Work in Progress Wednesday–Finding the Groove Post Icepocalypse

Last week was definitely weird here in the South. The Snowpocalypse a few weeks back was bad enough, but the Icepocalypse was much worse for us. Augusta was the hardest hit by that storm, and here we were right in the middle of it all. Turns out ice storms are momentum killers…who knew? I spent last Wednesday trying to get things done on the computer in between power flickers, until Wednesday evening when it sputtered out and died entirely, and proceeded to stay out until… wait for it… Saturday morning! Not cool, Mr. Winter, not cool…

Quilting related work was almost non-existent. No power == no machine, no computer to work on patterns, not enough light for hand work most of the time and no iron of course. It’s amazing how completely dependent our lives are on having electricity at the flick of a switch, and even more amazing how little we realize it until it’s not available. As I said on Twitter, funny how some days you’d just like to read all day, until there’s nothing else to do and then you’d rather not! Continue reading

Word of the Year: Momentum

I’ve decided my word of the year for 2014 is Momentum. It’s most definitely not “because”–I’m just not even going to get started on that. Yes, I know it’s the beginning of February, not January. While many people are reflecting at year end and thinking ahead to the new year, I’m still recovering. Yes, it takes that long to get over the holiday season for me some years!

Momentum is awesome while you have it. I know because I had it for many years, and I wouldn’t have been able to push a book from concept to completion in just over a year without it. These days, there’s no momentum. I move in fits and starts, and not always in a forward direction. Continue reading

Sewing is Good for the Soul

I visited my sewing machine today. It’s been a bit lonely lately, I’m sure. There it sits on that lovely custom sewing table day after day, and it can’t even enjoy the view from the window because it’s turned toward the opposite wall. I’ve been doing some quilt related things recently as I hinted here, but they don’t really involve that “hands on” time with the sewing machine and fabric.

It all started with making the bed. Confession time: I’m not a bed-maker. I never have been. Why make the bed when you’re just going to get in it later and mess it up? ITMan doesn’t care one way or the other–he’s not a bed-maker either–so we get along fine. When we get out of bed, we just pull up the covers a bit, and go on about the day. Shadow loves that especially in winter since he can go burrow under the covers and sleep when he gets cold during the day, and Patches sometimes makes his bed there as well on top of the feather duvets. Continue reading

An Interesting Place

By way of a little “touching base/checking in” type post, I find myself in an interesting place at the moment, both literally and figuratively:

Augusta is an interesting place. So far, we really like it here, high pollen counts and high temperatures notwithstanding. We’re not actually in Augusta, but in a smaller town just outside of it. It’s a nice area, and most things I need or want to do are within a few minutes from the house, and I very quickly embraced the idea that anything over ten miles away is “too far” and even five miles is pushing it. The Augusta area is big enough to have a nice mall with a Dillard’s and a Macy’s (which is almost “too far” it must be said), but not big enough for a Nordstrom or Neiman Marcus, and I’m okay with that. If it was that big, it would be too big like Atlanta, and I don’t think I’d like living there. Augusta seems just right.

Our house is an interesting place. For that matter, so is home ownership. You see, I’ve never owned a house before, and it still feels a bit…strange…somehow. It’s all ours, and we can do what we like with it, and we don’t have to put up with strange landlords or worry about what issues or faults might become evident as time goes on that perhaps weren’t apparent when we moved in or that the landlords didn’t want to tell us about. The house itself is wonderful, and I’m still amazed that I found it. I think I fall in love with it a little more as each week passes. We love the neighborhood, all three streets of it, and our neighbors are nice and quiet and nearly invisible, just the way we like to be. Every once in a while though, I still stop and think about how weird it is to have our own house, and maybe have a few roots starting to set themselves into the ground finally. Continue reading

Patchwork Times: Eating, Dressing, Shopping

There are a couple of things I’ve been meaning to share for forever and a day it seems, but life gets in the way sometimes. I hate it when it does that. Anyway, here goes, in order of age:

Sisterhood of the Traveling Panties--Ami Simms

Way back in March (I think), Ami Simms said she would hand dye some of my panties, and I could become a panty-wearing member of the Yo-Yo Sisterhood of the Traveling Panties, an exclusive club of women (and one man, it turns out) who would recognize each other at quilt shows by flashing the secret “Sisterhood” signal: an index finger to the hip. Okay, to be honest, Ami didn’t just issue this lovely offer to me, she blogged about it, and I decided I’d take her up on it!

Time was short, so I did what any good Angel-card-carrying VSC shopper would do. I ordered panties online and had them shipped to Ami direct! I’m told she got a total kick out of the whole VSC panties thing. Anyway, the picture above shows four of the ten pairs I got back, each one prettier than the last. I LOVE my hand dyed panties, thankyouverymuch, and if you’re a member too, be sure to give the secret signal when we meet up at quilt shows!

