Sunday, October 31, 2021

Cherrywood Challenge exhibit

So if anyone tells you that things are not back to normal - they are lying! Where did all the people come from yesterday? Granted, it was a rainy Saturday afternoon, so people probably had nothing better to do. The shopping plaza parking lots were jammed. I had to zip out to get dog food. The store itself wasn't that busy, but then there were other stores in that plaza. 

I went to the Costco parking lot to find a geocache. NOT a parking space to be found! I parked in the plaza beside Costco and got the cache. Then on my way home, and because it was raining, I decided to stop at the grocery store. I haven't been to the grocery store in my car in a LONG time! Let's just say that I much prefer to walk. 

Anyway, the parking lot was pretty full, and I spotted a guy getting ready to leave his spot. He was facing outward so he could see me waiting. NO - he proceeds to sit there, so I thought maybe he had backed in and needed to straighten out his vehicle. The moment I drove past, he pulled out and drove away. Really??? So I backed up and then backed into the spot. 

And don't get me started on Tim's line as I stopped there on my way home. People just can't grasp the concept that there are TWO lanes in that driveway. God forbid that their cars are side by side - someone might pull ahead of them!

Plus, there just seemed to be tons of cars on the road. I know I don't drive much these days, but seriously?? If I could get away without driving, I'd be a happy camper! It seems that when (some) people get behind the wheel of a car, their superpowers control the entire road space. I don't know --- it just feels weird to be in the car for a day of errands with so many other people. 

I'm happy to report the magazine quilt is on the long arm! And it turned out way better than I imagined! I LOVE it! That needs to be done today, as well as a small customer quilt. This is my scrap box after the magazine quilt was put together. Yummy colors!!!!

Scraps from the magazine quilt

And it was made from a pre-cut. I normally don't work with pre-cuts, but this one worked super well! I used a pack of 10" squares. 

While piecing the quilt, the last of my five bobbins ran out, and I had to clean out the lint in the bobbin area. Yikes -- that's a LOT of lint. Changed the needle and wound five more. 

Lint from the bobbin area

I did try to find some geocaches yesterday, but it was wet and raining; the plazas were filled with people; it just wasn't a good day. So today, the weather is supposed to be warmer, and I've got a spot picked out that's in the country. 

Let's talk about Lady Diana. She was the theme for the 6th Cherrywood Challenge. There were three pinks and one white fabric in the bundle. I had visions of a very PINK exhibit. You can see the winning quilts at that link. 

The exhibit opened at Quilt Festival this weekend in Houston. I wasn't able to go, but I found someone who could take pictures for me. Thanks, Becky!!

Princess Di is waiting to greet everyone!

Princess Di cut-out

I believe there are 199 quilts in the entire exhibit. It's split into three different shows. The Diamond, the Pearl, and the Rose. 

Here are some shots of the entire show. 

The Cherrywood Challenge exhibit at Houston Quilt Festival

The Cherrywood Challenge exhibit at Houston Quilt Festival

The Cherrywood Challenge exhibit at Houston Quilt Festival

Karla, the owner of Cherrywood, put out a video on opening day, and you can see all the quilts. The video is just over 30 minutes long. Helen Anne also has a piece in the show (a labyrinth with roses in the corners), and you see it about the 27-minute mark. As she panned down the entire exhibit, I was waiting to see my quilt. Oh know -- she is getting to the end, and where is my quilt? OH -- it's tucked around the side of the exhibit with eight other pieces! Mine is very close to the end. 

AH -- there's my quilt! 

Here are the nine pieces on the side. Mine is the top one in the middle. OH boy -- here's a lesson in value! Can you see the two hearts? They are very faint! You'll see them better in the next photo. But I had to remake a bunch of the little pieces because I picked the wrong color. Let's just say that it's a challenge to work with a very limited palette. 

There's my challenge - the top middle!

Here is my piece! I am one of the few that did strictly piecing. Karla grouped them by style/technique, and that's why I, along with the other two in my column, are together. We only pieced - no applique or collage. Note the one below me, made a TON of paper pieced roses.

There's my storm at sea to represent Princess Diana

Karla mentioned in the video that there were some paper piecing techniques. I did NOT paper piece mine. That was strictly regular piecing. I used the Tri-Recs ruler to cut the Peaky and Spike unit. And thanks to the amazing abilities of my EPIC 2, those seams all match, and the points are nice. Let's not forget my twirling seams technique, so all those points and seams are flat as a pancake. Each little square is 1" finished. 

