Follow Your Dreams

The other day, while working on some of the upcoming blocks for the Star BOM, I had talk radio on.  I’m terrible about catching bits of this and pieces of that and never getting the full story but someone was talking, and he said that 65% of all new businesses fail within the first three years.  Now . . I don’t know if that’s a fact but they were focusing on the 65% failure rate.  I thought . . that means that 35% succeed!  35% of people who acted on their dreams have succeeded.  While I suppose if you only look at the percentages, they don’t look too good but if you’re one of those 35%, you’d be happy, right?  And, if you never tried it; never took a chance on your dreams . . you wouldn’t fail but you also wouldn’t succeed.  I wonder how many people have had great ideas and fantastic dreams and never acted on them.

If ever I had to support myself (as in health insurance, food, housing, home, etc.), I might have to get a real job so I don’t know if I can be considered a successful business but I’m definitely not a failure either! And I’m probably not the kind of business they’re talking about, but I still feel pretty successful!  As a home business, I’m pleased with what I’ve accomplished.

When I think back from how I got to where I was in 1997 to where I am now, I find myself smiling . . a real big smile.

Once I made the decision that I wanted a longarm machine, this was what I got:

Vince added those front handles.  Bet you couldn’t figure that out! 🙂  That machine was something else but I quilted on it for two years.  Then I got a used APQS Ultimate I; then a new APQS Freedom; then finally I had saved enough money to get what I wanted in the first place — an APQS Millennium.

Quite a difference in those two machines, huh?  I do love that Millennium!  The safe thing would have been to continue dreaming of getting a longarm and never do it.

When I think back to 1997 or 1998, tossing around the idea of starting a quilting business, then ending up with that ancient used machine for $500, to now having a Millennium, one published book, another in the works, traveling around and teaching — it’s almost more than I can comprehend!  I’m so glad I persisted and so glad that Vince has been supportive of my quilting endeavors.

But, if I hadn’t taken a chance on that old machine, I would probably never have gotten started longarming because there was no way I was going to pay $16,000 or more . . not knowing if I would enjoy longarm quilting or even if I could get any business.  If I hadn’t bought that machine and then the Ultimate I, I would never have done the quilting job that I did on my quilt that won in Nashville in 2004.

And Glistening Rose Garden would never have caught Bonnie Browning’s eye and been included in her book, Borders & Finishing Touches 2.

And, then AQS wouldn’t have ever heard my name, and may not have done my book deal.  And, without the book deal, I wouldn’t be invited to teach and do trunk shows.

As a quilter, and I assume if you’re reading my blog, you are a quilter, what do you want to do?  Where do you want to go with quilting?  What do you want to accomplish?

Do you want to write a book? Have you submitted a proposal?  If not, do it!  Before this day is over, think about when you can submit a proposal.  It may take you a  month; you may be able to zip it off tomorrow.  Get online and find out which publishing companies require what and do it.  You’ll never know what might happen if you don’t try.  And you know what?  If you’re afraid they’ll turn you down, then don’t tell anyone you’re doing it.  Don’t even tell your own family or your best friend.  Then, if they turn you down, pick your chin up and submit it to someone else.

Do you have a design or article you want to submit to a magazine? Have you done it?  Why not?  Do it . . make a commitment to yourself to do it before the end of October or before the end of 2008 . . whatever fits your schedule but please . . do it!

Do you want to teach at your local quilt shop? Have you told them you want to do it?  Talk to the shop owner.  Most shops are thrilled at the prospect of new teachers and new classes.

Do you want to enter your quilts in big quilt shows? Do it!  The worst that can happen is they say no!  Again, if you don’t want to have to tell your friends if you should get turned down, don’t even tell them you’re doing it.  I’ve had quilts in Paducah 3 or 4 times.  I know my quilts aren’t winners but it makes me so proud to walk around with an “Contestant” tag around my neck!  Don’t wait til you make a perfect quilt.  Enter your best work and hope for the best.

This is a little plaque I have hanging above my cutting table.  It always makes me smile.  So many of my dreams have come true but it took effort on my part too.

So . . follow your dreams!  You never know where they may lead but the one thing you can be guaranteed . . if you don’t try, it’s never going to happen!  Think about some of the greatest accomplishments in our history and think where we’d be if that person hadn’t stepped out of his/her comfort zone?  Step out and do something that you really want to do but haven’t done because of fear of failure.  You definitely will not succeed if you don’t take that first step.


