Wednesday, January 8, 2014

just thinking

Last week a friend turned to me and asked, "So what's next for you with Stitched in Color?"  My immediate response, "If I can just keep doing what I'm doing and make my classes, I'm happy!" A few days later I found myself reading a bunch of posts talking about grand plans for 2014, who's a "rising star" in the quilting world and who had done impressive work last year.

My did that muddy the waters.  

Again and again I come up against this fact:  To be recognized as successful in this industry you must do one or more of the following:
  • Write a book
  • Design fabric
  • Go to market
  • Travel teach

Right now, I don't want to do any of the above.

I don't want to travel.  I want to be home, making things, being a mom, enjoying quiet moments and deep heart friends.

I don't want to write a book because the pay is abysmal, you have to travel to promote it and you have to fork over significant control of the process to your publisher.  Moreover, a book is not as useful to my readers as a class!   Photos and words are so drastically limited in physical publications.  Don't get me wrong - I do enjoy craft books!  But, I can't shake the feeling that my online classes are my best work.

I don't want to design fabric.  Haha, and that's a good thing too!

So why would I go to market?  Why run after the hype?  Why are these waters muddy at all?

good things -  fabric pull

...because I hate feeling that "they" don't think I'm legit.  That I'm insignificant, going nowhere and not a real voice in this industry.  Apparently I still care what "they" think.  Always have.  I'm not free from that.

And it's so silly.  For lots of reasons!  On being that there's another "they" that seems to quite like me, respect me and so kindly encourages me.

Apparently, I am listening to the wrong "they" and it really is my choice who I harken to.  If I care more about the "they" that overlooks me, I am giving them a superior validity that makes my angst real.  If instead I somehow ignore them, don't read them, don't hear them, I live in my own happy space.

Not as connected, not as big, maybe going nowhere, but happy.

Big or happy?  Reach or contentment?

Is it fear that if I don't keep pushing on to more that the "here" that is happy and supportive will disappear?

My relationship with my readers is the biggest thing I value in my "presence" as it were in this industry.  They are the people that I really want to know, to help, to inspire.  When someone creates something she thought she couldn't from my tutorial or breaks into a new skill set via my class or just starts a new project sparked by something I made... well then my heart sings!  And that's all.  That's enough!  That's real impact, real engagement that makes my day in a way that feels so much more true than any other measure of online impact that I've experienced.

I guess the thing is that doing those industry validating things could create more of those moments.  Yes, I'll admit it - they would.  BUT, I would sacrifice some dear things (time, family, friends, home) that would not be worth the trade.

Some things are worth keeping.

I am so grateful for the beautiful, delicate and glorious balance that I already have in Stitched in Color.  I am happy now. I am satisfied and I shouldn't let comparisonitis take that away.  This balance may be precarious or fleeting.  Who's to say?  Who can see the future?  God give me grace to respond to the changing winds of time.

quilt happy

At the end of the day, two goals when it comes to Stitched in Color:  I am happy and my readers are happy.  So tell me, what makes you happy in this space?

xo,

Rachel

p.s.  She is pondering the idea of a traveling bi-annual retreat, to get to know the dear "they" in various U.S. cities.  Very small scale.  Very much pure sewing and friendship.  And can we start in Lake Tahoe, CA this April? 

140 comments:

  1. I think that you're doing a beautiful job with Stitched in Color! I love that you offer classes in blog format -- it's fabulous!
    It does feel like "everybody" who's "anybody" is writing a book, designing fabric, etc -- but I think that you've made a beautiful choice -- to keep doing what you're doing, and be home cherishing your family! Blessings!

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  2. Rachel!! I am a mom of 3 small children all under 4 and I recently started quilting because it is a tradition of my grandmother's that I wanted to carry on after she passed away last year. Not having any idea where to start, I of course started online. I have nearly 100 blogs on my bloglovin feed related to quilting and your blog is the first one I read everyday. I find your attitude and your eye for color to be so welcoming and exciting at the same time. I am inspired by your work and am currently working on my first complete quilt because of your penny patch QAL. I finally got all the fabric cut and started piecing last night. I cannot wait to take your color inspirations class. As someone NEW to the INDUSTRY, I am inspired by you!

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  3. Thats a supereasy question: It makes me happy that you are NOT promoting your book, telling me about it every second day, showing me all of its pages, so by the time I could actually buy it, I am fed up and besides that I have more than enough books already. I hate it if blogs with some personal and some quilty stuff turn into all quilty stuff which I should buy immediately. I really dislike it, when people keep telling me about this gorgeous fabric they designed and I have to endure all the same praise on all the other blogs. Your blog is the only one I read on a really regular basis - I visit nearly every day. I love how you balance the sponsor stuff with the personal posts and the quilty posts. I think you found your way and you can be proud of it! Keep it as it is and just go with the stuff you feel "right" about. Don't let others guide you just because they think you should do this or that. Only do it, if you feel that it is 100% yourself.

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  4. I enjoyed reading your analysis of what it means to be successful in the industry and where you fit in it. Since you say you enjoy validation from your readers, I'm glad I can stop in and say, YES, you are legit. You are significant. And your voice matters to me, probably more than any other since I don't follow too many of what I call the big-name blogs and I'm pickier than ever about spending money on books. What makes me happy in this space, this Stitched In Color space? Bright colors. New projects. Quality instruction. Community. Thank you for all of that.

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  5. I have a hard time with definitions of what makes you successful. You are obviously successful, you don't need to do any of those other things. You have found a way to make Stitched in Color work for you and your family, that sounds like success to me!

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  6. I read your blog because you make beautiful things. I appreciate your honesty and openness about the industry! You should just keep doing what you are doing. We will keep coming back. :)

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  7. continue to do what you love doing - there is no need to jump into a pool of muddy water to be like everyone else. Your love of your craft shows in all the work you do and because of that, I am inspired to reach beyond my known capabilities - the simple fact that you teach makes you a success. Would I attend a retreat just to get to know you - if it is at all possible on my limited budget ABSOLUTELY!

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  8. I think it's true in any career that you have to decide what sacrifices you have to make in order to "succeed." I would argue the best success is that in which you can do what you love and still have time for the even more important things. I have not had time to take more than one of your classes, but the handstitched class I did take really taught me a lot and expanded my skills greatly. If you think about all the other crafters you have touched and taught through your blog and classes, it seems like a HUGE success to me. Just because "the industry" doesn't see you as a success doesn't mean you aren't. (And Tahoe is so close to me and beautiful - perfect for a retreat! I'd totally be jumping at the chance to go if my baby wasn't due in March!)

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  9. I think you are so right and so wise to think like that!:) I am so glad I found your blog this year: I love your posts and beautiful work! keep the happy spirit and lovely quilts coming!
    sophie from France

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  10. I agree with the commenter above who said that they are happy that you aren't spending all your time promoting yourself. Your blog pretty much singlehandedly got me interested and excited about quilting. That last thing I needed as a mom of three small kids was to add another crafty thing onto my plate. And besides, the only quilts I had ever seen were in colours that did nothing for me. And the thought of having to be so precise in my cutting and sewing was not fun. And who wants to spend all that time ironing either? Ha. I love quilting now. The cutting, the piecing, even the ironing, and especially the free motion quilting. And I'm saving up for a juki. And almost entirely begun by your blog. I search for block inspiration and stuff elsewhere too, but yours is the only quilty blog I read regularly because I love what you have to say, I love your voice.

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  11. I love your blog as is. It makes you happy, it makes us happy. Unless you are in need of greater income (and no guarantee that would happen), there seems no reason to change. You are more than good enough!

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  12. Oh, boy. It's like we're reading the same inner dialogue, although be it in two separate industries. I'm currently a PhD candidate, hoping to defend and get my degree next summer. I'm trying to wind things up currently so that I can write my thesis, but in the meantime I've got papers to edit, experiments to run, some classes to teach, and a home-life to keep sacred. Not to mention trying to find time for me and my recharging hobbies.