There's a lot of symbolism in the piece. Thirty-six start blocks - one for each year of her life. Yes -- she was only 36 when she died. Two hearts (not intertwined!) for the two boys. And I picked the Storm at Sea pattern to represent all the conflict in her life! So it wasn't just a bunch of random piecing!

Anyway -- I'm happy with the results, and now it's time to shift gears and think GRAFFITI which is the theme for the next challenge. There is nothing like a good challenge to get your creative juices flowing. I don't win - I have no intention of winning a ribbon or a prize - I leave that to the people who want to spend copious amounts of time thread painting, collaging, beading, or whatever technique they choose. My goal is to get in the show! I'll try to remember to chat about challenges a bit more tomorrow. 

I ordered the book yesterday for the show and can't wait to see a better picture of the quilts. It would be nice to see part of it in person - I must check the schedule to see where it will go. 

As I walked in the forest the other day, we had to take a quick detour to miss a puddle. I glanced down and spotted this. Wow -- that's pretty creepy looking, but it's only a tree root. 

A forest hand

I guess the message is - if you can't grow through - grow over!

Tree trunks in the forest

The topic of Halloween cards came up on the radio the other day. Who sends Halloween cards? Well, my Mom does. Every year for many years, she has sent me a Halloween card! And they are handmade!

Halloween card from my Mom

And I got a thank you card from the Project Linus coordinator for the recent drop-off of quilts. 

Thank you card from Project Linus

Speaking of which, I dug out my box of Christmas cards, and I'll be sending out cards again this year! Does anyone want a card? 

As you know, we have two crazy dogs, and they couldn't be more different from each other. This is Lexi - a lady of leisure who just loves to lay around and soak up the sun! 

Lexi just chilling in the backyard

This is Murphy, who loves to play ball, and when she can't find it, she immediately looks in the pond, thinking it fell in there. She's so nimble and would play ball all day if someone would throw it for her. I think she should ask Santa for one of those automatic ball throwers. 

Murphy playing around the pond

And this is her toybox. She goes through it about once a day and pulls everything out while searching for something to play with. 

And she doesn't like to play alone! 

Murphy's toy box


And then last night, when I was chatting on the phone, the two of them came into the living room where I was, and they proceeded to fight with each other as they lay on the floor. I guess by this time, both of them were exhausted! 

Fighting while on the floor

And then they lay together to have a nap. They rarely do this, so I had to get a picture. Thank goodness you can talk on the phone and use the camera at the same time. It does help to use headphones! Notice how the Princess is on the quilt, and Murphy is happy to be on the floor. It's cooler! Murphy also looks completely relaxed, while Lexi is on guard! 

Let sleeping dogs lie!

Here is the quilt of the day! I need to trim it later today. 

Customer quilt - DONE

Shortly before Christmas last year, there was a house fire not far from us. That house sat for a long time before they did anything with it. There's a HUGE piece of some kind of paper used in construction covering part of the roof. Then one day, a couple of months ago, a dumpster arrived, and they gutted the upper front of the house. Well, they may have done more - it's kind of hard to tell from the street. 

The upper eaves of the house, near the peak, were damaged by covered with smoke, so the fire was definitely in the roof. When I passed yesterday, they have removed the bricks from the upper front and are in the process of rebricking the front section. 

Finally - repairing the damaged house

One of the beams in the roof is sagging - likely when they ripped open the roof to get to the flames. I can't imagine that construction material is very water-tight. I can imagine the mold and mildew that's occurred. But it's getting close to a year that this property has sat empty. Not a good sign! Let's just say that I would NEVER want to own this home.

Anyway --- it's time to get the day started! Lots to do, machines waiting to be run, dogs want to walk! 

Have a super day!!!


Saturday, October 30, 2021


Well, that was a whirlwind day! And I was super productive! 

I got this bee in my bonnet about the "state" of Studio B, and since I had done such a great job at prepping the work tables, I was bothered by the state of some of the other areas. SO - this is what happened. And I will say that it didn't take all that long to make this happen. Why? Because there isn't as much stuff laying around as there used to be. 

Here's a view of where I sit when I do my Zoom calls. I miss having access to that design wall, but that's OK. I used to change the quilts for every presentation, but that's just silly. So now I change it up once a week. The quilts that I rotated were all over the place, and well, I wasn't happy. 

