Friday, January 18, 2019

Education Week - Day Four

Hm - I was all mentally set to go for my walk yesterday morning and then I realized that it was pouring rain. No walk. Now I could have been good and did the stairs a few times, but I did not. But I take the stairs all the time to my room on the 4th floor and totally at the opposite end of the hall from that staircase. I did make it to about 5000 steps yesterday so I'm good with that.

I've been able to avoid all the bad stuff although I was so hungry the night before when we sat down at the restaurant, that I did have some chips and guacamole in the Mexican restaurant. See what happens when you don't keep those hunger pangs at bay?

Anyway - something very interesting happened yesterday. I normally do not eat bread. I might get the occasional piece in but I can't even think of a particular instance when I've last eaten bread. I eat pasta with gluten so I don't think gluten is an issue for me. But yesterday at lunch, I decided to have the vegetarians wraps and instead of eating only the filling, I ate the tortilla as well. ONE tortilla was all I had. I was so bloated by mid-afternoon, I felt sick. Why was that? I'm not sure it was the tortilla - but I didn't really have anything else. Going to have to do an experiment on that one. It was NOT a good feeling.

At least, the rest of me is healthy. One of my colleagues had to fly home yesterday morning after she missed the day before while she hung out in her hotel room with what we think is the flu. She was not in good shape and it hit hard and it hit fast. One of the managers wasn't feeling well yesterday and hopefully, they did NOT pass anything along to us.

Today is the last day of education week. While I'm sad that it's coming to an end, it's time to get home. It's been an incredible learning and team building experience. The connections, the networking, the learning, my head is spinning.

What blows me away is how giving everyone is of what they do. They're willing to share and my head is exploding with ideas and things I want to do, things I HAVE to do and all kinds of other stuff.

What's interesting is that the more I learn, the more I realize what I don't know and as I always say - the day I stop learning is the day I'm out of here. Well, according to the list in my head - I'll be around for a long, long time!

Not sure if you saw the pictures of the geckos on Facebook and Instagram. It's a class - if you want to make one, get in touch with your Husqvarna or PFAFF dealer and have us book one for you! They are super fun to make and well - I think you're going to see a lot of geckos around. I didn't get mine finished before I came here. I'll show him to you when I get home. But the fabrics - well - there are some pretty spiffy geckos. Now I'm on the hunt for shiny, stretchy fabric. I'm sure I have some at home - I just need to put my hands on it.

The fun thing about what we're doing in our projects is that we work on all kinds of fabrics. Yesterday, we made a small scissor holder in the hoop and it was made with gorgeous cork. That Husqvarna Viking Designer EPIC had no issues to embroider through two layers of cork. And then go to vinyl and stretchy fabric? No problem.

We had a free evening last night. And a few of us wanted to hit a couple of shops. We went to Wal-Mart first so I could get my journals that I've been searching for. I made some journal covers in three different sizes. We can only get the large size journal in Canada so I was able to get some of the medium and the small journals to fit inside my journal covers. I was happy. Total spend $5.61 or something like that.

Then we popped off to Hobby Lobby. I didn't really want to go in - I didn't need anything, and I ALMOST bought some shiny stretchy fabric but I didn't. I found (and bought) two bicycle appliques which I thought was hilarious since we're here to learn how to make embroideries. NO worries - it's research. I bought a couple of other small things. Total spend was $15.40. I also bought a magazine the other day for $6.99. I don't think I'll be over my limit when I cross the border later today.

It's all about being realistic. As I walked through Hobby Lobby, I saw some very neat stuff, but nothing that I really, really want at this stage of my life. And besides, there's NO room in my teeny tiny suitcase that I've already paid as check-in luggage because of my snips and not wanting to have to potentially deal with that at the airport.

Off to dinner with the small group of ladies and one last pit stop at Target where someone wanted to get a specific T-shirt. I didn't even get out of the car. The discipline, but then I'm not really a shopper so that's not surprising.

