Please Remember Me for Instructional Design and Curriculum Development

So here we are, the first Monday of the month, on March 2nd. How’s it going? I have stayed busy all day with one task or another, but managed to get here before too late this evening, for a change. My tasks today were mostly along the lines of my favorite career path: educational services that include instructional design and curriculum development.




That also fits in with the 30 Day Blogging Challenge challenge for today:

Create a list of keywords I would like people to remember

when they think of me and what I offer for professional services.

This will be a bit of a repeat of yesterday’s post on how I got from “there” to “here”–but my freelance career really has grown and gone through transitions since early 2008. I began with writing paid blog posts at less than one cent per word for some clients, because I didn’t know any better back then. I progressed to writing articles for a variety of “content mills” for $10 to $25 per article of 400 to 500 words, and eventually acquired some early instructional design and course writing jobs paying about $25/hour.  Each step was an advancement and taught me the importance of ongoing education and gaining experience.

Most recently, as I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I have begun earning between $25 to $30 or more per hour, or thousands of dollars per project, in the fields of instructional design and curriculum development. This is definitely a career area I want to continue to pursue, because it fits well with my ongoing doctoral studies and my anticipated professional career focus after I become Dr. K. Lee Banks. Hopefully, it will also bring me comfortably into retirement and beyond, with ongoing freelance and telecommuting opportunities.

So what about you? Do you work from home? Do you have some keywords you believe describe you and your career that you want people to associate with you?

March Motivation Modification and the 30 Day Blogging Challenge

Happy March 1st (well, it has crept into March 2nd here in Maine!) I apologize for my disappearance from the blogosphere. Life and its various demands and obligations called me away, as I needed to prioritize. March is my birthday month, though, and one thing I want to make time for beginning NOW is getting back into blogging.

It’s about modifying some behaviors and reigniting my motivation to blog consistently. One way I decided to do this is by using the writing prompts from a “new to me” challenge called the 30 Day Blogging Challenge.



So one of the ideas was to share “the story of me and how I got into this freelance career.”  It has been awhile, I think, since I mentioned this. It’s actually a timely topic, because I am just embarking on my 8th year as a professional freelance writer and educational consultant.

I would have to back all the way up to about junior high school (MANY years ago!) when I first realized I loved to write. That passion for writing stayed with me all the way through college (the first time around, between 1976-1980), into the years I was married and raised and homeschooled four children.

Then, when I had an opportunity to go back to school and pursue graduate degrees, I found I enjoyed writing, research, and ongoing studies even more. Funny thing is, I never thought of writing as a career path until I “came home” to work back in February 2008. This was after a short-lived career as a speech-developmental therapist, which I thoroughly enjoyed, but what began as a nearby office therapist position became a traveling therapist position of 350+ miles/week. It was too much for me to handle, due to some health issues, as well as the sometimes dangerous winter travel on back roads here in Maine!

Working away every day! [Source: morgueFile free photos]

Working from home every day!
[Source: morgueFile free photos]

I’m actually not sure when it dawned on me that I could write for a living, but eventually I discovered a whole new world of freelance and telecommute opportunities.  Over these past several years, I have added an M.Ed. degree and have attained doctoral candidacy with my Ed.D.-ABD (All But Dissertation) status. I am now offering writing and educational consultant services. These include such specialized writing services as course and assessment writing, and curriculum development.


I have also stopped settling for pitiful minimal pay–we’re talking less than 1 cent per word or less than the equivalent of minimum wage–from clients and companies that, honestly, take advantage of freelance writers. Now, depending on the client or company, I often receive as much as $25 to $30/hour or thousands of dollars per project. I have found that the more education and experience I gain, the better my opportunities are. I’m looking forward to achieving my ultimate goal of becoming Dr. K. Lee Banks, hopefully by 2016, and seeing what new career doors will open to me.


So there you go – “the story of me and how I got into this freelance career.” 🙂


What about you? Do you write for a living or just for fun? Do you have a job outside the home? Have you thought about pursuing additional education or training to improve your career opportunities?


Wordle Wednesday – About My Dissertation

If you have been reading and following my blog posts this month – yay for post #14 on the 14th – you know I’ve been following the Ultimate Blog Challenge daily writing prompts.