The Zoom backdrop

I had an EMPTY quilt rack upstairs in one of the bedrooms, so it got moved down to Studio B, and now the quilts that will get rotated are on the rack! The right side is folded in, so that's why it looks a bit boring! But DUH! What a simple solution to a problem and I didn't have to buy a single thing! 

The quilts are now on a rack

I had emptied two big tubs of decorations, and they were sitting where the quilt rack is now, and I needed to do something with them. 

Hmmm - let's look at the storage room where all the community project stuff is. While the quilt tops are neatly stacked, perhaps those tubs can be brought into service here. 

Quilt tops to be quilted for community projects

As I filled the two tubs, I counted. There are 31 quilt tops in EACH of the two tubs for a total of 62 quilt tops. All the quilt tops have binding, but many are missing the backing, so you know what will happen once I start attacking these quilt tops. My stash of backings is going to deplete very quickly, and I'm OK with that. 

Tubs filled with quilt tops for community projects

Besides what's in the tubs, there are still boxes and baskets filled with quilt tops. 99.1% of what's here was made by Diane, so she's been super busy!!! I would guess that there are another 60 quilt tops in this picture, and we've given some away - small ones. And there are three more at the long arm waiting to be quilted. Never mind the two tubs sitting by the long arm that belong to community projects as well. Those tops were pieced by me many years ago. Oh yes -- there are a LOT of quilt tops to be quilted in this house! What I need is an even more automated quilt machine than what I have. I need a flatbed long arm with an endless bobbin! They do exist -- they have them in factories in Asia where they do quilts and mattress tops, etc. Check out that link to see a video of one in action. Very cool!

More quilt tops to be quilted

Then I tackled the table that sits in front of my filming desk. Sewing machine feet, books, and a bunch of other stuff. I whisked that all away and put it back where it belonged. If I need it, I know where it is. 

A messy table

I filled a laundry basket with all the materials I had set aside for making samples, and now it resides all in one space. I must get busy and EMPTY that basket. But that entails a lot of work! But ALL is together. 

The table looks much better now

While I was in the storage room, I remembered there was a box of pillowcases. My goal was to get the total to 100, but that isn't going to happen this year. So I've contacted Claudia from Comfy Cases, and she is going to pick them up. If you want to quickly get rid of lots of fabric, don't forget to make pillowcases for the hospitals. Check the website for all the instructions and details. The program has expanded and they cover quite a few of the local hospitals. Check out the link. I'm donating 60 pillowcases. The bands are cut for a few more, but I'll deal with those next year. 

Pillowcases for donation

And all the while I'm moving things around, I'm grabbing my Swifters and the vacuum to keep the place neat and tidy. You would be amazed at the amount of dust that collects, and I can't imagine having carpet on the floor. That would be pretty dusty! So the Swifters come in very handy, and all the dirt not picked up by the Swifter gets sucked up by my cordless vac! 

Cleaning tools

And now this area looks a whole lot neater! The quilts are off the wall and on the rack. I'll put new ones up Monday morning.

The filming area

There is only one bucket of projects left sitting on the floor. This is all my Kimberbell stuff, which I hope to get to soon. 

Container of Kimberbell projects

I've moved it to the back of the current project table. This is where all my ongoing class materials hide. I need to get a couple of borders on and then clean this area up! A lot of that just needs to be put away, and then I might have room for the Kimberbell stuff on the shelf under the table.  

Supplies for the ongoing projects

In the meantime, these partially finished quilt tops are hiding the mess on the current projects table! I may tackle that darn table one day and put more of that stuff away. I do have a closet in Studio B that, with a good rearranging, would probably have lots more room to house some of that stuff! Visual distraction is just that - a visual distraction! 

Quilt tops hiding the current projects table

Here are my three rolling drawers that house sewing machine accessories (sorted by brand) and samples and tools needed for various classes or sample making! 

Three cabinets for supplies and small samples

As I worked, stuff got left at the bottom of the stairs. Don't worry -- it all got moved to the appropriate spot by the end of the day. No danger of tripping!

Stuff that got moved upstairs 

I even cleared off the table that is supposed to be used for papercrafts, but at this point, I don't seem to be getting there. It doesn't matter - the table is clear. I might have to use this for my puzzle table in December. 

The papercraft table is clear

The living room has become a staging area. This is where I'm sorting the last two tubs of Christmas decorations. Boxes are at the ready to hold what we don't want. There is a lot of stuff on Lexi's kennel that needs to go. 

