Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Misadventures of Pearl and Company in their quest to find exciting new products at Quilt Market.

It began as usual with our 7:30 a.m. departure Thursday morning.  We did not experience ANY traffic delays, and filled the hours with excited conversations as to what we hoped to find at Market and our visit to some "new" to us quilt shops on the way. The first indication that our so far blissful day may be changing was when we exited I-59 at the George R. Brown exit and found that the ENTIRE front of the convention center was blocked off and that the street on which we usually made our way to the parking garage was no longer usable!  But, we are resourceful, so we wound our way around and were successful in entering the parking garage.  We then had to find HOW to enter the convention center.  Hmmmm. A friendly workman told us to use the Hilton's skyway, so off we went to the Hilton.  We made our way to the line to pick up our credentials only to be told that they did not have any paperwork for us.  Not good, but, the friendly person pointed out the new line we needed to go to, so off we went.  This lovely lady looked us up on the computer and informed us that only Pearl's credentials were still good for this year. Luckily for us, she was the "in charge" person and asked Pearl our names.  Mona and Georgia were the magically correct names from last year and we were then directed to yet another line, so off we went.  At this line we were informed that we had to fill out all of the forms that we had submitted again.  Finally, we had crossed all the T's and dotted all the I's and were awarded with our badges!! So off  we went to check into the hotel.  The street in front of the hotel was being demolished, but, with Pearl's dexterous driving skill at weaving around barrels, we entered the parking lot.  The welcoming desk person informed us that our room was still not ready, but assured us that it would be by the time we returned from dinner, so off we went.  Hours later we return to the hotel and are given our room key.  Our room was lovely, except for the fact that there was NO BEDDING for the sofa bed.  Not to worry, we will just call down to the desk...... but neither of the two room phones worked.  After a cellphone call, bedding was brought up to us, no pillow and no blanket just two sheets.  Half an hour later, a blanket was found and brought to our room.  Now to sleep, however, the door to our room kept bumping like someone was coming into the room every 5 minutes.  And, Pearl's iPad was frozen and would not allow us to shut it off, but kept flashing bright light every so often throughout the night until she got out of bed and turned it over.  Not a very restful night.

Pearl had first call on the shower in the morning because she had an early class. Mona and I were going to leisurely take our showers, have breakfast and walk to the Convention Center.  However, the shower only had scalding hot water and it just trickled out.  Another call to the desk.  Pearl has to leave, so off goes our intrepid leader.  A repairman appears as Mona and I are leaving an hour later.  Not to worry, all will be well upon our return that evening so off we went.  Still nothing but trickling scalding hot water at 10:30 p.m.  We are beginning to get cranky.  Another repairman is sent up to our room, and then a manager arrives with a new room key to a room a floor below.  So off we went dragging ourselves through the halls like thieves in the night.   Thankfully, this room had all the correct bedding, working phones, and hot and cold water with plenty of pressure for the shower and no banging door. Sheer Bliss!!!

Sunday dawns with lots of rain, but we are well rested, and freshly showered, so no problems.  We should have known better.  The valet parking men were unable to locate our car keys.  Really? After a half hour search, they were located so off we went to get in a few more hours of market.

The reason for this post is to let you know the lengths we go to provide our loyal shoppers with the newest and the best!!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Row By Row Experience 2015 and 2016

We Have a Winner!!!!

We are so excited to (finally!) have a winning quilt come in for the Row By Row Experience! We have seen so many quilts posted to different shops and were, frankly,  getting edgy with anticipation but Valerie Burgess swept in with her lovely quilt using (mostly) Louisiana Rows and wowed us.

The following information is for folks outside of our area, (in case you were curious): In order from top to bottom, you see rows by the following shops....