In April (or maybe it was May, come to think about it), the lovely Glennis@ShiboriGirl was on her way to Japan to participate in the Silk Experience tour (her trip report is still unfolding on her blog, with great pictures from Japan!). Lucky lady indeed! Before she left, she had a Sayonara Sale on her luscious silk shibori ribbon, and it was just the opportunity I’d been waiting for to try some. Here’s what I bought: Continue reading

Bright Lights

Deer Crossing

My parents live in a rural area in Southern Utah, about 40 miles from…well…anything. It’s a lovely area, mostly nice and quiet, with the expected wildlife like coyote, snakes, rabbits, squirrels, pheasant, elk and of course, the deer that wander all over and sometimes visit the yard. When we lived in Las Vegas (and when I’ve returned to the area on vacation since then), it was always imperative to plan arrival times at their house for the daylight hours, at least for me. See, if I headed for their house in the late afternoon, I was always sorry, because I’d be driving through the countryside on these twisty, curvy, two-lane roads at twilight or after dark, sharing road space with the deer.

If I didn’t time it right, I’d arrive at their house completely stressed out with aching knuckles from gripping the steering wheel so hard, just waiting for that deer to jump out in front of the car from the side of the road. What a great start to a vacation, huh? I never hit one, but I was always just sure that at some point I would, and I’d be facing those scared, shining eyes across the hood of my car as I came around a blind turn and the headlights landed on a family of deer standing in the road. My parents’ house is great, except for the getting there part!

There have been a few times in my life where I’ve felt a strong kinship with those deer though. I remember the talent show in high school, where I stood there with my platter of cookies that I’d baked, because I didn’t sing or dance or act or twirl a baton, and baking was the only thing I could think of as a “talent.” Yep, I’m sure I looked just like those deer as I stood on that stage.

I remember standing on another stage, this time in Lyon, France at the Quilt Expo in 1996. There was a show and tell gathering, where you brought your quilts or wearables to show to the audience gathered in this giant hall. Anyone could go up on stage and share what they’d brought, all you had to do was fill out a card and stand in line until it was your turn. Judy Murrah of Jacket Jazz fame was the emcee, and would read what you wrote on the card as you walked across the stage and showed your quilt.

I’m not sure what convinced me that I wanted to go up there since I’ve always had a major case of stage fright, but somehow I found myself up on that stage showing off my own Jacket Jazz jacket for all of the thousand people in the audience to see. My best friend Dawn was in the audience way in the back in the standing room only section, and even from there she could see that “deer in the headlights” look that I was wearing along with my jacket! I think I literally shook inside my shoes for a good hour after I clambered off the stage and made my escape.

And then there was last Friday. One of the things that happens when your book is published by AQS is that you are expected to teach at one of the AQS shows around the time the book is published, and I guess if all goes well, they’ll have you back for another round (or two, or more). I’ve been talking with the AQS show director about when this might happen, and she originally said that she had me on the schedule for the Paducah show in 2010, which sounded great since I didn’t have to panic about it quite yet. It was sort of “off in the distance”; in mind, but not right up front where I might start to get worried about it.

I mean, I’ve taught classes before obviously, but I think there’s a HUGE difference between teaching at the Gussy Goose in Stuttgart, or teaching for the local quilt guild, and teaching at one of the biggest quilt shows in the U.S! 8O So yes, I knew I was headed for this major thing, and I’ve been working on developing workshops that are related to the subject material of my book, since that’s what I thought AQS wanted for the shows.

Friday night, I got an email from the AQS show director saying that I’d be teaching at Des Moines in October, 2009, instead of Paducah in April, 2010. Not only that, but instead of 3.5 days full of classes related to my book, the show director only wants 1.5 days of classes related to the book, and will look at other classes that I teach if I submit them. Eeeek! There it is again, that deer imitation that I do so well.

I sat here, staring at the email, truly wondering what the heck I was going to do. Could any of my current workshops be reworked to fit into a national show format? Is there anything else I have waiting in the wings that would be suitable? I want to teach the full 3.5 days, since it’s such a long way to go for me from here, so I needed to fill out my class offerings with other techniques. I tend to teach long classes with multiple sessions which is not what you get to do at a national quilt show. Three hour focused sessions is the mainstay. I’d been developing book related workshops, but now they didn’t want as many as I had, and oh, by the way, they need my class descriptions NOW, since the registration guide has to be ready by April!

stuff for new classes

Since imitating a deer wasn’t going to fix it, I got to work. I spent the weekend pulling it together, and reminding myself that I really can do this! I worked on a couple of new workshops and reworked some current ones, so I’ll share some pics in the next few days. And of course, I’ll let you know how it all goes with the show director, but at the moment, I’m making plans to be in Des Moines in October! Want to join me? :)