The staging area for sorting

And all of this is waiting to be picked up or dropped off! One day, we'll have our living room back, but the more I clean and tidy, the more I want to get rid of stuff. Honestly, I'm looking at everything these days! If only I had more time!  The best part is that it gets so much easier the more you do. You're in the mindset, there is less to deal with and more room to work! 

Stuff ready for pick-up or drop-off

And I've finally been able to LET GO. I don't want to throw anything in the garbage that I don't have to, but I used to worry -- how will the next person use it? Well, if I donate something and they decide it's garbage, I'm OK with that. It's time to move on, and I REFUSE to buy anything that I don't need. And I'm very mindful of what I pick up for free! I used to covet FREE things or giveaways or prizes - not any longer! 

I placed an order for some replacement parts on the long arm. I've been missing a nut on one of the clamps for years. It still worked, but every once in a while, that clamp would go flying. So as I was placing the order, I was going to buy a new clamp. Then I thought about it - my Dad would be positively ashamed of me for buying a new clamp because a nut was missing. I looked in my pin tray, and there was the nut AND the washer. So I fixed it. Now, how stupid is that? 

The clamp is now fixed

And with all that shuffling around, which didn't take too long, I did get some more paperwork accomplished. The next customer quilt got quilted. 

Customer quilt - DONE

Here's the back of the quilt. It's trimmed. 

The back of the customer quilt

I also worked on the magazine quilt and made pretty good progress, but I was tired by 6 PM last night! 

And once the magazine quilt is done -- look what arrived yesterday. The fabric for the next project! Yep -- it's a merry-go-round for sure.  

Fabric for the next project

Well, that's it for today. There will be NO organizing today. I have another quilt ready to go on the long arm, the top for the magazine quilt needs to be finished today, and those sergers and embroidery machine are patiently waiting! Plus a wee bit more paperwork! 

OH -- I have a homework assignment for you. If you have something around the house that needs a small bit of work --  like finding the nut for that clamp. Get busy and FIX IT. It could be big, but I bet that we all have a ton of those small niggly things to fix. And in my case, I didn't have to buy anything -- I literally found the nut and put it on. Now, how many years did I suffer without that - all for the sake of what??? 

Have a super day!!!


Friday, October 29, 2021

Ready Set GO!

 It's going to be a GREAT day! Why? Well, I'm super ready for anything that comes along today, but more importantly, yesterday was a SUPER day, and that makes me very happy!

My calendar is almost completely up-to-date, with events firmly booked or rescheduled as needed. Personal days are booked off between January and June. The appropriate people have been contacted, contracts signed (OK -- so there are still two that need to be signed - today!), Zoom links created and sent. Yep -- it's a lot of administration, and thankfully, I'm a somewhat organized person. 

I was, and then I wasn't, and it's taken me a long time to get back into the groove of being super-organized, but it sure makes a difference in how you perceive the day! It makes me realize that I can't add a whole lot to my schedule, and even as we move forward with the classes for 2022, I'm going to be realistic in what I put forth! 

And dare I say that except for a half-hour massage today, I have NOTHING on the calendar for THREE entire days. How did that happen? I'm beyond excited!! I'm practically giddy! WAIT -- I won't be lounging around and eating bonbons - I have a TON of work to do, but I don't have to stop to do a presentation or whatever. It's MY time. 

Speaking of being prepped - here's something essential for the sewists in us. If you free your time, prep your project and your space - anything is possible. 

This is what happened in Studio B this morning. 

A customer quilt got loaded and ready to be quilted later today. 

Customer quilt loaded 

I prepped the work area and all the machines for the projects I need to work on this weekend. Not that there was loads of junk on the tables, but all odds and ends are nicely corraled in baskets and sitting beside the appropriate sewing or embroidery machine or a serger! I mean - doesn't that look inviting when there is NO excess stuff sitting on the tables. I even dusted!

Four machines are ready to go! 

I have many machine embroidery projects to work on, and I didn't share the photo of the tub of stuff to be embroidered. You'll get to see those projects when the QUILTsocial posts get posted in November. Some very cool stuff I'll be working on this month. I can't wait to get started! 

The Husqvarna Viking Designer Ruby 90 is ready to go!

