Monday, February 1, 2021

An Epiphany...Plus a Project Potpourri

©Copyright 2021 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC http://www.blueribbondesigns.blogspot.com
Greetings friends - it has been a creative few weeks in my studio and I am back with a "smile on my face" post...get ready for another honest, heartfelt  "worth a read" update... 

I am have been humming along in my "happy place" for a couple weeks...feeling hopeful, encouraged and upbeat...in fact, my heart has been singing. I think that comes from taking the time to work on my own designs - both quilting and cross stitching and taking some steps back from the piles of needlework finishing. It is no secret that I have always found most of my joy designing, creating and sharing my artistic ideas. Working on my latest quilt designs really brought me back the heart of Blue Ribbon Designs and what is most important and fulfilling for me moving forward. For quite a few years, I have been concerned with making sure others are happy - as we all know, I tend to be a "pleaser"...we've talked about it here before. Let's be honest - for the last several years, it hasn't been financially possible for me to have tons of charts printed...and because of that, I put my design career off to the side and worked on "paying jobs," like needlework finishing and project bags to pay the bills...I was worried about what shops or distributors would think if I adjusted my business plan or what stitchers would think if I had charts for digital download or if I would be helping the copyright criminals if I had charts and patterns listed for digital sale...I have even been concerned what other designers would think...yes, this has all been weighing on me for quite some time. I was so worried about upsetting someone by not following the old, set-in-stone industry way, that I lost track of what was most important to me and what brings me joy. Recently, when I started listing my quilt patterns for sale as digital downloads in my Etsy Shop and a lightning bolt didn't strike me down, I really started thinking about what I want my creative focus to be moving forward. For some reason, designing and listing those patterns lifted this HUGE weight off my shoulders that I have been carrying around for pretty much as long as I can remember...and it has been a HEAVY stifling weight. Have I sold a bunch of those new quilt patterns?...no, not really...but it has been so incredible for my soul...and a BIG step forward in "finding my worth," as discussed here a couple months ago. Just getting my ideas down on paper, models made, patterns written and the final products listed gave me wings! I have three new cross stitch designs that I am finalizing that will be available in my Etsy Shop soon - a small one, a medium sized one, and a larger one. Plus, believe it or not, I have almost thirty designs that have just been sitting around waiting for me to decide what to do with them (some of them for YEARS). See, I have what seems to be an endless supply of design ideas and sketches on paper, but not an endless bank account to mass produce them. So to keep my heart happy and light, over time, I will be listing them for digital download in my Etsy Shop (and soon on my website, once I have time to do some code writing). Don't worry, if I have a request(s) for a printed chart/pattern, I will print/ship on demand for you - I know some only like a printed pattern and I will do my best to accommodate you. I will not be making kits, so stitchers will still have to visit their favorite needlework shop for supplies. Will that be my path indefinitely, I'm not sure...but for now, it will allow me to fulfill my passion and keep new designs available. I honestly can't even begin to tell you how much sleep I have lost over this decision, but as I say type it out loud, I know it is what is best for my work, right now. I will still be taking on  needlework finishing, project bags and custom orders, but it will be in moderation and I will be a little more selective. I know there will be some that have a lot to say regarding all this...and please feel free to leave your constructive comments below. More details and news on upcoming designs will be forthcoming. I hope you will be excited to see new Blue Ribbon Designs and will continue to follow me on my creative journey....

Finally, I couldn't write this post without some artful finishes to show you...I have definitely been keeping super busy behind the scenes. These are some client finishes and custom orders...along with a few gifts I made over the holiday season...and a fun finish I completed for a favorite designer a few months ago, but waited to share...oh and there is a unique storage, organizing tip included too!! 

First up - an assortment of WTNT panel bags that were finished for clients...to clarify, I did not design the fabric panel, nor do I sell them...this is just my finishing work (assorted project bags made from printed fabric panels by Brenda Gervais/With Thy Needle & Thread - search/see the designer website for more information)…

©Copyright 2021 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC http://www.blueribbondesigns.blogspot.com

©Copyright 2021 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC http://www.blueribbondesigns.blogspot.com

©Copyright 2021 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC http://www.blueribbondesigns.blogspot.com

©Copyright 2021 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC http://www.blueribbondesigns.blogspot.com

©Copyright 2021 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC http://www.blueribbondesigns.blogspot.com

©Copyright 2021 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC http://www.blueribbondesigns.blogspot.com

Here is the organizing tip I mentioned...see those clear boxes with trims in them in the photo above? Well, I got a gazillion questions about this when I posted a picture similar to this on my Instagram story...so I thought I would share here. I have my trims/ribbons/cords/rick rack all separated by color in clear boxes on my studio counter, so I can easily choose what I need for each project (a HUGE shoutout to Lois at Lady Dot Creates for helping me fill them! Visit her Etsy Shop for the best, best, BEST finishing supplies!). Anyway - everyone wants to know about these boxes...well, they are actually repurposed Beanie Baby acrylic display boxes from many years ago. I have 24 of them on my counter, stacked three high...some have wooden spools, some hold rolls of ribbon, you get the idea. Purchased separately many years ago...but can now be found on Amazon in bulk with 25 to a box for a much better deal. Also, if you look closely at the photo at the very top of this page, you will see I have all my stabilizers organized on the back of my studio closet door...and I get asked about that all the time too - they are actually in an over-the-door handbag organizer. I hope these two tips may be useful in your organizing journey. You can visit my Amazon Influencer Shop for more of my storage idea items... https://www.amazon.com/shop/brdgirl

Next up - here is a piece I was lucky enough to finish for Paulette at Plum Street Samplers - this is Called "Good Company" and was an exclusive for Acorns and Threads. Visit  http://www.acornsandthreads.com/exclusives for more details. Again this is a Plum Street Samplers design...not my stitching, just my finishing...

