Thursday, January 30, 2014

California Dreams

Last week, I spent a couple of days in California, teaching at Road to California in Ontario.

Road to California is a huge quilt show with tons of amazing quilts and tempting vendors. My classes were early in the week, and I had to get back home even before the show opened. I was sorry to leave without seeing the displays, but was thrilled with the two workshops I taught. Everyone seemed to have a great time, including me, especially after my luggage finally caught up with me. And it was wonderful to have a little break from the cold weather we've been experiencing here in upstate New York.

You know you are in the right spot when the name of the event logo is projected on the convention center wall!

For someone who lives in California, this is probably an average, run-of-the-mill flower bed. But when you live someplace where the predominant flower bed color in January is white, it warms the soul to see all this color!

Happy Poppy!

The Sweet Revenge quilt was the class project for Monday. It's an ambitious, but easy quilt. Even so, several blocks in a variety of scrappy colors made their way to the finish line.

On Tuesday, the workshop project was Stained Glass. A cool quilt with a great technique that makes the super-sized block easier than you'd think to assemble. After one day of sewing, several quilts were well on their way to completion!

A bird's eye view of the main entry way. This is before you even get into the show.

Back at the hotel, the lobby looked like a tropical paradise. More color. . .

. . . and orchids too.

With my internal body clock set to east coast time, it's easy to rise in time for the sun's grand entrance. I bet a summer sunrise looks similar from my own New York State window. . . . well, maybe without the palm tree! But I'm not so much an early riser in the summer.

Back at home, the cold reality sets in. This plow operator, at least, has a sense of humor. Check out the message on the plow blade!

Speaking of Spring, right after that comes Summer. And in July, I'm going on a cruise to Alaska. This week I've been working on the cruise project. I have to tell, you the Hoffman batik precuts are just fabulous and the quilt is going to be amazing! I'm very excited! Here's a sneaky peek for you. Are you coming along on the cruise? There are still a few spaces left, but one of these days, I'm going to announce that the cruise is all booked, and won't you be disappointed to know someone else took your spot? Make your reservation! Call Michelle at Quilt Retreat at Sea (210-858-6399). Packages for quilters and non-quilters, too!

"Think Spring!" and  . . .

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

January Thaw

Cold, warm, snow, rain, wind, ice. The thermometer was all over the place this weekend, but that didn't keep me from enjoying some time with 22 like-minded quilty-types.

It's an annual quilt retreat weekend at the Minnowbrook Conference Center in Blue Mountain Lake in the Adirondacks. You know the drill, you pack up way more projects than you can ever finish in a weekend, throw in a sewing machine, and all kinds of supplies. Add a few friends, and a well-lit place to set everything up. Throw in lots of colorful fabric and friendly conversation. And let the quilting begin!

With freezing cold temperatures just prior to our arrival, and an abrupt switch to warmer temperatures and rain upon our arrival, the ice-covered lake looked a little mushy.

With the thawing temperatures, ice formations over the stream that empties into the lake look like brittle glass sculptures.

Inside, a plan was brewing to make some pillowcases to donate to the Jefferson County Hospice. Part of the 1,000,000 pillowcase challenge.

Seemed like everyone got into pillowcase production as the weekend advanced.

Hey, where'd everyone go? It's pretty embarrassing when you get so engrossed in what you are working on that you don't even notice that the room is suddenly empty. . .

There they are! A brief visit by the Ruby Scissors Quilt Shop, formerly known as Patti's Quilting and Fabric, from (sorta) nearby Glens Falls, NY shifted the attention from making quilts to fabric acquisition mode.

Jessica, shop owner, knows how to clear a room!

Color! Tempting! There's a quilt in here somewhere, just waiting to be stitched!

Temptation satisfied. . .

Sunday morning, and nature provided a fresh dusting of snow. Can't you just smell the pine?

A reminder that we are intruders in the natural landscape.

Oh, and about that pillowcase project. 71 pillowcases was the grand tally for the weekend. . . . Not bad!

Don't you just love to get away on a quilty holiday?

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Lights. . . Camera . . . Action!

From time to time, I've been asked if I've done any videos outlining the ScrapTherapy process. Well, thanks to the wonderful folks at Taunton Workshops, now I can say, 'Yes!'

Scrap Quilting, The ScrapThearpy Way walks you through the entire process that I use to cut, store, and use my scrap fabrics. I take one of the projects, Everything Nice, from ScrapTherapy, Cut the Scraps! and turn it into a table topper. And you can make one too, right along with me, at your own pace in your own sewing studio.

With each section of the video, we'll walk through the entire process of making the quilt from start to finish. Once you purchase the video, you own it forever. And you don't have to use your computer space to store it! The video is broken into segments so if you want to review any of the steps, you don't have to go hunting through the whole thing to find the tips that you need!

Go take a look! Click here for a sample or to buy the video.

Back in September, I spent a week 'in the studio' at The Taunton Press headquarters in Newtown, Connecticut with some real experts in the video production world.

A lot of effort is made to make what you see seamless (pun intended!). But what happens behind the scenes is so very interesting, too.

The studio is set to perfection with lots of attention paid to color, lights, and background.

It's a small room, a lot like my sewing room at home . . . except for the big camera! The room wasn't completely sound proof. From time to time a motorcycle or the noise from a big truck passing on a main road nearby would stop production--usually on the rare occasion that yours truly didn't flub her lines!

Bright lights! And there's Bruce way in the back, the camera expert extraordinaire! He's the silent partner in the project. You never see him in the video, but he's there behind the camera in every single shot.

I'm really excited about connecting with you through these workshops. And there's more to come, so stay tuned!

Speaking of 'big news' . . . Looking at my calendar, I see that it's January 9th already. That means that there have already been EIGHT winners in the Schmetz Needles Prize-A-Day Sweepstakes! Are you one of the Elite 8? Do you want to be one of the Fantastically Terrific Thirty-One?!? Well, you'd better get over to the Schmetz Needles website, click on the contest information in the center of the page and submit your entry. Better still, jump over to the Schmetz Needles Facebook page and click 'like!' And you could be one of the Fantastically Terrific Thirty-one. And yes, you guessed it, there are TWO (not one, but TWO!!) autographed ScrapTherapy books in the mix of daily prizes!! Who wants to win?!?

Happy Stitching!