Saturday, December 31, 2011

Start with Why

As the old year wanes and the new year beckons, I am jotting down a few personal resolutions, but I am also taking stock of my Etsy business, and beginning to formulate goals for 2012.


Thankfully, I've had some inspiration and guidance from April at the Blacksburg Belle blog.

In her video post, Three Books That Will Increase Your Success in 2012, one of the titles April highly recommended was Simon SInek's book, Start with Why:  How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action.  It was published by Penguin Group (USA) Inc. in 2009.  ISBN: 978-1-59184-280-4.  He also has a website: 


Now, as a fledgling Etsy entrepreneur, I hardly consider myself a leader, but, in a sense, I am the leader of my little online shop.   To borrow a phrase from Barbara J. Winter, author of Making a Living Without a Job, I'm a "self-bosser." 


Sinek observes that most businesses attract customers or clients through manipulations – sale prices, promotions, or other marketing gimmicks and ploys.  Manipulation works – in the short-term.  But it does not inspire loyalty or generate long-term success.


Sinek proposes an alternative—to inspire action rather than manipulating people to act.  How to do that?  Well, as the title suggests, you start with WHY you do/make/sell what you do.   He draws a Golden Circle, with WHY in the middle, then HOW, and finally WHAT.   Most people and companies get it backwards.  And I'd have to confess, I am one of those people.   If asked what I do at Pasque Flower Creations, I'd be tempted to answer, "I sew boutique children's clothing and other fun and functional fabric items."   Or I might quip, "I'm turning my stash into cash."  That's WHAT I do.  I might then say that I make these items using high quality designer cotton fabrics, linen and silk.  That's HOW I do what I do.  But WHY?  What is my purpose, cause or belief that caused me to launch this business?  (Making money is not the right answer.)


According to Sinek, people don't just buy WHAT you do; they buy WHY you do it.  If we do business with those who believe in our WHY, trust emerges and we will have happy loyal customers.   We'll see.  I'm still working on my WHY Statement.  I think it is rooted in a philosophy expressed by my old friend and law school  colleague, Mary McCusker, when she said, "Always buy pretty postage stamps. They don't cost any more than the plain ones."    I do like using pretty stamps.  And recipients like pretty stamps, too.  Same-o for functional items made with fun, colorful, and sometimes whimsical high-quality fabrics.  

I've reworked my Etsy Profile to include a beginning of my "why" statement.  Here it is.  My philosophy: Why settle for ordinary or boring, when there is a colorful, comfortable, or sometimes whimsical alternative at a reasonable price? 


P.S.  Here is a link to another great blog about year-end planning from Meylah:


Happy New Year!



LeAnn aka pasqueflower

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Miniature Rail Fence Quilt

A few months ago (maybe several), I accepted a Facebook challenge from my artsy cousin Deb the librarian.  I agreed to make something handmade for the first five people who responded to my handmade pay it forward post.  I resolved to get all five projects finished before tax season.  Whew!  I just made it!


One of those first responders to the Facebook challenge was my old high school buddy, Pati O'Brien Richardson, who still lives in my home town of Madison, South Dakota.  She works in the public library where my maternal grandmother, Genevieve Quist, served as librarian for many years.   As farm kids, my brother and I looked forward to our weekly trips to town to visit the library.  We were allowed to pick out four books each.  We often played library at home, using books from our pine bookcase and slips of note paper. (This was long before bar coding!)


This 12" x 12" miniature quilt was made using a traditional rail fence pattern.  It was one of two class projects in a Marvelous Miniatures class I took at the International Quilt Study & Museum, taught by the multi-talented Dr. Barbara Caron.  I chose fabrics from the Luna Notte collection by Moda.  I had to include a little green for Pati's Irish heritage.  The quilting is minimalist—stitch in the ditch.  I used a very thin batting and single fold binding.   I snapped this photo before sending it to South Dakota.



LeAnn aka pasqueflower

4 Ps from John Jantsch (Duct Tape Marketing )

I know many of my blog followers are fellow Etsians.  If you are like me, you are reviewing your business goals and marketing plans for the new year.   I highly recommend Duct Tape Marketing's  Top 11 Posts of 2011:   I really appreciate John Jantsch's down-to-earth approach to marketing .  I loved his book, follow his blog, Friend him on Facebook, and try to follow his advice.


I especially enjoyed his post on the 4 Ps of a Fully Alive Business:  Passion, Purpose, Positioning and Personality.   These have replaced the 4 P's taught in business schools in the Mad Men era of the 60s:  product, price, place and promotion. 


