Remember when I told you I was blessed with confidence?

Dear friends,

magpie

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!

Just this.

Dear friends,

There’s absolutely no reason for me to write this post. No urgent topic. No compelling story to tell. Nothing really.

Just this:

I’m sitting in my kitchen, staring out the window at the beautiful Missouri foliage and drinking coffee while my family sleeps in for Fall Break.  And my heart is full. Full to bursting.

So many times, it seems, we are pushed and pulled and frustrated and exhausted and worried and terse. I sometimes get a Bad Case of the Terse and I hate it even as I feel it overtaking me.

But every now and then, in fleeting moments, we soak up a drop or two of now. Of just this. For me, I relax my jaw. (My jaw is hardly ever relaxed by the way.) A surging tide of calm washes over my heart and I startle myself by actually being in my surroundings. I feel the comfort of my favorite chair. I see the soft stubble on Mr. Mom’s face. The narrowing of Parker’s eyes when he grins. The delicate beauty of Kate’s hands.

That, my friends, is God.

I may startle you by saying that because I never talk about God. (That’s because I figure God is not mine to talk about. God is yours to experience and I get fidgety, frankly, when people start talking about God like God is the celebrity on this week’s cover of People magazine and they’re all Oh, yeah, I know ALL ABOUT God.)

I won’t say anymore because you don’t need to hear it. But you may want to feel it, see it, let it wash over you and flood your heart like beauty sometimes does on a Thursday morning for no particular reason.

With gratitude {for tiny quiet moments just like this},

Joan, who has no agenda for the day other than cooking a great supper for her family and soaking up as much of this as she can