Thursday, April 29, 2010

Paducah Day 2 (Thursday)

Our second day in Paducah started off bright and early with a lecture by Kaffe Fassett and Lisa Lucy Prior on making and using a design wall. They demonstrated how they use a design wall to work with color and patterns in a quilt. It was really nifty to see how the fabrics work together.

Kaffe also showed us his latest knitting project in progress!

And of course I got my picture taken with both of them!

After the lecture we hit the vendors again,  focusing on getting to the booth where Marie Bostwick, author of the Cobbled Court series, was signing books and had her brand new book in the series for sale. This series of books focuses on a group of women, all who end up using quilts and their friendship to get through tough times. I found her books last year when the N-boy was still very, very ill, and they really hit home with me. I started crying as soon as I met her and started talking. The poor woman! 

But she was absolutely wonderful!


We grabbed some lunch and then headed back to the lecture room for her lecture: 

She also introduced me to her Daughter-in-law, Molly, who is about my age. It was great to see someone there who was a younger quilter! 

Following the lecture we headed downtown to do some shopping, eating and attend the Eleanor Burns show. 

I think this one picture expresses exactly what happened downtown: 

I need say no more. Although we also hit the AQS hurt book sale in the Finkel building, and more vendors! 

For dinner we ended up at a Mexican restaurant we went to last year; we were very disappointed to hear that our absolutely FAVORITE place had closed (supposedly something about the IRS!)

Very Sad!!!

As the Momcat was taking this picture, another quilter got my attention and said, "Have you seen the storm drain yet?" 

And agreed it deserved a picture. Only in Kentucky...

After dinner we hit a few more vendors before going to see Eleanor Burns Live on Stage presenting "Strip Tzzzz!" It was a great show, and we had lots of fun. 

The perfect way to end the day!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Paducah Day 1!!

Sadly, the second annual Mother-Daughter trip to the AQS show in Paducah has drawn to a close. The Momcat flew back home yesterday, leaving me alone with my fabric. And my rulers. And patterns. And books. And did I mention fabric? 

For the moment, however, my beloved Bernina is in the shop, as it was making this very suspicious "thump thump thump" noise when I tried working on the baby quilt last night. I was nervous about taking it into a shop, but when I arrived, I found that it was run by a woman I know from quilt guild! Now I know my machine is in good hands who can fix her up and get her back to me fast!

In the meantime, I can sort through all the pictures we took, catch up on some blogging, and work on planning and cutting some projects. 

On the way to Paducah (Tuesday)

We left my house at about 11:00 Tuesday morning for the six hour drive to Metropolis where we were staying the first night. 

You'll note here that the car only contains our suitcases. This is for a good reason; more space for fabric!

Given our early start, and loose schedule, we decided to stop at the outlet mall we came across on the way down. It was a festive side trip, resulting in two pairs of jeans and a cute shirt (see below), sunglasses for both of us, a new polka dotted umbrella and a whole slew of goodies from Bath and Body Works. 

We also found the cutest kid's ride. I did attempt to get into the car for the picture, but found I was too big. 

Much too big. 

We also saw the N-boy's favorite thing, the MegaBus. 

I think he just likes the large and somewhat creepy picture on the back. 

After a restful night, we were ready to go the next morning. Well, the Momcat had a restful night. I, on the other hand was like a small child on Christmas Eve. Well, actually like I still am on Christmas Eve. 

Here I am rocking my new shirt, jeans and pink sunglasses. 

Paducah Day 1 (Wednesday)

The Momcat and I had a long and fun-filled first day in Paducah!

We started the morning at Hancock's of Paducah, where we did LOTS of damage! This store had a back "room" that is really more the size of a warehouse, where they have piles of one-yard cuts for $4.98 each. Woohoo! 

Our strategy is to fill the cart with things we like, and then snag a bench and go through them one by one! 
Then we checked in at the Expo center and started hitting the vendors and quilt show exhibits!

I even got my picture taken with this year's Best of Show winner.

We spent the rest of the morning perusing the Merchant Mall, where the Momcat got me the most beautiful Chatelaine ever. There will be an entire post on this event. Later. When I've taken close up pictures of it!

After perusing the Merchant Mall, we had our first lecture with Libby Lehmen on organizing your studio space. It was a very interesting lecture, and made me want to give in to my desire to purchase a home labeler and then start labeling everything within site. Not just in my studio, but the whole house. I'm quite convinced we'd all benefit from this system. 

