Saturday, October 19, 2013

Thank you RCQ "Village People"

In a book, this would be the Acknowledgements section, but in my post it's the "special thank you to all our village people"!!!  I've talked about how it takes a village to make a quilt, but apparently it takes an even bigger village to get us ready for Market and Festival.  And this is my chance to acknowledge and thank all of those wonderful people. 
                      Thank you!!!!

 I'll try to do this by category and location!!!

The Katy, TX people - these are the wonderful ladies that help Paula with all of the kits we plan to sell.  They bring fabric into their homes to cut and assemble or they've been working at our "climate-controlled" warehouse for the past couple of weeks.  Thank you Cindy, Jackie, Cathy, Connie and Ronda.  Connie is also our Festival PR person.  You may have heard her last year if you were in the booth or anywhere in the aisle when she happened to walk by.  She's the one who usually says (in her outside voice) - "Oh look it's the Red Crinoline Quilts girls!!!" or something similar!!  We love her!! Paula also has some "at home" help with pattern stuffing and fat quarter folding - Shirley and Amy.  Shirley is Paula's mom and she folds a perfect fat quarter - no selvedge or threads showing!!! And our other Shirley, who graciously binds and adds rod pockets to many of our quilts.

The Jacksonville, FL people - otherwise known as The Olde Green Cupboard Design team!!  Gloria and Vicky have been binding the quilts that we sent there for quilting and they will also be the "transport" system for getting them to us!!!  They are coming for Market, so they are bringing our quilts with them!!!  The third member of that team is Gloria's daughter Heather and she is a fabulous photographer (takes all the photos for the OGC), so she did the photos on the three new mini's we are introducing.

The St.Petersburg, FL people - these are my BOM pattern people -  Caitlin, Courtney, Nikki, Nikki's mom and Phyllis and Bob.  They joke about how their work is very "seasonal" - just when I need patterns, but they've stuffed 12,300 patterns since August!!  I guess I need to thank the pattern bag people too!!!  We joke that maybe we should all invest in a plastics company - plastic bins for kits, plastic bags for patterns and kits - just a thought!!!

The Professionals - 
      Our quilters - Marcella and Margie from Crooked Creek Quilts in Greenwood, AR; Lynn and Cathy from Longarm Quilting Services in Jacksonville, FL and Sharon Dixon with Katy T-shirt Quilts in Katy, TX.  These ladies go above and beyond for us.  They are all always so willing to "fit us in" when we need a quilt quilted. I guess we need to apologize to the people we bump!!!
      Our photographers - Gregory and Elena of Gregory Case Photography in Pueblo West, CO and Heather Lynn in Jacksonville, FL.
      Our printers - Carol of Florida Printing Solutions in St.Pete (BOM patterns) and Matthew and Mark of Katy Printers in Katy, TX.  They're going to be very busy this week - brochures, order forms and patterns.  On second thought, maybe we should be investing in a paper company!!!

Ok, so with all people helping us you would think we would be done, but alas we have just a couple things left to do!!!  Paula is writing the last of the patterns and we have to proof them and I think she has one kit that she's finishing up.   I have to send out some wholesale and retail emails and then pack.  I leave Monday morning for Houston!!! I sent the last quilt to Sharon for quilting.  Paula picked fabric to do a re-do of our Sophie pattern.  I love this quilt and even better, it only took 2 days to make it - it took longer to get here from TX!!!!
Sophie re-do!!

After finishing the last quilt, I found myself with TV shows to watch, but no sewing - definitely an odd moment - so I decided to clean up the sewing room a bit.  Mainly I tackled the overflowing scrap basket on my table.  It is now empty!!!  The fabric has been sorted into appropriate scrap projects or drawers.  I'm sure I'll be filling it up pretty quickly though - Paula mentioned some new quilts she was thinking about!!! YAY!!!

Empty scrap basket!! Desperately seeking scraps!!!

Again, thank you to our village people!!  We couldn't do it without you.

Until next time, happy quilting,
Mary Ellen

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Are we Market ready????

Market ready?  Hmmm, now that's a big question!!!  I'm waiting for the mail lady to come and bring a box of fabric for the last quilt I need to make.  Unfortunately we are one of the last stops on her route AND I didn't realize yesterday was a no-mail day, so I'm getting a little impatient!!!  It's not a big one, so I should be able to knock it out pretty quickly - I just want it here so I can get started!!!!

The rest of the quilts are pieced and almost all of them have been quilted and photographed, but we still have a couple that are unfinished or in their last stages before completion. They say it takes a village to raise a child, well it definitely takes a village to complete a quilt - designer/pattern writer, piecer, quilter, binder, photographer, and of course the FedEx man that carries it between all of these people!!!  Thank you to our village!!!  Without them we wouldn't have all of these wonderful quilts to share with all of you.

As I've been finishing quilts, Paula and her "village people" have been cutting and assembling kits during the day and then she's writing patterns at night!!!  The rest of the week will be spent in pattern editing.  I do have to say that is one of my least favorite things to do, but it must be done!!!  I leave for Houston on Monday to help finish up and then it's time to load the truck and trailer and head down to the George R Brown Convention Center for set up!!!  It's a good thing we have 2 days for set up because we spend at least one whole day just catching up with everyone!!

Here's a couple of photos of the quilts that are off being quilted, bound and photographed:

Lancaster re-do done!!!

