Monday, September 30, 2013

Yosemite National Park. - Day 1

So it was time to say goodbye to all my new sewing buddies and move onto the next part of our adventure. I was holding my breath as we checked in and was just praying all my purchases wouldn't be too heavy! I had packed our carry on with all the heavy stuff and I was wearing about 5 layers to keep the weight down as well. We just scraped in! We headed off to Fresno, picked up rental car and hit the road.


So we checked into Ravensbrook B & B which was just delightful. Sherri is the most charming host and we immediately felt at home here. She served the most amazing breakfasts which left us full for the rest of the day. Each had a little theme for the day...



Monday we spent exploring Mariposa Grove...a grove of giant sequoia trees at the southern end of the park. It's impossible to capture the beauty and grandeur of these trees in a photo. You know when you see something amazing and you think nothing can beat that and then you walk around another corner and you are blown away again...well that is what Yosemite is like.


Standing by one of the giant trees
Be careful if you need to use the restroom!
These trees never rot...look at how big it is


The oldest tree in the park...about 2000 years old

We hiked to Wawona Point...well worth it for the view

The view from Wawona Point



We spotted this little doe grazing



Loved these little critters
They were so cheeky


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Sewing Summit - Day 2

So the alarm went off at 7.30am and I dragged myself out of bed. The jet lag was really killing me. Found a coffee shop down the road that did GREAT coffee and they roast their own beans, so a bagel and a freaking huge 20oz coffee set me up for the day. Forget getting a normal sized coffee over here...everything is twice the size as at home. I was that tired I figured a 20 oz would do the trick.




So clutching my half drunk coffee I stumbled into my first class which was Stash Mixology by Elisa Albury. Waiting for us on our desk was a Ruby Beholder and a sweet. I had no idea what this was but its a piece of ruby coloured plastic that allows you to find value in a quilt. It works on all colours except red as it is red in colour. If you want to find the values of red fabrics you need a green beholder. Elisa reckons we won't need it though as our eyes will get pretty good at identifying value. Taking a black and white snap on your camera kind of does the same thing. I love this little tool. Used it for a couple of things already...perfect!




So Elisa had some take home points....ugly fabrics can work magic!!! You know those fabrics that you buy and then a few years later you think what on earth was I thinking....they are so freaking ugly. It might be the large floral or the lime green pixies or the ugly brown fabric you thought might come in useful....well Elisa says take those fabrics and add them into a quilt...that lime green will become a zinger and add a pop of colour. Cut that large pink floral up into smaller pieces and work it into a quilt. We then did an exercise where we all put 6 or so FQ onto a table and we all tried to add a zinger or coordinate the colours with the stash we had. This was such a fun class and Elisa was a great teacher.






The second class for the day was Social Media with Tauni Everett who blogs at Snap Creativity. This class was about getting more from your blog and using social media. She talked about using tags or labels to help search engine optimisation, about being real and consistent, networking with other blogs, using link up parties and using photo gallery sites. She also said to use photo titles and add an alt tag as people will often search just for images and these will come upon a search as opposed to not labelling as DSC19995 is never going to come up in a search. It wasa great session and I learnt a lot from Tauni.




Lunch was another feast and this time we had cute little battings waiting for us on the table.







They held little fun competitions each lunchtime and I won the prize for travelling the furtherest. A cute little hold-all with lots of cute things in it.





After lunch, it was time for Equilateral Triangles with Jeni Baker who blogs at In Color Order. I have loved and admired Jeni's work for ages, so was excited about doing this class. An equilateral triangle quilt as been on my to -do list for ages. She is just the sweetest person. I loved this class. It was over far too quickly.


Jeni's triangle quilt
Showing how to cut the triangles



Isn't this wee Briar Rose mini the cutest!





My stack of triangles

Kelsey, my sewing buddy



The last and final class was Photography by Melissa Esplin. I have a DSLR and a point and shoot, but really want to learn how to take better photos. I just throw it in automatic every time and away I go! So Melissa talked about f-stops and shutter speeds and ISO and all manner of technical things that I am still trying to understand. I've been playing around a bit, guess it's a bit like FMQ...the more you do it, the better you get at it. She then gave us a practical demo via a data show on the screen. And never ever say makes you grimace...say yoga or grandma instead!

Julie and I - camera buddies



So that was the classes over and done with. We had half an hour before dinner and the closing speech by Heather Bailey. Our gifts for dinner were Olfa accessories.





Heather shared her journey at the closing dinner. Another inspirational lady who encouraged us all to be creative. She shared sad moments, happy moments, life changing moments and with a touch of humour. An amazing person.




And to sum it all amazing 3 days filled with laughter, fun, sewing, bonding, passion and creativity. I can't wait til next year.






Sewing Summit - Day 1

So Day 1 was here. I had already met loads of people on the Shop Hop so as we all met up excitedly outside the conference rooms of the Little America, the chatter got louder and louder. My first class was Fabric Design with Pat Bravo. At our seats were little gifts...