    Now look. You and I are no slackers, and I don't think it's boastful to acknowledge when you're good at something. I'm good at research and math and science. You're very good at teaching and creating from your unique perspective. The rub comes when the ubiquitous "they" say that we should go on to do more. For instance, in my life, the choice comes up: do I pursue research? A prestigious faculty position at a prominent research school? Both of those things will involve countless hours trying to prove my worth to people holding the purse strings, many more hours than 40 per week, and constant competition with and comparison to others.

    Could I hack it? Probably. Do I want to? Probably not. Does that make me "less" or "lazy"? Absolutely not! I want children that I actually spend time with, a husband that I knows he is a priority in my life, fulfilling "me" time, and to be surrounded by family and friends and love. Those things are more important to me than a Nobel Prize (which is the opposite view of my male advisor).

    So you rock on! I so enjoy reading your blog, and I catch it every day if I can. Your posts and projects inspire me to be creative, and your outlook on life and family encourages me. Thank you so much for all you do, and I'd like to add to the list of "they" who encourage you. I think you're awesome, for what it's worth :)

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  13. I've learned so much from your blog and I don't think you should change a thing! The most important thing is to do what you enjoy, because that's what really shows through in your work and in your writing. Frankly, it can be a little disheartening when people take the book/fabric line route and their blog just turns into a big advertisement -- or worse, when they are no longer allowed to reveal their work to the public because they are beholden to a publisher or fabric manufacturer. Keep doing what makes you happy and know you have the support of your readers!

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  14. Good for you! Do what you want and don't feel pressured. You have a lot of happy readers that really enjoy your content. I personally love your tutorials and love seeing the amazing pieces you create. THANKS for the amazing content!

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  15. Such an interesting set of thoughts Rachel! This will undoubtedly keep me thinking while I sew this afternoon.

    But I really must tell you, I struggled through designing and constructing my barn door quilt just before starting your penny sampler class. Now after your class I'm making that quilt again with a whole new set of skills and knowledge and it is going so much better this time around! I absolutely credit you with making that difference.

    I think what you've built with Stitched in Color is unique and beautiful! I also think that you could choose at any time to try any one of those other things (designing fabric, writing a book, going to market, traveling) and absolutely kill it!

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  16. Your blog, is my favorite blog. Of the dozens of blogs that I subscribe to, most of which are craft/diy/sewing oriented, I always save your posts for last so I can "savor" them. I really appreciate the openness, honesty, and level of craftsmanship that you share with your readers. You create beautiful things and share them, without making the reader feel like just a source of income. So, maintaining the wonderful thing you have going seems like exactly the right choice!

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  17. Rachel, I have been with you for several years, each and every day you post. You are constantly an inspiration to me. I would be very happy for you to continue on exactly as you have. That feeling of needing to be or do more in order to "feel" successful can be toxic indeed. If what you do makes you happy and supports your family and ultimate goals you ARE certainly successful. There is a reason that this is one of two blogs that are part of my daily routine. I hope that you will be with me each weekday for many years to come. Think of all the beauties you will create and the lives you will touch without having to sacrifice those things most sacred to you. Many blessings on you and your lovely family during 2014. Thanks for sharing your creativity and a bit of yourself with us through your writings.

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  18. I disagree--but in a good way. I think you are accepted in the wider world of quilting. You write regularly in "Quilty" and I see your name referenced in other magazines and blogs frequently. Will this keep your sponsors happy and allow you to contribute to support your family is the question.
    I do agree that many blogs are nothing but "buy me" and I do recognize that this is a reality and I don't mind a reasonable amount of self-promotion. Some blogs are nothing but ads and I drop them for other ones.
    I think that writing a book would be a great accomplishment and that you already have much of the work done. I wouldn't discard this idea solely on the basis of money. It would be a part of a legacy for your family.
    I think that you could probably design fabric without much difficulty.
    I think you could also run a successful online fabric store--your fabric choices are very well curated.( This probably has the least appeal for you).
    So, for now you are happy--good. But tomorrow is another day and my advice would be to keep your options open.
    Travel could be fun, as well as teaching.
    Don't limit yourself and don't tell the world you are either.
    Your blog is the first I go to and reread whenever I can. I shop your sponsors.
    I have taken a class.
    You're very good--why not keep developing.

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  19. Rachel -- I have only taken one of your classes (Curves Class, around this time last year), but I really loved it. I feel like in your class design -- both methods of delivery and content -- you are really playing to your strengths. I hope they have paid off for you, financially and in terms of satisfaction with your work, because I loved being one of your students.

    I also think that if you continue to design classes and offer them as you have been doing, in time you will have a strong catalogue of work that could be translated into a book, if you later decide you want to do that.

    Anyway, for the time being, your blog is one of my favorites out there and I look forward to seeing what you do in 2014. Thank you!

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  20. Rachel, I love your blog and look forward to reading every post that you prepare. I admire the way you teach, and you don't have an "air" of superiority over all you teach. I feel like your the friend next door that you can call anytime with a stupid question and you don't fear rejection.

    Keep up the great work and don't worry about the other "they", we don't care what "they" think, we love you!

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  21. You are one of the few that I will always read. You always cover interesting topics. If you decide to travel, I should recommend the "Big Easy." New Orleans is a fantastic city to explore, probably even more fun if you bring your husband along. Despite its reputation for booze, it really has a lot to offer a family as well. The New Orleans Modern Quilt Guild is quite dead, but I am sure we can rustle up some quilters to greet you.

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  22. I LOVE your blog and have gotten much pleasure and learning from you and your tutorials, etc. I so appreciate your posts and the time you put into them, not to mention your creativity and talent and inspiration. I would love for you to come to New England! And might I add, not at the expense of your family/personal enjoyment, etc.!

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  23. I am 60 years old and spent alot of years working at something that made me miserable. Life is too short to be unhappy. Do what makes you happy. Happiness, family, health are the most important things. Honestly, alot of the books I've purchased aren't worth it, and the fabric designs are not always unique.

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  24. I love your blog. I have been reading for about a year via feedly. I like you as you are. If you are happy here, stay. We are happy with you.

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  25. I love your blog! One aspect I especially enjoy is your writing ability - you have a real talent there. That said, I personally have moved from buying books to reading online, and am content to find you every day in my blog list. (I don't need a book) That doesn't diminish what you write! You are a writer in a new medium, and you're reaching me in Australia.

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  26. I so understand that it would be nice to be recognized in mainstream quilting world, but I like you and your blog because it is different and personal and what it comes to business - I give you my money! I have not bought a single craft book, magazine or participated in real life class. Of course I do buy fabric, but if you don't love making fabric you should not do it. Also what I understand is not really profitable either, even the big names need to do other things to make a living. But I did buy Penny sampler class and one of your patterns. Also I think your retreat sold out already:)
    I do have one business idea for you. What about licensing your classes? People who would like to teach real life and use your projects and tutorials could buy some kind of teacher's package and part of the profit of the class would be yours? No idea has this ever been done, but modern real life classes are hard to find, at least in Holland, and I think there are people who would like to teach but do not feel like planning the whole class.

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    1. one small correction, I have not bought a single craft book or real life class in 2013, but I did buy your stuff:)

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  27. i think any blogger who has sponsors and therefore manages to snag free fabric now and then is a SUCCESS in my eyes! 16 sponsors cannot be wrong in thinking you have an impact on the quilt world. i agree with previous posters that you have to be happy and true to yourself - but as noone knows what the future holds, do not reject the things that seem so objectionable at the moment. things will be different in 5, 7, 10 years time.

    i have not yet taken a class or followed a QAL (though i will be doing that soon with the colorbrick - very late to the party!) - have you considered holding classes at craftsy? i like that platform a lot and video courses are great to follow along - if your worry about print courses is that it's easier to explain in person...?

    and finally - you have created do.good stitches. if that hasn't been successful, then i don't know what success is!

    xx

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  28. I don't think you should ever measure your own success by the standards of someone else. You sound very happy with all that you are doing. Why should you compare yourself to others? Just do what makes you happy. Your blog is interesting and fun to read and you make it that way just by being you.

