Monday, October 15, 2018

Another one (or four) bites the dust...................

I wrote a while back that having my designs published in a magazine is the kiss of death for the magazine. Here's the link to that post if you don't remember. Well, it's happened again..........

I have mostly been writing for the magazines under the F+W Media umbrella. Just easier to deal with one company. They publish magazines like McCall's, Quiltmaker, Fons and Porter, etc.

Last week, F+W Media announced that MORE magazines (four in fact) are being shut down. THREE of them are quilting magazines. I don't care about the knitting magazine, nor do I care about Cloth Paper Scissors, but I do care about the other two. One is Quilty for which I have at least one quilt sitting here to be made and the MOST AMAZING quilt ever about which they wrote the article, the pictures, the whole nine yards and now what???  I'm pretty sure that it was for the Quilty publication.

They do shift the quilts to other publications if this situation happens because it has happened before when they ceased publication of 100 Blocks as an example. But I wonder if this particular quilt will get the same treatment.

I don't think I have anything waiting for publication in the Modern Patchwork magazine so should be good there, but it just lessens the pool of publications for the designers.

There is no question that magazines are struggling today. The most common reason is the internet. There's so much available on the internet which is usually free so why bother buying a magazine which you have to read and then do something with. I've noticed that almost ALL modern magazines have gone by the wayside. Why when modern quilting is supposed to be all the rage? Because the readers of the modern world are more likely to hit the internet for inspiration. And perhaps the modern world isn't as strong as it's thought to be???

It's interesting to see this change and it's going to get worse. Just like we see magazines close, there will be closures of fabric companies, fabric shops, and designers will move onto other things or retire. That's just the way the industry is at the moment. Let's not forget that Quilter's Connection (one of our Canadian magazines is looking for someone to take over the helm of that publication). But if no buyer is found, that magazine goes away as well.

I guess this all begs the question - why do people want in a magazine? Patterns or public interest stories? There are several new magazines that have popped up. No ads in them and it's mostly human interest stories. But if you want to have a look, it's Quiltfolk and Curated Quilts. Quiltfolk has published 8 issues. It's totally human interest and if you want to get their patterns, that's an extra $4 per month or something to that effect. It's not cheap - $75 US per year. Curated Quilts is a bit different - more on that another day.

What bums me out even more is that I just renewed my subscription to Cloth Paper Scissors for two yeas and I doubt I'll get my money back. That irks me!  They should honor that subscription with something else in their mix.

I'll keep you posted as to what's the scoop as I know it.

We had a great chat amongst some longarm quilters at our meeting. I took two quilts that I felt I needed some advice about. One shouldn't be too bad to get finished - the other one - well they like to think big in that group and they have grandiose ideas so I now need to become a master of my software so I can make that happen.  Hmm - software for the longarm, software for the embroidery machine.

I'd better just block some time off and sit down and learn.

I got nothing done yesterday. By the time I left the meeting and got home - I had errands to do (and I voted at the advance polls), I didn't really feel like doing much. I did design some quilts (3) in response to submission requests from the magazines. These publications are OK for now. I'll keep designing until there is no one to design for. Then I can figure something else out. OH - I'll have more time to learn software.

This morning I was getting ready for MONDAY SEWING and I was looking for something. Then I spotted this on the shelf. Hmm - a Halloween tin and it's almost Halloween.

Decorated lunch bucket
 Gosh - I remember searching the internet for that lunch box. It's metal and I LOVE it. But wait a minute - there's something in this tin. What could it be?

What is all this???

Oh yes - now I remember. We did a group project and made blocks for each other. My theme was Halloween. Oh gosh - I'd completely forgotten about this. There's a book in there - what year did we do this? OH - 2011!

After that confession yesterday about how many quilt tops are waiting to be quilted, I can't even begin to imagine how many UFOs are sitting in that studio. We won't even talk about those that have fabric selected for it, but not started. Just focus on those that are already started. I know there's a LOT. But we're not going to worry abotu that. We're going to focus focus FOCUS!!!!

On that note, I've got to get ready for Monday sewing. My note to the Motivational Monday group is FOCUS. There's no other way. We've got to prioritize what we want to get done and then we need to break it down into steps in the Task Master and then we've got to respect those commitments.

Speaking of committments - I did a bad thing the other day. I was looking at the things to do for Quiltcon in Nashville and they're having a swap - a mini quilt swap. I swore I would NEVER do any of these again. BUT I signed up! It's ONE small thing and I've been very good all year so I'll get more info on that in a couple of weeks.

Have a super day!!!!


Sunday, October 14, 2018

OH MY!!!

Did you read that article about the large family that came to Canada? The one with the quilt at the end? I'm halfway through the story - it's fascinating. Just goes to show how one small decision can change the world for someone. If you didn't get to the story the other day, here's the link again.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by the booth at the CreativFestival to say HI!  Sorry - I saw and waved to some of you, but customers come first! It was loads of fun and the time seemed to fly by. Next thing I knew, we're in the process of tearing down the booth.

I didn't end up buying that expensive item. I'm going to get it from another source which will be better so that's good. But I did get around to say hi to a couple of people and I managed to get the information that I needed. It wasn't what I wanted to hear, but I got the info. Just means that I have to rejig an upcoming class. Oh - one more piece of knowledge to tuck in my head.

While I have a ton of knowledge in my head, there are always learning moments. Keeping those embroidery machines working was no exception. Normally at home, there are ZERO disruptions to the process. You start the machine and you keep feeding it thread changes or trimming and that's it. But there were numerous occasions when the embroidery process was interrupted for a number of reasons. We needed to demo the other parts of the machine, the machine got UNPLUGGED were the two main ones.

It's one thing to do an autosave of the design when you take the hoop off - that's easy to get back in the right place, but quite another when the machine gets unplugged and you've no idea where the machine was in the embroidery sequence. But I'm good - I know how to figure it out! 

Which is good because I have another issue that has to be resolved. It involves machine embroidery, my Halloween quilt, and my sewing machine. I got some advice yesterday and now that I know it's possible, I'm going to experiment and get it figured out.

I was up way early this morning and decided that I had better get that studio back in order. Not only that, but I had three trunk shows last month and there are quilts sitting all over the house. Time to get some order back in the place. There's a stack of quilts to go upstairs where the completed quilts rest when not in use. There were a few tops that needed to be placed back in the tubs of "to be quilted" quilts. Quilts to be hung up that have been off the wall for months.

That entire "to be quilted" area in the studio was a mess. I had dug out quilt tops and not replaced them. Tubs were open, quilts were everywhere. Space was getting to a premium.

So this morning, I got it all cleaned up and then I had the shock of my life.

There are a "few" tubs of quilts to be quilted. And if you remember, the backings and the bindings are already made and folded together with the top. Now if I wanted to find a specific quilt, the process could be like looking for a needle in a haystack, but a while back, I sorted and labeled everything and created my BIBLE.


There is a page for each tub and I tried to group similarly themed quilts together. For instance, one tub has all the small table runners in it. Another has mystery quilts. I know - it's a shame when you have a TUB full of mystery quilt tops that need to be quilted.

