Friday, October 31, 2014

Hotel Tour of 2014 -- Night 121

I spent another fun day at the International Quilt Festival in Houston today!


Twenty-fie Handi Quilter Sweet Sixteens, ALL FOR ME!

Listen to those babies hum:

video

I taught an all-day class called "Elephant Quilting" and my students were wonderful!

Speaking of wonderful, check out the awful food-court lunch I had to endure this afternoon:


Oh how I suffer!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Hotel Tour of 2014 -- Night 120

Holy Smokes!  I have spent 4 months of this year away from home!  And to think that I still have two months to go.  Just... wow.

Anyway, I taught two more classes at International Quilt Festival today.  They were fantastic!  Just listen to those machines purr:

video

I spent the last two days in the Janome classroom with a fantastic educator named Latifah:


Tomorrow and Friday I will be teaching on my sweet Sweet Sixteens from Handi Quilter.

This quilt show is so busy and so full of fun that I don't get to spend any time in this hotel.  Pity me!

House Diet

With all of the quilts I've sent out recently, you'd think my sewing room would look cleaner, wouldn't you?  Yeah?  Well, it doesn't.  I'll keep at this "sending out stuff" thing and trust that eventually I'll notice a difference.

I recently sent this quilt out into the world:


I made this for my daughter's friend.  She has an October birthday and loves Halloween.  I'm sewing through my Halloween fabric stash and made this quilt from my Squared Away pattern.

Happy Birthday!  Enjoy your Halloween quilt!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Hotel Tour of 2014 -- night 119

I was awake bright and early, fighting Houston's impressive rush hour traffic to go and teach my first day of classes at International Quilt Festival.


A I unpacked supplies for the class, I realized that I might just have a problem:


Admitting there's a problem is a first step, right?  I, Debby Brown, am a Talenti addict.

I enjoyed my students ever so much!


Their smiles and excitement are the reason that I do this job.


I had students from the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand today.  A truly international day!

I think I must might do this again tomorrow!  (Dear students, I promise I will show up for tomorrow's classes).

Monday, October 27, 2014

Hotel Tour of 2014 -- night 118

So sad.  Today was the last day of Quilt Market.  The folks in the quilt industry are the finest folks in the world and I can't wait to see them again in Minneapolis in May 2015.

I saw some fun things at Market today.

I saw these lovely pillows in the Red Rooster booth:


They were designed by the super-talented John Kubiniec.

I saw a quilt that I quilted:


This was in the Gen Q Magazine booth.  It was published in the September issue of their magazine.

I saw this fantastic quilt at the Kaleidoscope Kreator booth:


It was quilted by my lovely and talented friend Teri Lucas.

Now that I'm back in my hotel, I'm still thinking of quilts!

Check out my bedspread:


I love this quilting life!

Bi-Lingual

Did you know that I speak more than one language?  No?

Well, I'm fluent in Australian.  I can understand every word of this commercial:



Can you?

If you would like to learn to speak Australian, and maybe learn some quilting, too, you should consider coming to the Australasian Quilt Convention.

It is my honor to teach there for the third time in three years.  This is an outstanding show with outstanding quilts, outstanding quilters, and, truth be told, outstanding food.


Class sign-ups begin this week.  Hope to see you there!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Hotel Tour of 2014 -- Night 117

I just spent one fully day at Quilt Market:


Some days at Quilt Market are good, and some days are very good.  Today was one of the latter.

I'm back in my hotel room tonight, but it doesn't look like a hotel room,  It looks like a UPS depot.  I have boxes of quilt kits for my Quilt Festival students and I have suitcases full of supplies that weighed exactly 50.0 pounds each:


I'm looking forward to Quilt Market again tomorrow, but I'm not looking forward to rush hour in Houston nor lugging these boxes into the convention center.

I tried to hit the bottle tonight once I got to my hotel room, but apparently my fridge runs a wee bit cold:


Maybe my Diet Dr. Pepper will thaw by Thursday or Friday?

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Hotel Tour of 2014 -- Night 116

I am in HOUSTON!!!!  WooHoo!!!

Tomorrow I go to Quilt Market to see what is new in the industry, but today I spent traveling and then at the Handi Quilter reception.  I'm a bad blogger because I took no photos at the reception.

I got this book out of the library to read on the plane:


I'm going to read a bit more before turning in.  Maybe I'll have sweet dreams?

Friday, October 24, 2014

Commitment Issues

I often hear that so-and-so "lacks commitment" or has "commitment issues."

