Saturday, February 28, 2015

Cutest Thing?

I took a bunch of pictures yesterday of the thread heaven section of Mulqueen Sewing Center in Mesa AZ, but somehow they haven't yet migrated from my iPhone to the iPad. I'm sure there is some magic set of circumstances that explains why some photos are on the iPad immediately, some take a while and others never make the journey unless I do it manually, but I have yet to make the connection.

I did find this cool pic, though:

My assistant, Monica, is very much into healthy eating -- I could SO see her making this snack for her kiddies!

Finished up Fluff & Stuff yesterday here at Mulqueen and today I'm teaching Beyond the Basics, a fun design class teaching a lot of background fills and thread weight info. Then home tonight and off to TX for a two-week trip starting Monday -- glad to be on the road again!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Mesa AZ

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Fluff & Stuff -- Sewing Machines Plus, San Marcos CA

I was especially excited to be asked to teach at Sewing Machines Plus because my goddaughter Destiny lives and works within a couple of miles of the store so I knew I'd get to see her. Once I got down to details with Deb Donovan, the store event coordinator, I realized that she was ahead of me on every single step, so teaching here was a joy!

Everybody working on the quilts they brought!

Quilters have better control when the machines are placed so that the quilts run into each other in the middle of the table rather than falling off on the floor. Deb had really good foresight in how to place tables - I didn't have to move one thing when I got to the store, so I could just jump right in!

I call this table placement "When Quilts Collide" -- sounds like some sort of B movie....

Lots of markers and notions available; the store brought in everything on my list. There was even a stock of InvisaFil, a 100 weight polyester thread that works really well instead of monofilament for machines that hate it. Sewing Machines Plus carries a wide variety of threads including Mettler cottons, some types from Superior and Floriani embroidery thread.

Picture of me at the Dream Machine during class....

Destiny and I had dinner at her favorite sushi restaurant right across the street from the store; here we're having dessert and coffee at Starbucks. She has her after work hair style -- a ponytail -- and of course I had to give it a tug! Love that girl!

Sewing Machines Plus is located at 713 Center Street in San Marcos, a small city located in north San Diego county in sunny CA; they carry just about every brand of sewing machine there is and a lot of notions, threads, rulers and just about every goodie a quilter would want except fabric. They also service every brand of machine, so if yours is ready for its annual spa day, this is an excellent place to take it.

Today I fly out to Phoenix to teach at Mulqueen Sewing Center in Mesa!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Day 2 of Fluff & Stuff -- Authorized Vac & Sew

On the second day, everyone worked on their free motion skills. Loved all the bright fabrics that people were practicing on! In the morning, we worked with the stencils I brought and in the afternoon we did freehand free motion.

Some people practiced on their sandwiches for a bit and then hopped right back onto the quilts they had straight stitched the day before. She was getting better and better with every rep of this pattern and the quilt is going to be really pretty!

And here's Jason, our still lonely tech guy! Looks like he found at least one person to chat with, though.....

To recap -- Other than at dealer events at sewing machine conventions, I had never taught such a big class. Have to say that with the efforts of the Authorized staff, Janome educator Mary Carollo and Janome District Manager Nancy Auch (who I have known for probably 20 years and was delighted to run into again in her new job -- best of luck Nancy!!!), the event was definitely a success! Everybody was happy and several machines found new homes with delighted owners!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Fresno CA

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Fluff & Stuff Event -- Authorized Vac & Sew

We had 50 excited students and several staff members (including one tech guy, who got to sit around all day because nobody needed him -- woo hoo!!!) at the Elks Lodge in Fresno yesterday morning for the Fluff & Stuff event. Veronica Hitter and her staff did a super job getting my quilts displayed all over the classroom as well as setting up and merchandising tables of notions, needles, thread and other things that people could (and did) purchase.

Here is Veronica with one of our students...lovely smiles!

Janome educator Mary Corollo (hope I spelled that right; if I didn't, I'll come back and fix it...) giving a demonstration on the machine. Veronica's daughter Jessica is holding the mike and running the camera. She was our all around go to person whenever we needed help -- super smart AND beautiful!

Many of the students had not sewn on these machines before, but all of the staff knows the machines thoroughly and were able to answer any and all questions that came up.

There was a big screen front and center in the classroom so that everyone could see whatever Mary or I were demonstrating -- for a group this big, that was ideal.

