Saturday, October 31, 2015

Quilt Festival - Day Four

There is nothing like being home!  

I arrived late last night - around 10:30 PM - hungry and of course couldn't sleep. I did manage to sleep some, but I've been up for a couple of hours already and ready to go!!!!!

So what happened yesterday?  Up for my last breakfast at the hotel.  Funny how some people will say - "I'm so tired of the same breakfast".  Seriously???   There is lots of choice - I filled up every day with the buffet and how many people vary what they have for breakfast at home?  You know you've been in one place too long though when the wait staff practically knows you by name and they picked up the tab on the last day which isn't that big of a deal considering that I had two $5 coupons (for not having my room made up each day).  But still - the buffet was $18 US per day! Plus tax and tip!

Then I was off to the Festival for one last roam through the vendors and a last look at the quilts that I hadn't seen yet.

I arrived at the Convention Center with time to spare so I just found a chair by one of the doors and waited.  Chatted to a couple of people, but more importantly, I had a catalogue with a bunch of long arm pantographs and well - there was lots of eye candy in that catalogue. The big question of the day was - could I sneak in one last time with my Market badge or was I going to have to cough up $12.  And there were crazy people who started lining up at 9:15 AM - doors opened at 10 AM.  An extra 45 miinutes on your feet to wait - no thank you!

The staff were much more diligent about checking badges this day because many people bought tickets for the day and they all had to be scanned.  But I sort of concealed my badge by my scarf and worked my way in.  The minute I was in - that badge came off - never to be seen again. Apparently, Rich made it in as well.

I had made a list in numerical order of the booths so it was an easy process to follow along the trail.  When I arrived at the first booth, I realized that this person was an author and had a book.  The two patterns I wanted were in the book so a better deal to buy the book.  A quick call to The Hobby Horse and the book is now in the store waiting for me - I didn't have to carry the book home, it didn't come out of my US budget and cost way less.  Yeah - one down - nine to go.    Thanks Joyce!!!!!!

I worked my way through the list one by one.  I did make TWO impulse purchases.  Technically one wasn't an impulse as it had been on my list, but it will be very useful for a class I am teaching so I bought it for that reason.

Oh yes - at one point, I needed to use the ladies room.  I think there is only ONE set of washrooms in that entire hall on the main floor. Which is totally crazy with a bunch of women!  I turned the corner and so many people, but I got in the line.  The cleaning staff were there and the male janitor came out of the men's room and said to us - it's all yours!!!!   He was pretty funny because he had to make sure the men were out and he was joking about how the last man was in one of the stalls for a long long time!   The line went way faster and back to the show!

The booth where I was going to throw caution to the wind and buy several things - OK - a lot of things - well turned out that the owner and I have a sort of relationship - the items are being shipped and well - we are chatting about the price.  Yeah - that saved a bit of cash as well.

As I was filling out the customs form on the plane - do you know that I barely brought home any receipts.  Yep - if you use your credit card - the receipts are e-mailed to you.  I wonder how that works for customs???

I was walking past a book booth and a book that I wanted caught my eye.  The place was jammed but I wiggled my way in and got the book.  As I was standing in line in the aisle to pay, a woman walked by and said - that is a good book, but way cheaper on Amazon. I didn't believe her (that it was available on Amazon).  I thought for two seconds and put the book back - it was a very HEAVY book.  A quick check on my phone and yep - it was $60 US in that booth and $52 CDN on Amazon.  That book stayed in the booth. And I didn't have to carry it home - it is big.  I'm going to put it on my Christmas book list and again - it didn't come out of my US budget!

The one thing that would make life easier for us Canadians is better roaming service. Well not better, but cheaper.  I bought a phone package and a data package - while it wasn't cheap - it was so worth it to have access anywhere I wanted.  I know they had WiFi at the convention center and the hotel, but this way - I didn't have to worry and I could call home when I wanted.  That was so worth the money, but the package is for a month.  Why not make week long packages for half the price??????   Hey Bell Canada - are you listening?????

I finished my shopping shortly after noon and I had to be back at the hotel to catch a ride to the airport with Rich.  That gave me about two hours to check out the last of the quilts. There were MANY MANY exhibits. Some of the quilts - I just zoomed by and others I had a quick peek at.  I don't want to sound jaded, but all those heavy back ground quilting fills are starting to look like each other.  I think I took one or two pictures of quilting.  I realized I was looking at colors.  And only the bright ones merited a peek from me.   But I did get loads of inspiration - my head is swimming with ideas to design.

I look at all those beautifully appliqued quilts - yes - I am in awe of the makers. But frankly - I don't really care for them. But give me a big quilt made from teeny tiny blocks and I am in my glory!!!! My camera battery was dying but I managed to get through the entire display of quilts and took all the pictures I wanted. Yeah!!!!

Although I didn't buy too much, my back was getting tired at the end from carrying the stuff. I was glad to get to the hotel, get my luggage and sit down while I packed everything away.  It all fit nicely in the suitcase and I didn't have to struggle to get it closed!  It weighed 40 pounds! And I don't take a big suitcase!  Just as I was finishing, Rich arrived in the lobby - perfect timing.

Oh yes - I should say that when I left the convention center, I was hit with a blast of humid air.  It had been humid when we arrived, then we had the rain which cooled the air down and then back to humidity!

Rich dropped me off at the Air Canada terminal and very quickly I was through check-in and security and waiting for the plane. The plane was late - mechnical issues and they had to find a new one. The flight to Calgary from the same gate was also late - and who knows why. But people do NOT listen. They had people from the Toronto flight trying to get on the Calgary flight because of the timing issue.

The plane wasn't full and there was a pair of empty seats ahead of me so I sat there. And had to listen to this young guy from Hamilton hit on a young girl from Toronto. I thought I was going to have to listen to them all the way home, but once the plane took off - he watched a movie. Thank god!!!!!!

Of course - Little Sammy was thrilled to see me. But I had to go upstairs - she wouldn't come down.  Perhaps she was saying that she wasn't happy with me!  The little cutey pie!

Then I couldn't sleep. I hate when that happens, but there was the time zone thing - only one hour, but I had been staying up rather late for me in Houston so that didn't help. And I had a Tim's tea. Oh well - I read for a long time before I dozed off and then I was wide awake this morning because I have a class - Misty Pines to teach today. There are seven people in the class and I wasn't quite finished cutting for them.  I know - will this ever end??????   The kits are cut and ready for sewing. The tables are cleared and I am good to go!  I still have a bit more cutting to do and I will try to finish it up after the class today.  It is well past time to move on with this!  Tomorrow is the last class and then a few kits to be picked up and it will be done!  I'm taking Monday off and sewing with the Monday Mania group - and I might take what's left of this project to get it done!

I started up my computer last night and uploaded e-mail.  All 989 of them.  Thankfully many of them are just those group things that were easy to go through and delete.  There were a few personal ones and then a few that I need to address later today.  I have to figure out how to sort through all these e-mails and only read the pertinate ones.  Yes - I have unsubscribed to quite a few things - I guess I should unsubscribe some more.   So if you e-mailed me and did't get a response last night - e-mail me again. It might be a while before I get back through what's left.

I see the new Bonnie Hunter mystery is going to start at the end of the month.  I am very happy to say that I am not the least bit interested. There are so many other projects that I want to do that I don't have time to even entertain the thought of making a quilt like thousands will make. That is just my personal choice, not a slam against Bonnie's followers.  If you are going to make the quilt - I'd love to see it. I wasn't all that thrilled with the colors.

Speaking of colors - I saw the Hoffman challenge in Houston and where did they choose those colors from????  Now those fabrics were hideous!!!  Everything was dark and gloomy and the quilts were dark and gloomy - I passed right by those quilts.

One of my impulse purchases was for M.  I thought these were very cute and I got her two different ones.

Little Sammy


Aren't they cute??????

Sorry - those are the only two pictures I can muster up this morning.   I will go through my pictures later and post some of them, but if you followed on Facebook - you got most of the highlights.

It was fun last night as the plane flew into Toronto.  I was guessing which towns we were passing by (and watching that little map thing on the screen).  There was London, then Stratford, then Kitchener/Waterloo. Then Guelph. We were low enough that you could make out the main streets. Then Georgetown and Brampton and at last into Mississauga. We flew over the city and came in from the east.  So cool to see the landmarks and amazing that the airport is smack in the middle of a huge city.

