AQS Show Des Moines–More Loot

One more stack of loot to share from the AQS Quilt Show in Des Moines:

More loot from the AQS Show

Here we have a very mixed bag. From the top center:

  • Beads! Couldn’t pass up the Miyuki beads since I’ve been wanting to see what all the fuss is about. Interestingly enough, though Miyuki beads are purported to be the “be all and end all” of high quality seed beads, I’ve kind of decided that I like plain old average seed beads just as well for my purposes. The Miyuki beads are TINY, as well as being more cylindrical and uniform, and while the uniformity doesn’t bother me, sometimes they’re too small (though maybe that’s just the combination of the colors that I have with the fabrics that I’m using them on at the moment), and the more rounded edges of a regular seed bead work better for what I’m trying to do than the cylindrical shape of the Miyuki beads. So now I know.
  • Next are some hand printed fabric panels from Block Party Studios. These are really fun printed panels with sayings on them like
  • The fabric is four fat quarters of Halloween type prints with holographic or iridescent overprinting which was just too unusual and fun to resist!
  • The bundle in the middle is a few bits of hand punched, hand dyed wool fabric, and the curly stuff below it is also wool, hand dyed but more “au naturale” just as it came off the sheep. There was a booth that had all kinds of wools and other things for needle punch, and they had these overflowing bins of curly, colorful wool that you just grabbed what you wanted out of, and they sold it by weight. Think embellishments…
  • The packets in the lower left corner are Painters Potpourri from Tentakulum, a German manufacturer. Each packet contains a paper-like background card, silk cocoons, a bit of silk fiber fabric stuff, and a hank of different fibers, all hand dyed in a coordinated colorway. These were too unique to pass up when I came across them in the YLI booth. I’m sure that any of you who are into the altered art or mixed media thing would know just what to do with these, but so far, I’m just admiring them. Their day will come though.
  • Last we have the Bo-Nash bonanza bag. Bo-Nash was at the show with their newest products, a line of super fine glitters, Tonertex foils, glue pens and fabric adhesive in a fabulous squeeze bottle. I bought some of everything, and can’t wait to try it all out. I’m not sure it’ll be as “no-mess” as they claimed though. 🙂

Even that’s not quite all the loot from Des Moines, since we did spend one day at the local mall where I found the leather coat I’ve been searching for for years, and a pair of Anne Klein brown patent leather boots to die for. The boots were quietly waiting for me to discover them in the giant shoe department at Von Maur, but the coat positively screamed my name from across the store, and what could I do but answer the call? Everything else I bought is cool, but the coat was the best buy of the entire trip!

Believe it or not, I’m getting on the plane again on Thursday morning (yes, just 10 days after returning from Des Moines) for a super quick, four-day trip to Houston. Kimberly and I are going to Quilt Market to see whats new and news in the retail quilting world. I’m planning to make connections with distributors in preparation for stocking my new online shop which should be opening by the second quarter of 2009. My head is already spinning with products and plans, but I’m sure it’ll be doing a negative 4-g rolling dive by the time I get back!

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Friends and Connections

Despite the “what not to do” list in the previous post, I really did have a great time at the show. AQS usually puts on a wonderful show, and this one was no exception. I saw (and bought) so many new things in the vendor mall, and made great connections with a number of vendors. I test-drove a couple of longarm machines, even though I’m not really in the market for one at the moment. I think I found the one I want, if I ever do buy one though!

I also made some great connections with the AQS folks while I was there; Kimberly introduced me to Bonnie Browning and Meredith Schroeder, and a whole host of others in the company that I’ve emailed back and forth with over the years when I’ve sent quilts to the show or the Quilt Museum in Paducah. It’s great to be able to put faces with the names I already know. I had a couple of really good meetings, and I hope to be able to share some super exciting news with you very shortly!

But the better part of the show was growing a friendship with Kimberly. We were great friends already, but spending so much time together made it even better I think. People couldn’t believe we’ve only really known each other for a couple of months, I guess because we are so comfortable and get along so well.

Kimberly and I are really good traveling partners. Our internal thermostats are very close most of the time, and we find ourselves reaching for the temperature control in the car to adjust it at about the same moment again and again to keep things within our 3 degree comfort zone. We both love to shop though not necessarily for the same things, but are perfectly happy to separate and shop alone for a bit, and then meet up for a drink or snack later. We tend to like the same kinds of foods and restaurants as well.