Fluff & Stuff day 2 is free motion all day. I've got stencils for marked free motion in the morning and we'll do freehand free motion in the afternoon. There are a lot of beginners in this class; I just love it when they realize they can stitch sideways!

-- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Fresno CA

Friday, February 20, 2015

Authorized Vac & Sew, Fresno CA

While my East Coast friends are freezing, I am fortunate enough to be working in the warmest part of the country this week! I drove to Fresno yesterday and did a lecture and trunk show for Authorized Vac & Sew.  I have taught here before, so it was great to see a mix of known and new faces!


I wandered around the store and looked at fabric and notions....

...and lots of thread! Love love love thread!

My Fluff & Stuff class will be held off-site because there are 50 people in it and it takes a really big room to hold 50 sewing machines with room for everybody to work.

The lecture was held in the classroom -- love the sign over the door!

I'm off to teach 50 students how to quilt big quilts on their home machines -- this will be so much fun!!!

-- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, February 16, 2015

Last Pics from Las Vegas

When I was in Las Vegas for VDTA, I got to have dinner with my good friends, Carol Tarras and David Hooke of LiTen Up Technology. They'd come down from Chicago to promote their Q-Bot automated quilting system. We went to Caesar's Palace to Gordon Ramsey's restaurant -- way yum! That's David -- those of you who have purchased my videos or seen my YouTube tutorials have already seen his work -- he's my camera guy!

Along with David's wife Shelley, they also own 3 Crazy Ladies (it used to be Shelley, Carol and another lady, hence the 3). They design patterns and make laser cut quilt kits that they sell online and at shows through that company. Carol brought me this perfect lap-size quilt with all of the 2-1/2" strips in all my fave colors already cut for me. Now just have to wait for my sewing foot to heal!

My friend Dawna Harrison (who owns Bolts in the Bathtub in Lancaster CA along with her sister Fay) brought me home after VDTA, but first we had to do some shopping. Right across from the mall is this most interesting Frank Gehry building. Would have been a better picture if I could have waved the bus out of the way, but isn't this cool?

Then Thursday I went out to lunch with Trina, who is about to become my exercise partner again! She had an injury last year and is finally down to one crutch and can drive now, so this lunch out was a big event! I think she just decided to go out to lunch because she was sick of the Panda Express lunch I brought her every time I visited! She was more than ready for something different!

So we're going to start working out together with Shelly tomorrow morning -- yay!!!

Next up: Do you know what a photobomb is? I didn't....

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, February 12, 2015

How I Fell in ~LOVE~ with Quilting & Craftsy's Valentine's Sale!!

I didn’t know how to sew, but had always done a bit of handwork – knitted since I was 8 years old, embroidered, did cross-stitch – the usual stuff for girls who like colors and textures! A friend of mine, Mary Ponce, had made quilts all her life as had her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother before her. I used to hang out with her in her sewing room, listening to her, watching her work and absorbing everything she was doing. (She moved away from southern California in 1992 and just broke my heart – having a best friend leave is really hard!) One day, through a bunch of circumstances including locking car keys in a trunk and deciding to spend the day at home, I pieced, quilted and bound my very first easy-peasy quilt. I turned out to be a pretty good piecer and an OK appliquer, but my true love turned out to be the machine quilting. It became my passion – enough so that three years later I left my day job and went into quilting for customers full time on my domestic machine. Here we are, 25 years after that first quilt, and I am still loving it!

What wonderful crafty things to YOU love?? Craftsy is having a BIG Valentine's Sale... up to 50% off ALL classes... Fall in LOVE with your craft all over again! Click HERE for the special Valentine's pricing!

Of course I would LOVE for you to take my Craftsy class but there are lots of other fabulous classes too! A few that I LOVE are...

Machine Quilting Negative Space with Angela Walters. AMAZING LADY AND AMAZING CLASS!! This class is on sale too... click HERE for the sale price!

Another wonderful class is Four Simple Fabrics, One Amazing Quilt with Tiffany Hayes. WOW... ideas, ideas, ideas!!  Click HERE for the sale.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Winner of the Mettler Drawing -- Who Won Me??

At the close of VDTA, I drew the winning entry in the Mettler drawing:

So who gets me for a two day class? Ashby Sewing Machine Company in Kennesaw GA! I called yesterday and talked to Marilyn because Marc and Laura are still enjoying Las Vegas -- Marilyn was excited that I was coming to the store and that she was the first to know!

