Saturday, June 2, 2018

rights and obligations

With the recent implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or Datenschutz Grundverordnung (DSGVO) and the deadline of May 25, 2018 to get everything up to speed, a lot of panic and heated discussions were on the rise, especially for little businesses such as mine. I made it through and here are my thoughts.

So what is the whole General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) all about? This is how I see it and translate it into my everyday language - it is a collection of basic EU laws requiring businesses to clearly state what personal data is collected from its customers, how the data is used and how that company safeguards their user's information as well as additional rights of the individual and obligations of the company obtaining data. These regulations not only apply to large companies with an Internet presence within the EU, but also to non-Internet companies, organizations such as dentists, non-profit communities, places of worship, etc. within the EU. Although these laws are written for the EU, they also apply to non-EU entities collecting or processing personal data of individuals from and within the EU. That means, basically every international company or entity outside the EU as well.

Why does this affect me? Because 1) I have a small business. 2) I am a consumer.

So, I have to look at both perspectives here. First of all, as a small business owner, it is my obligation to explain to my "customers and/or website readers" what information is collected, how is it used and safeguarded. I am a simple girl with simple ideas. I only collect personal data from you, when I need to contact you or when you buy a pattern from me. Then I would like to know how to get in touch with you (email address) or where to send your goods (home shipping address). I have no other reason to collect any other type of data from you and will do my best to keep it this simple in the future. I would not and have never sold your information to third parties. 

You can read my complete GDPR (in German) here. An English version will follow as well.

Blogger and Google do, however, collect more information such as your IP address and track your movements with "cookies." Please refer to their data protection policies

After rethinking this entire issue, I have also changed my website and my blog in accordance with 1) the small business owner and 2) the perspective of a customer. Some things have been deleted such as magic buttons from third parties. I was personally unaware that when you had these one your website and blog, they were potentially tracking, collecting and profiling my readers. This was never my intention. I am sorry.

I also do not put Ad Trackers onto my blog. I don't like these pesky pop-up adds when I visit other's sites and refuse to put them on my own site. I only advertise shops and products (with direct links and no tracking options) I truly endorse and stand behind like quilting shops.

All of my purchase buttons and purchasable patterns have been moved to my Etsy shop - easypatchworkSHOP. By doing this, I am unable to see payment information used by a customer such as PayPal address, credit card and bank accounts numbers customers have used. (I once had direct buy PayPal buttons for patterns on my website that were also removed.) 

I will also be deleting ALL of my CRAFTSY patterns those both free and at a low cost fee. (I intend to have new and updated copies uploaded to Etsy one day.) From their privacy policy, it is not clear to me how your data is used. So I decided, I will discontinue the use of that platform. When you download a free pattern on my website, I am not informed of the transaction. My web provider, 1&1 may, however, be collecting this data information without my knowledge. Please refer to their privacy and data collection policy.

Is there anything wrong with companies collecting and tracking your data? Not if you know it and agree it. I think this discussion came about, because no one truly knew what information was being collected and how it was being used. And information is very valuable. I certainly do not want data used to influence me into one direction or another. That's what my husband does. He likes to prep me on decisions months in advance of an actual purchase. I know his strategy and agreed long ago without a disclaimer. : )

With the new regulations, you have the right to be informed about the company's intent and to decline the service or not be tracked. You also have the right to tell the company to remove a comment or content from, or about, you. They have the responsibility to remove it. You have the right to cancel your subscriptions, and they have the obligation to remove your data from their records (as long as it complies with state, federal, EU laws).

I am embracing these new laws. I am happy and grateful for people like Viviane Reding and Jan Phillip Albrecht who highly supported this type of legislation long before I ever thought about it. Thank you!

Read all about the DSGVO in German here. or in English here.

Please feel free to leave a comment. I would really love to hear your thoughts about this. But remember, if you are logged in, you are being tracked. 

Thanks for dropping by!

P.S. {The original post was written two weeks ago and edited after some much needed reflection time. I was basically pretty upset when I found out how much information was being collected on me and my movements within the Internet. Needless to say, I deleted my Facebook account this morning.}

Thursday, March 8, 2018

busy, busy, busy

Hello everyone! It's nice to see you again! I know I have been absent. It is so hard for me to blog these days. I wanted to let you know what is going on in my life that is exciting but sometimes overwhelming too.