With the help of the book, I was able to get everything back into the appropriate tub in a very short period of time. And here they are - FOURTEEN tubs full of quilts that need to be quilted. It's sinful!

Fourteen tubs of quilts to be quilted

There is also one more tub and an IKEA bag that is filled to overflowing that also houses quilts to be quilted. Plus there are about 6 or 7 quilts that have been earmarked as priority ones for myself and they are sitting on the quilt rack in the "next to be quilted" order.

MOre quilts of mine to be quilted

I hadn't been too diligent about adding the new tops that I finished this year. Now that is all documented and I'll get it into the computer file and reprint the pages that need to be updated. Oh yes - a couple of quilts have been removed from the tubs because they are DONE! Not enough, but some.

Then I thought (as a lark) that I would tally up the total of the pages. An involuntary bad word popped out of my mouth when I saw the total. No WAY?????  Oh god - this is bad.

Without coming right out and saying the number, if I quilted ONE quilt per week - it would take me over FOUR years to get all of those quilts done!  God help me, but there are 210 tops in those tubs. Now how the heck did that happen????  That's pretty scary! The biggest problem is that I'm adding to that total all the time. However, I did stop the flow somewhat as I've done a fair amount of my own quilting this year. Obviously NOT ENOUGH!!!!

This is another area of the "to be quilted" pile. But these quilts do not belong to me. Some are customer quilts (only the top area) and the bottom part is filled with donation quilts. Actually, a couple of donation quilts are on top as well. So I'm doing OK on the customer side and will get back to that this week. There's about a month's worth of work there.

More quilts that don't belong to me to be quilted

That's totally obscene. And let's not even think of all the UFOs that haven't made it to this "to be quilted" pile yet. No worries - it will happen - we just need to focus and have a plan. And I'm getting better at both.

On that note, I'm out of here. Got a meeting today about longarming so that's good. It's going to be a fun day and I can't wait.

Let's not forget that the remainder of that studio has to be cleaned up and I want to do some sewing for myself later today. It's going to be a fairly relaxed day and I can't wait.

If your husband or children are ragging on you about how much stuff you have, send him pictures of my stuff and say he has nothing to worry about.

Have a super day!!!!!


Saturday, October 13, 2018

Is free a good thing?

Here's an age-old dilemma. How much free stuff is too much?

Let's take the instance of quilt patterns. Lots of fabric companies will have their staff or an outside designer design a "free pattern". In this instance, free patterns will always use a specific fabric collection. The idea is that you, the customer will like the pattern, download it and then search out that fabric and make the quilt. There's a cost to the fabric company of having the staff design and write the pattern (they could be doing something else) or they will pay a fee to the outside designer to write the pattern.

In addition, these free patterns can then be used by the quilt stores so they can kit a project using the free pattern and the fabric collection. This keeps the cost to the customer down and the free pattern is like a marketing expense.

Another example is the quilt store that will put together their own free patterns with the hopes that you'll like the pattern and buy the kit from them. I think eQuilter is a big promoter of free patterns. But with a twist - they sell a lot of panels and almost all the free patterns are "custom" designed for a specific panel.

Then there are designers themselves who will offer free patterns on their website to get you interested in their style of design and then hopefully you'll buy the bigger more complex designs.

Don't get me started on people who GET A PATTERN FOR FREE and bitch and complain because the pattern has mistakes or isn't their style. Then DON'T TAKE THE FLIPPING pattern!!!!  Breathe - breathe!!  I agree - that if a pattern is going to be made and given away for free, then it should be done right, but don't complain about something you get for FREE.

Then there is the plethora of other FREE stuff. Could be tips, could be tutorials (like the stuff that I produce on QUILTsocial. A lot of the information that I put on that website, other people are writing it into books or videos for which you need to pay money to get access to.

And how many Youtube videos are out there - TONS of free stuff. Like Missouri Star. But those "free" videos are their main marketing tool and they sell millions of dollars of product to all of you who watch them and then decide to buy from them. Way more than what they sell in their shops.

So at what point does free become too much and while it works for you, the customer, what about the people that are trying to make a living by selling information or patterns. If no one wants to buy patterns because they can get the patterns for free (or they copy the pattern from a friend), it's very hard to make a living in this business.

Here's an industry article that discusses the value of "free".

One thing that I'm not in favor of is people "hoarding" all this free stuff. I've seen people who have copied patterns from their friends (because it's FREE) and then never use the pattern. Why bother to copy it? Each time a pattern gets sold, someone makes money on it - that MONEY is their bread and butter. How much - not much, but if people keep copying patterns, the designer will no longer be producing patterns.

How much "free stuff" do people amass and then never read. Material that you pick up at a trade show or things you download from the internet?

Part of the problem is that there are many people out there who are great teachers or great makers but do NOT make a living from this industry. Quilting is their hobby so they can "afford" to make stuff and sell it for next to nothing or they can afford to write up instructions and not care if it gets out there for free. The other thing I'd be cautious about is that not everything you get for "free" is going to be well done. Patterns are often not well written, or instructions/videos are providing incorrect information (that's NOT a generalization - lots of free information is extremely well done). "Buyer" beware!

Lots of bloggers will have giveaways or ads on their blogs to attract readership. Seriously, if I can only attract people to my blog with a giveaway? I don't want those people reading my blog. They have ZERO skin in the game. They're just there for the giveaways. Instagram is the worst for this - I see giveaways all the time and people have to tag others in order to be included in the draw and I get tagged all the time. Sorry - it dies with me - I will NEVER tag someone in a giveaway!  It's a form of bribery! Reminds me of those pyramid schemes and those chain letters.

Unfortunately what this does is that it sets the industry up for failure. We want everything to be free, we want coupons for everything, we want discounts on everything. What we need to do - is learn to buy what we NEED, use that up and buy more. But to buy for the sake of buying? That's a mental disorder and we need to figure out what is missing from our lives that we need to "buy" happiness in the form of more fabric. Oh god - I'm a Debbie Downer this morning!

Anyway, that's my little soapbox story this morning. It's an interesting conversation and we all need to look at what we are, what our buying habits are.

Speaking of buying habits - I bought ONE thing at the CreativFestival yesterday. I must say that I like being in a sewing machine booth. There is always something to do with babysitting the sewing machines. We have four embroidery machines in the booth and keeping the bobbins full, changing threads and chatting to customer and visitors (Hi Joyce!) well, it's pretty cool. I've got something special to work on today and I'll share some of the stitch-outs with you. I've got loads of projects to figure out with those stitch-outs.

I investigated the other item that I wanted to buy. Oh boy - it's a wee bit more expensive than I originally thought. OK - it's a lot more expensive. But I decided that I'm worth it and if I don't learn to use it properly, then I'm just going to have to shoot myself. The salesperson said - I just need to check out the YouTube videos and I'd be a pro in no time.

I'll fill you in when I get it home in a month.

On that note, I'd better run. I've got to finish getting ready. Today is the last day for CreativFestival. I have one thing to buy and one more item to check out for my knowledge. And one person to visit with.

Have a super day!!!!


