Quilt Theory Goes to Market

Tomorrow kicks off the Quilt Market and Quilt Festival fun in Houston, and while I’ll be hanging out at home (participating in #missingmarket on IG, though!), all of our Quilt Theory quilts and a few of our fearless team members will be representing in Houston. We are so excited to have our patterns at Market and Festival, so if you’re going to Houston, please stop by and say hi (and take a photo for me!)

quilt-market-featuredHere’s where you might spot some Quilt Theory goodness if you’ll be there too! (For those of you like me who can’t make it, you can follow everything on Instagram @quilt.theory and there will be a recap on the Quilt Theory blog when everyone is home and settled).

First off, one of the amazing Quilt Theory designers and my good friend, Stephanie Palmer will be participating in a schoolhouse session with Christa Watson and Leah Day on book publishing at Quilt Market. If you have any interest in writing a book or just want to hear some great folks speak, definitely check them out on Friday at 4:55pm… these ladies know their stuff!

scrappy-geese-postcard-michelleScrappy Geese Quilt, the back of our postcard, and Michelle, so you know who you’re looking for at Market!

Michelle Bartholomew will be joining in the fun on Saturday & Sunday, walking around the convention center, taking photos and chatting up whomever she can! She is bringing some exclusive quilty postcards to hand out too, so if you are there, be sure to hunt her down, say hi, and take a few postcards to mail to your friends back home (pst… like me!!)!

checker distributors quilt marketTiled Parquet, Ocean Path, and Strip It Down will be at Checker Distributors

If you’ve been excited to see all of the quilts in person, the wait is over! Three of the quilts (Tiled Parquet, Ocean Path–that’s mine!, and Strip It Down) will be in the Checker Distributor’s area along with all of our patterns. Scrappy Geese (shown in the top photo), will be in the Michael Miller Fabrics area.

quilt festival quiltsJelly Lanterns, Cross Cabins, and Highland Tile will be at Quilt Festival
quilt festival booth
Stephanie on the left, amazing Quilter’s Planner 2017 in the middle, and Yvonne on the right–look for these beauties in Houston, too!

Additionally, Stephanie will have a booth at Quilt Festival for the Quilter’s Planner. Yvonne Fuchs from Quilting Jetgirl, another one of our wonderful designers, will be joining her in her booth and will have Quilt Theory patterns available for sale. They’ll also have three of the quilts on display (Jelly Lanterns, Cross Cabins, & Highland Tile).

Have a great time if you are going to Houston, and be sure to say hi to Michelle, Stephanie, and Yvonne for me!

Quilter’s Planner 2016 Sew-Along Kick-Off!

I did it again. I said yes. I couldn’t help it; it was for a friend! Over the past few weeks, I’ve been helping my good friend Stephanie (the mastermind behind the Quilter’s Planner and the one and only Late Night Quilter) with the Instagram feed for the Quilter’s Planner. She’s up to her eyeballs in getting the amazing 2017 Quilter’s Planner printed, proofed, boxed, and shipped to your doorsteps, and so I offered to help her spread the word via my favorite social media application–Instagram. Extra points to you if you’ve recognized my style over at @thequiltersplanner Instagram feed!

quilters planner 2017 order now
Isn’t it gorgeous? The 2017 planner incorporates so many new features, like laminated cover and tabs, even more patterns, and beautiful quilt photography by yours truly. Order yours now!

Not only that, but today we are kicking off the inaugural Quilter’s Planner Sew-Along over on Instagram, with the Scrappy Picnic Plaid quilt pattern by Lee Heinrich of Freshly Pieced, one of the fabulous patterns included in the 2016 Planner. Apologies to those of you who are not on Instagram, since this Sew-Along is happening only on IG (you can still watch the progress by checking the #QP2016SewAlong hashtag and feel free to sew along, but you cannot enter to win the prizes along the way without a public Instagram account. Hopefully next time!)

Here’s the information and schedule!

Quilter’s Planner 2016 Sew-Along!

quilters planner 2016 sew alongWe are so excited to announce the kick-off of the very first Quilter’s Planner Instagram Sew-Along, taking place over on the Quilter’s Planner Instagram feed! While we all eagerly await the arrival of our 2017 Planners, let’s sew up a pattern from the 2016 Quilter’s Planner! Sew along with us as we make the Scrappy Picnic Plaid quilt by Lee Heinrich of Freshly Pieced, one of the fabulous patterns included right in your 2016 Quilter’s Planner. Don’t have the 2016 planner? Don’t worry—you can purchase the pattern right from Lee’s shop HERE and still sew along with us.

