Throughout my 60 years I have seen a lot of changes in many different aspects of my life. The biggest changes have been in the area of technology. I remember the first computer that my dad programmed at Dana College in Blair that took up an entire room. I remember the first calculator that he bought to use for his classes that was quite expensive and yet the most complex function was a square root. I remember when phones were used only for talking to another person. Wow! That makes me sound very old! And yet when I look around my sewing room today it is filled with all kinds of technological things that help me.
With a great deal of help from my youngest daughter who knows a lot about marketing, my business now has an updated website that you can find at forestacrescustomquilting.com. The website has been helpful so that customers can find me if they are not already familiar with my business. They can also view past projects, read blog posts, and learn about the services that I offer. She also designed this awesome logo that uses a quilt that I made as the colorful parts of the tree.
In addition to the website I also post projects on Facebook two to three times each week. These posts are pictures and descriptions of customer quilts, Quilts of Valor, blog posts, and projects that I have completed for myself. This social media avenue has been great advertising to let friends, family, and potential customers know what I have been doing.
One of the first things I do upon entering my sewing room each day is to turn on some kind of music to keep me company as I am working. Sometimes I grab the remote and find the Pandora app on the television. I usually alternate between the Backstreet Boys station or the Broadway station. In November and December I dial up the Josh Groban Silent Night station for some relaxing Christmas music. Other times I’ll turn on my Bose speaker that is synced to my iPad and listen to some albums on Spotify like the soundtrack from The Greatest Showman or Conquistador by Maynard Ferguson. I also have a CD player where I can pop on music from Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley as well as a turntable where I can listen to my St. Olaf Band records. As you can see my listening options are quite varied.
I have found several podcasts that I like to listen to when I am either working out or driving in the car. I get a lot of inspiration from them in the way of new patterns to try or ideas for my blog posts. Right now I am enjoying Sherri McConnell and Chelsi Stratton from A Quilting Life (pictured below), Vicki Holloway from My Creative Corner 3, Frances Dowell from the Off-Kilter Quilt, Brandy Maslowski from the Quilter on Fire, and Quilt and Tell, the Quilting Daily podcast. I also listen to Husker Online and Kickin’ Back With The Cooks to get updates on all things Huskers.
On my iPhone and iPad I also find myself using the calculator and stopwatch functions in the sewing room. I often need to calculate fabric yardage needed to complete a quilt as well as figure customer cost for a project. I use the stopwatch when I am stitching an edge-to-edge design so that I can calculate the time needed to complete the quilt top.
I also use technology to help me learn new techniques in the sewing room. Google and YouTube are my go-tos. I find it very handy to type in a question and then have several options from which to learn. Recently I learned how to bind a quilt with an irregular edge and how to make pillowcases. I watched quite a few YouTube videos during the pandemic isolation and gained a lot of knowledge and inspiration. I need to find some dedicated time to continue that practice.
What kinds of technology do you use to make your hobby more enjoyable? Has it made a difference in your productivity? I can confidently say that technology has made a big difference for me. Now I just have to hope that the Internet doesn’t go out!