I've been watching the weather. I see that we're back up to getting 10 cm of snow back home tomorrow. Oh yeah! And they're going to get a ton of rain here. I guess I'd prefer the rain over 10 cm of snow and cold, cold temps. But that's life.

I still have at least an hour to kill before my walk but I have a bit of computer work to do so I'd better get that done.

Have a super day!!!


Thursday, January 17, 2019

Education Week - Day Three

Another super successful day!

My head is just spinning with what can be done with a sewing machine.

I went for a walk in the morning. It was minus 2, but the brisk walk was great and I almost made my 10,000 steps for the day. Everyone is pretty friendly around here. The crossing guard said HI, as did the one other person that I met along the way.

We started off the day with a show n tell. At first, I thought I was going to be totally intimidated by what the others have shown, but I'm very proud of the two items I brought. One is an item that I created for QUILTsocial where I did embroidery and then created a wall hanging using the embroidery and quilted it. Here's the link to the embroidery in case you didn't see it. This link shows when I assembled the wall hanging. There are two links to the quilting process. Here's the first one and here's the second one.

I can't share the second one with you. I currently only have a picture of it - the actual item is being photographed for a magazine and will be published in a month or so. But I shared the photo with the group. It's pretty clever - at least I think it is. I used embroidery on it and the software to help create the embroidery.

Quality and creativity of my trunk shows is not my downfall. My downfall is in the number of items that I've got. Oh yes - I have tons of quilts, but for the most part - they are "just" quilts. They don't show off the fancy stitches and techniques that can be done in the sewing machine and the software. Let's just say that I'm making lists and need to prioritize those lists and get working. I see that my machines will be running day and night to get everything done!

It's a totally open and creative process and well - my imagination is the only thing that's stopping me from getting this done. I have days scheduled for "play" dates in my calendar. And when a weekend freed itself up recently, I almost gave it away to a group sewing day, but I did NOT!

We had a presentation about the embroidery software which is capable of so many things - my head is still spinning from that presentation. I think sometimes the problem is that we have the tools, we have the creativity, but we don't know what we have exactly. Does that make sense? We don't know what our tools are capable of and that's why we tend to stay in the box. I'm not sure if that's it - but it's my goal (and my job) to show people what you can make those sewing machines do! Yep - it's going to be busy at my house.

The other educators are so extremely helpful and I've had great conversations with almost all of them and that will help me enormously as I go forward. I have a "job" that a friend asked me to do. Oh yes - it can be done - the question is how. I have a much better idea how - I just need to try it out. I know they're going to ask me this morning if it worked, so I had better make an effort this morning to find out! I need to find a certain picture first.

We went out to dinner last night in small groups. I really like the small group thing. We had another topic of conversation and this one was much harder than the first night. I'm not sure that we really got some good answers for the question, but we tried. The team here has really made an effort to make us all welcome and that's pretty awesome.

There's so much to plan and so much to make! We played around in the afternoon to "pretend" we were students making one of the projects. Something I'd not really done much of and that was stitching on cards. Using the decorative stitches to make cards. Some pretty fun and funky things happened in class. Again - it all goes back to understanding what tools you have in the sewing machine. I learned a LOT.

After we got back to the hotel, a couple of us sat in the lobby and chatted a bit. Between driving to and from the office and splitting into groups, they have tried to put us in different groups all the time but there are a couple of people that I haven't really touched base with and I got to chat to some new people in the lobby last night. It's all about networking and I feel I'm pretty good at it. The gift of the gab and I'm not afraid to ask questions! Thanks, Dad!

On that note, I'm out of here. Got some important e-mail to be done this morning.

Have a great day!


Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Education Week - Day Two

The days are long and I couldn't stay awake as I tried to read a bit before turning the lights out last night.

I started the day off yesterday by taking a long walk. I made my 10,000 steps in the day and most of them were made on that walk. Thanks to Google Maps, I found I nice circuit around the hotel that took about 40 minutes of fast walking. If the circuit thing wasn't going to work, I would have gone out 20 minutes and then back 20 minutes. I felt great after the walk.

