Tuesday, November 21, 2017

What do I do with that?

I was lucky enough to teach a class at the Etobicoke Quilter's Guild on the weekend.  The class was Modern Improv or something like that! We had a great time - well, I had a great time and it never fails to amaze me at how I learn from the students. I'm also amazed at how trusting students can be. They just dive in!  As a student - I tend to be a whiner!

Here's the thing about modern quilting. I used to think that modern quilting was all about the younger generation - the young moms at home who wanted to learn to quilt. Well, I've learned that that is NOT the case.  Most of the class, NO - the entire class were much more experienced ladies. Same with the modern guilds - we're older and wiser! And many of us want to use up our existing fabric to make modern quilts!  There was a wild variety of fabrics in the room - some bordered on modern, most did not!  It was great.  I didn't take pictures - I should have, but I didn't.

Last night, I was the guest speaker at the Etobicoke Quilter's Guild and a number of students brought in what they had worked on. Some had made progress since the Saturday class.  Again - I didn't take pictures - I should have, but I didn't. I must get back into picture taking mode. Some of the show n tell was from a previous class that I taught at this guild. It's always such fun to see finished projects!

However, there was one thing that came from this. One lady held up her very creative piece - totally made with NON-modern fabric. The finished size was about 12 - 14" square.  She had shown it to her family and they had said, "what do you do with that?" 

I've always made quilts of different sizes. From day one, I've love mini quilts. Gosh - I bought all the Miniature Quilts magazines from years gone by and I was just online checking and mini-quilts are making a comeback.  HEY  - I think I see a workshop coming on!

So what do you do with all those small quilts?  You hang them of course!  I've been meaning to create a mini gallery in my office for a while and while I've hung quilts in the past, I tended to poke holes in the drywall and well, it wasn't looking too pretty.  What to do to prevent that?  I purchased three strips of cork measuring 1" by 48".  I'm not sure that I should admit this, but they are now stuck to the wall in my office using the 3M sticky tissue tape that came with the cork strips.  It works for me. 

And look how great the quilts look. 

My mini gallery

I know - too many white quilts!  But that's all I had for Christmas quilts and I just grabbed the NO WHINING quilt because I was feeling grumpy after being sick!  But this is what you do with your mini-quilts. You hang them to enjoy.  I have enough that I can rotate the display throughout the year and I can hardly wait.  I also have a large quilt that hangs behind my desk. My office space is nice and cozy and I'm loving it!

I didn't take a picture of my quilt display area at home, but I will.  Those quilts are hanging on racks.

Let's just say that there is going to be a mad panic in the next 48 hours in that studio. I'm so excited, I can hardly think! Pitching and packing (mostly packing).  What I really need like RIGHT NOW is a POD. Someplace to stash all that stuff.  Maybe if I donate all my decorations which I don't use anymore, I can use that space to stash all this stuff????  Just a thought.  However, there is NO time for that. I could just haul it all upstairs and hide it in a bedroom. That might be the better solution.  And then once and for all - this MUST MUST MUST be dealt with.  It all comes at the right time of year when I'm thinking of how to get things done and what things to get done for 2018.

Life is never dull at our house. NEVER. 

Have a super day!


Monday, November 20, 2017

Motivational Monday - It's that time of year!

Have you checked your e-mails lately? You know - the ones that are promising all kinds of amazing projects for 2018.  Sew-alongs, blocks of the day/week/month and everything else that you can imagine.

Aren't they enticing?  "Oh - I have that project in my "to do" box. I could join."  Did you just hear yourself say that? 

Here's the thing.  THINK VERY HARD AND VERY DEEP on whether you want to sign up for that project.   What will you gain by signing up for that project?  Will you learn something?  Perhaps make new friends?  What are your goals?  Do I really need/want to start a new project?  Do I like that teacher/designer?   Will you be committed to finishing it or will it end up as a UFO?

I'm sure there are tons of other questions that you could ask yourself.  TONS.  You'll have to be the judge. I was tempted - really, really tempted this morning when I saw a sew along, but common sense kicked in before I went too far.  I don't need a sew along. I need the MOTIVATION to get some of the stuff done that I have to do. And I cannot (simply CANNOT) believe that as I sat in my studio yesterday, I actually thought of downsizing.  OH MY GOD!  The world is coming to an end!!!

Now I don't think I was too serious, but the thought did cross my mind.  I'll call it residue from being sick. I'm much better today BTW - not perfect, but much better.

I'm not certain what goals I'll set for myself for 2018.  I really really like the idea of the 12 projects - one a month.  Even though I haven't quite accomplished all those goals, I did manage to NOT start a whole pile of new ones. I did manage to get a couple on the list completely done and I have made huge leaps and bounds on several of the others.  I just need to get a wee bit more serious about it, but honestly - for me - the Motivational Monday and The Task Master?  They worked. I hope they worked for some of you as well.

So how will we work going forward?  There are only a few weeks left this year.  I keep hearing over and over again how much stuff we all have and ladies (and gentlemen) if we don't start to take better control over the situation, our families are going to have a huge mess to clean up!  My travel schedule for 2018 has been set and it's a lot less than 2017 and I'm thrilled for that!  Getting an extra day off does NOT compensate for being away from home. So right there I see way more time to sew or relax.

As the next couple of weeks progress, I want to set out some very serious goals for myself for 2018. Not because I want to be a better person, but I want to enjoy my hobby/work more than I currently am. There are roadblocks to that happening. What are those roadblocks?  Too much stuff!  Too much clutter! Too many deadlines!   So as the new year approaches, I'm going to try and find even more ways to eliminate those roadblocks so I can have a bit of fun.

Here's something to contemplate. For the most part, I know where my projects and tools are.  You may not think I do, but I do.  However, there are two projects that I have misplaced and no idea what I've done with them. One is a double wedding ring quilt that I want to finish, but NO CLUE where it is. The other thing that I'm missing is my hexies!  I put everything associated with that project into a box and for the life of me, I can't find it. I also have some hexie dies that are with the hexies. Imagine my surprise yesterday when I found one of the hexie dies. I thought I was close!

Alas - NO hexies!

Something big - REAL big is happening in my studio this week. So big that I don't think I can share it even after it happens. Well, eventually I'll be able to. The question of the day is how much of a mess do I leave the studio in?  Last week, I was perfectly happy to leave it as it is.  Last night, I was ready to whip all that loose stuff into bags and hide it. Which is why I'm going to have a miracle recovery and probably get rid of some of the stuff - at least off the tables. 

On that note, I'm out of here to NOT get tempted by reading about all the upcoming cool events for 2018.   Let the others do them.  I will NOT, will NOT get pulled into doing what everyone else is doing. I will NOT.

Have a great day!!!


PS -- doing the draw this afternoon. Sorry - hard to coordinate the timing of that.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Baby Steps

Thanks to everyone for the comments on Friday's posts. I'll be picking the winners and announcing them tomorrow.

I really, really hate to dwell on the fact that I'm still sick, but only how it relates to what today's post is all about. So bear with me - there is quilting stuff here!

Baby steps in that today it took less time to get functional, although my 30 minute nap became one hour. How can that be when I'm not doing anything strenouous, I'm sleeping lots and not waking up in the night, I'm napping when I get home.  Let's just say that I will not be a good candidate to lose physical abilities and still have a sharp mind. BUT  - I did come home from the quilting class I taught yesterday inspired to sew.

Baby steps in that today, I'm not using either of my laptops to blog. Yikes!   It's about time that I make that move.  It's not easy because the keyboard on this computer has a few things in different spots and I can't seem to capitilize words!  And I'm going to load the trial version of the photo editing software on here and when the trial runs out, I'll cough up the money to pay for it. I'm liking the new software as I'm using it on a regular basis on my work laptop.  Then to get an external hard disk to transfer everything over and I'll be done!