Friday, October 12, 2018

The lost art of cooking

I know the title of this post does NOT coincide with me and my reluctance to cook! For years I was happy to make a stop at Tim's for breakfast, for snacks, for lunch or whenever I needed something to eat. If it wasn't Tim's, it was somewhere else. Not that I was a fast food junkie, but I was quite happy to leave the house with NOTHING to eat in my possession and forage along the way. Some days, everything I ate came from outside my house. Now, how silly, unhealthy and expensive is that?

Since my lifestyle changes earlier this year, it's rare that I leave the house without my snacks. I've been taking my lunch to Monday sewing for a long time (which I NEVER did). The reason I'm telling you this is that even at the CreativFestival, I bring my own lunch. Why? Because it's way healthier and I'm NOT going to fall back to my old habits. I'm just not!

It's funny how all those convenience foods are what fatten us up. So we have more time, but we're less healthy. Well, in a matter of a few minutes this morning (basically while my breakfast was cooking), I've got my food lined up for the day.

Actually, it's all my food consumption for the day except for dinner tonight.

On the left is my bowl of steel cut oats, with some almond milk, a banana chopped into the oatmeal and two slices of turkey bacon. A bottle of water for the road. I'm already on my second glass of water this morning. There's a peach cut up in the larger container, almonds, and yogurt covered raisins in the small container and for the "main course," I have a wrap with ham and cheese. Hold the butter and mayo and whatever. The wrap doesn't need it. This way you can taste the ham and Havarti cheese. The only thing I forgot to add was my two Simple Pleasures cookies which I'll add before I leave. Yes - I get it that the cheese is very high in fat and the yogurt raisins have sugar, but it's all within the acceptable range of my food guide. Just!

Breakfast, lunch, and snacks for one day

That's it - that's what I get to eat all day!!!!  But you know what? I'm good with that. I'm not hungry and no need to spend money to buy expensive junk food or even more expensive healthy food while I'm out. Takes a few minutes to prep. Can you believe I said that?  I was the queen of convenience!!!  No longer - it's time to make and maintain lifestyle choices and it's time that we live for our health. The grocery stores would wither up and die if everyone shopped like me.

I belong to two modern quilt guilds and I'm looking after the charity quilts for both. Of course - why do one quilt, when you can do two quilts!!  I can't make the meeting this Saturday and couldn't make the meeting last night. After some quick math and a few e-mails, I got kits ready to be handed out on Saturday. Both quilts will look totally different and yet made from the same fabrics. How long have I sat on that fabric waiting to figure out how to cut it up for the kits. It's amazing when you have run out of time. In mere minutes, that fabric was cut and made into kits. The instructions have been added and someone is picking them up today for delivery tomorrow. A huge thanks fo Faiza for making that happen!

Kits ready for the QuiltCon Charity Quilt

I'll have to mail the other kits out as I just didn't get a chance to get those done and I wasn't driving all the way to that meeting after being at CreativFestival all day.

I took the toll highway to the CreativFestival to make sure that I would be there on time. I arrived a half hour early and sat in the car reading my book. I read 20 pages and finished the book off when I got home. It was very strange - but I liked it. Just a weird style of writing for this genre of book.

The day at the CreativFestival seemed to fly by. If I wasn't changing bobbins or rehooping fabric, I was chatting to customers, demoing machines (I love that best) or chatting to people who stopped by to say hello. And there were lots who stopped by!!!  I love these shows so that I can catch up with what's going on. It was great fun! I didn't even get a chance to pop out and shop. OK - I took a wee peek in the booth next to us but that was it. Some GREAT half priced kits. I was tempted but didn't buy. If anyone is looking for Crabapple Hill Block of the Month kits - these are HALF price. Older ones, but still - all the patterns and the fabric!!!!  A great deal! I'm still tempted, but I have so many of her patterns already that are waiting to be stitched.

Even though I technically don't need anything, I have set myself a budget - I can spend that much. There are a few things that I'm going to look at today or tomorrow. The first day is always the busiest. I'll let you know what I find. I know of two things that I want - one is expensive and one is not. Hmm - got to think about that expensive item. Hopefully, they have a show special.

I haven't had a chance to read this article yet, but have a look at the picture at the very end. That's my quilt pattern!!!  While I love to make quilts, I also like to see my patterns made by other people. I can't way to read the article. Looks very interesting. And thanks to everyone who has ever made one of my patterns. You should send me pictures as I'd love to post the pictures!!!!

On that note, I'd better get myself in gear. Lunch is made, I'm half dressed, but the girls - well, they're still waiting and not happy.

Have a super day!!!!


Thursday, October 11, 2018

CreativFestival - Set up day

My "most" favorite day of any show - set up day. Things got off to a slow start as we waited for our stuff to arrive. But once it did, we set to work like busy little bees to get all the tables dressed, the machines up and running and all the pretty samples out for view. I was even commandeered to thread a serger - it appears that no one likes this job. I haven't threaded a conventional serger in a few years - make that many years (I have an auto threading serger), but I managed on my second try. Yeah!!

We're NOT in the usual Hall. The CREATIVFESTIVAL is in Hall FIVE. I like that one better than the other one. It looks cleaner and newer inside. There are a lot of things to check out - we hvae BRANhaveW sewing/embroidery machines to show off. These are literally hot off the press. The Husqvarna Viking Designer Brilliance 80 and the Brilliance 75Q.

There are some great quilt shops if you're in the market for quilting stuff and we saw some gorgeous (and reasonably priced) flannel quilt kits. I do not need another kit, but those were so well priced that - well - I'll see how things go.

Anyway - I'm excited to check out the show and I did spend a wee bit of time chatting with people I knew yesterday. Everyone is busy with the setup so no one wants to spend time chatting. It was a long day as we have two booths to set up so I didn't get out of there too early. And then got stuck in traffic on the way home. Another stupid accident which just brings traffic to a standstill. How people put up with day in and day out - well, I'm not sure I could.

I managed to get that quilt off the frame the other day. It's waiting to be trimmed and then picked up.

Customer quilt - DONE

Hopefully, I can get it trimmed tonight.

I have to say that I started reading a book a couple of days ago and I can't put the darn thing down. I'm 27 pages from the end and it's creeping me out. Catherine Coulter - The Cove. I'll have to leave it for today, but it'll be the first thing I touch when I get home. This is a series and The Cove is the first one. Yikes!  It's the style of writing that is weird, but also the subject matter. Anyway - going to be interesting to see how it ends. There's certainly a lot of twists in the book.

Quilt Market is looming in less than ONE MONTH. I was checking out some of the new collections that will be showcased by MODA. Interesting that you can tell the designer of almost all the collections simply by looking at the color!!!  I'm not kidding - it would be interesting to take a fat quarter bundle from two different collections by the same designer. Stack them side by side and I would bet that from a foot away, that you couldn't tell the difference between the collections. The prints may change, but the values and color do not!!!!  Why is that? and why do we feel compelled to keep buying more when we basically already have the same thing at home????

