a cold soda, and they read through the newsletter, circling classes they might want to take.

It takes us a good two days to address and stamp it, and it is totally worth it.

And then it goes to you, and you come flooding in the store, all excited about the classes you're going to take, or the events you're signing up for, and our store keeps humming happily along.

We love our newsletter. And we hope you will too. You will see it at the end of August. Get ready for a great fall!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

It's not hot out--it's fall, baby!

We're in the thick of it right now, and we have a great fall planned for you. We have many new classes, lots of great events. We're in the middle of putting together the newsletter. It takes us many hours to call the teachers, write the descriptions, organize the content--not to mention dreaming up events! We're almost there.

Along with the newsletter, we are planning for being a vendor at Quilt Extravaganza, Knitters' Day Out, and Stitches East. We have to make sure that the store is covered and that we have helpers to go with us. We need to decide what to take, and how to organize the booth.

We've been hunkered down over our computers in the evenings after the store closes. We've been meeting for breakfast to iron out details.

And it is all totally worth it. We can't wait for fall. We'll give you more news about what we're doing very soon. For now, it's time to get back to work.