{Q&A post, so many fun topics!}

Uh oh, I was supposed to answer these questions MONTHS ago — shame on me!!! Please say you’ll forgive me :] I promise to be better at responding to your questions because really, they do mean so much to me. Below are my answers to *12* questions ~ enjoy ♥

Stephanie and I at Blissdom, Jan. 2011

If you could give advice to a girl on the brink of a business ~ what would you tell her?
Hmmm, good question. Here’s what first times to mind: Know who you are and what interests you; make a list of the things you like; make a list of the things that inspire/encourage you — and look at these lists often. I would encourage you to find friends online organically and to be patient with the process. Be driven through personal & professional goals. I would strongly encourage you to know who/what inspires you and to carry that over online. One more thing I would like to add: when I look back at my life these last two years, a lot of things look like they just fell right into my lap, but I want to point out that a lot of things fell because I put myself in front of these things {like taking a risk by going to Blissdom last year, but then quitting my day job 3 months later}. I hope that makes sense. Working hard has it’s rewards and I believe we are all successful in life :] I also believe we’re responsible for a lot of our success <-- let that encourage you!

My Much Ado About You planner

How do you stay organized? Calendars, planners, systems? I’m a very visual person and I just can’t do the online/electronic thing for everything when it comes to organization. If I’m making a chart to keep track of something, I can usually do that online. But schedules and to-do lists must be on paper. My monthly/daily planner is by Much Ado About You — Emmy designed one for Gussy Sews, it’s soooo cute. She wants to design one for your business… contact her :]

Lately I’ve been giving myself small rewards when I accomplish a task. There’s so much to do, all the time, and setting little rewards has really been motivational. Some times it can feel really overwhelming to look at my to-do list, so I try and break it down by what makes the most sense. Using my Gussy Folder has been a lifesaver: I keep track of blog post ideas, to-do’s, and goals in there.

I also use gmail and archive everything – never delete. Anything that sits in my Inbox needs to be replied to, otherwise I archive it. Adding a star to an email makes it “urgent”. See? Told you I’m a visual person.

Other helpful posts: organizing workflow, organizing my studio, how I stay organized each day.

What is your favorite social networking website?
Probably twitter :]

You may have already answered this somewhere on your blog… but since I’m a semi-new follower, I haven’t found out. What camera do you use, and how do you take such great photos of your work?? Lovely.
I have a Sony DSLR and mainly shoot with a wide-angle lens (Aspherical 17-35mm). I take advantage of daylight and always shoot during specific times during the day {when the sunlight is the most natural looking}. I also take a lot of photos with my iPhone using the Instagram app.

Coffee cozy by Oh, Sweet Joy

So, I’m an amateur sewer right now who has been teaching myself and things have been going swimmingly with simple projects like curtain panels and throw pillow covers. I recently decided I wanted to take on a project of sewing some travel coffee mug cozies as holiday gifts and have hit a MAJOR snag. The cozies are contoured and I’m having trouble keeping a straight stitch. My cozies are turning out a little wonky, even if I stray a little bit.
Hmmm. One thing I’ve learned is that cutting a straight edge can make ALL the difference. If your edges are neat and true to your pattern you should be able to use the right edge as a guide when sewing, even if the edges are contoured. It took me a little bit to be able to sew a straight light, so make sure that’s mastered :] Every little part helps.

Any good advice about how to sew straight along a contoured edge? It may just be me and my need to practice a little more, and I feel like a complete IDIOT that I’m struggling with it so much! Did I get in over my head, or do is there something I can do to get better?
See the above answer :]

If you were a stuffed animal, say… a dinosaur, what kind of fabric would you be made of?
A cotton blend with polka dots everywhere :]

Hey Maggie! I’d love to hear how you and your hubby met (and fell in love)! :]
Ohhhh, fine ;] I’ll share…
Zack and I met in college, we were both freshman at Central Michigan University. We kept running into each other because we had mutual friends & we lived in the same area of campus//ate in the same dining hall. I was constantly seeing Zack on campus and thought he was so cute {tall, dark & handsome} and he had a great smile. I soon learned he was super fun to be around. SOLD! I was officially interested… We started to spend more & more time together and about 1 month before school was out for the summer we started dating {April 2004}. In May we both left campus for the summer and headed to our parents houses. Soon there was a long — 3 hour — drive between us, but we managed to see each other just about every 2 weeks. Being in love makes you determined, I suppose. Oh yes, you read that right… I loved Zack after being his girlfriend for just a month. And I told him. AND he still married me ;]

Also at around the time we met, Zack was singing in a male a capella group. They would sing around campus and have concerts and of course I was at every one, batting my eyelashes at him & hoping he saw me doing so. Zack and some of his buddies would even stop by my dorm room and sing to me {swoon} — can you see why I fell in love with him quickly?!

We dated for the next 1.5 years when Zack proposed. It was a summer evening in July. Zack and I had seen each other a few weeks ago, at my family’s cottage, and when he drove off to head back home I was the saddest girl ever. We weren’t going to be able to see each other for a while because of family plans/work/etc. and I didn’t want him to leave. He was actually visiting with his family and as they left I was a crying mess in my mom’s arms {do you like that visual? hehe.} BUT! Little did I know he’d be back… and soon!