There will be great prizes along the way, generously sponsored by Handiquilter, Aurifil Thread, Threadcutterz, The Quilter’s Planner, and Stephanie herself at Late Night Quilter! There will be a BIG grand prize at the end (pst… new sewing machine plus more!), eligible for all of you who share a photo of your completely finished Scrappy Picnic Plaid quilt! To join in this Sew-Along you do need a public Instagram account.

scrappy picnic plaid close upThis pattern is super versatile and perfect for using up scraps! Make as a holiday gift, a scrap buster, or just a fun project with your quilting friends. The Sew-Along will run now through the middle of December, giving a little extra time for the piecing and quilting steps to allow for family time around the holidays.


*Note: For every photo you post on your Instagram account tagging @thequiltersplanner and #QP2016SewAlong, you will be entered into the running for the giveaways along the way!

October 24th – Quilter’s Planner 2016 Sew-Along Kick-off! (Spread the word with #QP2016SewAlong!)

WEEK 1: October 24-30th

Get the pattern! You have one week to get your hands on the Scrappy Picnic Plaid pattern so that you can sew along with us! Find it right in the Patterns section of your 2016 Quilter’s Planner, or buy the pattern HERE if you do not have a 2016 Planner (be sure to order your 2017 Planner now so you don’t miss out on next year’s fun!) Share the graphic on Instagram to show the world you’re in on the Sew-Along, using hashtag #QP2016SewAlong !! (Note that the more photos you share and tag on Instagram, the more entries you have to win prizes along the way!)

WEEK 2: October 31-Nov 6

Choose your fabrics. Dig through your scraps, visit your local quilt shop, or swap with a friend. No matter your methods, gather your fabrics and show us what you’ll be sewing with! Scrappy or solids? Holiday prints or rainbow fun? Post a photo of your fabric choices on Instagram tagging #QP2016SewAlong !

November 7th – GIVEAWAY #1
WEEK 3: Nov. 7-13

Cutting. Post photos on Instagram showing your cutting progress, tagged with #QP2016SewAlong.

November 14th – GIVEAWAY #2
WEEK 4 & 5: Nov 14-27

Sewing together the blocks and quilt top. You’ll have 2 weeks to sew your blocks and piece your quilt top! We will be sharing progress and encouragement on @thequiltersplanner Instagram feed, and look forward to sewing along with you! Again, post photos on Instagram showing your piecing progress, tagged with #QP2016SewAlong to enter the giveaways.

November 28th – GIVEAWAY #3
WEEK 6 & 7: Nov 28-Dec 11

Quilting and finishing. You’ll have 2 weeks to quilt and finish your Scrappy Picnic Plaid quilt, and we will be cheering you on!

December 12 – GIVEAWAY #4
WEEK 8: December 12-16

Final Link Up. You will have one extra week to finish up any final touches needed to complete your quilt and get the perfect photo of your completely finished and quilted Scrappy Picnic Plaid quilt on Instagram, tagging #QP2016SewAlongFINISH to be entered to win the Grand Prize!

December 17th – GRAND PRIZE

Winner chosen from finished projects tagged #QP2016SewAlongFINISH!


The giveaways are generously sponsored by Handiquilter, Aurifil Thread, Threadcutterz, The Quilter’s Planner, and Stephanie at Late Night Quilter! More detailed information about what EXACTLY you’ll be winning will be shared soon, but trust us—they’re gonna be great prize packages!!


For now, go ahead and grab your 2016 Quilter’s Planner and flip to the pattern (or buy the pattern HERE), reserve a Project Planner Page in your Quilter’s Planner for the Scrappy Picnic Plaid Sew-Along, and repost our graphic on Instagram announcing that you’ll be joining the fun! Please be sure to tag @thequiltersplanner and #QP2016SewAlong in every photo so that you can be entered into the running for the great giveaways along the way!

We are excited to sew along with you!


Have any questions about the sew-along? Email kitty@quiltersplanner.com and I’ll do my best to answer them promptly! Please keep in mind that we are full time mamas (with too many kids to count), so patience and kindness are appreciated! We are SO looking forward to sewing along and sharing inspiration with you!