On that note - for the most part this concludes my Houston story - I'm sure there will be other stories as I sort through the pictures and as much fun as I had at the show, that was only the tip of the iceberg.  Now I have that big box waiting for me at the office (and more stuff that I brought in my suitcase) that has to be sorted through, people to contact, guidelines to write, patterns to design, fabric ideas to sketch out and help get our booth organized for the next show which is the end of February, but there could be another one at the end of January. Have to check on that!

Have an awesome day - we'll be sewing Misty Pines!


Friday, October 30, 2015

Quilt Festival - Day Three

AHA - I figured out what happened yesterday - it was the pictures that prevented the post from being published.  I removed the pictures (there were only two) and the post published within seconds.  I have my camera set to HIGH and the pictures turn out big.  I really must figure out a way to load pictures while I am away.  I could take the pictures from my phone and post them to the blog, but then I can't type lots from the phone.  Oh well - I took loads of pictures and you will get to see them later. Hopefully you have seen some of them on Facebook.

Yesterday was research day. Rich and I walked up and down the aisles of Quilt Festival.  We chatted to numerous people, took pictures of booths and fabrics and quilts that we thought were of interest to us. There were lots of stuff I took pictures of. Sometimes I asked permission - sometimes I didn't.

At the same time, I was keeping my eyes open for things I wanted to go back and look at. We did stop for lunch which is something I don't normally do, but we had walked the entire floor by then and it was time for a break and to chat. I haven't been taking notes about our discussions, but let's just say that I'm going to have a lot of work to do when I get back to the office.

Then I got a chance to walk the floor by myself for a more in-depth look while Rich went off to do some business.  I managed to snag more business cards of booths to check out later.  Then we had an appointment with a potential client - which turned out to be VERY interesting.

Here are a couple of things that I have learned or what to try when I get home. First - I watched a demo on teeny tiny applique.  How to turn those edges and sharp indents.  Hmmmm - I have those tools and I have seen the technique before, but I had forgotten.  Time to dig out those tools and make it happen. The woman who did the demo was selling P3 designs in her booth and we all know that those are teeny tiny pieces.  So yes - I must get my butt in gear and try the technique before it slips from my brain yet again.

The second thing I learned has to do with lazer cut applique.  Yes - the opposite spectrum from the first thing I learned.  Here is the deal - you know me - you know I want to do it all. So I was looking at the price of some of the lazer kits and my first thought is that they are expensive. And yes they are - but when you consider the fabric and fusible and then factor in your time and now you are guaranteed to have beautiful cuts EVERY TIME - and no leftovers to deal with - well yes - they are not so expensive at all.

Some companies have taken popular patterns (including one that I am currently teaching) and prepared all the applique.  Could I cheat and buy the kit - would my class ever know?????   I have only cut out a couple of blocks. Nope - I am not going to buy that one, but I am going to buy a smaller one to try.

Oh yes - the third thing I learned has to do with foam like stabilizers for bags.  EVERYONE is using it - it is time to give it a try. And I visited By Annie's and well - I want one of everything in that booth.  The patterns are awesome.  But in defense of DecorBond  -I learned something as well.  I have a big Elna press at home and I never thought to use it for DecorBond and fusible fleece.  Guess what gets pulled out when I get home.   Let's just say that I learned a TON of things here and want to try them out at home.

After our meeting, I had one hour left to scour the floor. I managed to make all the aisles except the last one.  As I got closer and closer to the end, the rows were filled with more pre made stuff although Missouri Star was in that area.

There was a doll booth. Beautiful gorgeous artsy dolls  - you couldn't take pictures, but the sign said "our dolls think they are models and wish to be paid for any photographs".  Or something like that - it was cute.

Back to the hotel where Rich and I sat for hours chatting about how we will change the fabric business.  Not really, but it was good to chat about what I would like to do and how to do it and also how to prepare for shows in the future - if we have a booth at these shows. Very very good conversations.

Today is the last day that I am here. My plane is around 5 PM so we are leaving here around 2:30PM.  That gives me another 4 hours to see the rest of the quilts that I didn't see and to do my shopping. This is where the crunch comes in - I must sort through those business cards I have collected and try to figure out my budget both money and space.

I have narrowed it down to ten stores that I would like to visit.  While there are tons of patterns that I would love - how many cute Halloween house patterns does one need?  So I am going to try and go for those that live off shore - like Australia and stuff that is unique that would be fun to learn. I'll put them in order by aisle and run up and down so I can get over to see the quilts.  And I found a great applique (easy applique) pattern that I think will be perfect for the $10 at Hobby Horse.  Check out "With Needle and Thread" - the sewing tool pattern.  She uses crayons and markers to give texture to the images and I think it would be fun to use it as "learn to embellish your applique".  It was very cute.  And if no one likes it - no applique class and I'll just make that quilt at home. It will be a perfect class for all levels. Pattern is $15 US so very reasonable and the project is DOABLE!!!!

And will we be able to sneak in with our Market badges today or will they force us to buy a day pass?????   

I have managed to scoop a number of license plates - and there is one more that I want to get today. Most have been from Texas, but this last one is from some other state which I can't remember.  But they are 5.99 and with tax and exchange - they are not cheap!

I've had a blast all week.  It's been exhausting but I've survived!   I will be glad to get home and sleep in my own bed and I miss Little Sammy!!!!  And my family too!

On that note - I have to check out this morning so I had better figure out how to make room in the suitcase so I can have room to put the other stuff in that I want to buy.

Have a great day and here's to hoping there are no issues at the airport - I have a class to teach tomorrow so I need to be home.


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Quilt Festival Day One

Oh boy - this trip is so reminiscent of my trip in 1999 - it is scary. 

The day started by having breakfast with a few of our group. They were getting ready to leave for the airport and I was getting ready to go to the convention center. I left here at 8:30 AM and I got back shortly after 8 PM.   But there is so much going on - that well - I have to be part of it all!!!!!

Started off by signing up for some classes. Now here is where I had a very DUH moment.  I picked classes that I thought would be fun (of course) and that wouldn't require a lot of supplies.  I was working from the printout that I had printed at the office.  When I picked up the class book yesterday - for a souvenir - god knows why?   I couldn't for the life of me figure out what the middle section was a duplicate of the outer section.  First class - no problem - we needed a pen. Second class - oh boy - we needed a crap load of stuff.  Hmmmm - turns out the middle section is the list of supplies required for each class.  DUH!!!!!  I'll come back to that in a moment.

The first class was with  Cheryl Sloboda - she has a web site which I haven't been to yet.  And it is hard for me to put links in on the tablet. She quilts on the side as she has a full time job in the cartoon business. The topic was "Time Strategies for the Busy Quilter".  I signed up for that one on a whim when I was at registration. Of course - the class is all the way to the end of the convention center and it was freezing in the building. I had on a T-shirt and my short sleeved cardigan and I thought I was going to freeze.  I think I might be taking my pashmina with me today!!!!

OK - back to the class. The attendance was not great - everyone who signed up came, but we were few. I have to say that I was a bit disappointed by the class.  I think I had way more information than Cheryl did (OK - I know - who am I to tell the big names what to do - perhaps next year - I should try and teach!). I did learn two very useful tips so I have to say that I learned something, but the class could have been done in a 1 hour 15 minute lecture.  I did put that on my evaluation sheet. And I should qualify that - I learned one tip that I think will help me - especially as I have a crazy schedule before Christmas and the second was a great concept to do which I absolutely love. The big question is how to fit that in the schedule. 

It is all about doing quilting for ME or making samples for work and class.  One I don't have a choice about, the other I do.  BUT - I have committed to teaching this next year and I love it.  I think the long arm is going to be the one to go.  But only after I have quilted the commitments I have in house.

Then a two hour lunch break.  There are lectures one could attend, but I had no desire to go to the lecture. I had my book with me and I grabbed a table and read. I've barely read while I've been here so it was nice to just sit quietly and read. Although I did have a conversation with the ladies who sat at my table. You see I still have my Market badge on and people are always asking about that.