Baby steps in that today, I went down to the studio when I got up because I have a lot of work to get done today.  I managed to cut three squares! Well actually I just had to trim them down. I used my small cutter which was conveniently located on the cutting table.  Then when I needed to cut a couple of strips, I couldn't find my mid-sized rotary cutter. Thinking I had left it at the class yesterday, I used my large cutter. But it needed a new blade. I proceeded to throw some of the bits of the cutter in the garbage, along with the lint from the cutter. Rummaged through the garbage to rescue the bits and the rotary cutter is now operational. However I was a tad afraid to use it.  Here's a brand new blade in a large cutter and my brain seems to be a tad foggy. But I managed to successfully cut several strips and didn't cut myself so that was a good sign. But I needed a nap after those few cuts. Not a good sign!

Baby steps in that today we'll see how far my patience can go.  Why can't I change my e-mail address in Facebook?   It keeps asking me for my old e-mail address which is long gone.  Grant me patience, lots of it.  But that is definitely not someting that I'm going to touch today. This is one of those technical issues because I'm on this other computer.  Nope - not going to happen today on that one!

Baby steps in that yesterday, I actually felt like eating something except there was nothing to eat in the house. I really must take over the grocery shopping. This is getting a wee bit ridiculous.  There is zero comfort food in our house. There is zero emergency meals in the freezer and we were down to one container of soup and that's all I'd eaten all week, I couldn't stomach more soup.  So at 6:30 last night when we knew the prepared hot food would be gone, we headed to the grocery store. Not even going to grumble about that one, but it wasn't my choice!  I managed to snag some shepherd's pie which is what I wanted and I threw it in the microwave and I was a happy camper!

And now while I would love to go for a nap, I can't - not yet.  I must get some work done and then - I'll have that nap.

Have a super day!!!!


Please forgive any spelling or grammar errors - my checker isn't working yet - well it was when I started and then it disappeared and my Facebook account won't let me reload it until the e-mail is changed?  I have no idea and brain doesn't want to deal with those issues today!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

It's time for a road trip...

A virtual road trip that is, especially since I'm still under the weather.

This blog tour will take on a journey to view the blogs of some very inspired designers.  What am I talking about?

This is Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks - edition SIXTEEN.  And I was lucky enough to have a block chosen for the magazine. It's hard to believe that this is edition Sixteen.  I have coveted all the previous volumes as there are some amazing blocks.

While I'm sure that some of the other bloggers had their posts written weeks ago, I'm a bit of a last minute person. I'd invite you into my studio (or at least show you a picture), but it's still in a wee bit of disarray after a major sewing storm as I prepped for Quilt Market and Quilt Festival at the end of October. Come back over the next week as I plan to share all the goodies that I acquired over the two weeks. 

I guess I should show you my block. I'm number 1593 and the name of my block is Any Which Way.

Hopefully, you get the idea - this is a 12" block and definitely hard to see white block background on white computer screen background.  AHA - let's recolor the block to make it easier to see.

Now that has a bit more of a roadside sign feel.  You have to love the capabilities of EQ7 (and now EQ8) to make the life of a quilt designer a whole lot easier.

It's also a challenge sometimes even with computer software providing the cutting guidelines. I got my original block together and put it on the design wall and realized that those arrows were a bit out of whack. Now how did that happen?  I didn't snap a photo - who wants to air dirty laundry? 

So what can you do with this block? Patti from Patti's Patchwork beat me to the punch with blogging about the block.  Check out several versions of quilts that she designed using the block alone and in conjunction with other blocks. I have to say that I'm impressed - some very neat designs. Thanks Patti for playing with my block.

Here are a couple of versions that I came up with. I'm experimenting with a modern aesthetic in my quilts these days and somehow that translates into white backgrounds for me.  Have you ever worked with a white background?  It's hard!  Hard to keep clean and hard to keep the threads from showing through.  Note to self: you can go darker and still have a modern aesthetic!

Version one with negative space
 I used a number of greens from Northcott's Premium solid Collection called ColorWorks. I love the quality of the fabric and love the wide range of colors. In the photo above, the ends of one set of arrows runs into the other set (we'll talk about pressing in a minute) and I didn't worry that the ends and the beginnings were different colors, but you could plan it out so that ends and beginnings created a double pointed arrow in the same color. 

If you're into square quilts, you could place the blocks in this configuration where the pressing of the seams becomes a non-issue.

A square version using Any Which Way block

And the third version provides a bit of an optical illusion. That right-hand border looks like it's leaning, but it should be straight.  Perhaps it's my eyesight that is going.

Blocks on point with no sashing

Now let's chat about pressing. If you are making the first version, the rule that we've been taught is to always press to the dark side!  That sounds so ominous.  Now imagine if we would have done that in this case. I've used both colors just for the fun of it!  But you can see what would happen if you pressed those horizontal seams to the dark.  You would have a lot of bulk where the bodies of the arrow met.

My rule of thumb is to press the seams to eliminate bulk even it means pressing to the white. GASP!  Really?  You bet!  Think about it - there will be quilting on top of the fabric and you can use the quilting to help disguise the seam.   If the seams are pressed well, they will disappear as the surface of the quilt will be flatter, seams will line up more easily and a whole lot of other good things. 

Below is a photo of the back of two of my blocks. The other thing I should mention is that I'm always creating a pressing plan for my blocks. How will block A be positioned relative to Block B?  How will that affect the pressing?  There are times when I've had to reverse press some seams, but I'd rather have a smooth top than a lumpy one.

As you can see in the photo, I pressed all the seams in one direction. 

All seams pressed down
 When every second block gets rotated 180 degrees to be sewn to the next block, the seams are now going in the opposite direction and all the seams butted up nicely which makes for some smooth and matching intersections.
Alternating seams

And that makes me a happy quilter!

Now the best part - giveaways!!   I have three giveaways today and all you have to do is write a comment on the post.  Comments posted before midnight on Saturday, November 18 will be eligible to win.   I have one copy of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks - Volume 16.  And there are two Gradations Chip packs up for grabs from Northcott's latest colorway (Mystic) of Stonehenge Gradations.  That's three chances to win.

It's been great fun to be part of this blog hop and I hope to see you again real soon!

Have a super day!


And if you missed the blog tour earlier this week, you can check out the links at this web site.


Well, I'm better. Not jumping up and down and running a marathon yet, but I had a nap when I got home and then I was up for a couple of hours. I took my nightly dose of Nyquil to knock me out, but despite that, I woke up in the night.  OK - too much sleep now.  I'm still coughing and lacking energy, but I'm getting better!

As you know before we went away to Quilt Market, I was sewing up a storm.  Lots of quilts to be done for magazines and lots of quilts to be done for display.  Here's one that I finished.

This is the Gravity quilt by Jaybird Quilts.  I had taught the class a while back and for some reason, I had this great vision of making the quilt twice - once in the Northcott solids (ColorWorks) and one in the Northcott Toscana.


I had completed almost all the blocks for the Toscana version when I was teaching the class.  I only had three blocks of the ColorWorks version done. No problem - I can whip that quilt up in no time. And I did!   Because YES - it was the ColorWorks quilt that we wanted, not the Toscana.

I had to sort through all the colors and pick the ones that were most appropriate for each block. Each block has 6 colors in it. Then they had to be cut out and sewn together.  I did have a cutting fest one day and got most of the blocks cut out. However, there were times when I was piecing the blocks where I had screwed up on the cutting and had to dig the fabric back out and cut some more.

