Sunday, April 30, 2017

Paducah Day Four

It was a day filled with excitement. Much excitement. I went back to the booth that I was trying to buy my kit from and I got more details on the big theft the day before. This person stole over $400 in merchandise from this one booth.

Leanne got a booth award from AQS for "most stolen merchandise!" It was a joke of course, but what a shame.

So how did they catch the thief? Later in the day, I was chatting with another store owner. One that I deal with and she filled me in. It was her eagle eye that helped catch the thief. I had made a cute little bag for her booth from Northcott fabrics - I'll post pictures tomorrow - I don't have time today. At one point, she looked up and noticed that the bag that I had made was missing. Actually, two items were missing from her booth. She alerted a friend of hers who said she would scout the aisles looking for someone suspicious.  And because the dome is smaller than the main center and not quite so crowded, she zeroed in on a woman. She followed her and watched her acquire a few items from another booth. The friend tapped her on the shoulder and asked if she would like to pay for those items and apparently at this point, the thief started to bolt. She left her bags at the door - probably couldn't get all of it through the airlock door quickly, but then came back in to claim what she had bought from the bags!!!  She said she had actually purchased some of the stuff and might as well take it!   It would appear that she pilfered three of those AQS shopping bags and proceeded to fill them with goodies!  A get away car was waiting for her outside the building. I believe she got away, but they got the license plate.  If it wasn't for my missing bag, Laura's eagle eye and her friend's detecting skills, the woman would have gotten away!

I'm still in disbelief over it.  But she wasn't very smart. How many people buy THREE of those AQS bags?   Seriously??  Maybe one, but not three!!!   I doubt she learns a lesson. The police said there was likely a gang of them and they work together or apart. Are they quilters?  No idea.  I remember the woman - if you're going to be a theif, you should blend into the crowd. This woman stood out because she had a dark sling with an elastic bandage on her arm. It was quite distinctive.  And when she got caught she says "I have cancer!"  Really? so all cancer patients are allowed to steal?   A real nutbar!

The other excitement was in the main building. This was a comment overheard by one of my colleagues "it looks like the last of the quilt row that fell down is now back up!"   NOT something to want to hear at Paducah. Apparently some quilter was trying to get a picture of the back of a quilt and got too close and knocked over one of the metal stands and the dominio effect happened.  Seriously????   Did no one see what she was doing?  Do they not see the signs and chains on the poles?   People need to get more aware of their surroundings.  I've had this happen to me at a quilt show. I was the convenor and one entire row of quilts got knocked down. I do believe a kid was running around and hit the end pole and down the row went. I watched it and nothing I could do. An entire army of people came out to help and within minutes that row was back up!

Even more excitement in front of our booth. The day before a couple of quilters had asked Rich to take a panorama shot of them in front of Victoria's quilt - you know - the 30 foot one. So he did. There were about three of them. So I decided to get a shot of me in front of the quilt. It's pretty cool.

The group came back yesterday because the picture didn't turn out right. There were SEVEN of them this time.  I told them they better hurry because Victoria was doing her last walkabout in a few minutes. As they were lining up, who walks up but Victoria. So we got her in the picture as well!!!   It was great fun.  I did one shot for them and it didn't work. Then I realized part way through the filming how her camera worked - it was different than mine and we got a super picture with Victoria. She is a super sport and such a lovely person!  I'm trying to upload the pictures so you can see.  What a lot of excitement we created at the booth!!

We had a steady stream of people come by the booth even on the last day so that was good, although I did get out and had a whirlwind tour of the entire show. I should give lessons on how to do Paducah in one hour! And I still had time to chat with people.  I would like to spend more time, but I'm there for a reason and I don't like to be out of the booth for long periods of time. Still, I got to see everything I needed and I made a few purchases as well.

As we had a flight out last night, we had to leave our colleague to tear down the booth as we had to leave just before the show closed.  A two-hour drive back to Nashville where we returned the car and I packed everything into the suitcase. Amazing how much you can pack into a little carry-on bag. I had three tote bags, a pillow, my Paducah purchases and all my clothes!  I know how to pack stuff in!  I'll be taking pictures of everything and posting as I have time.  I'm so far behind in pictures!