I see the temperature is below zero this morning, but I still plan to go out. Interesting about the temperature. It's minus 2 - the same temperature as back home, but back home that is also the high whereas here - the high is supposed to be 13. But I see we have a snowstorm forecast for Saturday the day after I get home. Oh darn! I was going to potentially pick up my new car, but not in a snowstorm.

Yes - I got the VIN yesterday so will pass that along to the insurance today. The Matrix rims do not fit on this car so have to buy winter tires so they can be installed. Buying a new car is an endless stream of revenue outflow!

I've been so good with eating while I'm away. We had sandwiches at lunch - I ate the filling of two of them and left the buns. It's not that I can't eat bread, but it such a filling thing and there's not much nutrition in a white bun except the calories which then turn to sugar. I didn't eat the cheese either. But I'm certainly not hungry, we did have a salad to go with it and there's fruit on the snack table and baby carrots in the fridge. I bought some hummus and cauliflower so that rounded out the day very nicely. I've been very diligent about drinking water. I'm going to float away soon!

Off to a BBQ place for dinner. Oh boy - what to have? I ended up with a burger and a salad. Didn't eat the bun. The meat could have been cooked a wee bit more but I ate it anyway. Then someone ordered the most amazing piece of carrot cake with warm cream cheese frosting. I did NOT touch one bite of it. Looked amazing, but I've made a decision that that kind of food is no longer in my diet. It wasn't that difficult to say no. I think about my lifestyle change and I know that is the right decision.

Being healthy and happy with different choices is more important to me than going home stuffed with BBQ ribs and carrot cake. Just like driving a smaller car is a choice I made and I'll be happy with it.

Now onto our day! Each of the groups that went out to different restaurants the previous night got up and talked about the topic that we discussed the night before. OK - so what would you want to have in a sewing machine was the topic. Well - some very creative ideas came up and some improvements came up. The best part - some of the folks from Sweden are here and we got to share our ideas with them.

Yes - if they decide to take any of the ideas into consideration, we realize that it'll take months or more likely years to make anything happen but it's nice to have that connection. Some of the ideas were amazing.

But I'm already so impressed by what the current top of the line machines do and I don't know the half of it. Gosh - I learned something so simple yesterday that I'm almost ashamed to admit it. I really need to sit at the machines and start poking all the buttons and touching stuff without even sewing.

Then we got to spend the day covering two new products that were introduced at Convention last fall. I was very happy about this. While I've had training on both the products, I had questions and I was able to get them answered. Now I need to digest that material and figure out how to portray that to potential customers. One was the Multi-Needle Embroidery machine - 10 needles. Thread it up, load the hoop and walk away. Come back and VOILA - embroidery is done!  The other is the fabric frame which allows one to load their quilt, or project and be able to work on it without moving the fabric.

That took up the entire day! It seems that we have no spare minutes as we often work through lunch or have a short lunch. I don't have a problem with that - there's so much to learn and I'm OK filling up the day. But my head is spinning.

Let's not forget the information to be gleaned from the other educators. Some of them have been sewing forever. Well - I have too, but I've been so focused on quilting that I don't necessarily use all the features of the sewing machine. It's time to step outside the box!

I see it's time to run downstairs to see if they have a banana. I didn't see any last night, but hopefully, they're stocked up for this morning. I love it - just popped downstairs and they have these almost too ripe to eat bananas. Perfect for my smoothie. I got two - one for today and one for tomorrow.

Here's an interesting thing happening in the craft world. This has to do with knitting. This lady knit a scarf showing the delays on her commute by train. It's kind of neat. I see other people are making temperature quilts which is a neat idea. Do a Google search on temperature quilts. It's quite the thing and there are loads of variations.

Have a super day!


Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Education Week - Day One

Day One of Ed Week is done. My head is already full!

I think I mentioned it yesterday, but the immersion blender and my little food supply have worked out just fine. I've already pilfered a banana from the breakfast buffet this morning and I'll make my shake in a bit. It's weird as I would never have thought of bringing the blender, but it's great. And I get my healthy shake. Oh yes - I know there is chef downstairs who is prepared to make me a fabulous omelet, but I'm not eating eggs at the moment and I figure I don't need all that other stuff that goes with the omelet.