I'm heading to Sioux Falls, South Dakota today to connect with my brother, sister-in-law, and daughter Allison.  Allison (24) will be flying back to Brooklyn on December 30, where her classroom of 3rd Graders will be waiting to greet her when they return to school on January 2, 2012.  She is in her first year of a two-year Teach for America fellowship.


We have unseasonably mild weather and dry roads, so I'm not even dreading the 4-hour drive, and I am SO looking forward to reconnecting with family.



LeAnn aka pasqueflower


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Bundle of Fabrics

I decided to enter A Fabulous Fabric Bundle Competition hosted by Laura at Quokka Quilts and sponsored by The Fat Quarter Shop: 

For more information about the competition, go to:   I'm expecting to be an "also ran" after looking at some of the other amazing bundles already entered.  But it was a fun exercise, and my first attempt at using Mosaic Maker.

LeAnn aka pasqueflower 

Monday, December 26, 2011

Mini Mitt

It's shameless commerce Tuesday, and today I am featuring another new item in my shop – microwave oven mitts.  These mini mitts are perfect for grabbing a cup of hot cocoa from the microwave, lifting the lid from a pot, or grabbing the handle of a pan.   These potholders are small:  approximately 7" in length by 5" in width. 


A micro mitt is a handy dandy item to have in your kitchen.  It would also be great for someone in a dorm or small apartment.  Pair a mitt with some homemade hot cocoa mix and a cheery mug for a care package for someone away at college or a teacher gift.  Or pair a mitt with some chicken soup as a get well gift for a sick friend. 


The micro mitts are made using high quality designer cottons, InsulBright heat resistant batting, and a layer of white cotton flannel.  I used a Keyka Lou Pattern for this item:  Just A Pinch Potholder. or  I substituted a fabric hanging loop for the ribbon loop shown in the pattern.


The single mitt shown above was made using a Metro Café print featuring bright flatware on a cream white background.  The print was designed by Louise Cunningham.  Organic Cloud 9 chartreuse polka dot fabric was used for the lining and fabric loop. 


The mitt is machine washable.  I have 9 more mitts cut and ready to sew, so watch for new listings in the Kitschy Kitchen Stuff section of my shop:  You can find the mitt pictured above at:


I hope you had a Merry Christmas or a happy holiday weekend!  We enjoyed time with grandkids, and I will travel to South Dakota on December 29 to tag up with my youngest daughter before she heads back to Brooklyn.



LeAnn aka pasqueflower

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Silk Zip Clutches

On Tuesday I posted a preview of coming attractions.  Today I posted three silk clutches made using silk dupioni fabric remnants and a Keyka Lou Pattern, Zip Clutches:   The result?  Affordable elegance for New Year's Eve, winter formals, prom or bridesmaid clutches.  

This will be short.  The grandkids are coming over for a Christmas cookie baking session, with lots of frosting and sprinkles. Ho! Ho! Ho!

Merry Christmas!

LeAnn aka pasqueflower

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Preview of Coming Attractions

It's shameless commerce Tuesday, and rather than bore you with a "rerun" featuring items from my Etsy shop you've already seen, I decided to give you a preview of not-yet-listed coming attractions:  Silk Zipper Clutches.  These clutches would be perfect little evening bags for a New Year's Eve gala, a winter formal, or a wedding.   If you're not the partying type, these lovely silk bags could easily double as a classy makeup pouch.  Priced at just $20.00, with free domestic shipping, you can be chic on the cheap or a diva on a dime.


I was able to purchase several silk remnants in purple, deep red, two shades of blue, and bronze.  I've found coordinating natural fiber fabrics to use for linings, and I've purchased coordinating zippers.  I will be making clutches using the Zip Clutch downloadable pattern by Keyka Lou Patterns.  Keyka Lou was one of Etsy's Top 100 sellers, and Michelle's downloadable patterns are fun, functional, and user friendly.  She also allows you to make items for sale using her patterns as long as you state in your listing that the item was made using a Keyka Lou Pattern. 


The zippers are from another of my favorite Etsy sellers, Zipit:  The shop has over 900 listings for high quality zippers in many, many, many colors and lengths, very reasonably priced.  She also includes a cute zipper pull with purchase.   I'm a happy repeat customer!