Then I cut the background fabrics and madly sewed those together.  It's amazing how those big diamonds are deceiving and there were times when they got sewn together incorrectly.  I'm sure if you look at the back, there are places where the seams aren't the best.  BUT - who is going to look at the back anyway.   Nope - they'll only be peeking at the front.  The center lies flat and I'm very happy with the end result.

I have to get some backing for it and make the binding, but there is no rush.  It will happen. And then to finish off the Toscana one.  That should take mere hours, not days!!!

Have a great day!!!!


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

On being sick!

Do you remember being sick as a kid?  Your mom would tuck you in, make you chicken soup and take your temperature to make sure you weren't going to die? 

Well, I'm sure that happened in my childhood but where's Mom when you need her the most?  I don't have the flu.  But this cold has hit me hard in two areas.  Lots of ICK in my chest, no fever, and a general malaise. I went home from work yesterday and had a nap for 1/2 hour. Then I had a bit to eat after not eating lunch. Who can be hungry for real food when you're sick?  I did some computer work for an hour - I'm so far behind it's not funny. And then I fell asleep on the couch.

I woke up at midnight and went to bed where I promptly fell asleep.  I'm getting lots of sleep, I'm not stressed (at least not like I was before) and well - I should be feeling better.   Actually, I am feeling better today than I was yesterday, but I know by the end of the day that I'm going to be wiped and I can't really afford another evening of sleep followed by a night of sleep! 

At least I am feeling better even if only a wee bit. I haven't been sick for a long, long time so it was due that I would get caught at some point.  There is never a good time to get sick and thankfully it's only a cold.  Well that's what I think and I'm sticking to that story.

I have loads of stuff to tell you and loads of pictures to share with you - it's just not happening at this point in time. 

And don't say I should be home in bed!   I don't think I need 24-hour sleep.  Just a couple more days and I'll be bouncing off the walls like Murphy.

So bear with me as I get over this illness and then we can settle down to have some real fun.

Be sure to stick around for Friday as something very exciting is going to be happening on the blog.   Even if I have to die making it happen, something super exciting will be posted. And there is some VERY exciting news to share next week. I'm not sure I'm able to share it with you, but I'm going to try.  It's SUPER EXCITING.

And let's not forget all those pictures of what I did at the retreat and what I've buying to enhance my stash.  I can't wait to get back to the studio!  There - I feel better already. Having said that!  I haven't felt like sewing all week and I've so much to do.

On that note - have a super day!!!


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

On the mend

Well - I'm getting better if sleeping less means anything!   I managed the entire day at work and then got home to have soup!  Then I spent the rest of the evening on the couch. Oh my gosh -- this is so totally not acceptable as I have so much work to do and I have zero energy. 

I'm hoping that by tonight or tomorrow that I'll be back to normal.  I did go through the camera card and saved all the pictures that I need so that was a good thing, but now I need to go further as I still need more pictures. 

ACK!  And I'm stiff, but I don't think that I'm stiff from being sick - I'm stiff from sewing all weekend. It's just my neck - oh well - fun and games!

Tonight - I promise - tonight - I get back to work!

Have a great day!


Monday, November 13, 2017

Yes Virginia - there is a Santa Claus!

Is that a real quote?  I think so.

Here's the thing - I didn't post yesterday. I was just EXHAUSTED beyond belief.  My throat hurt and I could barely do anything.  I got up, sewed for a few minutes and then went back to sleep on the sofa.  I got up a wee bit later, packed my stuff and left. I was the first one to leave and in all the retreats I've done, I've always been the last to leave!

I lounged on the couch all day. Then I got up to go to bed!  I'm not out of the woods as far as this cold goes because I'm insisting it's a cold, not the F word.  Other than a scratchy throat and a wee bit tired, I'm not too bad.

I was tired this morning, but when I arrived at work, the crates are here!   THANK GOD.  Perhaps my missing item was in fact packed in the boxes.   And after I unloaded my boxes and other stuff into my office which is now FULL!  I unloaded the quilts and folded some of them up.

At last, I opened my box and YES, my camera card was in the box.  What idiot packs their camera card in the box when it has pictures that I need????   I have blog posts that need to be written and the pictures were on the card.  I was prepared to start anew this evening, but the thought was making me ill.   AHA   - I feel a miraculous cure coming on!!

So, despite the fact that I was going to have pictures for today, there are no pictures and no Motivational stuff.  I'm just happy to be here, happy that I found my card and happy that some of the crates are unpacked!

Now, I have the real bits of my job to do and I had best get started since I've been away for so long.

Speaking of Santa Claus -- check out this link and scroll down --- there is a kit that you can buy and I designed the quilt!!!   It's called Coming to Town!!!

Now that I've found that card, I'm a happy person and I keep finding things to entice you.  Check out this link - there are some exciting things coming later this week!  Look at the designer list!  And the pictures (among other blog posts) were on that darn card!!!

Have a super day!!!


Saturday, November 11, 2017

Retreat - Day Three

No new surprises out the window this morning.  In other words, no more snow, but they are forecasting flurries?  Who knows with the weather. The sun was out yesterday and it was a glorious day and I see the sun out this morning as well.  It's a wee bit cold though - I think I saw minus 17 on my phone.  Yikes!  And I want a Tim's?  I must get my head examined! Apparently, the thermometer outside says minus 12.  Not sure where my phone is registering the temperature.

But at least I was better off here than at home where the furnace went AGAIN!  The temperature dropped to 15 - that's a plus 15. Some motor part went this time. If we keep this up, the entire furnace will have all new bits by the end of the season.  Don't worry - we have a maintenance program and I'm determined to get my money from it!  BUT - I do think this will be the last season for that furnace. It's all fixed and working now - let's see what happens.

Another super productive day yesterday.  I managed to get another quilt top done.  This is one that I designed well over one year ago. And I've had the fabrics and the picture staring at me. I decided that now was the time to get it done. Shoot - the internet is so S L O W this morning even sitting next to the router so the pictures are on my Facebook page. Sorry for that.  But I'm always amazed at how the finished quilt looks EXACTLY like the picture from EQ7.  But that is the beauty of inputting the exact pictures of the fabric into EQ7 and using those to make the quilts.

Ooops - just managed to get the pictures. Here they are

The real quilt

The picture

And I'm very much a visual person so I can just take that diagram and make up the quilt (after printing out the width of borders, etc.).  Then if it's going to be a pattern, I get the fun task of making the pattern.  If not, then that's it! 

So that top got done and the binding got made. Then onto the next project which is one of the on-going classes that I'm teaching at The Hobby Horse.  Oh boy - I'm way behind.  I did manage to get two sets of blocks done last night and one more this morning so that was good.  I have one more set cut and ready to go later today.  There are only three more that need to be finished.  I did make good progress on one other set of the blocks until I ran out of fabric. I probably have enough bits, but want to get the other sets done first.  Despite Ronda's offer that she has an entire bolt of the missing fabric in her van.  NOPE!  I'm good! 

I sorted through what was left of the projects and put those that I know I won't touch in bags so they can be taken to the car today. I also have a huge bag filled with projects that will go to the car. Those are done!  I finished off all the hand stitching last night!  Before we got to the shooters!

I had my three shooters and then I was the first one to bed at 10 PM.  One of the girls has a cold and I was afraid that I would get it and sure enough later in the afternoon, I could feel my throat getting scratchy.  This morning, I'm not bad, but I know what's coming and I'm not liking it.  I'm off to Wal-Mart in a few minutes to get some candies to keep my throat happy!

Back to the quilt store - Thimbles and Things (one of my all-time favs) for supplies.  OK - just more fabric but I'm allowed.  The owner, Sue, is truly the best quilt shop owner around. She knows everyone by name, she is very friendly and very helpful and always new stuff and samples and kits to entice us.  Wish I was closer!