Today’s idea was to review a book or movie, but since I haven’t had much time recently to read books or watch movies, I’m making a slight departure from that routine–and making this “Wordle Wednesday” as well as following the Women with Intention Wednesday linkup.

wordle-dissertationMy Dissertation Wordle

One of the recent popular trends to convey information in an image format is the infographic. With declining attention spans and the desire to scan information quickly, the infographic addresses both issues by presenting a variety of details in a visually pleasing format. The wordle may not legitimately be an infographic, but it does convert a block of text into a collage of words.

In this example above, I have taken a portion of text from the intro of my Concept Paper (initial draft preceding the dissertation) and entered it into the wordle online tool.

This is actually a revised version of some of that original text:

Educational research indicates adult students in the e-learning environment prefer significant learning experiences and engaging interactive lessons (Abdelaziz, 2013; Barrett, 2012). Adult online learners of the ages 25 and above do not want to simply read text or be passive recipients listening to lectures by instructors (Abdelaziz, 2013; Cercone, 2008; Wyatt, 2011). Instead, adult online learners prefer fulfilling learning objectives and meeting designated outcomes in their courses through active participation and a student-centered approach toward learning that would help them meet their academic goals as well as have real-world applications (Cercone, 2008; Dzubinski, Hentz, Davis, & Nicolaides, 2012).


I can’t really explain how or why the wordle tool selects, arranges, and emphasizes certain words over others, but it does create an interesting visual representation or “word cloud” of any section of text you enter.

Women with Intention Wednesday

My special message to women in this linkup (and any other adult learners, for that matter) is that it’s never too late to expand your horizons and learn something new. Not only that, but if you decide to pursue a degree that you may have put off while raising a family–chances are you will be a better student NOW than you were or would have been when you were younger.


For instance, I went to college the first time right after graduation, and attended while I was in the age range of 18 to 22. I was NOT a good student -just average, as I had a much better time socializing than studying.


I went BACK to school in my mid 40s; I earned my M.Ed. degree, with a 4.0 GPA, at the age of 50. Now, as I am fast approaching 60 (well, 57 in March), I am a doctoral candidate, still maintaining a 4.0 GPA, in my Ed.D. program. And at a time when many people begin anticipating retirement, I’m just now anticipating a new career that will hopefully serve me well into retirement, as I continue working from home.




My Questions for YOU, Dear Reader

Have you ever tried the wordle tool? Do you like infographics better than just reading text? Are you involved in higher education now or have you thought about going back to school?


The Quiltmaking Process

Yes, I realize this is NOT my K-Lee’s Kreations blog–but since I’m still working on updating that blog and K-Lee’s Kreations is my other business…I’m cross-posting. 😉


Me, K. Lee, working on a quilt

Me, K. Lee, working on a quilt.


The suggestion for Day 13 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge is this idea:

Day 13: Process

Every niche or market has its own process.

What process do you do differently

that you can share with your readers?


Well, I’ve already discussed my process of “kreating” my imprinted photos, so this time, I thought I’d briefly discuss and show with pictures the process of how pieces of fabric end up as a completed quilt.

My Quiltmaking Process

First, I choose (or a customer chooses) a quilt design. For the purposes of this post, the design is called Trip Around the World, featuring a radiating  pattern from the center of the quilt.


Trip Around the World Quilt I made for a customer.

Trip Around the World Quilt I made for a customer.


Next, based on colors chosen, I purchase fabric (or check my fabric stash) and prepare to cut them into 4 1/2- or 5 1/2-inch strips across the width of the fabric (depending on the size of the quilt).


My quilt fabric.

My quilt fabric.


Then, if I use imprinted photos (as in this case), I decide on placement (or the customer lets me know).


Imprinted photos for this quilt.

Imprinted photos for this quilt.


Then I cut each fabric strip into the number of squares I need.


Cutting fabric into squares.

Cutting fabric into squares.


Then I stack them up by color.


My stack of squares.

My stack of squares.


Next, I arrange them into the Trip Around the World pattern.


I arrange the fabric and imprinted photos.

I arrange the fabric and imprinted photos.


Then I stack them up by rows and bring them to my sewing machine.


My stacked quilt squares.

My stacked quilt squares.


After I sew the squares together into rows, I press all the seams, then sew the rows into a quilt top and add the border. Then after measuring the top, I calculate the number of squares I’ll need for the backing and repeat the process I used for making the quilt top.