But wait - there's even more excitement!  We got to the airport, checked in and zipped through security. Had a bit to eat. The airport  - at least the side that we are on is looking pretty empty. We get to our gate at last with a half hour to spare. Of course, the plane is late. Then we, at last, get on. It's a small plane so all the rolling bags had to be Sky checked (leave your bag at the gate!).  At least it wasn't raining this time. Then we wait and we wait. All of a sudden, the co-pilot is helping load the bags onto the rolling rack?  Double dipping???   He gets back into the cockpit and we wait a bit more. Then he rushes into the plane and takes some bags from the overhead bins. Not enough weight in the back of the plane so they move some of the crew luggage into the cargo area. Yes - there were a couple of United jokes at that point.  Two rather large people got up and I thought they were being moved to the back of the plane. I'm not sure what was going on there.  The pilot was up as well, moving stuff around. It was pretty weird. At last, we take off, but we are now 1 1/2 hours late!  We arrive in Toronto (I missed the beverage cart because I was asleep and I was thirsty!). Of course, we have to wait for a ground crew to fix us up at the gate.  I arrived home and was in bed by 1 AM.

That was a lot of excitement for one day!  I told Patti that our travel woes were all her fault and I'm not going to fly with her again!

All in all, it was a fun show. We did what we were supposed to do and had fun, shopping, got to see amazing quilts. But I'm glad I'm home and today after I volunteer at some dog park event, I'm going to start to work on an urgent quilt for a magazine.  And I have a funny feeling that TWO different magazines picked up the same quilt and now I'm going to have to design a new one and make it fast as well.  I'm not sure how that happened, but I'll know on Monday.  ACK!!!!

Have a super day!!!!


I'm waiting for my pictures to upload so will try to post them in tomorrow's post!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Paducah 2017 - Day Three

It's the last day of Paducah 2017!  So much to see and so little time!

I did manage to get out and have a look around at some of the other vendors. I just wanted to say HI to several people that I've been working with but every conversation takes longer than planned. I also had a chat with a few new people. Lots of interesting ideas and a couple of new techniques.

Remember the two authors that I met at Road to California and I bought their books?  Met up with them again and bought the second book in the mystery series. More on them another day. There is this one book vendor that has the most amazing books and I keep saying that I need to make an inventory of what books/magazines (back issues) that I would like, but I never do.  Oh well, I probably don't need another book or magazine anyway!

This is my second year at Paducah and I noticed that many people are in the SAME location as they were last year. I guess once you have a spot and you're happy, you get that spot again. People probably come to expect you being in that spot. We are in a different spot than last year and it's funny because one of the people I wanted to meet up with was in our spot from last year!

There is also this massive bookstore here called One Million Books. I'd forgotten about that store until we saw it the other night, but there isn't going to be time to get to it.

I wandered out into the dome yesterday afternoon as there were a few people that I wanted to chat more with. Three booths and every one of those three booths was busy. This was late in the day so that was good! I did manage to get back to two of them and chatted with the designers, got my information, and made my purchase.

When I walked into the third booth which I had been trying to get into all week, there was a bit of a kafuffle going on.  A HUGE pile of stuff was on the main table in her booth.  Apparently, all of it was recovered from a theft that had just happened. I don't know all the details, but someone saw this person put the items into a bag and left the booth. The thief was approached, the bag was dropped, the quilter ran?   I don't know, but what a shame. So I'm going back this morning to try and finish our business!  We are not talking one or two patterns here, we're talking a LOT of patterns and kits.

We had a very steady line of people at the booth all day. Not huge crowds but very steady. I would say that for day three, it was quite busy. Today is the last day of the show and I expect it to be much quieter. I hope to zip back to the convention center so I can have a peek at some of the quilts.

We also get to meet a lot of interesting people, including the retired couple who sold their home three years ago and bought an RV. They now live in the RV and travel around or stay for a while - whatever their fancy is. She has space in the 39 foot RV for two sewing machines, it's short enough to stay in a National Park and the two of them were happy as clams.  Now wouldn't that be an awesome life! You could pack fabric and projects like you're going on retreat. Then everyone once in a while, you need to head back to your storage unit to get the next batch of projects, stop somewhere to rent a long arm to quilt your quilts and you're good to go!  Yes - that could be a lot of fun! Although I can't see my two dogs living in an RV. They would drive me crazy!

They recommended a restaurant for last night - the Freight House which is located in the old train station. A very nice restaurant and we saw our new friend, Victoria there! They have a farm to table philosophy and everything was so fresh, it was amazing!  We were NOT going to have dessert, but after the descriptions, we all had to try something.  I've never tasted strawberries that were so good!  Well worth going. And thanks to the gypsies for the recommendation!

On the way home, as I was driving over that darn scary blue bridge (Brookport Bridge), the lightning was amazing. Sheet lightening that NEVER stopped.  The sky was in constant flux and I didn't really get to enjoy it as I was driving. I've never seen lightning that never stopped like that. It was very weird. Constant flashes!

Patti accommodated me (or should I say humored me!) and we stopped at the Superman Statue where she took my picture. Thanks, Patti! I'll share that with you when I get home.