We'll be doing this again -- stop by Mettler at Market in Minneapolis in May -- say that three times fast!!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Las Vegas NV

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Stitch Fix #8

The second clothing service that I use is Stitch Fix. I live in a suburb of Los Angeles, but if I wanted to shop any of those cute boutiques it would be at least 1-1/2 hours of driving in ridiculous traffic, hassling to find a parking space that I have to pay for, and then another drive back. NOT!

So Stitch Fix really works for me! My very first stylist was Erin; I've had a couple since, but really feel that Erin "gets me" so on my last review during the online check-out process, I asked for her again. She didn't disappoint me...

In the box, you get a note from your stylist showing you different ways to wear what she has chosen and a postpaid bag for anything you want to return. You can just drop the bag in a mailbox.

The first two things I tried on were the pencil skirt with the fake leather front panel and the cobalt blue blouse. I used to think "fake leather" and go Ewww, but it looks really good and it weighs less than real leather, a consideration when one travels the way I do. So the skirt is an automatic "Keep" and the blouse looked good tucked in and also looked good out over black jeans and is one of my most favoritest colors, so it's a "Keep", too.

Wasn't sure about this top at first, but then put a sweater over it to break up the print and it was definitely a "Keep".

This was surprisingly slimming on. Erin suggested pairing it with dark denim skinny jeans and tan boots -- that'll work once I can wear boots again! Foot is doing so much better; I think I'll be wearing cute shoes in a couple of weeks!

The jeans I'm wearing are from a prior Stitch Fix and so is the top; the top is a black lace tank with fake leather trim around the armholes.

I always have trouble with wraps -- what the heck do you do with all that fabric? But then when I put it on, it was so soft and comfy and I like the stripes down the back. It would be good for convention halls (like tomorrow through Tuesday's VDTA -- come visit me in the Mettler booth!) and other places where you just need a little something to take the air conditioning chill off.

Then I added this belt from Chico's that I've had practically forever but was a little too big for me and -- it's a "Keep".

So this Fix was a total success and I'm keeping everything -- Erin, B Mine 4Ever!

Oh, and cost for whole thing was $195 for all five pieces. That was after a 25% discount for keeping everything. So, let me know -- would you have kept everything? Or what would you have returned?

I'll bet you'll be happy when I can sew again...

-- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Palmdale CA

Friday, February 6, 2015

My Hero -- Color Catchers!

This is one of the very coolest products I've ever used and now it comes in a really big box. One of these dye trapping sheets goes in the washer with every single load of laundry in my house -- lights or darks, quilts or underwear -- doesn't matter, they all get a Color Catcher.

I talk about this in my machine quilting class, explaining that after I'm done with the quilting and binding I get a finished quilt into the washer to remove the markings I've put in as well as any grime the quilt has picked up during the construction process. Whether you prewash your fabric or not (I'm a NOT), the Color Catcher will attract any "loose" dye molecules that have come out of your quilt fabrics. That way, your reds aren't running into your whites, for example.

I tell people that if they have kids in college to definitely send them boxes of Color Catchers because kids don't sort! Husbands don't sort! My husband is colorblind and very seriously informed me that when he does the laundry (I travel a lot, so he does more than his share, believe me!) he sorts by WEIGHT! These sheets are worth their weight in gold! You can find them in the laundry department of Target, grocery stores -- anywhere you can buy detergent.

These are single use sheets and sometimes are quite pretty when you take them out of the washer. I'll have to hobble down to the sewing room and see if I can find some pretty ones and also what I have done with some of them after use.

Good news -- no surgery on broken toe! Have to go back in a week for another checkup, but so far, so good!

--Posted using BlogPress from my iPad
Location:Palmdale CA

Thursday, February 5, 2015

New Hair Colors, Pumpkin Muffins & Yikes!!

I saw this picture on Pinterest a couple of months ago and loved all the colors, so my excellent chemist/hair stylist Tina ordered some new extensions for me. Today she played around a bit....

and here are a bunch of new colors! We have some turquoise and green in amongst all the pink and purple that you're used to seeing in my hair. This should really be fun!

This is my amazing stylist, Tina. Behind Tina, with her back to the camera, is her assistant, Nicole.