I'm happy with my shake and that's all that counts.

Self-control - it's all about self-control. We got a little bag of goodies yesterday and in it, there were some bad snacks. Chocolates, some sweets, and other things. I removed them from my bag and put them on the little counter in the meeting room and I think they are already gone. Along with the bowls of "bad" snacks, there's a bowl of fruit and little bags of carrots in the fridge. So I'm good for snacks. I certainly appreciate the good snacks.

OK - so what did the day entail? It's like there's even too much to cover. A "formal" introduction to all the education team. We heard from the top people who are running education - well they're running the activities for the week. It's great to hear right from the top what the direction is and where we want to go and how it's going to happen.

It's nice to know that I'm not alone in the education world! It's nice to have this "team-building" time together.

We learned about the new classes that we'll be teaching in the upcoming year - some pretty cute and exciting projects. Yep - I get to make all of them when I get home.

We had one of the educators give us a trunk show of her samples. I'm blown away. I know this educator is good, but honestly - you wouldn't believe what she can make a sewing machine do. I took tons of pictures and now it's going to be my turn to go home and do my take on some of the techniques and stitches that are builtin to those two gorgeous machines that are sitting in my studio. If I thought I was pressed for time before? Well - let's just say that some of these ladies spend ALL their free time making samples. Yikes!

I know that many of us are itching to get back to the sewing machine, but I really think that I need to do some planning. What do I need to make? What stitches/techniques will I use in the piece? How to make some of the samples so they use more than one technique on each. That kind of thing. Then get the materials and get to work.

I need some planning time. And actually, I have planning time here. I get up at my usual time and we don't have to be ready until 8 - that gives me a couple of hours of planning time each morning.

We got a tour of the building. While the offices are just like any other office - except for the very fancy coffee machine in the lunch room. Good grief - you almost need a degree to run the thing! We did get a peek in the warehouse. HOLY! It's huge.

There are posters of old sewing machine ads (Husqvarna and PFAFF) throughout the building which are fun to read. There's a display of older machines in the lobby. Oh my - it's been 25 years this year that the Husqvarna Viking #1+ came out. The first embroidery machine by Husqvarna Viking. It's hilarious to look at how small the bed of that machine is. But hey - it did embroidery!

They also have a PFAFF 1222 on display. I laugh because this is Gail's favorite machine at The Hobby Horse. She buys one whenever she finds one. They are a workhorse for sure! They are also lots of treadles, hand cranks, and other sundry machines including a Diamond SE or one from the Diamond series. Yes - sadly retired but replaced with something that is truly spectacular in the Designer EPIC and EPIC 980Q. 

There's also a display of all the current machines both PFAFF and Husqvarna Viking. So nice to see them all in one spot. But the thing I love is that the educators are all so passionate about what we do, but almost everyone in that building knows the business side but has no clue what we do with what they sell. Isn't that just the weirdest thing? I guess not - but for some reason - it just seems weird to me. But no worse than when I worked for Northcott - few employees actually use the fabric they produce.

That's why they depend on freelance people like myself to spread the word.

After the formal day was done, we split into groups and went to dinner where we were given a topic for discussion. It was a very interesting discussion and I really enjoyed it. We're going to review the outcome this morning. It's going to be interesting to see what the other groups came up with.

But more than that - I'm learning so much. And realizing that I know absolutely NOTHING about this industry and the machines. OK - that's not true, but I feel like I know nothing. I'd better sit down when I get home and do some serious playing. I've got a couple of things that I'm going to plead total ignorance on so someone can give me a lesson while I'm here. Hey - I've got a room full of teachers so I should take advantage of that.

The only negative thing about the day - well besides that I seem to be cold. But part of that is my negative thing - I barely got any steps in. Less than 3,000 for the day and that's barely any in my world. I need to go for a walk before we meet to leave the hotel - otherwise, there just isn't time in the day.

On that note, I'm off to make my smoothie and get myself organized for the day. Can't wait to see what today brings.

