Sunday, April 27, 2014

Stash Enhancement Expedition: Paducah 2014

I had a great time in Paducah these past few days.  It's such a treat to spend quality time with my two best friends, Sharon and Ellen, and this year we all wore "contestant" ribbons for our Round Robin quilt, A-Round with My Friends:
The quilt is directly behind me, except I don't recognize that woman in the middle. 

Red and White--By the Numbers was there too but I didn't take any pictures of it--since I know what it looks like and it was a side-hanging quilt and it's hard to get good shots of those. 

A friend of Pam Dransfeldt, the awesome Joyful Quilter!, took this photo for her.

Shopping wasn't too bad.  I bought an old quilt top as a show souvenir from Cindy Rennel's Antique Quilts, www.cindysantiquequilts:

And I added to my own stash, mostly reproduction fabrics:

The large piece of batik yardage on the far right is for our guild's next raffle quilt--it's back and background, very glad I found that.  I'll be eager to see what fabrics our members got to add to that quilt.   Members were asked to donate one fat quarter as a way of participating in the project.  I wrote all about and showed the project here.
It was a terrific couple of days--I got to see most everyone I wanted to see and was able to have lunch with one of my favorite people, Mary Sorensen.  The teachers who know me from Houston, Chicago, Long Beach, etc., all do a double take when they see me in Paducah--that's funny!  "What are YOU doing HERE?" 

Now to clean off my cutting table, ironing table, put all this stuff away and get back to being creative.  When asked what I'm going to do with this new stuff, I simply say: "Put it in the closet with its' friends, the stuff I bought at the last show, and the show before that, and the one before that...  If you're a quilter, you get it.  If you're not, you never will.

Let's quilt!


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Off to Paducah!

It's that time of year--the American Quilter's Society in Paducah, KY.  I don't go every year, but this year I have 2 quilts in the show so I made hotel arrangements 9 months ago and tomorrow my two best quilt friends and I are headed up there. 

We went last year and, as we often do, we planned a 3-way Round Robin project to commemorate the trip.  We each selected a focus fabric and each of us bought 2 fat quarters for each of the other two.  Of course, we added more fabrics during our stash enhancement expeditions.  I wrote about my block and fabrics here.  The only rule of our swap is: there are no rules.  We each make a center and pass it and the desired fabrics along to the next person.  Eventually, we get our own back and can decide what, if anything, we want to do next.  This works because we trust each other and it's not like we don't have anything else to work on--no rush on this project.

Here's what I've been working on the last few days:

Sharon's Neighborhood with Guard Cats

Sharon made the houses and trees.  Ellen added the picket fence borders.  I got it during the height of tax season so it just sat on the wall for awhile.  Someone saw it and said "you should add a cat".   Yes, of course!  We each have one cat so I added Sharon's smoky gray baby, Ellen's orange Gigi, and my long-haired tortie, Patches.  As they are all house cats, each sits guard at their front door. 

Sharon will see this for the first time tomorrow morning before we leave for Paducah.  I hope she likes it!

I already know that neither of my entered quilts are wearing a ribbon but that's OK with me--they are hanging in some pretty glorious company.  Less that half of the entries receive ribbons and that's as it should be.  I'm glad others will get to see my work.  And since one of them is a Round Robin I made with Ellen and Sharon (and worked on for 7 years) we all get to wear "Contestant" badges--and share in the fun/experience together.

Now I'd better go pack--clothes, essentials, and my handwork bag--can't leave home without that. 

Let's quilt!