Then there are TWO sergers to play around with, and I have a LOT of samples to be made. I'm starting up a series of serger Zoom sessions (the same thing that I've been doing with the sewing and embroidery machines and the mySewnet embroidery software), so that is exciting, and I must say that the new serger is pretty exciting! But so is the smaller one on the left. I'm doing the serger presentations on the Husqvarna Viking sergers, while my colleague does those for PFAFF. I'd prefer not to mention the store names (to be fair to everyone), but if you're interested, you can always e-mail me to ask which store is running the series. 

Two Husqvarna Viking sergers ready to go!

And then there's the pile of sewing that is prepped and ready to go! 

Prepped sewing projects

The ironing board is clear and ready to go! 

The ironing board is clear!

Look at that cutting table! I told you I was busy puttering around. There's a small basket of stuff at the end which I need to take care of over the next couple of days. Technically, it could be moved to the current project table, and I could call the table clear. Now seriously -- if you had to put a border on a quilt or cut some fabric - wouldn't you be excited to walk in the room and see this? Oh yes!!!!

The cutting table is clear!

And then, on another table in the corner, I have my OLD Husqvarna Viking Designer 1 set up as I want to get something from the embroidery part of it. I had borrowed the embroidery module, which is like a toy compared to the new machines. I really need to get that done! Why? This is my puzzle table, and well, once December hits, I hope to dig out a jigsaw puzzle or two and work on them! 

Husqvarna Vikin Designer 1

Yes -- I know I'm lucky that I have the space to do this. However, I'd like to remind you that it's not just luck! It took a LOT of energy and thought process, and puttering to get Studio B to this state. I must see if I can find the pictures, but at one point, believe it or not, there were paths through all the fabrics, bags, projects, and books that were strewn all over the floor. It literally was a maze to get to any of the main stations, and god forbid that you actually wanted to work in there! 

With the "new" arrangements in the office, even the kitchen table and counters are completely free of my stuff! WOW!!!!

Keeping it like this is a constant struggle. During the week, the machines need to be moved depending on if they are in the presentations, and it's just a big merry-go-round! I've come a long way, and I'm thrilled and very proud of myself for making it all happen. 

I had to laugh as I prepped for my two presentations yesterday. Both were in French - one for PFAFF and one for Husqvarna Viking. The topics were different. So not only do I work in dual brands but dual languages and 4 different series of four or six weekly sessions. Yep -- my head could explode if I didn't go for my daily walk to let my mind wander!!!  It's a lot of fun, but the days are LONG! And you never really ever finish making samples!

I've got paperwork to finish off this morning - I'm in pretty good control of that at the moment, so that's a good feeling, but some supplies need to be ordered, invoices to be made, and those contracts need to be signed! 

Oh, I should mention that I moved the magazine quilt out of the way when I took those photos, so you didn't see it. Like everything else - even though it's half together, it's nicely organized on a mini design board, so it was super easy to move! OH -- and did you notice that the scrap box was empty? Yep -- I'm on a roll, and NOTHING will stop me! 

So you know what happens when I prep for a presentation in French - I have to switch my laptop to French. Well, just the software -- that means uninstalling the English version and reinstalling the French version. Switch the phone to French, switch the sewing machine to French, then check that EVERYTHING related to mySewnet connects to each other. This is HIGH-TECH stuff we're dealing with, and all the machines, phones, and software connect to each other. It all needs to be tested before. Check the cameras, change the websites to French and then refresh my memory on a couple of tricky words, although I'm able to pull some of them out of my hat now rather than my cheat sheet! Let's not forget that the earbuds need to be charged and connected! I have two sets of headphones that I use for technology, and I have to connect the right one. 

And do NOT forget to open the presentation, which sits on my cloud server, so I can easily access it from both computers in the house! I've done that a couple of times lately -- I get so busy chatting that I forget to open the presentation, and I had a moment last night when I thought it wasn't going to open, but it did while I adlibbed! 

The best part is that I REFUSE to let technology get me down. I hate it sometimes, but I also love it and embrace it. I am definitely my father's daughter in that respect. My Mom won't even look at the screen of a tablet to read something that we put before her! My Dad? He can't get enough of messing with technology!

I also got two small quilts done on the long arm. And sometimes, those small ones are more trouble than the big ones! But they are done, trimmed, and ready to be picked up this morning. 

Customer quilt - DONE

Customer quilt - DONE

OK -- those error messages? They were the fault of the operator! Seriously??? Oh well -- now I know!

Well, I've blabbed on enough about my crazy life,  and it's time to get the girls outside where it's very DARK but gets light as soon as the sun comes up, which will be soon. 

Have a super day!!!!