I forgot to mention that we stopped at Hancock's after the show. By the time we got there, there was only 1/2 hour left to shop.  Why would they close one hour after the show? Anyway, the place was packed with people, but it soon cleared out. I was NOT in the market for anything, but on the way in, I saw a lady holding up a gorgeous panel which I had to buy. And I found something that I had been looking for so I bought that as well. I didn't do too much damage. A very efficient lady cut my fabric and no line at the cash and we were out of there!

I had a good sleep under one of our American quilts last night. Very toasty warm. Now it's time to get ready as we are leaving right after the show today and will be home by midnight provided everything goes as planned!

Have a great day!!!!


Friday, April 28, 2017

Paducah - Day Two

Yesterday was a very weird day at Paducah. This is the first time in all the times I've done trade shows where the second day was busier than the first day. It started off slow and I think part of that is our location. We are in the dome and while there are a couple of quilt displays near us, the main building is the convention center and there are three different areas of vendors and all the quilts tucked under one roof.

But after checking our numbers this morning and talking to several vendors, they all agreed that yesterday was busier than the first despite the slow start.

Got to see a few more Canadian faces - hi to Nancy even though she doesn't read my blog.

I have a new friend - Victoria Findlay Wolfe!  Her quilt display is right in front of us and she stops by whenever she has a book tour.  No tour today as she is teaching all day, but we'll see her again tomorrow. I would have to say that her giant quilt is the MOST photographed quilt in the show.  Let me rephrase that - it is the most photographed backdrop quilt in the show. While people are taking photos of the other quilts, it's hard to get in front of them and you don't want to get in front of them. This one is so big that people are standing in front of it and getting group shots, selfies, panorama shots (OK, so that was Rich and myself as I tried out a feature on my camera phone - works very well!)

So what else exciting happened?  Not much - we were in our booth pretty much the entire day. I was still signing people up 15 minutes before the show closed which is not normal. I did sneak out for a quick peek around our area. There is one thing for sure that I want to buy, several that would be nice to have and don't need. I hope to get into the convention center later today because I'm sure that today will be slower than the other days. Tomorrow will be the slowest.

Yesterday we decided to take the back route into Paducah and go over the BLUE bridge.  Rich has been trying to get us to go that way but I didn't want to get lost and besides the way that we normally go, we drive right past Hancock's which we'll probably stop at tonight. We were almost at the bridge when the traffic was stopped. We were on a bit of a tight schedule so we ended up turning around and crossing the Ohio River on our normal bridge. On the way home, we took the BLUE bridge.  OH MY GOD - this is a scary bridge. It's high, it's long, it's narrow, it's very blue and the surface is an open iron grid.  No room for cycling over that bridge!  We'll go over that shortcut bridge this morning - it really is a shortcut. It's called the Brookport Bridge.

I do love our dinners out.  I was awake last night!  And we had a good chat - you know the kind - "let's save the world, peace to all" and all that good stuff. Very interesting conversation threads. We spend so little time in our hotel rooms, I'm thinking a tent would be just fine!

I must say that I had a better sleep last night because I brought in TWO quilts to sleep under. I didn't keep both of them on, but it was nice to have that weight.  Silly I know!

I must talk about the weather here. Weather seems to be an important factor wherever we go. So day one - we're in the big white dome and the sun is out, it's hot outside. There were times during the day when I thought we would all faint from the heat. It was HOT in the dome.  Then it would cool down and the temperature changed drastically in various parts of the dome. It wasn't consistent at all. Yesterday, total opposite. I wore my jacket (with a light sweater underneath) for almost the entire day. It was frigid in the dome. The sky was cloudy, but no rain, but the outside temperature was cold.  I'm not sure what the forecast is for the next couple of days - I'll wear what I was planning, but dressing in layers is a definite must!

Got to run - another crazy day is about to begin.

Have a great day!


Thursday, April 27, 2017

Paducah 2017 - Day One

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a super day!


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Travel day - again!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a great day!!!


Monday, April 24, 2017

Motivational Monday - That was a marathon!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a super day!!!


Sunday, April 23, 2017

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

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

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

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

I started off with a few HST and flying geese.

A gaggle of geese and a lot of HST

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

Trimmings from the HST

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

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

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

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

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

On that note - I'm out of here.


Saturday, April 22, 2017

One step at a time......

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

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

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

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

Customer quilt - number one - DONE

Customer quilt - number two - DONE

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

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

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

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

The office dog

Sporting the beautiful Sesquicentennial collection for a collar

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

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

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

Have a great day!!


Friday, April 21, 2017

Now it's time to panic!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a super day!!!


Thursday, April 20, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The zipper box

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


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

Cycling cookies!!!

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

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

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

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

Going to be fun - once we get there!

Have a super day!


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

On your MARK!