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Tax Season--by the Numbers

Or, what I want to remember about tax season:

1.  90.5--number of hours I've worked in the last 9 days, without a day off
2.  29.5--number of hours I worked April 14 and 15
3.  355--number of clients I worked with this year, plus a few more who did not have to file
4.  353--number of clients I really enjoyed working with this year
5.  34--number of years I've worked for H&R Block
6.  3 weeks--how old my youngest son was the day I started working for H&R Block
7.  26--how old I was the day I started working for H&R Block
8.  7--associates who worked directly for me this year
9.  7--number of associates who said this was their best year ever
10. 2--number of direct bosses I reported to
11. 2--number of direct bosses who really appreciated my efforts
12. 200%+--amount my office did over budget target
13.  500%--how happy I am we had such a record-breaking year and a happy office environment
14.  0--number of days until the next tax season for me

It's been a great run.  I am one of those lucky people who found the perfect career fit--I could talk to many different people each day, help them with their tax and financial issues, teach my co-workers how to improve their skills and knowledge so they could help people too, and I know I made a difference in the lives of some of my clients, and some of my associates--because they took the time to tell me so.  Sure, I'll be missed for a while but life goes on and others will surface to fill the gap.  And I will miss my clients and my co-workers, but life goes on and I have quilts to make.

Here's a poem my father always kept on his dresser--it was the one thing of his I wanted when we cleaned out my parent's home.  It's a yellowed piece of paper now, but one of my great treasures:

                       Sometime when you're feeling important
                       Sometime when your ego's in bloom
                       Sometime when you take it for granted
                       You're the best qualified in the room;
                       Sometime when you feel that your going
                       Would leave an unfillable hole,
                       Just follow these humble instructions,
                       And see how they humble your soul.
                       Take a bucket and fill it with water,
                        Put your hand in it up to the wrist,
                        Pull it out, and the hole that's remaining
                        Is a measure of how you'll be missed.
                        You can splash all you want when your enter,
                        You may stir up the waters galore;
                         But stop, and you'll find that in no time
                         It looks quite the same as before.
                        The moral in this quaint example
                        Is do just the best that you can;
                        Be proud of yourself, but remember
                        There's no indispensable man.
                                                                              Author Unknown
Let's Quilt!

Fanfare '15--Let the Fun Begin!

Tax season is over so it's time to start the next major project:  being co-chair of my guild's next quilt show.  Jane and I are working hard to get all the pieces in place:  date and location are set, next job is to finalize the budget and the rules.  Fanfare '15, our 14th judged show, will be October 9-11, 2015, at the Von Braun Center, here in Huntsville.  Check out our guild Website, it's terrific.

Also needing to get done:  the Raffle Quilt!  It takes a lot of money to produce a show as wonderful as ours is, and having a great "opportunity" quilt people can purchase tickets for is a necessity.

Here's what we have planned.  With Bonnie Hunter's permission, we are going to use her latest Mystery quilt, Celtic Solstice, for the pattern:

And with the permission of Rhianon Taylor, the Nifty Stitcher, a quilter from Fife, Scotland, we are going to use this colorway:

Isn't this just luscious?!  Jane and I both fell in love with Rhianon's version--it's perfect for the look we want.   Thanks to the amazing Internet, I was able to "talk" to her and get her permission to post these photos here.   Why?  There's a good reason...

Jane and I are striving for a quilt show of inclusion and participation from our almost 250 members. Now you probably know, this is NOT the kind of quilt you want to make as a "group" project.  Apparently, not everyone has the same 1/4" seam allowance!!  So, we chose one of our excellent members, Carla R, who is a superb piecer, to make the quilt top and thankfully, she agreed. 

As a way for our members to participate, we are asking everyone to donate ONE fat quarter of fabric, in any of these colors.  They have ONE month--this will be revealed at our April 17 guild meeting tonight and the only time to turn in the fat quarter is next month  at the May guild meeting.  Since the quilt show at Paducah is next weekend, those going to the show can easily pick up a fat quarter.  Those who can't go, should definitely treat themselves to a visit to their local quilt shop in the next month, since they can't get to the big shopping experience in Paducah, and while there, pick up an extra fat quarter for this quilt.  After the May meeting, we'll shop for the remaining fabric we need, most likely background, and Carla will be off and running to get the top made.  The reveal of the quilt to the guild is set for early Fall of this year--to kick off the next year of fun plans and some hard work too.

Since Spring has tried to appear here, this quilt, in these color,s is like a breath of spring fresh air, minus the pollen.  I'm looking forward to seeing what our members contribute to this effort! 

Let's quilt!