Pat Bravo is such an amazing, beautiful person....I have always loved her fabrics and to hear how her collections came about was fascinating. She talked about how she got into fabric design and then where her inspiration comes from. I totally want to go home and make a mood board now!! She encouraged us to see the world in a whole new way...a doorway is not just a is colour and texture and patterns and shapes. Colour is also pivotal and will set the mood for the collection, so she spends a lot of time getting the colours just right. And who knew there were 2100 colours...Pantone do as they have this many colours in their library!!

Pat Bravo
Pat Bravo and me


My next class was a Creative Journey with Leanne Barlow who blogs at Elle Apparel. Leanne started her journey after seeing a skirt at Anthropologie that was way out of her price range. She then drafted up her own version, posted it on her blog and now makes and sells all her own clothing. Her journey was fascinating as she shared the highs and lows. She previewed her upcoming skirt - the Bow Skirt - as well.



Just sitting casually in Leanne's class was Heather Bailey, so I took the opportunity to have a chat with her. She was the keynote speaker at the closing dinner, but was just casually hanging out with everyone. I will talk more about Heather tomorrow but for now let's just say she is a beautiful person inside and out and her new fabric collection Lottie da is gorgeous. I grabbed some at the Shop Hop.



We then broke for lunch which was a smorgasbord. And at our tables was some cotton from Coats and Clark...more to add to my swag pile



My next class was a Curves Mini Quilt with Angela Pingel who blogs at Cut to Pieces. I hadn't tried curved piecing before so was keen to give it a go. We used a Sizzix machine to cut the drunkards path this made it so easy!! I love these babies. Angela uses a pin at the middle only, sews to the middle, then turns it around and sews back to the middle. This gives more precise edges. It was kind of tricky to start with, but I got my groove on after a few and they became much easier. I haven't finished it will have to wait until I am back in NZ.




My final class for the day was a Half Square Triangle quilt with Amy Smart who blogs at Diary of a Quilter. Amy is the sweetest person and so funny. I have followed her blog for ages, so it was nice to meet her. For this class I used a layer cake of Simply Style by V and Co and a nice grey solid I picked up at the Shop Hop. Again, no pics of my work, but Amy's quilt was at the front of the class for inspiration!




I had left Tony in charge of finding somewhere for dinner...after all he had all day to find somewhere!! He was very good at amusing himself...he caught trains to the outer suburbs, he went shopping, he found the History channel (yawn) on the TV, he napped.....


So we went to Sapa, a Japanese sushi bar. It was very yummy. We stuffed ourselves silly with the 4 dishes below and waddled back to the hotel for Open Sew


Bernina had provided the Sewing Summit with new machines in 2 rooms and these rooms were open until 1am each day. We used the machines for our classes, the it was a free for all until the eyelids could stay open no more or until 1am came...whatever came first.

I think I dragged myself to bed about midnight, exhausted, still trying to adjust to USA time, but feeling like I was among people who all shared the same passion, and who were all keen to learn and share experiences. I felt motivated and excited about what I had learnt, but my head hit the pillow and I slept well until the alarm went off at 7.30 for Day 2.....



Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Sewing Summit


Well, happy holidays Deb....this is what my workmates did to me on my last day of work. They covered every single item in tinfoil. Right down to each individual pen, cards I had on my top shelf, and even the paper clips!!! It was nicely finished off with a daffodil on my keyboard! You can just imagine what I said when I opened the door, then I had to check myself as I realised there might be patients who may have heard my expletives!! I did laugh though and it quickly became the talk of the hospital and I had visitors from all over coming to see the masterpiece! I think it is the most photographed office in the hospital.

So that was the start of my holiday. We made it to Salt Lake City, Utah on the Tuesday night as I wanted a day to let the jet lag wear off before Sewing Summit started. Utah is 18 hours behind NZ, so I was still bright eyed and bushy tailed at 2am!!

So Wednesday was a rest day and we just walked and looked, exclaimed when we saw the size of our pancakes for breakfast and generally took it easy. SLC is a pretty city. You fly in over barren desert and then there is this lush green city with pretty flowers everywhere, amazingly manicured lawns that are so soft to tread on and waterfalls and streams in the shopping malls. The temple is stunning with a golden angel atop of it. The walls are 9 feet thick at the base! I stumbled upon a HUGE shop selling all manner of kitchen ware so stocked up on my Wilton supplies.

That night we met some online friends for dinner. Anna, who runs the 3x6 bee on Flickr has been an online friend for a couple of years and lives in Utah. She brought her hubby and the four of us had so much fun. As soon as we met we just didn't stop chattering and it was like we had known one another for years. We went to Squatters which is a boutique brewery and pub. And look at the size of those meals!!! All that weight loss prior to my trip is just gonna go back on after one meal here!

Thursday I had booked in for the Shop Hop so dutifully kissed my hubby goodbye, and told him not to expect me anytime soon and bounded out the door trying to keep my excitement under control to join a bus load of women who all had a similar passion. The quilt shops here are amazing. Seriously, I just couldn't stop looking and oohing and aching and fondling fabric. I was the last one back on the bus every time!

This is what I came home with. Considering the price of fabric in NZ, I think I was very restrained!!!

Ok tomorrow I will post about day 1 at Sewing Summit where I got to meet Pat Bravo (gorgeous, amazing lady) and Heather Bailey (who is just so nice) and share the classes I did.



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