Just had to watch the Libs Elliot/Absolut video again this morning.  I LOVE that video. I think it's beautiful, I love the collaboration and I'm darn proud to be a Canadian!  Now, what other Canadian products can we put a quilt on the label of???  How about French's ketchup??  Let's get our thinking caps on and get quilts everywhere. Perhaps one day, quilts will have the level of respect that the quilting industry deserves. 

If you missed the video yesterday, here's the link again.  It's really cool. 

Before I went on retreat, I was madly searching for some fabric.  I never did find the fabric, but yesterday, I managed to snag new pieces of what was missing. However, in the midst of searching, I managed to find the Tuffet pattern that I had lost. I've since had to buy a new one so now I have TWO!  Isn't that always the way!

Missing tuffet pattern is now found!

Yes - I think it would be a great idea to keep a list of all the things that are lost in a year and then keep track of how many get found!  It's all a matter of keeping things where they belong.  I do a pretty good job of doing that, but every once in a while, something goes missing.  I think I've always been able to find everything - eventually. And I have to laugh when I see where the missing things end up!  This tuffet pattern was in an IKEA bag with odds and ends from cleaning off those darn work tables. But NOT in the same place, I found the missing Halloween fabric!

I think it would be good one day, to go through all the stuff on the floor and in that IKEA bag, sort it, tag it, bag it, label it or whatever so that when I do want something in the future, I know exactly where it is. In an ideal world, I'd be able to finish the stuff off, but that isn't going to happen for a while!

As part of my tidying up, I have several gifts that people gave me.  Look at this fabulous tea towel with a bicycle embroidered on it.  I know - almost too pretty to use. BUT - if I keep this and never use it, what's the point of getting it?  I know --- so the bike towel will be in the kitchen tonight!

Bike tea towel!
I also got this beautiful bookmark.  Amazing how many people don't read real books anymore, but I would be lost without a real book.  I'm OK with electronic, but I forget to read the darn things!  And you can't ever use cool bookmarks like this.

Beaded bookmark
I also received this cool little pouch.  But really?  Hellraiser?  OK - it's appropriate! I have learned from various scenarios throughout my life that I'm a bit more of a risk taker than some. I may not do some of the craziest things, but I'm definitely NOT at the bottom of the scale for taking risks.

Hellraiser?  Hell yes!
A bit thank you to Katheleen, Claudette, and Susan. I love the gifts and they are all going to be used!!!!!

Remember the item I posted the other day - the button, magnet, and ribbon???

What is this????

Well, Sylvia responded that it's a bookmark. Hmmm - now that's a neat idea. I've been searching the internet trying to find an example of it, but no luck.  I've seen other similar bookmarks where the ribbon is long enough that it goes around the pages and attaches on the front of the book.  This one is too short for that. BUT I figured that it works like this - you undo the magnet part and use the ribbon as the bookmark - the button sticks out the top of the book and the little knobby thing sticks out the bottom of the book. When you're reading your book, you can attach the magnets together and it becomes a bracelet that you wear so you don't lose the bookmark. However since I FOUND the bookmark, you can still lose the darn thing!!!!

Am I in the ball park on that???

On that note, I've got a super busy day again.  And better get started.

Have a super day!


Tuesday, April 18, 2017


I was super excited to see the collaboration with Absolut and Libs Elliot.  If you don't know Libs, she is a modern quilter (from Toronto) who makes amazing quilts using some sort of coding system with the computer.  Check out this link to see the collaboration.    Make sure you watch the video!!!!

Libs has been very active in promoting her work to the NON-quilting community and has done a fairly decent job of it. NO --- I retract that statement - if you look at her web page and check under PRESS, she's done a FABULOUS job at putting quilts out there. So it's no surprise that Libs hooked up with Absolut to do the label.  We need MORE people like Libs to promote our industry.  

I wouldn't call Libs a typical quilter - she is an artist - her medium is fabric. That is different than being a quilter!

I survived last weekend and then had a trunk show last night! Which I enjoyed - more on that another day. But I'll be glad to get home today - guess what - I'll be home ALONE all evening. There are left-overs in the fridge, but I've got a hankering for a damn hot dog!  So I'll be looking for the nearest hot dog cart on my way home!   DH would be mortified if he knew, but what he doesn't know - well it won't kill him!

I was trying to tidy up my desk the other day and realized that I've been neglecting one of my daily calendars - the word calendar.  I'm happy to note that there are words in that calendar that I know. Not only do I know them, but I know how to use them!

Out of the four words below, I know three of them!  Yeah!  How many do you know??

"New" words

Now I need your help. I came across this thing recently but have NO IDEA what it's for.  There is a button on one end (with a magnet) which attaches to another magnet at the end of the ribbon.  So it creates a loop.  Could be a tie back for a curtain, but it's very small.  Any ideas?