While I don't lack commitment, I certainly have commitment issues.

Once I read a book or start watching a TV series on Netflix, I am totally committed.  This month's commitment issue is:


I just finished watching 9 seasons on Netflix, and then logged into Hulu (free!) for the first four episodes of season 10.  SCORE!

I watch (listen) to these shows while I am quilting.  I've been quilting a lot lately (Hello?  Houston?) and still have a bit more to do.

Now I am a commited girl looking for a new series to commit to!  What series shall I watch next?  I like inane crime dramas and despise comedies.

Spreading More Love

I am sponsoring a new quilter by giving her quilt kits to get her started.  I make the kits from leftover bits in my stash and patterns I have used and trust.

This new quilter is sewing up a storm and already finished her first two quilt tops.  I put together another kit tonight:


These are some of my happiest fabrics and two of my favorite quilt patterns.  I'll let my young quilter friend choose which pattern she prefers.

What are your favorite patterns for young quilters?  I'm sure my quilter friend will need another kit soon!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Organizing -- Day 12

I have a large sewing room; it is the size of a two-car garage.  I know this because it is directly above my two-car garage.

Even with a large sewing room, the space is still limited.  One problem I have is storage.  This is a large room with no wall space; all of the would-be wall space is windows, a fireplace, and a sliding glass door.  It is very hard to put shelving in front of doors, windows, or a fireplace.  I sneak a skinny shelf in, here and there, but they are over-full and need to be re-organized.

I have interests other than quilting (gasp!) and they overflow into the sewing room.  Today's problem involves my cookbooks.  I love to cook (and eat) and I have a lot of cookbooks.  My kitchen has limited storage space (none) and the cookbooks are taking up precious shelf space in my sewing room.  It's time to fix that!

My dream was to contain all of my cookbooks on a single shelf:


Dream realized!

If I hadn't opened a cookbook in a decade or more, it was time to go.  If I looked at a cookbook and remembered the one recipe inside that I used, I copied down the recipe (with my personal changes) and let go of the book.  Fortunately, my library is having a used book sale this weekend.  If you live near me, you should definitely check it out; I hear they have a great collection of cookbooks for sale.

Most of the cooking we do now is based on recipes found on the internet.  How on earth do I store all of those printed pages?  I tried organizing them into a binder, but I was never able to keep it up.  I recently pulled out an old accordian file and labeled it to my liking:


This is working so far.  I can easily file each new printed recipe without needing a hole punch.  I can make as many categories as I like and change them easily by re-labeling the pocket.  In my system, "zucchini" is it's own category!  Anyone else have tons of zucchini recipes to get them through "drowning in zucchini" season?

I need to get to work on the rest of my shelves, but they are full of quilt books.  I'm not emotionally prepared to deal with those yet.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Lightening the Load

I am still (always and forever) trying to get rid of things in the sewing room.  Recently, I got rid of this:


My sister has an October anniversary and this seemed appropriate.

Last month, my students at Bits 'N Pieces helped me decide on the quilting designs.

I quilted double continuous curve in each square:


I randomly placed spiderwebs in the background quilting:


And I swirled everything else:


I used cotton batting and polyester cream thread.

Happy Anniversary!  I hope you enjoy your Halloween quilt!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Organizing -- Day 11

I am away from home a large percentage of the year (115 nights so far this year).   I am very used to running through airports, changing hotels, dragging luggage around, standing in convention centers for 12-14 hours at a time, and other necessitites of the traveling life.

When I am at home, though, I love to be at home.  I nearly have to be dragged out of the house for errands and appointments and resist even putting on shoes.  Appointments and errands are necessary, though, and I try to get them done as quickly as possible so that I can get home and back to quilting!

I keep an "Errands" folder:


Every time I think of something that I need to do, I file it in my errands folder.  I also file coupons, shopping lists, and any other necessary papers.  While I am out, I will check my errands folder and try to knock off as many of them as I can.

Today I have to run to UPS to ship a box of kits to Houston Quilt Festival. While I am out, I will go to the Post Office to mail some paperwork to a future show and hopefully score some Rudolph stamps.  I will pick up bagels.  Mmmmmmmmmm.  I will also go to the bank and library.  Hopefully I will only be away from my studio for two hours and won't have to run errands again for several days.


Monday, October 20, 2014

Organizing -- Day 10

Today I'm going to love on my calendar, just a little bit.

