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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Someone is having a birthday!!

I'm super excited as I write this - you wouldn't believe where I am!   I'm sitting in the retreat center at Missouri Star Quilting Company!  Yes - I'm looking out the front window across the main street and at 5:30 AM  (their time) there's a lot of traffic on this street.  Where are all these people going at this time of the day?  This is a small town, but I guess there is lots of stuff happening so people need to get it organized????

Across the street from me is the gorgeous new mural and the huge storefronts where eight of their shops are located. I think there are 13 in total?

Missouri Star Quilt Company is celebrating their 9th birthday and holding a HUGE (3 day) party to celebrate. Northcott is one of the companies sponsoring the event and we're here to play games and have fun!

Let me get back to our day yesterday. We were up a decent time - we all slept like logs!  No snoring in the room - I think our bodies were too tired to even consider that possibility. We had breakfast at Denny's and then on the road again.  We still had a significant drive and we had a time frame to deal with as the dinner was at 6 PM.  I think all of us found the drive a bit tedious - I'm not sure how people can drive for days on end.  I think the fact that we had a deadline was the big factor. We were not able to stop along the way.

However, we did make one stop in Hannibal, Missouri.  This is the home of Mark Twain and not one, but TWO amazing quilt shops. When I came through here in May, I was with non-quilters and I was driving so we didn't know.  But honestly - if ever you come this way, the shops are amazing.  Bits and Pieces and Hickory Stick Quilt Shop. Yes - we had to make a few purchases and we got license plates for Row by Row at each one of them.

It was my turn to drive and two and a half hours to Hamilton, Missouri. We made it in good time - I just set that cruise control to - well I won't say what and we made good time.  We arrived shortly after Patti did and we got ourselves organized. I unloaded all of our supplies and put with the rest of the stuff that was waiting for us.

We got our rooms at the retreat house.  This is so perfect - instead of staying at a hotel which there aren't any nearby - well about a 20-minute drive, here we are right in the middle of everything.  I think there are 10 vendors who have booths and I think most of us are here, but not all.  Imagine sleeping under the same roof as all the competitors.  Should something happen, all the marketing departments of the major fabric companies - well we won't go there!

Then it was off to the dinner at the local church. The guests of honor, of course, were the Doan family.  Jenny and her husband Ron and various children and in-laws.   The MC was BJ who does all the consumer shows and is an amazing host. He had us in stitches.  There was a HUGE contingent from Canada - all from the Arnprior area where Jenny had done a trunk show earlier this year. They also made and donated 150 pillowcases for some of the Hurricane Harvey people who had lost everything.

This is the third year they've done a celebration. Two years ago, there were 40 people at the dinner. Last year, there were 40 people at the dinner. This year, the event sold out with 200 people in attendance.  Unbelievable and for many, this was their first time to Hamilton! It truly is a place you have to come at least once!

Dinner was great and we were sitting with Rob Appell - yes - Man Sewing himself. He really is a hyper guy but a very nice person who has been involved in the quilting business for a very long time. His mother owned a quilt shop!  And we sat beside the FreeSpirit team!

After dinner, they played a game - Family Feud - The Doan Girls against The Doan Boys.  As Jenny mentioned, NOTHING leaves that room.  Let's just say that it was a hoot.  BJ was amazing as the MC and he could get a job in Hollywood - he could replace whoever the host is on Family Feud - I think it's still going on!  I couldn't find my camera before I left - just way too much going on, but I'm taking pictures with my phone.

I believe that this morning, there is a company picture being taken right at that mural across the street.  I heard some unbelievable number of 455 employees???   I'll get pictures because we should be setting up our booth about that same time.

When we got back from dinner, there were a few girls cutting in the retreat sewing room.  I volunteered to help. I wasn't doing anything else and too early for bed.  Turns out they are part of the Kansas City Modern Quilting Guild and they are the ones organizing the Charity Bake Off.  Their goal is to make 32 quilts over the next three days.  COMPLETED!!!!  I helped them cut for about a half hour and then I was done!  I needed some sleep.

Well - it's now 6 AM here and this place is starting to hop.  People are getting up and well I'm sure it isn't going to be quiet too much longer.

