Thursday, April 27, 2017

Paducah 2017 - Day One

I remember the days of travel when you had to hook up your computer in the hotel room with a cable. Half of the time it didn't work and it was a pain. That was many many years ago.

Now you just hook up to the wireless and things are good.  However, when I went to connect, I thought we had to pay and I refuse to pay a crazy amount for the internet, but there is free internet in the lobby.  Had to get dressed and zip down to the lobby to do what I needed to get done. Over to the breakfast place where I couldn't seem to get the internet, but there I'm sitting with a computer, an iPad and my cell phone and I needed all of them for what I needed to get done.  Total craziness!

Then I realized that we didn't have to pay for the internet in our rooms so now I'm still sitting in bed as I write this! I love technology!

Thank goodness hotels are learning that we have devices that need to be charged. I have a veritable charging station beside my bed. The lamp has a regular plug plus two USB outlets. I have two iPads to keep charged, my phone and I'm charging a new little camera that I bought. More on that another day. Thankfully the laptop doesn't need charging at the moment. I only have one cord for the two iPads, so must make sure that one is charged before bed and the other gets charged in the morning.

I had a good breakfast - that is the key when attending these shows. If I don't have breakfast - well, it's not pretty. If you've ever been to Paducah, our booth is in the dome.Which is much brighter and nicer than being in the basement of the convention center where we were last year. Although it's not as easy to pop out and see the quilts because they are in a different building. And I think we might have rain the next couple of days which will make it less fun to run from building to building.

That's OK and it might just save me some money!.

Our booth is decked out in Stars and Stripes fabric and our little giveaway is stars and stripes. Oh yes, I can now share the items I made but I can't upload the pictures. I must make sure to take those photos today. It's been fun to meet up with a few Canadians, some I know, some I don't. The more we do these shows, the more people you get to meet and they know you and you know them. In particular the vendors, but some of the quilters as well.

There is a quilt display right in front of us by Victoria Findlay Wolfe. The quilt directly in front of us is HUGE. It's 9 feet tall and 30 feet long. Imagine binding that one!  It was made for an art installation in New York City and I believe is going to hang in the lobby of Simplicity.  I had a little chat with Victoria. She is a very friendly person.   But for the life of me, I keep calling her Virginia!  I was chatting with someone else later who had attended Victoria's lecture and apparently I'm not the only one as she made mention of it in her slide presentation. No - she even had a slide - my name is Victoria, NOT Virginia.  Isn't that funny why we're all making that same mistake.

We have a one hour time change here and I'm not sure if that is affecting me or what. I was exhausted last night. We were in the restaurant and I had to leave. I needed to get to bed. The National Quilt Museum was open all night - it's still open and we had plans to go, but I couldn't. I came back to the hotel and I was trying to figure out how to charge my camera and my brain just shut down and I was out like a light!

I figured it out this morning - I had put the battery in backward. And it even mentions that in the online manual.  Now here's the thing - why make the stupid battery so that it can be inserted two different ways?   Make it fit only one way.  ah - that would be too simple.

So last night for dinner, we decided to walk to Fat Ed's which is just down the street about three blocks. Once we got seated, we noticed that the sky wasn't looking too friendly outside and sure enough there was lightning and thunder and torrential downpour. Hmmm - it's only three blocks back, but we're going to get soaked. After a couple of drinks - I didn't even have a beer as I knew it would put me out even faster, but I couldn't hold on to full alertness!  Thankfully by the time we left, the torrential downpour had subsided somewhat, but it was still raining and the puddles on the street - well my shoes got a bit wet. But not too wet. There was a HUGE flash of lightning as we were racing along the street and Patti is ducking down so that I'm the tallest figure running down the street. We had a good laugh over that one. I told her she would have to come out of retirement to replace me if I got zapped!

Anyway, I did have a good sleep, but I must remember to bring in a quilt from the car.  There isn't enough weight in the bedding to keep me comfy.  I like a heavy duvet on my bed and this one is pretty skimpy. But there are two quilts in the car that I could use and I've got to remember to bring them in tonight.