Time to get to the second class.  Textile Treasures: Font - Classy Text. This class was taught by Julie Haddrick from Australia.  AH - now I get what the middle section of the book was.  The SUPPLY LIST for each class.  DUH!!!!    Well - I didn't have any supplies with me.   And the kind lady beside me showed me all the supplies and there were a lot. Oh boy - well I decided that I could still learn in the class regardless so I stayed.  Not sure what happened to the lady in front of me - she had a huge plastic case full of stuff and well - she abandoned class very early.   The lady next to me said she would loan me supplies, but I was happy to observe.  Then Julie came over and gave me a Sharpie to use on the kit materials that we had purchased when we enrolled for the class and well I had no choice.  While the others had meticulously made their stencils, I free formed it and it turned out fine!   Basically we were making tools to use for stamping and printing on fabric.  I ended up with three of the four tools (and I had brought NO SUPPLIES) and I didn't mooch anything either - other than a pair of scissors and a Sharpie.

Then the class did some stenciling/printing on fabric and we could use Julie's stuff.  I didn't print anything because I didn't want a lot of wet fabric to deal with and secondly - I have done my share of printing and stamping and screen printing when I was at Sheridan.  I wasn't really there for the techniques - I was there for the ideas and did I get ideas?????   Oh yes - my head is swimming and fortunately the ideas from the second class will gel nicely with the ideas from the first class so that is a good thing!!!!!   I am very glad I didn't find that supply list because I would have been in a panic and I don't think they used most of the supplies that they brought. Well - aprons and gloves for the printing part.

That class ended at 5 PM and the Winner's Circle Celebration started at 6 PM.  This was the presentation of the award winners of the International Quilter's Association show. They made a point of telling us that NONE of these are purchase awards - the quilters get to keep their quilts. A line was already forming when I walked past the ballroom, so I just got in line and read my book for a bit and chatted with some of the quilters. So exciting to be amongst so much talent.  Then we were able to get in the doors and of course everyone rushes to the front of the room.  I managed to snag an aisle seat four rows from the front.  It was a perfect angle to see the stage. Picture this - the front and sides of the ballroom are swathed in black drapes that go floor to ceiling - very dramatic.  As I was sitting waiting for the ceremony to start, I realized that there were secondary drapes hung and behind those drapes were the winning quilts.  AHA - this is going to be fun.

As the ceremony started, it was announced that there was a special guest amongst the crowd. Someone who had been ill and was not back.  I knew it couldn't be Eleanor Burns as she is home with strict orders for rest after a valve replacement and double bypass, I thought of Pat Campbell, but no it was Libby Lehman.  She had an aneurism 2 1/2 years ago and she was back and yesterday was the FIRST she has quilted since she fell ill.  She was sitting with Ricky Tims and Alex Anderson and they were just a few rows behind me in the next section so I had a clear view of them all.  I took a class with Libby years ago when she was in Toronto at CreativFestival.

Anyway - one by one, the sponsors got up and announced the winners.  The competition is truly an International affair with quilts received from all over the world.  Mostly the United States, then I think Japan was second and Canada had 11 or was that 7 entries?   Let me just say the awards ceremony was so inspiring - it went fast (two hours) and it was beautiful.  I'm so glad I went. One by one, the black drapes were raised on the 1st place quilt in each category (and the viewer's choice).  It was spectacular.   Two winners were men.

There were a LOT of winners from the US of course, A LOT of winners from Japan and a good part of the winners were in attendance. There was one quilt from Japan that wasn't a show stopper.  It was very weird and personally I wouldn't hang it in my house!  I will try to find a picture of it or go on-line - the wnning quilts were posted last night - see if you can spot the one I am talking about.  It won't be difficult to pick it out. While all of the quilts were beautiful - it was hard to see the detail.  Some were whole cloth quilts which you can't appreciate until you see them in person.   There are a couple that have given me inspiration and I need to get more detail on those quilts.   Tonight is the preview night so will try over the next three days to get to see them.

We did get to see the new president of Bernina - for those who care.  Fifth generation family member is taking it over - a young man.  There is a lot of family business in the quilting world. He made a presentation to one of the winners.

Many wanted to stay to look at the quilts - too much congestion for me so I zipped out and was headed back to the hotel where I was meeting Rich who is staying so we can both walk the Festival floor on Thursday.

Ever the networker (and my business cards are always at the ready), everyone left the ballroom and headed left to go down the escalators,  I turned right and was catching up to a woman who had also turned right.  The hallway was deserted.  She asked if I thought the escalators would still be working - I said, if not - I would walk down them.  So we matched our pace and walked and talked.  Turns out she works for AccuQuilt.  We traded cards - nuff said!!!!   Oh my god - Joyce would have a fit if I ever used one!!!! 

Speaking of networking - I am on the lookout for new designers and a few people to create things for me.  While I was in the text class, the lady next to me and I got chatting about the Modern Quilt Guild.  I now have a new contact in that world!!!!   Oh yes - no time goes to waste for me.  

Back to the hotel where I met up with Rich and while we had dinner - we schemed and talked about work for hours!  It was after 11 when I finally came up to my room. I was wiped - but a very very productive day!!!!!   It is so fun at the classrooms to walk by the doors and see what the others are learning and see all the big name quilters!!!

I am signed up for another class today and the only supply needed is a pair of scissors which I still have from my sewing kit that I brought with me.  Everything else went on the crate, but I knew I needed the scissors for this class  Can't wait to see what we do with the scissors.

On that note - it's time to get ready for the day.  Breakfast at the buffet - AGAIN!   And then back to the convention center. My FitBit has died and I forgot to bring the charger so no calculating steps for a couple of days. It is going to be another LONG LONG day, but I'm holding up just fine.

Have a great day!!!!!!


Quilt Festival - Day Two

Good grief - I see the post from yesterday didn't post and that is very frustrating.  You see the internet is weird.  You have to set up the log in when you connect to the internet. Then technically you should be connected anytime you want.  However I AM connected to the internet, but I'm only able to post the blog when I get that log in and I was certain I had that log in come up yesterday.  Today, I can't make that log-in come up at all.   Oh yes -me and technology. I've been pretty good so far.

Had breakfast by myself yesterday.  I think that was the first meal that I ate by myself and it was nice to just relax and enjoy. No business, no quilt talk - just peace and quiet.

Off to the class of the day which started at 9:00 AM. Another class by Cheryl Sleboda called Cartooning for Quilters!   I know - why would I take that?  Well I really wanted long arm classes but they were long gone and well - I like this kind of thing so I signed up.  And the only supply we needed was a pair of scissors. I like that!!!!   We spent the morning learning to draw.  Actually it was a very good class and once you set yourself down to draw those kinds of things - it was pretty easy. Of course - I have relaxed my style a LOT since I first started to quilt - many years ago.

A two hour lunch break - again - there were lectures you could attend, but not for me. I grabbed my book and sat and read for two hours and finished the book just in time to get back to class.

The afternoon was spent making some little cartoon pieces. I really had fun with them and now I can take some of the other techniques I learned  and embellish and quilt the pieces.  The whole thing for me is to FREE up the process.  Have fun with quilting instead of making quilts. I guess - I want to do the art side of the quilting and I never seem to have time.  Well - I made THREE little pieces in a matter of a couple of hours.  They just need to be finished which wouldn't really take long once I get to a sewing machine.

The class was supposed to go until 5 PM, but we didn't really need all that time. Although there were a few in the class who had never used fusibles before so they needed some extra help.  One of the winners from the previous night was in the class so I had a chat with her. Funny enough, the technique on her winning quilt was fusible applique!!!!

Before I get to the BIG event of the day, here are a couple of crazy stories to share with you.

There is a Starbucks here. It was so cold the previous day, that in the afternoon - I desperately wanted a tea. I went to their kiosk and ordered a goodie and a hot chocolate.  Why I ordered the hot chocolate, I don't know because I hate their hot chocolate.  Anyway - it came to 7.95.  I only had twenty dollar bills or a five. She took the five and said that was good enough since she didn't have a lot of change. Yesterday I went back in the afternoon to buy a tea, a goodie and a small sandwich.  I asked for the sandwich first and the cashier yelled at someone in the back to put the sandwich in the toaster.  Then between the cashier talking to another cashier - I attempted to place my order.  It was extremely rude and I was going to call her on it, but I didn't. Then I paid her - it was 5.95.  When I moved to the side to wait for my stuff I realized her mistake - she didn't charge me for the sandwich and I wasn't about to correct her.  That was her fault for yapping so much when trying to take my order.  I now know why I hate StarBucks, but so far, I'm ahead when it comes to paying them.

