Tag Archives: book club

Business Book Club -The Magnolia Story

A few months ago I joined the International Association of Creative Arts Professionals and a benefit of being a member is that I get to participate in a monthly book club featuring business books. I’ve only been a member long enough to read two books and last week, the book club discussion was on The Magnolia Story which is the story of Chip and Joanna Gaines from HGTV’s uber popular show, Fixer Upper.

I’ve been an and off again fan of the show for a few years. I really think I’m mostly just a Chip and Joanna fan. I have long loved the playful way they interact with each other while flipping homes around Waco, Texas. If you’ve never watched the show before, it’s quite addictive. Together they help a couple find the home of their dreams which in the beginning of each show looks like a horrible choice! They strive to find the worst house in the best area of town and then through Chip’s carpentry skills and Joanna’s unparallelled design skills, they flip the house, within budget, into a dream home.  All the while, Chip and Joanna tease each other and make you want to be their best friends!

The book takes you through the early years of their relationship when they first start dating up to the current situation where they have landed this show and it’s crazily popular and their farm  is pretty much now a tourist destination. I was enamored with their story but I struggled at first to make connections as to how this was a good business book. While I was interested in their love story and how they got married and have four children, I was really trying to find the meat of their success story.

It was actually in hindsight that it came together for me. Family is the focal point of every decision this couple makes including business decisions. As I mentioned, they have four young children and have made the decision not to travel and to only work in the Waco area. When their real estate and design business took off, it was word of mouth in the Waco area that kept them making money. People saw how Joanna decorated her small store and soon they asked if she could help them with their home decor. The design side grew and grew with Joanna really learning as she went along. She didn’t have any type of degree in design. She had previously worked in her dad’s Firestone tire store.

Chip was a risk taker from day one. As a young man he had an entrepreneurial spirit buying up small homes around Baylor University. He would fix those up and rent them out to college students. Joanna would help him get the home looking nice and then sadly for her, Chip would rent it or sell it and then buy up another one! Sad for Joanna because she got attached to the homes and thought she might like to live in them for awhile. This wasn’t Chip’s style and she knew she had to go with the flow because that was how they managed to stay afloat of their bills. They just barely stayed ahead and sometimes not so much. In the end, the risk taking paid off but it was scary for them.

The underlying theme in the book was consistent effort and hard work all balanced by love of family. They had a strong support system and a team of employees who liked helping them because they were good, honest people. Millions of people enjoy watching the show because this theme carries through. There’s nothing fake about them.

I think it ended up being a great business book that reinforces balance, hard work, risk taking, and consistency. You have to show up and do the work to the best of your ability and keep learning your craft. Integrity and craftsmanship matter.

Do you watch this great show? What are your thoughts? Have you read the book?

You can find the book on Amazon at the link below. It is an affiliate link.


WIP, Postcards, BBW and More

I’ve made some decent progress this week on items that were piling up in the sewing studio. Unfortunately, the timing isn’t right for me to show them all though!! I finished up my 100 Blocks submission and got that in the mail. I also finished up my art quilt for the Banned Book Week challenge. I’ll post my photos during Banned Book Week with everyone else who is participating. Sandy H. and Tanesha are hosting this event.

I did some fabric ‘filing’. Are you like me and have piles of leftover fabrics from past projects cluttering up space? It felt good to sort the fabric by color and put it back in the cabinet. Now I have some breathing room…ahhhhh.

The Fall Postcard Swap partners have been assigned! I used the Direct Message feature on Twitter to contact everyone this morning. Please check your Twitter message box if you signed up to participate. Postcards should ideally reach your partner by October 31st. I have a few ideas floating around in my head for this swap. I can’t wait to start putting them together on fabric.

The next project to go under the needle will be this baby mat.

photo 3 (5)

I pieced it on the Featherweight and it is ready for quilting. This will go into my Etsy shop. I think this must mean that it’s time to get another Featherweight project lined up. I have two pretty precuts sitting on the counter and I’ll have to choose one and a pattern and get busy! I like to sew on the Featherweight in the dining room where she is set up in a cabinet. It becomes a good project place for while I’m waiting to drive the girls somewhere or waiting for dinner to finish cooking.

Tonight I am hosting my book club. We are celebrating our 4th year tonight as a neighborhood book club. I have the food ready, the wine chilled and the house cleaned. I love hosting book club just for that reason…my house gets cleaned! LOL!! We are discussing One Plus One written by Jo Jo Moyes. She is an excellent author and we also read Me Before You which is another of her wonderful novels. Our book club usually meets once every six weeks and we rotate houses and hosting duties. It has worked out really well and we’ve read so many great books.

I’ll leave you with this article that I saw on Morna McEver Golletz’s blog today about quilt show judging. I don’t know much about the criteria set for quilts to be judged as I have never entered a juried show and this was insightful.


