Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sunday in Houston

pretty busy day today! 
I did some buying for the shop!! Some really fun stuff, it will be fun to unpack when I get back, and also to wait for some packages to come in the mail!!!  The displays are colorful and interesting, and the quilts in the shows are beautiful, as usual.  Maybe I'll get to an electronics shop in the next couple of days to get a charging cord for my laptop.  I've been taking some photos.  Even of where i went for supper this evening--- The House of Blues, where I had some shrimp and cheddar grits (very tasty). 
Hope everything is good back home-- m

Houston in Photos, on a Saturday

On occasion, I have tried to describe what downtown Houston is like, but have felt that I have never quite been understood.  The fact is, is that downtown Houston is not a vibrant thriving downtown core that attracts tourists, especially on weekends.  It is undoubtedly a business center, and has numerous high-rise office buildings, but....
These first photos are taken on Saturday, just before lunch.  Yes, you can see some highrises. 
Can you see any cars? people perhaps? plants?
I thought I would get something to eat on the way over, but you are basically out of luck unless you go to a hotel restaurant, since everything else is closed on Saturdays.  Truly.   This is proof.
Well, so I ended up getting a coffee at the Hilton, as usual. 
Now, don't get the impression that I don't like Houston, because I do!  It is just that the downtown is bleak!  It is much more interesting when you go to other areas, which I hope to do in a couple of days. 
Also, there are some places in the conference center that you can eat at.  Also, a couple of blocks away, there is a food court on the fourth floor of a high-rise that is somewhat open.  Well, just don't ask about that.

On to more exciting topics. 
This post has a lot of photos, which is a good thing.  However, they are not in any particular order, so I will just comment on them as I uploaded them.  It is somewhat chronological, as they were taken throughout the day.  I was able to download then upload them on my laptop, which is steadily losing it's stored power, and I don't have the cord with me to plug in (bad, bad mistake in packing).   Oh, yes, they are totally unedited, so might be of very various quality.

When I got to the convention center, I went directly to the sales floor.  It is about 25 aisles, that are quite long!!  I entered about mid-way.  I was heading to the Westminster booth, which is actually several sections. They have areas where sales reps have tables to meet with buyers, and areas which their different designers set up to present their particular fabrics and ideas of what to do with them. 

Isn't this one great? It is a designer called Tula Pink, whose fabric is delightful and happy. 

As you can see, we will have to get some of her patterns:

This is a detail from an alphabet quilt:  It has some very detailed quilting.
I hung around there a little while and chatted with Anna Maria Horner, who is my favorite!  I love her fabrics, of which I have no photos, - but you have seen them in the shop!  And she is incredibly nice.  She was the nicest person I talked with all day! 



This is a view of the convention center: 
It is pretty big.  It covers about 4 blocks and is at least 3 stories tall.  It may have a fourth floor, well, I'm pretty sure it does, but I have never been up there.
Now, we go over to the Hilton: 
Remember I told you that I liked its lobby?  well, this is one of the reasons why.  Actually there are 2 of these chandeliers,
And these lights are on the second floor.  It has a walkway from there that goes over the street into the convention center, which is very convenient.

This is an interier view, from an inside window on the second floor looking out onto the sales floor.  You can see how the booths look, sort of. 
It is really quite a scene!  The booths are generally very colorful, and a quilt show all in themselves. 

Here we are back at the Hilton, where they have a pumpkin decorating contest in progress.  Of course I was drawn to the giant pin-cushion pumpkin.
I also like the stone floors.
Although it's always a tough decision to start buying, this is where I made my first purchase. 
Of course I was lured in by the ladybug-like parasols.
 However, what really got me interested was her gorgeous fabric combinations and really great pattern instructions that have photographs of every step. 
After a while, I decided I needed to go look over in the quilt shows.  I think I will let these photos speak for themselves, as I am tiring of speaking myself.







That was fast, here is a building photo.
People discussing what fabrics to buy...


Well, that's a big chunk of my day.. It is pretty busy here in Houston, I hope you enjoyed the mini-tour!
I hope to post again tomorrow, but who knows if I'll get any photos uploaded. 

p.s.  as I mentioned, I'm in the hotel lobby on one of the computers, and Elvis just left the building.  Really, accompanied by a tall woman in black and hot pink leopardskin and a feathered pink top hat.  Truly.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Houston arrival