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  29. Thank you for this. I'm not nearly the "presence" that you are, and still I feel the need to be more. I get pressure from family and friends who think that this should be a money making venture for me, rather than a hobby. It is my hobby and I love it. I don't want to muddy the waters and make it something I have to do, to make it work.

    I'd like to teach classes to my friends who want to learn. Not for profit, at the moment, but just to share the joy of creation with others. Is that so wrong? I don't think it is! I appreciate reading blogs that are not self-promoting. I find I turn away from those rather quickly. I like building relationships with the bloggers I read regularly, and with those who read my blog regularly. It's the relationships, for me. Plain and simple.

    So good luck, and continue on. You are doing great work, and you are someone to a lot of people.

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  30. Dear Rachel,
    Thanks you for being honest about how you feel. It makes you so much more real to me in this virtual space and relatable. I would like to take a minute to encourage you as I sit at my table with my two little kids who are eating watermelon and getting juice all over my "workspace" :)
    You make a difference in my day with a breath of fresh and colorful mommy time. I truly look forward to the five minutes I get to spend reading your posts and all the wonderful fabric eye candy. It is inspiring to me and keeps my little mind busy while doing chores thinking about the fun things I could make. And unlike so many of "their" projects, I can always pick out your bold and color saturated, glorious style. Your style is unique and all the more inspiring because it is beautifully different. And the Penny Sampler! What an inspiring work of art!
    I took your first curves class and learned so much about sewing curves, and you covered a huge chunk of questions about piecing and fabric in general that I've had as a self taught quilter. I now have more confidence in sewing and creating lovely quilt things after taking your class. And as a stay at home mom of two (now soon to be three) little boys, I would never ever ever have had an opportunity to take a quilt class locally. I was so jazzed when you announced your first virtual quilt class. Finally, a class I could take!
    Something else that distinguishes you is that you are a homeschooling mom. You have made a choice to devote time to your family and give your children the best education you can (something else I can identify with). And hopefully God answers your prayers and continues to grow your family (I'm praying for you too!).
    And you have chosen to use your God given talents to organize Do. Good. Stitches which blesses so many people, and teach your friends to sew too in your book club.
    You have a real impact and presence in the quilt world. Even if you don't meet "their criteria", you do matter to me and so many others. You're a quilting star!
    -Erin Cross

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  31. Your blog is one of the few quilting blogs I read because you don't have many (or any) giveaways and posts dedicated only to promoting the latest book/fabric line/product. I enjoy the pure creativity and inspiration I see in each and every one of your posts. Please don't change!!!

    PS- I LOVE those pinks and robin egg blues.

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  32. And your feelings are all legit, and what matters in the end is that you are happy doing what you love. I too am a stay at home wife with married kids and grandkids, but in all these years I have worked from home making products to take to craft shows. I stay busy and love doing what I do but I feel a lot of people don't think I have a real job(including some family members) just cuz I stay home and do it. That bugs me a lot, sometimes more than others. I gotta keep reminding myself it doesn't matter what 'they' think as long as I enjoy doing what I do. You do an awesome job so keep it up!!

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  33. I love your blog! I love to sew and quilt and find myself inspired all the time by your sewing, your homeschooling and your faith. I am always creating but don't blog at all because my time with my family is valuable and they need me so much at this stage of life. Please don't feel pressured to do it all- there is so much more to life than recognition that you've "made it". You are doing an excellent job as a sewing blogger and I enjoy your work so much. Take care!

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  34. I apologize in advance for my philosophical wanderings ;), but I've thought a lot about this topic for myself too and framing it in a different way has been helpful for me. So here's what I think: The idea of success, in our culture especially, is an elusive thing that you can chase down forever and never quite catch. In our minds, success is this fixed point that we imagine in some way we can get to and stay there, but as we move towards it, it always slips a little further away. This is because the nature of life isn't fixed, it's constantly changing. When we attain a level of success, it doesn't last long. Yesterday's success is hardly enough to sustain today, thus we live in this constant anxiety about "what's next?". I believe that if we instead shift our focus from success and put our energy into doing good, into doing our best, and into helping make the world more positive in whatever way we can, we can achieve something more tangible and long-lasting than success, a sense of personal achievement and contentment. That's something that isn't measured by anyone outside of yourself, which ends up being a great relief. I'm not sure if you were looking for thoughts of this sort, but I wanted to share a different perspective on this topic. :)

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  35. Miss Rachel. I have a few responses and am not sure where to start, so I'm just going to bowl right in, ok.
    I think you're blog is perfect. It's genuine and filled with your passion and enthusiasm and just YOU. You blend the personal, the creative and the professional (advertising stuff) so well. I never feel like you are selling me something. I think that when we use other peoples yard sticks it's easy to come up short. But what is important to you??? Your family! Your home life! Your genuine creativity! Your generosity (with teaching and your time, and of course your coordination of charity quilts). With this in sight, you are very much a success. If you feel discontent about your own progress, then is the time to start stretching, but if you are happy where you are and still finding challenges, then why try and be someone you're not???
    That said, I think you should send you e book for any one of your classes to a publisher and see if they'd publish it. It's a bit different for. The normal quilt book, and I recon it'd sell quite well. And as you've already written it and done the creative stuff, and taught the class a couple of times, you wouldn't neccesarily be giving up any of the creative control you are worried about loosing. Just a thought.
    E xx

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  36. Rachel I first read your blog 2 1/2 years ago when I wanted to make my daughter a crayon roll! I hadn't sewn anything for a good 10 years until then. Your blog is the first one I read every day and I am always interested in what you have to say whether it's about sewing or the homeschool chronicles . I have taken all your classes and learnt more than I can imagine! You are an excellent teacher and your classes are amazing! You are a designer as well as a teacher in these cases! Your classes inspire and bring a community together, something you should be very proud of! So far you have published 3 ebooks which are full of great inspiration and techniques, and I refer to these books a lot more than any other books I have purchased. I remember the first time I left a comment on your blog and I think I squealed and smiled all day when you replied! I like that your work is very much in touch with us out here and that you progress your business in ways that keep us connected! I love that even when you have a class in full swing your blog remains varied and interesting! Because you do what you love, you inspire and motivate me to do what I love in all areas of life! If keep doing what you love we will always be inspired!

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  37. I agree with a lot of opinions said above. I would like to add one thing. I surf thru Instagram once a day. A "prominent" quilter, designer asked if other bloggers found Instagram to be a faster and easier way to reach the masses! She said there's just no time to blog all the time! I for one would rather read your down to earth blog and opinions and teachings than to race thru pictures on Instagram. I don't have a blog but I read them for inspiration and learning and possibly some things to share with quilting friends. Carry on...we're with you!

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  38. I check in on your blog every day, and I am always disappointed when you haven't made a post. I haven't taken any of your classes, but I am always inspired by your quilts. You don't have to be famous to be successful or happy. When my sons were young, I was always telling them, "Just worry about yourself and everything else will take care of itself. So put your blinders on, and keep up the good work.

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  39. I love seeing all your projects and your insight on sewing techniques, methods, quilting and sewing trends and inspirations. I also appreciate your perspective on homeschooling. Your projects truly do inspire so many of my sewing projects and I loved all the classes I have taken for they have taught me a lot! Just the other day my kids wanted to sew something so we made several little bean bag comets and a curved bunting! Boy do I feel guilty about pressing you on when your book is coming out – I just wanted you to know that I think all your class material is very organized, well-written and easy to follow. I look forward to each of your new classes and every one of your posts!

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  40. You know what???? You must do what makes you happy and what's more it makes me happy too. Because I LOVE your classes to pieces. I also wish you were doing this class in California at the beginning of next month because then I could come because I'm going with him upstairs to LA next month. Good luck and you are one of the biggest influences in my quilting life that's for sure. I have loved your classes and will continue to love them as I continue taking them.

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  41. Keep doing what you're doing. You inspire a ton of people but more importantly, your heart is your home and that's where it should stay. I made patchwork voile curtains for my bedroom following after the ones you made....you inspired me and they are fantastic and I love walking into my room every time! Passing on your heart, and your talents to your children and those who you come in contact with is the essence of living...and leaving a legacy. Don't do anything you do not have peace about....hang in there and dare to be different!