Some of the others were working on the Necessary Clutch yesterday and this morning, I saw a gaggle of them on the cutting table.  They sounded very fiddly to make, but they look awesome.  Last night when I was sorting out what I would sew today, I came across that jewelry bag and decided after a peek at the instructions that I would save that for when I was home and could concentrate!

On that note, I'm out of here!!!

Have a super day!!!!


Friday, November 10, 2017

Retreat - Day Two

Hmmm -- the landscape looks a wee bit different this morning.  We have SNOW! Not tons, but I see the owners of the property are out there shoveling the driveway and playing catch with their dog who is loving the snow! We knew it was going to snow as we heard weather advisories and warnings all day.  Remember the good old days when they didn't even forecast snow?  You could tell by the feel of the weather and the sky what was going to happen. Oh well!   Not only do we have snow, but the temperature has dropped significantly.  I do believe it's minus 13 C or something like that. Wind chill makes it a tad colder!

But I'm bundled up in the house and it's great.  I technically don't have to go anywhere today, but will likely venture out to Tim's.  Now, how Canadian is that? It's after 7 AM and it's still very quiet here.  Everyone must be hunkered down to keep warm! At least we have lots of quilts should we need them.

I decided that after my fiasco with the oatmeal yesterday that I would try the overnight soak.  Hmm - at least I have a lot of oatmeal to eat this morning. Cold but that's OK.  I have steel cut oatmeal and I put 1/2 cup with 1 cup of regular milk (1% - all that we have).  Left it overnight.  I don't have brown sugar or raisins or anything else that could have been added. The ratio was a tad off - I could have done with 3/4 milk to 1/2 cup of oatmeal as it's a bit watery or should I say milky?  And it could use a wee bit of flavor but it's chewy and it's actually not bad!  I might start taking that to work for breakfast!   I wonder if steel cut is better than rolled? 

I was very accomplished yesterday and very happy about that.  I started out with a quilt that I designed as a free download on the Northcott website. It had been sitting for a while with the panel cut out and some of the bits done, but really?  What would it take to finish?  So I whipped it up and was almost done by lunchtime.

Polar bear quilt

The collection (Polar Frost) has been archived as it's gone, but you may be able to find it in shops if you search on the product finder on this page on the Northcott site.   I don't see the pattern on the website either, it might have been removed once the collection was gone?  I'll get them to reload the pattern or I'll redo it in another collection.  It's cute and easy!

This collection is flannel so it will keep you nice and toasty!  The backing is made and so is the binding. If I had access to a long arm, I could be done before I go home!  But I digress!

Next up was another quilt that I had made using Northcott fabrics. Originally it was to go into a magazine.  While I was making it, I had a wee bit of a technical error.  OK - so plan B - I made "new" fabric to fix the cutting problem, but still not 100% happy with it. So I decided at the ninth hour to remake the quilt entirely. Thankfully it's not complicated.  I was working on a deadline on the weekend and didn't have enough fabric so I had to take some fabric from the original quilt to finish the good one.  Fixed my technical error and I was good to go. I have now finished the top of the original one. Still not happy with the fix, BUT as I was working on it, I figured out how to disguise the error. I don't have the fabric that I need with me. I went ahead and put the borders on and made the binding.  I'll just rip out the section I don't like and replace it when I get home.  It's different from the magazine one. I'll post pictures once the original one gets published.  And that was project number two!

I had brought three quilts and three labels that needed to be sewn on.  I got the labels all prepped and pinned on and put the quilts and my sewing supplies on my chair where we eat.  After dinner, while chatting, I managed to get TWO labels sewn on.  I should be able to finish the other quilt tonight and I want to hand stitch the binding corners (of the quilt I worked on the first night) because the quilt is supposed to be loved so I want those binding corners to be very secure.

My finished project bag is getting full and I can't wait to run it out to the car!  I kept one of the quilts that I put the label on for my bed just to keep me toasty even though there are tons of quilts here.

The third project also has borders.  In fact, it's a panel with JUST borders around it. A lot of borders. I've broken all my own retreat rules.  Have EVERYTHING CUT and PREPPED.  Nope - I've been cutting borders.  Do NOT put borders on as there is not a lot of room. Well, I just take over the cutting mat/table when no one is around and it's actually worked out just fine. None of these quilts are too huge and the first one (the Polar bear one) didn't really need to be measured.  I think there are about 10 borders on the quilt and I'm down to the last two.  One needs to be fussy cut and the last one is already cut.  I should make quick work of that once I finish the blog this morning.

I still have loads of work to do, but I didn't bring tons of bags - I guess the projects are smaller? 

On that note, I see my sewing buddy (Ronda - we're sewing together in the dining room) is up.  She has trimmed the wick of the candle that we have in our room so it smells wonderful in there. Not that the house smells, it's just nice to have a candle. The candle came from a discussion we had about how frequently she uses candles at home.  Who knew that people actually used candles??  I have tons of them at home and I don't think I've ever finished one!!   YES - we have carefully placed the candle away from all fabric - it's sitting on the mantle of the fireplace and YES - we made sure it was out when we weren't in the room.

Have a super day!!!!!  And if you ever get the opportunity to go to a sewing retreat - say YES!!!!  It's a ton of fun.


Thursday, November 9, 2017

Retreat - Day One

So here I am at Fireside Retreat after a crazy day yesterday.  I'm waiting for my oatmeal to cook!!   It's the only place that I eat this oatmeal as it takes 20-25 minutes to cook.

Yesterday was a totally crazy day but I was calm. Very calm.  What's the point in getting frustrated when there is nothing you can do about a certain situation except wait?

I was up early and prepping more stuff for the retreat. I really didn't have much time to think about what I needed so I just packed lots!  Why not!  At least when I packed the car, I only had my laundry basket in the very back of the car. I had a box of books, four quilts that need to be dropped off and Tish's suitcase in the backseat in addition to my own stuff so I didn't do too badly. Plus four more quilts that I'm either putting binding or labels on.  I could see out the back window!

I headed to the gas station to fill the car and pump up the tires as my tire pressure gauge light was on. Did you know they now take Interact at the air pump?  I thought that was kind of cool and slowly we're becoming a cashless society.  I did have enough change in the car, but gosh, I hardly ever use cash anymore.  Got my tea and I was back home.

Great - I have to learn to cook this oatmeal all over again.  I have this puny amount in my bowl and I missed stirring at one point so the bottom of the pot needs a good soak!!!

Did a wee bit of paperwork in the morning and got all that stuff organized so that was great and good to have it done.  I have a couple more phone calls to make today and I should be able to completely relax for the rest of the retreat.

On a normal retreat day, I'm out of the house before 8 to get to the retreat by 9.  But because the furnace was on the fritz and I was the responsible person to wait for them, I was tethered to the house. The appointment was between 11 and 3.  Hmm - how close to three will they come?  And in a way, it was good because Tish forgot her suitcase at home so after her husband drove her to the retreat, he had to go back home and then to my house. It all worked out!

The repairman finally called around noon and didn't leave until 2:30.  Apparently, we needed a new circuit board. It was all good because I was thinking we might need a new furnace since ours is older. The girls didn't mind me being home because they got to play outside.

I did pack a few more projects after cutting out two that need to be done fairly quickly so I threw everything in the car and I was set. And although I wanted to quiz the repairman about how long it was going to take to fix and how long would it take for him to get the part, I remained calm and said nothing!

Confirmed with DH that he was in fact on the plane to get home so the girls wouldn't be left home alone and then I was gone.  I had to stop by work to pick up some fabric that I needed for a magazine project.  Work is very conveniently along the way.  One more stop to exchange a sewing machine part and then finally I was on my way.