I guess I had better check on my farm of charging devices to see who needs more time. And I'll be able to have breakfast in peace and quiet with NO electronics by my side!

I did get out for a bit yesterday and chatted to a number of people, checked out the vendors. So many cool and interesting things, but I don't need anything! But I did find a couple of interesting things (not fabric) that I might just have to buy today!

Have a super day!


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Travel day - again!

There was ZERO time for blogging yesterday.  It was a travel day.  I could confuse you all and I think I did when I posted the picture of arriving in Nashville. Yes – Nashville, Tennessee.  Is there a quilt show in Nashville?  Perhaps at some time, but not now!

It was a bizarre travel day – so many silly things.  I had completed all my projects the night before. How?  No idea, but every one of them got done. I still had the bindings to sew on two small projects but at this point, I can live with that!

I had to get to the airport a tad earlier than usual as we had to drive someone else to the airport who also had an 8 AM flight and was a bit nervous about getting there on time. Bottom line, I arrived ONE full hour before the flight was to leave. That is UNHEARD of at our house!  And not because we’re in a mad rush, no – there is no sense to get there super early.  I have a NEXUS card, I never check luggage and you can do your check-in online.  I didn’t make it to Tim’s line but that’s OK.

Patti arrived and we chatted. I should have stitched on that binding, but I didn’t.  Anyway, after ½ hour, we find that our flight is now delayed by a half hour. The flight attendant is stuck in US customs. Seriously?  They can’t expedite her through the line? Then the flight got delayed until 8:45. Still no flight attendant.

At last, we were able to board the plane which is a little jet with zero room on board so all rolling bags had to be sky checked. And it’s raining outside. Now we are on the plane, our luggage is outside and guess what? There is no ground crew to load the luggage. That luggage must have sat outside in the rain for at least 45 minutes.  I know – what the heck was going on? Based on all the airline issues lately, I was tempted to take a picture and post it, but I was on the opposite side of the plane. So this time, I was smart and I pulled out one of the mini-quilts. 16” inches square. 

At last the flight attendant is with us and the ground crew is with us, the plane is finished loading and we are good to go.  I’m still stitching. We must have taxied on EVERY runway and every slide road in that airport. Do you know that I managed to finish up the stitching just as the plane was taking off?  And you know how slow I am at blinding. We left at 10 AM!!!  A full two hours late.  GRRRRR!

Turns out there was some sort of lock down?  In customs and for the ground crew?  Seriously???   Air Canada – that was not good timing. I don’t know why we had to sit on that plane and our luggage sat in the pouring rain for so long. My bag was on the second shelf and my stuff was wet inside!

We arrived without further ado in Nashville. Not after we oohed and aahed over the HUGE homes that we could see from the air.  I wonder which one was Carrie Underwoods?

Patti and I got in the rental car and I got out the GPS so we could arrive at our destination. I plugged the address in before the GPS connected and almost had a heart attack. Over 1,000 KM to our destination. What?  NO WAY!  I plugged in a different address and same thing.  Then Patti had the brilliant idea that the GPS was NOT registering our current location – it was thinking I was back home. DUH!  She was right! Let's just say that a thousand thoughts went through my head before we figured out the problem!

We exited the parking garage and there were a few cars waiting there as their GPS clicked in. We did the same thing and within a few minutes – we were good.  AH – a two-hour drive to Paducah.  The countryside is beautiful here and everything is in full leaf!

A quick stop for a bite to eat and we were on our way again. But not before we had to get to the hotel to pick up the boxes that were shipped to me. Then to the dome where our booth is.   It took us a couple of hours to get everything set up – a few more SNAFUs along the way. Let’s just say that a quick last minute intuition on my part when I packed our boxes to ship saved our bacon and we could hang our quilts.  Each show is a learning experience, to say the least!  But we’re in the dome which is one of those inflatable spaces so there is an air lock when entering.  One door has to be closed before the other is open – I feel like an astronaut!