Quilt Theory Debut – Ocean Path

quilt theoryIt’s finally time to share one of the big “secret sewing” projects I’ve been working on behind the scenes for the past few months! Those of you who are also on social media have most likely seen the announcement that I have teamed up with six (6) other pattern designers to launch a new company called Quilt Theory. Today is my day to introduce you to my pattern called Ocean Path, its inspiration and creation, and tell you a bit more about Quilt Theory. You also will have a chance to win a copy of my pattern, Quilt Theory coloring pages, and all of my Art Gallery Pure Elements scraps (enough to get you amply started on your very own Ocean Path Quilt) and Aurifil thread.

Ocean Path

ocean path quilt white brick quilt theoryFirst, I’d like to introduce you to Ocean Path, my contribution to the debut Quilt Theory pattern line. Our underlying theme for this first collection of patterns was “Where can your quilt take you?” since the designers that comprise Quilt Theory live all across the country.

ocean path quilt theory patternLiving in midcoast Maine, an ocean path felt like the perfect inspiration for my quilt. I wanted to embrace the simple beauty of nature while providing a pattern that could be adapted to fit any color scheme, style, or decor.

quilt theory ocean pathI should note here that the stunning photos included in this post were taken by Michelle Bartholomew all the way across the country in Washington state. Michelle is the mastermind behind Quilt Theory, a talented quilter and photographer, and I’m so grateful to be working with her!

ocean path quilt theory pattern
Oh, how it glows!

There’s something about the simple beauty of the ocean–the clean lines, soothingly subtle color play, and oh so much space to breathe that makes my heart happy–-and I aimed to captured it all in this simple yet striking pattern. I would like to think that you can take a stroll along the coast through the making of the Ocean Path quilt.

quilt theory ocean pathUsing simple construction from easily cut triangles and sashing, this quilt comes together in a breeze. Generous negative space provides room for intricate free motion quilting, or you could finish it with simple modern straight line quilting.

quilt theory ocean pathMany thanks to Art Gallery Fabrics for providing the beautifully soft Pure Elements fabric for this quilt. I used Tile Blue PE-418, Emerald PE-417, Ocean Waves PE-442, Warm Wave PE-464, and Mirage Blue PE-424 for the feature triangles. The background and sashing are Snow PE-433. The backing is Seawater NE-123 from Skopelos by Katarina Roccella, which is the absolute perfect fabric to back this design!

quilt theory ocean path urban in cashmereI quilted Ocean Path with echoing, organic triangles within each colored portion using 50wt Aurifil variegated 4654-Seamist. I quilted the bulk of the background with organic horizontal wavy lines with 50wt 2021-Natural White using the walking foot on my Bernina 560, and went a little wild and free motion quilted pebbles into all of the sashings between the triangles and drifting out into the wavy lines. It was one of those times that once I had the vision in my head, there was no turning back. I’m excited to report that it turned out pretty much the way I hoped! I did all of my piecing with 50wt Aurifil 2021-Natural White and 2600-Dove. Many thanks to Aurifil for providing the thread!

I think Ocean Path would look equally striking in many other color combinations–from fiery reds and oranges on a dark background, to the soothing calm of cool colors on a light background. I can’t wait to see your version!

quilt theory ocean pathAll of the Quilt Theory patterns are simple enough to be printed on 4″x6″ cards or a single page downloadable pdf. At only $3 each, they are perfect for gift giving or collecting, too!

About Quilt Theory

Let me tell you a bit more about the designers behind Quilt Theory.

Quilt Theory pattern mosaic
2016 collection of Quilt Theory patterns.

In February 2016, a group of quilters connected to cultivate relationships with others running businesses in the quilting industry. A tight-knit group was quickly woven together as we shared successes, answered questions, and supported one another. What started as a way to collect real-time insight and expertise quickly evolved into an opportunity to collaborate.

Our goal at Quilt Theory is to create simple and modern quilt patterns, and we challenged ourselves to design a line of patterns printed on small cards. As a group, we have become a strong team as we worked through pattern writing, testing, editing, and quilting.