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  42. You should always do what you love and what makes you happy. The end.

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  43. To me, and I'm probably not part of "they", you aren't a rising star - you're the one we're all trying to become. :D I appreciate you're open honesty here, even the homeschooling posts. If you started doing what "they" say, I wouldn't be reading this blog, just like I don't read "their's". You make gorgeous things and inspire (at least) hundreds of us with every project. One of my biggest regrets in quilting (right now at least) is passing on the Penny Sampler. Still kicking myself. I would much rather you do these classes than write a book. To me, books are a collection of patterns - they don't usually teach (they instruct, but teaching is different to me), and everything I've heard about your classes is better than anything I've heard about a book.

    Please do not doubt yourself. You are amazing and awesome (and when you doubt it, just go look at do.Good stitches - that's almost all because of you!) and can do anything you want - when and how you want.

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  44. I like your blog, like your quilt style and color choices. I'm gearing up to do the Penny Patch (as soon as I work through a quilt or two already underway) but those instructions were clear, concise, and very thorough. You've taught online and you've written books--just follow what you love and what will work with your life! Your style is unique but also approachable. It is funny you posted this really, because a week ago I was thinking you have a LOT going on top of homeschooling-probably after the post about the Color Intensive. Be yourself. It looks like you have lots of fans!

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  45. I love your blog just as it is. To bow to the pressures of any of what they say makes you successful will ultimately take you away from everything you're already doing right. I don't know if your following is huge or small, but whatever the size we're all extremely happy with what we've found. That's why we stay! If you were to write a book or go to market or design fabric or teach offsite, it will pull you away from creating more of the content we love. Change is good, but not always necessary. Bottom line, if you don't feel called to do it, then maybe it's a good idea not to. Especially not when your lovely blog already has so much that works.

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  46. Too bad there is not a "like" button here or I would have checked it for all of the above. Your blog is the only quilting blog that I read on a daily basis for all the reasons above. I am so tired of all of the giveaways and hype on so many of the others. I love seeing what you are doing, it gets me inspired. I have also enjoyed taking some of your classes. Keep up the great work!

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  47. I read your blog each time it is delivered to my email box. I find it inspiring, interesting and honest. There isn't much more that I ask for. It is rare to see a post/conversation like this on other blogs. One reason why I follow you - you are not shy to put it all out there vs the candy coated posts it seems are so frequent. I totally agree with Jenelle's philosophical comments above. You can chase the dream and good things can come but what about the tradeoff's? I think you are successfull because you are doing what you love, it shows and people see/feel that. vs. being successfull on a big commercial scale and losing touch with your readers or being unhappy. Everyone has different goals and aspirations. Follow yours - I truly believe if you follow your own path and are happy, success will follow, and you are or should be the one who defines that.

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  48. Your colour. Your use of colour and your voice are what keeps me coming back to your space. I enjoy both very much.

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  49. I love your blog! It is one of my favorites because you don't try to sell me on your "stuff"...just your love of the craft! So fun and refreshing...and even though we have never met (and I VERY rarely comment), I feel a kinship with you, your sewing, decorating, trials with bleeding fabrics, mistakes, successes and general you-ness. ps...I would totally sewing-retreat with you, especially in Lake Tahoe!

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  50. You are awesome, inspiring and just plain nice. Just keep on being yourself and enjoying 'where you are' right now, you never know what is just around the corner. If it ain't broke don't try to fix it!!!

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  51. I have to say that you are a big inspiration to me...the quilting, the homeschooling, the real life stuff. So, although "they" don't think that you are a rising star or whatever; I totally do. I appreciate coming to your blog and seeing the sweet projects, the gorgeous use of color, and the everyday life that you are so willing to share. So, thank you! :-)

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  52. Rachel, I've told you how I feel before, but I'll say it again. I really admire your priorities. Your blog is one of the very first I started following almost 4 years ago and one of the only ones I've kept following. Keep doing what you're doing (if you don't mind), and it really only matters what you think. But, it's still nice to hear, you're fabulous!

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  53. I haven't been subscribed for very long. I'm really enjoying All the color in modern quilting. I read your letter and I understand the struggle. I'm a mother of 5 kids including twin and I can tell you that family is more important than any quilting career. The quilts will always be there but your kids won't always be small. Our job to love them and train them up in the way they will go. And hopefully they will all want to come home for holidays and even share there children with you. I know it works because mine are coming home and I watch my 2 grandsons 2 times a week....And that my friend is sucess..

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  54. All I can say is that your blog is my favorite quilting one. I have it come to my Primary Email, instead of 'other'. I like the way you combine colors that I would not usually look at. I like stars, and you like stars. If you come to Nashua, NH for a get together, there's a great quilt show in the fall called "The Gathering", and I'd take a class from you, or if you just came to that area, you'd get a slew of quilters to come. It's huge here!!

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  55. oh, yes, it's so hard to ignore the "they" that makes all the official lists, no matter how hard we try not to. so maybe you aren't a big money generator for anyone else, but to think that your name isn't big in this industry is crazy!

    stay happy, stay "little" (that is a total laugh when it comes to describing your influence!), and please, please remember the "they" who visit here often, are inspired by you, are taught by you, and who adore you and your work!

    my goodness, would I love a Rachel book in my hands, but coming here is good enough! maybe when your kids are grown (sniff, sniff) and you have time to move out into other circles in this industry, you'll venture forth and give it a try. for now, stick with what you know is best for you and your family!

    just put your hands over your ears and squeeze your eyes shut. =) don't look, don't listen, don't think that stuff. keep being you, please. I know there are hundreds and thousands of us who are sending you hugs, Rachel. thank you for your work and for sharing it.

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  56. I'm happy making things! I love it. I'm grateful for you and your blog - I always feel uplifted and creatively fed.

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  57. Rachel, You just blog away. I have many many books, but I am way more likely to read your blog and make your projects. It's much more personal. Not everyone has to do the same thing to be 'important'. You are important to your family and to your readers. Your lessons are so much more fun than just following a book. Everyone feels like maybe they should be 'more', but I would judge by the comments here that we all love you as you are. You are a real person to us....you just keep doing what makes you happy. In turn, it makes us happy. Fame is over-rated. Personal happiness and family is not. I am always inspired by your blog and your lessons. Thank you!!

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  58. i understand how you feel! i have quilted for over forty years. i piece by hand and quilt by hand. i used to give them to family and friends, until i found out some were selling them and then had the nerve to ask me to make them another one.so after that, i only donated to charities.When my daughter an only child died in my arms from a blood clot to her lungs, there were people who had the nerve to ask about one at her funeral. i did one exception and made two for twin girls at my church who had cancer. then the majority of the church members got mad at me because i would not make a quilt for them, or their kids or parents or sell them and give the money to the church. i like what i do. i have serious health problems and will have to be hospitalized soon to have either a portion of or all of my colon removed. i want to know that after i am dead and gone, someone will still be enjoying my quilts and know that each stitch was a labor of love. my mom used to always say dont beat yourself up, there are plenty of others who will do it for you. you have to do what feels right for you and forget what anyone thinks. so hang in there and keep up the great work. blessings, barbara babscorbitt@gmail.com

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  59. Career and all the trappings of "success" really come second to living a life you love. If all of those things that check the success boxes don't make you happy, then doing them won't really make you successful. But doing fulfilling work that lets you spend your time in ways that make you happy and supports you enjoying the rest of your life? Even if it doesn't look like success on paper that sure sounds a lot more successful to me.

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  60. I have been reading your blog for years and feel like I've watched it grow from the ground up. I think that you have one of the most resourceful {quilting} blogs out there. I appreciate how much you share with your readers. I have learned so much from just reading your everyday posts about techniques, tips, tricks. Your work is amazing, unique, you so generously give so much of it away! It is so easy to compare (and trust me, I do it all the time!!), but keep doing what you're doing...because you're really, really good at it! :-)

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  61. By the response you have had already, you are obviously doing something right by just being you. I for one enjoy reading your blog and seeing what you create.