I arrived at the retreat shortly after 5 - only 8 hours late!   Of course, everyone was already here and dinner was served at 6.  Good timing. 

I unpacked everything and got the sewing machine set up and after dinner, I did manage to get the binding sewn on one quilt. That was very exciting to say that I at least accomplished something on my crazy day.  My stuff is a bit disorganized as I can't find the labels that I wanted to sew on the other three quilts that I brought with me.  I WILL find them today! Ronda and I are sewing in the dining room. Probably a good thing as we make enough noise to more than compensate for the quietness of the others!

Had a great sleep and now I'm up and madly sewing.  Finished my puny bowl of oatmeal and now it's back to work!

So good to touch base with the gang as some of them I haven't seen for a while and even the regular sewing group, I haven't seen them in a while either! It's going to be super fun.

I did learn one thing though and that is to NEVER predict not being here. I had a potential appointment come up on Nov 8 and I had mentioned to Ronda that I might be late. The appointment got moved, but the furnace (and fate) came through with my prediction. Never again!

Have a super day!!!!


Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Oh oh - bad news!

So I'm supposed to be at the retreat house in about 10 minutes from when I'm writing this. Instead, I'm at home writing the blog with my fingerless gloves on because it's only 16 degrees Celcius in the house. And why is that?  Because the furnace isn't working!  And this just so happens to be the day that DH had to be out of the country so guess who got relegated to wait for the repairman!  I'm thinking we're due to get a new furnace, but hoping to last out this one last winter.  Am I stupid to be that cheap?

It actually isn't that cold in the house and that's why you have lots of quilts to snuggle up in!  I was a tad annoyed though because when I called, the customer service rep said - I can get you in a window from 9 - 12.  Perfect!  But when she hit enter - I got bumped to the next time slot - 11 - 3 !!!!  Well - that's just the way the ball bounces.  No sense getting upset, there's nothing we can do.  It's just one of those moments in life where you just move on!

In retrospect, it's actually not a bad thing and I even contemplated not going to the retreat at all!  I've been away so long, the girls are wild and I could get a huge amount of sewing done at home. Maybe even more than at the retreat, but I'd miss the Bailey's, the laughs and all the stories so I'm going!  The car is almost packed and let's just say that I have a few more bags in addition to that laundry basket!  And I cut two projects this morning and I have two more to cut before I go!

I have e-mails to do and some paperwork so that will take up my time while I wait for the repairman to arrive.

Last night was a fabulous evening.  I really really enjoyed myself.  What did I do?  First thing I did was finish that book. The Girl on the Train.  Oh my, - an excellent book. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I wonder if that author has a new book out?  Yep - one more book. Will have to check them out.

But then I went into the studio and was thoroughly disgusted at the mess.  I literally ran out of that place two weeks ago.  I ran out so fast that this is how I left the sewing machine. The machine was shut off, but there was an ender left there!

An ender left under the foot of the machine which was shut off

So what can I do about this mess????   I decided it was time to get it under control.  There were threads everywhere, bobbins, spools, loose pieces of cut thread, lint, dust and other sundry items.  Disgusting and hard to work in that environment. 

Sewing stations are a bit of a mess
 It doesn't look so bad, but I'm not showing you the real mess by the machine on the left.  It took me several hours to get everything done. 

Below you can see that I completely cleared that one table off. Got out the dust cloth and the table looked awesome, but that's not enough.  That sewing machine is packed and ready for the retreat.

Table is cleared off
 But there was lint and dust on the floor and I could have used my Swifter, but I wanted to use my cordless Rowenta vacuum. The only problem was that I didn't remember where the charger was and the vacuum was dead.

Cordless vacuum which was dead
 Hm - I'm always saying that everything should have a home.  What did I do with the charger???  Then I thought  - it is a charger and I do have a drawer in the kitchen for chargers.  Could it be there?

Charging and battery drawer in the kitchen
 I didn't see it when I initially opened the drawer but after looking beneath the other stuff, guess what I found?  Yep - the charger was right where it was supposed to be.  It was my brain that didn't trust myself!

There's the charger!!!
This one is even color coded to the appliance which makes it a bit easier to spot since often the brand name isn't on the chargers.  But now I know where it will be stored for future - in the charger drawer!!!

Color-coded charger
 And there it is powering up!
So while the vacuum is charging, I went back to tidying and cleaning.  I put this project back on the table.  It's the supplies needed to finish off the last 9 Halloween blocks.  I hope to get back working on them and could be completed on a weekend if I really pushed it. The blocks take a long time to stitch out, but it's time to get that project off my plate!

Halloween project waiting to be finished 
 Then I got really ambitious and finished off the second table and cleared the items from below the table, elastics on all the electrical cords, removed the tray from that light after emptying it of all the junk and a whole lot more!!!  I was positively on a roll!

Sewing tables spotlessly clean and tidy!
 Then I looked at the disgusting mess that was right in front of the sewing tables. This is my stash of Northcott fabrics.  Mostly the basics which I use often and some leftovers from projects. A wee bit of a disaster if you ask me!

Northcott stash completely in disarray
 So I sorted and folded and tidied and picked out some scraps for an upcoming project and now look at the space.

All tidied up!
 It looks so much better!  And I don't have to step between all those boxes if I need to get to the bookcase.  I truly am my own worst enemy!!!

I did some more tidying in another part of the studio but didn't take pictures.  I really really need to get a handle on this mess and how will I accomplish everything that I want to do???  At least I'm not adding to the list of UFOs.  Everything I'm starting these days is getting finished so that's the good news.

And here's a cool quote.  I love quotes - I have to figure out how to get more of them on quilts. This one is so true.  Oh by the way - I did NOT shove any of the stuff on the tables to another table.  I dealt with it - found it a home or threw it away. Now that's progress!

Neat quote

And on that note, I'm out of here to get some more paperwork done, more quilts cut, pictures taken because the hotel did NOT find my camera card so I've already cut some of what I needed pictures for.  The rest of the pictures?  I'm going to redo a new project.  Drat - what a waste of time, but it's no one's fault but my own!!!  My own worst enemy to be sure! I sure hope the card is in my box in the crate.

However one thing is for sure, I'm NEVER editing photos on my old laptop.  I'm on my work laptop and I have the trial version of Photoshop Elements 18 and the photos loaded and edited within seconds, not minutes.   I'm so silly - again - my own worst enemy for being so stubborn and resistant to change!

Have a super day and hopefully the repairman comes at 11 so I can get out of here and hope that DH's plane lands tonight or the girls are going to be mad!


PS --- I got an e-mail from a guild member that I spoke at a couple of weeks ago.  She told me that she reorganized her stash in the way that I mentioned and she is a happy camper and has been reunited with a LOT of fabulous fabrics that were hiding!!!   Way to go Sylvia!!!!   If anyone wants that same secret - just ask!   It takes time though!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

What have I done?

Yesterday was a pretty uneventful day.  It was a travel day.  That means we were up at the usual time and I had my last breakfast at the hotel.  Yeah - it was fun the first week, and then got tired the second week.  I wanted breakfast from Tim's and where was that yummy Tim's tea?

We had a ride arranged to the airport but the poor driver had a wee bit of an issue to get all the luggage (for four people) into the trunk of the car so ended up having a suitcase up front.  I don't know what the others pack, but I can go away for 12 days with a carry-on.  It's called roll n pack. It's called moderation, it's called layering, but I REFUSE to take a large suitcase. I don't even have a large suitcase and there is no need to check my carry-on.  Mine is NOT a huge carry-on but a lot will go in it! I even had my toiletries and two pairs of shoes in there. The rest of my stuff goes in the backpack which I pair down as well - laptop, electrical cords, a wee bit of paperwork and that's it! 