Have a super day!!!


Monday, January 14, 2019

A half day of travel - Part Two

I knew there were some major snow storms happening in the US. They just happened to be between Toronto and Nashville so we had no issues there. But when we started our descent into Nashville, we flew through layers and layers of thick fluffy clouds for about 20 minutes. I heard the wheels drop into position for landing and still - thick fluffy clouds. Yikes - the cloud cover was very low and we saw the ground for less than 5 minutes before we landed. But no turbulence - the clouds were just thick and fluffy - just the way I like it.

I was meeting up with two other people so we could get to the hotel together. One of the girls had rented a van. The one who rented the van was already there and the third person who was supposed to be there ahead of us both was late. She was considerably late - I think it was over an hour that we had to wait for her. One of them came from Washington and one from Wisconsin. Now here’s the interesting thing - I live further south than both of them! While I had a two hour flight with no transfer, they both spent an entire day travelling!

Once we finally got to the hotel and checked in, we were off to the grocery store to get supplies. Snacks and breakfast stuff. Even though there is breakfast at the hotel, I’m sure it won’t be stuff that’s on my list. I’m glad it wasn’t just me who needed to stock up.

I found almond milk in 6 individual containers and almond butter in six individual packets. Cantaloupe that was already cut up and on sale. Almonds, hummus and cauliflower for snacks. I’m all set. The only thing I forgot was bananas for the smoothie so I’m off to the breakfast buffet to see what I can forage - hopefully they have bananas.

The weather here is wet. Not a ton of rain, but damp and misty and although it’s above zero, it’s cold. At least I was cold yesterday. That’s because there was this cold draft that blew up my pant legs all the way on the flight!  And it never fails, I get the talkers on the plane. There was a group of people flying together that all worked at the same company that sold medical supplies. Two of them were behind me and one of them was a talker. He literally talked the ENTIRE way. I hardly think he took a breath and I know all about his family, his skiing adventures and work. I don’t need to know that!

On that note, I’m off in search of bananas. Can’t wait to get started - it’s going to be a fun and I’m sure a LONG day.

Have a super day!!!!!


A half day of travel - part One

Yesterday was a travel day - I’m in Nashville so I guess it was a travel day. But it was unusual. When I travel, I normally book my flights first thing in the morning and then I’m running around half the night getting last minute stuff done. But my flight was at 3 PM.

That meant that I had loads of time to get stuff done before I had to leave. I was doing laundry, machine embroidery, taking photos, editing them and uploading them. I accomplished quite a bit.

The last thing I do before I leave - always - is to pack. One of these days, I’m going to get to the airport and realize that I don’t have any clothes with me.

The headquarters for SVP is in Nashville and I’m here along with the other educators for a week long education week. It’s going to be great - going over classes, learning new stuff, and getting tips and tricks from the other educators. I’m probably the newest of everyone so I’m the one that’s going to benefit the most.

I’m on my iPad this morning. My laptop is open and at my blog page, but for some reason, it won’t let me log in to do a new post. I can only read it. Oh well - I’m good at some stuff, just not all the time.

Here’s what happened at the airport. I arrive in plenty of time and get to the NEXUS line. Oh - shoot - I have to show my boarding pass which would NOT come up on the screen of my phone. I normally do that in the car on the way there so it’s ready to go. But once you get to the airport and you’re asked to join the Wi-Fi, then total chaos ensued. I never thought to turn the WiFi off. I ended up going to the kiosk which was right there and getting a paper boarding pass. No big deal.

Then into the security check line where I was pretty certain that my luggage would get flagged. You see - we’re at a sewing event and I have scissors in my bag. Yep - it gets flagged. You have a blender in your suitcase? Yes - I brought my immersion blender so I could have my smoothie in the morning. Oh - that was allowed. Well - of course, the blades are tiny and inside a round metal base. You have scissors in your bag? Yep - I do. So they allowed my 8” long bent handled scissors, my 6” (with a 3” blade to go - although they are JUST acceptable so the supervisor’s call - they let them pass). What they didn’t like were my tiny little snips. The darn things are 4” long in total and they wouldn’t let those pass. Are you kidding me??????  That’s just ridiculous.