We didn't get to the grocery store before it closed last night to pick up supplies so we may have to wait a teeny bit for breakfast.  There's an opportunity for someone to start up a breakfast place - I think this retreat place gets a lot of business!  Anyone want to build a small hotel here?  Personally, I'm glad we're here in the retreat center!

What can I say - I love my job!  HOwever, before you get all jealous - remember it is sweltering hot!  Our tents (booths) are OUTSIDE - so we have to set up in the humidity and we have to tear down in the humidity and we have to stay outside in the humidity all day.  Yes - we can pop into the air-conditioned retreat center to cool off, but it's going to be warm and hopefully no rain!

All I can say is that MSQC is a machine. There is no other way to put it.  A lot of thought has gone into making this company what it is - a LOT!  Oh - by the way, we did get the Row by Row license plate yesterday. That was our priority when we got out of the car. GET that plate before they are all gone!

Apparently, there are thousands of people expected over the next couple of days. Tons of games, tons of prizes to be won. And let's not forget that there are tons of fabric to be bought!

On that note, I'm out of here to get the day started!

Have a super day!!!!    Let the games begin!


PS - now let's check out this daily deal. Nothing more exciting than buying the daily deal in person!   Just checked - the daily deal is Northcott!!!   I guess I won't be buying that one!!!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Road Trip!

I think I said this yesterday and I'll say it again - the day before you leave on a trip or the day you leave - business or pleasure is always stupid! Yesterday was no exception.

I had to get some last minute things done at work so I was in super early to try and get them all done before I was scheduled to leave at 12.  Cut fabric, cut more fabric.  E-mails.  Oh - one more little item that we need for the trip.  And finally, I flew out of the office.  Just as I'm leaving, I get a call from Ronda who was in the car.  OH - you are NOT on your way to my house because I'm not ready.  I still had two errands.  I got to my house when I said I would and everything was done except to pack!

Yep - packing is the least priority thing for me.  I threw stuff in the suitcase (later I realized that I had forgotten my toothbrush but that is an easy thing to fix!). Then more e-mails to answer and well, we had to make a slight detour back to Ronda's house.

On the way, we witnessed an accident - a stupid accident and we were almost caught in the middle of it. A small car was flying from a merge lane trying to beat the traffic from the light that had just turned green.  Of course, they didn't make it and the car in front of us got nailed. He swerved to the left to avoid the oncoming idiot and the car beside him swerved and hit the concrete barrier so I think that two cars got hit on both sides.  For a second we thought the idiot wasn't going to stop but they did, but it didn't look like they were going to.  Here's where things get sketchy.  I thought it was two girls in the car, Ronda thought the driver was a guy with long hair - I don't think so.  We probably wouldn't be good witnesses so we drove on!!!

We were picking up Laura from downtown.  It was her last day at her current job and she was having a really really bad day as she left her bag of technology toys on the GO train!!  A good Samaritan turned them in but it took time for all that to happen. Then we were downtown later than expected and we got stuck in traffic.

Without going into a lot of details, we were much later getting out of the city than planned. Much!  And the traffic on the 403 - there was a big accident but thanks to WAZE - we were able to avoid it, but then so did a bunch of others.

We stopped somewhere for a bite to eat - you can't survive on candy for the entire day! And then it was my turn to drive as we were getting somewhat close to the border and Ronda wanted me to be the driver as we went over the border.  That way I couldn't complain about how she answered the questions.

We drove over the bridge at Port Huron which is the same bridge that I road my bike under several weeks back in Sarnia!  A big scary bridge but it was dark so I couldn't' see!

The border crossing guy was pretty grumpy. But I answered those yes and no questions - he wasn't getting ANY extra information from me. And in a few minutes, we were on our way!!!

Between us - we have enough technology to stock a small store. New phones, old phones, GPS, iPads, etc.  So we knew where we were going and how long it was going to take!

I drove until about 12:30  and then that was it for me.  I couldn't drive any further.  It was Laura's turn to finish the day. She got the worst shift as it was night, it was dark and the roads were filled with construction at that point.  Not fun!  But we made it to Joliette, Indiana - well close to Joliette.  So we've another 6 hours or so to get to Hamilton, Missouri. Yes - we've got a date with Jenny Doan tonight for dinner!!!