Let me tell you about my hotel room.  There is a fan in the middle of the room which helps with air circulation. It also has a light that is controlled by a switch at the door when you walk in.  I think it was the second night that I was here, I woke up and that damn light was on.  How????   I've no idea.  But since I didn't turn the light on and had never turned that light on - I had no idea where it was controlled. I finally found the switch and turned it off.  But how did it get on???   If I was the nervous type - I guess I wouldn't have been able to get back to sleep - but I had NO problems.  When I got back to the hotel last night - the light was on again.  Is is a faulty switch or a ghost????

One thing I hate is having the bed made.  GASP!!!!!   I know - but when you first get into a bed in a hotel, the sheets are so tight - it is impossible to sleep.  And then they come and make the bed and then you have the same issue the next night.  Well - if you hang a certain tag on the door, they won't come in and clean the room and make the bed.  You get a $5 coupon that is good to use in the restaurant.  Once I learned that - I hang that sign on the door every day and my bed is nice and messy and VERY comfy for sleeping.   So yes - it wasn't the hotel staff who left that light on!

But things aren't cheap here - like a bottle of water.  I think the other day when I bought a sandwich for $8 at the convention center, and then I added a bottle of water - I paid $13 for that.  Seriously?????   Thankfully, they have water coolers in the classroom area so you take your own bottle and fill it up and you are good.

I mentioned earlier about the police presence here.  No security guards - these are police officers.  As I was standing in the line last night to get into Festival, I mentioned it to someone because as we entered Festival - there was a paramedic and two police officers at the door.  A lady I spoke with said that theft was a HUGE problem at Festival and for me to hang onto my purse tightly. Now that is appalling, but I am hoping that it is a NON-quilter who is the thief and they are here because they know there is a lot of money on the floor.  I would hate to think that some sweet little grey haired lady is the culprit. So tightly clutching my possessions - I entered the floor.

Wednesday night was preview night.  If you were an International Quilt Association member, you could get into Festival starting at 5 PM.  If you had enrolled in a class, you could also get in at 5.  Otherwise, you could get in at 7 PM.  Since I had been in a class and since I was here at Market, I got in for free at 5 PM.  The line ups were HUGE!!!!!!

My first thought was to run to that booth where they had the orange bicycle fabric.  I couldn't remember the booth number, nor the aisle, nor the name of the store.  I went to where I thought it was and couldn't find it.  Seriously??????   So I walked the entire back of the show as she was the last booth in her row.  Nothing.  So I walked ALL the aisles and still nothing.  That took one hour! I know - I saw nothing but walked very fast. I thought I was losing my mind so I decided to stop wasting time and start going down the aisles to see what good things there were.

As I was doing the mad rush, I came upon Riley Blake booth (I know - a competitor but I wasn't deterred. I just turned my name bag over so they couldn't see I was from Northcott.  After all, I am here for research. They had a giveaway for the first 50 people who participated.  You had to visit three shops in the Festival - get a punch on your card and then return for the bag.  Yep - I did it right away and got back within 10 minutes (I walk very fast) and got my freebie.

So I started in aisle 29.  I have decided to not look at anything primitive.  There are some absolutely adorable stuff, but that style just isn't fitting on my plate at the moment.  That helped to weed out some booths.  No finished items (well except for one) - no jewelry, no mops or massage items.  I'm still on the lookout for pattern ideas, block of the month and then stuff for me!!!!!   I did see some booths with huge displays of Northcott fabric which warms my heart.

Instead of shopping, I picked up their card and with my handy pen, I wrote the booth number on the card and exactly what I was interested in and sometimes the price so it would be easy to go back.  Those cards went in my name tag holder.  A couple of booths, I traded cards with the store owner or designer.

I did three aisles and then decided to visit the quilts which of course were at the other end of the hall - which is about a couple of city blocks down the convention center.  The exhibits opened at 7 PM.  So I wandered through half of the exhibits. Well probably not quite half when I look at the floor plan. I did not stop and study each quilt to see how they matched seams or the quilting.  If the quilt didn't appeal to me - I moved on.  We are talking a GREAT number of pieces of art.  I did find some amazing quilts and some fabulous ideas.  I won't be posting any of them - the photography rules are too strict and I'll just not rock the boat by not posting any. I met my counterpart (more or less) at Moda as they have a huge display of quilts to celebrate their 40th anniversary. And there is a quilt made of the Mark Dunn (I hope that is his name) who is the owner of Moda.  I wonder if we could make that for Brian????

There were some amazing quilts, some great concepts and well - they were spectacular.  But there were some that were just OK as well.  Many that were OK.  This is a congregation of a lot of quilt shows and you may not like some of the styles.  One display I was particularly perturbed at was the Kaffe Fassett display.  He had the original quilts that inspired his designs.  Remember the quilt called Radiation (or something like that) - well the original quilt was hanging.  Of course - it really isn't a pretty quilt - it is old.  But big signs NO PICTURES.   And why not????   Because if you want pictures - you have to buy the books.  The books weren't there for sale, but you know.  Despite the signs for no photography, I heard the Keeper of the Quilts loudly reminding a lady to NOT take pictures.  Seriously - she couldn't see the sign????  I think the keeper made her delete the photos too. 

There were modern log cabins made with satin - they weren't really appealing to me despite the fact that I like log cabin. Lots of antique and artsy quilts in the section I was in.  I left the good stuff for today.   So I wondered around the quilts for about 2 hours or was that three - I have no clue.  Then decided to walk all the way back to the other end of the convention center to take up where I had left off in my "shopping".

I continued my business card collecting process - writing down the booth numbers and the items I wanted.  It wasn't that big - but big enough if I buy everything I saw that intrigued me. I saw this one quilt which I am going to buy - it is a year long project slated to start in January 2016.  One quilt block a day - they are cartoonish (perfect!) and they are tiny.  The is the designer.  It all comes via e-mail and it looks like so much fun.   People all over the world are signing up for the project - there will be a Facebook page and well - it looks amazing. I am seriously contemplating this one.

I decided my last row would be 20.  I walked down 21 and then had to walk up 20 and THERE IT WAS.  My missing booth.  Oh yes - I walked past that booth how many times????   You would think I would have recognized the quilts in the booth, but NOPE - I did not. Anyway - there was the bag and there was the orange bike fabric.  It was 9:30 PM.   What a dunce.  Anyway - I took all they had (2.25 yards - it was on sale) and a yard of another color way.  I also bought their book with the tote bag in it.  It was about 9:45 PM by the time I reached the end of the aisle and that was it for me.  The show closed at 10 PM and I walked back to the hotel to get something to eat. I never get hungry at these silly shows, but force myself to eat to keep my energy up!

I sat in the bar and had a salad (they were serving until 11 PM) that night. Thank goodness.  I would imagine that the lobby of the Hilton was CRAMMED with quilters.  There were NO other quilters in site in our lobby. No other women for that matter. What bliss.  I sat there and went through my cards to see which ones would go it the keep pile and which ones would go in the deal with at home pile.  That shortened the list by about 4 cards and now I will have to sort through even more to figure out what I actually want (and can afford) to buy.  Oh - and put in my suitcase.

Did I  mention that some stores have brought their license plates with them.  I picked up four different ones last night - Texas, Minnesota and Indiana - from Yoders!

Let me go and figure out how to get that damn internet sign up to come up so I can post both of these blog posts.  So sorry about that. I'm sure Shirley and Susan and all the others were in a tizzy because there was no post to read!

Have a great day!!!!!!


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Quilt Market Day Five

What can I say - my First Market is over and I had a blast. You think this is fun  -OK - so it is, but the fun comes with a price.  Setting up a booth, tearing down a booth and all the walking.  The walking would kill you.  I keep forgetting to look at my FitBit at the end of the day but I am sure the numbers are high.

I started the day off with a class from Prym on Espadrilles.  The kit they offered was packed with Prym supplies. Everything was there.  These early morning classes are so worth the $10.  I've made new friends while I was here and of course saw some shop owners from back home.  I walk into the class room and there is Sue from Thimbles and Things (existing friend) and Joyce and Gina ( new friends).  We all sat together at the back of the room. The espadrilles are a neat concept - they only gave us size 7 soles.  They thought that was a normal size.  I don't think so - we all wanted 8s or 9s!