Oh, I should mention that I’m NOT in Kentucky as I write this. We know that Paducah is in Kentucky – right?  Well, I’m in Illinois and have to travel back to Paducah for the show.  No worries – we’re just on the opposite side of the river – the river being the border between the two states.  I’m in Metropolis, home of Superman and Harrah’s Casino which is where I’m staying!!!

On that note, I need to get out of here. A lot to do this morning and I don’t have easy access to the internet. Free WI-FI in the lobby so I'm in the lobby of the casino.  There appears to be a lot of quilters staying here.  Does that mean there will be a good attendance at the show since all the hotels in Paducah are full??

Have a great day!!!


Monday, April 24, 2017

Motivational Monday - That was a marathon!

Whew - who knew you could get so much done in ONE day when you're super focused?

I started off with completed the remaining 7 sections of flying geese.  I had some of the units done while I was on the retreat, but I had to change some of the colors so those had to be remade.  I even had to change one more color when the pieces were together as I found it was a tad too dark!

In the back of my mind was a niggling thought that I might not have enough fabric.  OH MY GOD - that's what happens when you don't bother to measure - you just cut off a whack. Or maybe I did measure, but then I used some of the fabric to make extra flying geese units and well - let's just say that I had to use a bit of creative piecing in order to get the top together. Contingency plans were flying through my head as the day progressed.  Could I introduce another fabric?  You know how it is with different dye lots - they are NOT the same. AT ALL!!!  The binding came from a different dye lot and you can't tell!

But I managed to get the entire quilt top together. Next up was to load it on the longarm and then big decision on how to quilt it. That took all of a few minutes and I was off. Customer quilted and I'm happy to report that I kept the density pretty much even all the way through (not heavy) and it was fun.  I even quilted my initials into the top in several places, but I doubt you'll ever find them. It was almost quilted by dinner time. The sleeve went on and it's even hand stitched in place - did that while I watched a smidgen of the hockey game. The binding got put on - both sides and in one day, I essentially pieced, quilted and bound (with a sleeve) a lap sized quilt. How?  I've no idea!

Wait!  There's more!  I also managed to get the inner border on four of my blocks from the night before. Two of them are NOT getting borders - they will remain as a raw block. Then I got the outer border on two of the items, made zippered backings for them and they are now two cushion covers.

The remaining two items will become small wall hangings. One of them has the outer border on with mitered corners (matching no less) and the last one needs a border. Today's task is to get that last border on and get both items quilted and bound. I'll likely bind them by hand on the plane!   I'll need some down time after this!

There is ONE more item that I would like to get done and there might be time - not sure!

I did manage to take a lunch break, a dinner break and an afternoon break in which I spent some time in the backyard with the girls, soaking up the sun!  It was glorious and wish I could have spent more time, but alas - that wasn't to be!

Now there is a HUGE lesson in this.  Oh yes - HUGE!!!  While I'm away, I'm making a  list of ALL the items that need to be done for upcoming magazines, consumer shows, quilt challenges and anything else that I would like to have done with a deadline. The deadline will be listed beside each item and then The Task Master and I will have a good session as I put those items in the book. I'm good at writing things in the Task Master and I'm good at getting them done - what I'm NOT good at is PRIORITIZING the items that need to go in the book.

And at some point, I would say that perhaps I'm NOT good at committing. Or should I rephrase that, I'm TOO good at committing and do I have enough time to actually get things done?

I did take pictures because when push comes to shove - well, let's just say that I pushed and shoved and all of a sudden, I had a super clean cutting mat and ironing board!  Hopefully, tonight won't be so pressured and I'll be able to get some photos edited.

