Shoot for the Moon #71 – Breather and Appreciation


Last night I fell into bed at 7:30 as soon as I got home from an all day lecture that I gave in LaPlata Maryland at Material girls. I did a full trunk show and demo THREE times on Saturday. That engagement was a book signing/demo that I was supposed to have done in January but my dad fell ill and passed. My mom is staying with me for a spell and she accompanied me and helped out. She may be 84 but she is still able and willing to help out any way she can. She is a little slower these days – but she can lift any carton or box and help out quite a bit! I appreciate having my mom as a sidekick. That was the first professional engagement I ever had to reschedule due to an emergency. That made three big events in April – two lectures and a quilt show – that I have learned is a lot for one month especially when you have a book due in less that 3 weeks and are going to Market in May! I have learned that I really need to keep “out of studio gigs” to NO MORE than 2 per month. It is just to hard to go on the road and come back and be 100% productive. While I work hard each day building my pattern business – there is something about going on the road that is so tiring! When you are at a show or giving a lecture or demo – you are “ON” for hours at a time. You are engaging in conversation, presenting and answering many questions and it is draining. So for those of you out there looking to create your own business – keep that in mind – limit your travel work to not get exhausted.

This jaunt was on the heels of a two day lecture/workshop in Dover Delaware the previous Monday/Tuesday. And sandwiched in between I had Mindy Williams come down for three days and we worked together on making samples for the next book that is due on May 1, 2011 to C&T Publishing. Patti Rusk – the “official” Zebra Patterns studio assistant (lol) also came over and we worked like crazy! It was one big push for the book to get some great samples done.

Mindy Williams

I must take time in all of this crazy schedule to take a breath and to acknowledge a few important people who are helping to build Zebra Patterns to a successful pattern business. Mindy is nothing less than a master quilter. I am telling you straight that Mindy is a plethora of information and one of the finest quilters I have ever seen. Mindy’s knowledge of quilting and of the sewing machine is inspiring. We worked together this week on two large quilts featuring my new World blocks for Book two and Mindy whipped together two quilt tops – no pattern or instructions in record time. Her sewing is precise and beautiful. It was the first time Mindy had been to my studio to work for a few days and she is very special. The best part about the whole visit was not that we got so much done – it was that I know that Mindy and I will be friends for a very long time. Heck with the quilts – that is what is important in life – friends and family. One more comment about Mindy is how loving and supportive her husband Rick is. They communicated all day and every conversation was kind and loving and everything she said about Rick was wonderful. That is not always the case with married couples! It was refreshing and sincere. Mindy is a very special lady  – although she pronounces words weird! Patti and I teased her mercilessly about some of her pronunciations of words! She has some funky little twang to her words – and we were all over it! Mindy has her own company called Connecting Threads and she makes shop models for quilt stores and quilt manufacturers, she teaches and she is one of two certified Zebra Patterns Custom quilt makers that have the rights to my patterns to make retail and wholesale patterns for customers. So Mindy – here is too you! I am proud to call you my friend. I take friends pretty seriously so watch out lady – you are stuck with me now!

Patti Rusk

Patti has been coming to the studio from Catonsville for the last 4-5 months. Patti to is a hard worker and sharp as a tack! (Even though I beat her in Scrabble regularly) – lol – (but not for long I can tell! ) Funny story – she and I were playing Words with friends (an online scrabble game) and she was finally kicking my butt and all of a sudden the program crashed – oops – no record of that win she almost had!!! But I am certain soon I that will all change! Patti and I have become close friends as well. I feel like I am an Aunt to her two great kids Jenna and Charlie. Jenna was recently trying to get into three different Catholic High Schools and I swear I was restless at night waiting to hear which one she got into! Patti and I work like crazy and have a good old time in the process!  Patti is very organized and a very good leader. Many times when we are together I ask her – OK Patti what should I do next? My mind is in stuck a fast pace forward all the time – she keeps me straight! Patti too has a custom quilt making business and does commission work for churches and schools as well as make samples for Zebra Patterns and Zebra Pattern customers.


I am so grateful everyday for the small successes my company is experiencing and for the amazing people it has brought into my life! I am deeply appreciative that I get to call Patti and Mindy my friends. I appreciate their generosity and their kindness and knowledge. I am also very grateful to continue to be in remission from Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma since 2004 which is allowing me to ‘shoot for the moon”. It is so important to stop and take a breath and say a sincere thank you to those friends around us that really matter. So Mindy and Patti – thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you do for Zebra – but more importantly – thank you for being my friend – with much love and respect – Debra.


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