I shall be putting that theory to the test in the next quilt shop I find where that's possible. Unless they're a huge MODA shop, you probably can't do that unless you buy two bundles and do it that way.  Hmm -  a little bit of investigation is in order. But here's a case in point - Me and My Sister. They have done quite a few collections for MODA (I want to say 27 - could be more).  Many of the collections can work with each other. There's the pinks, the blues, the greens and the yellows. SAME colors - just different designs. Perhaps that's the selling feature of these collections. If you have leftovers, you can just buy more fabric and keep making quilts. I bought some years ago and while I haven't made anything yet, I could easily match it up with their latest offering.

On that note, I'm out of here. I have to get the girls out before I leave. We have to be there for 8:45 and it's going to be a long day as the show is on from 9 AM to 6 PM.  Wear comfortable shoes, although it's not so bad as we get to sit down at the machines. I might even get a wee bit of my own work done! You know - have to show how the machines work and all.

Have a super day!!!!


Wednesday, October 10, 2018

A Tribute to Amy Butler

The quilting industry is in constant flux with shops opening and closing (more closing than opening - I think) and designers come and go.

Amy Butler has decided to call it quits with the quilting industry. If you remember, Amy was one of the designers for FreeSpirit and all that mess that happened last year.

I truly believe that Amy played a huge part in what we call "modern" fabric today. Although I was never a huge fan of her fabrics or her patterns (just not quite my style), I did make some things using her creations.

The first was this bag called the Weekender Bag. And if you check out that link, you can read all about my experience making this bag. NO - the bag is still not finished, but since I'm looking for quick projects to finish before the end of the year, the zipper just needs some hand stitching. I could very easily do that!

My other experience with Amy Butler was with one of her first fabric collections. I think I bought the collection at Greenwood Quiltery (which is now closed). Now you know how it is - we have a tendency to buy fabric and then we don't use it. However, I did make two quilts from the FQ bundle that I bought or what it two bundles? I don't remember and I can't find the blog post where I made the quilts.

I do remember that I worked on them at one of our retreats - many, many years ago. The reaction from my group - that fabric is awfully busy (their words were much harsher!!).

Anyway, I made two quilts, neither of which is quilted. I don't even remember which pattern I used - it could have been one included with the bundles. Actually - it might have been a kit that I bought and there was probably enough fabric to make two quilts. I bet that's what it was. Hmm - do you see why we should include the pattern/instructions with the quilt if it isn't quilted? And why a label is important??

This was the fabric collection. Belle by Amy Butler for Rowan fabrics. It was her FIRST collection for quilters. See I've been "modern" for YEARS.

Belle by Amy Butler
Here are both the quilts. The backing and binding are made for both of them. 

Two quilts, both with binding and backing

See how busy those prints are????   Wow!!!

Busy prints

And here's one of the quilt tops. They're identical except for the placement of the fabric.

Quilt top with Amy Butler fabric

I've no idea what year this was, but I'm going to guess around 2005/2006???  You can still find some of this collection in an Etsy shop online.

I should get my butt in gear and get those two quilts quilted so I could really enjoy them, but my pleasure was in sewing the tops. Now that my pleasure has moved on to quilting the tops, I should get at least one of them done. It does have a good story (and I have a bit of research to do) - I won't repeat what the ladies said about the fabric (how old-fashioned they were!) but I'd tell it as a story in a trunk show. Hm - I need to get one of these done and it should be in my modern trunk show. OK - there's an incentive to NOT put one of the quilts back in the tubs.

That's my tribute to Amy Butler. While I haven't done a lot with Amy's fabrics or patterns, I truly appreciate what she did for the "modern" quilt industry. She made huge inroads and laid the groundwork for what we have today.

Enjoy your retirement, Amy!!!

And on that note, I'm out of here. I've got a crazy busy day - set up for a trade show. My most favorite (NOT!) day of any show.

Have a great day!!!!


Tuesday, October 9, 2018

YOU are the best!!!

I want to thank all of YOU for reading my blog. I've learned so much and located many things from my readers and I truly appreciate that!

Here's what's happened lately. I got a taker for the teal fabric. The fabric and her address are sitting on the ironing board. I hope to make it to the PO today.  I've got a ton of stuff to do today so I might not make it. Thanks to Terri for offloading that from my stash.

From Laura, I got an e-mail about two specific properties in New Orleans. One that was owned by a friend's brother and was sold to Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. After looking at the map, it's two blocks from the LaLaurie mansion (that awful house of torture!). I must have walked right past it as I was in that area.

Here's a link to the map of the French Quarter in case you're as obsessed as I am about the place. And I said I would never go back! Now I want to go back!  Shoot, as I look at the map, I realize that one of the cemeteries was within walking distance of the hotel!!!  DARN DARN DARN!!!!!

Laura also mentioned that their friend's brother lives in the baby wedding cake house in the Garden District. I can't find pictures of the baby wedding cake house, but here's a link to the REAL wedding cake house. It's pretty impressive. Let's just say that real estate in New Orleans isn't cheap and these houses are HUGE. The baby wedding cake house was built for the daughter of the owner of the big wedding cake house. If you Google the address (6300 St. Charles Ave.) you'll see a picture of the house. It's not a good picture, but the best I can find.

And if that isn't enough, Kate just revealed that Emilie Richards (the author of Wedding Ring) has written three books that are based in New Orleans.  Just checked, the library doesn't have any of them. That's on the must find list.

Just in case you're wondering, I do have the Ann Rice books (that were set in New Orleans and she was from there) on hold. OK - so just the first one is on hold.

I'm sure there'll be more about New Orleans that pops up from time to time as it's a fascinating city with a very interesting past.

I think I have to admit that I've got a head cold and the darn thing is sapping me of my energy. I'm quite content to sit in a chair and read rather than be working. But I managed to get some quilting done yesterday on the long arm and I almost finished another project.

Now here's a dilemma and I think we just have to make our own rules about it. Here's the almost finished project. I stitched the binding to the front of the table runner.

The binding is on this table runner
I had to make a label for a project that was leaving the house forever and while I was in the process, I decided to make labels for some of the table runners that I've worked on this year.

Now here's the thing. What projects need a label and what projects do not? And how much information should be on a label?  I've been using these little tags for my work and they are great. They have a bicycle logo on the "front" of the label with my name, blog address and phone number on the underside. 

The little label that I use to identify my work

That information makes the item look more like a "store-bought" item than a traditional quilt label on the back.

But - what about the pattern or the designer's name? What about who made it and where and most certainly the year it was made? Now all this information may not be important, but yet it is.

Here are two instances where I'd like to have all of the information about a project. When I'm doing a trunk show, the labels are very important because I don't remember all the details and certainly NOT the year the quilt was made. Actually, when I bring out a quilt that I haven't seen in a while, I love looking at the label, especially the year the quilt was made. NO WAY - that wasn't done in 2013???? 

The other instance is that you're given something or you win something (like the mini quilts at guild shows), I love to know the name of the maker and the year the item was made.

I can appreciate putting a label on a big quilt or an item that has a really neat story behind it or a quilt that was made for a specific person or for a specific reason. Then all that information should be put on it.