While Gina and Joyce actually sewed their espadrille together - Sue and I took notes and chatted.  I didn't want a half finished shoe to take home.  But I think Thimbles and Things might bring in the soles - anyway - I will find someone who will bring in the soles or I'll buy it wholesale. They were cute and pretty easy to put together.  Again - I took a sewing kit (as instructed) but didn't need it for any of the classes I was taking.

Back to the booth and onto the floor.  I had one meeting all day, but stopped to visit many booths. Cards would get dropped off in the booth of people who wanted to ask questions and I'd zip over to see them.  I don't think that I ever did get down all the aisles - there were so many of them.  And the quilt exhibits?????   Didn't even see any although I did nip in through the exhibits on my way to the floor.  That is for preview night on Wednesday.

I saw some great designs, some great patterns and am so inspired that I need to get home NOW so I can sew.  I suppose I could whip out my EQ7 on my laptop and cut and paste fabric and design that way. A lot of great talent for sure. Some of the designers get it and some don't. 

I also saw the most amazing fabric that I want.  I have to remember to get to her booth when Festival opens because I think it will go fast.  Should I tell you????  Come on - not hard to guess.  Yup  orange bicycle fabric. And so darn cute.  This one is actually available NOW.

I think I did pretty well with Market - I only used my credit card ONCE and I still have cash in my pocket.  Now granted - most of the vendors did not sell retail.  They were here to sell to stores, but I did pick up a few exciting goodies.  So hard to take picture of everything to post - so will try and do that when I get home.

Susan asked me that if I saw Alex Anderson to stop and talk to her, get an autograph or whatever.  I knew that Alex is promoting Floriani products.  A line of fusibles, stabilizers and battings.  Hmmmmm   as I was zipping around - is that Alex???   I was trying to inconspicuously check her name tag, but it was hidden in her jacket. Crap- then they asked me if I wanted a demo of the products.  And I asked if she was Alex.  Oh yes - I'm NOT a celebrity spotter!!!   Yes - it was Alex.  Well - I asked for a picture with the two of us which she did no problem and then I said I would go back because I had an appointment at the booth. I did go back and Alex herself gave me a demo of the new products.  Also got samples for my quilt stores back home.   I rather like the new products - I had purchased some of them while doing Row by Row this past summer. Now I must dig them out and use them. 

I think I am going to have to give up teaching (wait!!!)  -- I really need some time to explore all these new concepts and ideas and well you know that time is limited so it is hard to find time to explore. No - I can't give up teaching - whatever possessed me to say that.  Well - I will find a way to incorporate it into my day job.  Using these products with Northcott fabrics.  But it is time to STOP hoarding this new stuff.  I won't be able to grow if I stay in a rut. 

I saw Edyta Sitar from Laundry Basket but I didn't chat to her. So many people and designers - I can't even begin to mention them all.

Then comes tear down.  Oh boy - what a huge job, but we had 15 people to help - I didn't count, but that is what I heard. It took us two hours to tear down and two hours to pack the crates. That place is a zoo when tear down happens. They did not roll up the carpet, so when the crates started being brought back out - the forklifts went right over the carpet.  Didn't seem to damage it. Of course - the crew was bringing out every other company's crate but not ours.  The last thing we wanted was to have everything taken down and no crates to pack.  Just as we were finishing the tearing down, the crates arrived. The timing could not have been more perfect.

It is a huge job - a physical job and I am so thankful for all the sales reps who stayed behind to help us out.

Having a crate to ship stuff home is a great thing.  I had amassed a big pile of paper and stuff and there was no way I was taking that on the plane.  I found a box and filled the box - taped it up and loaded it on the crate.  So I just have to take home whatever I find at Market and since Rich is going to be walking the floor with me and we have ONE DAY - I won't be buying much. Of course - our badges are good for Thursday and I still have Friday here so I might pay the price for a single day and come back.  But most good stuff will be gone by then so that is a good thing!!!!

When I went back to the AQS booth to pay for and pick up my new books, someone had walked off with one of them.  I paid for it and they will ship it to me.

Let's just say that it's a good thing they don't allow pets at the show.  Why you ask???   Well as we were packing up - there was a booth beside us and for some reason they had a beautiful bouquet of red roses. The red roses got left on the table after they left.  Some asked me if I wanted the roses for my room since I was staying here.  Why not - so I brought the roses to the hotel, got a water jug from the restaurant and now I have a beautiful bouquet in my room. I brought back all the leftover snacks - there were not many so I have some munchies for the evenings and there was a pashmina hanging around our booth.  Of course - it was still there when we were packing.  I checked it out.  I thought someone had left it in our booth and we were waiting for them to come back.  NO - turns out that someone dropped it while walking past our booth. So technically - it should have went to the lost and found.  So I came home with that as well.  Too late to take to Lost and Found.   So yes - it was a good thing there were no lost puppies because I would have brought it home as well.

It was great fun meeting all the sales reps.  Oh boy - some of them are quite the characters. I won't mention any names to protect their innocence, but they know who they are.  It was great fun and thanks so much all your wit (Shirley!)  Just way more fun to know who you are talking to on the phone or e-mail.

One thing I noticed is that there are NO security guards at the convention center.  This seems a bit strange since the place is massive.  Nope - they have real POLICE patrolling the place.  Seriously - we saw the Sheriff or perhaps the person was from the Sheriff's office, but there are full fledged Houston police officers. When we got back from packing up the crates, we all had dinner together in the restaurant. Towards the end of the dinner, Debbie gets the giggles and well - it is quite the giggle.  I had noticed that there were two police officers in the bar area.  Of course - they were off duty - we can't have officers of the law drinking on the job or perhaps they were drinking water.  Anyway - when Debbie starts laughing and we were all having  a fit ourselves, one of the officer comes into the restaurant to see what the commotion was about.  Oh yes - it was a very funny moment!!!

I think that is enough rambling for today. Today is going to be so darned quiet - I won't know what to do with myself.

But I better get my butt in gear and get over to the convention center.

Have a great day!!!!!!!!!!!


Monday, October 26, 2015

Quilt Market Day Four

As tired as I am - I get up at a ridiculous hour in the morning. And this morning, I can hear a BEEP BEEP BEEP from somewhere nearby that is crazy!  As I said - there is tons of construction here.

At least the rain has stopped.  Took a cab yesterday morning back to the Hilton because it was still pouring rain. But walked back in a bit of a drizzle at the end of the day. It wasn't bad, but there was one puddle that we couldn't get around and I got half a wet foot!

Started the day off with a class on hand stitching.  Oh my goodness - one of the instructors is an author and has the most amazing book on hand stitching. I am wondering if that would make a good class instead of another quilt for the $10 quilt or the Saturday Sampler??????   Any thoughts on that?   At the end you had a beautiful sample book filled with wonderful ideas for hand stitching.  No pressure - no choosing of fabric, no madly sewing the night before.  Sounds like a plan to me. Got to give that some thought - I think it's a great idea!

I don't even know where to begin on what happened yesterday.  I had appointments with so many people. Chatted with magazines for content purposes, sew alongs, demos for upcoming shows (QuiltCon), potential designers - the day was packed!  And of course through it all - I chatted up a storm. There doesn't seem to be any end to my chatting and I am sure my colleagues are sick of me by now.

But I'm having a blast!  So who did I see yesterday???   Well a few quick words with Tula Pink, a lengthy conversation with Deb Tucker of the Tucker Trimmer fame, chatted with the owner of the publishing house who prints Yoko Saito's books. This lady used to live in Japan and buys the rights to the books, translates them in other languages and sells them.  A very interesting person and she shared some of the ways the Japanese Quilt Masters work.  All very fascinating.
Met with editors of FW Media who own McCall's, Quiltmaker and a couple of other magazines. All very interesting conversations.

Let's see  - oh my - well I can't even remember them all.  I've been collecting cards and brochures and well - it is going to be insane to go through it all when I get back. I have to take it all with me this morning so it can be packed on the crate later tonight. I am NOT carrying it all home in my suitcase.  I need room for my quilting stuff!!!!

Oh yes - a NEW TOOL that I MUST HAVE.  I couldn't buy just one so will have to get a local store to order it in.   Add a Quarter Ruler for paper piecing.   We all have one - right?????   Well the new tool has a beveled edge along the opposite edge of the 1/4" ridge so you don't need card stock to do the folding.  This is brilliant and as the lady who designed it said - it only took her 20 years to come up with that.  Apparently it is available NOW and I want one. Everybody who paper pieces should get one.  It is great.

