I’ve been working on this post for awhile now. Today, I spent the day installing all of the insulation in the studio conversion.  Here is what it looked like this morning:

And here was the end of the day…

Anyone who has ever installed insulation before knows what a thankless task it is! I love the drywall install as it seems like the room all comes together before your eyes! Insulation…not so much.

But… it is necessary and, as I hinted above, it gave me some quiet time to think about this post.

So here is the question I was thinking about: Why so much drama?

Specifically, why so much drama in our sewing and quilting industry?

I will begin with a confession: at my first Quilt Market in Fall of 2008, I was amazed, excited, enthusiastic, and thrilled to have found ‘my people’! I had just started my job at C&T Publishing.  I had never even heard of Quilt Market before. It was an energizing experience that left me just giddy.

However, after my second Quilt Market, I came through the door, my husband greeted me with excitement, wanting to hear all about my trip, and he gave me this huge hug…and instead of not being able to decide what to tell him first…I burst into tears. What happened??

The drama. It was just too much for me. And my homecomings from subsequent Quilt Markets haven’t been a whole lot better.  Now…do you know what? I dread it every season.  And I hate that this is true.

Now, there are a ton of things I love about Quilt Market and I do come away with great connections, and great new ideas, and….honestly now….I meet some new designers that leave me amazed and breathless and humbled with their talent. And that is what I love. Even meeting just two or three of these potential authors, fills me with so much excitement that I might be able to work with them and to bring their talents to a large audience.

Sadly, this is the exception to the rule.  Why why why? What is it about this creative journey, this amazing industry with room for everyone, with designs and people and companies who are some of the most innovative, hard-working, inspirational, people I have ever been lucky enough to meet….what is it that leads to all of this drama?

I absolutely hate it. In fact, it got me so upset, that I asked for Management Training in how to extricate myself from conversations that were degenerating (which C&T provided because they are such a great company to work for!!).

But…the sad fact is: I am a great dumping ground. The conversations I have are required to be confidential. The sheer amount of ‘information’ I have in my head about who likes whom and who doesn’t and who said what about whom and who doesn’t like whom and who hates this or that or the other or who is mad at me for not liking this or that or the other, who came out with a fabric line that they hate, who they heard this scandalous rumor about, and who they would just never ever want to be on the same publishing list with because their work is…… (fill in the blank)…. it is just staggering.  It. Exhausts. me.

I have heard enough from others to know I am not alone.

So, this Fall, I have made the decision to ignite change. Because it can be infectious. I have decided to have powerful progressive conversations, to be open to everything, to trust my gut, and, most importantly, to walk away from any conversation that is anything but positive.

I know we all have opinions (goodness knows I sure do). And that is okay. That has to be okay, because discourse is good. But I’m just going to try it out this Houston Market. I want to be able to come home from Market energized again. I want to be excited to tell my team what I saw.

So, if you are going to Market, whether for the first time or for the umpteenth time, and you want to share something you are excited about, or someone you met who you just adore, or some great technique or pattern or trend that you think just has to be shared with the world….I want to meet/talk to you!!! I want to go for a coffee and talk about all the great things you want to add to this ‘publishing conversation’/'sewing conversation’.

If not…..

How about you all? What do you think? Are you exhausted too? Do you want to focus on the great stuff? Do you think there is too much drama? Do you want to see a change? What do you all think?

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My Summer Vacation

Last week we closed the store, I took a few days off of work and went up to the lake for a summer holiday.  Thought you might want to see what we did…

Here is the debris outside our cabin door from all of the…



Junior Rangering at the nearby State Park…

Human spider-webbing…

And inside, days full of Lego

And Playmobile, and Celebrating my younger’s 4th Birthday, and, when I wasn’t sitting on the deck playing Boggle, Scrabble, Password, Trivial Pursuit, Balderdash, or cards, I did a teeny tiny bit of designing and sewing:

Ahhh…it was bliss! What did you do this summer?

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My 6 year old is sewing!

Oh man, am I a proud mama today? Yesindeedy.

A has been eager to learn how to sew…forever. I don’t really know what has taken me so long to teach him. I bought him a new-in-the-box Singer 8280 for $22 at a garage sale last summer, but it just never seemed like the ‘right’ time. I guess that I just didn’t know whether he would have the patience. But he does.  Here is his first sewing project

We had such a fun, crafty day.  You can see our other project in the pic too. We actually all three stuck a million stamps onto an old beat-up table in the morning (while poor DH was slaving away getting all the wiring done in our garage-to-studio conversion), then the afternoon was a picking-fabric,/learn-to-use-the-sewing-machine marathon. It’s tough to know if I love the look of pride on A’s face more than I love the secret he kept until he finished the pillow. ‘It’s for my brother’, he says! ‘He loves dinosaurs, so I made it for him.’ Begin heart melting. These boys…

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Teacher Appreciation Gifts

My 6 year old’s first year at school sped by!  Thank you gifts are upon us.  I wanted to make his teacher a bag with a nice big base (I made this 6″ wide) so that she could store folders and papers.