Kimberly and Nadine at Des Moines

And don’t get me started on how much time we spend dissolved in laughter when we’re together. Kimberly is “incessantly cheerful” (as one of the other instructors at the show put it), and, well, I’m anything but cheerful, incessantly or otherwise. Being the eternal pessimist that I am, I have a pretty dry and sarcastic sense of humor which cracks her up, and then I’m cracking up too. We seem to balance each other nicely.

Here’s another “what not to do”: never underestimate what an instructor goes through just to show up and teach at one of those shows. I got the inside look at it all hanging out with Kimberly. It’s damn hard work, from hauling all the quilts, books, rulers, class handouts, etc., to being on your feet and “in teaching mode” 8-10 hours per day for classes, and that’s after all the prep work at home. You’re lucky to get lunch, and it’s not like there’s anyone there to help you schlep all the stuff, so you really need the food!

I really enjoyed the time I spent in a couple of Kimberly’s classes watching her teach. She’s so professional and so good at it! She’s much better at it all than I am, and all her students loved her. Despite all the hard work and preparation, she makes it look effortless. I should have been taking notes…

AQS Show Des Moines–Quilts, Shopping, Walking

The AQS Show in Des Moines was a great time! Kimberly and I walked and shopped and dined our way through Des Moines, laughing the entire time. I’ll let you take in the quilt show stats and recap at her blog, and confine my first report to some thoughts and impressions:

Never let your husband (or any male, significant other or not) buy a laptop computer for you to travel with. His goals (big screen real estate, high processor speed and low price, in that order, and weight is no object) are vastly different from yours (lightweight and small, in that order, and price is no object). Pick out your own and save your back and arms when traversing three or more airports in 15 hours.

Never take just one pair of shoes, or even two, especially if they have any sort of heel or semi-pointy toes. Always have a flat backup pair with a big toe box, even if they’re ugly, don’t go with your clothing and your grandmother wouldn’t have been caught dead in them.

Never assume that the guy at hotel check in knows that you hate being right by the elevator, ice machine, soda machine, stairs, etc., or that you like to have a bathtub as well as a shower to keep your options open. Just be high maintenance from the get go and tell him what you want.

Never rely on the show literature to tell you the true walking distance from your hotel to the convention center. They measure it as “the crow flies,” completely discounting any required twists and turns through skywalks, around major buildings or via crosswalks that will save your life. If the show book says it’s .5 miles, count on a mile and a half. Each way. At least twice per day.

Never discount the value of a big breakfast at the hotel regardless of the cost. It will likely be the best and cheapest meal you have all day until dinner, which you’ll probably be too tired to enjoy properly or even consume the greater portion of anyway. And breakfast delivered to your room is even better since you can eat at your leisure (the only leisure you’ll enjoy all day as well) and have some quiet cups of coffee or tea. It’s only a couple of dollars more than eating in the restaurant, and for less than a twenty spot extra for the week, I’m there.

Never discount the benefit of laughing until you cry about something so totally off the wall (like chewing gum) that when you share it with someone later, they just look at you and say “I guess you had to be there.” When it happens though, it’s probably a sign that you need some sleep…

Never tell anyone back home that you’ll write, call, chat on IM, update Twitter, or otherwise communicate while you’re away. Chances are you won’t because you’re either too busy or sleeping like the dead, or wishing the jet lag would go away so that you could sleep at all.

Never commit to blogging while you’re on the road either. While you’re out at the show or shopping, you’ll think of all kinds of things to say on your blog, but by the time you get back to your room and the computer, your mind is complete mush and you won’t remember any of it at all.

There you have it. I did do some serious damage to the plastic, both at the mall and at the quilt show. I’ll share pictures of the loot from the quilt show in the coming days, just as soon as I gather it back up again. I had a blond moment when I unpacked and put it all away in my studio before I thought about it!

I’ll leave you with this shot of the show floor at the convention center, taken from the upper level:

Show floor at Des Moines

More to follow…

Two words for you: Bell boy!

Kimberly and I made it to Des Moines without major mishaps, and we’re really enjoying the trip! Northwest Airlines is pretty wonderful; we both agreed we’d choose it over Delta any day of the week. Better everything, and way cheaper, at least this time around.

In the Detroit airport during our short layover, we saw this little guy:

Boy with DS at airport

So adorable, sitting on the floor by the power outlet powering up the Nintendo DS! (I cropped this heavily since this is not my kid) He was quite content to wait as long as necessary for the flight to board.