So now to the YIKES part -- when I left the salon and approached my car, I saw that another customer had driven over the parking space line and was so close to my car that I couldn't really tell if she had hit me or not! That was a bit of a heartpounder! So I took this picture, took another picture of the license plate in case she had hit me and then I backed out slowly, got out of the car and took a look. Everything looked fine, thank goodness, but....

My friend Trina came over at 4:00 to have coffee with me, so I baked a dozen pumpkin pecan muffins. This was a big deal! Trina had an knee injury last year that kept her bedridden for months and she's just now getting around with one crutch. This was an awesome outing for her and I was happy that she was able to get out and about and visit me. Next week we're planning to have lunch out; I can see why Trina would want to do that. I've been bringing her Panda Express for months; she's probably sick to death of teriyaki chicken and white rice!

Tomorrow I go back to the orthopedic surgeon for X-rays to see if I will need surgery on my broken "great toe" (that's what the doctors are calling it) -- keep your fingers crossed for me!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Palmdale CA

Tuesday, February 3, 2015


I belong to two clothing services that send clothing collections at a time interval that I can specify. One is StitchFix, for regular clothes, and the second is Wantable for fitness clothes. I get these collections, of five pieces each, once a month although I could specify either more or less frequently or skip months altogether if I want.

Wantable has other programs, too; my friend Trina subscribed to the one for makeup and loved it, there are also programs for lingerie and accessories. I only get the workout clothes. They come in the box above, which is the size and style of a flip-up shoebox. I have five days to try on everything, put anything I don't want back in the box, stick on the prepaid label and send it USPS. I drop it at the post office with my outgoing customer shipping, but they also give you directions to have it picked up from your house.

If you keep everything in the box, you get a 30% discount; if you buy three or four items, you get a 20% discount.

This is my third Fitness Edit; I kept three items from each of the first two shipments. What I like about this is that it exposes me to brands, styles and colors that I don't run into in my run-of-the-mill shopping. I live at least one third of my life in workout clothes: morning 3 mile walks that I'll resume when my toe heals and working out with my trainer Shelly at the gym three times a week. Most of the time, unless I have somewhere else to be, I just stay in the workout clothes all day.

So this is what was in this month's Edit:

So I put on underwear and a Knockout by Victoria's Secret sports bra -- best sports bra ever!!! -- and tried everything on....

I put on a pair of charcoal grey leggings from Fabletics, another online fitness wear company that is either owned or co-owned by Kate Hudson. These are among the best fitting leggings that I've ever purchased and I have them in black as well as the grey. This is the NUX focus tank, in a green print instead of the poppy color in the picture of the product. I like tie dye and don't have much green. Verdict -- not sure; the fit's fine, but maybe I'd like it better with black bottoms? Maybe there's a reason I don't like green?

This is lightweight and the colors are spring-like. It will be great for wearing to and from the gym as well as the morning walks. Love it with the grey leggings, so verdict: Keep!

My first thought was "Ugh! Shorts!" and I wasn't even going to try them on, but then I remembered that I live in southern California's Antelope Valley. Not quite as hot as Palm Springs from April through October, but pretty darn close! And I don't own any shorts at all...

Mainly because I have blindingly white legs and when walking or working out, wear my ever present neoprene knee sleeves, not a lovely sight! Well, maybe the knee sleeves would look better if I bought two of the same brand? LOL

But then when I tried this on, I really liked the fit and they're comfy. Verdict -- keep! Wearing them with a VSX sports T-shirt from Victoria's Secret and the lovely fuzzy sock that fits over my swollen foot!

Although I have to stop whining about my broken toe, particularly since Janet-Lee Santusio posted that she was driving in a snowstorm with a broken leg with her sidekick, Mary Schilke. If you don't know them, Janet-Lee and Mary are the founders, owners, organizers, etc. of MQX. I taught for them a few years ago and thoroughly enjoyed the experience -- these ladies put on one heck of a show!

My very favorite color of blue in a capri legging! Very flattering fit, no butt seam and a textured stripe down the leg. And doesn't this color bring out that little blue stripe in my fuzzy sock? Verdict: Keep!

Last thing, the turquoise wrap. I'm not a fan of things hanging down, so I liked it much better knotted in the second (sorry, blurry) picture. Love the color; verdict: Maybe?

So what do you think? Return the tie dye top and the turquoise wrap? Keep them? Help me out here!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Palmdale CA

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