Morna McEver Golletz is the founder and CEO of the International Association of Creative Arts Professionals where creative arts entrepreneurs craft business success. Her weekly e-zine offers tips, techniques and inspiration to help you craft business success from your creative arts passion. You can sign up for a FREE subscription at http://www.creativeartsprofessional.com.

Have a great Wednesday!


Wednesday Stuff & A Pretty Picture & Some Stalking

How’s this for beautiful? I pulled out of the driveway to bring Leah to school and this was happening above me. I took a minute to be thankful to God for it and to snap a picture! No filter needed on this photo!

I posted on Twitter the other night that I finally purchased a Singer Featherweight!!!!!!!!!! I’m squealing with delight over here! It is a 1957 and she is almost on her way here. I received an email last night that the seller is still working on the tuneup and will ship shortly. Once she comes, I’ll give you the whole scoop on how I got found it and you all can help me name her. I feel like it’s a “she” but maybe not…At any rate, I can barely stand the wait. I’m not good at waiting. That poor mailman will be stalked once again. He’s very used to me by now. In fact, I wrote an article about our stalking relationship that was published in Polymer Cafe magazine a few years ago. I shared it with the mailman (his name is Ken) and he brought a copy back to the post office to show his buddies. I’ve scanned it and you can read it here – just click it to open then right click and rotate view:

Stalking Article

So the mailman and I go way back…

I am hoping to podcast next week so leave me a comment with your favorite quilt novel AND/OR favorite quilt magazine so you can be included in the reader comments!

I must get going….I am hosting book club this evening! Love when it’s my turn to host. We are discussing Unbroken. Wish you all could be here…lots of wine and desserts!


Videocast and Book Recommendations

Episode #5 of the Quilt Cabana Corner videocast is now up on Youtube.  Hope you’ll join us for this fun episode!  Click Here for the video.

Last night I hosted the book club in my neighborhood.  We were discussing While I Was Gone by Sue Miller.  Most agreed that although we didn’t love the book, it had a lot of discussion opportunity.  I was thinking that today I would share with you all the list of book suggestions that we had floating around for next month.  There were several choices that all look very good.  In the end we decided on What Alice Forgot and then agreed to keep the list around for the next time we have to choose a book since it was a good list!  Even though 50 Shades of Grey seems to be the book of choice in the media, our group thought perhaps it didn’t have enough discussion potential for a book club read.   I will say however, we did talk about  it a lot!! LOL.

Yesterday was day 1 of physical therapy for my “quilter’s hip”.  After being poked, prodded and measured, they decided that the muscles in my right hip/leg are not as strong as those on the left side (which causes wear and tear on my joints) and strengthening is what’s needed.  So I left with some exercises to do on my own and will have to go back twice per week until it gets resolved.  Keep your fingers crossed!

So now I’m off to work on my newest Fuse-O-Scope which you can get a peek at in today’s video!

Have a super day and here’s the book list:

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

Imagine losing the most important ten years of your life …Alice is twenty-nine.She adores sleep, chocolate, and her ramshackle new house.She’s newly engaged to the wonderful Nick and is pregnant with her first baby.There’s just one problem.All that was ten years ago … Alice has slipped in a step-aerobics class, hit her head and lost a decade.Now she’s a grown-up, bossy mother of three in the middle of a nasty divorce and her beloved sister Elisabeth isn’t speaking to her.This is her life but not as she knows it.Clearly Alice has made some terrible mistakes.Just how much can happen in a decade?Can she ever get back to the woman she used to be?

 Summer At Tiffany by Marjorie Hart

New York City, 1945. Marjorie Jacobson and her best friend, Marty Garrett, arrive fresh from the Kappa house at the University of Iowa hoping to find summer positions as shopgirls. Turned away from the top department stores, they miraculously find jobs as pages at Tiffany & Co., becoming the first women to ever work on the sales floor, a diamond-filled day job replete with Tiffany-blue shirtwaist dresses from Bonwit Teller’s—and the envy of all their friends.

Looking back on that magical time in her life, Marjorie takes us back to when she and Marty rubbed elbows with the rich and famous, pinched pennies to eat at the Automat, experienced nightlife at La Martinique, and danced away their weekends with dashing midshipmen. Between being dazzled by Judy Garland’s honeymoon visit to Tiffany, celebrating VJ Day in Times Square, and mingling with CafÉ society, she fell in love, learned unforgettable lessons, made important decisions that would change her future, and created the remarkable memories she now shares with all of us.

The Lola Quartet by Emily St. John Mandel:

In Emily St John’ Mandel’s latest book: The Lola Quartet, four former high school friends who were part of a jazz group in high school, (The Lola Quartet), find their lives intersect after many years, having reconnected under unusual circumstances. When the novel’s protagonist, Gavin Sasaki, a journalist from NYC, is fired from his job in 2009, he moves to Sebastian, Florida, when his sister, Elio, offers him a job in her real estate business. His job is working with clients whose homes will soon be foreclosed upon. While in Florida he sees a photo of a young girl about 10 years of age who looks exactly like his sister when she was about the same age. This girl, Chloe Montgomery, bears the same last name as a girl Gavin dated 10 years earlier who mysteriously disappeared almost overnight. At the time rumor was that Anna Montgomery, had been pregnant.