Had some great chats with Daphne Greig. She is a designer and an author and also is a sales rep for Northcott in the Vancouver Island area. We've chatted about many of the stores in her territory - some I have visited often over the years and others - I went to this year for the first time because of Row by Row. Did you know that Stitches quilt shop on Salt Spring Island has closed??????   I loved that store and visited it every time I went out.  It was for sale - no one bought it - so now it is gone.  We had great chats about guilds, speakers, quilting techniques and well many other things!

I have one more class this morning and then back to the show which runs from 9:30 to 4 and then the fun task of tearing down. Which is supposed to happen in FIVE hours.  Oh yes - I see a long exhausting night ahead of us. But tear down is always much faster than set up.

I have so many people I want to see today and I still have about 14 rows (of 29) that I haven't visited yet.  I don't think I am going to get everywhere. There just isn't enough time. But then - I am not actually here to shop  I know that is very tough.  As I lay in bed this morning, I thought of all the pictures I need to take as well.  You know me - always on the look out to improve the processes.  Yep - I think my employer as some point may tell me to stay in my office and sew instead of researching everything and wanting change!  OK - I'll stay in my office and sew. People love the fact that I have a sewing machine in my office!

Later this week when we visit Quilt Festival - I am technically working and will have the sales manager with me - so hopefully he will keep me on the straight and narrow and prevent me from buying too much. Besides we only have 1 day so not a lot of time.  I've seen so many amazing products that I want to make and not just quilts. Working on some deals with some companies to swap products - and well - I may never surface again!

We came up with some amazing ideas for QuiltCon which makes me feel much better.  I am very excited about the preparation for that show and as soon as we get back - I think we will be in the wild fury to make that happen. Oh yes - it is all about having FUN!!!!!

Oh yes - as I flip through the tiny thumnails of my photos - I remembered that I met Sue Spargo and saw Tim Holtz. One of these pictures is from his booth where EVERYTHING was his fabric.  I'm not sure what the other picture is.  Someone's booth.

I guess I had better get myself organized and ready for my class. Well breakfast first and I'm hungry - I had chocolate for lunch yesterday!  There is loads of candy at all the booths and well - I had chocolate!

Have an awesome day!!!!!!


Sunday, October 25, 2015

Quilt Market Day Three

OK Market is crazy!!!!  But before I get into that - I have to say good morning to Shirley!   Hi Shirley!

I don't want to be a name dropper, but well - I'm dropping tons of names today!  

I had a number of appointments yesterday with editors of The Taunton Press (Threads magazine), we met the folks from Annie's who publish Quilter's World and we met the editors from American Patchwork and Quilting. All very interesting conversations.  It is all about making contacts and networking!

Met up with Joyce Hughes (an award winning quilter from one of the big shows) who blew my socks off with what she did with some of our panels. Makes you look at panels in a whole different way.

Let's see - I had time to zip around part of the floor and I got to meet Jacqueline de Jong of Be Colourful.  Her paper pieced quilts are just amazing.  Saw her new patterns and before I can get excited about the new stuff  - I had better get working on some of the old. Yes - makes me want to go home and sew sew sew!!!!

I'm going to have to schedule time every day to get working on some of this stuff - make it from Northcott and sew every day at work!  I wonder if I could get away with that?  Not likely!

Who else did I  meet?  Hmm - well I didn't meet these people, but saw Jenny Doan - a huge line of people for her book signing. I have no intention of getting signed books while I am here. I"m here to work (well and enjoy the eye candy!)   Chatted with the staff at Lorelei booth, but didn't get a chance to meet Lorelei as she was chatting with someone else.  She has some amazing new stuff that is just to die for and I want to get one of them,   I can't remember what they are called - and I'm too lazy to dig through all the literature I collected yesterday.

Saw Jen Kingwell - love her designs and hope to meet her today.  Sometimes there are people in the booth when you walk by and rather than wait - I'll just go back. Got two more days of that so better make good use of my time. Besides - my goal is to meet and chat with people that I want to work with and while I love Jen's designs, it isn't a good fit for us.

And it seems that every time I wander away from our booth, then people come and drop off their cards because they want to meet with me!

Had a good chat with the folks at AQS and reserved two BRAND NEW books that would make excellent classes. I have to remember to pick them up just before tear down on Monday. Also chatted with Martingale - no I didn't chat - just browsed their booth.

I spoke to numerous designers - and I am on the hunt for Blocks of the Month.  I found several that I think are going to work in a couple of spots.

I  met the designer from a Wing and a Prayer which is a block of the month that I am currently teaching at The Hobby Horse.  I hope everyone had fun with Joyce who was subbing for me

Hmmmm - Oh yes - chatted briefly with Jaybird designs and saw their new quilt.  Chatted with the ladies from Sassafras - they have gorgeous Block of the Month. They are paper pieced.  What are your thoughts on paper piecing??????

Many many other designers - I want to go back and check out a few more because we had a brief chat with some of them, but I want to try on a jacket in their booth or something else and we didn't get time.  And while I like to wander the floor with others - it is fun to wander on  my own.  Then my colleagues don't think I'm nuts!

I also ran into a couple of people that I know from back home.  Saw Sue from Thimbles and Things. Wanda was with her who has designed several of the quilts in our booth. I chatted with Deb from Country Patchworks and I briefly saw Angie and Dwight from Quiltsource.

I took a short class with Sara Lawson in the morning.  It was a steal - cost $10 for the class - we got a kit with all the hardware and the inside stuff (Pellon) products to make Sara's camera bag. Sara is so sweet (she would hate me for saying that), but it was a great class. She is in Tulla Pink's booth which I haven't seen yet.

There are a LOT of fabric companies here - Moda, Island Batik, Timeless Treasures, RJR, Hoffman and many many more and all of their booths are filled with new fabrics they are trying to sell. 

The other thing that is exciting is being able to see some famous quilts. Like those of Jacqueline de Jonge which by the way are heavily encrusted with crystals.  Oh yes - loads and in the light - they are stunning.

I saw Matt and Brodie from APQS, but no chance to chat with them - they were busy.

Talked to a couple of designers whose name I didn't recognize, but when I saw their patterns or books - AHA - I know their work.

I think there are 26 aisles of vendors - I've seen about 1/4 of them. There is a ton of walking and I just decided to keep my running shoes on.  Yes - I could put my fancy shoes on, but I'd be even more exhausted at the end of the day - so running shoes it is. Especially since I have to walk all the way to the classrooms first thing in the morning.

Let me explain about the weather here.  Apparently there is the remains of a hurricane in the area and they have flash flood and major flood warnings out for the weekend. Yep- it appears that Houston was built just barely above sea level, at least the downtown part, the sewer system can't handle major rain falls and floods ensue.  So far we have just walked back and forth to the convention center - like I said - I can see it from my room.

Last night - it was pouring rain and I wasn't walking.  We got a hotel shuttle from the Hilton (which is attached to the convention center). The valet area of the Hilton was a mess last night as many tried to get cabs and shuttles to their hotels  I don't even know how many of us crammed into the shuttle to get back to the hotel.  While I was waiting for someone else to arrive so we could zip across the street, two of our group arrived after walking from the convention center with umbrellas  Their pant legs were soaked past their knees.  I see it is still raining  this morning - I think I am taking the shuttle to the Hilton and then I will be at the classroom end of the convention center!!!!   I must remember to book that shuttle before I go in for breakfast.

I guess in the past we have stayed at the Hilton, but it is a crazy zoo inside and the Westin is much quieter and cheaper. The only draw back is if the weather is bad - we have to get there.  And you CANNOT get a drop off in front of the convention center because the street is torn up for construction.  I didn't take pictures yesterday (only those I posted on Facebook), but I will carry my big camera today and take pictures.  Last night I was supposed to go back to the convention center for a Modern Quilt group thing, but I wasn't going back in the pouring rain.  I'm meeting with the organizer this morning, so hopefully I will get the scoop on what I missed.

Not only do I have a ton of other booths to visit (and I think I have four meetings today), but I have the exhibits to visit as well .  

The good news - I haven't bought anything - well except those two books that I have reserved.  People are here to buy for their stores and since I don't have a store - well I'm not buying. Some of the vendors will be staying for Festival which opens on Wednesday night, but many are leaving and so if there is something that I can't live without and I can't get from Festival - I will buy through the regular channels. 