We stayed in a motel along the way (well that's where we are now!) and guess who got the cot in the middle?  Yep - that would be me!  And I plugged my phone in to find it dead this morning because when we turned the lights out - the power went out to that outlet!!!

And let's just say that what happened in the blue van stays in the blue van.  A lot of laughs - a LOT!

Crap - well Laura has left the room. Ronda will be ready in a few minutes and I had better close this off.

Have a super day!!!!  


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Don't panic!

If you are observant, you'll notice that the top of the blog page is different. That's what happens when you hire a consultant (your daughter) to take a look and see what can be changed and then things change immediately!  It's all good as I've been meaning to move those tutorials to a separate page but that just didn't happen.  If you still want to look at the tutorials, they are in a tab marked tutorials at the top of the page. They haven't disappeared. I do need to go through them, update them, delete a couple that are no longer relevant and make new ones!

Ah - to have a 30 hour day!

It was a crazy day at work. Well, part of that day was spent with the Monday group as we madly sewed up a storm for this crazy project.  They were good!  Over half of the sewing got done or was taken home for sewing and there was only a handful of them there.

Then off to work for a crazy day of cutting fabric. Rolls of fabric were flying right and left - OK - not exactly but I got a lot done. But I've got a lot more to do today and I leave - I have to be in the car by 1 PM.

Did I get my quilt top done last night and my quilt done on the long arm?  NOPE - neither got done. By the time I got home, there was only time to get this table runner quilted that I need for this week. I had so much fun quilting it and it looks amazing. You only get to see the back until later this week.

Table runner quilted
 The runner is quilted, trimmed and I sewed the binding on this morning. I'm going to hand stitch it to the back in the car - we have a LONG drive ahead of us!

I thought I would share with you my newest Row by Row license plate.  Yes - it's so neat!!!   Thanks Cathy for picking that up!  I love it and I got it at our Modern Quilt Guild meeting which was very appropriate.

Here is one piece of advice about machine quilting and I'm going to say that it's the MOST IMPORTANT advice that anyone can give you. Whether you're experienced or just learning or somewhere inbetween. You MUST (absolutely MUST) stop criticizing yourself. If the lines aren't straight - who cares?  Make them straighter next time or just forget about perfectly straight lines.  What are we? Engineers??  We shouldn't care about that. What if the squiggles are a wee bit wonky?  Who cares?  Get over this - quilting is a hobby and we should be having fun.  If we're not, then we should think about a different hobby.

I will show you the quilting on my table runner later this week.  It's not perfect, but it looks perfect enough. Well, at least it looks pretty cool.  That's all we aim for.  And having fun and learning what will work for the next time.

Speaking of which - I INSIST that you check out QUILTsocial this morning.  Seriously - there is more good advice regarding quilting.

On that note, I'm out of here.  I can't wait for 1 PM - that means that I will have packed, bought rope, got money and a whole lot more!

I'm not sure how available the internet will be where we're going so I may only be posting on Facebook.

Have a super day!!!


Monday, September 18, 2017

Motivational Monday and stuff is happening!

Before I get into the whole focused thing of sewing, here's a website that I found with the CUTEST buttons and charms EVER!!!!   Check it out  -  I'm seeing some super cute ones and some cute ribbon and charms and - oh god!  But it's good to have that kind of embellishment around so when you need something - you've got it.

Matter of fact, I was looking for some small pink buttons the other day. Dug out my button box and there were four beautiful pink buttons in a size that worked for me.  The buttons are for a small wall hanging that is almost done - just needs two borders to be sewn on and then to be quilted.

Oh, let's not forget that it's my week to blog for QUILTsocial as well.  You must check out this week - some super exciting stuff about free motion quilting.  You will learn a LOT by following along this week.

OK - NOW if you're still with me, here's what happened this week.  Actually mostly this past weekend.

And there are few pictures this morning as most of it - well I'll post the pictures when the items get done or I'm allowed to show you.

The great big quilt on the long arm?  There are two rows left to quilt and that will be done!  That will happen this evening after work.