First of all, I made a couple of patterns, one for free and one payable. The first one is a set of foundations for a 2-Inch and 3-Inch Pineapple Block on Etsy. It includes two pages of templates. Assemble the blocks in the order given on the foundations or add more fabric on opposite sides of the block. These foundations are a great way to use up your scraps, especially HSTs from all of your favorite projects.
Preview of Pineapple FPP Pattern on Etsy

I decided to make this pattern available after after Sandra @hohenbrunnerquilterin asked us, her bee mates, to sew the larger Pineapple block in the Background. I received a lot of requests to make the pattern available after they saw the blocks on IG and a friend of mine, Katrin made the block and posted on her blog. I had forgotten how much fun these were to make. I had so many "scraps" lefter over, I could make both the three inch and the two inch blocks. 

I have only made one quilt with the Pineapple block, a very special one for my mom's 60th birthday. I wanted to make her something really special, because she inspired me to start Quilting. I think she liked it, but couldn't really appreciate it the was I did. Although she quilted for a couple of year and even taught classes, she was really a traditional quilter. She wasn't impressed with the beautiful Long Arm Quilting by Brigitte Heitland.

Two things that are really special about the is quilt are 1)the Andover fabrics that my mom and I bought together in Phoenix, AZ when she lived there for a couple of years and 2)the inset corner blocks set-in on all four sides. I will never ever do that again! Brigitte took extra Special care NOT TO quilt them but to let them stand out. The quilt was kindly given back to me in 2016 when my mother died.

Another freebie is the pinwheels block I first made a couple of years ago for a pincushion. I wrote a very quick example of how it was made and posted in my Instagram feed. Allie and Me Design wrote a really awesome tutorial in GERMAN for the pincushion.

I still never wrote an official tutorial in ENGLISH, but I did write a step-by-step instruction sheet in GERMAN recently just for the pinwheels. You can download it here on the Instant Downloads page of my website. The photographs are clear and measurements are in centimeters. Enjoy.

The are good things and the bad things about writing patterns and tutorials. I enjoy sharing my knowledge with other quilters and sewist to help make the entire process simpler and more enjoyable with awesome results. I still get tickled when I see someone make a pattern of mine! What I don't like is the amount of time it takes to write a thoroughly well-written pattern that goes unappreciated. I really don't expect a lot of appreciation in return, not even a thank you, but the rude tones and comments can be left aside. Everyone wants a Rolls Royce for free and there'd better be a big ribbon on it too! Sorry, this still irritates me. Coming down off my soap box now.

I have an upcoming and exciting teaching schedule including the Long Island New York Beauty in Hildesheim, Germany in just one week. If you are interested, please contact me. There are a couple of places left.

I will also be teaching at Karlsruhe two different classes in May: "Sew Smaller" and "Bindings." I generally limit the amount of participants in my classes to 12 students, but there was such an overhwhelming interest in the bindings class, we the increased the amount of participants to 20. I am really looking Forward to both of these classes!

In June, I will be teaching a "Cathedral Windows" class again in Munich at Quilt ét Textilkunst. Participants are also limited to 12. Reserve your seat, because they are going fast. Quilt ét Textilkunst is celebrating 20 years of business with a year filled of exciting courses with sewing celebs, giveaways, sew-alongs and more!

I am still designing for magazines and hope new blocks will be published for Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks. I love designing my own, original blocks. 

Thanks for dropping by! 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

little winter wonders - a new fpp pattern

Hi everyone! I am happy you are here taking the time to read my blog post! I know that I don't blog much anymore, but I feel that I really have something to say before I can write a blog post. Since I am a woman of few words, today is the day I will speak more than my 2000. I have a running joke with my husband that he must speak 10,000 words and I just a mere 2000. According to the traditional spouse rules, women usually speak the ten thousand and men two thousand, but not us.

I really love the different seasons of the year and like to celebrate them by sewing a quilt or pillow to add to the sofa in my home. We don't have a lot of decorations up, so this is one way I can really change the feeling of our house. Nothing gives me a better feeling than cuddling up under a homemade quilt in the fall and winter months. But after quilting for 15 years, we have accumulated a lot of quilts especially with the highly loved flannel backing. So now, I am starting to make a lot of miniature quilts and wall hangings for a simple change of decor.