I am a paper planner/calendar gal.  Yes, I have a smart phone permanently attached to my hand.  Yes, I live on my computer.  I've tried all sorts of digital calendars, but paper is the only thing that works for me.  My little green planner is my BFF and I would be lost without it.

A few weeks ago, I bought my 2015 planner pages.  I was geekily excited about it.

Today, I actually opened the package and started using my new pages.  Squee!!!!

The first thing I did was write all birthdays on the calendar in bright pink ink.  Every time I open my calendar, I will see loved ones' birthdays and know to plan gifts, cards, and visits.  I will also know not to schedule any work on the weekend of a very important person's very important first birthday!


I have an entire list of birthdays on a single sheet of paper.  I keep this updated and filed in my tickler file in the October folder so I remember to do this each year.

After all of the birthdays are noted, I then transfered any confirmed quilt shows and doctor appointments onto the calendar.  I keep 5 years of "future planning" single calendar pages in my book so that I will know not to agree to teach at two quilt shows at the same time!

The last thing I did was to pencil in any quilt shows that I think I will be attending.  They don't get re-written in ink until there is a contract, plane ticket, or hotel booking.  The pencil marks help me know not to schedule a dental appointment during Houston Quilt Festival or AQS Lancaster.  This saves me so much time on the phone, re-booking appointments that overlap quilt shows.

Now my calendar is ready and I feel like I can handle life again!

How does this help me quilt?  Every time I check my calendar (daily), I am reminded of upcoming birthdays and what presents need to be finished by which dates.  I usually miss those deadlines, but this way I'm only a little late instead of "You had a birthday?" late.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Happy Engage-A-Versary!

27 years ago today, the stock market took a nose dive.  That day is now known as Black Monday.

27 years ago today, my husband asked me to marry him.

The stock market is volatile and its future is always uncertain.

Our married life has been quite an adventure and I look forward to another 27 years (or more!) with my super-hubby!


(221 B Baker Street, London, July 2014)


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Hotel Tour of 2014 -- Night 115

I am visiting family this weekend.  We are just hanging out and I am doing some hand stiching.  I overpacked and brought nine different projects.

1.  I brought placemats to bind:


I finished them and am leaving them with Mom.

2.  I resurrected an old hand applique project:


I want to keep working on this until it is done.

3.  I found a bunch of old cross-stitch projects and pulled one out to work on:


This was actually fun!  I don't think that I will live long enough to finish all of the cross stitch kits in my sewing room, but maybe I can finish this one someday?

4.  I couched on three tablerunners and then decided that I didn't really like the yarn I chose.  Time for a hot date with Pierce, my seam ripper:


I un-couched three tablerunners that have been waiting for some attention since May I think?  I'm not sure how I'l finish them, but they are now ready to go.

5.  I pulled out another applique project:


This one is from April 2014, at least.  Not too old.

6.  I started a new project:


This is Quartet by Pinwheels using Daiwabo threads.  SWOON!

7.  I am working on a project I started with the lovely and talented Ms. Pepper Cory at a class in March 2014:


8.  I fell in love with this big hexi pattern:


I think I might finish this as a tablerunner, just to be done with it.

9.  My family loves hand-knit dishcloths:


I have cones and cones of cotton, so I try to knit up a few of these whenever the begging becomes too loud.  "Debby, I'm on my last dishcloth.  Could you possibly knit some more for me?"

I only finished the placemats and the un-couching, but I did manage to stitch on every single project I brought, if only to not feel like I ridiculously overpacked for a three-day trip.

The good news is that these projects are all prepped and ready to go. I will pick a few (less than nine) to bring to Houston with me.  I know that I'm usually dead on my feet when I hit the hotel room at the end of the day, but I am incapable of traveling without at least a little hand sewing, y'know, just in case...

Organizing -- Day 9

If you read my blog, you already know that I travel a great deal.  Tonight is my 114th night away from home in 2014, and there will be many more nights away before the year ends.

Since I love to sew and my life involves a great deal of travel, it's best to be prepared to stitch on the road.  Over time, I put together this kit for myself:


I purchased the zipper pouch at my local quilt shop many years ago.  Recently, I filled it with all 60 shades of InvisiFil thread from WonderFil.  It is a 100-weight polyester thread.  I have large cones of this thread and could probably have wound small bobbins of each color to pack, but these spools are easier to see in the case, prettier, and oh heck I just wanted them.  Happy birthday to me! 