One of the two quilt tops that had to be sewn is almost together.  Why didn't it get completed?  Because I forgot to bring home ONE piece of fabric that I needed for it.  But it looks awesome - I'm very happy with the results and it should take about one hour to finish.  The binding is made, the borders are cut and the pieces joined. I was even able to sew one piece of the border on the quilt.  Hopefully, that can get completed tonight as well.

The second quilt top is in the works. I've got some of the pieces laid out on the design wall (there's a rotation to the pieces that had to be worked out. And the first section of 14 pieces is sewn together.  That shouldn't take long to finish either, but not sure I'll have time to do that tonight. No worries - next Sunday when I get back home!

I made a couple of blocks for the homework that Joyce will be teaching for me this coming week.  So YES - if you are in the Kaleidoscope class or the Garden Patch quilt, the class is a GO.  Joyce has all the notes and the blocks (well those that are done!) and so you must go to the class unless you happen to be with me on the road trip (which is the case for two of the students!)  I made notes for Joyce and I know she will keep the class entertained!  Make sure you go as she will be taking attendance!

I got the first step of the pieced section done in this massive project that I'm getting people to help me with. We're off to sew on that this morning!  The strips are cut and ready to sew.  Once they're sewn together, they need to be sub-cut and then sewn back together again!

And while I was madly sewing, I was also working on those blocks for my UFO.  Guess what?  I finished that step!   One more row to add!!!!

Blocks are almost done!

I finished the last couple this morning!

As I was writing all that I thought - what else have I done??  There was something else?  Oh yes - I taught a class yesterday and I had to finish sewing the strips sets in the morning!  All the strips sets are done (OK - there are three left in order to make the border!  Oh and a teeny one that I ran out of fabric for.  Good thing I reminded myself that I need to get more of that!   That would be the PRISM squared class.  The quilts are going to look amazing!!!!!   Somewhere I have pictures of the pattern but can't find it this morning.  Here's a link.  

I'm madly crossing things off in The Task Master list. Oh and all of our members of the modern guild are officially in the database!  I have a few more bits of paperwork that need to be done. Because my "hobby", my part-time job and my day job all revolve around the same thing, it's very hard to separate what I do!  So I just work at it all all the time (or so it seems).  I'm pretty good at most aspects, but my weakness is paperwork. No doubt!

I'm reading a non-fiction book at the moment - super interesting about addictions!  And it relates to addictions and technology!  Just wait for it - there are some interesting facts which I'll be sharing with you.  The book is called Irresistible by Adam Alter.

On that note, I'm out of here.  Two crazy days - whoever says they love to travel is out of their mind!  It just means I work like mad to prep stuff before I go away and then work like a dog to play catchup when I get back!  But the days of fun in between?  OK - so it's worth it!

Have a super day!!!!!


Sunday, September 17, 2017

I could have been poisoned!

We had a super meeting yesterday morning.  It was the first official meeting of the West End Modern Quilt Guild.  And we are now an official member of the Modern Quilt Guild.  We're almost at the capacity of the tier for which we signed up. We do have a few spots left from what our initial goal was but not everyone was at this meeting although we did people sign up even if they weren't there. And that's on the first meeting!  I'm super excited about the response and can't wait to get to know these ladies better although I do know a fair number of them already.

Then I was home to get down to work!  I scanned the meager contents of our fridge and found something for lunch. If ever there is a major event and we can't get to the stores, we'll die from lack of food. And if there is ever a major event where we lose electricity, we won't lose any food!  The pros and cons of a nearly empty fridge. But we could drink because who would want to waste all that beer and wine!

After lunch, I felt like I needed a little something sweet. I went to my chocolate stash and pulled the LAST item from the stash. I've decided to NOT buy more - I'll probably die from lack of chocolate and if there is a power outage, there are no reserves anymore!  Anyway, I pulled out the last item and laid it on my cutting table. Then I had a really good look at it.  Oh, my!  This is a critical situation.

Ah - check out the expiry date

Yes, indeed. Check out that expiry date.  Sept 15, 2017. And what was yesterday's date?  Sept 15, 2017. Good thing I discovered that because well I could have been poisoned eating chocolate past its expiration date!!!  Phew!