I digress. Anyway, she had some nifty ideas on staying organized and staying focused, thus resulting in more productive time to work in your studio. 

Here's me with Libby Lehman. As you may have noticed, I LOVE getting my picture taken with these celebrities from the quilting world!

After the lecture we hit the "marshmallow" as the new pavilion was being called. Erected to make up for some of the space lost by the closing of the Executive Inn attached to the convention center, the marshmallow housed even more vendors and the Kaffe Fassett display. 

After a long and exciting day, the Momcat and I headed to Metropolis where we'd somehow managed to get a hotel room. There was a snafu with the room (smoking room=not ok for the Momcat's severe allergies), so we went to dinner while the hotel ran the de-smokilator in the room. 

On the way to finding somewhere to eat in Metropolis (a failed venture, I might add, as we ended up just going back to Paducah) we did find the giant superman statue we'd heard about. Although I'm still not very clear on why it is there, it is none the less festive. 

Finally we ended up at Texas Roadhouse, where I fed the Momcat a large margarita which seemed to help greatly given her frustration about the hotel situation

After stuffing ourselves silly, we went back to the hotel room and crashed! 

It was a great first day. 

[Although I took lots of pictures of the quilts at the show, we're not supposed to put them online. So I've substituted with the large number of pictures of me and the Momcat! To see pictures of the gorgeous quilts, check the AQS website.]

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Scrapbooking with Jane!

Last Friday night Jane and I went scrapbooking at our local store. They have a crop every weekend on either Friday or Saturday night. If we keep this up, I might actually manage to finish my wedding album!!! 

Part of the deal is that we get snacks and drinks. 
Theresa, the shop owner, always seems to have one of my favorite sodas:

Jane's working on an album for her kitty-cats. It's a 8x8 album, and it's coming together beautifully!

This is one of my favorite pages that she's done so far. This is one of her kitties-Mr. Yellow. 

Here's one of the pages I got done. I finished five more! Woohoo!

Jane and I are all set to go again on April 30. 
It's lots of fun and it's nice to get away from our respective DHs, not that we don't love them!

The Momcat rolled in to town on Sunday and we drove down to Paducah, KY today. Tomorrow we start at the quilt show at 8:00 am! Pictures and adventures will be forthcoming!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Baby [quilt] on Board!

EVERYONE I know seems to be having babies! Three people at work, one relative, and at least three friends that I keep up with on Facebook. I'm starting to think that they're pumping some baby-inducing mixture into the air. And this doesn't even count people who have recently had babies. Sigh. 

The net result of all these babies is two fold:

1. I have the baby bug. I have it bad. I want one (or five) and I want them now! 

2. I get to make baby quilts! Not for everyone I know, but for enough of them that I've been keeping busy trying to get them done. If people are going to keep having this many babies, I'm going to petition for more hours in the day so I can keep up with making baby quilts!

 I do think part of my problem is that I don't make "traditional" crib sized baby quilts. I want to make something that the child can use a little bit longer, thus I make quilts that are at least lap sized. 

Here's the one that the Momcat and I are currently working on. We chose a pattern and the fabric over Christmas, and then she took it home to Nebraska to cut out the pieces. I'm still not quite sure this was an equal division of the labor.The pattern we're using is Clothesline Quilts by Elizabeth Hartman, shared kindly on her blog "Oh, Frannson!"

Momcat then mailed all of the pieces to me to sew together! 

It's strip pieced, which does help for faster construction. (The light doesn't really do the fabrics justice here; they're quite festively pink!)

There are 81 of the nine-patch blocks, made in 9 sets of 9. 
I've got 54 of them done and I just keep chugging along!

The Momcat arrives here on Sunday, as we head to Paducah for the American Quilter's Society quilt show next Tuesday. I think she'll get to sew some nine-patches herself while I'm at work on Monday!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Spring is here!

We know spring is officially here when the tulips outside my office window bloom. I like to refer to these as "my" tulips, although I'm willing to share them with the rest of the building, the university and the very large flocks of visitors who seem to be touring campus an awful lot lately. 

Aren't they festive!

Spring also means we had our Spring banquet for the student leadership program that I'm a co-leader for. It was lots of fun, but a little sad, too, as my good friend and other co-leader is leaving at the end of next week to move back to the east coast. 

I'll miss her friendship greatly!

