Friday, July 31, 2015

Summer is Flying By

Each evening while we are eating dinner out on the porch, watching the birds bathe in the fountain, feeling the breezes from the overhead fan, and smelling the enticing aromas of the oriental lilies - we are thankful for another glorious summer day. Our warm weather season is short so its especially important that we savor each day (which in reality we should be doing no matter what the weather is like!)

I'm sure your days are similar to mine regarding what you hope to accomplish. Somehow the hours fly by, and I've only touched on a few of the items on my list. Today was no exception, as I had hoped to get a good start on packing two trunk shows,  stitching a bit more of the limited edition 2015 Christmas ornament, and ordering supplies for another kit to be released in September.

There were good interruptions though, as orders came in which needed to be assembled and packed, there were phone calls from family and friends, I took time to research a trip which my husband and I are taking in a few months, and I made my usual trip to the post office.   Hopefully I'll be able to get more stitching done this evening.

Did you know that although we don't have a wholesale market this Fall, a  group of vendors have come together to offer a "Harvest Market Hop" in September.  It will be an online show and shop owners will be able to preview all of our latest releases and hopefully purchase their favorites directly from the designers.  I'll have at least six new titles, plus the previously mentioned kits.

Tomorrow is another day - and with the help of my assistant Dawn, we will get those trunk shows packed and ready to go, and perhaps I'll even be able to finish that ornament.  We may even take time to have lunch on the porch - another moment to treasure.  Keep your fingers crossed for a productive day, but don't do it for too long - we want you to keep stitching.



Monday, July 6, 2015

Bouquets For you!

We celebrated the 4th of July as many of you did with a parade in the morning, back-yard games and a trip to the beach in the afternoon and finished it off with a barbecue in the evening.  I think the parade is one of my favorite activities, as it takes place in South Haven, Michigan where my sister lives.  It is small town Americana at its best.  South Haven is a lovely town just 40 minutes from Kalamazoo, and we feel so fortunate to have a beautiful lake so close to us.  But the water that day was so cold - 51 degrees! -  so we adults barely dipped our toes in, while our 3 youngest grandchildren dove right in for a swim.  Oh to be young and brave.

Yesterday morning I decided to cut flowers for a fresh bouquet and discovered that the deer have munched on many of my favorites!  I think they attacked the yard as if it were a Thanksgiving smorgasbord.  Thankfully the hydrangeas, daisies, and roses survived.  We need to figure out how to deter our pesky neighbors who live in the woods nearby.

This morning I shipped two more models to the finisher, and am set to begin a Halloween design this afternoon.  I love my job and feel so fortunate to have you as my readers.  So I'm sending bouquets of thanks for your loyalty.

Affectionately Yours,
Judy

Friday, June 12, 2015

A Time to Stitch

For many of us, the Spring and Summer seasons are particularly busy - with graduations, weddings, outdoor activities, and gardening projects. We treasure the mild temperatures and even the rainy days - as the windows are open and the birds are chirping.

Since the last trade show, I have been hard at work and have sent three new designs to my finisher, and have located an antique frame for the fourth larger design. Pictured here is just a sneak peek of the little Alphabet Owls - stitched over one and two threads.

Designing is such an interesting process as we are always thinking ahead to the next step. Of course, charting is the first step, then selecting the colors of the fabrics and fibers, then stitching the model, and finally selecting a finishing method. Finishing is the key to having a design that appeals to our stitchers and makes them want to purchase the pattern!

We love receiving pictures of your finished JBW Designed projects. We've received a wonderful response to our new Facebook page - Friends of JBW Designs and each posting inspires others. Please join us there if you have not already. I also write two monthly newsletters - one for shop owners, and the second for retail customers. It's the perfect way to stay in contact and for you to hear about the new releases. You can sign up for the newsletter via the signup form located to the right. (Shop owners, please contact us to be added to the email newsletter.)

On a side note, I invite you to peruse my Etsy Shop, JBWDesignsXStitch, where you will find several out of print titles for sale (limited quantities) as well as older models. We strive to add new items each week, so check back often to see new listings.

In closing, it is my goal to release the new titles in mid-August - so stay tuned and keep stitching!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Springtime in Michigan (not Paris!)

Springtime in Michigan is my favorite time of year, as the trees and gardens are bursting forth with greenery and flowers. Each day we can see changes - the red bud tree outside my studio window, the Baltimore orioles at the feeders, and the dogwood blossoms in the woods are all saying - welcome - it's time to celebrate a new season!

 Since the trade show took place in early March, where I released seven new designs, I've been busy charting and stitching the next set of releases. It always seems quite strange to be working on Fall and Christmas themed designs in April, May and June. But that is part of our designing cycle - a lot of time is needed before the next set of designs has been stitched, finished and put into a booklet format.

We have also opened up a new site on Facebook, called Friends of JBW Designs, and I have been thrilled with the response. I am encouraging fellow stitchers to send photos of their finished JBW projects - as one picture can inspire many new ideas. I always welcome not only new design suggestions but input on how to improve the business.

Trunk shows are an important aspect of the business, and are held in shops all over the country. They are usually booked for a month, allowing one week for shipping to the shop, another few days for shipping onto the next shop or back to me, and then at least 2 - 3 weeks for the display. This month, A Stitch in Time in Jacksonville, Florida is hosting a show. Cross my Heart in Columbus, Ohio will have a show in July, and Country Cupboard in Orland Park, IL will be in August. I still have openings in each of those 3 months - June, July, and August - so encourage your local shop to book one now. It's a great way to sell and promote the merchandise -as the models and finishing are always inspiring.

We are in the process of updating our blog/website so that we can update it much easier and stay in contact with our valued customers and friends. Keep coming back to see the updates and let us know how you like it.