Oh boy - I HATE learning by experience!  BUT, I was happy as a clam yesterday and NOT once did I say "oh - I wish I wasn't doing this!"   It was fun, I was doing something that I love and it became a bit of a game to see how much I could actually get done!  I DID NOT sacrifice quality either.  Except that ONE flying geese point got cut off because I wasn't thinking!  Nothing I can do about that.

On that note, I have a bit of paperwork to get done this morning and then back to the sewing machine for the afternoon.

Have a super day!!!


Sunday, April 23, 2017

I'm on a roll...............

We had awesome classes yesterday and YES - I will get the photos edited and posted.  Part of the problem is getting the time to edit the pictures. And let's not forget about sorting the "few" pictures that are currently on my camera card. There is almost one year's worth of pictures on that card.  I'm thinking a few minutes (probably a lot more) and on my newer computer, I could download and at least sort the photos into categories. That wouldn't be hard to sort - there are only a few categories - dogs, vacation, QUILTsocial, quilts, retreats. Easy -- now to find a few minutes to do that.

Then someone had the brilliant idea of installing Photoshop on my work laptop so when I'm travelling and have down time on the plane or evening in the hotel, I could get all the photos edited. Hmmm - that does sound like a great plan. And I do want to update my version of Photoshop Elements that I'm using.  Maybe, just maybe, that could happen before I leave?

After class, I zipped home and got right to work on my projects.   I'm happy to say that I'm making good progress. Am I going to get it all done before I leave?  Not sure, but I'm going to make every effort. It's called priorizing which I'm NOT good at, but there is a time crunch - I'm good in that kind of situation. If I were going to be a doctor, I'd be good in the trauma unit, a GP - not so much!

I started off with a few HST and flying geese.

A gaggle of geese and a lot of HST

And when it was all finished, I had made over 150 HST units - all trimmed and ready to sew into 5 blocks.

Trimmings from the HST

The five blocks are completed and I hope to at least get the borders on all five of them. That is a MINIMUM before I close shop tonight - more would be better. Don't forget, I'm not leaving until Tuesday morning so I do have an extra day, but I also have paperwork stuff to do.

The flying geese are making good progress as well. There are seven flying geese sections and THREE are completed. The rest are in bits and pieces.  Once those are done - the rest is easy and as I'm sewing, I'm trying to figure out how to quickly custom quilt this one. It doesn't need to be fancy, but I was hoping to do something more than an overall quilting pattern.  The plan is to attempt to get it loaded just after lunch.  Quilt in the afternoon, bind tonight and get those borders on the others.  That is the plan and NOTHING is going to deviate me from that.

Like the other night when I was getting that second customer quilt done.  The darn long arm reached a point where it wasn't advancing - same thing that happened a couple of months ago.  I fixed it, but obviously didn't tighten the screw well enough.  Got out the Allen Key wrenches and that thing was soon fixed and I was back on the road.  I have several sewing machines so if one isn't performing, then I move onto the next one, although that has never happened. Although I was having an issue this morning. After a slight adjustment to the sewing machine, all was solved.  You will have to wait for QUILTsocial blog posts in May to see what happened. It's all about knowing your skills, knowing your equipment, NOT having children to bother you, DH knows better and the dogs - well, they've already been to the dog park. Played with the ball a LOT and hopefully they are tired enough to not bother me.

Oh yes -  my big iron is starting to act up. I've had the darn thing for years and years. I love it, but I do believe the steam button needs to be replaced - every once in a while it goes crazy and won't shut off. No worries - I dug out my cordless iron. I need to make an appointment to drop off that iron.  But see what I mean - NOTHING is going to get in my way!

And if the power goes out, I have a treadle in the front hall although I've never used one!

On that note - I'm out of here.


Saturday, April 22, 2017

One step at a time......

We're going to take this one step at a time.  Let's not panic, let's not lose focus, let's see how to break this mess that I've gotten myself into down into bite sized pieces.

First things first - I now have the paperwork for two of the four remaining magazine quilts lined up. The deadlines are prominently displayed on the front of both and thankfully one of the sweet editors gave me a wee bit of an extension. That helps!  You see the darn problem is that I'm off to Paducah next week so there goes my evening sewing time.