©Copyright 2021 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC http://www.blueribbondesigns.blogspot.com

©Copyright 2021 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC http://www.blueribbondesigns.blogspot.com

Catching up with a few gifts I made recently...here is my first large project bag with a carry handle and clear laminate...shown close up for detail and highlighting the chicken scissor charm - fabric and charm are by Poppie Cotton. I also made an artists pouch for a friend with a cross stitch print fabric and used another adorable Poppie Cotton charm for a cute addition...

©Copyright 2021 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC http://www.blueribbondesigns.blogspot.com

©Copyright 2021 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC http://www.blueribbondesigns.blogspot.com


©Copyright 2021 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC http://www.blueribbondesigns.blogspot.com

Finally, here is an assortment of needlework finishes (not my stitching or designs, just my finshing), a couple custom small scissor/needle cases (my own design, which I will be releasing as a pattern in the future), a few fun custom project bags and a special custom pillow.

©Copyright 2021 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC http://www.blueribbondesigns.blogspot.com

©Copyright 2021 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC http://www.blueribbondesigns.blogspot.com

©Copyright 2021 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC http://www.blueribbondesigns.blogspot.com

©Copyright 2021 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC http://www.blueribbondesigns.blogspot.com

©Copyright 2021 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC http://www.blueribbondesigns.blogspot.com

©Copyright 2021 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC http://www.blueribbondesigns.blogspot.com

©Copyright 2021 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC http://www.blueribbondesigns.blogspot.com

©Copyright 2021 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC http://www.blueribbondesigns.blogspot.com

©Copyright 2021 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC http://www.blueribbondesigns.blogspot.com

©Copyright 2021 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC http://www.blueribbondesigns.blogspot.com

I hope today's post was good reading and gave you a little insight...I also hope it inspired you and sparked your creativity! Thank you so much for reading and visiting with me today. I appreciate your comments and while I don't always respond, I read each and every one - your constructive criticism is taken to heart and  your encouragement means the world to me...💗

8 comments:

  1. Michelle W. in BostonFebruary 1, 2021 at 5:54 PM

    Honestly? I think selling digital patterns makes a lot of sense. And it definitely seems to be the right choice for you! I think there will always be a market for printed patterns - heck, I still buy some and some designs I prefer them - but digital is a lot more accessible to a lot of people, and there is very much a market there. (I am definitely part of that market too.)

    I hear on the doing what you have to to pay the bills, and worrying about what other designers think. We're told so much to worry about our "reputation" and to not "make waves" and... I wonder who that advice benefits, because it isn't usually the people who receive it. At the end of the day, yours is the only soul you control, and, so long as you aren't doing evil - and this isn't - you have to do what makes your own soul sing.

    Good for you. (And I am 100% going to watching the etsy shop for new patterns!!!)

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  2. Oh my goodness what a wonderful post, I am amazed you get so much done, you must keep going all day.
    It is a joy to know you have some new designs coming out, I will be looking for them.
    Your finishing is beautiful, I love seeing what others have stitched and finishing techniques.
    I think digital is a great way to go for selling patterns, that way someone can almost start right away on kitting and stitching.
    I am very happy you are realizing that you need to step back a little, sometimes we wear ourselves out, that is not good for our health.
    If you do not respond to my post that is okay I know you read them that is what counts.
    Paying bills is a must, to keep a roof over your head.
    I am not a quilter but will pop on over and see what you have who knows I may have to start quilting.
    Have a beautiful day.

    Catherine

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  3. Great post , very interesting ,
    So happy you are taking time for yourself .
    Your work is just beautiful.
    I think digital is a good way to go many others do.
    Take care.

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  4. Kudos to you. Many of us love the instant satisfaction of a digital download. Good for you for changing it up. I’ve always told my children if what you are doing isn’t working, time to make a change. That applies to everything from relationships to child rearing to following your passion. First and foremost you to have to take care of yourself and if this change will “lighten” your load and help your refind your passion(s).

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  5. That sounds like a good plan.
    You have to do what makes you happy.
    Hobbies should not be stressful.
    Your work is beautiful.
    Marilyn

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  6. Personally I am thrilled that you are making your designs digital. I live in the UK and postal costs from the US are so high that I have stopped purchasing. Digital downloads make life so much happier for me.

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  7. You have been a busy gal in your studio, Belinda. What a beautiful finish you created for Paulette's fox design! I know you have struggled over the years with decisions for you business. I believe that you have come to the right decision for you because I know how much the creative side of BRD is deeply burrowed in you. I can't wait to see (and get) your new designs. xoxoxo

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  8. I am delighted that you will be offering digital patterns. It makes it so much easier for international stitchers to access your work. One of the excuses people use for pirating is that they can't buy the paper copies in their country. Well, that excuse is gone now and will make a lot of genuine buyers very happy.
    Plus Etsy takes part in Easy Fundraising so every purchase I make, they make a donation to my son's PTA. Win win situation!

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