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    Thanks, Judy. I needed that. I had kinda backed off from “doing” the business in the last couple of months that I started in 2006. I had a booth scheduled this past weekend at a local quilt show. It’s a small quilt show out in a very rural area but I sold more than I sold last year. I was well pleased. Now I need to get in contact with other shows and “branch out”. Thanks for the encouragement.

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    Great post, Judy – and very timely. I’ve been making tops for years and could never get the hang of machine quilting while sitting at my DSM. In May, I bought a used Hinterberg Stretch frame and, to start, I’ll be using an old Singer 301A. I’m now just awaiting the arrival of my handles and speed control, and then it’ll be practice, practice, practice! It really helps to see that you started out on a smaller machine and eventually ‘graduated’ to the longarm. Very inspiring!

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    Judy, this post will be very motivating and encouraging for a lot of quilters. Thank you for the positive energy you are passing along!

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    Nancy W. says

    I started out this year with a theme (which I haven’t shared with anyone till now)to, “Be Intentional”. Instead of wishing this or that opportunity might fall in my lap, I would be more intentional about where I was going in my little quilt world. I set some specific goals ….just baby steps really..and I haven’t set the world on fire but new challenges have opened up for me and I’m learning and enjoying (most) all of it. Thanks for the encouraging words, Judy.

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    Thanks for the upbeat post, Judy. I don’t know why so many of us hesitate when we want to DO something.??

    The very worst thing a person can do is NOTHING! After that, it’s all uphill. I’m not in business but when I was 11-12, I had a pony and decided to make money giving pony rides. THAT turned Birthday Parties with that sweet pony, and that turned into buying a horse, and THAT went to gving lessons, and THAT turned into buying a really fine horse, and that turned into winning at horse shows, and I still had that little pony for birthday parties. And all that started at age 11-12. I learned early on, JUST DO IT! 8-))

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    I’m proud to have celebrated my 10 year business anniversary the past June.

    While my business struggled for many years, and taken me down paths I never would have dreamed, it’s been worth it. I’ve learned a lot about myself, and I hope the next 10 years continue to be a journey that I can be happy and proud of.

    Now if those darn clients would just pay up, I’d have some fabric spending money!! hehe 🙂


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    Laila Mogensen says

    I was so thrilled reading your blog to day. You are absolute right. Don’t wait untill tomorrow what you can accomplish to day. (Sorry about the any misspelling.) I just might try it out, try to get a book published or a pattern to a magazine.
    Thanks again for the post.


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    Judy, This is a great post….very motivational. I’d like to add something…..I think you have to be ready in all parts of your life to follow your dreams. Alot of factors like….family life…..have to be in order for some of our dreams to become reality. In my case..I have a book/technique waiting to be published and to take it on the road teaching……but with a young son and my DH’s business at this time its not possible… a few years when my son is older and able more to help DH, it will then fit better for me. So now, I’m laying the groundwork to assist in reaching this goal.

    Karen L

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    Wonderful post!! I told my hubby that I am getting an old coffee can this payday and starting to save up for a longarm. Someday……sigh…someday. 🙂

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    You have spoken words to live by!

    We all dream, we just don’t accept our dreams as possibilities. It is so much easier to think of the reasons to not do something than to take the plunge and try something new. Of course, preparations is needed, but so many times we use that as an excuse to not follow through. We can always say we are planning to write a magazine article and that we are trying to find out the requirements, but so often we never quite get around to actually writing the article.

    We all owe it to ourselves to try something new and recognize our strengths, and to work on our weaknesses.

    I can’t wait to begin reading lots of new books that include a THANK YOU to Judy Laquidara for her inspiration and “kind shove.”

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    Thanks for the encouragement. I have been toying with several of your ideas but so far have not been brave enough to go forward. I know that I will it is just a matter of when.

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    Great post, Judy. You probably helped someone out there that hasn’t dared to dream to take that first step. Love the quilts you showed here.

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    What a challenge!!! I think I need to get moving….and yet the years tell me to slow down…but I have so many things I have in my heart and desire to do…thanks for this motivating entry.

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    This is so true…I need to work on getting my patterns out there more too. I teach quilt classes and people are always telling me I should sell the patterns, but there just isn’t always time in the day to do everything you want. I will definitely try to focus on that more. And the picture of your machine…love it. I have a used APQS EZQuilter. I got it at an estate sale and love it. It does a good job, even though it doesn’t have the reach of a bigger machine. Maybe someday…

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    Good post! I needed that today! I guess I’m more of a dreamer than a doing! But hey, I did recently buy a new Millie! ;o) I’m working on it! Keep well!