Bright Lights

deer crossingMy 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 wearable art 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! 😯 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? 🙂

Resisting the paper stash temptation

Creativity takes many forms around here, and it’s not always quilting. Today LittleOne and I spent most of the day scrapbooking and making cards at the Gussy Goose. Beside the two pages for her scrapbook featuring some pictures from Girl Scout Camp, she made these cards so that she could write thank you notes to family for Christmas gifts:

Handmade Cards

I made some of my own, with some bits of papers and lace I already had, and the only piece of really cool floral paisley paper with glitter that the store had left:

Handmade Cards

I could have made more (I should hope, since we were there for five+ hours!) but I did help LittleOne a bit with her cards, and I’ve also come to a conclusion about this scrapbooking/cardmaking thing: It’s just about the same as quilting in a certain way, when it gets right down to it. Quilters have huge stashes of fabric and other supplies at home (at least all the ones I know anyway), and I have a feeling scrappers are the same with their papers.

I’ve never been able to walk into any quilt shop and purchase all the fabrics for a quilt all at once, because the shops never have all the fabrics I need all at the same time. Whether this is because I’ve never lived anywhere that had a quilt shop that constantly carried an enormous number of bolts of fabric (thinking of 7,000 to 10,000 bolts as enormous here), or whether it’s just because Read More

National Quilting Day

It’s National Quilting Day on Saturday, March 17th! What will you do to celebrate? Here are a few ideas:

Visit the National Quilting Association website to find out more about National Quilting Day. Visit the Virginia Consortium of Quilters for a list of Games for National Quilting Day (these would be great for a quilt retreat too!).

Go to a quilt show! Check out the Dallas Quilt Celebration, The Cabin Branch and Stone House Quilters Quilt Show, The Glendale Quilt Guild Quilt Show, The Broward Quilt Expo, The Seaway Trail Foundation’s Quilt Show, or The Quilters Anonymous Quilt Show, just for starters. If you’re in my area, check out the Gussy Goose Craft Shop’s Quilt Show! Yes, despite the fact that the big spring bazaar is going full steam this weekend and the parking situation is madness (more than the usual madness at Patch Barracks!), the Gussy Goose is open, and presenting their annual Quilt Show.

Can’t get there? Grab some friends and have a Quilting Bee! Visit your LQS and buy fabric to start a new quilt project, then spend the rest of the weekend quilting! Or, get out a UFO or WISP (I know you have them!) and quilt all weekend so you can make some progress.

At the very least, snuggle up under a quilt and watch a movie like How to Make an American Quilt or read a book like The Quiltmaker’s Gift with your child.

Irish Chain Quilting

What will I be doing? Hangin’ out at the Gussy Goose, presenting machine quilting demonstrations, signing books and CDs, and then later, hosting a Quilt ’til You Wilt with my quilting buddies until the wee hours on Sunday! I’ll also be machine quilting a UFO: an Irish Chain quilt that I pieced for a class a few years ago, and I marked it and started the quilting while I was in the States with Dawn for the Gaudynski workshop (I’m showing a sneak peek of the quilting that I already have done here). Whatever you do for the day, stop back by and share!

Creativity back on track, I think

It’s looking better than it was on Sunday, anyway. I went to the fabric shops as planned today, and didn’t find exactly what I needed (now why doesn’t that surprise me??), but did find some hopefuls. I didn’t get to play right away though, because the day was rather full, with an appointment to make my hair behave again bright and early (note to self: no more appointments out of the house before 10:00 a.m.!). So, at 7:45 a.m., I’m cruising through morning traffic to make it to my 8:00 hair appointment more or less on time.

I took a new quilt book with me, as well as my fiction fix of the moment just in case the quilt book didn’t keep me occupied long enough for my hair to lose it’s dark roots and be beautiful again. I just got Puzzle Quilts by Paula Nadelstern in the mail from Amazon last week, and haven’t really looked at it completely yet. This wonderful book completely occupied me for my whole appointment, and I’ve still not gotten through it all. It’s not even that long, just so absolutely stunning and absorbing that I was happy to just stare at the beautiful quilts and blocks in it. A more complete review will follow, but I don’t want to get sidetracked with that quite yet.

Back to the creativity/fabric issue. After the hair was taken care of, I headed over to Patchcom to visit Birgit, in hopes of finding the perfect fabric to solve my current quilting woes. Well, the perfect fabric wasn’t there, but I did pick up a couple of things (who can resist??), one of which I thought might help the problem, if not solve it precisely, and the other was just a “gotta have” fabric. I made my way to the Gussy Goose after that (via the insurance company to renew the insurance on the house and DH’s truck since it’s that time again), and there was no perfect fabric there either, Read More

Machine Quilting Workshop

Just a reminder for those of you in the Stuttgart area, I’ll be teaching the Machine Quilting—Master the Basics Workshop at the Gussy Goose on Patch Barracks, January 20 and 27, 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. both days. There are only two or three spaces left! You can reach the Gussy Goose on 0711-680-5270 to register.

Machine Quilting Workshop at the Gussy Goose

I’ve scheduled a Machine Quilting—Master the Basics Workshop at the Gussy Goose Craft Store in Stuttgart for January 20 and 27, 2007. For more information, visit the Workshops page, or call the Gussy Goose directly at 0711-680-5270 to reserve your spot as space is limited to ten students!