I breezed through security having TSA pre-check so that was a snap. And then I had almost three hours to kill before boarding the plane. I set myself up at a table and chair, plugged my laptop in, got a tea from Starbucks (not the same!) and did e-mail for a couple of hours. Very productive use of time.

Then when it was getting close to boarding time, I did a BAD thing. I went to the bookstore and purchased a book because it appears that I did NOT bring a book to read.  Got the book, and some munchies and boarded the plane. By the way, this particular store has a policy.  Buy a book, read it and return it at one of the participating shops in MANY US airports and get 50% back. Now to remember to pack that book when I go to LA next year.

I started to read the book and read for most of the flight except for a few moments where I just dozed off.  The last couple of weeks was a long haul and it was nice that everything was done!

My knee is so stiff these days that when I get up after sitting for a while, I can barely walk.  After about five minutes of hobbling along, I'm good, but I look and feel about 100 for that first five minutes!!!   I zipped through security using my NEXUS status and with NO luggage to check, I was off the plane and in the waiting car in about 8 minutes!  DH just happened to pull up as I was exiting the airport.  How convenient was that!!!

Home to greet a couple of VERY excited girls.  Holy - they were excited!!!! 

I went to the studio because I thought there is NO way that I can go to the retreat with the way I packed that laundry basket.  So I spent a bit of time doing some prep work.  I confess that I have a wee bit more than the laundry basket, but I think I'm prepped good enough to go.  I need to pack up the sewing machine and some tools.  Whatever I'm missing, I'll buy it. 

But here's the first of the bad things that happened yesterday.  I had great intentions of editing some photos when I was in Houston. So I removed the camera card from my good camera and put it in a small plastic case that I was CERTAIN I put in my backpack.  I couldn't find it last night.  WHAT DID I DO WITH IT??????   I've no idea. I'm not panicked as there wasn't too much that was spectacular on it, but I had pictures that I needed for upcoming blog posts and if I can't find the card, it means I have to do the pictures again.  I feel a bit sick over that, but I'll live.  But why oh why did I take that card?   I didn't touch it.  I've checked every corner of my backpack, I've checked my suitcase and NOTHING.  The only thing I can think is that it came out in my room (I'm waiting on a call from the lost and found at the hotel) or there were two times when I removed stuff from my backpack at the airport and it may have popped out then.  The last chance is that I shoved it in one of the boxes that got put on the crate which means I will get it back, but too late for the blog posts.  OH GOD - what an idiot I am!!!!

The second bad thing that I did was the book that I bought.  It's called The Girl on the Train.  OH MY GOD - what an AWESOME book.   I couldn't put it down and I should have forfeited retreat prep for reading. I'm about 50 pages away from the end.  I read until very late and of course, slept in this morning. If you haven't read this book - you MUST.  I know it's been made into a movie which would be cool to see as it's a dialogue book and well - what happens??????   Don't tell me - I'll be finishing it tonight.

Let's just say that I don't think the girls made it out for a walk or the park while I was away.  The two of them were total idiots on the walk this morning!

On that note, I'm out of here. 

Have a super day!!!!


Monday, November 6, 2017

We're coming home!

Oh boy - I'm totally out to lunch.  Last evening as we were getting ready to tear the booth down, I mentioned that the clocks were supposed to turn back.  My colleagues very politely told me that it was the previous night that the clocks were turned back!  With all the technology today and everything automatically turning back, I was totally oblivious to the change!    I thought it was pretty funny. Everyone makes a big deal of it and I never even noticed.

Although the last day of any show is always slow, yesterday seemed to be slower than usual.  But we still had people come through the booth. It did allow us to get out a wee bit more and well I shouldn't have because I spent some money and I'm going to blame this one all on Marilyn!  She told me to visit a particular booth because of Shelley and well, Shelly and I had a great conversation and I found a few cool things in the booth. Now to find time to make these things!

The other thing I noticed and this was probably a good thing was that a number of items that I wanted were sold out by the time I got there!!!!  One of the things that I wanted was sold out and I have to say that I did find it in the booth that Marilyn and Audrey had pointed out to me!   And now I'm the proud owner of three yards of a cool print that is 54 inches wide.

I did manage to get to see all?  of the quilts.  But a fast look through. There were some amazing quilts and I was very impressed.  I was standing in front of Marilyn's quilt, the name of which I cannot remember and this is what I heard.  A couple of people came by and said "that is so creative. I would never think of doing that with that fabric."  They were VERY impressed and so they should as Marilyn is a very creative and talented lady and I would aspire to be more like her!  She also has a heck of a lot more free time than I do!

By Marilyn Farquar

It's very cool with those tiny touches of red.  This is the one that was chosen for Judges Choice by David Taylor.  A pretty cool honor!

So I have to do some name dropping - sorry. But Jenny walked by our booth yesterday and waved to me!  Yep - I didn't have my glasses on at the show so I wasn't 100% percent it was her and thought - if I wave, I'll look like an idiot, but she waved to me and I waved back!!!  I've got stuff to do for her so that is exciting and I guess I made a good impression.  I went over to see Victoria Findlay Wolfe - well I was just wandering past her booth and she said HI.  We had a great conversation.  I did see Angela Walters wandering the floor on several occasions, but I didn't stop and chat with her. Hmmm - who else?  Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr - I spoke to Weeks and was going to have a further conversation, but that didn't happen.

Anyway, that added some excitement to my day so that was great.

I installed EQ8 yesterday on my laptop so I'm good to go. I'll have something to entertain me today as it's a travel day! Can't wait to try out some of the stuff that I learned from Barb Vlack. 

It was a long haul to be away that long, but all in all, it was a very successful show. Well, two shows.  I made or advanced some very important contacts, got loads of work to do to follow up.  Oh yes - forgot to mention that I had a great conversation with Patience Griffith who writes a book series about quilts (romance). And I also had a brief chat with Arlene Sachitano who also writes novels about quilts (mystery).  I saw a ton of books that I would love to own. Most of them were historical books or picture books of quilts. But I didn't buy any because I already have a ton (or two) of books and I really need to start reading my books and messing with my books so I can appreciate them more and then I won't feel so bad if I buy a few more.

The show closed at 4 PM and we made quick work of getting that booth down. There were six of us in total and we were finished, the crate doors closed and final paperwork done by 7:30 PM.  There are a lot of things to pack up and store and it all takes time.  And I got to shrink wrap the pallets! Along with Patti.  You learn something new every day!

I'm all packed and going home probably a wee bit lighter than when I came down as I had a big quilt top in my suitcase. All of my purchases went on the crate.  I think I ended up with three small boxes of stuff. How did that happen?  I'm not sure what was in those boxes but I'll sort it out when we get back to Toronto. It's going to be fun to unpack those crates as instead of having all the same thing in one spot - I think it's in several spots!  That's what happens when you do two shows back to back.

On that note, I'm' out of here.  I have 2 1/2 hours to kill before the shuttle comes to pick us up to take us to the airport. Hmmm - I guess I could do some e-mail.

Have a super day!!!!!


PS -- while it may have rained at some point, we never had to deal with a rainy day. But the humidity is a bit crazy.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Quilt Festival - Day Three

The weather here is very bizarre. Well, the weather all over the world is very bizarre. The first couple of days were very cool compared to what you would expect from Texas. After all, Texas is very far south. But that was OK and it was good for set-up day when there was a lot of physical work to be done and therefore you wanted it cool so you didn't overheat.