What is this?

And just so you know, I'm not as inept at technology as you think I am. I'm blaming all the mishaps on my computer. The other day I got in the car and saw a message on my Garmin (GPS) that I need to log onto the computer and update the maps. Oh - how do I do that?

I found a cable and hooked it up to my computer. I went to the website that came up on the GPS screen and downloaded the software. The program wouldn't open. I downloaded it again. It still wouldn't open. I tried a third time, a fourth time and by this time, I thought something must be wrong.

I tried on my other laptop and VOILA - worked the first time.  Which means that my home laptop is probably too old or the operating system needs to be upgraded!

What do you think???  Has this laptop seen better days???

The keys and the mouse pad are a tad worn!

Yes - I should be using the new computer now that I have all the software loaded. It's habit!  Just so easy to sit down at what I know than fiddle with what I don't.  I guess I need to just shut this thing down and keep it off.  But first, I need to move my photo editing software to the new computer and then I think I'll be good to go.

Well - there is a lot going on.  I made a tiny inroad into the mess in the studio this morning and tonight, I'll be hitting it with a vengeance.  There are quilts to be quilted, blocks to be made, homework to be prepped!

On that note, I'm out of here!

Have a super day and don't forget to buy your bottle of vodka to celebrate drinking and quilts and collaboration.


Monday, April 17, 2017

Motivational Monday - I'm making progress!!!

After my SECOND 5-day sewing retreat in 4 weeks, I would certainly hope I could report that I'm making progress. It's amazing how much time everything takes.  A simple task of making flying geese takes hours, cutting and trimming -  several more hours and before you know it - the day is over!

I did get most of my stuff unpacked last night, simply because I need to continue to work on it. The disappointing thing was I was certain that I had tidied up the studio before I left, but alas I had not!

But I'll worry about that another day.  Here are some of the things that I worked on at the retreat. 

The first one is the mystery quilt from our guild. Normally I wouldn't post it until the actual reveal, but the organizers revealed their quilts at our last meeting so I'm not going to hide it!  Remember that I had sewed that block backward?  Because these blocks are batiks, I took it apart, flipped the pieces over (that triangle business that I said was backward? nope - the piece was backward - wrong side out when I snapped the photo!). So I got that block finished and then sewed the top together. 

Mystery quilt top
Now you'll notice that you can't see the edges of the quilt. And that's because I'm working on the borders.  Yes - I spent a lot more time hacking and slashing with some leftovers and part of the border is on. BUT you won't get to see that until the reveal at our June meeting. Gosh - there might even be time for me to quilt it?  I'm not sure, but the top should be finished - I hope!

For those of you who did the batik exchange years ago - this quilt is the FIRST of many projects that I plan to make with those strips.

Then as  my enders and leaders project, I got the first two little pieces sewn together on 120 blocks (I think that is the number)

Step One done
This is my February UFO - a little behind, but I'm making progress and that's all that counts. It's no longer shelved and because of the Task Master - I will continue to work on it.

The next section is almost finished. I say almost - I haven't counted the number of units already completed so I may still have a few more to go.

Step Two is in progress

Then I became obsessed. The final class for Fancy Forest is on Saturday.  Wouldn't it be nice to get all the blocks done  - heck - it would be nice to get the quilt top done!

All the pieces (MOST of the pieces) were cut out. The Owl blocks were already sewn together as were the Bunnies.

I took ONE group per day and focused on it until they were done!

Fancy Forest blocks
This was an incredible amount of work. I did production style sewing of the blocks, but there was a ton of stitching and flipping. And dealing with a LOT of different fabrics.  It was a challenge and I worked mostly after dinner when my brain was already tired!

The butterflies were the worst for me. I mixed up the colors in two rows and I was going to leave it that way, but then common sense prevailed and I was able to fix it with little fanfare, but it still took a lot of time.

Bottom line - all the blocks (except ONE) are done!!!!!

One hedgehog needs to be finished
I didn't have enough fabric when I was cutting. And no time to find a substitute before I left. So last night I went through the orange bins and found something.  I laughed when I found the fabric on the right - same pattern - different color.  The one I'm going to use is not quite the same, but CLOSE enough.

Substitute fabrics
I will be teaching Fancy Forest again at The Hobby Horse.  The dates are May 28 and June 11th.  The shop is closed on Monday, but I would call soon to get a spot - I hear it's almost full.

Then I got up-to-date with Quilter's Patch.  I now have five blocks done.

Tulips from Quilter's Patch

I did get another block done but it's the homework for this week so no posting that before the class!  And the second block is cut out but it will be ready for class on Saturday. And please don't tell me that there is a mistake in the above block. That is my way of personalizing the block! 😊

I did other things at the retreat - like sets of flying geese for some upcoming quilts for magazines, another small quilt for another magazine and probably a couple more things that I've forgotten.  But it was great.

