Saturday, March 31, 2007

Spring Training Report

I know, I know. I've been back for a week and am just now posting.

Anyhoo, last weekend we were flown out to Phoenix on a Texas Rangers spring training junket. We were housed in the the beautiful JW Marriott Desert Ridge resort - a 5-star hotel in the middle of the desert.

Of course, when we arrived on Friday, it was raining and overcast.

Notice the lovely green grass. ONLY on the resort grounds and golf courses was there green grass. Perhaps this is why there were bunnies everywhere! They came for the green grass buffet!

I know some of you live in Arizona and other desert locales, and while I did my best to appreciate it, there's no place like home where everything is green and bursting forth this time of year.

Here's a pic of Russ at the baseball game in Surprise, AZ. He said "Hey, take my picture in front of the mountains!" and then proceeded to stand right in a place where the buildings covered up most of the mountains. But the light standard was safe from falling over with him leaning up against it.... As you can see, Saturday was overcast and threatening more rain...

This is as close as we got to Sammy Sosa.

Saturday evening, there was a cocktail party with a handful of Ranger players (past and present) invited to autograph baseballs. Of course, Russ and I got a bigger charge out of meeting the past players (Jim Sundberg, Rusty Greer, Fergie Jenkins, Tom Grieve, Art Howe) than the current players because, let's face it, we haven't really been following baseball for the last couple of years and don't really "know" the current crop. But we met so great people and had a blast. Free booze can do that to ya.... After the party, we went to a local casino where we did our best to support the Arizona Indian economy...

Of course, Sunday the weather was brilliant and we had to get on a bus at 11:00am to go back to the airport. This seems to be the trend whenever we go on vacay. This last photo is of us with Rusty Greer. He was one of our favorite players in the late '90s and was an all-around nice guy the whole weekend.

All in all, we had a great time and would certainly like to be invited back next year!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Dallas Quilt Show Re-cap

Okay. Have you ever felt like George Jetson, screaming "Jane! Stop this crazy thing!"? Man, oh, man, do I ever relate. The last 2 weeks have been a blur. But, I'm getting ready for a little bit of R&R. Russ is being sent to Phoenix this weekend by his company to represent them at a gathering of stadium boxholders of the Texas Rangers. (That was kind of a run-on sentence...I hope you got the gist of it!) Anyway, we're going to be wined and dined and taken to a Rangers spring training game on Saturday. It ought to be fun - at least it will be a change of scenery!

Okay, about the quilt show. Here's a picture of our booth.

I know it looks a little crowded, but we wanted to cram it full of a wide selection of kits. I think it was a great plan, and one we'll probably do again next year.

I didn't get a chance to really walk all of the quilts, but here's a couple that I found intriguing.

This quilt was called "Little Cities" and was on the end of the aisle where our booth was. When we set up our booth on Thursday, all the quilts were being judged, so we didn't know who the winners were at that time. But I loved this one at first sight. I have this thing for blocks that look like nested boxes. Plus the color arragement was stunning.

See all those tiny circles and fish? They were satin-stitch appliqued to perfection. And I don't even really care for satin-stitch applique. But this was cool.

I just liked the exquisite applique on this one. It was gorgeous.

Fun, fun, fun. You couldn't help but smile when viewing this quilt.

This is a Karen Stone pattern. It's one of those kind of things where I know I COULD if I chose to, but right now I think I'll just enjoy the work of others.

Another applique quilt - I think there's something like over 1500 circles on this quilt. The quilt I'm currently working on might have 40 berries on a block. I guess I don't have room to complain after seeing this one!

I think there's 14-15 berries per bunch. Oy vey!

Okay. Now for my rant on the insanity of quilt judging. I have a friend who worked as a judges' scribe during the judging. We got to talking about the quilts that won ribbons and those that didn't and why. Take this quilt for example. It got a 2nd place in the Master's pieced category.

Masterful piecing, exquisite quilting. But apparently the judges seriously argued at length about whether is was ribbon-worthy. Why?

Do you see the left-hand vertical seam between the background and the green triangle? It's kind of hard to see in the photo, but there was a little wobble and it wasn't perfectly straight after quilting. Can you say "splitting hairs"?

This was a version of the "Almost Insane" pattern by Liz Lois. Impeccably pieced, tiny blocks. It hung straight and flat and was a vision to behold. But it didn't win a judged ribbon (the ribbon hanging on it was a past show chair's favorite choice). I asked my friend why.

Apparently, out of hundreds of fabrics, there were a couple that weren't "period". And they discounted all other qualities because of that.

This is why I no longer play the judged quilt show game. Your heart and soul's work is under scrutiny by people who have a particular bias on any particular day. It's a constantly moving target. It can make one crazy. Don't get me wrong. If people chose not to display their quilts, there would be no quilt shows. I'm just saying that I once got into that whole "I want to WIN a ribbon" mentality and it made me insane. I'm all for sharing the joy of your work. But I highly recommend that if you aren't a professional, full-time show quilter, get your head in the right place before you enter, so that you are not disappointed. There may be absolutely nothing wrong with your work - you just didn't meet the unknown subjective criteria of the judges on that particular day. Just my humble opinion, of course.

I will now step down from my soap box and fold some laundry in order to pack. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The Show Deadline is Looming....

We pack out for the Dallas quilt show one week from today. We're still cutting kits and making samples.... Yes, this is all my fault - I totally changed concepts on what we are taking to the show last week. KITS! It's all going to be kits! Not bolts, not bolt boxes, but KITS!

So, here's a cute little quickie I did this weekend. It's small (36 x 45) and uses 8 fat quarters. I enjoyed making it so much that I would totally do it again as a baby gift or a charity quilt.

Now I'm on to table runner samples....

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

It's Finished!

It's done. The colors are much richer in person, but it is a beautiful quilt - if I may say so myself!

The response in the store has been great, so all the hard work was worth it. Now on to more samples for the show next week. Hopefully, I'll have another picture tomorrow....

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Just Shoot Me Now!

I have gone and lost my ever-lovin' mind! See, this is a sample for the Dallas Quilt Show. The top has been finished since Sunday, but due to other commitments, I haven't had a chance to get this top loaded on the longarm til today.

See, this is a really cool quilt, which is made up of predominantly solids. It NEEDS texture to make it come alive. Unfortunately, the texturing is kicking my butt! I've been working on this all day, and finally had to quit for tonight because my wrist is throbbing from 9 hours of vibration and tight movements. I'd love to get this finished this weekend, but I just don't know. Why oh why do I always bite off more than I can chew?