Must be careful though as there is a ton of stuff that I want and none of it I need!!!!

On that note - I'm off to get ready for the day.

Have a great day!!!!!!!


Saturday, October 24, 2015

Quilt Market Day Two

AHA - after breakfast with the group yesterday, I figured out the internet and well here I am - able to post.

I haven't traveled on business in a long long time and I forget the paperwork shuffle.  I don't want to be carting everything with me every day so I have to go through what I brought to see what is needed for that day.

We had a meeting yesterday morning where I got to meet all the sales reps. Interesting meeting - brings back loads of memories of past trips.  Different product, same process!!

Then it was off to the Convention Center (which I can see from my hotel window - did I say that yesterday?  Probably).   Everything was exactly where we left it - no set up faeries came in the night to hang quilts. Drat!!!!!   We did spend the first part of the morning getting school house organized. Our time slot was 12:10.  Then we loaded up the quilts and we were off.  Now if you have never been to this convention center before, you have no idea how vast it is.  Seriously - the walk from our booth to the school house area is a hike! And up two floors. The place is gigantic.  So many places are familiar as I remember from 1999.

Schoolhouse presentation went very well.   A good crowd for us and I let Patti do all the talking. Just better that way rather than splitting the speakers.  We only have 1/2 hour and no time to waste switching out.

Then we trundled back to the booth with all our quilts. More stuff needed to be set up - we have signs along the top of our booth, squares of fabric that are hung, then drapes and at last the quilts.  A very slick system for hanging the quilts which is amazing. Too bad it can't be used by guilds to hang quilts, but there is a cost involved and I'm sure it isn't cheap.

Since I had a badge to attend other school house sessions, I checked the schedule and picked two that were back to back.  No way was I running up and down from the booth to schoolhouse twice!!

The first one I attended was about selling to the younger crowd, although many of the tips were applicable to just any customer. There are a number of stores that I know that could have learned from that presentation. Although I do have to say that it was a slide show and the lights were dimmed and OH CRAP - I think  I closed my eyes once or twice!  But it was dark and since I didn't fall off my chair - no one noticed!  

These school house sessions run ON TIME.  So we were out the door and on the way to the next one which for me was ROW by ROW.   Yep - I wanted to see the new fabric. We got a commemorative license plate. YEAH!!!!!!    There was Debra and Janet and a HUGE room for this School House session.  I think they had 500 license plates. Not sure that all were given out, but it was a big crowd.  There were two sessions back to back - the first was the presentation of the new fabric.  Very cute with houses on it - an all over print with houses, a border print with houses, a map (more cutesy than last year - it was hard to see that one), license plates but side by side with some of the cute sayings from last year.  Those were the four main ones.  There were smaller ones that said "row by row" I think - I can't remember what was written on it - but tone on tone words - my favourite!!!!!  The main prints have an eye spy component to them.  There are little hidden objects all through the fabric.  I didn't get a chance to see it up close - again - we are NOT looking at real fabric, but just art work.  Try to get pictures today is possible, but I would bet that it is going to be posted on Row by Row or Timeless Treasures web site.

This fabric is produced as SOUVENIR fabric and all the PARTICIPATING fabric companies then produce a shade card for people to make their rows from, although you could include the souvenir fabric in your row. From the crowd and the response in the room - there were many many happy shop owners because of row by row.  The second half of the presentation was WHY is this so popular and while I should have stayed -- I needed to get back to the booth.  My guess is the souvenir aspect of it, the map (without the map- row by row would be nothing) and the novelty. But it will not last - it is a fad and I predict three more years and it will drop off. Many people went crazy last year as we all know, but they can't afford to continue.  Row by row costs the consumer LOADS of money which is what the fabric companies and the quilt stores want, but well - I don't want to be the naysayer - I just think it won't go on forever.

Back to the booth to finish hanging up quilts and then I think by 7:30 PM we were out of there.  So think twice before you say you want to be in my shoes.  It is very physical, tough work to set up the booth.  Up ladders, moving stuff around and just constantly being busy - it's hard work.

However today is the first day of Market.  This is the exciting stuff.  While I have about 6 meetings with various people, I also get to walk the floor.  Now I am not really shopping.  This isn't the place for individuals to shop - that comes later and I think I better send my credit card home with the crates!!!!   Nope - this is the business part - meeting with potential designers, getting ideas for stuff and inspiration.  Oh yes - the eye candy - well it would blow your socks off to say the least.    I saw the cutest buttons - bike buttons obviously.   Cute teeny embroidery designs - oh my!

We sat in the lobby bar and had dinner and watched the Blue Jays game, although I had my back to the TV - I couldn't watch!

Today is going to be exciting - I have been taking pictures and posting them on Facebook.  Will try to do a few more today but we have to be very careful. Photography is a serious thing here.  Appropriate credits must be given or I think I'm out!   I"ll see what I can do.

Oh yes - so we are staying in the Westin which is a very nice hotel.  Nice big bathroom with the toilet in a seperate little space  - no door to the little room, but it is tucked in beside the tub.  With a VERY BRIGHT light over the throne.  I guess that is for all the men folk who spend hours in there reading!!!!  I got a chuckle out of that.

On that note - I am out of here to get ready and pop over to the convention center for 7:30 AM.  Taking a short class before Market opens this morning and I forgot to get the room number so got to check that out before I can get to the class. Yep - I'm wearing my running shoes.

Forgot to mention that there are "famous" quilters all over the place.  Saw Marti Michell yesterday - I know Alex Anderson is here - just haven't seen her yet. And I've seen many booths I recognize, but not necessarily recognize the quilter's face.  I'll see what I can do to meet them all!

Have a great day!!!!!!!!!!!!


Quilt Market - Day One

Yesterday was a very long day.

Never mind that I got home the evening before at 9 PM and had to pack for the trip.  I know - I know -  who leaves everything to the last minute.  But I got it all packed and I was ready!

The flight was at 7:45 AM so there was ample time to get to the airport without getting up at a ridiculous time.  Couldn't do pre check-in because we were flying United, but that process went very smooth, as did getting through Customs.  "Where are you going?"    "Tradeshow."  "Have a nice day."    Christina got a different Customs agent and got grilled.  I sailed through security as well - just take your shoes off - but everyone had to take their shoes off.  And I was through - very painless.

Then a long long walk down a hallway to get to the gate. I missed the Tim's because it was down another aisle.  No worries - I found a bagel shop and ate there.

The flight was pretty uneventful and Christina and I had a good chat since we ended up sitting beside each other in the back of the plane. 

A car awaited us at the airport and we were off to downtown Houston.

Of course - our rooms were not ready when we arrived so a quick bite in the restaurant and off to the convention center which is walking distance from where we are staying.  Some of our group was already here, but the plane behind us got delayed by an hour.

I remember the convention center with the big red pipes and the big round windows.  I was here in 1999 but I remember that and likely took pictures!!!!   BUT the area around the Convention Center is a MESS.  A huge construction mess.  The sidewalks around the center are closed off, no signage - oh yes - it's a mess. But we entered through the Hall A door and we were good  Quickly found our booth - right at the front - and the crates were open and some of the crew was starting to unpack. 

We have three very large metal structures that have to be assembled. And they have to be assembled in a specific order. The first one went smoothly, the second one - I screwed up.  I had the numbers in the right order, but counterclockwise, not clockwise. DUH!!!!    Not before we laid all the floor tiles.  I think we are 20 feet wide and 80 or 100 feet in length.  That is a LOT of floor tile.  I would never complain about Alma's booth at 10 by 30 again!!!! 

Of course - it is muggy here and we were all soon drenched in sweat.  I never thought to bring shorts - DUH - well I guess I did and I didn't pack them.  Note to self for next show - bring shorts!!!!

We managed to get the structures up, the lights on and some of the other display units assembled.  Today apparently is an even bigger day as we hang the drapes, the quilts and the fabric squares.  I can hardly wait!!   Today is also Schoolhouse so I'll be making the presentation with Patti.  We also have a meeting where I'll be meeting all the reps and everyone I didn't meet yesterday.

I took several spins around the show halls yesterday.  Seriously - this is like letting a kid loose in a candy store.  I mean - this is HUGE - all the products, all the designers, - it is fabulous!!!!!   I met Debra from Zebra Designs - she designed the graphics for the license plates.  Actually, I think she can up with the idea for the license plates.  No pictures - we were all a mess yesterday. Perhaps today!