Backing for my quilt.

Backing for my quilt.


Finally, I layer the backing wrong side up, the batting, and then the quilt top right side up. I pin all the layers, then hand-tie it using a curved needle and Perle floss. My hubby often helps me do this part, because I’ve developed bone spurs in my arthritic right thumb.  🙁

Hand tying my quilt.

Hand tying my quilt.


Finally, I wrap the backing around to the front, pin it down to form the binding, and sew around the outer edges to catch in the binding.


This is a collage showing some of the steps in the quiltmaking process.

Collage showing some of the steps in the process.

Collage showing some of the steps in the process.


Flynn Quilting System

So that’s my standard quiltmaking process, for now, at least. I’m hoping to get my quilting system set up and start using that to finish quilts, instead of hand tying them. This is the system I have, from John Flynn. If you’re interested, check out his video where he shows how to use it (or just skim through it if you want to catch the main idea).



Questions for YOU, Dear Reader

If you don’t quilt, were you aware of all these steps? If you do quilt, is this similar to your quiltmaking process?


Inventions of the Fabric Variety

Here we are, day 12 of 2015–almost halfway through the month of January already! Did anyone else lose track of nearly two weeks??


My own design: Window Scenes Wall Quilt

My own design: Window Scenes Wall Quilt

And today’s Ultimate Blog Challenge blogging idea was this:

Day 12: Shark Tank Day

If you were to invent something or have a business idea

to present on the TV show Shark Tank,

what would it be? 

Well, honestly, I don’t think any of my inventions of the fabric variety are worthy of Shark Tank, but I do have a few ideas for new products, or variations of products. Some I’ve only made into prototypes so far (only one of each design that I’ve ever made at this point), while others are still merely ideas or rough sketches.

One idea is the “Window Scenes” wall quilt in the picture above. I have long admired the attic window quilt block, similar to what I used to make this wall quilt maybe 20 years ago (although this is more of a log cabin block variation):

Attic window/log cabin variation wall quilt.

Attic window/log cabin variation wall quilt.


Anyway, I decided to modify it a bit and go for the look of peering out a window. I had a fabric panel depicting horses engaged in various activities. I used that as the “scene” and then created the “window” over and around it, complete with curtains! This prototype was one I originally made for my oldest daughter who at that time lived in a small apartment in Boston while going to school. She’s an avid equestrian, so I thought she would enjoy having country scenery of her beloved horses out of a faux window in the middle of Boston.


Since then, I’ve wanted to create some  with a variety of typical outdoor scenery based on themes (such as butterflies, cows, sheep, mountain, lake or ocean), as well as seasonal themes (such as fall leaves, winter snowflakes and snowmen, spring and summer flowers).  I could also  make use of my imprinting process to create my own scenes for each window frame.


Another more recent idea is my log cabin photo blocks, such as those I assembled into this quilt and pillows:


Log cabin photo quilt and pillows.

Log cabin photo quilt and pillows.


I also have numerous ideas about adding entire lines to my products featuring the photography of different people who have given me permission to use their photos; the collections will be named after them, with proper attributions and links to their respective blogs or sites.


Then I have ideas for my own K-Lee’s Kollectibles, which will be an assortment of ready-to-buy items, to supplement and/or complement my current custom orders. I’ve noticed how many views I get of certain items at both Etsy and Bonanza, and I’ve also received inquiries from people about buying items outright. So I think 2015 is the year I’ll add some of these items to my online sites!


These are my ideas of the types of designs and items I want to include in my K-Lee’s Kollectibles for ready-to-buy items that would feature my own photography or quilt blocks in place of the photos.


K-Lee's Kollectibles Bag Designs

K-Lee’s Kollectibles Bag Designs

K-Lee's Kollectibles Pillow Designs

K-Lee’s Kollectibles Pillow Designs


K-Lee's Kollectibles Wall Quilt Designs

K-Lee’s Kollectibles Wall Quilt Designs

K-Lee's Kollectibles Quilt & Pillow Set Designs

K-Lee’s Kollectibles Quilt & Pillow Set Designs





So what do you think? Probably not “Shark Tank” worthy, but I’m excited about watching my ideas take shape in physical form!



How about you? Have you even designed or  invented anything? Do you have ideas for designs or inventions?

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