At the Movies

Ahh, summertime. I love the lazy days of summer and have spent the past 10 days enjoying Miss L and our more relaxed schedule.

Today was a movie day, thanks to a 60 percent chance of rain. “Mirror, Mirror” finally made it to the $2 theater near us, so it was the perfect remedy to a rainy day.

It’s just an OK movie but the costumes! Oh, the costumes! The late Eiko Ishioka (who won an Academy Award for Bram Stoker’s Dracula) just blew me away with her over-the-top designs. The textures, the details, the colors — total eye candy. I also spied some familiar fabrics.

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Being a total fabric addict, I had to hop on Google to find pictures to back up my discovery: That’s quilting fabric! One dress was definitely from the Kaffe Collective and there was another featuring motifs from Pillow & Maxfield’s Gypsy Bandana Line. On closer look, I saw that Patty Young’s Andalucia was used for the skirt on the same costume.

My fabric geekiness knows no bounds.


To Market, to Market

I may officially be the last person to blog about Quilt Market. Seriously, I’ve been home more than two weeks and still haven’t finished scanning in my pics. Instead of waiting for the planets to align and that to happen, I’m going to just dive in with a few pics and my thoughts on some things I saw there.

Above is the view from our hotel room in SLC as the sun rose our last morning there. The weather was all kinds of perfect and Salt Lake City has to be one of the nicest cities I’ve ever visited.

It’s always fun to go to Market but exhausting, too. This trip was no different, with Sarah and I up and at ‘em early every morning, on the go all day, attending social/networking events in the evening, then winding down in time to grab some (not nearly enough) sleep. Even with all that time on the floor, it’s easy to be overwhelmed and miss so much of what’s there. After comparing notes, Sarah and I noticed a few trends:

  • Solids are big and definitely getting attention from a lot of quadrants. Manufacturers, pattern designers and authors are all tapping into this one. I love me some Kona but I’m also grooving on the FreeSpirit Designer Solids (touch them and see if you don’t agree that the hand is just amazing).

  • Stitchery — embroidery and cross stitch — is being shown lots of love, too. Sarah Jane and Anna Maria Horner both come to mind but they’re far from the only ones (the awesome Rashida Coleman-Hale even gave out a free cross stitch pattern that goes with her new fabric line). The new aida cloth from Westminster is some of the nicest I’ve touched and may even seduce me into trying some more cross stitching.

  • Modern quilting styles meet more challenging techniques. Personally, I’m loving this! I am so enamored of the “modern” aesthetic but I’m ready to challenge myself every now and then with some more complex piecing — but nothing so overwhelming that I can’t finish it in a weekend (Mariner’s Compass, you’re just going to have to wait your turn).

Quilt Market, Part 2

The subhead of this post could easily be “I get by with a little help from my friends.”

My first book signing for Little Girls, Big Style was the Saturday of Market, with my second book signing the following day. To say that I was nervous would be an understatement. My anxiety was compounded by the fact that I wrote – -by hand — my signings on 300 postcards and put the wrong times. Seriously. Would anyone show up? Would people actually want my book? My friends, bless them, were quick with the hugs, reassuring words and promises to stand in line to get their copies. (I have to give major props to Sarah and Taffy who spent nearly every minute of the trip with me and heard it all, times 10.)

When I arrived 20 minutes before my first book signing was scheduled to start, I found this:

A line! Wheeeeeee!

In all honesty, I was at Quilt Market and people will get into a line without knowing why, just on the off chance they’ll get something for free. (Which my friends were kind enough to point out after my signing. See why I love them?) But I’m going to enjoy it anyway — it certainly made my butterflies zip on out of there.

Adrianne caught me in action the first day, as did my friend Joyce at Quilting Adventures, and then Patty the next day (although darned if I can find it right now). I met so many nice folks from all over the world and also was happy to sign some books that went home with some of my favorite people (including one super sweet gal who has since left a lovely review of the book on Amazon, in spite of the fact that I would not let her have my shoes). For the first time, my book was in the hands of people outside my family and Stash/C&T and it finally felt real.

Yes, I really did write a book and now other people can read it!

Thanks to everyone who supported me, loved me, hugged me and/or came by to get a signed copy of my book. You helped make my weekend in Houston even more memorable.

Up next: Part 3 of my Quilt Market series, which is actually about some of the gorgeous fabrics we saw.


Snow Day

I live in the South so it’s always an event when we get snow. Always.That’s why I’ve kept one eye on the weather forecast all week. The closer we got to Friday, the more our chance of snow increased: 30 percent, 40 percent, 60 percent, 70 percent.

How about 100 percent?

I think we’re up to about three inches and another two to four hours of snow falling still to come. It’s rumored that more of the white stuff is one the way Sunday or Monday. Not what I’d planned for this weekend at all.

Honey worked from home today and took a break late this afternoon to take Miss L out to play in the pretty snow. I followed behind, my trust camera in hand and my favorite insulated duck boots on.