Gavin becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to Anna, and whether this young girl could possibly be his child. In the hopes of learning more about the past, he tracks down former friends from, The Lola Quartet. He is hoping that at least one of the members, Anna’s brother will be able to help him find out more about what happened to Anna.

The story is told through a series of flashbacks blending present with the past over a 10-year period. The author is extremely talented, providing an interesting character study of the former friends. It’s a story of dreams not turning out as planned, especially when flawed characters have made bad decisions and choices in life. I loved the pitch perfect descriptions of the Florida landscape. The economic situations experienced by many when the housing crisis reached it’s peak were dead on accurate.

Although for me, the novel got off to a slow start, the writing and the surprising conclusion are enough reason to recommend this book as one that many readers will enjoy. I definitely plan to try another book by this author.

A Walk Across the Sun by Corban Addison

 When a tsunami rages through their coastal town in India, 17-year-old Ahalya Ghai and her 15-year-old sister Sita are left orphaned and homeless. With almost everyone they know suddenly erased from the face of the earth, the girls set out for the convent where they attend school. They are abducted almost immediately and sold to a Mumbai brothel owner, beginning a hellish descent into the bowels of the sex trade.

Halfway across the world, Washington, D.C., attorney Thomas Clarke faces his own personal and professional crisis-and makes the fateful decision to pursue a pro bono sabbatical working in India for an NGO that prosecutes the subcontinent’s human traffickers. There, his conscience awakens as he sees firsthand the horrors of the trade in human flesh, and the corrupt judicial system that fosters it. Learning of the fate of Ahalya and Sita, Clarke makes it his personal mission to rescue them, setting the stage for a riveting showdown with an international network of ruthless criminals.

 The Baker’s Daughter by Sarah McCoy

In 1945, Elsie Schmidt is a naive teenager, as eager for her first sip of champagne as she is for her first kiss. She and her family have been protected from the worst of the terror and desperation overtaking her country by a high-ranking Nazi who wishes to marry her. So when an escaped Jewish boy arrives on Elsie’s doorstep in the dead of night on Christmas Eve, Elsie understands that opening the door would put all she loves in danger.

Sixty years later, in El Paso, Texas, Reba Adams is trying to file a feel-good Christmas piece for the local magazine. Reba is perpetually on the run from memories of a turbulent childhood, but she’s been in El Paso long enough to get a full-time job and a fiancé, Riki Chavez. Riki, an agent with the U.S. Border Patrol, finds comfort in strict rules and regulations, whereas Reba feels that lines are often blurred.

Reba’s latest assignment has brought her to the shop of an elderly baker across town. The interview should take a few hours at most, but the owner of Elsie’s German Bakery is no easy subject. Reba finds herself returning to the bakery again and again, anxious to find the heart of the story. For Elsie, Reba’s questions are a stinging reminder of darker times: her life in Germany during that last bleak year of WWII. And as Elsie, Reba, and Riki’s lives become more intertwined, all are forced to confront the uncomfortable truths of the past and seek out the courage to forgive.

The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen (yes, it’s the kind of sugar we all love – lol!)

In this irresistible novel, Sarah Addison Allen, author of the New York Times bestselling debut, Garden Spells, tells the tale of a young woman whose family secrets—and secret passions—are about to change her life forever.

Josey Cirrini is sure of three things: winter is her favorite season, she’s a sorry excuse for a Southern belle, and sweets are best eaten in the privacy of her closet. For while Josey has settled into an uneventful life in her mother’s house, her one consolation is the stockpile of sugary treats and paperback romances she escapes to each night…. Until she finds her closet harboring Della Lee Baker, a local waitress who is one part nemesis—and two parts fairy godmother. With Della Lee’s tough love, Josey’s narrow existence quickly expands. She even bonds with Chloe Finley, a young woman who is hounded by books that inexplicably appear when she needs them—and who has a close connection to Josey’s longtime crush. Soon Josey is living in a world where the color red has startling powers, and passion can make eggs fry in their cartons. And that’s just for starters.

Brimming with warmth, wit, and a sprinkling of magic, here is a spellbinding tale of friendship, love—and the enchanting possibilities of every new day.

Whistling in the Dark by Lesley Kagen

Sally O’Malley made a promise to her daddy before he died. She swore she’d look after her sister, Troo. Keep her safe. But like her Granny always said-actions speak louder than words. Now, during the summer of 1959, the girls’ mother is hospitalized, their stepfather has abandoned them for a six pack, and their big sister, Nell, is too busy making out with her boyfriend to notice that Sally and Troo are on the Loose. And so is a murderer and molester.

Highly imaginative Sally is pretty sure of two things. Who the killer is. And that she’s next on his list. Now she has no choice but to protect herself and Troo as best she can, relying on her own courage and the kindness of her neighbors.