I was escorted back outside security where I could check my bag. I’m never going to get to the gate!

Once I had checked my bag, I was able to get through everything with no further problems.

Since I’m on the iPad, this buffer thing is going to be a problem so there is a second part today.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Ice cream for breakfast

My life seems to be one giant learning curve and I'm so excited!

Last year when I did the dTox thing, I decided that I needed a Vitamix blender. Yes - I spent an obscene amount of money on the thing. Which is hilarious because I complained rather loudly when M insisted that we buy one for her. Well, she took that one when she moved out (technically it was a gift to her). So I had to eat crow and go and buy one for me. Sadly, the blender has sat in the box for an entire year. I know - don't ask.

Now I decided it's time to open that box. So I made my smoothie yesterday with the Vitamix. A frozen banana was no match for the blender and very quickly, I had a nice, delicious smoothie to enjoy.

This morning it was frozen strawberries.

Making a strawberry smoothie

Not sure that I had the right quantity of almond milk - I might have been a wee bit short, maybe too many strawberries and a little bit too long in the blending process. I got strawberry ICE CREAM. That's OK - it's got protein powder in it. Tastes amazing and that's my breakfast. So you can have ice cream for breakfast and it's super healthy.

Strawberry ice cream made in the Vitamix
I really should read ALL of the instructions. I will next week.

I just can't seem to last much beyond 8 PM these days. I'm in bed reading and lights usually out by 9 PM, but I'm up super early - I won't tell you what time. I know - that's why I'm in bed so early, but it works for my body clock.

I went for a long walk yesterday - the bank, the library, and Indigo - where I bought nothing. We have new ATMs at the bank. According to Ronda, my bank information person, these ATMs are NOT new - our branch appears to be slow. Anyway - they are super awesome. Very easy to use and much faster than the old ones. I didn't even have time to warm up from my walk.

I'm going to be away this coming week - off on an exciting adventure. I'll still be blogging, but before I go, I'm trying to get some stuff done. As usual!

So I have not one, but TWO embroidery machines going this morning. 

Husqvarna Viking Designer Brilliance 80 madly stitching out designs

Husqvarna Viking Designer EPIC finishing off another design

I swear that I really try to keep those tables clear but look. Those two embroidery machines are buried in stuff. Actually, there's plenty of room around the machines, the rest of the tables - a HUGE disaster.

Tables are a mess
 If you look really close at the left just beside the door, there's a sewing machine there!!!

The EPIC is buried in this mess

I'm constantly learning with the embroidery machines. There's just so much that you can do. I'll show you pictures at a later date. But I had a WOW moment this morning. Oh my god - what technology can do is incredible. I'm making something for the QUILTsocial blogs and they will be posted at the end of January. You'll see my WOW moment then. I'm in total awe.

I've got a website for you to check out this morning.

If you know nothing about scissors or rotary cutters, here's a good link to get the overall scoop on them. The OLFA rotary cutter is celebrating it's 40th anniversary this year. Can you imagine life without a rotary cutter???  I started with the basic OLFA cutter and I won't change. I just love that cutter and I know that I have a FEW of them. There are tips on caring for and cleaning your tools as well.  If you want to see my rotary cutters - go to this link.

The West End Modern Quilt Guild met yesterday and we laid out the blocks for our Quiltcon charity quilt. Oh my - I didn't take a picture of the final layout, but what fun we had. I think this is what it looked like when we just threw the blocks onto the design wall. Then the blocks gots switched around. A super fun exercise. Surprisingly, it didn't take us very long to agree on a final design. Yes - 30 people agreed on the placement of over 100 blocks???  Yep - I managed to finish all my blocks - well all but 5.

The first iteration of the WEMQG charity quilt

Well - that's it for me today. I've got to check on those embroidery machines to see what's going on and I suspect I need to reload them as I see they are silent on my phone app.

Have a super day!!!