Despite this bittersweet aspect, the event was a huge success, and everyone seemed like they had a great time! This was the first year we had the program, so it's been a bit of a trial and error to get things to run smoothly. The best thing about last night is that the students coming into the program as new participants seemed to really get along well with the students who are continuing in the program. 

This is almost the whole group; we had a few students who had to leave early for other meetings. 

Looking forward to lots of fun with the students next year!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Amish country and Cherry Pie

This last weekend I went along as a staff leader on a field trip for our international students to Amish country. This trip was a huge success last year, with the Amish just as excited to see the international students as the students were to see the Amish. We had a smaller group this year, but I think they all had just as much fun.

I didn't take as many pictures this year, as I've been there several times now, but I did take two at our lunch that I think demonstrate one of the best things about this field trip: the food! We went to a cheese shop, a bakery, a school house, a quilt shop that also makes homemade jams and jellies, an outdoor auction with lots of food, and a downtown shopping district that was full of old fashioned candies and quilt stores! You may have noticed that a majority of these stops included food, and therefore included lots of free samples. 

These stops, however, don't include the Thresher's Lunch we had at a catering hall in an Amish home. There we had fried chicken, meat loaf, mashed potatoes, warm bread, vegetables, broccoli slaw and PIE! 

Here is my piece of homemade cherry pie. 

And here is the pie pan after the table of students had finished with it. Needless to say, I was tempted to lick the pie tin out, but I resisted.

This is why I've gone for two runs and two long walks in the past two days! 

A good time was had by all, and it was nice to visit some quilting shops in preparation for the upcoming trip to Paducah with the Momcat for the annual AQS show! This will be our second trip there, and I've got some great surprises for Momcat that I'm working on! Hopefully I'll get everything done before she arrives on Sunday!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Adventures with Accupuncture

So part of my focus for the last year or so (I think we could safely say since January 4, 2009) has been to work on finding ways to reduce my high levels of stress and anxiety. I have tried many things. Some more successful than others. 

Not eating very much=not so helpful

Exercising regularly=helpful

Office drama and politics=not helpful

Trying to find ways to accept that some things are beyond my control via a variety of spiritual practices=helpful

Attending NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness) support group for families=helpful

Telling the N-boy "I don't care what you think!" in my attempt to use "I" statements=not helpful

Taking time for my own hobbies=helpful

So in this vein of seeking "things that help" (a very technical process, as you can see) I volunteered to try acupuncture at a recent programming event at work that was part of a larger celebration of all things international. 

This is me and one of my students, both being treated for stress.

Four little needles in our arms and one in each ear.
The jury is still out, however, on the helpfulness of said treatment. The acupuncturist said that it usually takes between six and 12 treatments before it really works. Although it was surprisingly unpainful, I'm not really inclined to get an additional set of treatments right now. But I certainly won't rule it out in the future!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Spring has been busy. I've been working on some projects, pictures forthcoming. I've been reading a lot of books, going for lots of walks in the unseasonably early warm weather and spending plenty of time with DH. It's also been busy at work, with lots of politics and drama. Followed by more drama. For an office of seven people, we seem to have an awful lot of drama.

So it was VERY nice to take a long 3 day weekend to relax and celebrate Easter with BabyBrother and the N-boy. In our family, we've stuck with the childhood traditions of all the holidays. Santa still comes with presents and stockings, we still leave out milk and cookies (or at least threaten the Momcat and Daddo that we're going to, thus making them gorge themselves on frosted goodness) and at Easter, the Easter Bunny still hides eggs. 

Therefore this year, the N-boy assisted Mr. Bunny with filling the eggs.

I assisted Mr. Bunny by hiding them. Apparently I'm a bit more creative than Mr. Bunny with my hiding though. Let's just say that BabyBrther was NOT amused by the single egg hidden in my 64 drawer library card catalog. 

Nonetheless, BabyBrother found all 20 eggs that Mr. Bunny hid. 

Note that I know there were 20 exactly. After the year that Daddo not only hid the eggs so well that even he couldn't find them all, but also couldn't remember how many eggs he hid, there has been strictly enforced "counting of the eggs" before any hiding occurs. 

BabyBrother also enjoyed his Easter basket full of candy and beer. And yes, he is 21. 

Other than Easter festivities we didn't do a whole lot. I went to a couple of church services, we went to the Farmer's Market. We constantly fed BabyBrother and made sure he got lots of rest, as he's still recovering from mono. 

We were sad to take him to the train on Sunday, but I think it's safe to say a festive time was had by all.