Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Back In NH (For Now)

I've been to California and back since my last post. The Road to California show was incredible and thank you to all who helped make it a success for us. I was asked by so many people while in "Sunny" Southern California, "Don't you love our weather?". Well, yes I do but I also love New Hampshire. Now that's a lot to say coming from someone born in Los Angeles and living in California until I was 20. I lived right outside of downtown Los Angeles until I was 15, then we moved to Northern California. I remember thinking I was going to freeze to death when we moved "north" - little did I know that wasn't freezing! In 1970 my husband, my newborn daughter and I moved to Massachusetts. Now that was freezing. We moved in November and in January the thermometer never went above zero. I thought I was crazy for moving there. But now that so many years have gone by and, of course, there was nature's thermostat change a few years back - I actually enjoy the cold. Now it's my husband who thinks we should turn up the thermostat. So even though California is fun to visit, I truly love New Hampshire. I love the fact that our town has only 1,200 people - that we don't even have a signal or our own zip code. Our only store is a tiny corner store where you can get some basic food items and gasoline. Some would think of this as a hardship, but I call it quiet, beautiful country.
On Tuesday I'm flying back to California to vend at the Folsom Quilt Guild's annual show. So if you are thinking of a day of quilt viewing, and you don't live too far from Folsom, stop on bye and say hi.
I finished up 2 new designs right before leaving for the Road to CA show, but unfortunately I didn't get the patterns written in time to bring them. They are currently visiting the photographer in Colorado and I expect them back by the end of the week. Then it's hurry, hurry to get the patterns written and printed so they can come to Folsom with me. We had a little contest that we held in our booth in CA to name the quilts and I'm still thinking about all of the possibilities. Right now I'm seriously thinking about Pumpkin Sorbet, Polly's Pumpkins or Papa's Pumpkin Patch for the (you guessed it) pumpkin quilt. For the red and green quilt (which has turned out to be somewhat harder to name) I've been thinking about Devonshire or Wisconsin Red Oak. So what do you think? I've got a few days left to figure it out and then it will be set in stone (or should I say ink??). I think it was harder for me picking names this time because of being sick for so long. I felt lucky to get the quilts done and then the brain went dead. Now the next one is going to be a tree skirt and I hope you'll like it. I think it's going to be titled Mary E's Christmas Cottage. Well it's time to get back to work. Enjoy your day, Mary Jane

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Year In Review

I've been reflecting on 2009 and all of the happenings - boy, what a year! Here's a little look back -

Just think snow, ice & cold. That was it in a nutshell!
In the beginning of February I had the pleasure of vending at the Folsom Fiber and Quilt Guild show in Folsom, CA. No snow there - but they did have some incredibly beautiful peacocks right next to the parking area.
Only in California could you find peacocks at a quilt show - and a llama was out front but I didn't have time to take a picture.

And directly across from my booth was this beautiful quilt done by one of the guild members, Judy Danes. What a masterpiece. And she's published a book so you can learn her techniques.

The end of February I was in Hampton, VA to vend at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival. It is a wonderful show showcasing quilts from around the world. I have a 30' booth there so I have the opportunity to fill it with incredible designs from so many talented people. I also debuted my newest quilt design there - Heavenly Home.


Vending at shows is such a blessing. Yes, it is incredibly hard work - it can take up to 8 hours just to set up a 30' booth, but the response from the you, our customers, can make it all worth while. We love to hear your "ooh's and aah's". MARCH brought me to the Hands Across The Valley Quilt Guild show in Amherst, MA. I love doing this show - it is a small guild but they are such a talented group. And the really big benefit is I get to come home at night and sleep in my own bed. APRIL was lots of fun. First I vended at the Quilters Heritage Celebration in Lancaster, PA. I absolutely love the Amish country so it feels more like a vacation than work. The day after the show we take a little time to stop by some of the Amish businesses. Of course, I like the ones where they have food. I came home with so many jars of jam, it was crazy. And a case of peanut butter to go with the jam. And of course, I had to buy quite a few molasses cookies (my favorite) and did a little sampling of them on the drive home. Later in April I was at Machine Quilters Expo. This was their last year to have the show in NH so 2010 will bring us to the new location in Providence, RI. I'm looking forward to it because I've never been to Providence before. It is supposed to be a really beautiful city.