Quilt Theory Designers (l to r): Cheryl Brickey-Meadowmist Designs, Daisy Aschehoug-Ants to Sugar, me!, Yvonne Fuchs-Quilting Jetgirl, Lorinda Davis-Laurel, Poppy and Pine, Stephanie Palmer-Late Night Quilter & The Quilter’s Planner, Michelle Bartholomew

Quilt Theory designers have been featured in 20+ major quilting publications and international quilt exhibits. Combined, we have 47 years of quilting experience, and we are excited to share our debut collection for Fall 2016.

How to buy or stock Quilt Theory patterns

You can buy either individual or a pattern collector’s package of PDF patterns through our Quilt Theory website right now! 

Pattern cards will be coming soon to a local quilt shop near you! If you are a quilt shop and want to carry our patterns, set up a wholesale account here, or order through Checker Distributors.

Want to buy the cards, but don’t own a quilt shop? Let your local quilt shop know you want them to carry Quilt Theory patterns (click for a handy note to send to your favorite local quilt shop!)

Now, for the Giveaway!

quilt-theory-ocean-path-4x6-kitty-front-01To celebrate the launch of Quilt Theory, I am giving away a copy of my pattern, Ocean Path (printed or PDF, your choice!) along with a PDF of all of the Quilt Theory Coloring Pages. I’m also including all of the fabric leftover from the making of my quilt, which contains enough fabric to get you amply started on your Ocean Path quilt, plus the rest of my large spool of color coordinating 50wt variegated Aurifil thread in 4654-Seamist.

To enter the giveaway today, tell me what color way you would use to create Ocean Path. Leave a comment and make sure I’m able to get ahold of you if you win.  For an additional entry, leave another comment telling me how you follow Night Quilter (email list, instagramfacebook, twitter, blog follower, etc.) Follow Quilt Theory (facebooktwitter, Instagram, etc.) and tell me how in a third comment for a third entry.

This giveaway is open to US and international participants.  The giveaway will be open until Sunday, October 16th, at midnight eastern time when I’ll select the winner randomly with random.org. Giveaway is open to participants 18 years or older. *If you buy my pattern and then you win it, I’ll refund you or let you pick out another free Quilt Theory pattern! This giveaway is now closed! A winner will be announced shortly!

Be sure to visit the rest of the Quilt Theory designers this week during our blog hop.

Quilt Theory Release Blog Hop Schedule

Friday 10/7 – Quilt Theory
Saturday 10/8 – Yvonne @Quilting Jetgirl
Monday 10/10 – Daisy @Ants to Sugar
Tuesday 10/11 – Cheryl @Meadow Mist Designs
Wednesday 10/12- Kitty @Night Quilter <—-You are here!
Thursday 10/13 – Michelle @Michelle Bartholomew
Friday 10/14 – Stephanie @Late Night Quilter
Saturday 10/15 – Lorinda @Laurel Poppy and Pine
Monday 10/17 – Quilt Theory

I’m linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts’ Finish it up Friday!

Farmer’s Wife Sew Along – Block 95 Sylvia Tutorial

Ahh, remember the Farmer’s Wife Sew Along!? Today is my day to share the Block 95 Sylvia tutorial for the 1930 Farmer’s Wife Sew Along, hosted by Angie at Gnome Angel and sponsored by Fat Quarter Shop and Marti Michell. Sure, I’m wildly behind on this sew along, but that’s totally ok! With my final deadlines being met within the next couple of weeks, I will have time to catch up a bit, chipping away at the missing blocks here and there. It’s all good! That’s part of what I love about Angie’s Sew Along–there’s no pressure. I’m making this quilt for me and I can take as long as I want to finish it!

farmers wife 95 sylvia tutorialEach of these Farmer’s Wife blocks manage to pack quite a punch in the little 6 1/2″ space. My method of attack when deciding how to piece each block has been consistent: how can I piece this with as little muss and fuss as possible? With Sylvia, at first I was thinking chain piecing would be the way to go, since it would help minimize the teeny tiny pieces in the inner borders I’d need to cut and sew. Looking at it more closely, I decided that with this block, even chain piecing would require piecing TINY bits, cutting, and then piecing again. Plus, sixteenths of an inch!? No thank you! Finally, I decided that foundation paper piecing was the way to go, since:

  • there aren’t any tricky joins,
  • the pieces are teeny enough that the foundation paper will be helpful in reducing wonkiness,
  • the block breaks into pretty manageable pieces, AND
  • all of the border pieces can be cut using a rotary cutter and ruler to decrease the paper removal at the end.