But here's the thing - a lot of what I work on these days will never be included in a trunk show, will never be used as a sample (I have TONS of stuff for show n tell) and will likely be sold off at some point or given away. Many items were made ONLY because they were needed for a sample for the class.

So do those things require labels???  I don't know and I've been marking stuff off my list as DONE when some of them did not have a label stitched on. So while I had to make a label for that project that was recently sold, I made some labels for the table runners that I've made over the past few months. I simply put the name of the project, the designer's name, my name, where it was made and the year. That's all that really needs to be on these projects and I'm going to hand stitch them on as I get the projects completed. All the labels have 2018 on them, so I'd better finish this year!!!!

Fabric labels printed on the inkjet printer

Actually, as I got to looking at some of the projects, there are several that I did as blog posts on QUILTsocial and those would be good with the larger label that I created yesterday to reference the technique. Since I'll use those for samples, it's good to have all that information on the label. I'll be making a few big labels and stitching those on. I've already counted those projects as done, so I have to work behind the scenes to get that label on before anyone knows about it!!!!

What I would love to do is go through all my quilts and see if an additional label is needed (as in I acquired the quilt from somewhere) to keep up the provenance of the quilt or perhaps it never got a label. I think that's important and I should schedule a week in the future to make that happen.

I think I'm going to wing it for the labels. Some will get a label and some will not - depending on what the purpose of the item.

Don't forget about the CreativFestival this week (October 11 - 13). Remember this is NOT a quilt festival. It never has been, it never will be. But if you're in the market for a sewing machine (and I know for a fact that Husqvarna Viking and PFAFF has some amazing new machines), or you want to check out a new hobby or just an overall view of what's happening in the market, this is the place to go. There's FREE parking, you get a chance to win a $10,000 sewing room (wouldn't that be amazing!) and you can come and meet me in the Husqvarna Viking booth - I'll be there all three days. Don't forget that there are classes - this is a great place to learn about new techniques and tools. Check it out!!!!!  There's also the Project Creativ Catwalk where the local design schools make an outfit. I love that event!!!  Even if you just came for all the FREE stuff - the lectures and demos and make and take it projects - it would be worth the price of admission. Make sure to check out the BROCHURE to get all the scoop on the FREE stuff and the classes that you have to pay for. And come by and say HI!!! 

On that note, I'd better get myself in gear. I had an amazing sleep last night and I don't feel so bad this morning. But I'm hours behind as I slept in and I really slept in. The girls are NOT happy.

Have a super day!!!!


Monday, October 8, 2018

Zipping along..........

Yesterday was certainly a very productive day, but I had such a crappy sleep last night that I'm not sure I can be as productive today. I hate when that happens. My sinuses caused some of the problems and then my throat was dry and then I had to get up for a bathroom visit. Just one of those nights. If I need a nap today, well, that's OK.

I did make it back to the grocery store and asked about my missing almond milk. Yep - they had it recorded that some idiot customer flew out of the store and left the milk on the counter. And then I still had to go back later because I had forgotten to buy cranberries and you can't have Thanksgiving dinner without cranberries!

I had to start the day by tidying up some stuff so that felt good. A lot got put away in their respective homes and the rest is still sitting there waiting to be finished. These are items that are nowhere near getting on the finishing list, but no place to store them either.

In case anyone wonders if people use mug rugs? I do. Thanks to Katheleen for this one. I had a hot chocolate (the light version with reduced sugar). I don't want that hot cup sitting directly on my cutting mat and besides, the cup was wet on the bottom. Problem solved with the mug rug!! These make FABULOUS (and personalized) Christmas gifts. You can never have too many mug rugs!

Mug rug in use

Not content to have one sewing machine going, I had two. One was set up to join strips of batting...

Joining strips of batting
 And the other one was set up to make fabric tubes from batting and fabric strips.

Making fabric tubes
 I started out with this mess - 40 fabric strips and a whack of batting strips that I had cut from the leftovers after trimming quilts.

Fabric strips and batting strips
 Of course, I could have taken the easy way out and purchased a roll of this batting but I only have one roll and that's not enough and I like to use up leftovers so I'm good to cut those strips from the batting. Yep - I mixed black and white and various weights and thicknesses. In the grand scheme of things, I don't think it's going to make a huge difference.

Prepared roll of batting
I'm trying to use up! I had four pieces of orange and once I had cut my 40 strips, I had this piece of orange leftover. Since it was all that remained of the collection, I decided to cut it up into strips as well. I got 8 more strips for a total of 48.

The last piece of this fabric collection got cut up
 In case you're wondering, this is the Orange colorway of the Northcott Artisan Spirit Nature Studies. I used the teal colorway (of the same collection) in that rug that I made a couple of weeks ago. It's very pretty, but what the heck was I going to do with it. I'm not sure I have enough of the teal left to make a complete rug - anyone interested in the leftovers? You can find something to go with it or you can always buy more of this collections as I saw it on on the internet. Do a Google search.  E-mail me if you want it - I'll try to post a picture of what's leftover. I don't want it.

This is what I had leftover for batting after making my 40 fabric tubes and since I had that one piece of fabric left, I decided to go ahead and make those extra 8 fabric tubes.

Leftover batting
 And I have this piece leftover as well, which is going to be the binding. There were a few scraps but those got put away in the scrap bucket. I love it when I can "file" everything away or use it up.

The binding fabric
 Here's what I had at the end of the day. 48 fabric tubes. Now you have to wait to see what I do with them. I've already started, but I'm not going to share that with you until it's completed.

48 fabric tubes

This is how many batting strips remained after I had made the 48 fabric tubes. Still quite a few. It's now in the bin with the remainder of the teal colorway of Nature Studies (that I'm getting rid of!) as well as the blue colorway. My goal - use all of the Nature Studies UP!!!

Batting strips leftover

No worries, I still have another bag of batting strips to go through and cut into 2 ½" strips. I'm thinking that I'm going to have enough to make two more rugs. Which is good - maybe that'll use up all that fabric in the bucket.

Bag of batting to be sorted through

In the future, I plan to keep the bag of batting under control. As I trim a quilt, I'll cut the 2 ½" strips and the pieces that are too narrow will go into pet mats.

When I got bored of working on that project, I decided it was time for another finish. I had to sew the binding onto the front of this wall hanging. I also hand stitched the corners of the binding as well as made a sleeve which is also hand stitched in place. This is finish number 59!  I wonder where Diane is with her finishes? I know she was away last week but it wouldn't surprise me that she found a way to finish something.

Floral wall hanging
 I put my usual little fabric label on this one, but it will also be a sample when I wear my educator (Husqvarna Viking) hat, so I labeled it to death. Since I had stitched out the embroidery and all the piecing and quilting were done as blog posts for QUILTsocial, I took advantage of that and included all that information, including the links on the label.

Now that's a quilt label!

I had one more label like this make so I made it at the same time and they both turned out awesome.

I got a quilt loaded on the long arm so I'll be working on that today and hopefully, it'll be completed by tomorrow. It's a big one and some custom work on it so I can't set the machine and leave it. But I know with my sinus issue that I don't want to work on it all day.