But now the temperature outside is quite high and it's humid. As a result, they have cranked up the air conditioning in these buildings so it's absolutely freezing.  And I mean COLD.  The people who are selling shawls and scarves are making a killing. Note to self:  pack a nice big SWEATER for the next show!  As it's often cold in the convention centers, but yesterday was really bad.  I had gone over with only a T-shirt as the previous day I had on a long-sleeved shirt and thought there wasn't much difference and I could be OK. NOPE - I had to walk over to the hotel to get a long sleeved shirt to put on and I was good for most of the day with that but towards the end of the day, I was COLD. Plus it was probably shorter to come and use the washroom in my room and get a hot chocolate from the Star Bucks here than it was to wait in the convention center.

It took the girl here a mere minute to make a hot chocolate. At the convention center - it's at least five and there's a huge line up there and not here.  Doesn't make sense. There are people walking around in shorts and T-shirts and little dresses with no stockings. Not sure how they are managing.  But the worst is that even when you go outside, you can't get warm. The air is so humid and clammy.  It's very uncomfortable from that perspective.  By the time we get to the hotel, I'm starting to feel OK and then back to cranked up A/C.  YUCK.   The first thing I did when I got in my room last week was to shut the A/C off and shut off the ceiling fan.  Last night, I cranked the temperature up a degree or two (turned on the heat) and wore my sweatshirt to bed.  This is why I hate A/C.  I don't mind it to get comfortable, but the extreme temperature change is what I hate.

We have one last day today and the show closes at 4 PM. Then we have the fun task of taking the booth down and packing up everything. We leave tomorrow.  Yeah - as much fun as it's been, I'll be glad to get home. This is a long haul to be here for the two shows. I'm OK with that as the opportunity is one not to be missed. 

I was over early yesterday morning and got to see some of the quilt displays.  There are some amazing quilts over there and I spent as much time as I could in the area before coming back to the booth to get it ready for the day. While it doesn't take long, it's still a matter of getting the fabric bundles out of the boxes to make it easier to hand out. Make sure the garbage is emptied and the tables look presentable. 

We had a steady stream of people in the booth all day and it was really only in the last hour that things slowed down. So that made the day go by relatively fast and I managed to get out and do a wee bit of shopping. I'm not really needing anything, but there are still about 15 places that I want to go back and revisit. What I'm finding is that the things that I want (other than license plates) are sold out.  ALL the fabric kits and books for the Cherrywood challenge are gone. Hopefully Shelly is going to come to the rescue for that one. I wanted a new Teflon ironing sheet - gone!  But no worries, I will be able to find these things elsewhere - at least I was able to see them here.  I sure hope I can get my bias maker!  The bundle of fabric that I had my eye on was still waiting for me so I guess that was meant to be. 

We got back to the hotel shortly after 7 PM.  The others wanted to hit some fancy restaurant, but no reservations could be made so they were going to have to wait.  Not happening for me.  I had HOT soup in our hotel and a sandwich. Made tons of notes about the show and I was in bed and asleep by 8:30.  I had a fabulous sleep and I feel great this morning.  It takes too long to recover from lack of sleep and too much to drink.   I do NOT have time to get sick.

I'll be heading over to the convention center for 8 AM this morning so I can check out some more of the quilts. There are two more exhibits that I want to see for sure and I should take a peek at the winning quilts. I really really hate to say this, but after a while, I become so conditioned, that I have no problem to breeze by these magnificent works of art with a mere glance!  Isn't that awful. 

And HI to Marlene, from back home, whom I ran into several times now.  I had to laugh yesterday as I had seen her at a booth as someone was giving a demo. (I need to buy Inktense blocks now - thanks to Swan!)  Marlene said I'm going back to the hotel and look - I haven't bought any fabric.  Not even five minutes later, she was in our booth with a handful of fabric that she found that matched something she had at home.  We had a good laugh about that!

The networking never stops here.  I've made another couple of good contacts and advanced some existing relationships.  I ran into Jenny and her husband from MSQC yesterday and some interesting things were discussed so that was my big excitement for the day.

On that note, I'm out of here to find a great combination of clothes to wear that I don't have to change for tear down and that will keep me warm during the 6 hours of being on the floor.

Oh - I should mention that it's so cold in the convention center that when you walk past the doors and someone opens it - there's this HUGE blast of cold air and we were about 10-15 feet away from the door.  It was like walking past the refrigerated section in the grocery store. 

Have a super day!!!!


I did see the Van Gogh display by Cherrywood.  WOW is all I can say.  There are some amazing quilts and this is the display that will be at Seaforth, Ontario at the end of November.  Make sure you get out to see it.  I noticed that some used the same quote that I did!  There were a couple that I thought mine was equally as nice, but what the heck - I'm a winner just getting it done!

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Quilt Festival - Day Two

We've survived another day at Quilt Festival!  I don't mean that in a bad way - it's just that the days are long. One of my knees, the non-surgery knee isn't all that happy with all of the standing around and it gets stiff real quick when I sit down.  But I'll survive and it's all part of the process.

I was over to the Convention Center at 8 AM and I was able to see the rest of the floor with my camera and my notebook.  I did find a few more treasures and I wrote them down in my notebook. Silly but I found, even more, license plates and well - I'm going to buy them.  Good grief - one day this has to stop. Maybe I'll cap it at 10 or I'll only buy the interesting ones?

Not a whole lot of fabric is on my list - a couple of patterns and a few odds and ends.  It won't take up much room.

Back to the booth where I got it set up for the day - sorting out the fabric for the giveaways and getting our handouts ready.  We've gone through a fair amount, but there is no danger that we'll run out.

While what we hand out is a very small little package of fabric with a link to a free pattern, it's amazing how many people want MORE than one.  Quilters are desperate to increase their stash.   Some of them signed up with us last year and we're OK with that. It's nice to see people come back and I'm totally OK if everyone signs up at each new show (once!).  But when asked if they did the project from last year?  NOPE -- so what is the big deal about getting a few more squares?  Giving it to charity?  You need a whole lot of these squares to make a quilt.  It would appear that quilters have a natural hoarding tendency.  It's pretty crazy!

So if you are one of the ones who want extra fabric here's a tip.  DO NOT wear clothing that is easily recognizable.  Like coming in with your friends in matching bright pink T-shirts for instance. It's pretty funny what people try and I'm not sure if they think they can fool us? trick us?  Anyway - that's part of the game for us!  And then to see how people react when we politely say, thank you, but didn't you already sign-up like an hour ago?

I did manage to get out and walk the floor a wee bit in the day - just taking breaks as we are not all needed in the booth at one given time. And we need to take breaks.  The day did seem to go by fast so that was great as the days are very long.  I'm not sure why the show is open until 7 PM, but that seems a bit long.

There was a parade for the Houston Astros (World Series champs) yesterday at 2 PM.  The downtown was a zoo and traffic was gridlocked for a long time.  I do hope that Audrey and Marilyn got out as they were planning to leave in the middle of the parade.  I think they may have changed their plans. It was great to see the two of them and they should be safely out of town by now and halfway back home. Well not quite, but on their way home.

We've got another couple of days before we head home. Today is the last long day of the show as it closes at 7 again and then tomorrow is 4 PM when we get the fun task of closing down the booth and packing up.

We all went out to dinner last night to an area not far from the hotel.  It was a zoo.  I think the parade had occurred on this street and there was ticker tape all over the street, the bars were full of wasted people and garbage was piled in bags on the street. We were able to find a quiet place just outside the crazy zone and had the best sweet potato fries that I've had in a long time.

No pictures today - I didn't sleep very well. I've no idea why but I had tons of design ideas for quilts that were tossed around in my head and I need to get them on paper!

Have a super day!