After nine or so hours between Frankfurt and Detroit, a short layover and another hour or so flight to Des Moines, Kimberly and I were pretty loopy. We hit the ground in Des Moines, collected the bags (and more bags) and headed for the rental car. There we were, trying to drag all our bags out to the rental car lot (and don’t think either of us travel light, either), and Kimberly says, “I’ve got two words for you: Bell Boy!” I thought I might fall over from laughing so hard!

The car we got was this strange light metallic green. I didn’t think they made cars that color anymore! As we’re loading the bags, the man that was in line behind us at the rental car desk was picking up his car in the lot, and offered to trade us for his bumblebee of a car as he put it, a shocking yellow SUV of some kind. I told him we’d take him up on it, and to be careful what he wished for!

And as a testament to how many brain cells are really still operational after a trans Atlantic flight, neither of us remembered that Bellboy isn’t two words until we were in the car on the way to the hotel! But we were perfectly happy to make use of the Bellboys at the hotel, no matter how many words it is! 🙂

Patchwork Times: Is that smoke I smell?

I think my hair is on fire. I feel like I’m running around in circles, and I think I smell smoke, so that must be my hair. I looked at my blog today, just like I’ve done for the past two or three days when I’ve meant to post something, and thought “Where did the time go since I last posted?” I’ve been wildly busy, but not with anything necessarily “shareable” in the quilting department at the moment. I’m striving to finish a huge project before I catch the flight to Des Moines next Monday for the AQS show, which has meant long hours that turn into long days at the computer, mostly.

Paisley Pavane

My quilt, Paisley Pavane, did get accepted into the Des Moines show, and it’s arrived at the AQS offices safely and on time! I’m really looking forward to the show, and the vendors mall (and having a quilt in the show while I’m there will be completely awesome!). And I can’t wait for an entire day at the big mall in Des Moines with Von Maur and Younkers. I’m sorely in need of some Stateside shopping for clothes and the like, and some American style restaurants. Kimberly and I are of the same mind on these things (as on a lot of other things), and plan to shop and eat our fill in the short time we have on the ground.

I’m signed up to take two classes at the show, but I’m now having second (and maybe third and fourth) thoughts about both of them. Too late to cancel out and get a refund, unfortunately. I’m taking a class called Come PLAY with Me! with Dianne S. Hire, who I like immensely already and I’ve not even met her. Her supply list was written in such a fun, “I’m right here talking with you” voice, that I just know she’ll be a completely lovely person. The class looks like it will be some fun, outside the box cutting and sewing techniques, but I have to gather mass amounts of fabric, as well as rulers, rotary cutter, thread, etc., and lug it all to Des Moines in my suitcase. What was I thinking?

Not only that, the class is all day, and right over the top of the awards ceremony for the show. How dumb is that to schedule the awards ceremony in the afternoon when there are classes going on? With a quilt in the show, I don’t want to miss the ceremony; my quilt probably won’t win a ribbon, but sure as I’m not there it might, and that wouldn’t be any fun at all. 😦

I’ve also signed up for Quilts of a Different Color with Irena Bluhm, which will probably be okay, but I bought the book in anticipation of the class, and to be honest, there were about two tidbits of info in the book that I needed to know about the technique, and the rest of the book was “just okay.” I’m not sure how much more I’ll really get out of three hours with the author in person but there it is. At least this class comes with a complete kit and I don’t have to carry anything special with me.

So, before I can even leave for the airport, I have to plan and pull fabric for that class, shop for last minute stuff probably, look for new music (a must when I travel), shop for some trashy Regency romances (another traveling must-have), do all the regular “before packing” stuff (where’s my passport?!?), get the laptop ready to go with all the programs I need to handle any crises that may come up involving web programming, make ITMan’s “appointment calendar” and “meal calendar” so that he can be both Mom and Dad while I’m gone, make my own Stateside shopping lists, and actually pack the suitcases. And none of that can get done until the super big project gets done, and that gets worked on in and around all the regular “stuff” like all the Taxi Mom duties, etc.

Hopefully I’ll have some hair left when I get on the plane, though if not, then I guess I won’t have to carry all the hair care products and the straightener, which actually might be a blessing. 😉 What I’m saying is that it’s probably going to be pretty quiet around the blog this week, but I do plan to update from the show, with pics! Note to self: pack the camera…