Remember when I told you I was blessed with confidence?

Dear friends,


Well, my confidence is buoyed by an unflagging optimism. And the optimism causes me to believe I am very nearly superhuman.

Mr. Mom doesn’t subscribe to my theory that confidence creates optimism, by the way. He says there’s something about my childhood that makes me crave chaos. And so when life is calm, I create self-imposed havoc by taking on too many projects, putting too many irons in the fire, juggling too many plates until a few come crashing down.

He’s such a Daddy Downer.

Anyway, the real point is that it appears I am happiest when I’m juggling. And lately I’ve been juggling a new endeavor that has me bursting with excitement.

I’ve decided to start a quilt company.

I’m convinced I’m the next Heather Jones or Elizabeth Hartman. Or as Mr. Mom said, “I think you could do for quilting what Ree Drummond did for home-style cooking.” (Okay, so he’s not always a Daddy Downer because that was pretty sweet, albeit delusional.)

Anyway, my little company — known as Magpie Quilts — is currently located on my dining room table. And I haven’t actually sold anything yet. Oh, and did I mention I don’t aspire to go all Kelly Rae Roberts and get a merchandising deal (although I lOVE KRR and am thrilled she’s hit the big-time)?

Here’s what I want: to make as many quilts as I have time for and to send them into the world, free of charge, to surprise recipients and spread happiness. And world peace. (Okay, world peace is a tall order so I’ll settle for happiness.)

I know — that’s kind of what I’m doing now. So you might think why do I need a company? Because these darn quilts I’m making are darn expensive. ($200 in materials alone for the last queen-size one I made. Have I mentioned I have two mortgages, a child in college and another child nine months away from college?)

So my business model is this: make just enough money to off-set the cost of everything I give away. It’s kind of brilliant. I might just turn modern capitalism on its head and win the Nobel Prize in Economics. (There’s that confidence thing again.)

The first step is getting a tax ID number so I can buy wholesale. (Retail is killing me, Smalls.) I sent my application and tax bond to the Missouri Department of Commerce yesterday. The next steps are to buy some fabric, make some quilts, and sell some stuff. (I am also a master of planning simplification.)

Since I’ve got that day-job obstacle, I plan to sell my stuff in the booth of a local antique mall. (I’m a little too busy to ring folks up and collect sales tax, after all.) And even though I plan to price my quilts affordably, I realize not everyone is going to be a big-ticket spender, so I’m planning an entire line of small soft goods and packaged fabric bundles in the $5 to $50 range for the impulse buyer. (You gotta diversify your product line, after all, even if your store is a 6′ X 6′ booth!)

I scratched out a to-do list and a modest business plan while eating my salad at Panera today. I figure it will take me at least 90 days to get things organized and accumulate enough inventory to open up my booth. But then I’m off and running!

It might be a bust. But, I’m okay with that because — after all — I’ve got a day job and Magpie Quilts will thrive, even if limited by my modest budget.

If it’s a boon, well I realize that could be a problem, too. I’m not sure what I’ll do if I sell my inventory faster than I can replenish it. I guess I’ll cross that bridge if I come to it.

In the mean time, I’m “pert near” bubbling over with creative energy. Bear with me, will you, if my posts are a bit one-track? Like my proposed product line, I’ll try to diversify my writing. (Just as soon as I finish stitching up my new company.)

With gratitude {for happy, creative, productive seasons in life},

Joan, who wishes to reinforce her Unaquilter pseudonym and shout her manifesto from the rooftops: Fabric Happiness for Everyone!


  1. Best wishes in your new endeavor. Have fun with it.

  2. I was already wondering if/when you’d be offering your quilts for sale but I was hoping for Etsy or some format where those of us geographically afar might have a shot to shop. I look forward to seeing what you come up with and may I say you’ve always reminded me of the type of character in the old movies who would shout “Let’s put on a show!”. Enthusiasm and energy come right through in your posts and I’m glad – it often spurs me to get UP, push away from my screen and go out and get something done! (yes, reading IS doing, but you know what I mean).

  3. Well, at least I know where I will be Christmas shopping! Have you looked into Etsy? I love buying from Artisans on line. Please post some samples before you open shop so us non-Missouri dwellers can get in on the fun.
    p.s. Glad you mentioned all the balls you juggle…..I read your blog, shake my head in amazement and feel like such an under- achiever. Although a “calm” under- achiever!

  4. Debbie DeLozier says:

    Best wishes Joan. Don’t forget to enjoy yourself.

  5. Let’s put on a show! — Deb, I love it.
    One of my dearest friends once told me the thing she loved most about me is that I’m always game. Maybe that will be my epitaph.
    Kathleen — I will definitely share my treasures in this forum. I didn’t immediately jump toward Etsy because of the whole shipping/customer service thing. But maybe I can talk Mr. Mom into being my sales clerk/shipper.

  6. Maladjusted Mel says:

    I’m excited for your new enterprise, and I want a quilt! Also, do you make custom curtains? And – can you repair quilts? I have one that I adore that I received in 5th grade as a going away present but it’s worn, and has a few tears in it. I’m hoping to shore it up. I admire your craftiness. Lastly, I had never heard of Kelly Rae Roberts …

  7. Oh Mel — I don’t make curtains. (I can, but I don’t. Not interesting to me.) It’s hard to find custom ones that don’t cost an arm and a leg. Try Smith+Noble or Calico Corners. And I don’t know a thing about repairing quilts. Often they tear because the fabric deteriorates. You might google quilt or linen restoration. I imagine it’s a specialty and, thus, expensive. Another option would be to google Tulsa quilt guilds (most cities have several) and make a few inquiries among the guild leadership. If any of their members are experienced in repair, they would know.

  8. Maladjusted Mel says:

    Well, your non-curtain making aside … thanks for the curtain and quilt tips. I’ll check them out.

  9. GO JOAN-MARIE. I do think you need a sales clerk/shipper/customer service guru and an online presence (for your fans in far-flung places). Mr. Mom may be onto something about that craving for chaos (although I’m sure there’s an entrepreneurial chromosome with a DNA-bound fabric protein….).

  10. Wishing you all the best in your business. 🙂

  11. As a fellow plate juggler, I wish you all the best. I believe we all need a hobby/second job/dream to keep us happy while doing the grunt work of daily life. May all your dreams come true.

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