Friday, November 3, 2017

Quilt Festival - Day One

And so the show has officially begun - well there was preview night!  But this was the first of THREE days where the show opens at 10AM and closes at 7 PM   (and unofficially the show opens at 8 AM for vendors so that makes an 11 hour day on the floor).

I was at the convention center at 8 AM and the moment we could get onto the floor, I was there. I dropped my bag at our booth and then walked to the far end of the floor and started my walk.  I had camera, notebook, and pen.

I think there are 26 aisles and I was able to make it to 10 (starting at 26) in one hour and a half. It's amazing how fast you can walk that floor when there are no people on it!   I made notes - lots of notes of things that I want to go back and get. Nothing too exciting but I did see a couple of license plates - I know - an addiction that won't go away!  I see that some of them have plates from previous years and I don't know if I have them so I did stop myself from buying those.

Technically, I'm window shopping and then I'll re-evaluate the list and go from there.

I did find one very interesting tool and the owner was in the booth to demonstrate to me and I'm going back later today or tomorrow to buy the tool.  It was amazing and something that I have been looking for forever.  Wait until you see what it does!

In my second walk, there does seem to be a lot of jewelry places and things for finished goods but probably no more than previous years.  For those that think the CreativFestival has some "non-quilt" places, ALL shows - even this big one does.  It's just the nature of the beast and of course at the end of the day, the massage places are making a killing!

I did pop out during the day to the Cherrywood booth to see the challenge fabric only to find that ALL the half yard kits for the new challenge (the theme is Prince - the singer)  were SOLD OUT!!   Yes - they had brought well over 50 and all were gone! At a mere cost of $64 US!!!!!   It's totally insane and why this particular challenge is so popular, I've no idea.  But wow!!!!  The purples (like all their other colors are to die for - they are rich and very saturated and well, I know that Ronda would love to pet them!  Looks like we better put in an order with the shop in Seaforth and Shelly is going to be our fabric mule!

For some reason, I can't upload the pictures that I want! 
Ok - now properly connected to the internet.   Nope still can't upload a picture.

If they do get some more in, I'll try to fill my requests but I'm not holding my breath!

I'll be back early this morning so I can walk the rest of the floor and then it'll be easy to pop out for a few minutes here and there to pick up what I want or at least to investigate it a bit further. One of the problems is that I get excited about the same booths every year and so I'm reluctant to buy something from them unless I know it's brand new because chances are, I bought it last year!

The lesson here is to get things done that you buy!

We had very steady traffic flow in our booth all day.  There are five of us staffing the booth (oh shoot -  just realized I forgot to charge the iPad last night!)  It's now plugged in!  We have three iPads to capture e-mails and people get to spin the wheel and get a prize.  Not only do we had out a small fabric pack, but they get a pattern to make a project as well which is fun. Have I ever posted those projects online?   I don't think so - well I'll try to remember and try to get them on our Northcott website so that even if you didn't get the pack, the patterns are there.  People are very receptive to the idea of the patterns so that's a good thing. 

The show closed at 7 PM last night and by the time we got to our hotel and getting ready for dinner, it was 7:30.  Then the discussion of where to eat.  That drives me absolutely crazy.  I ended up going to the local sports bar and had a great dinner by myself.  No offense to my colleagues but after spending the entire day being "on" with our customers, I like a wee bit of quiet time for myself.  I had a few words with the people in the bar and the bartender and that was as much conversation that I wanted. I was back at the hotel and in bed by 9:30.  I woke up this morning feeling awesome so that is a good thing.  I'm too old to spend all this time without sleep - it just isn't good for me anymore.

People are loving the wolf quilt.  Ooohing and aahing and hopefully, we're directing traffic to Yanicka's web site.  It's a pretty stunning piece of art and of course, Marilyn quilted it for her.  I love it and I want it!

We've had a great response to our other quilts as well so all in all, it's been great and that was only the first day.

Shoot, I'm not sure that I have any pictures that I want to post on the blog.  I'll try to snap one or two today for you. sorry about that!

I've got to run as I have to write out a few notes as to how to change things for next year!

Have a great day!!!


Thursday, November 2, 2017

The town goes wild!

Oh yes - last night was a crazy night as - well - the Houston Astros won the World Series! Now they were not playing in Houston, but there were 40,000 fans at the Minute Maid Stadium watching the game on the big screen.

We happened to be at the Convention Center doing Preview Night which started at 5 PM. There were people walking around watching the game on their phone!  And we did get announcements from time to time to update the score. There was a HUGE roar through the center each time they did that and there was an even bigger roar when they scored three runs (or whatever it was).  It was great fun to be part of that and hopefully today things will go back to normal?

I went over to the convention center in the morning and got everything all tidied up in the booth. So that meant we didn't have to worry about it later in the day.  Then off to meet with someone and then it was time for a couple of lectures.

While I enjoyed the first lecture, I was a teeny bit disappointed. The lady was chatting about how many UFOs she had and how to get them under control. I really think I could have done a better job and provided way more information to the audience. It was entertaining, but not enough meat. I met up with Anne from back home so we had a good chat. But with all the going that we have been doing, the moment I sat down, well I wanted to go to sleep. I was tired and I think I drifted off for a moment or two.

I'm not bragging or anything, but honestly sometimes these BIG names speakers - they get a draw because of who they are, not because of the content of their presentations.  In many cases, I could do way better!  But no one would come because they don't know who I am.

And I hate the fact that when I'm tired or bored, I'm restless.  I just can't sit still and it's bad! Sometimes one of my legs gets extremely annoyed and is restless.  It's totally crazy!

Then I popped over to the line for the banquet. It was the winner's circle banquet and while I didn't get to sit with Marilyn and Audrey, I had a chat with them and found a spot at a table where I chatted with ladies from various parts of the US. A very entertaining story about publishing a book which I had heard before, but it was still good.

I forgot to mention that one of the big prizes went to a lady from Nelson, BC.  I want to say her name was Donna James?  Machine quilting - very amazing!  Anyway, we got to listen to the stories of the top 8 winners.  Three from Japan, one from Spain, one from Canada and the rest from the US. These are the kind of quilts that take YEARS.  I think the longest was 6 years.  Seriously?   I couldn't do it.
And Donna?  Her quilt was on her long arm frame for 4 months!  And it's about 60 inches square.

Then to another lecture about making bags and using various constructions methods for dressing them up.  The lecture was good, but I was not.  I actually fell asleep in this lecture. I just couldn't help myself.  The least amount of downtime and I'm out!  But I did learn some things so it wasn't a complete wash.

I had one hour before I was to meet the rest of our crew in the booth so we could get ourselves organized for the evening. I walked the floor - very quickly.  I had pen and paper and I had my camera to record certain things. The set up seemed a wee bit rushed as it seemed that people were still way behind in the setup and the show opened in an hour.  It all gone done, but for some it was close.

There are some interesting things, but it sure seems like the jewelry category is large and it seemed to me there were a lot of finished goods?  I'm going to check with my colleagues on that one. Or I'll see again today as I'm going to be there at 8 AM so that I have two good hours to walk the floor. 

The evening was fun but ended at 10 PM at which time we came back to our hotel and watched the last of the game. I really wanted to go to bed, but I stayed up and it was midnight before I got to bed. I'm a tad tired this morning so you're not getting pictures.  It just isn't going to happen.

And last night they announced the new theme for the Cherrywood challenge.  The color is purple, the theme is Prince - as in the singer Prince.  I'm picking up a kit (with half yard cuts!) and I might buy a few more purples to go with it.  I have months so need to get myself in gear. It's a great learning experience even if my piece doesn't get into the show. I know not much about Prince so a bit of research is going to be in order.

I have to run as I have one e-mail that I have to send this morning before I go down for breakfast. 

Have a super day!!!!