Sunday, January 1, 2017

2017: resolutions and the word of the year. Interview with Natalie.

- Hi, Natalie. Happy New Year to you and all your family and friends! Wishing you all the best in 2017 and may all your best dreams come true!
-Thank you so much! Happy New Year to you too! Thank you for taking the time to interview me today, on the 1st day of the year 2017!
-My pleasure! Let's talk about your blog, your patterns, your business and about you, if you don't mind.
-No, I don't mind! Thanks for asking.
-You started your blog in 2010, is that correct?
-Yes, that's correct, Friday, August 13, 2010. I think it was the time, when reading and sharing blog posts became the most popular, I guess much more popular, than now. Even my Mother-in-law, who was 83 then, had her own blog! Seriously! She was posting pictures, stories and memories about her life and family. Several years before she passed away, she printed out several copies, pretty thick colorful books of her life story, written in her blog, and gave them to her kids, - very good way to save the precious memories, making a hard copy of the blog, priceless for descendants!
- Is your blog is also your life story?
- Not really. "Quiltessa. Patchwork palette" - the name of my blog, it's all about my passion to quilting. My nickname is Quiltessa. And here's the funny story about the second part - "Patchwork palette". This was the initial name of my blog, and I started it in Russian. When my husband once translated it from Russian, using Google or some other translator, we couldn't stop laughing: "Rag picker" - that's how it sounded! Terrible! So, later on I just changed it to what it is now, that's what was my initial idea! Patchwork palette is NOT the same as Rag picker!
- That's really funny! So, your blog is mostly about quilting and your hobby?
- Pretty much! I was always fascinated by the art. Never learned painting (my sister did!), but was always feeling some source of creativity in myself; always loved learning something new, always loved experimenting, never afraid of making mistakes, considering errors as a part of experience. I always loved sewing, since I was a little girl. I have a story in my blog, almost dramatic, about my first experience, using my mother's sewing machine, you might want to read it.  I was thinking about it many-many times, what if my mother punished me then or her reaction was opposite? Probably I would never love sewing that much! But she gave me an inspiration then, also helping and teaching me sewing, as well as knitting, crocheting and many more...
- Would you tell us a little more about yourself, please.
- Sure. My name is Natalie, born in Russia, just in between Moscow and St.Petersburg; nested in Ukraine at the age of 3, when my parents moved to the very South of Ukraine;
graduated from school at the year, when the Olympic games in Moscow took place. Then studied for 5 years in the institute, studying French and English to become a school teacher. Married and gave birth to two boys;
 Divorced after 5 years of not very successful marriage, right before the Soviet Union collapsed.
My Mom was elementary school teacher; she helped me a lot with my boys in their early age. She was a strong person, very well educated, very good teacher and a good person.
Unfortunately, it didn't last long. I lost my both parents in 90s.

- How old were your parents, when they passed away?
- Well, my dad died at the age of 57 after the complications of the terrible road accident. Mother lived another 4 years, and then she died, when reached the same age. They both left us too early....
- Sorry for your early loss, Natalie.
- Thank you.
- So, what happened later, when your kids grew up?
- Well, I was transplanted to USA at the age of 40 and rooted in Tennessee after being happily married in 2004.
- What is you husband's name?
- His name is Hugh. We met in France in spring 2004; then he came to visit me in Ukraine and on August 29, 2004 my feet first stepped on the American land, which became my new home!
- Have you married soon after your arrival?
- Yes, I had a fiancee visa and 90 days to decide, either I wanted to get married and stay here or leave the country after that term. We didn't hesitate and married soon, on September 16! Woo-hoo!!
- Did you like the USA?
- Well, yes! Totally new world for me! My husband's family was so friendly to me since first I met them, everybody were so welcoming and kind to me, very nice, so I felt like my family was restored again. 90s were so cruel: Soviet Union collapsed; early divorce, both of my parents died, my ant and both uncles also passed away, I raised my sons on my own and that was not easy in the early years of independency of Ukraine. So, the family I married here, changed my and my sons' life a lot!
- Was it hard to adjust to this new life for you?
- It wouldn't be truth, if I say no. In the very beginning it was really hard for me to understand the people, even my husband! Being an English teacher in Ukraine evidently has nothing to do with being an american resident, especially in the South. The accent was so different from what we learned at school, and so hard to understand, so, most of the time I was just smiling and pretending to participate the conversation. Every time when they start talking, I miss the first part, containing unknown to me common names or places, which made me then so easy to lose the thread. And it's hard to be a dummy!
- How long did it take you to adjust?
- Oh, I don't know, maybe 2-3 years, maybe more... I am comfortable with listening to the radio or watching TV,  the language is pretty clear and easy to understand most of the time, but even now, I still have trouble understanding some people. I hate talking on the phone, by the way! I don't have many people around, I am staying at home most of the time, I am not practicing enough, yes, I am listening a lot, but this is not enough, you need to be involved in conversation, - that's how you gain your experience, which I never have enough.  But I am trying to improve my language. I have lots of friends on Facebook, running my own store and my Etsy store "Quiltessence", which gives me a good chance to communicate with my customers, polishing my skills.
- Your earlier blog posts are in your native language. Why did you decide to change it?
-Yes, I used to write my blog posts in Russian, but since last year I changed the tune and started posting in English only (almost), it also helps me a lot to improve my language, I need more practice!
- I see. I know you also design your own patterns, do you sell them?
- Yes, you can find them in my Craftsy pattern store "Quiltessa Natalie". I started designing in 2015 and was very excited with this brand new business for me. As I said before, I am always full of ideas, but never have enough time to make all those projects, I have in my head. I am trying to keep records of all my inventions and projects, but it doesn't really help! One day I over sudden realized: when I die, all my ideas and undone projects will die with me! That's not fair! I always hear from my family and friend, who often receive my handmade gifts:  "You need to make patterns! You need to sell them!" So I did! I started learning "how to"! Maybe not top notch yet, but I am trying to do my best and I am improving myself.
By the way, the word of this year for me would be IMPROVEMENT. Not only for patterns and my business, this will be applied to many other things, which need to be improved in my house, in my sewing room, in my garden, in my relationship, in my head etc...
- Sounds good! Wishing you good luck! And may all your improvements come true!
- Oh, thank you so much! I will be working hard on them! Thanks for taking this interview! Will be glad to talk to you again! Have a happy and productive year!
- Thanks! The same to you!