The Task Master and I had a little chat. She is NOT happy, but she is happier!  I need to book a day that I can go back and get caught up on all those silly things that have been languishing in the book. And I haven't booked anything for the coming week that isn't on the urgent list. The only thing remaining is to create a bigger list - well not bigger, but a list of those projects that HAVE to be done.  Then I can only work on those.  That needs to happen before I sit down with the Task Master this week.  I have some classes and events coming up that require some work.

I do have to say that getting my classes prepped BEFORE the night before has been great. I just need to expand on that for other things.

How is everyone else making out?  Some of the projects you have posted in the Facebook group are amazing!  If I wasn't trying to get things finished, I'd be scoping out a couple of those projects myself. But I'm really trying to be good.

Keep up the good work everyone - I'm super impressed!

Have a super day!


Sunday, April 16, 2017

Retreat Day Three and Day Four

If I don't do the blog FIRST thing, it will get forgotten in all the excitement of the retreat.

A different group of people - well half from other retreats and the other half are new to this house, and oh my - what fun! We had our games night the other night where we learned a few things about each other that we didn't know before. Thankfully it was all good and clean, but it could have gone south pretty quickly. That's based strictly on some of the conversations I've heard. I think some of us have some pretty colorful backgrounds, but I'm not going to mention any names to protect the innocent  - right Shelly?

We've eaten like kings which is the norm.  Good food and pretty darn healthy except for that giant apple pie with ice cream. Alas, the ice cream was finished up last night so there is NOTHING for Ronda and myself to share today before we leave. Although I'm sure there will be something in the fridge that we can fight over.

However because we were one person short, we decided to head out to dinner last night to a real restaurant. That was the first time in THIRTY retreats! Oh, what fun! And not only the fact that we were one person short did we go out, but we have a certain retreat member who is a Leafs fan and so going to dinner allowed her to watch at least one period of the hockey game. After we got back to the retreat house, Ronda watched/listened to the game on her phone. I went to bed during the first overtime period and I have no idea this morning who won. Since I did NOT hear any wild cheering last night, I'm going to guess that they lost. Which is a shame that they have now gone into overtime TWICE - well, better than being shut out!    (IMPORTANT UPDATE -  they won!!!!)

We had a lot of rain yesterday morning and I see it is pouring again this morning. No worries - we are all toasty in the house and sewing up a storm. Two of our members had to leave yesterday so with only five in the house - we've got loads of space.

I've learned a LOT while at the retreat. I've learned how the dishwasher actually works! Keep in mind that this is my 7th retreat at this house!  Shelly to the rescue on that one. I've also learned that when working on something with a LOT of pieces that it's a good idea to label EVERY piece. I'm working on Fancy Forest - good god - can it be true that I'm on my LAST set of blocks.  Well, it's not without its challenges.  So this Francis Firefly is - well, if you are making this block, my suggestion?  Label ALL the pieces.

We got home from dinner and I realized that I had screwed up. The girls are loving that!  At first, I thought it was a major screwup that would involve cutting more fabric which I had in one of my bags. BUT, after looking at the situation and undoing TWO small seams, I was able to reposition the pieces - mirror the middle piece and drop it one line - oh god - it was complicated. BUT I persevered and I got all 16 top wing sections done last night.  Needless to say, I was tired and so if there was any cheering going on for the game, it's likely that I missed it!

There are many other things I learned at the retreat but I'll share them when I need to. Went off to the quilt store yesterday to get ONE thing. Well, that one thing turned into several things.

It's always so much fun to see what everyone is working on and I have some great shots of their projects. I'll try to get those edited and posted this week. I have so much to do and it's always sad on the last day of retreat as we wind down what we're sewing - I so want to get those damn butterflies/fireflies - or whatever done this morning if I can! And I can't even say the worst is over because there is another complicated section coming up! Wish me luck!

Back to reality tomorrow and to get caught up.  I have been rooting through my project bag so many times, it's a disaster so that will be the first thing later today to sort that out!

On that note, I'm back to the fireflies.

Have a great day!!!


Friday, April 14, 2017

Retreat - Day Two

ACK -- retreats are just way too relaxing!  OK - that's not entirely true. It was my turn to make lunch yesterday and yes, I made my squash soup and veggie wraps from scratch. They were very tasty, but it took a lot of the morning to get the veggies cut and cooked.  No worries - I've got loads of time in the afternoon/evening to sew.