Mama's Quilt Shop, Independence
Our Row, Bright Hopes Quilting, Mandeville
Sew This!, Abita Springs
All Stitched Up By Angela, Slidell
Mes Amis, New Orleans
The Quilt Corner, Baton Rouge
Coastal Sew n Vac, Gulfport, MS
The Quilted Owl, Metairie

By sheer coincidence, another quilt top was emailed to us the same week...
This one was made by Marti H. and commemorates her relocation from Louisiana to Florida. We are sad to see Marti go and hope her settling in to the new home is the beginning of many happy years.

From the title of this post, you know we have news about Row By Row Experience 2016.... next year's theme was announced last week!

Home Sweet Home

So many ways to take this! Whatever will we come up with?

Well, we are already spinning out ideas and designs at the shop and really look forward to the big reveal next year. 

Stay Tuned!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Houston Quilt Festival Info

We are less than a month away now from the annual spree, Houston Quilt Show, and I would imagine by now your plans are certainly in the hopper about heading that direction. But, in the event you are still on the fence or are unable to attend this year, take comfort knowing you can still visit Festival in the virtual world of the internet!

Quilts.com is headquarters and point of entry of all things quilting. Here you will find links taking you to separate exhibits on display in Houston. Take a tour of the Festival Gallery of Quilt Art: Home for a real treat. These quilts come from around the world and depict 'home' for the artists.

You can read columns by Mary Fons which explore the world of quilt-making from a young perspective. Being raised by a fairly well-known quilter, Ms. Fons brings a unique perspective to news and happenings in this particular art form.

If you've been to "Houston", you've earned your merit badge and know when to arrive, where to park and what shoes to wear. But, if you are attending for the first time and want a few tips, here is a good read from Quilter's Newsletter. And YES, you can bring and use a camera but be certain to read all signs which prohibit the use in any particular display.

One small piece of advice I can offer: The doors WILL NOT OPEN one minute earlier than 10:00 am and you will find quite a crowd gathered in front of the Center. I recommend arriving 5 minutes AFTER 10:00 and you'll sashay right in. You can purchase your tickets online and avoid staying in line at the box-office, too.

While taking classes is mentioned in that article (above), it's probably too late to sign up for any at this time so that will leave you all the time in the world to browse the Shop aisles on the left side of the George R. Brown Convention Center and the Show side on the right side.  The Convention Center is too massive to even describe. There are quilts hanging everywhere; your eyes are not going to be able to take it all in.

The catalogue is a very good way of keeping track of what you find appealing.  Write in the columns and you stand a better chance of finding it later in the day. Tip: If you find something you really really like, get it there and then. You'll tell yourself, "Oh, I'll come back and get it later. I don't want to carry all that around all day long." You may never find it again. You may never find the booth again! I'm talking BIG. This space is enormous. You should also know that there are baggage-checks where you can leave your purchases safely. There are NO carts or wheelie-bags allowed at Festival.

Food: There's a food court to one side of the Festival. You can buy nachos, hotdogs, cheese-steak sandwiches and drinks but you are also welcome to bring your own lunch and snacks. The trick is to stay hydrated and well-nourished because you will be doing a LOT of walking. However, if walking is an issue, the Convention Center has scooters and wheelchairs available for rent.

 Wear a pair of shoes you've already broken in. This is no place to be fashionable.

Bring a friend, for sure, because it's fun to talk about what you find or see. If you are traveling in a herd, separate. It's better for you and it's better for the other participants because trying to stay together means someone is going to lag behind and someone else is definitely going to sprint ahead which means you're going to get separated anyway. There are places you can meet up at an appointed time and regroup.

Relax; If you get tired, there are places to sit down along the back wall. Head on over and take a break. They hide the bathrooms back there as well.

Enjoy: Quilts on display here are the best of the best and you will be astounded at the work that has gone into each one. They are inspiring and amazing.

If you find yourself thoroughly exhausted when you leave, you did it right. Your head may be swimming, your arches aching and you wonder how you'll make it home again or to the hotel. You may even be telling yourself, "I'll never do this again!" But, after a good night's sleep, you'll wake up and think, "Man, was that FUN!"