The paperwork for the remaining two quilts will be dealt with on Monday. I will create a folder on my desk for these contracts/jobs to call home and mark those deadlines into the calendar and I should be good to go for future.

Now, what happened yesterday?  Well, I got the TWO customer quilts done that needed to be done. I trimmed the second one up this morning. The other will get trimmed later today.

Customer quilt - number one - DONE

Customer quilt - number two - DONE

I still have a few more customer quilts to work on and I know there are a couple in the pipeline.  I need to get them done!  At least the ones that are in my possession. We're talking a single digit number so that's good news.

I have about 15 minutes of prep to finish and all the classes for today will be prepped, although I cannot seem to find my darn pattern for one of them.  Seriously???  How does this happen?  I even have TWO copies of the book and neither one is in the bag where all the rest of the supplies are.  I don't get it - where the heck could the darn things be?  Everything else is accounted for - it must have got mixed up when I packed for the sewing retreat, but I was certain that everything had been unpacked. Obviously NOT!

Now for the story that I've been promising you. The story about the office dog.  I won't go into details - they are not important.  Bottom line, mention of a dog for the office was brought up.  You know - dogs bring down your heart rate and keep everyone calm and all the other good things about dogs. Let's be realistic, having a real dog in the office is not going to happen, although I have offered to take in Murphy and Lexi - that would cure anyone of wanting to have a dog!  They are just two crazy loony tunes.

I will retake the pictures as they are kind of dark.  The poor dog doesn't have a name yet, but isn't it cute!!!

The office dog

Sporting the beautiful Sesquicentennial collection for a collar

The dog is made from Northcott Stonehenge and ColorWorks Concepts and Sesquicentennial for the collar.  The pattern was a really simple one from Carol's Zoo - that I happened to have in my pattern stash.

No name yet - any suggestions???  For the moment, DOG sits on my desk. And we chat. DOG is a good dog, he sits, doesn't bark, doesn't beg for food, doesn't run away, is always there when you call. The office dog is a good dog!  Unlike some dogs I know!

On that note - I've got 15 minutes of prep to finish and then home for a marathon sewing and quilting session which I'm quite looking forward to!

Have a great day!!


Friday, April 21, 2017

Now it's time to panic!

I don't panic - I may get hyper (just like Murphy!), but I don't panic. I just move a lot faster and there isn't a spare moment for a wasted movement.

Here's what happened yesterday. I received an e-mail from a magazine editor. "We haven't heard from you - how is that quilt coming along?"  "No problem", I replied, "It should be shipping to you by Monday next week.". Since it was the end of the day, I shut my computer down. As it was powering down, I realized that this editor was talking about a DIFFERENT quilt than the one that I had in my head. (I've got FIVE quilts on the go for magazines) OH NO--  That means that there is ONE MORE quilt that needs to be made - by MONDAY!   But we're not going to panic!   No siree!!!!!!

There is a lesson to be learned from this - made a list and put those darn deadlines on it!

Part of both lap quilts are done - and I did some cutting this morning.  Looks absolutely awesome. I can't wait to see it finished.

I did get part of that customer quilt quilted last night. Tonight will be the final part and then one more quilt to do before bedtime. Quick prep for the classes tomorrow and then home to sew like a crazy person!

I took pictures of the office dog - I really did. I even edited the pictures and then like an idiot, I forgot to upload the pictures. ACK!!!!   And here I thought I was being so smart.  That means you don't get to see the office dog until tomorrow.

And on that note, I've a ton of things to get done today and there is NO time to waste.

Have a super day!!!


Thursday, April 20, 2017

When the planets are aligned (or there is a deadline looming!)

I know - you don't have to tell me!  I just came away from 10 days of sewing at two different retreats, yet there I was last night madly sewing a sample that needs to be photographed for a magazine. Of course - it's urgent!  There are a few more things that need to be done by Monday evening - just a few. The total number of which I will NOT divulge to protect my reputation.

