September 3, 2013

What I learned from Ranelle today

Ranelle and Susan

Working with Ranelle King, the new owner of American Quilt Retailer, has been educational for me since day one! And my most recent lesson was how to use bloglovin.’ Unbeknownst to me the blog world was up in arms when Google reader ceased earlier this summer. I had looked into using Google reader several years ago, but being slow to catch on to new ways and feeling comfortable with my old ways — well — I’m afraid I didn’t catch on to the benefits.

As Ranelle patiently explained that now people were jumping to bloglovin’ as a replacement for Google reader and while she was at it she patiently explained how Google reader worked, and how bloglovin’ works and the benefits of using bloglovin’.

Okay so now I’m hooked! It is easy and efficient to use and I’m lovin’ bloglovin’ — and I guess this is the whole idea!

Go to and set up an account. Then in the upper right hand corner of your home page you can search for all your favorite blogs and mark each with “follow.” Create special groups for your interests and you can sort your blogs by category: business, style trends, quilts, embroidery or even cooking and decorating. Whatever works for you.

At the end of each day you will get an e-mail with the lead in to all the new blog posts on the blogs you follow. Click on those you want to read, at your leisure, whenever you want to read them. Mark them as read or keep them in a list down the right-hand side. You can then search for a specific blog and read all the entries for that blog — again whenever you want to read them.

Here are just a few of my favorites:

Anna Maria Horner

Cluck Cluck Sew

Moda Bake Shop

Stash Books Blog

Retail Adventures in the REAL World



Rosebud’s Cottage

To name just a few!

Be certain to “follow” this “Missing Pieces” blog — you don’t want to miss a post! — Susan

PS — Two new blog hops just started  — a great way to add some great designer blogs to your bloglovin’ page:

Moda Fabrics, Moda Cutting Table “Size Matters” 

Clothworks, The Works “Everything Blue” 

June 20, 2012

I’ve traveled the world, and I haven’t left for France yet!

Thank you! Thank you to everyone who submitted a favorite vacation getaway! I related to, and can picture so many of the places you have described! Everyone does have that need to get away — whether far or near — and travel is so good for the soul.

Whenever we go on a trip, I always wonder if it is possible to bring some of that vacation “feeling” back home to my everyday life. A special photo, a rock or seashell on my desk, a heavenly-scented pine bough or even a special hand lotion purchased and used on the trip can trigger strong memories. But do you have other ways to make a vacation last?

After my trip to France last year, my husband and I began having an appetizer before dinner — with a glass of wine. The French savor their food — and wine — taking a long time to eat, and eating many small portions. In the past preparing an appetizer would have been extra work. Now, I find I enjoy the little pre-dinner treat, although my repertoire is pretty limited. And, who knows, maybe this pre-dinner ritual sends those “I’m getting full signals to my brain.” Viva la France!

You all put so much thought into your descriptions, we’re sending everyone fabric bundles from Dear Stella and Moda!

Thank you again — reading your memories helped me get through this issue’s deadlines and, now, tomorrow, I’m off to France!

If technology is in my favor, I hope to blog about our adventures — stay tuned!

Rest, relaxation and happy travels to all — Susan


June 4, 2012

What’s your favorite summer break?

Although my flight to France for The French General Chateau Dumas Getaway doesn’t leave for a couple more weeks, my brain is beginning to go AWOL!

When I went on this trip in 2010, I had no idea what I was in for — it was an unknown adventure awaiting and I was not disappointed! Then for the 2011 trip, I had the delight of anticipating all of it, as I knew what to expect.

And, this year I am positively driven to distraction thinking about what is to come!

I keep picturing the light:

the colors:

the food:

and the fun:

Some sort of down time is pretty essential to recharge. So, shop owners, what is your favorite getaway for the summer? Where do you like to go to have a break from your business? Tell us your story — whether it is a lake cabin hideaway, a world tour or simply sitting on your porch for some needed quiet time. We’ll pick a few favorites and send out some beautiful new fabric bundles from Dear Stella and Moda.

This way we can all dream together and think of each other on our summer break!

Good summer wishes to all! — Susan

August 12, 2011


Wow! What great responses for my question “How is it working for you?” This was exactly the type of information and feedback I was looking for! I hope everyone now takes the time to read back over all the responses and American Quilt Retailer will compile a summary report for you soon.

The winner of our random number drawing for posting a comment is: Merrie Miller of Catty Wampus Fabric Co. in Caro, Michigan. Catty Wampus is a new shop and we extend good wishes for a healthy business. Merrie will receive four fat quarter bundles donated by Moda Fabrics.

Thank you to everyone who posted a comment and thanks to Moda Fabric for donating our prizes!

We’ll be asking more questions like this in the future. The feedback and ideas in your responses are invaluable for all of us!

Happy Friday! — Susan

August 3, 2011

How is it working for you?

In the past few years the quilting industry has been looking for ways to expand our business and it is happening. Sewing is catching on with an entirely new generation. One of the blogs I like to follow is called Do you mind if I knit? This talented young woman in the UK recently wrote a post called “Apparently sewing clothes is the new knitting.”

Yesterday this article, “Sewing is back”, appeared in the The Washington Post. is the largest DIY fashion and sewing community with more than 500,000 registered members.

Many of the designers in our industry are now designing clothing patterns and industry publishers are addressing this new market of sewers as well.

These are just a few examples.

I find these changes exciting, and I have talked about new directions in each issue of American Quilt Retailer.

However, if you are a shop owner, I’d like to know if this is how it looks to you? Do you see your business moving in new directions? Are your customers sewing beyond quilting? Are you reworking your business plan and inventory to meet the new needs in the marketplace? How are you diversifying?

Or, are you happily staying a quilt fabric store? And if so, please tell us why.

I pick up on forward trends at market and in other media, but I am not actually out in the trenches, like you are.

So tell me, what do you see happening? Leave a comment, and we’ll select one to receive four fat quarter bundles from Moda which you can use for sample making.

Just curious — Susan

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