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  62. What I love most about what you do is do. Good Stitches. There are many people out there who give to charities, but few offer opportunities for each individual to contribute a couple of blocks a month that turn into a whole quilt for someone in need. Being able to sew for charity has breathed new life into my desire to sew. I was tired of sewing for myself and not financially able to make a quilt for each of my family members and friends, but being able to contribute to do. Good Stitches makes me happy and allows me to be a part of a great charity that gives to folks in need.
    As for those who are doing "bigger and better things," I get tired of reading their blogs and hearing what they are working on next and how great it is going to be. Often times it seems very selfish and is not done in a way that makes me feel included in what they are doing.
    Maybe one day you will write a book or travel to teach, but God has you where he wants you, and you are doing good work. Good work that lasts.

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  63. Let me join the chorus of those who love your work and appreciate everything you do! I truly believe doing what makes you happy is the ultimate definition of success. Believe me, after spending many years in a competitive professional field, I saw countless people that others may view as "successful" but were miserable and, often, had messed up personal life stories. The only definition of success that counts is based on the priorities you set for yourself. Bravo to you!!

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  64. At the end of the day, you have to live with the choices you make---- so whatever you chose to do, base your decisions on what you can live with not what others think or say. And I am very much looking forward to your upcoming color class!

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  65. Love your blog and the choices you are making!
    Have used your journal cover tut and made one as a gift.So I got a question: Do you have a flickr (or other) group where people can post their creations with your tutorials or classes? Because it makes me happy to give credit to whoever inspired & helped me make something beautiful :-)
    Thanks so much for all you do in the non-traditional quilt blog world. And nope, I don't need another fabric line from yet another blogger/ quilt pattern designer or whatnot.

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  66. I am so glad that you said this today! Of course I am always saying this in response to your words! You do have a voice, you speak for us who have a hard time writing down what you just expressed. You are no less an artist just because you do these things!

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    1. I meant you are not less of an artist because you do not do these things!

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  67. I think one of my happy things about this blog is that you do take time out to talk about things that are important to you -- like this post and the lessons you're learning in Bible study. I know many quilters, particularly the "they" struggle with how much personal posting to put on a blog, and I like that you share that with your readers.

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  68. Wow, Rachel. You seriously struck a cord with me. I am even further "behind" than you are in this career. I truly want it to be something that makes money, but I also have a REAL life. 4 kids, a husband, a home. I don't have time for travel....I'm too busy making sure my eldest gets to Cheer classes and youngest gets to speech. My blog is still very small time. I was just celebrating today that I made $85 in the last 4 months selling patterns on Craftsy. LOL I guess that, using the "they" ruler, I won't ever be a real quilter. But that's ok. I have a family that loves me, supports me, and takes care of me. And for what it's worth, you are one of the VERY few blogs that I don't delete from my email, even when I have over 1000 waiting to be read!!! Amy @ ButterflyAngelsQuilting.com

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  69. I pretty much just agree with everyone else! You're work is amazing and inspiring! In my book, you already are on the list of "famous" quilt people :)

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  70. I subscribe to many blogs but there are only a few that I actually read with every new post. Your is one of them. I have found your work inspiring with out being pretentious and that is a true gift. Keep following your instincts and your dream. You inspire more than you know.

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  71. Love you, your classes, and your blog!

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  73. I really enjoyed your thoughtful assessment of the pressures to produce tangible evidence of success, and your valuation of your blog readers, your art, and your family. As a woman who is a generation ahead of you, I think you are choosing wisely! And as a big fan of your work, I'd like to be on the list for that retreat in Lake Tahoe!

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  74. I'm new to quilting and blogging, but your posts and colour inspire me a lot, I so say, just keep on doing what feels good for you. As you can see by the posts above, many people know who and what you are " a real down to earth quilter"

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  75. My mom turned me on to your penny patch quilt along. I've got a 4 month old, so my progress is definitely behind, but you have put me back in my own creative groove! I'm having so much fun with this quilt and can't wait to finish a few more this year. This is my first quilt (not my first sewing project though), and I love everything about your detailed explanations and pictures. You make me feel confident that I can do these things. It seems much less daunting to become a quilter. Thank you for that. Achieve your own goals. :)

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  76. I periodically do a purge and unsubscribe to a majority of the 'fluff'quilting blogs, but yours always stays. You have been so helpful to me, as a novice quilter. I just wanted you to know that I appreciate you. Do what you want and be happy, its been working so far. :)

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  77. What brings me to this space and keeps me coming back? In one column, your skills in the sewing realm: colors, patterns, techniques. In the other column, your voice, your thoughtfulness, your spirit as a teacher (and as a person). I stumbled across your blog about three years ago when I was on a consultancy in Burundi with very little bandwidth. But I had a hankering to connect to the quilting world even though my own sewing machine and WIP were very far away. Your blog loaded (most would not) and I savored every word and image. And have done so ever since. You are extremely good at what you do, and you will forge your own path. You needn't worry that the trodden paths you listed -- write a book, travel/teach, etc -- are the one ones. You are going to create your own, with your talent and your wishes. And we will follow!

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  78. Rachel, here are my (very muddled, tired mama) thoughts on all of this:

    1. I love your blog. I've been reading for several years now and never skip a post. Your writing style is approachable, you touch on many topics yet never appear disjointed, and – I would argue, most importantly – you are authentic.

    2. Chasing recognition from "them", whoever "they" are, is a lot of work. You're right when you say that you'd have to write a book, design fabric, travel teach and more. And if those things don't appeal to you or fit into your life plan right now, then don't sweat it. Enjoy your beautiful family, your sewing, your Stitched in Color community.

    3. I'm not sure that it matters, because I'm pretty small potatoes in the quilt community... but I don't read "their" blogs. I don't like the endless book tour posts or the countless secret projects. My sewing life is so different from theirs that I think it's hard for me to want to read all that fabulousness all the time. I know I could have written that better... oh well. :)

    As far as I'm concerned, you can rest on your laurels right here in your little corner of the internet. We all love you and think you're tops!

    Oh, and I would LOOOOOOVE it if you'd come to South Lake Tahoe this year! I don't think I could get away from my sweeties for a sewing retreat (Tahoe is about two hours from where I live and little Miss C. still nurses constantly), but I do live quite close to the nearest airport and would love to meet you for lunch or dinner after your plane lands.

    xoxo

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  79. I love your blog. i love the homely feel of it too. The things you make for usage or charity not for advertising just inspire me. I agree with most of the above comments. You are inspiring, do what makes you happy and things will shine on its own.

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  80. I like the feeling of being a friend of yours. You make me feel invited into your life and it is a very comfortable place to visit. I took your Curves class, the Handstitched class, and have finished my Penny Sampler quilt top but haven't assembled it yet. I read all your posts and enjoy them. My grandchildren are being homeschooled and I enjoy reading about your experiences. Your booklists are a nice feature that I investigate. You are a multi-faceted person and it shows in your blog. I hope you get the confidence to go with your heart and are able to follow the road less travelled. You are young and have time to let the world beat a path to Your door. You don't have to chase others's dreams.
    If you want another baby in your life, think about not adding any new pressures into your circumstances. Let life unfold in your unique way. I am a fan. I also live near Lake Tahoe. What's happening in April? Did I miss something?

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  81. i love your blog. and i think your shouldn't try to measure your success by any "they." Do you love how you spend your days and does it generate enough money to keep food on the table? then you are as successful as can be. of course, if you want to do a couple travel-teaching-things a year, go for that too! but only if you want to for you, not because you think it would make you more "legitimate."

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  82. Your blog is one of the ones I most look forward to reading! I'm currently in the process of making a penny patch quilt and I'm in heaven! I loved the color scheme ideas and can't wait to sign up for your color intensive class!

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  83. When you say you don't want to sacrifice family I completely agree. I look at my mom who is now a empty nester and she now reminisces about the "good times" when we were all little. I love all the things you do here and love your insight like in this post. Thanks for sharing your talents with us! I am also a big fan even if I don't always comment I am always enjoying your posts.