I went to an antiques fair here in town a couple of weeks ago and found these great teatowels from the 70s. I am pretty sure these are really cherries but I think that they can pass for apples.

Here is a photo of the inside:

And because I was able to help out in the classroom once a week,  we would often chat about her little girl, Grace. So….of course I had to make one for her too, right?!

Pretty ballerinas that I picked up from a stall at PIQF last year so that momma and daughter each have one. I hope we get her as a teacher for little O in a couple of years!

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You read the upside, now here is the downside

So I found that great quilt earlier today, but I did buy a few other items as well (including a handi-quilter frame for $5 and I have no clue how to use but…$5!!!!, a couple of quilting books and a few bags of fabric).  Went off to pick strawberries at the farm with the kiddos and enjoyed a lovely picnic at the creek afterward.

Came home, eager to sort through the scrap bag I picked up for $1 and found the most bizarre fabric I think I have ever seen….

Bears and kittens….seriously???  HOW did that get printed?  Gaaaa.

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Garage Sale Find: Hand pieced!

WOW, right?!!  Picked up this little beauty at a garage sale today.  Love all of the colors and perfect twin bed size.  The best bit may be that the entire top is hand-pieced!

Or, the best bit may be that they only wanted $5 for it!  Felt a bit guilty as I quickly handed over my five bucks and rolled it under my arm, but it will certainly be loved.  And to whomever spend all that time piecing this top, that is all that counts.

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Embroidery Floss Marathon Organization

So look what I found at Michael’s yesterday (40% off! Get there while the scrapbooking storage sale is still on). It has sixteen of these little guys:

and an easy snap system with a handle. While I am sure that my photos would benefit greatly from such an organization system, I had something more along the lines of a solution for all of this:

and this:

I had some of those floss bags and had those organized by color, but, as you can see, it was still a big hot mess.

So last night, while my husband was diplomatically averting his eyes but could not resist asking just how much floss one person needed in a single lifetime, I sorted, packed and donated the excess until I ended up with this stunning little beauty:

Yummy, right?

So if your embroidery floss needs  organizing, it fits the skeins perfectly, you can see through each of the containers, and it has a easy-to-carry case with a handle. Quickly, before the Michael’s sales is over!

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Hour-Before-The-Flight Sewing

I was so jealous when I was hearing about everyone’s last-minute projects before coming to Quilt Market last week, as I just figured that I could never work to that kind of timeline.  But it seems that frustration breeds creativity as I just had to have a case for my laptop before I leave for my next trip.

I made a pocket in the front to hold the cord and an envelope type top closure. With just an hour to go before I catch my flight, the case is all finished up with time to spare (blog)!

I thought that if I covered it in the lovely V&A fabric from David Textiles and some Denyse Schmidt fabrics, I can pretend it is really a book!  Off to Denver for a SAQA conference I go and I will actually take some pictures this time!

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What I did on my flight to London, or Why I should never sew on a plane

I forgot to show you what I did on my flight to London a couple of months ago.  Well…maybe not so much ‘forgot’ as decided never to show you.  But, today I finally pulled it out and finished off the last few stitches…

Yes, I decided that I needed something to do on the plane, so with 10 minutes to spare before my taxi came to pick me up for the airport, I madly cut all of the pieces I needed to make this adorable little project from Jill.  Hers looks like this:

Mine….kinda less so.

I sewed the entire cozy by hand except for the last bits of construction.

Here is a close up of my best attempts at a sewing in a straight line *sarcasm*.  Ugh.  So, there you have it.  I don’t think that I will be sewing on an airplane again anytime soon, but I do have good news:

There was a 10 year old girl sitting next to me who took great interest in my wobbly mess.  I just so happened to get chatting to her and her mum about sewing, we exchanged email addresses, and I was able to send the young lady a great pack of books to get her started on a sewing road of her own.  Hopefully hers will be a bit more along the straight and…well, I guess just straighter than mine is! Paying it forward….now that is a happy beginning.

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To Egg or not to Egg…

So, we usually dye eggs with the kids and end up with a fridge full of more egg salad than any one family could hope to consume. This year, I decided cupcake decorating instead. Winner.

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