Did I ever say that EVERYTHING takes way longer than you would expect to sew?  Yesh!!!!   I'm working on Fancy Forest while I'm here. I would like to say that I'm working on something else as well, but I seem to spend a LOT of time with Fancy Forest.  I did manage to get one more group of animals completed (except for ONE missing piece of fabric). Now it's not that I'm missing the fabric - it's that I no longer have any of this and I don't have anything similar at home. Well - I could check again or I could stop at the quilt store tomorrow. Yep - I could stop at the quilt store tomorrow!

I've got the next set of animals marked - there is a TON of stitch and flip in this quilt. TONS!!!!   But the last two animals are prepped and ready to sew. Hopefully tonight, I can finish one more and then the last one? Tomorrow?

Shelly and Liz were both working on a baby quilt. One had bought a kit, the other had pulled fabric from their stash. They were both complaining about this baby quilt and when comparing notes, realized that it was the SAME pattern. They agonized a LOT over that pattern, but I'm happy to say that this afternoon BOTH of the quilt tops are done!  What was hilarious is that at lunch when they were complaining talking about the pattern, Ronda pipes up that she has made this quilt THREE times and even had a finished one here that she was sewing the binding on!  I guess it was one of those moments that you had to be there for.

And we had planned on having a bonfire with the leftover fabric scraps and the pattern. Now I'm not so sure what the plans are!

I went out for a walk before dinner last night. More like a forced march, but I managed the 6.5 KM in 61 minutes. The weather here is fabulous!   Not too hot, not too cold, although we've had frost on the cars in the morning. The sun is out and it's glorious!!!   I'm going to hate popping back home to my basement to sew!

So as usual, I'm making good progress, but everything takes so long to get done! However, every little bit helps, but I do have a couple more small projects that I would really really like to get done while I'm here, so I think tomorrow, it's time to shelve Fancy Forest and my Oh Canada bags and get down to real work!

Have a super, super day!!!


Thursday, April 13, 2017

Retreat - Day One

YES - I admit that taking TWO sewing retreats within two weeks of each other is decadent.  Totally decadent and some will view it as irresponsible.  Yep -  probably, but when the opportunity arose - I wasn't going to say no!  The next one isn't for a couple of months and sorry - but it's full with a waiting list.

While there are a few of us who have been on this retreat before, several people are new.  Oh my - they are so well trained - I want to come back with these girls next time!

I had advised people to pre-cut most if not all of the projects they want to work on as there isn't a lot of room for major cutting and if one person takes all the cutting space, it's tight for the rest of the group to work.

There is ZERO stuff on the cutting table.  Well - I've left my small ruler and rotary cutter there as I'm doing a lot of trimming.  I feel guilty!  I took a picture of the cutting table after ONE day and there literally is NOTHING on those cutting mats or the surrounding table - NOTHING.  It's fabulous!  Two people are sewing in the dining room, one person had to cancel and one other person is coming later so we have TONS of room.  I have my own table and I think I've died and gone to heaven. I'm so darn focused that I even forgot that I was supposed to blog this morning!

It's great to get to know a few more retreaters better than we knew them before. Again - a super group to be with.

Am I working??  You bet - I got two more projects advanced as much as I could yesterday.  I didn't bring quite enough fabric for one project in order to get it to the design wall stage and the other project needs to put it on the wall before I can move forward. That will be done at home.

So that was TWO projects done and in the finished bag.  Then I started on Fancy Forest - time to get one more set of blocks done and I managed to get my eight Thistle blocks done last night with NO cutting mishaps. That was super exciting and then because I had so much room on my table, I laid out the three projects that I want to work on today.

I slept upstairs as well which I don't normally do.  I'm all topsy-turvy on this retreat, but having a blast.

It was a tad chilly yesterday afternoon - dull and dreary and damp. Oh dear - I guess I had better figure out how to light the wood stove.  But WAIT - Shelly is here.  Shelly offered to light the fire. I love Shelly and soon we had a toasty fire that burned until we went to bed. This morning, the sun is out and the temperature is rising as we speak - it's going to be an awesome day.

One of the things that I love about this place is sewing in the sunshine. I sew in the basement at home, but here the sun is shining in all those windows in its glory and I'm in love! I love the bright light.

I've got my squash baking in the oven and going to cut up the rest of the veggies for the soup.  Too bad you couldn't be here to enjoy the soup and the retreat. Don't say I didn't offer!

As for the others - they are just as pumped as I am and I've got pictures.  I know I haven't even posted the pictures from the last retreat. It all takes time!

Off to finish making the soup!

Have a super day!!!!


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Motivational Monday (on a Wednesday)

I think I need help!  Anyone else out there struggling a little bit?

Here is what's happening for me.  I have the Task Master and she is keeping me on track more or less. I try to prioritize the tasks and then break them down into little bits so I can check them off and it looks like I'm getting stuff done.