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  84. Right now when the kids are young is a time that is fleeting. Enjoy your time with them. Your relationships with family and close friends is what lasts. I am sure you have heard the saying... No one at the end of their days said, I wish I had worked more. If you are doing what you enjoy and spending time with family you have choosen the best path for you at this stage of your life.
    I for one have found your blog interesting. I am sure when the time is right you will discover new avenues that you want to travel. But happy is good!

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  85. I applaude your decision. There is a huge difference between art and self promotion and your blog defines that difference. You may never know the names of the people whose lives you have changed for the better, but you will know the quiet joy of a meaningful life guided by your heart
    BTW, I speak from the perspective of age and having made the same decision.

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  86. Be true to yourself. Life is too short to be pleasing others all the time. Enjoy your quilting and teaching, be around your family and above all keep quilting!

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  87. Loved this post Rachel...and guess what? You can do ALL of those things...and you still won't feel "legit" in this business, and you will still feel insignificant, and you will still feel small and crummy when you go to market and compare yourself with everyone else. You have to trust your gut, do what you love, and don't let anybody tell you that you can't (even yourself)! I've done each of those things and I didn't have to sacrifice any time with my children..except 3 days at market once a year when my children got to see Mom go after her dreams. It was hard (and I cried many times!) but I've loved every second of it. Do what you love and if you love classes and teaching and enjoying the moment then keep at it girl! The only person who can make you feel "legit" is you. ;) -Al

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  88. This might be my favorite post Rachel. I am so happy to come to this space for all your creative endeavors, the eye candy, the personal touch, the sharing of how you battle the forces of what "they" think, what "they" say you need to do next.... YOU are so successful, and even better for recognizing what matters most in life--not the books you publish, but family/friends/serenity & peace. I visit your website more than any other, I don't always have time to leave a comment, but know that everything you put into your blog is appreciated. In the end, you know what matters most, nobody else lives your life. Staying true to ourselves is often the toughest battle. Hugs and hearts to you. :)

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  89. Wow, you've already gotten a lot of feedback on this, so you know that you really touched a lot of us with your words. :) I have had this conversation twice already today, perhaps it is the message I really needed to hear. Success is measured differently for each person, and trying to hold up one scale to everyone is just going to leave a lot of people unhappy with themselves. By all means, define your own success, and go for it! You're happy, you love what you're doing... that IS success. :)

    I'm in a field where a tenure-track university position is considered "success" but wow, I have no interest in doing that. It's hard when that's the accepted measuring stick, but I'm trying to convince myself that I can use my own ruler. :) Like I said, this message has been given to me 3 times today, and every time I think "of course that makes sense for them!" and I still have trouble applying it to myself. "No I should be working harder/fitting into that mold/etc." and I'm really trying to battle against that. So thank you for your timely post. :)

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  90. My first baby is due in 5 weeks time and what I get from your blog is huge reassurance that I can continue to create and love my sewing and be a Mam just as you do. That everyday inspiration is more important than any book! Keep doing what you are doing and what you love!

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  91. If you and your family are happy, then that's all that matters! The things you create are beautiful, and such an inspiration! I loved taking your hand stitched class, it's better than any physical book I have, ebooks are the way forward, paper ones are going the way of the dinosaurs!

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  92. You keep doing what you are doing! It's so hard to to travel with little ones. But, if you ever plan on coming to New England for a retreat, there are plenty of crafty folks in/near Boston! I'm so enjoying your online classes!

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  93. Dang those muddy waters, Rachel! I don't remember how I 'found' you, but I do remember that when I did, I loved what you did, how you did it, and that you were original. You have you own style. I've taken your classes.

    There will always be 'bigger', and validation is always an encouragement, but before you decide which validations are most important to you, decide why you're doing what you're doing and where you want to go next ... if different from where you are. Actually, it looks like you're halfway there. Traveling classes sound wonderful, especially if you're anywhere near St. Louis (that's still a couple of hours my college town, but I'd travel to meet you there!

    (Sorry this is so long, but...) I've seen some of my favorite bloggers change so much this year, and I don't like it. Too many ads, hawking their new books, etc., and not doing what they were. Some I still follow, some I don't. They're not 'themselves' anymore, please remain true to yourself. You're great.

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  94. Don't listen to "them". Just do what makes you happy. I have never taken a class of yours because I can't commit regular time to sewing (what with working and two little ones in kindergarten). I enjoy reading your blog because your style and choice of colours appeals to me. And one day I will have time enough to enjoy one of your classes. I won't be able to attend your retreats as I am from Germany but I am looking forward to read your blog posts on that topic :o) Carry on, you are very good at what you are doing and your work IS impressive!

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  95. I can tell you from my own experience, that when I broke into this 'world' and started on this modern quilting journey, you were one of the first inspiring people I found. You and one other person. That other person has since written books, started traveling, had a large presence at big retreats and in the modern quilt guild, and I've got to say, shes considerable less inspiring than when I first found her. She almost never blogs. Everything she does feels like a promotion, rather than something purely creative. I know you once told me that you are so very inspired by AMH's blog. Well your blog is that for me. No one else does what you do. Everyone feels the need to follow that path you described in your post. This niche you have carved out allows you to offer to this community something that no one else does. And on such a personal level. Don't put pressure on yourself, take the road less traveled, continue to create from the heart, and know that is why we are here. Its what we love about you :)

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  96. This blog is my happy place. I'm always in awe and respect your talent. I don't quilt but sew a lot and you inspire my creativity. Somethings just aren't for everybody. You have this space and your classes and it makes you happy, and makes others like me happy.

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  97. I would like to respond some more now that I am at a keyboard and can really type. The way I found your blog was when someone else recommended it when I was researching buying my sewing machine. Her comment was, 'she keeps it real'. After reading about your Juki I perused the rest of your blog. I found it so refreshing. A focus on modern quilting design, quilting skills, inspiration, some personal things, giving back without the hype of fabric lines, new quilting books, etc....... I understand the marketing side of the modern quilt world is how a living is made and I don't begrudge those efforts. That being said, sometimes on other's blogs it can be more about the name dropping and the latest popular person than it is about the craft.

    Then there is the whole life balance thing. One day a supervisor who reported to me was in my office and I was mentioning promotion opportunities for her. She was so talented and smart, a great leader. She would go far. She stopped me and said, 'I'm kind of afraid to tell you this but I'm pregnant and my husband and I plan that when the baby is born that I'll stay home.' I smiled and hugged her and told her how excited I was for her and her husband and then said, 'You made the best decision ever to stay home! You'll never regret it. There will be plenty of time after the kids grow up to resume your career or something else even greater when you and your family are ready.' You are making right choices and I love your blog. Be encouraged.

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  98. Fab post. I don't want to do any of those four things either but feel enough contentment in what I currently do to know I don't 'need' those perceived aspirations.

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  99. I am glad that you are keeping it real and doing what you think is right for you and yours. I personally am turned off by all the quilt bloggers who constantly brag about their books,fabric designs/travels etc. They come off as being in it for the money and fame - not to share their knowledge and creativiness with like minded people. You are doing exactly like I would like to see them all do!

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  100. Just keep doing what you are doing. "Be true to thyself"
    I share your feelings about the "they"
    Keep yourself happy and others will follow
    Shawn

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  101. Hah! Look at all of these comments that have poured in! Rachel, you ARE HUGE in the quilting world. Your creativity, charity, and vision are inspiring to so many! It's just not commercial. That is true for a lot of career paths, and unfortunately, our society does not always reinforce and praise people doing truly great things (I'm thinking of teachers, especially). I heard this quote on the radio the other day, and it home to me: "One of the things I learned the hard way was that it doesn't pay to get discouraged. Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore your faith in yourself." — Lucille Ball My thought is, sure, keep striving to always be more to others, learn more, share, BUT keep your priorities your own - don't let anyone else define what is important to you!

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  102. There are a few blogs that I loved when I first started following them but just this last year they did one or more of the things you mentioned and their blogs are not the same. I love your blog just the way it is and would be very happy if you keep doing just what your are doing.
    And if you are happy with what you are doing then don't mess with your happy. Keep being your creative, inspiring, genuine self and I'll be right here. This Psalm comes to mind when I think of all you do (112:9) They share freely and give generously to those in need. Their good deeds will be remembered forever. They will have influence and honor.