We left the convention center around 6. Had to get my room and then worry about something to eat although I wasn't very hungry.  I got my room and there was a fruit/cheese tray welcoming me to the room.  That was just about all that I needed. I hopped into bed, ate my way through the fruit and cheese and fell asleep.  I was EXHAUSTED.

Today is another day!!!!   As much hard work as all this is - I'm very excited to be here.  

Don't forget - today is the last day of my blog posts on QUILTSocial.   I don't have access to the internet at the hotel - too cheap to cough up the dough.  I'll upload at the convention center later this morning.

On that note - have a great day!!!!!


Friday, October 23, 2015

quilt market day one

Shoot.  wrote the content and can't publish. quick note from my phone. set up continues

Thursday, October 22, 2015

And we're off.......................

There was a lot of activity in the office yesterday as everyone bustled around with last minute printing, editing, creating and then boxes left the office and everyone went home. ACK - even though it wasn't crazy busy for me, I felt a sense of calm when I left the office. 

I managed to get my pattern edited - amazing how you can whip something no problem, but then having to write instructions so someone else can understand them and get the instructions to be exactly like the pattern pictues. Oh boy - that takes a bit of time and patience and editing!  I think I managed to get it all done. I'll edit one more time while I am away before it gets submitted. 

Then I was off to teach a class. Yes - I had a class to teach last night.  On my way to the class - look what I saw on the side of the road.  I didn't stop to pick them up - 72 hours hasn't passed yet and I didn't have room in the back of the car. 

Election signs
We had a great class and I will share that with you tomorrow.

Look what they had at the store - yes MY EPIC!!!!!

Husqvarna Viking EPIC

It really and truly is a brilliantly designed sewing machine - just not sure that I can handle the price!

Don't forget to check out QUILTSocial today.  I've been hearing great comments all week about the posts - today's is short and sweet, but opens up a lot of possibilities.

On that note - I'm out of here - on my way to the airport and to Quilt Market I go!  No worries - I shall be blogging from Market. Going to be loads to share - I am sure.

Have a great day!!!!


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Crash course!

Yesterday was a long day.  I spent most of it in front of a computer, both at work and at home (still working - but not the day work job - this was for the night work job!)

Anyway - I was quite pleased with my progress on the Row by Row yesterday.  It is funny to display something at work. Do they like it?  Do they hate it?  Do they just don't care as long as it looks acceptable?  Yes -  a very different audience to say the least.  None of them are quilters!!!!  

So I ended up making SEVEN rows for the Row by Row Shade card.  Yes - seven of them.  All quite different and I think everyone of them had some little element in EQ7 that I had to learn. But the real challenge came with the last one. I wanted to do an applique row.  OK - I've never done this before - EVER.

I got a bit of help from one of the graphics guys who did a rough sketch of what I wanted to do.  Then I had to scan that file, rotate it and resize it to meet my needs.  That got done no problem.  I took in my Wacom tablet that is much easier to manipulate than the mouse for drawing.

Wacom tablet
This isn't my tablet, but it looks very similiar.

Loaded the file for tracing and then proceeded to trace (more or less) the design. OH MY GOD - this was certainly an exercise in patience.  It took several (OK MANY) tries before I started to get the hang of how it worked. I drew one piece at a time, flipped over to the coloring screen to see that the shape formed properly. Back to the drawing screen to draw one more shape.  Yep - by the end, I was getting pretty handy. But could I do it again????  

The tablet takes a bit of getting used to as well.  What fun - never mind that the graphics guys are working on the shade cards and are going to need the files soon!!!

So I sent all six files (I eliminated one which was very hokey) and all six got loaded onto the shade card. All colored with our color palette for Row by Row. And it's got my name on it.  Now that is pretty exciting, except I was too tired to be excited.  Now when has that ever happened????  No worries - I didn't sleep well the night before!

I can't wait to share that card with you.  I am very happy with the results and well - I think I did pretty good under pressure. When Hania asked me for the files, I told her that they had already been sent to the graphics guy!!!!   You got to love that!

And then I spent the entire afternoon writing a pattern for a quilt I designed a while back. It is due November 1, and since I won't be around and didn't want to work on it while I am away - I need to try and get it completed tomorrow!

Guess what was in my mail box tonight????

One more license plate and two extra for trading

Technically I have been to this store. On my bike a couple of years ago.  So while Row by Row wasn't happening at that time - I can at least say I was there!!!!

And OMG - I got an e-mail from someone saying that they have received a plate and it happened to be from one of my missing Ontario  stores. Did I want it?????   Oh yes!!!!!!!   So I need to get one more for trade for that.

I have a feeling this is never going to end.  Now wouldn't it be great if the stores could post somewhere who still has plates so I don't have to go calling all the stores. Hmmm - is that a possibility??????

And look - more pet mats. These are from Paula.  While I love to get scraps - I love getting the pet mats even better.  I gave Carol a bunch of pillow cases the other day.  She makes me pet mats!

More pet mats

Don't forget to check out QUILTSocial today. Another great day of machine applique techniques.

Have a great day!!!!!


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

I hate travellling!

Ok - that is not true.  I don't mind to travel. As you know, I'm leaving later this week and it never fails - I have so much to get done before I leave.  I invent deadlines - I leave things until I am leaving and then think I can get it all done before I leave. Oh yes - I am my own worst enemy when it comes to time management.

No worries - I did manage to get a LOT of paperwork done last night and this morning so that is good.  I can go away with a somewhat clear conscience.

Did you check out QUILTSocial yesterday?  Well there is more good stuff up today - check it out.  If you have ever wanted to know more about machine applique - well this is it!!!!

This past weekend, I taught the second part of the Professional Tote by The Creative Thimble.

Patern Cover for Professional Tote

I bought that pattern years ago and this was the second time I taught the class. There is a ton of prep work in this bag and a LOT of detail which translates into a LOT of work.  But the students were making pretty good progress. Have a look.................


Carol (that's Northcott fabric by the way!)


I didn't get pictures of the others bags but we were 9 in the class.

I got these pictures from Sheila last night.  She is DONE!!!!

Back of the bag (can you see the decorative stitches she used on the handles????)

Top down view
The front

I think she did a FABULOUS job on it - well all of them did.  Can't wait to see all the others completed.

Carol was extremely busy making another type of bag.  This one is called the Neccesary Clutch.

Did you notice that she made it in fabric to match her Professional tote!!!!

The Necessary Clutch

Inside the Necessary Cluth

What a great wallet.  I need a new wallet. Carol  has this pattern down pat as she made 25 of them for a church bazaar,  I know - I was tempted to just give her some fabric and have her make me one!   She had quite the production line going!!!!   she didn't offer - but I would pay her!   Actually, I have the pattern myself and I could get my butt in gear and make one.

And how is this for a rotary cutter case.   That PENCIL CASE (bought at Staples) looks like it was made for the rotary cutter.  I love it!!!!!    Katheleen found that one.

Pencil case/rotary cutter case

And the Row by Row.  What can I say - this is something that is never going to go away!!!!   Yesterday I got more plates. One from Hawaii (thanks to Tamara - Maria's daughter) and Joyce (through her daughter) got me three from Fredericton, NB.

More license plates
 (Susan - I can now send you your plates!)

I am almost done.  Didn't I say that a while ago????    Well I still need a few more for trading.  I have several more coming in the mail.  Yes - I finally broke down and just called a couple of stores. Once those come, I will figure out my situation and I think I will need three more after that.  I had better hurry as many stores are sold out!

Speaking of row by row - guess what I did all day yesterday. We tweaked our fabric choices and then I designed rows all day.  I did 6 different ones. I know - who knew and I have one more today. The problem is translating what I see in my head to EQ7.  Let's just say that I am learning FAST some of the techniques for EQ7.  Today is going to be a challenge as I am trying to do applique.  Oh boy!!!!!!   Fun and games.  Then those designs (all colored) with our fabric selections will be whisked onto a shade card and ready for display on Friday!   The fun never stops!!!!!

Plus my day started with a great visit with the Monday girls and when I got to work, a designer was waiting to chat with me.  Yep - it was a good day!!

On that note - I see it is raining. Going to be slow to get to work. ICK!!!!!

Have a great day!!!