Those who know me know that I LOVE foundation paper piecing (FPP), and it’s true–I do! The precision one can get using FPP is unrivaled, and once the technique is mastered, it makes sewing teeny tiny pieces MUCH more manageable. I am not going to take you step by step through how to foundation paper piece, since I have  written two very clear tutorials already (why reinvent the wheel, right!?), but I will share some block-specific tips and tricks to help you piece Sylvia smoothly.

For those of you who do not know how to foundation paper piece, visit my Basic Foundation Paper Piecing tutorial here, as well as the Foundation Paper Piecing tutorial guest post I wrote for the Andover Fabrics blog here. Trust me, it is a technique worth practicing and mastering, since it opens a whole new world of sewing possibility!

Reflection on the Letter – In Spite of the Mortgage

Nearly every one of the letters in this book seems to talk to me in a very specific, seemingly personal way. After the first dozen times of reading a letter I shockingly thought was *meant for me*, I realized that all of the letters have a very widely applicable message and I was simply interpreting it in a way that worked for me at that moment. That said, I can completely relate to this letter!!

Sometimes it’s necessary to just head off on an adventure despite whatever chores, obligations, or need for frugality you have waiting for you at home. We did a lot of adventuring this summer, but like Mrs. A. M. from the letter, we were able to do it on a very tight budget, not paying for much more than gas money.  Day trips to beaches, mountains, playgrounds, and forested hikes abounded, and I was always sure to pack a picnic lunch, extra snacks from home, and full changes of clothes for all three kids (and myself)… just in case. It was a much needed change from the stay home and do chores days we could have had!


farmers wife 95 sylvia tutorialReady to get sewing? Make sure you have a grasp on how to foundation paper piece, and let’s make Sylvia!

Choosing Fabrics

farmers wife 95 sylvia tutorialAs soon as I saw this block, I knew that I wanted to meticulously cut the center square. I’m arranging my blocks on point, so be mindful of your own plans before meticulously cutting your fabric! (I call “fussy cutting” meticulous cutting, and you can read why here). In looking for a fabric with a perfect color scheme and feature design, I stumbled across my precious Heather Ross Far Far Away unicorns (Windham Fabrics). I added some solid blue from an old project, and some Lizzy House Twinkle Twinkle from her Whisper Palette (Andover Fabrics). While the colors are a bit more muted than my other blocks, I think they will all work together. Plus, this fabric combination was a match made in heaven… once it was together, there was no separating it!

Here are some general tips for foundation paper piecing:

  • Shorten your stitch length to 1.2 (if you are an absolute newbie at FPP, try 1.5 until you get the hang of it);
  • Hand crank your needle down at the beginning of each line to make sure you start off exactly where you want to;
  • Backstitch at the beginning and end of each line to secure your stitches (they will be much sturdier during paper removal this way); and,
  • Foundation paper piecing results in many trimmed thread ends. What better time to make yourself a thread catcher? Here’s a free tutorial on how to make the one I use.

To help you while you stitch up Sylvia, here are some block-specific tips for you with photos from my process.

Tip #1: How to make a fussy cutting template for FPP

Fussy cutting while foundation paper piecing can seem daunting, but with one extra step, it can be super easy! Simply create a fussy cutting planning template for the piece(s) you want to focus on. I go through making such template in detail in my FPP post for Andover here, but here are the basics: Print an extra sheet of paper containing the FPP template with the piece you want to fussy cut (printing on card stock will make the planning template sturdier).

farmers wife 95 sylvia tutorialMark the specific piece you want to meticulously cut. I went a little overboard on marking mine for the sake of clarity here. I circled the number but also traced just outside the line of the particular piece, both with bright pink sharpie. Simply circling the number would probably suffice!

farmers wife 95 sylvia tutorialCut out the center of the piece, creating a window that is exactly the size of the piece you want.

farmers wife 95 sylvia tutorialDraw a 3/8″ seam allowance around the window. I used a green micron pen for this example to ensure the line didn’t get confused with the printed lines on the paper.

farmers wife 95 sylvia tutorialCut along the line you drew.

farmers wife 95 sylvia tutorialYou should how have a planning template to help you cut your fabric for fussy cutting. Notice that I placed my planning template onto the fabric upside down. This is because in foundation paper piecing, we are sewing the block on the reverse side of the template. It did not matter too much for this particular piece, since it’s a square, but always be mindful of directionality of the fabric as well as wrong side-right side. If need be, mark your planning template with “right side up” or “wrong side up” so that your fabric is cut properly!