I managed to get a couple of things written in my TO DO book, but not all. If I don't get myself together, I'll start to forget things so that is going to take priority this morning.

And I have a couple more projects that are very close to being finished. I have to maintain pace with Diane!!!  I might work on a binding or two this afternoon for a change of pace.

Oh before I leave, I have to share two more New Orleans links with you. They are creepy so if you're not into that kind of thing - DO NOT go to them. I'm not kidding but I seem to be fascinated with this stuff. I'm just weird - totally fascinated yet scared to death at the same time. Now, why is that? And do not say that my sleep issues are related to the creepy New Orleans ghosts. I don't buy that.

The first is about the house that was used in the movie? TV series? American Horror Story. It's about the LaLaurie Mansion. We heard the same story from our tour guide - does that make it right? No idea, but the place is now owned by someone from Texas and the place is rarely used which is a shame since it looks like a gorgeous place from the outside. The house was owned by Nicolas Cage at one point. It's huge (20,000 sq feet) although it doesn't look like it, I guess they are counting all the back part of the house which was likely the servant's quarters. Well so to speak.

It's amazing how you can look for something and not find it. But the short video above referenced a book and I searched for that and came up with a whole pile of other books of hauntings in New Orleans. Now I can search for those. I know - I'm morbid. Now I want to go back and tour the cemeteries. THAT would give me sleeping issues. They are super creepy!

On that note, I'm out of here.

Have a great day!!!!


Sunday, October 7, 2018

Recovery day!

I had a great class in the morning at the Hobby Horse. A few unruly girls, but they know that so we're all good. The bottom line is that everyone got all the information they needed to finish the project and they're well on their way to getting it completed.

My sinus continued to bother me for most of the day and I have to confess that I was in recovery mode. I really didn't have the energy to do much. I did make it to the grocery store where I had forgotten one thing the moment I placed my items on the check out counter. How many times has that happened to you? Only to realize this morning that while I was charged for the item, the cashier must have put the item in a separate bag, not my basket, and I left it at the store. So I have to go back today to get my item. I hate when that happens.

Went to another grocery store for something else. Both places were a zoo. I know - the day before Thanksgiving - what was I thinking?

Then I have to confess that I spent the rest of the day curled up in a chair with a quilt and a book. I didn't even make it downstairs to the studio - other than getting my pattern for the morning class which wasn't right on the cutting table, but it was easy to find.

I started and finished an entire book yesterday. I was OK with that. I guess I just needed some downtime.

Oh - I should mention that I went to the library as well to pick up my two books that had come in and I couldn't help myself - I walked out with more than two books. That made 26 books on loan. ACK! How did that happen? Thank goodness borrowing books is FREE. Well, I'm happy to report that when I finished that book and went looking for another one to read, I realized that I had a couple of books that were out of sequence in their respective series, so I returned four books this morning.

Then I spent some time this morning logging in the books I've recently got my hands on or that I've read. So I'm pretty much up to date in my book managing. I need to have a list so when I hit a used bookstore, I have something to look for. How sad is that? That takes a wee bit more time since I will only buy a book if the library doesn't have it and that takes a bit of time to check out the library catalog. I'm done with book managing for today. I have work to do.

Today my goal is to drink LOTS of water and at least get that list of TODOs put together. If not, then I'm in huge trouble.

I promised some pictures and so here are a couple of pictures from my trip.

The first one is a picture of Kim (from Kimberbell) and myself with my completed journal cover. She is such a bubbly and fun person, you can't help but like her. OH - yes - I'm going to be working on my Hello Sunshine quilt and you're all going to be jealous!!!

Me and Kim from Kimberbell Designs

I think this is the FIRST time in the entire week that I removed my black sweater when I was in the hotel. It was super cold in the hotel. Apparently, because of the humidity outside, they just crank up the A/C. No thought to using dehumidifiers. That's a bit weird.

When I was at the airport, I popped into the bookstore to see if I could find a book about New Orleans. Nope - no books on local anything, but I found this in the magazine section. Should I have purchased it to get myself up to speed on all the lingo?

Cannabis Now magazine

I talk to some people about the upcoming legalization of cannabis. OK - so my parents - they think the world is going to hell in a handbasket the moment this happens. Well, Mom and Dad - hate to tell you but the stuff has been around for years  - just not legal. I hope I have a more open mind about things when I'm older. Heck - I could start using the oil - hmm - for what? I'm pretty healthy. Oh - I could find a reason, but not yet!

I'm sure you've seen tons of pictures of the architecture of New Orleans, but it's truly spectacular to see in person. Here's a snap of one building with two beautiful wrap-around galleries.  They are NOT called balconies.  The wrought iron work in the railings is amazing.

Two rows of galleries on a New Orleans building

Many of the houses in the French Quarter have windows (or technically doors) completely around the building on the ground floor, which can be opened up for ventilation. I think people used to sleep on the galleries in the heat?  I'm making that up!  But it's humid - there's no question that it's humid there and we were there in October - imagine what it would be like in the summer.

None of the houses have basements because of the extremely high water table so any bad stuff like torture usually took place in the attic. It's a pretty creepy place to be sure!  And of course, all the people buried in the cemeteries are in above ground vaults, not in a grave in the ground. It would have been neat to make it to one of the cemeteries, but that'll have to wait for another trip.

That's about it for today. I must get my butt in gear and get downstairs.

Have a super day!!!!!


Saturday, October 6, 2018

The Long Way Home

Seriously?  I just tried the keyboard on the iPad and it worked. I give up - silly thing.

But the best part - I'm home! I don't have pictures for you today - I don't have time. But tomorrow. I must make myself a TODO list of everything (the most urgent) things that need to be done this weekend. I do have a class to teach this morning, but then it's going to be heads-down in the studio. Quilts to be quilted, quilts to be made, samples to be made. Oh yes - it's going to be loads of fun!

I had chatted to the concierge the night before and he recommended a restaurant across the street for breakfast. Yes - Daisy Duke's!  Breakfast for $5.00 - two eggs, bacon, a fruit cup and two slices of toast. That was a pretty good deal and I was set.

Back to the hotel to finish packing and off in a cab to the airport. When I got to the airport, I ran into a dealer from Canada and shoot - if I would have known we were on the same flight, we could have taken a cab together and saved some money. Oh well.

My suitcase was heavy and I wasn't going to check it, but when we got to the gate and they were asking people to check their suitcases, I decided why not. It was going to be free and would save me from dragging it through Detroit when we changed planes.

I was going to read through some reference material on the plane but decided to read my novel instead. I ended up finishing it just before we hit Toronto. Yeah - one more book finished. I've so many to read and I have to get to the library today to pick up two more that came in while I was away. NO more ordering of books from the library. Not until I get a wee bit of the backlog read!

Checked out the scale this morning - OK - so a wee bit of damage was done, but I was still in my buffer zone so I'm good and I should be back to normal by the end of this coming week. I like having that buffer zone - no need to feel depressed as I haven't hit that target weight yet. I know that doesn't make sense, but in reality, I don't want to hit that target weight - that means I'm going in the wrong direction and we're NOT going there.