Talk about a busy month ..... First off I went to vend at the Pioneer Valley Quilt Guild meeting. They had a wonderful speaker and lots of goodies to eat - so it was a great night out. Then it was off to Spring Quilt Market in Pittsburgh, PA. My friend, Jackie Paton, and I drove there and there was so much to see. Lots and lots of new things - just incredible eye candy. Then the end of May we took a little time off and went to our cottage on the lake for a little 4 day getaway. JUNE I was off and running again. The beginning of the month I went to Chantilly, VA to vend at a show. It was my first time there and the show far exceeded my expectations. Can't wait to go back again this year. June 13th found me in Los Angeles to attend my friends wedding. This is a friend I've had for 55 years so there was no way I could miss the wedding. It was a fairy tale wedding - she married her high school sweetheart. Then right back from LA I left for the Vermont Quilt Festival. This was my first time there too. The end of June brought us back to the cottage again but this time with the two grandsons. We always take them the end of June or beginning of July. It is our time together with them and they love the swimming all day long. A few years ago we bought them a big inflatable raft so they have had lots of fun jumping and swimming. To be young again!


In July I didn't have any quilt shows so I spent time working on new quilt patterns. It's funny how a design can come about. I was waiting at the lab at the hospital for my name to be called and thought about a concept - Good Morning Sunshine. So rummaging around in my purse I found a tiny little tablet and started drawing. Now here is it 6 months later and the design is complete. The quilt is almost done and I should have the pattern completed by February.


Two shows in August so it was a busy month. First was the New England Quilt Museum show in Lowell, MA. This is always a great show and even though we froze to death this year - it is held at the Tsongas Ice Arena so you get the picture - it was well attended and as always the quilts were beautiful. Then the next weekend was the Mancuso World Tour of Quilts in Manchester, NH.


We were off to the Lancaster, PA area again for the Pennsylvania Quilt Extravaganza in Oaks, PA. The show had been in Harrisburg for a few years but this year was it's return back to the Philadelphia area. What a show! We were so busy it was crazy. And of course since it wasn't that far to the Lancaster area we had to take a side trip on the drive home to buy up more food. You can never have enough food, right?


Back to California for the Pacific International Quilt Festival. This is a very big show held in Santa Clara, CA. It is doubly fun for me because I get to vend at a terrific show and I also get to see my sister. So we mix fun and work - come to think of it, I think that my work is fun too - so I guess I just have fun and fun. I debuted 2 new quilt designs there - Hoppy's Spring Wagon and Teddy Stevens Comes to America. These are 2 fun little quilts! I also brought along another new design - Welcome Winter - which you can see on the photo below.


Hard to believe the year is almost over - but November had some surprises! First off I was lucky enough to get a booth at The Quilters Gathering in Nashua, NH. I've wanted to vend at this show for years, but I was on their waiting list. So low and behold I received an e-mail and they had a booth for me. Now the down side of it is I usually have a 10' x 30' booth at most shows and this was a 10' x 8' booth. After my initial heart attack I decided that I could somehow make a tiny booth work. You'll see from the photo below that I was able to pack tons of beautiful things in this small space. I just decided to focus on red and green since my holiday mood was in gear at that point. It was a very busy show - I guess other people were in the holiday mood too. Then the end of November I was back to California again to help my sister do her annual Holiday Boutique. It is my biggest workout of the year - we set up most of her very large house with handcrafted merchandise from 20+ crafters. So the merchandising is a huge job. Unfortunately after I came home from this show, I got sick and I've been sick ever since. I did manage to make Thanksgiving dinner for 20 people, but haven't gotten much else done since.


Oh December - my favorite month of the year. Even though I was sick through all of December - so it was doctor visits, taking medication, etc. - I still love Christmas. I also worked on 3 new quilt designs. One quilt is totally done, another is at the machine quilters right now and the 3rd is being appliqued as we speak.


Okay - so it's 2010 now. Here's what to look for - I'm leaving next week to vend at The Road to California show. Now this is a real feather in my cap because this is a very difficult show to get in to. I am so happy that they chose me to vend this year so I'm trying to get merchandise ready to be shipped on Monday. Still not feeling that well, but now the pressure is on. I also made 2 more sample quilts from other designers patterns so I have to get the binding on them too. Let's see - it was 6 degrees below zero here the other day and the weather in Ontario, CA was 74. Guess I'll need to bring my shorts along. Anyway, I hope your holidays were wonderful. Mary Jane