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A NEW WAY TO MAKE OLD TREASURES
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Brandy Update on 12/14/2005. Brandy's first self-produced video is posted on her web site. This video is a 20 minute how-to on using Mylar Pieces Hexagons to make the traditional Grandmother's Flower Garden. More videos are planned for the future in an effort to make quilting more fun and enjoyable for all.
At the request of many friends, Brandy designed the Beyond Circle Magic template & pattern to be much larger than the original Circle Magic. This gives more room in the center for embroidery, fussy-cutting, redwork, or other embellishments and included with the template are instructions for the Exaggerated 9-patch center and a 2nd template that makes completing the pattern along the edges quick and easy.
Update on 08/09/2005. Brandy has recorded three segments for QNN. www.quiltersnewsnetwork.com
The segments highlight the Grandmother's Flower Garden pattern using Mylar Pieces foundation templates, Circle Magic book and template combination to make the Rob Peter to Pay Paul pattern the easy way, and the Half-Square Triangle Whiz Kid guide to make quick and accurate Half-Square Triangles.
Update on 10/17/2004. Brandy has been a guest on some popular television quilting programs.
America Sews & America Quilts Creatively with Sue Hausmann & Karen Good.
Kaye's Quilting Friends with Kaye Woods.
In addition, Nancy Ziemann has featured the Circle Magic in one of her programs.
In August of 2002 Brandy & Charles purchased property near Amity, Arkansas including a workshop building.  Charles moved to Arkansas to renovate the building while Brandy continued to run the business in Fort Worth, Texas.
On October 1, 2002 Brandy's was in full operation at the new facility.  With the increased space and purchase of new equipment, Brandy's promises to continue providing quality, innovative products to the quilting community.
Some of Brandy's origional hexagons Here are some of Brandy's origional hexagons and diamonds. We found them in a box after moving to Arkansas while looking for something else. As you can see, some are cut from gallon milk jugs, one from the lid of a plastic bucket of cream filled puff pastries, and the one on the right was cut from the lid of a Cool Whip container.
She made them to get the points on a Grandmother's Flower Garden to come together. The holes are close to the edge (these are 2" hexagons) because the hand hole punch would not reach to the center of the shape. These first foundation templates were close to the same size and had to be carefully trimmed to fit correctly. Once trimmed, they worked well.
We've come a long way from the paper template taped to a milk jug and cut out with either an X-acto knife or kitchen scissors to the LASER cutters we use today. Who would have thought that mis-aligned points would lead to this.
Peggy (Brandy) has been quilting full-time since 1989. In that time she has made over 300 quilts. She was commissioned to make the Pizza Hut T-shirt quilt that now hangs in Louisiana. The Trinty Valley Quilter's Guild of Fort Worth, Texas honored her by electing her Quilt Show Chairman in 1990. Quilts made by Peggy have been exhibited in Dallas at the West End Arts District. She currently travel's lecturing and giving classes for quilt guilds while designing templates and patterns to keep the quilting tradition alive for future generations.
Brandy's featured in local business section of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram
New approach to old craft  /  Woman weaves quilt-making aids into successful business
By Geoffrey A. Campbell, a freelance writer in Fort Worth
from the PROFILES IN ENTERPRISE column
December 28, 1998 Fort Worth Star-Telegram
FORT WORTH -- Peggy "Brandy" Stell had been working for a local school system as an interpreter for the deaf when she took a few classes and learned how to quilt.
   She eventually left her job and in 1989 began "quilting for the public," producing during her first several years in business roughly 200 quilts. "That was fun for a while," Stell says. "But I went to a lot of craft shows, and that ended up being work. I wanted it to be fun."
   Stell came across a solution to her quandry when troubling over a quilt template she had purchased.
   "I just couldn't do it." she says. "I had to figure out my own way."
   She decided to build an acrylic template that she found easier to use. She began to sell templates and patterns, and "did well with that."
   Today, Stell's company, Brandy's, focuses on templates and patterns.
   Shortly after developing an acrylic template, Stell began a long search for a similar material that would withstand hot temperatures. "Many women like to iron as they go," Stell says of quilters, "so I couldn't use plastic because that'll melt. I had to find something that wouldn't melt."
   Stell eventually settled on templates made of Mylar, a polyester film. Mylar is a registered trademark of Du Pont. Stell says that after developing the new templates her business "just went wild. It was like, wow, an overnight success, almost."
   Stell says her quilt-making aids offer "a new way to make old treasures," and says she has not invented anything new. "I just invented a new way of doing it," she says. "That's what's new."
   Marty Asdorian, a counselor with the Service Corps of Retired Executives, says product innovations do not have to be drastic - or even substantive - to be effective. He notes that the first mass-produced automobiles were all black, for example.    There's no reason for cars not be all black today except that someone decided they might sell more cars if they had different colors," he says.
   Although quilting is an old craft, Stell has taken a modern approach to running her business. She has a page on the Internet at
www.flash.net/~brandys1(now brandysquiltpatterns.com), and she has a video coming out that will be available in mid-January.
   Stell's page has links to other quilting pages on the Web, evidence, she says, of the collegial nature of the craft.
   "Quilting has always been sharing," Stell says. "That's the spirit of quilting. It's not really competition so much because none of us has exactly the same thing and everyone goes about it in a different way."
   Stell's video, titled "This and That," was based on a home video Stell made with the help of her husband, Charles. She would use the video in her booth at quilt shows when she needed a break, and found herself flooded with requests for the tape.
   "People would ask if they could buy it, and I would say, 'No, but I need to think about this,'" she says. After a recent quilt show in Houston, where she received many requests for the tape, Stell decided to "get busy" on a video.
   She now has distributors for her products, and her goods are sold at more than 100 quilt stores nationally.
   But perhaps the biggest sign of her success came when she started getting requests for her autograph. "It's a real ego booster," she says.
TRADE SECRETS
   According to Peggy Stell, owner of Brandy's, the craft of quilting has always been centered around sharing. She says her business provides a case in point.
   "I've had a lot of help along the way," she says, ranging from printers to a tailor and clothing pattern maker. "Even other quilt designers have been very helpful. They're more than willing to tell you how they did something."
   In keeping with that collegial spirit, Stell says she does not charge much for her products. "That's one of the things I think has helped me to be a success," she says. "My dad was in the upholstery business and he said that if you're honest with people, they'll let others know about you."
   She says she has received the most help from her husband, Charles, "He does all the computer work, all the artwork, and if it wasn't for him, I couldn't do this. And he always encourages me."
   Another key to success, Stell says, is name recognition. She is involved in area quilter's guilds, travels extensively to lecture and teach classes, and is linked with other quilting pages on the Internet. "All that gets more people to know you're there." she says.

COMPANY:  Brandy's, 4901 Locke Ave., Fort Worth
OWNER:  Peggy Stell
PRODUCTS:  Patterns and templates for quilters
NOTE:  Brandy's moved to Amity, AR in October, 2001 to set up a small factory.  The response to Brandy's ideas to make things easier has been gratifying.  We have had to purchase three more laser cutters to keep up with the demand.  The added capacity has allowed us to offer custom templates to individuals in both acrylic and mylar.
Brandy is assisted by Charles; husband, webmaster (yes, I'm responsible for this mess; mea culpa), building maintenance, etc.
If I've done anything really horrible, let me know and I'll try to make it right.
Send nastygram to Charles