My "prototype" purple silk zipper clutch bag  (7.5" x 4.5" x 2") is at Tastes & Talents consignment shop (and I neglected to take a photo before sending it off—my bad),  But I plan to list some silk clutches on Etsy within the week (on or before Christmas Eve) so they can ship to arrive before New Year's Eve.  I think I'll go with the slightly larger version (9" x 4.75" x 2") for my Etsy listings.



LeAnn aka pasqueflower


Monday, December 19, 2011

A Lap Quilt for Uncle Bill

My 80-year-old Uncle Bill (Carl Quist) is now confined to a wheelchair, suffering from a Parkinson's-like degenerative disease.  I  always admired his handsome young sailor pics in my baby book. 

Earlier this month he was inducted into the South Dakota Department of Transportation's Hall of Fame.  He spent his entire legal career working for DOT, securing legal title to the land and rights of way for both Interstate 90 and Interstate 29, which span the width and length of the state, and many other legal issues involving bridges and highways .  He was always active in the State Bar of South Dakota, and received a 50-year service award.  He was president of the Sixth Circuit Bar Association for decades. 

He was the first to sail a sailboat on Lake Oahe,  a fiberglass Flying Scot, and he taught me and my cousins to sail.  We learned quickly that "stand by to come about" meant "Duck!!"  Uncle Bill was a great  outdoorsman.  He loved to hunt and fish, and made annual visits to visit my Uncle Bob in Alaska until his health deteriorated to the point where travel was no longer an option. 

He was also the rock we all leaned on in our family.  My father died of a heart attack when I was 14.  Uncle Bill always looked out for my mom.  (The Winnebago Tribe has a word for the role he played – dega.  Roughly translated, it means "the big guy who looks out for me."   A dega can be a big brother, an uncle, a grandfather, a cousin or a neighbor.)  He remembered the birthdays of all his nieces and nephews, and later, his grand-nieces and grand-nephews.  He attended all our graduations, and always sent birthday cards and Christmas cards with generous cash gifts—a tradition that continues to this day.  He had no children of his own, but like Mr. French in the old TV series Family Affair, underneath a gruff exterior was a very kind heart.  He was the family historian and archivist until my cousin Bill (his namesake) took over those duties a few years ago. 

I'm finishing this lap quilt for his Christmas present this year.  The photo above shows  the work in progress before final pressing and basting.  I'm sure he will appreciate the pheasant in the center of the star (South Dakota's state bird).  My cousin Jeannie, a CNA who provides in-home care for him, warned me that he wouldn't want anything too big or too warm. Most of the fabrics are flannel, so I am planning to use a batik or cotton backing fabric and a thin layer of flannel as the batting.  The quilt will measure 45" square, but he is over six feet tall, so there's a lot of leg and lap to cover, even sitting in a wheel chair. 

The design is adapted from the pattern Dawn's Quilt from Beth Garretson's book, No-Sweat Flannel Quilts: Fast and Fun Designs, published by That Patchwork Place in 2004.  The quilt may not arrive by Christmas, but it will arrive within the 12 days of Christmas grace period, before the eleven lords start leaping!

I need to sign off and keep sewing….


LeAnn aka pasqueflower

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


It's shameless commerce Tuesday.  Today I'm featuring in AT&T.  Nope.  Not the telecommunications giant.  A color trio:  A=Aqua, T=Turquoise, and T=Teal.

I'm not sure why I've been drawn to that sector of the color wheel lately.  Perhaps it was Traci's blog post a few days ago on All Things Luci Rae.  She redid a fantastic little kitchen table in aqua.

Or perhaps it is just such a calm and refreshing sort of hue – a nice break from red and green and gold and the glitz and hustle and bustle of the holiday season.  Tranquility.  

Visit the shop widget on the left column of this blog to link to these items, and more. 


LeAnn aka pasqueflower



Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Tribute to Mary

I will be away from the blogosphere for a few days as we deal with a family crisis.  My sister-in-law, Mary, was killed in a tragic car accident on Monday night.  She was rear-ended by a drug-crazed driver who tried to flee the scene of the fatal accident.  He has since been arrested, and he is being held on a $600,000.00 bond.   Here is a link to a news article about the accident: It also made the TV news, making it even more difficult for her family and students.

Mary had a big, big heart.   Perhaps because she had been motherless, she was like a mother hen to so many children.  One summer, she had seven step-grandchildren in her care full-time.   She was also a fabric lover and quilter.  As I was wrapping presents last night, I came upon a quilt book by Bonnie Hunter that my husband had autographed for Mary when the author visited our local quilt guild earlier this year.  And she was a gardener.  She had a giant green thumb.  She managed to make the patch of Nevada desert outside their home bloom each summer with an incredible garden.   And, of course, she shared the bounty.  She also had a great sense of humor.  She sent some of the funniest emails.