Tip # 2: Color code your foundation paper

farmers wife 95 sylvia tutorialBetween sewing the fabric on the reverse side of the paper, having the block broken into sometimes odd sections before sewing, and the many pieces involved in most foundation paper piecing patterns, it is in your best interest to color code your paper template before beginning to sew. This way, you can be sure you sew each fabric in the proper place.

Tip #3: Be generous with your fabric pieces

farmers wife 95 sylvia tutorialEspecially when first getting started with foundation paper piecing, one of the biggest tips I can offer is to be generous with your fabric pieces. It’s better to have to trim a bit more off than to be short and have to rip stitches! For my bright blue squares on Sylvia, I cut the fabric into 1 1/2″ squares, which as you can see includes ample overhang.

Tip #4: Use rotary cutter and ruler for rectangular shapes

farmers wife 95 sylvia tutorialThis tip goes for bag-making as well: just because there is a template created for a perfectly rectangular piece, it doesn’t mean you can’t use your rotary cutter and ruler! The outer pieces of Sylvia can be easily cut using a rotary cutter and ruler, which will save time with paper removal at the end. Since these pieces are not easily measured (let’s avoid using sixteenths of an inch if we can help it!) simply cut out the foundation paper piece templates and use them as a guide when rotary cutting. Use the foundation paper piecing method to piece the center portion, then add the D, E, H, and I rectangles using traditional piecing methods. Easy peasy!

farmers wife 95 sylvia tutorialAnd there you have it. Sylvia, in all her glory.

Thank you so much for joining me today and I hope you found this tutorial helpful!

Important Links

http://www.interweavestore.com/the-farmers-wife-1930s-sampler-quiltThe Farmer’s Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt: Inspiring Letters from Farm Women of the Great Depression and 99 Quilt Blocks That Honor Them by Laurie Aaron Hird for Fons & Porter/F+W; RRP $28.99 – Click here to purchase.


Down the Deadline Rabbit Hole & A Lesson in Organization

Hi! Remember me? I’m currently stuck down the deadline rabbit hole, but am very much looking forward to returning here. I am nearing the finish line for a couple more projects, and then I will have MUCH more time for slow, leisurely stitching and lots of sharing my projects and progress here.

The funny thing about the past few months, which have seemed filled to the brim with exciting, albiet deadlined projects, is that ALL of the projects were taken on in the span of one particularly ambitious-feeling week back in March or April. It was right when I was finishing the final touches on my first commissioned quilt, Kittens at Play, and I was feeling on top of the world, having knocked out a few big deadline projects. Within the span of a week, quite a few project opportunities presented themselves to me, and in my feeling of boundless ambition, I said yes. Then I said yes again. Then I said yes a couple more times. Do I regret it? Nah. There’s no sense in that, and the projects have been fun and exciting. But I certainly will learn from it, and by sharing my story here perhaps you can, too. The lesson? Know your limits.

Leanne from Devoted Quilter emailed me a few weeks back asking if I would be willing to participate in a blog post she was writing about staying organized. Last week, she posted her compilation post, filled with tips from some of her favorite quilters on how to stay organized with quilting.

12-tipsfororganizingyourquilting2*Spoiler alert* My tip for her was to know your limits. When every project is a priority with a quickly approaching deadline, it’s difficult to make a prioritized list and keep yourself organized. On normal weeks, the prioritized list I make in my Quilter’s Planner each week is my saving grace. You can head over to her blog to read more great tips for staying organized, and I look forward to joining you soon!

I couldn’t write a post without ANY photos, so here are a few quick photos I took along the walk to pick up my daughter from school today. Autumn is officially here in midcoast Maine!

birch trees maine october
The birch leaves are *just* beginning to turn.
queen annes lace winter weed autumn maine
Queen Anne’s Lace is fully seeded and ready for winter.
red maple leaves autumn maine
The maple trees are really putting on a fiery show!

How do you manage to stay within your limits even when presented with fun and exciting opportunities!? Clearly, I need some pointers!