The next weekend came and I was back at our family cottage {one of my favorite places to be in the summer}. I was in the water and *just* came back from riding the Sea-Doo… all of a sudden Zack comes walking around the back deck — BIG SMILE on his face — and I let out a little scream {a pre-yeow!, perhaps?} & run over to give him a BIG HUG ♥. I felt like this was a dream to be seeing him again so soon. I kept asking if he was staying for the weekend and he looked at my parents, then at me, and said yes! So that night {Friday}, we went out to dinner, just the two of us, and had an amazing time — come back to the cottage, got ready to have a fire [mom & dad are looking at my finger for a ring; no ring!] and watch the fireworks — did I mention it is Fourth of July weekend [actual date was July 3rd]. Before we headed to the fire pit near the lake we hopped in the car quickly to get my brother who was at another cottage on the other side of the lake. Are you following? I know it’s a crazy story. We pulled back into our driveway, Matt [my bro] went ahead of us and suddenly it was just Zack and I. The sky was dark, the stars were out, the crickets were singing to us… We were behind the cottage, near my mom’s flower beds, and Zack started to get all mushy on me. ♥ I loved it and was secretly thinking HOW PERFECT would it be if we got engaged this weekend?! ♥. I am just dying inside with excitement & hopefulness.

Then he holds my hands and tells me how perfect & beautiful I am, and how he wants to make me his wife [gets down on one knee] — Maggie, will you marry me? I gave him a big smile and a look… he said, Of course I talked with your parents first. Why do you think my family and I were here last weekend?

WHAT?! I knew they were up to something ;]

After I smooched him 28,765 times we walked to the lake side of the cottage and I shouted out, “I’m going to be a Whitley!” We all celebrated, watched the fireworks, and then it was bedtime. I kissed Zack goodnight and went to my bedroom where I seriously stared at my ring for HOURS. I hardly slept that night. I just wanted it to be morning so I could hang out with my fiance more :]

We were engaged on July 3rd, 2006 and on June 7th, 2008 we were married. Our wedding date is 6-7-08 ~ 6 + 7 + 8 = 21, two become one, my pastor told us as during the wedding message. TWO BECOME ONE. Absolutely love that :]

This summer we’ll be celebrating 3 years of marriage and it has been PERFECT! I can’t wait to celebrate with my hubby :]

I’d love to know where you finally saw the difference between steady sales and explosive popularity. Was there something in particular that made the difference? Your blog? Ads/sponsorships? Etc.
One thing I’ve seen to be super helpful is attending conferences because it’s put a face to this “Gussy Sews” name everyone sees online. Last year I attended Blissdom, the Minnesota Blogger Conference, The Creative Connection and Relevant. Since I make a point to be active online I think it really helped readers & customers to put a face to my name through conferences. Besides, who doesn’t want to meet their online friends??? :] It’s one of my favorite parts about attending conferences. I think having consistency through my blog & my products made my success seem so “quick”. When I look back at the time line I can see a slow, steady progression. I do think I saw a bit of a boom, but it took time and so that’s the main thing I want to share with others. *Remember that each story is unique from the next and I think what you put into it is what you’ll get* — I write that to encourage you. If you have dreams, you can make your dreams happen :]

Every blogger has their own experience, though, and I really believe that everyone has their own story {which adds so much magic to the uniqueness}.

What are you favorite ways to promote your business/blog? Which provided the most traffic? Which were the most fun for you?
I love all forms of social media but use my blog, twitter & facebook the most. I think anything that can help connect me to my readers/customers is successful, which lately has meant vlogging. Yeow ;]

What kind of meals do you cook for dinner?
I love “one pot” dishes because they’re simple & super tasty. But I also love spaghetti & homemade meatballs {<< that's my fav. recipe for it}, potato & kielbasa skillet, a HUGE salad {sorry, a dainty salad doesn't fill me up}, macaroni & cheese, pizza from Pizza Luce

I love your items, but if you don’t have something I am looking for is the easiest place to start on Etsy? And are Etsy people from all over the world, US or more local?
Etsy is a world-wide shopping site.

How do I get connected with the overall local community (handmade items?) as a consumer? Again, love your items, but is there an overarching website that provides info for MN or fairs (or are they craft fairs?) to attend and where is the best place to get that information?
I did a quick “Minnesota handmade fairs” Google search and many links popped up that look like what you’re looking for. {Yes, I just handed you my “I’m still new to MN even though we’ve lived here for 18 months” card.} — oh wait, The Creative Connection is in St. Paul this year… be sure & check out their site.

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  1. 10


    I just found your blog today through google reader recommendations. :) And guess what?! My dh and I have the same anniversary!! Best wedding date ev-ah. Great story… <3 <3

  2. 12


    To be funny on the Night Setting the wine in cases or
    even auction a wine produced especially for the guests is recognised as the perfect gesture to thank people for attending.
    Pick the best way to wind-down the work day than with a selection of some of the occasion?

  3. 13


    Who cares where anybody has their wedindg? City hall, your back yard, a church it’s all the same thing. Who care who plans anybody’s wedindg? A professional, your Aunt Ethel, a church the same thing.Now marriage that’s different. Marriage is a civil right. But why would any couple who is getting married want to have their wedindg blessed by bigots?If you do, go for it. It’s your wedindg. But keep your bigoted hands off my right to marry.

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