    Thank you Rachel, for influencing me creatively and inspiring me to do good with my stitches!

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  103. I don't care about them anymore, 'they' are not real - plus they make me feel bad. You are real, thoughtful, engaging, original! The industry sucks the fun away. Just keep doing your thing, 'they' will come around and if not you'll always have us and we are awesome. ;)

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  104. I think the they just spoke! You are doing the right thing.
    contentncm at yahoo dot com

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  105. Your blog is very inspirational to us fellow quilters. You have many lovely comments that indicate you are doing the right thing. I've followed your blog for a while now, I continue to come back, take your classes and enjoy seeing what sewing projects you are into. Retreats are very fun. I would encourage you to go for the sharing, inspiration and new friendships. You always have a good feeling about who you are after a retreat....energized too!

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  106. I find you (and your blog) to be one of the most sincere and genuine of all the "professional bloggers" I read. I am really glad, and refreshed to hear that you are happy with what you are doing, because I love reading and participating! There are some other bloggers (not mentioning any names) whom I started reading a year or so ago who have since "sold out" and their entire blogs are just advertisements for their fabric line (and other fabric lines that their company produces) or constant sponsored posts. I think you strike the perfect balance of topics and while you have sponsors, you blog about so much more that is meaningful, and even your sponsored posts are informative and meaningful. The thing I find more inspiring about Stitched in Colors is that you constantly mix up different fabric lines to create things that are so beautiful and stunning, that I would hate to see you limited by a publisher or fabric house. On another note, if you keep doing what you're doing, all of the money you make with your hard work goes straight into your pocket... nobody is taking a % off the top for producing your work. Keep it up, you're amazing!

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  107. What makes me happiest about your blog is seeing the finished projects you turn out. I am consistantly inspired by your work, especially your color choices. I also appriciate the openness and honestly you share your life and experience with. Thank you!

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  108. Oh, I think about this a lot, especially since deciding to stay home full time. Sacrificing my illustrious career as a music teach (ha!) has made me wonder about success/legacy/contentment, etc, and of course, making a living comes into play too. Our pastor spoke about the woman at the well recently, how we might think we are different (better?) than her but most of us will find ourselves at the well at some point or another, looking and wondering, "is this it?"

    Anyway, I will join in with encouragement and agree with what most of the above commenters have said. Your blog stays on my reader because you are not only an artist, you are also an excellent writer. You've found a great balance of beautiful pictures, information, engaging contests, tutorials, etc., without sacrificing your voice. It is apparent that you love what you do and, well, you also have good grammar. Boom.

    In particular, I love the informative posts about sewing machines or fabric or color. This is how I know I'm a sewing nerd! I love to read about this stuff! And just the other day I referenced your post about the new Kona grays. Super helpful.

    Lastly, I really haven't gotten "in" with the online sewing community at all. But yours is a retreat I would actually consider attending so I think that says a lot. I'm in the south though, so… let's do GA, k? ;)

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  109. I really love the laid back feel of your blog and how you incorporate other aspects of your life here. I love to sew but I am also a mom of similar aged children and find that really draws me here.

    Honestly when my husband went to Afghanistan your blog was the one I kept. I had to cut out a lot of my blog following and I kept two or three as my regulars and I found so much inspiration here.

    You are a great writer and I love that sometimes you lead with your heart. Your photos are beautiful and I love love love your classes. I find myself inspired and also educated by the mosaics posts and I feel like you have brought me so far in my ability to throw colour together in a quilt.

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  110. Well Rachel, you probably weren't thinking anyone would answer you with Scripture verses, but two of them are in my mind related to this. The reasons you list for wanting and enjoying the community you have created through Stitched in Color include allowing you to be home with family & friends, making things, using the gifts you've been given. These are all God-honoring things..."being" in the place you've been planted, using the gifts you've been given, helping and encouraging others who cross your path.

    Remember in John Chapter 21 Jesus is telling Peter to follow him and feed His sheep. Jesus tells Peter this three times...to do what he has been called and made to do. Then, Peter turns and ask Jesus about John, "But Lord, what about this man?" Jesus rebukes Peter saying, "...what is it to you? You follow me." Jesus tells us to mind our own calling, not the calling of others.

    It is a constant struggle not to compare our own path to the paths of others. Social media makes this even harder, in my opinion. Every little click of the mouse or tap of our finger brings the paths and accomplishments of others right before our eyes.

    I feel like we all need a daily reminder that God created and ordained the time and place for each one of us, "Yet who knows that you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this." Esther 4:14b. We need to release the expectation that our lives/path should in any way resemble what God has ordained and allowed for someone else.

    I'm traveling this path with you my friend.

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  111. I really loved this post Rachel, and I've enjoyed reading all the comments too. Keep doing what you're doing, you're doing great x

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  112. Rachel, you are ahead of the curve with teaching through your classes. Other people may follow existing paths, you have forged your own way of connecting and you are therefore successful. I didn't have time to join in with your last class although I would have liked to, so I hope that one day I will be able to participate.

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  113. To clean upy email box, I unsubscribed from a lot of newsletters and blogs. But I kept yours because I love your posts. Keep it up.

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  114. Your work is inspiring and I think you already are "noticed". Keep it up

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  115. First of Rachel, Welcome to the club! This is where I was last year. I was really fed up with the attitude, the mind set, and how others made me feel inferior. I realize that I am just a face in a crowd who can make a wave of change. I really started to cut ties with what I thought was the right road to be on. In all reality it was the wrong path or road for me to be on. Finding my real voice was scary to people, which I am really raw, real, and I do not beat around the bush about things. Now people are used to my voice, I believe that they really do look for it, because once I stopped posting "those kind of post" the tide just went away. Tell ya the truth I am not for everybody, and I am okay with that. Oh, "those kind of post" are the ones where I rebel against the tide of things here in the quilting world, which is pretty much what your post is about. Once you tell people where to stick it, they stop bothering you [metaphorically speaking]. So if you love teaching online classes then stick with it. There is nothing wrong with what you are doing, and I believe you and everyone else are going to start seeing a change of tide here in the online community. Why? Because people are starting to become fed up with all the bull going on and the games and hoops to go through just to be noticed. All right I could actually keep on writing but I'll stop. Um-hum. Anyway, keep what you are doing and don't worry about the rest.

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  116. I understand the pull to be someone else's version of successful. I live in Silicon Valley, CA, and although I have many other SAHM friends, many of my friends have great careers too. My husband and I both felt there was more value in my being home with the kids than things, but living here, that choice can be tough at times. As for your feeling the pull to do more, there is a story I heard many years ago, that I try to keep in mind. Here's the story:

    An American investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.
    The Mexican replied, “only a little while. The American then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish? The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs. The American then asked, “but what do you do with the rest of your time?”
    The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siestas with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine, and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life.” The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing, and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually New York City, where you will run your expanding enterprise.”
    The Mexican fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?”
    To which the American replied, “15 – 20 years.”
    “But what then?” Asked the Mexican.
    The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions!”
    “Millions – then what?”
    The American said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siestas with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”

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    Replies
    1. That is a beautiful story. Nothing better than a simple life!

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    2. Too many people think happiness is measured in $ or £. It isn't. I think it's bought with how you spend your time, and it's pretty difficult to buy more of that.

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  117. Wow, just look at all these comments! Your blog is unique and wonderful. Advice from this old crone: do what you love, and do it in your own way. Celebrity is unsatisfying. Creating and sharing your genuine self is at the center of every happy memory.

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  118. Rachel, your blog was one of the first quilting blogs I started to read. I appreciate your commitment to your faith, family, and art form! You grow and change in all of these areas as your seasons of life change! Stay true to who you are today....you will know what is right for you and your family and when it is time to take next steps!