I didn't have any issues getting through customs and basically walked out of the airport about 20 minutes after getting off the plane even though I had to wait for my luggage. DH was there (you got to love cell phones for that convenience) to pick me up and we went for dinner - our usual Friday night thing.

Need I say that there were two very happy girls waiting for me when I got back home. Jumping and licking and hugging. Yes - they were very happy. But they are not so happy this morning. It's raining out and I certainly don't want to stand around in the dog park in the rain and I don't need two extremely muddy dogs to contend with. I might sneak a wee walk with them both.

I'm not off to a good start this morning. I had a major issue with one of my sinuses last night. It took several hours to calm the darn thing down. An allergy pill helped a lot, but the darn thing wouldn't drain and that's pretty painful. But all seems to be somewhat better this morning. I wonder why one sinus is much more sensitive than the other one? Hmm - why is that???  Well, I guess I should be thankful that only one of them is hypersensitive - I'd be very unhappy with two painful sinuses. Bottom line, I didn't get a lot of sleep last night! Of course, I checked the internet and there are some tips for getting your sinuses to drain. I should dig out my Neti-Pot but I'm afraid to use it!

And I now have to hit the studio (which is a total disaster) and find the pattern for this morning's class. That should be an interesting task. I just hope that I had my wits about me before I left and it's sitting on the cutting table. Oh - that would be way too logical to have happened.

I have to say that it was nice to get home and put on a long sleeve garment. No more of this short-sleeved sweater business - I want long sleeves. I must make myself a "convention" garment. Something that's warm on the inside and slick on the outside to repel threads. I have a great short sleeved sweater that I love, but it keeps getting thread-covered and the sweater is black.!

Hmm - can I get a garment sewn before Thursday next week? It's the CreativFestival and we're going to be inside in a probably cold environment once again. Make sure you pop out to see me - I'll be in the Husqvarna Viking booth.

I unpacked last night. I swear that half of my suitcase was filled with stuff from the convention. Samples, papers and my four books. I'm surprised that it all fit in there. Well, I'm a good packer, but it was heavy! So I have to deal with all that today as well. Add it to the list!  It's great to be HOME!!!

And now to get myself organized for class. 

Have a great day!!!!


Friday, October 5, 2018

Day Five - Convention

It would appear that my iPad keyboard is toast for whatever reason. I was trying to use it last night and no go. Hmm - now that means another call to those Apple people. You just can't get ahead of fixing things. Thank goodness I had the laptop with me. I don't want to carry both in the future, but both have good things about them so I'll see.

Yesterday, which was also the last day of the convention, was a fabulous day. We started off with a class on Westalee rulers. Other than a brief stint with them the other day, I've never used those sets of rulers.  OH MY GOD - the class was so much fun and I learned a ton. I never thought I'd be happy using the rulers on a domestic machine, but honestly there's a place for them and I'm super excited to get back to my machine quilting class (table runner class that's all about free motion) and tell them what I learned. For I learned several very important things about these rulers.

We only used two rulers in the class - the straight ruler and one of the circles. Lots of cool stuff can be done. And even though there were things in the class that I didn't agree with, as a good student, I kept my mouth shut.

So that was a super fun and informative class. The other nice thing is that the Westalee people are here so we got all week to ask them questions and ask away I did. Hmm - got to rethink a couple of things when I get home.

Off to lunch - I don't think I'll eat for three days when I get home and I've been really good.

The last class was the most fun. It was a class with Kimberbell. That's the name of the company, the owner is Kim and she's super fun. I LOVE all the Kimberbell products and want to make them all. Can you believe that even though I have tons of her patterns, I've never made a Kimberbell project before. Shame on me!!!!  AND - I must get my Scan n Cut out and learn how to use it properly. I'm missing out on a huge opportunity (time saver) if I don't. One more thing to learn!  And I'm serious  - does anyone want to do her Hello Sunshine quilt??  Can be done sewing or machine embroidery. I was thinking of using it as a quilt along. We were going to have a class at the Hobby Horse, and people signed up and then backed out. These projects are so super cute - you can't not want to make it. There's a Christmas one and a Halloween one. One lady in our class had made all three. ACK!!!

We did two in-the-hoop projects yesterday and despite the fact that I'd never done embroidery on the PFAFF Creative Icon, I managed just fine. Had to change the hoop size, find the design and even had to restart one of the stitching sequences (I did get help for that one). That means that embroidery on the Creative Icon is super easy!!!

We made one of her Sweet Feet designs (we also have all the designs on the CD - back to the library to convert that to my USB stick) and then we made a journal cover. They are super sweet. And we have TEN different journal covers to play around with. I just hope I can find those sizes of journal covers back home or it's a trip to the US to find journals to fit them.

Kim is just the sweetest person around and she had some new stuff here (I got the official e-mail) just as we were starting her class - now how timely is that?  And there will be new stuff at Quilt Market.

We finished right on time. Yeah!!! 

As sad as I am to have convention over, I'm happy. It's been a long five days, lots to take in and I've lots to digest when I get home. On top of the stuff I already have to do, I've got a class to teach tomorrow morning! I'd better be making myself some lists and get down to business making samples. A good activity for the plane ride home.

After the class, I popped out to the used bookstore. I only went to one. One of the three was closed and I picked the one that was closest to the hotel. It was the weird little maze of a bookstore. I was looking for books on ghosts of New Orleans. Sadly, they didn't have any. The owner said that as soon as those books come in, they are gone. I'll have to search the internet and see. The urge to read about them will likely fade once I get home. But you never know - I've always had a soft spot for that kind of stuff. Even though it's creepy. I wonder if I could stay in one of those boutique hotels whose claim to fame is that it's haunted? I probably wouldn't sleep a wink.

I walked down Bourbon street on my way back to the hotel. It was fairly calm but the drummer boys and Lulus were out in full force. Never a dull moment on that street.

We had our last dinner and then all the goodbyes. I chatted with a few people and then I was in the room trying to pack my suitcase. I picked up a few things along the way (including the four books I bought) so it was a wee bit of a challenge, but I got everything in! I'm an excellent packer. I'm also an excellent traveler. There is NOTHING extra in my suitcase. Oh I lie - I brought SIX shirts to wear thinking we were at convention for six days, but in fact, I only needed five! I listened to a colleague and brought an umbrella (which I would NEVER even think of) and of course, the event was all in the same hotel so why would I need an umbrella. In future, I listen to my gut when it comes to what to pack. NO checked luggage for me, although this suitcase is now going to be a wee bit heavier to heave into the overhead bins, but that shouldn't be a problem.

I'm certainly in the minority here at these kinds of conventions. At one class, we got a T-shirt. Not sure that I'll wear it, but maybe I will. There were 7 different piles of shirts. The 4XL, the 3XL, the 2XL, the XL, the L, M, and S. The S pile was the smallest and that's what I got. Yes, the clientele at these conventions/Quilt Markets are - well - I'm not going to say, but I think you all get the idea. I only have my mother to thank for what happened to me!