Mary was my husband's youngest sister.  She was only five or six years old when their mother died of heart disease.  But she did not let that loss defeat her.  She was a gifted musician (it runs in the family), and spent most of her adult life teaching music.  She was caught up in the bustle of Christmas concerts.  In our last email exchange two days before her death, she was so looking forward to a quiet Christmas vacation. 

This Christmas, she will not be directing a series of concerts, and she'll be sorely missed by her students.  But she'll be hearing the full angel choir in Heaven. 

We miss you, Mary.


LeAnn aka pasqueflower


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

It's A Guy Thing -- Gifts for Big Guys

It's shameless commerce Tuesday.  Today I'm featuring items from my Etsy shop that could be appropriate gifts for the big guys on your holiday list.

For the young single dude in his dorm or apartment, how about some durable masculine pillow covers?


Know a guy who likes to cook or BBQ or tailgate?  Check out these black and white metro café oven mitts.

Do you or someone you know have an elderly uncle or grandparent who needs to use a walker?   I just sold the last of my ready to ship walker bags, but I am happy to make custom walker bags, and I have several masculine stripe decorator weight fabrics in stock.  I also have some nuts and bolts novelty fabric.  Sports team fabrics could also be used for a man's walker bag.  More ready to ship walker bags will be listed in a few days.

The holiday rush is upon us.  Back to the Girl Cave for some serious sewing!


LeAnn aka pasqueflower



Monday, December 5, 2011

It's A Wrap!

I recently teamed up with Tamy Burnett of Rock Star Yarns to share a space at Tastes & Talents consignment shop at 56th & Old Cheney Road in Lincoln, NE. The photo above shows our accessories display.  The vanity was a hand-me-down given to my daughter 20 years ago, now repurposed as a store prop.   I'm not loving the pegboard, but I haven't come up with a workable plan to camouflage it.  I'm open to suggestions!


The handbags are my contribution to the space.  I'll deliver another batch later this week, hopefully.  The crocheted beaded bracelets, shawls, wraps, and shrugs are Tamy's work.  I'm especially loving that blue shrug above the vanity.  To see more of Tamy's incredible stuff, visit


This is our first venture into the world of consignment – a learning experience!!   

Yesterday  I hit my all-time record for most Etsy sales in one day (Woo!Hoo!) so I need to sign off and get the pedal to the metal  -- sewing machine pedal, that is – to restock my cyber shelves.



LeAnn aka pasqueflower


Saturday, December 3, 2011

White Christmas

Today we had six inches of heavy wet snow, which makes even drab little houses look like something out of Currier & Ives.  

There's something magical about snow.  When my son Jeff was little, he saw glistening snow and said, "Look!  Diamonds in the snow!!" 

So perhaps it was the snow that caused me to revise my To Do List after a busy day at the tax office.  I decided to move "write Christmas cards" to the top of the list. 

I could almost hear Bing Crosby crooning, "I'm dreaming of a white Christmas, with every Christmas card I write."


LeAnn aka pasqueflower

Friday, December 2, 2011

Tastes & Talents

Today I'd like you to meet Tonya Schroeder (pictured above).  She is the manager of Tastes & Talents, a unique collection of 76 merchants offering a variety of handmade items and yummy treats.  and She is also a talented visual artist.  Photos of some of her awesome paintings are posted at:  Pandora's Canvass, pictured above, is one of my favorites.

As of December 3, 2011, I will be teaming up with Tamy Burnett of Rock Star Yarns  We will be sharing a 4' x 5' display area featuring handmade fashion accessories in Tonya's consignment shop:  shawls, wraps, scarves, crocheted beaded bracelets, clutches, handbags, and small purses.  

I have never sold on consignment, so this is a new adventure! It will certainly keep me occupied during my furlough as I create new inventory for the consignment shop and my Etsy shop, handle custom orders, and finish up some handmade gifts.  (I did a hand-stitched rolled hem on a hot pink lame Barbie evening gown last night after my evening shift at the tax office--granddaughter gift.) 

We will be setting up our display this weekend.  With 5 days off next week, I hope to add more clutches, pouches and small card holder/purses to our inventory before December 10.  Stay tuned for further developments.

LeAnn aka pasqueflower