I wanted to create something special for the winter months that could actually stay up longer than just until Christmas. Here in Germany, Christmas decorations start the second to third week of November and last until the 6th of January. (Thanksgiving as Americans know it, does not exist in Germany. A lot of people ask me about that.) After the 6th of January, we pack everything up and the house just seems bare! So, this was a little idea to cover the months until spring starts showing us her flowers again.

I love the cardinal and but also the blue jay (also known as blue bird, I think). Both of these birds are found in North America and Newfoundland in the winter months. They just make me happy with their bright colors standing out in the snow covered trees singing a tune. When I designed this quilt I truly looked at a lot of other bird blocks out on the market. I wanted a block that was small and easy to construct and look realistic.

I started designing a cardinal. I wanted a bird perched in the trees. Although this looks a bird, you usually don't see a cardinal with its wing tip stretched out. Come's cold in winter!These birdies are huddles under their wings trying to keep from freezing their feathers off.

Then I posted on Flickr to get some feedback that this one was better.

I started adding some pine combs to the picture to make it more realistic. Although this could be doable for some, others would get very frustrated quickly with those tiny pieces. I wanted to create something simple and easy to make with very little pieces to put together.

And I not only wanted to create a cardinal, I also wanted to make a beautiful blue jay too. They both have those pointy feathers on their heads. Sorry, my vocabulary is not up to par. I am not a bird watcher nor ornithologist; I am a simply bird admirer. So I thought I could design a bird that could fit both the cardinal and the blue jay.

I printed out some templates from EQ7 and sewed my first blue jay.

Then I started thinking about the best way to construct the block. When you design FPP patterns, you can draw lines to change the construction of your quilt blocks. I wanted to make the block easy for beginners, but also look interesting. I sewed this block together six to seven times to get the construction I thought would be easiert for all quilters.

After looking at these blocks a couple of days, I decided this did not look like a blue jay. I asked a friend, Karen of Ka Holly, who is a little closer to nature than me, what she thought about the designs. She gave me her honest opinion - this one looked better. It might still not be the best, but it does the job for me.

I altered the beak to be narrower and pointier like a real blue jay. This was now my main block. I created the cardinal from this block. All of the features are the same, but the bills and collar have been changed. I really wanted just to make a block where you could mix and match features...sort of like the Granimals from the 1970's that my sister and I wore. I love mix and match!

Then, after a few alterations, the cardinal was born. I hope you like both birds. They were designed to be interchangeable so less confusion and ease of repetition in construction. I also minimized the amount of piecing for ease.

 In the pattern, you also gain another little tip about how to pep up your own designs by making piping. It is very simple and adds a lot of pizazz. Here is a close up of those singing love birds. In the background you can see some quilted snowflakes and free motion quilting of wind-swirls. I made my own snowflake templates by folding a circle in half then in quarter or thirds, tracing them onto the quilt and straight line quilted with the machine. It wasn't enough, so I also did some FMQ. I am not totally happy with it, (and seriously thought about ripping git out) It was another learning experience for me to get better.

And here is the final design of Little Winter Wonders! The quilt measures 17" x 22" and is for intermediate quilters with FPP experience. I hope you like it. There are ideas in the pattern of what you can also make if you only want to make a smaller flock of birds.

A big thanks goes out to Katrin of Cattinka for proofing my patterns in both English and German. Thanks, Katrin!!! You are the best! I can't thank you enough.

And of course, my husband, who helps me with my design ideas and helps with my German translation. Love you, Sweetie!

The German version will be available soon.

If you are interested in purchasing this pattern, you can find it in my Etsy store - easypatchworkshop. If you would like to sell this pattern in your store, wholesale patterns are available. Please contact me.

Just a little side note... a lot of time and energy is put into optimizing patterns. Although there is some good software out there on the market, quilt designers are still writing and creating all of the graphics themselves as well as having the patterns tested. Support your quilt designers and your quilt shops. When they are gone, the hobby will be gone as well. There is nothing like going in to a well stocked quilt shop where the store owner knows you by name, greets you and shares their enthusiasm for your hobby.

Thank you for stopping by and learning about my designing process. I truly appreciate it! Thanks! Enjoy your weekend!
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