As I was merrily sewing, I was using one of my UFO projects as my ender and leader. I grabbed one of the blocks and OH! This doesn't seem quite right.

Does this look right to you?
 Indeed when I look at the good one (on the right) and the one on the left, there's a mistake.

 So I ripped off the last section I had sewn on. But when I went to sew it back on, I realized that I had made another mistake on the block so had to rip off the light section as well. Then it was ready to sew back together.  I hope there aren't other mistakes in the other blocks.

I'm getting down to nearly nothing left of this light fabric. I still have a few blocks to go (forgot to take a picture), but I should be OK. But just!  How's that for calculating fabric by the seat of your pants!

Hopefully enough fabric to finish!

I'm not even sure how many blocks I'm making, but the end quilt will be a lap size - or should be.  I have one more strip to sew on after I'm done adding the one that I'm currently sewing on which is a strip of the light which you didn't see. And that last strip has those silly little corner things that have to be cut, marked and sewn on BEFORE that strip can be sewn to the blocks. I'm not out of the woods on getting this done, but I'm getting closer!!!

I'll give you a total recap of what else got done yesterday when I do my Motivational Monday report.  Let's just say that if you're focused - a lot can happen!

We did go out to dinner last night. DH had been away the entire week and previous weekend and I talked his ear off - poor guy! I had no one else to talk to in the evening all week and there was a lot stored up waiting to be said! I wasn't quite like the couple I saw on vacation - it wasn't 100/0, but well maybe 80/20  - OH GOD!

As I was madly working yesterday, I had to clear off the ironing board. So yes it's clear.

Ironing board - clear
 And where did everything go???   I did a CLEAN SWEEP - yes right onto the floor. This is stuff that needs to be dealt with in the near future, but I had more pressing things to take care of yesterday!!

Clean sweep - right onto the floor
 And yes - I did find another block that needed to be fixed! This one still has to be ripped out. No time for that yesterday!

One more block to fix
 And that chocolate?  Oh yes - it was good!  And it's all gone and right on time!

Yum yum!

So no more chocolate - I can deal with that!  I can!  I will!

And on that note, I have a couple of very anxious girls who are begging to go to the park!  We're off!

Have a super day!!!!


Saturday, September 16, 2017

Cutting marathon

I know - you all think that I'm totally crazy.  Out of my mind and well just a looney tune!  Why?  Because there are three quilts that have to be somewhere by Oct 1 and none of them are made. And the date today?  Well, it's September the 15th.  No big deal.  Let's not mention the fact that I'll be away for most of this coming week!  OK - if you didn't think I was crazy before - that fact alone should have tipped the scales!

However - it's not as bad as you think!  I got one quilt completely cut out last night including the borders and binding.  AND the basic components of the quilt are sewn together. Now those components have to be sewn together which I don't think will take too long. Magazines (for the most part) want quilts that look good and are EASY to make. So - this shouldn't be too big of a deal to do this hat trick!

My scrap basket

Doesn't that look so pretty!

The fabrics for the next quilt are on the cutting table and it's a smaller than normal quilt for me. It's super simple so I hope to have that one cut out today. And I have to prepare for my class tomorrow which requires a bit more sewing.

The third quilt - well, I don't have the fabric yet.   Don't even go there!  It's not my fault!

I know most of you can't understand why or how I get myself into these messes or how I continue to put up with the pressure of the deadlines.  I just love to sew!  I'll make anything - well most anything. I did say NO when I was asked to contribute a quilted vest at work.  No clothes! Sorry!   (It was a joke by the way!)

The good news is that NONE of the three quilts require half square triangles, no trimming, no squaring - just cutting and sewing.  One quilt has borders - two pieces - one on either side of the quilt, the second quilt has only one border on all four sides and the last one - I can't even remember what it looks like!  All require simple quilting so we should be good.

Never mind that there is a large customer quilt on the long arm that has to be done first.  A small table runner that has to be quilted and bound by Tuesday morning (it's made) and a meeting this morning for our NEW Modern Quilt Guild - more on that tomorrow and then that class tomorrow and the prep for the class that will take place when I'm not here and someone else has to teach it for me.  OH - I think it's going to be a busy weekend with a LOT of cutting and sewing - but it's fun sewing!