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  119. Wow! Clearly I think you hit a cord with a lot of people, including myself. I LOVE that people are being recognized for their work on those blogs and I'm happy for them, we all strive for different things; yet for those of us on the fringe of this industry, it can be a little heart-wrenching. As I've been "snowed-in", I've been catching up on my Bloglovin' feed and honestly was feeling quite inferior. So, I'm glad to have found someone else who was feeling similiarly.

    Not to be all "kiss-a**"; but I have to tell you one of moments I remember from last year was being in that QuiltCon Machine Quilting class and you coming up to me and saying Hi! You are one of the first quilting blogs that I started following so to have you come up to me, when I'm sitting in the corner going "OMG, it's Rachel."...it made my day :-)

    Keep doing what you are doing and creating all of the awesomeness that you do.

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  120. Do what you love, what your heart tells you to do.

    Shakespeare said it best - " This above all,--to thine own self be true; and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man."

    I love your blog. Your skill, your honesty, your love of craft and your willingness to share all of that with your readers. I look forward to my first on-line class with you and personally don't want you to change to fit some idea of what a "successful" blogger should be.

    What you do is awesome. Be where your heart is.

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  121. Well put Rachel. I love your blog you are so talented. I have participated in two of your online courses and find your materials inspiring and the projects work beautifully. Thanks.

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  122. Phooey on them! You are a star. Just do what you do and be happy. The grass will always be greener when you're no longer looking at the field you are blessed to be standing in already.

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  123. I think your feelings on this are where a lot of us are. I have done some of those things you list as being one of "them" and I constantly feel like I am not. I am always worried that no one will like my book or they will find it too hard. Then Im worried that I post too much about my real life and not enough about quilts. Then I'm concerned that I post too much about blog hops or quilt alongs and not enough about my current work that I truly cannot share.

    It all comes with a cost and there is no guarantee. I personally can't figure out what "special water" some people seem to be drinking that gets them to be one of "them". I work hard on not being envious of someone else's success and being happy for them...well aware that I too am making choices about what is the right next step for me.

    I've tried to step back from a lot of social media because I think that it is overwhelming. I miss the days of flickr when we could check in on projects here and there...now with IG, facebook, blogs, twitter, etc I find it crazy. I can't get spread too thin. So I can't be everywhere...and then I feel like I'm missing an opportunity.

    My blog sponsors come and go. Opportunities arise, some pan out and others do not. But making money has never been my main objective (though that would be great)

    I remember one prominent designer years ago warning the world in blog post after coming home from market to be wary of getting involved. That this industry will take everything from you that you can give...and not always give back. I've tried to keep that in mind when i consider what I can commit to and why I want to do things.

    Great topic!

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  124. Thank you for such a thoughtful reflection. I love your blog and am inspired daily by the work you do. But I also understand the worrying about what "they" think. I wonder if that's true for many of us in our professional (and personal) fields. (but on a side note, please come to Tahoe!!!)

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  125. You have to live with yourself and at the end of the day be happy with your life regardless of what others may feel you should be doing to be successful. You are A RISING STAR though, you are a wonderful teacher and I think most everyone would agree that it is a very hard job to make OTHERS feel successful. Thank you and God Bless

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  126. Rachel I really appreciate your work and am amazed by how much you get done! It's important to remember that not everything can be done at the same time - and it sounds like you realize that. There will be a season when it might be right for you to travel more, write a book, etc., but you are smart to recognize the tradeoffs and what's best for your life right now. Bravo!

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  127. this is one of the few blogs that I follow because i, like many others, find this my happy place. this blog taught me how to quilt, essentially. so, to me you're uber legit and if you ever made your way to Lake Tahoe, count me in! thank you for being so gracious in sharing your knowledge and being a wonderful inspiration.

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  128. Hello friend! It seems a bit small or something to follow 130 comments, especially when I haven't read any of them...
    I've been reading "Quiet" this week about introversion after it was recommended on Simple Homeschooling. Have you read it? I can't tell you how timely it's been for me. Ever since I started blogging, there's been that voice that says, "What's the point of this if it's not growing, if you're not putting yourself out there, pursuing followers and cash flow." And all of those things definitely produce the 'flight' response in me! I've enjoyed how the book has looked at our extroverted culture over the past 100 or so years, and how we blindly honour that as the best way to do business, education, mission, rather than enjoying the variety of ways we give out and draw in energy. Introverts are the thinkers, creators, designers, and we need to value those skills again. (I know I need to in myself.)
    It's been great in the context of reading A Year of Biblical Womanhood last year. (Thanks for the recommendation! I swallowed it up in about 3 days!) It's challenge that womanhood is a creative and individual expression of God's character rather than the One Size model, has been slowly freeing me from both my missional and business expectations of myself.
    And then in all that, Tim and I made a teaching video for the mission organisation we work with, on "As the Father sent me, so I sent you." When we first started chatting about it, and Tim was sharing with me his study of the context in John, about the Word, "Logos" being the very expression of God, and how he sends us to be the same. And it struck me again how important a role my personality and story and current circumstances play in that. The very core of me connects with the very core of Him to play a unique part in this corner of the world, no matter how unglamorous or un-public.
    Oops. I didn't intend on an essay. But your thoughts and how they crossed over with mine made me realise there's been a thread in my life over the last few months of a consistent message. And there's the gift of your writing, Rachel. Opening up yourself, where we can relate and open up too and think it through more. It's more invisible than the rest but just as precious.
    xxx

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  129. I think your approach to life is absolutely right on. I've thought about all this as well. I don't quilt or sew at the scale of people I admire, and that's ok. Could I? yeah, probably - in my own way - but would I like it? No, I don't think so. My dream is to have a little storefront for my handmade goods, have no pressure to really use it as a money machine - just a studio where I might also sell a few things. That's all I can handle in terms of making all this "professional". More important to me are my day job, the people I work with, my friends and my dog. Once I realized that, all the "dreams" fell into alignment. BRAVO... for how you contribute. It's unique and valid!

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  130. Wow - I doubt I'll be adding much to the 100+ thoughts that have come before me on this topic, but I wanted to mention that your "approach" (beautifully contemplative, frequent, focused and well-written posts paired with unique remote learning opportunities) could easily be a fifth "sign of success" on your initial list of four. And even though our styles don't always align, I'm increasingly inspired by what you bring to the table. And in that spirit I'll keep Stitched on my radar so long as you're the woman behind it.

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  131. Don't change anything - we love you just the way you are!

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  132. I haven't read any of the comments but here are my two cents' worth. I read about 8 quit blogs religiously. With the exception of two, none of them has done anything on your "list of must do to be a rising star". I read them to get ideas about how I want to make my quilts and learn from all of them.
    There is nothing more important than raising your children right now. You can hone your skills while you are doing that and be more active in the quilt world, whatever that is, when they are grown, but right now, don't underestimate the impact you have on your readers, the name you have out there, etc.
    Just my thoughts.

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  133. I smile when I think that even though I see you as a amazing successful woman, you still feel the same doubts and moments of insecurity I do.
    I have a education degree but chose to be a part time retail assistant and full time mum. There are many who don't understand it but I'm happy.
    Thanks for inspiring me and giving so much of yourself. Your do good stitches work inspires me and your honesty and generosity of spirt are an amazing testament to your faith and your self. I love how your faith shines through without a hint of preachiness. Your Lord simply shines through you.
    Hope these words of encouragement can carry you through and help you feel empowerd to continue what your doing. Lots of love to you.

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  134. Ah Rachel, I know exactly how you feel. I have to deal with that feeling every day since I have been unemployed now for well over a year! It is very tough to shut off those voices and not give them any weight. Yes, Lake Tahoe! Here I am in SF and I wld go in a flat second.
    Cat

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  135. accepted by who? (or whom? ... I am never quite sure which is grammatically correct) ... your priorities are in order, it looks like you've created a great business model and are doing well ... "they" should be "you" ... look at it this way ... you're now creating the 5th way to show achievement ;-)

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  136. Rachel - you are the real deal! To start my new year I culled my blog followings to quilters I admire most and you're at the top of that list. I too am getting tired of the "legit" quilters who seem to be losing the simple joy of sharing their talent and passion for quilting.

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