The mini-quilt I worked on was one that I just recently made, but it was too big!  Silly me - didn't think about what I was doing.  So the new resized center was already done and the pattern was written. Last night, I added the borders. Well, that went well. Let's get that BRAND NEW sewing machine out (no - I didn't buy one - it's for QUILTsocial but I'm not sharing yet - however it sews like a dream!).   Found a scrap of batting that was the right size, basted (with the iron), quilted with invisible thread on the top and the bottom -   NO broken needles. Matter of fact that machine seemed to be taunting me.  "Sew faster - sew faster!" And yet I was wary because of my previous experience with my own machine. But it worked like a charm. Let's trim and get that narrow binding on.  I cut the binding at 2" - something I NEVER do.  I was so focused and it went on beautifully. It was only when I was done that I realized that I had sewn it on the FRONT of the mini-quilt, not the back. That meant that unless I took it off, I would have to hand stitch it.

Oh crap - the hockey game is on, DH is watching it - I might as well go and join him.  So I did. I even had the hanging sleeve on and all got hand stitched in place - just minutes after the hockey game ended. I have to say that I ended up watching the game by myself - imagine - ME watching TV alone - only because he had to leave to get to the airport. I even managed to turn the TV off myself, but if I hadn't, I'm sure that Murphy would have appreciated that I left the TV on - she seems to love watching TV.

Yeah - all that remains is a label, but that won't be in the photos so I'm home free on this one.  Now to get the guys to take the pictures today and I'm good on this one.  Check, check and check!!!!

Then onto the next urgent things to be done.  I fixed the dog collar for the office dog. More on that another day!  I made the bottom insert cover for TWO bags - had to cut the plasticore and make the sleeve. Those are done.

Cut out the next mini project - hope to sew that today and get it photographed.  Got some supplies lined up for the next project.  Imagine - I need TWO  (not one, but TWO) cream zippers that are 14" long.  Oh, shoot- what are the chances of finding those in the zipper box cause who has time to go buy zippers.

Turns out the chances are very high.  Right on top - there were two zippers - EXACTLY what I needed.   YEAH!!!!!

TWO zippers - exactly what I need
See what I mean?  I didn't even have to dump this out. Opened the box and VOILA - two zippers!

The zipper box

So what was the other thing that I received yesterday????  Something very yummy.


And not just any cookies - NO - these are cycling cookies.

Cycling cookies!!!

They came special delivery all the way from Vancouver. A big THANK YOU to M (whom you've all thought has probably died since you never hear about her anymore).   I had ONE last night and they were fresh and very yummy indeed.

A super, super productive 24 hours.  Now if only I would have done this while I was at the retreat?  That would make life way too simple.  Not to mention that I have two quilts to quilt by Saturday AM - one is half done on the machine and MUST be finished tonight (despite the fact that I have a meeting to go to) and homework to prep for the weekend.  Sunday - I'll be quarantined in the studio to get a lap quilt done in a day!

Most of what I'm working on is for Paducah which is NEXT WEEK, although there are two magazine submissions happening at the same time.  One is done except photos - the other - well I got all the fabric organized yesterday!  I'm not asking for sympathy - I'm just a procrastinator!  Besides - I love working under pressure and work better and faster when there is a deadline. Otherwise, I'm just coasting.

BUT - If you're going to Paducah - there is an amazing series of videos on this link to help you plan your trip.  Wait until you see where we're staying!  I thought it was weird - now I know it is. Very unusual and I was certain there was a mistake. If you are coming to Paducah, don't forget to come and visit the Northcott booth.  We are in the Pavillion, otherwise known at the bubble. Our booth number is 4715. We have free stuff to giveaway and you have to come and see what I've been working on that is part of our free stuff!   I'll take pictures for those that can't make it.

Going to be fun - once we get there!

Have a super day!