I think that dear sweet Lexi has been at the computer and now has two posts that I didn't link to.  You better check them out as she thinks she getting the short end of attention around here. Poor thing!

On that note, I'm off for my presentation this morning at the modern guild!

Have a super day!!!!


Friday, September 15, 2017

Tidy up time!

I had every intention of posting a blog yesterday and then the day was gone and nothing!  ACK - I had better get my act together!

It was a super day yesterday with the FIRST meeting of the year for the Grand River Modern Quilt Guild. I was the coordinator for the evening program and we chatted about Modern Traditionalism. A very exciting topic and I came home super excited about the prospects. Needless to say, I didn't get to sleep for a while as I processed some of the information from the meeting!  I've got a few more projects that I'd like to add to my list! As if I need to do that!

The show and tell was so much fun and a huge part of every meeting! The group is very prolific and talented!!  

Let's pop back to that corner where the "to be quilted" piles reside. I had made good progress, but then got busy and couldn't get back to it.  I managed to get through a couple more tubs this morning. I think I mentioned this before, but when I did the massive clean up and resorting a while back, I also sorted the quilts into categories.  Some tubs have quilts that I want to keep, some tubs have quilts that I will use for trunk shows, some are good for gifts, etc. 

There is a definite method to my madness and my new system (when I put everything back where it belongs) works like a charm. 

So this is what that space looks like this morning. 

To be quilted section
There are sixteen tubs in total and all are sorted and repacked but the last three.  It would appear that number 14 is one that I use a lot - almost everything was out of that tub!

A wider view of the space
And here are the quilts from tub 14.

Tub 14

I have a funny feeling that there are a few quilts that have been added to the "to be quilted" pile since I did the original sort. I've been good about getting my quilts completely done, but if there isn't a deadline, then chances are - the top gets finished but it doesn't get quilted.  I'm going to have to figure out how to make that happen!  I may have to buy another tub!  I don't want to, but I have to keep that area organized. Perhaps I could see my way to quilting a few?  Not going to happen as I have THREE quilts that need to be made and quilted for October 1.  NONE of them are started! Thankfully none are complicated, but I don't even have the fabric for one of them!  Let's not panic here!

I'm pretty excited that this area is almost completely tidied up!  One small corner of my studio space. I may tackle all the "scraps" that were given to me and that reside under the long arm as my next project, but NO - I have another area that desperately needs to be organized. I don't think I'll get to that this weekend, as there's a TON of stuff to be sewn and cut this weekend and I have a meeting and a class.

What I'm going to do in the future to keep this area clean and to avoid having to go through all the tubs again, is when I remove a quilt (s) from a tub, I'm putting a sticky note in my master list book. Then I know which tub was opened, which quilt was removed, and it's easy to put the quilt back.  This isn't really necessary when I only open one tub, but when I do multiple tubs at the same time, it gets complicated.  I should also prioritize those quilts that get pulled the most for trunk shows and get them done!

Came home from work yesterday and there was my shiny clean house!  I so love treating myself to the cleaning lady.  She's the best!

I thought I would share my clean fridge that she did the week before!  Now how is that!

The fridge!!!
Yes - I agree, there isn't a lot of food in there. This is what our fridge looks like on a normal day. DH thinks we live in Europe and should go to the grocery store every day!  I did notice that there seems to be more alcohol in there than food!   And I'm sure there is more stuff in that door that can be tossed, and I'll whittle it down as I see we don't use the items.  Nothing is past the expiry date!  Yep - I think I could get by with a small fridge - I can't imagine having a double wide sub-zero.  What would I put in there?

Next week when she comes, I have another job for her.  Yes - this is FORCING me to clean up, throw away, recycle or whatever and I'm LOVING that!!!  It was also big garbage day in our neighborhood this past week and I had stuff to the curb. Not everything (I realized that night when I got home), but there is a wee bit more space in our garage! I wonder if the cleaning lady will do the garage?

On that note, I'm out of here.

Have a great day!!!!