Now I can tote around my hand applique and always find the right shade of thread at a glance.  Lovely turqouise:


And a passionate purple:


I prepped all of my applique before I left home.  I can now simply grab one bag and head out the door.

This scrap quilt based on a simple flower template that I drafted.  I started this years and years and years ago.  It is time to finish it and get it out of my sewing room.  This may take a few months, but I am committed to finishing this instead of packing it away to sit for another several years.

Friday, October 17, 2014

LESS!

I've been trying to have a "more out than in" philosophy about my house, hoping to clear some flat surfaces, especially in the sewing room.  The folks at the post office are getting to know me as I often visit them to mail out boxes of love.

This week, I am visiting my mom and I hand-delivered something from my sewing room:


Halloween placemats with matching napkins!

I am trying my hardest to finish up that bag of Halloween fabrics, scraps and all.  I pieced the backs:


Some ladies at my guild saw the pieced backs as I was binding these at our meeting and said "You are a modern quilter!"  Um, yes?

Mom and I will have festive meals while I am here visiting.  And if we become sloppy, we will use the backs!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Hotel Tour of 2014 -- night 113

My hotel room tonight is at Casa De Mom.  Things are the same here as they were over 25 years ago when I left home.  I, however, am different.

I am much for electrically minded now:


When I lived here, I didn't have to figure out how to charge my laptop and my cell phone and my kindle and....  You get the idea.

I brought along some hand-sewing projects to sit and visit family and stitch:


That's when I realized that my eyesight was much better all of those years ago.  Immediately after I took this photo, I put my hand applique away and pulled out some knitting.  I can knit without looking, so my poor old eyes can handle it.

Lest you think that applique and knitting were my only two choices tonight, I don't think that 9 different hand sewing projects is too much for a 3-day visit, do you?

Overpacked?  Who?  Me?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Organizing -- day 8

I've been quilting a lot lately and keep thinking "with all of the quilts going out of this studio, shouldn't I see some empty space soon?"

Yep:


One empty bucket!

I didn't get rid of it, though; I filled it with a barely-half-done project that was clogging up my cutting table. 


The empty bucket translated into a clearer work surface. 

A clearer work surface will (hopefully?) help me to stay focused on one project until it is finished.

Fingers crossed!

Low-fiber diet

My house diet, unlike a food diet, has me decreasing my fiber rather than increasing it.

I am pulling out many old quilting projects, finishing them up, and finding new homes for them.  In theory, my sewing room should get cleaner with each project finish.  In reality... notsomuch.

I found a huge bag of Halloween fabrics.  I know that I purchased some of it in 2008, but other fabric in the tote could have been older.

I chose some of the fun and funky fabrics and made some placemats and napkins:


These now live somewhere else.  Happy Birthday!  You know who you are.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Organizing -- day 7

My house is bursting at the seams with nearly three decades of accumulated marital possessions, and let us not mention the contents of my sewing room!

I want a soothing and peaceful house, uncluttered and organized.  I am good at organizing, so how hard will can this be?

I realized that I simply have too much to organize easily and must begin to own fewer things.  How do I decide what to keep?  How do I decide what to get rid of?

Whenever I come across an item that I'm not sure to keep or part with, I ask myself this question:

"If I lost this, would I pay money to replace it?"

If I wouldn't pay to replace it, I just might try and get rid of it now.

When I get rid of things, I try really hard to not throw them away.  I try to give things away to folks who can use them.

The easiest things to give away are quilting supplies.  I can give them away at my guild meetings and when I'm teaching.  What quilter doesn't like free stuff???


Monday, October 13, 2014

Organizing -- Day 6

Some days, the desire to get more organized just isn't there.

I have had a rough October.  I haven't been feeling well and I have had some family matters to deal with, all while trying to survive the busiest month on the quilt calendar.

Today's to-do list includes set up longarms (I brought them to a class I taught this weekend), unpack class supplies, prep for 150 students (KITS!) at Houston, catch up on email, catch up on snail mail, write Thank You notes, do laundry, make travel plans for the rest of 2014, work on 2015 calendar, and much, much more.  What did I do this morning?  I sat at my computer at stared at Facebook.

When I need a little extra help getting started, I make a deal with myself:  If I work for just ten minutes:


Then I get to do something fun:



Just a quilting a block or two on this "happy happy" quilt makes my day brighter.  Then I can return to my "big-girl" jobs and make progress.

My other secret weapon for the day:


I'm listening to this as I unpack from last weekend, move bolts of fabric, pre-quilt my quilt kits, and pack for Houston.