I'm on my own this morning for breakfast, but I had a chat with the concierge last night about getting to the airport - cabbing it as it's going to be way easier than the shuttle (and only slightly more expensive). Instead of breakfast in the hotel, he suggested a place across the street that serves a good breakfast for $5. I'm there!

Just have to pack my tech toys in my backpack and I'm all set to get to the airport. It's going to be a long day - travel days are always long, but I've downloaded all kinds of sewing machine reference books, user manuals, embroidery software manuals and other learning material to keep me entertained. Plus I have my paperback book to read. It's going to be just fine!

On that note, I'd better get dressed and get to breakfast.

Have a super day!!!!


Thursday, October 4, 2018

Convention - Day Four

Hmm - ghosts and goblins and nightmares?

We had a free night last night and when I had popped out to pick up the geocache the previous night, I had picked up a couple of brochures on walking and bus tours in the city. I checked them out and decided that I could make the 5:30 PM walking ghost tour. There were bus tours of the cemeteries but they were much later and I didn't want to have to work my way back to the hotel by myself. Anyway, I popped down to the tourist office and got signed up for the ghost tour.

It was pretty cool to get some of the history of some of the buildings. Some of it was probably made up, some of it was not. Who knows? Anyway, it was fun. We ended the tour about 4 blocks from the hotel and on the way back, I found a restaurant and popped in for a beer and some dinner. I had had a large lunch so I wasn't too hungry, but had a salad and some chicken (or was that crocodile or alligator??)  Anyway then a wee bit closer to the hotel, I found a candy shop that made fudge, pralines (supposedly a specialty here) and chocolates. After tasting several samples, I ended up buying ONE praline. Even though I drank loads of water yesterday, my body is not happy with the diet. I could be better - I'll make it up when I get home. Although I am being pretty good.

Just so you know, the street I walked home on was much quieter and calmer and appeared a whole lot safer than Bourbon Street which was four blocks away. There are tons of boutique hotels (small hotels) and the rooms are tiny. We got to see a room where supposedly Elvis stayed and apparently Hilary Clinton stayed in this hotel (which is supposed to be haunted) as well.

So I get back to the hotel and I do a bit of computer work and chat with my roommate and then it's time to turn out the lights. On each of the previous nights, I fall asleep before the lights are turned out. Last night - not going to happen. I'm wide awake! Oh drat - now what? Why can't I sleep? Am I too keyed up??  Too many thoughts of ghost stories in my head? It wasn't a great night for sleep.

When the lights did go out and I'm tossing and turning  - at one point I see something and wonder what the heck it is.  Oh the wrist bands they gave us are glow in the dark! And they gave me two!

I thought I might have a nightmare as one of the stories (and places we stopped at) the story was very recent and the people were very well known.  If you want to read a gruesome murder/suicide story - check out Zack Bowen on the internet.

So did I have a nightmare? Well yes so to speak. My nightmare was that I ended up at the airport and after being there for about a half hour, I realized that I had forgotten to check out of the hotel (only because I didn't have my phone charger with me) and I had left everything else at the hotel. Nothing was packed although I'm a neat hotel person anyway. I had time to get back to the hotel, but what could I do? I asked someone if I could get the number of the hotel and I ended up getting an Maroon Five T-shirt with their phone number on it. Then I decided to go back to the hotel to get my stuff and a lady called a cab for me. It was an old decrepit thing with room in the front so I crawled in only to have the driver say - get in the back which meant crawling over what looked like car batteries in the space where one would put your feet. Then I arrived at the hotel and felt like I was having an asthma attack as I approached the elevators. Then I woke up!!!!

How silly is that?  Anyway, we still have one more day and will be making our way to the airport tomorrow. I think the phone charger was on my mind because I unplug it everyday and put it in my backpack. I had unplugged it before going to bed because my phone was charged and the charger cord dropped on the floor when I unplugged my phone in the dark. Amazing how our brains work.

So yesterday morning we had all the speeches and product introductions for the PFAFF side of the business. Some of it was repetition but that's OK - just another opportunity to solidify all that information in my head. Then we had another motivational speaker. At first I didn't think I was going to like this guy. He was a bit of a weird duck, but he thoroughly entertained us and then had some serious messages about attitude, customer service, NO complaining and stuff like that. I really enjoyed it and was glad that I stayed for that part. I know some of the others did not stay. Humor seems to be a big part of motivational speaking these days.

I had a class in the afternoon and I have to say that it was the first one that I was disappointed in. It was all based on software at the machine - learning the StitchCreator on the PFAFF side. It's a difficult class to teach and there were many in the room that didn't understand all the functions on the screen. I have to confess that I was one of those, but caught on quickly. The first half of the class where we were making (modifying existing stitches) was a lot of fun and I caught onto that pretty quickly. The second part was bringing in those stitches to create shapes to put on the screen so we could embroider them out. If you missed one of the numbers (and it was on a handout but only shown on the overhead screen) you were toast. There was one person besides the teacher to help. If we would have had the handout, we could have gone back and fixed the problem, but we didn't have the handout. It will be e-mailed to us.

I feel badly about walking out, but I wasn't the only one. Yes - I could have asked for help, but there were too many asking for help. I'm trying to think how the class could be handled differently so that wouldn't have happened. It could be done, but it was a tough class to teach and to follow. I'll do the exercise when I get home and then create the stitch-out when I can follow all the steps. I learned things in the class so it wasn't a total waste.

And then I went to my ghost tour! I went by myself which I'm OK with. Oh yes - I should mention that while I was in the restaurant, I was checking Facebook and Instagram and someone had mentioned that I should get my fortune told while I was here. I've never wanted to do that, but I thought - why not? There seems to be so much Voodoo and other weird things here. I asked the two young girls who were standing outside the restaurant (they belonged there as they were encouraging people to come into their restaurant). I asked them where I could get my fortune told. The one girl said - can I give you a recommendation? I said YES. She said - don't get your fortune told!  I laughed, said thank you and found the candy shop!

I'm becoming very friendly with the engineer guys from Sweden. Gave them two more suggestions based on my class - this time it was all about the software. Talked to a vendor about those cool sewing chairs with the storage in the seats and did you know that those chairs with the storage and the lumbar support are modeled after the old sewing stools/square benches that had a storage space in them? That is so cool.

Met more dealers in Canada yesterday - sitting with new people at lunch is a great way to learn stuff and to met some of the SVP people including Jamie. Everyone loves Jamie. He's a Scot who lives in Britain and helps design all those beautiful extension tables and other add on products that I love. Way to go Jamie! And he's a sewist/quilter so he knows his stuff. He has been for years. I also learned that they have people with textile degrees who are helping them design stuff by using the products. That's so exciting that we have people who use the products in a very heavy way that are helping to make the products better. I LIKE THAT and I have to say that it shows in the new products.

I'm thinking that if I had my wits about me, I could have bought a history book (ghost story book) about New Orleans when I visited the book stores earlier in the week. I could still pop out to one bookstore at lunch. All three of the stores are very close to the hotel and now I'm intrigued.

On that note, it's time to get ready for breakfast for which I am somewhat hungry, but I had better eat - I'm grumpy when I'm hungry.

Have a super day!!!