Now don't get me wrong - I'm getting stuff done, but I'm NOT good at respecting my own deadlines. I'm behind on the February project, although I have to realize that it's a HUGE project (basically an entire heavily pieced quilt from scratch) and I don't just sit down and sew that. It's my "ender and leader" project so it only makes sense that it's taking longer than expected. The important thing is that I have a lot of it prepped for this coming weekend of sewing. I hope to show some progress on it by next week.

Should I have chosen a smaller project than I knew I could get done in the month?  I could have, but I didn't.  What is important here and thanks to this entire process, I haven't shelved this project which is what I've done in the past. I'm still plodding along on it and making decent process. But it's a lesson to be learned for choosing the next projects - perhaps I don't want to pick something that is barely started.

Then I have a couple of smaller projects - well one in particular, that needs to be done. I rushed into it without a lot of thought. The item is made, but now it needs to be remade because the squares are too big. This doesn't normally happen to me, but of course when I'm in a rush for time - this happens!  So what did I need to do?  A bit of planning before I rushed into the project. Thankfully it's small.  I can't even share it with you at this time because it's headed for a magazine. Thankfully, there is time to remake it, but if I had marked that deadline down and NOT been in such a rush, I would have made a prototype to see if the block size worked.

I also have a number of items on that Task Master list that are still waiting to be done. I haven't copied them over to new pages. Nope - but there are some glaring un-highlighted areas on a few pages. Mostly has to do with labels and sleeves.

That means that I need to be a little smarter in writing things down. Perhaps what I need is a master list (like I had in that darn book I lost but is NOW found).  If I write down all the niggling things that need to be done - like sleeves and labels, then when the time comes, I can pick from that list. There are quite a few quilts that are almost finished, but not quite!

I'm breaking with precedent here and I've packed the old book and the Task Master with me for the retreat.  I will NOT lose them. I plan to sit down one morning when it's quiet and go through the books and write these lists (as best as I can remember without the visuals at home) or should I say - review the lists that are in the book.  Then I need to do something very important that I haven't been doing.

I need to sit down once a week - just like I told you all.  Sit down - look at the calendar for the week ahead - how much time do I have, what is the priority and write ONLY those things down.  This delusional doability gets me in trouble every time!

Case in point - I can't sleep last night. Why that happens is beyond me! Thankfully it doesn't happen often, but it was the night before the retreat and I had a stupid dream about rescuing one of my dogs. Yes, the dog fell through the ice and me (who doesn't swim - jumped right in to save her).  The good news is, we both survived (well sort of as Little Sammy is no longer with us in real life, but I saved her in the dream).  I think you can seem why I had that dream! Anyway, I decided to get up and look for something that I have misplaced. It's 5 pieces of blue/green fabric that I had cut to finish my Gravity quilt. Yes - I know Gravity isn't on my Task Master list, but I need it for work. I've been looking for those 5 pieces for a couple of months and NOTHING!  I can't find a single piece of it anywhere. After going through my stuff several times on several occasions, I can only guess that when I was working on this project that those five pieces got mixed up in scraps that had been given away.  It's the only thing I can think of.  I'll get more, but I shouldn't have put it off so long.

HOWEVER, as I was searching through stuff, I found a number of things that I had been looking for (I'm going to start keeping a list!).   I'll share them with you later, but for today, I'm sharing this one.

At the last retreat, I worked on my witch blocks.  Again - NOT on the Task Master. Retreats and the Task Master don't go together for me (perhaps that's part of the reason I''m in trouble!). It's like the calories that don't count because you're standing at the kitchen counter!

The witch blocks

I knew that I had a tub of the fabrics chosen for this quilt on my work tables.  I removed all the stuff that wasn't on the Task Master, but I had forgotten that I had done that. As if I could ignore that huge pile of stuff in the corner. But I did ignore it until last night.

Tub of "finishing" fabric

It just so happens that I have two HUGE chunks of that green  - one in the tub and also in my stash of Halloween fabric. Oh god.   Now I think I'm going to have to throw some of that in my project bag to take with me so I can finish the top as I had planned to do, but was only going to use the one (green) fabric. Now I have choices.

If you're slipping like I am (and I also need to make sure that I'm keeping track of the finishes - which I'm not!) so that when I'm having a moment of self-pity, I can realize that I'm in fact getting things done.  Getting finished is another story!!!

Time to get this show BACK on the road!  I see from the Facebook group, there are some amazing finishes.  WOW -  so many talented and creative people, I'm duly impressed and hope to take some time this weekend to zip through the pictures to truly appreciate what everyone has been working on.

Have a super day - I'm off to pack the car (with my TWO project boxes) and a whole lot of other stuff for 5 days of sewing.