The neighborhood kids were having a blast outside and thrilled to have a grown-up to gang up on with snowballs. Liesl could not get enough of playing in the snow, whether she was sledding, throwing snowballs, making snow angels or attempting to make a snowman. (Her big brother spent about two hours out there with his friends.)

As for me, I snapped a bunch of pictures then popped back into the warm, quiet house to enjoy the snow from my favorite vantage point: the living room.


A Little Campy

I’ve been teaching a sewing and quilting summer camp at the shop this week, so my days have been busier in a new and different way. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, since most of my teaching has been one-day or half-day kind of things. Would my students get along? Could they get through each of the projects in the amount of time allotted? Would it be fun for all of us?

It’s been an absolute blast.

I have two 11-year-old girls in my camp — lifelong friends of each other — and they are just the coolest kids. Love to sew, excited about every project, thrilled with everything they’re learning. And oh my gosh, are they fast! They would have finished Thursday’s big project before they left today if I’d had the right elastic with me. (They literally groaned when I told them the news; they were that bummed!) They just beam whenever they finish a project, so absolutely pleased with themselves and their work.

I’ve even been able to get a little sewing done myself this week which makes me happy: a baby quilt top, a new dress for Miss L, a wristlet, a halter top and two skirts for Sarah‘s daughter.

I’ve made them promise to bring all of their projects on Friday so I can photograph all their work (which should be at least one tote bag, two wristlets, a pair of pajama pants, two key fobs, an Amy Butler Sun & Surf Halter and three skirts — plus whatever they make Friday). I’ll be sure to share pics so you can ooooh and aaaaah as much as I have!


In a Parallel World

I have done the unthinkable:

I have installed Windows XP on my MacBook.

Back in the fall when I bought my embroidery machine, I figured that I’d take over Honey’s PC laptop when he got his new netbook for Christmas. What I did not expect at that time was the loose connection that would make turning on his laptop — and keeping it on — some special type of AC adapter acrobatics.

I scoured Ebay and Craigslist for a cheap laptop but couldn’t find anything in my admittedly low price range. I had all but decided to suck it up and buy a netbook for myself when I decided to look into PC emulator software for my MacBook.

Jackpot!

I picked up a secondhand copy of Parallels Desktop 3.0 for Mac for a whopping $20, then installed it and our unused copy of Windows XP. In short order, I had my embroidery software (Embird and Monogram Wizard Plus) up and running on my little Mac. OK, it actually took a couple of hours to get everything installed and running, and included having to reboot my computer because the Windows installer CD managed to get stuck in the drive. But once that was done, I was in business, putting together monograms and saving files to my heart’s content.


All Hail The Diva

We had kind of a whirlwind weekend, Honey, Miss L and me. Honey’s brother turned 40 on Groundhog Day and our sister in law invited us to fly to their home near New York City to be his birthday surprise.

I was a little on the fence about going — considering the cost and the much colder NY weather — but was sold on the idea once I recalled that one of my favorite people lives just a few miles away from the ILs. After I bought our tickets, I called her up.

“So, guess who’s coming to Staten Island in a couple of weeks?” I teased.

After I convinced her that A) I was not joking and 2) I was not some crazy psycho Internet stalker, we made plans to hook up. I’m so glad we did! The Diva picked me up at the door and whisked me off to a fabulous buffet breakfast at the nearby Hilton, where we sat and gabbed for what felt like 20 minutes but really was closer to 2.5 hours. We even managed to sneak in some business talk and Lisa was kind enough to give me some great feedback on The Project, which was just so helpful and wonderful. She was the first person I told about it and she’s been very encouraging and supportive, as well as delivering a kick in the behind when needed. I am truly fortunate to know her and having met her in person made it even more clear.

And then I snapped a picture with my phone and sent it to a certain mutual friend to rub it in. (Neener, neener!)


The Hard Way

My MacBook is home!

I was finally able to drive up to the shop* to pick it up. The tech booted it up for me as he closed out my work order and I did a quick check to see what could be recovered from the old hard drive. Sadly, not as much as I’d hoped. From what I can tell, I’ve lost:

  • all my sewing patterns PDFs;
  • an entire month of photographs (including J’s final cross-country race and Miss L’s birthday party); I FOUND THEM!! They were saved to a totally different place on my hard drive but they are HERE!!!
  • my photography files, including actions (many of which were not free), notes, etc.;
  • the past five years of tax returns (electronic versions);
  • ALL my work files, including interviews, notes, research and final stories, from the past 18 months — including things I’ve yet to publish.

I can’t tell you how stupid I feel right about now. I really have no excuse for not having backed up all of my precious documents — especially in light of the fact that I used to manage our newsroom computer system at one of my jobs. And part of that included making sure backups were run on tape nightly.

I’ve always had to learn things the hard way. Now to start shopping for an external hard drive for backing up the Macadoo …

*Outstanding experience with these folks. Great customer service and fast turnaround time. Two thumbs up!