The changing paths we’ve taken to get to this place in our lives are as different as we are and as unpredictable as life can possibly be.
We’re farm girls from Amery, WI – yup – we truly are sisters.
Love traveling – both of us – welcome the opportunity to be called out on “road trips” – teaching, trunk shows, shopping, or sometimes we just make up something when we can’t find a legitimate excuse to HAVE to go; we love our time together and love meeting other women and men involved in the greatest passion of a lifetime - quilting.
Larry and I have been married for 36 years, we live way back in the woods on 5 acres, buried in the trees. We have two kids – Jeff, married to Gina with two incredible children – Addison, a 7 year old first grader and Declan a 5 year old attending pre-school; and Michelle who has a beautiful 6 year old first grader, Keira. Both of our kids live close – within 20 miles and that, and the fact that all are healthy and doing well, is one of life’s greatest blessings.
I’ve been a secretary, worked in accounting, clipped plastic flashing off parts in a plastic factory, soldered electronic parts, did billing at a trucking company, and did piece work at a order fulfillment company. I’ve had my real estate license, selling residential property and just started sewing, making my first quilt project as recent as 2002.
Larry and I have headed to warmer climes for the last 6 years with our fifth wheel – usually traveling to Kingsland, TX and gone January and February. Larry has to get back home early March to do his maple syruping.
Did she say we are about as different as day and night? Angie is tall and I have the shortest legs in the world, Angie is dark and I am blond – was blond, I am naturally gray now. I have twice as many kids as she, 4 children plus two step sons and 15, yes, 15 grandkids from the age of 5 to 22! I’ve been married to Chuck for 30 years and we also enjoy RVing.
In my past life I’ve done cost accounting, been a receptionist and an Executive Secretary, a Warehouse Supervisor, spent a year traveling with a carnival, worked as a home health care aid, owned a costume rental store and about the time I thought I might think of retiring this darn quilting thing grabbed hold of me in a huge way. Actually I’ve sewn and made quilts all my life; back then we didn’t even know it was “cool” and it certainly wasn’t an industry! My application of quilting skills was to reclaim, recycle, repurpose and keep the kidlets warm in our Wisconsin winters! I also did all of Angie’s sewing and mending because she was most happy when her Alden’s sewing machine was not working. She was a tough convert! But she also never does anything half way and almost the instant her first quilting project was done, a mystery table runner as I recall, she wanted a long arm machine to quilt it on. Well we were in the process of closing the costume store, Chuck was working on oil tankers and gone for months at a time so I had a lot of time on my hands and nothing better to do!
Sisters’ Common Thread
Within months we purchased an APQS Millennium (which we named Milly) and started long-arming for others (which we call Millying). Milly was in Angie’s living room – and soon, running out of space, Larry built a new 2-car garage onto the end of their house and turned the existing 2½ car garage into a beautiful studio.
In 2004 we discovered that mitten patterns didn’t actually fit human hands. Yvonne had been designing in the costume store and carried that skill a step further into pattern writing and we created our first pattern, Toastie Mittens and sold 8 patterns that year!!! By 2010 we were running all over the state doing classes and selling our one pattern!!! About that same time the Caddy Pad was born. Different sizes to accommodate different size irons had to be created and then new ideas sprang to life and much to our surprise we discovered that other people were willing to buy our patterns – and this little niche market has been an incredible blessing to us.
In May, 2012 we made the decision to stop long-arming – our patterns were taking up so much of our time that we couldn’t keep up – and in June, 2012, after 9 years of Millying, we quilted our last quilts for customers. We didn’t have the heart to sell our “Milly” so she still is sitting, semi-retired at the studio and on occasion we have time to do something for ourselves or a family member.
So here we are – with inventory, order fulfillment, web site, newsletters and three great ladies - Lois, Aimee and Jessie – who are absolutely invaluable to us. We’ve purchased a trailer to get us to Quilt Market, we call it the Mona Trailer, and had to purchase a cute little shed to store the overrun of inventory – and we named that the Mona Cabana. It’s just no fun without names on everything.
Larry cuts the Iron Quick® in his shop as it comes in on rolls and that allows him to get invited to our Christmas party!!!!
Yvonne and I get together two days a week at the studio to plot and plan and just hang out because that is the one thing we couldn’t give up when we stopped Millying.
We don’t know what to expect from one month to the next and that’s ok; we’re absolutely blessed to be able to do something we love to do and find little occasions to be able to give something back. As long as Yvonne doesn’t have to make a phone call and Angie doesn’t have to design a pattern – we each have our jobs after all – life is in balance. Most of all – we take every opportunity to learn, grow and share and try to make the world a better place, one day at a time.