very early morning flight seems to have paid off.  I woke at the unearthly hour of 3:15 a.m in order to get to Saskatoon to catch a 5:30 a.m flight.  I didn't book it that early, but Air Canada revised my flight plans a few weeks ago.  It was an okay trip, considering that I was half asleep for most of it.  Switched in Calgary and got to Houston only one hour later than planned.  Still, I had lunch and was checked into the hotel by 3:15 pm! What a coincidence-- exactly 12 hours since I "woke up".
Yes, it is Quilt Market again!
Did I have a nap? No, I did not.
I dropped my stuff and walked over to the convention center! It was beautiful weather of course! about 23 or 24 degrees Celsius.  After registering, I even took in the last 3 sessions of schoolhouse, which are 20 minute mini demos or information sessions. 
About 3 or 4 years ago, or perhaps even 5, they developed a really great park area across the street from the convention center which is also home to a couple of restaurants.  It seemed only logical to head across the road for a stroll through the hibiscus, azaleas, and roses, and other nice green shrubby things over to the restaurant for a glass of white wine.  It was nice there, so I also got a nice Nicoise salad.  After that, I wandered over to the Hilton to hang around in their lobby for a little while.  I love the lobby of the Hilton.  I'll take some photos tomorrow so you can see why.  I'll let you know a bit right now -- it's because of the gorgeous wenge wood, and marble slab floors, and Dale Chihuly chandeliers, and giant floral arrangements, and... and .. and...
you'll see.
When I went back over to the convention center I ran into some fellow Canadians, or Canadian fellows.  Three guys from Vancouver, involved with a fabric distributor there, (but not Jeff). 
I stood in line with a bunch of people for the next half hour until it was nine o'clock and they let us in as  the second wave of shoppers for "sample spree" (which is sort of a no-frills, 2 hour exercise in power shopping of various product) 
Actually I enjoyed the conversation while in line, with other shoppers in waiting. 
I spent an enjoyable hour buying stuff.  (It was a great opportunity to get "stuff" for the goodie bags for the people coming to our "Periwinkle Quilt Retreat" to be held at Shekinah in a couple of weeks).
Shortly before 10, I staggered out the door, with a load of who-knows-what into the balmy evening air.  I walked the 8 or so blocks back here to the hotel, and that's the whole story of my day.
Although I did a pretty good job of packing for this trip, unfortunately, I seem to have forgotten at home the battery plug in for my laptop, so who knows how long it will hold out.  Hmmm.  Well, I'll solve that problem later. 
Now I need to go see what I bought.  I'll keep you posted on Houston!!! It'll sort of be like you being here too!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Felt Balls

 I have been making felt balls on and off for a while now, as you can see!  They are part of my use up all the tiny little ends of wool project. 
 It is actually sort of meditative to sit and roll yarn into little balls.  And some not so little.
 I did a bit of stitching on this big blue one.  I plan to take most of them to the shop to sell, because not even I need 400 wool balls.  (Or do I?)

 The bright colors do look sort of cheerful against the SNOW outside.  Yes, snow.  However, i plan to leave for Houston in 2 days, so I don't care.  Ha ha .
 Toad still thinks it's autumn.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Small coincidences

 As you can see, I have Finished! the Curved Arcs table runner.  Although the edges had a slight tendency to ripple, I steamed them into submission. 
As I photo-ed it, I noticed the flowers in the 3 vases on the small table behind.  I don't know what these are called, but they are amazing.  They were part of a larger bouquet that DH brought home some weeks ago.  They are probably between 3 and 4 weeks old now!

 I also noticed that the colors of the flower seem to be echoed in my table runner! 

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Big Project

I haven't really talked about this big project that I've been working away at recently.  A member of our extended family retired from a weaving career, and moved into an apartment.  I volunteered to manage the dispersal of the yarns that had comprised her working "stash".  Well it has been quite a learning experience for me-- I've learned a lot about fiber content, weights of threads, plies, and how to describe yarns.  My plan was to:
1. sort things into like groups
2. whip those groups into order
3. identify what the yarns are
4. make a list of what's there
5. get the list out to people who might be interested in purchasing some of the yarns.
Along the way, I had to modify the plan because I didn't have enough space to organize all the yarns at once.  So, I focused on a couple of the yarns that seem to be useful for knitting and crochet, and have been trying to sell them and get them out of the storage area.  Fortunately there have been a couple of people who have come out to the house and bought some stuff here, which is nice because there are lots of odds and ends. 


 This is a shot of the storage room table, and some of the yarns.  There are a lot more of them!
I continue to work through the 5 step plan, and am currently on numbers 2, 3 and 4.  Hopefully there are people who will be interested  when I get to step 5! 

Friday, October 22, 2010

Stitching time

Every day has its stitching time.  Some days I start first thing in the morning.  Other days I don't pick up a needle until late evening, but that's not too often.  Usually I stitch on and off all day.  Sometimes it's Knitting needles, sometimes a crochet hook.  Today it's pins and my sewing machine needle. 
 I had been thinking about making a project from the book, Skinny Quilts 2.  I decided to try the one designed by Lonni Rossi that has arcs appliqued onto squares of fabric.  It was actually quite easy to do this.  I used tear-away stabilizer behind the background fabric and used some nice shiny colors of 30wt rayon to do the satin stitch.  This morning I added borders and pnned it, and now I have the quilting to do.  I think I'll try to do some outline stitching on it.  Nancy did a quilt in the shop that she quilted straight lines on, and it looked so nice.  I need to try not to meander over everything I do. 
 These are some of the individual blocks.  I seem to have two color schemes going on... hmm.  Well, I just used whatever batiks I had on hand, (except for the border, which I got after I had the blocks sewn together)

 This is a close-up of the thread work: 
 I like to use rayon for things like this, since it has such a nice sheen!  I like to use that triple stitch too. 
So now it's time to stitch!!!

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