One of the new mini quilts - Spools

Another mini quilt - Tablerunner

I finished these last week after my trip to NY to see my granddaughters (and their mom and dad too!!).  The trip was fantastic - rainy and cloudy, but the time with the girls was wonderful.  I felt like I had been voted Miss Popularity - "Grandma sit next to me", "Grandma can I sit in your lap", "Grandma can you read me a book", "Grandma can you put me to bed", and on and on.  I was in Grandma Heaven and I can't wait to go back!!! They will all be here after Thanksgiving and then we're heading to Disney World for a couple of days - can't wait!!!  I brought Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman and it was a hit, especially with Julianne.  I think I read it at least 20 times in 2 days!!

We didn't get to go apple picking, but we did go to the orchard farm stand and get some apples and apple cider donuts (yummy - think I ate 3 the first day, but who's counting).  The girls were nice enough to pose for Grandma in front of the pumpkins.

Sydney and Julianne and some big pumpkins!!!!

Sunday was "Fall Decorating Day".  I figured I better get it done before I leave for Market.  Usually I just pull up the photos of the previous year's decorations on my iPad, but apparently I never took pictures last year.  (Paula calls this "decorating by number"!!!)  Trust me, I took pictures this year for next year!!!  No sense reinventing the wheel!!!  I'm most proud of my wooden tool box.  I bought the tool box on one of our retreat trips to Rachel's Farmhouse and it's just been sitting under a side table.  I was cruising through other people's pins on Pinterest one day and Vicky had pinned a tool box all decorated for Fall!!! I saved that puppy and used it as my "inspiration".  I even have a picture saved for Christmas.  Sure hope someone pins something for the rest of the seasons or its going back to sitting empty under the side table!!!

I also changed the quilts on the quilt frames and couches.  My sister-in-law was asking about all of the quilts that are stored in the cabinet and that you never really get to see and she suggested I change them around - take some out of the cabinet and put them out for people to see.  I liked the idea, so I have different quilts out now.  She suggested that I feature a "Quilt of the Month".  She also suggested that she would be "willing" to display some of the ones that are still in the cabinet in her house!!!!  Like that's ever going to happen!!!!!  These are my babies and they are not ready to leave the nest yet!!!
Wall of quilts
 Well, still no mail lady, so I guess I'll go proof some patterns - yippee!!!

Until next time, happy quilting,
Mary Ellen

PS - Box arrived while I was previewing the post!!!  YAY!!! Let the sewing begin.  NCIS, NCIS-LA, Person of Interest and Spinning Stars - going to be a good night!!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Retreat Update!!!

Yes, it's been awhile, but the retreat is over and I've even managed to get a few things done since I got back home.  It's the last stretch to Fall Market and Festival and we are sprinting!!!  I'm checking things off the list and I love it!!!  I even made Paula a poster she could take home with her.  I always made a big poster of everything we needed to do before Market, so this time she got a mini version!!!  So we're both checking off things!!

The retreat was fantastic!!!  A special thank you to Gloria and Vicky, the retreat organizers, for another job well done.  We laughed, we giggled, we joked, we ate, we snacked, and apparently some people even sewed!!!  I have to say this was not my most successful retreat in terms of completed projects!!! LOL!!!  

Phyllis and I headed out on Thursday afternoon with a well packed car - sewing equipment and supplies for 3 people (I brought stuff for Paula because she was bringing RCQ kits and quilts and Ronda and her stuff with her), cooler with Phyllis' fabulous seafood chowder and pulled pork (yes we dined well this time), snacks and assorted items.  Thursday night was a traditional meal at Sonny's in Starke - we needed our wings and mac & cheese to start the weekend!!!  For the rest of the 5 days we dined on fabulous meals (and leftovers) that the girls in our group made - Ronda's pulled pork, Diane's pasta casserole and a white chili, Donna's empanadas and chicken pot pie!!! No lack of cooking skills with this group!!

I thought I would share the pictures I took and you can see the fun we had and what we (some people) accomplished!!

Ronda Stockton and Helen Davis and their Lincoln Watch quilts!!  Aren't they beautiful and so different!!
Linda (Gloria and Vicky's sister), Lynn, Pat and Ronda - being sad!!!  For the life of me I can't remember why!!!
Donna, Wynette, Gloria, Vicky and Diane and the "thank you" quilts that Gloria and Vicky made for them!!!
These wonderful ladies are just of few of the group that make and donate quilts for the Quilts of Valor program.  Check out the stack of quilts on the table.  All of these quilts will be donated to soldiers and their families in Florida.
RCQ's Sherman's March in browns!!!  I just love it!! It was being made as a wedding present - lucky couple!!!
Ronda and her completed "Twas the Night Before Christmas" quilt.  She machined embroidered before she came and she finished it over the weekend.  She's very lucky it made it home - lots of people were eager to make it their own - me included!!!!
Vicky and her RCQ Country Spools kit.  She bought this on Friday and it was completed by Sunday AND she worked on some other things too!!!!  We hate her - LOL!!!!
Phyllis and her RCQ mini!!!  This was Phyllis' very first retreat and she is already signed up and ready to do another one!!!
Diane and her retreat project.  Her goal was to finish this and she did!!!  It's beautiful and in her favorite color - PINK!!!!
We also did our snowball block exchange and Gloria was already sewing hers together on Sunday night.  Mine came home in a nice bag and will reside on a "To Do Someday" shelf in my sewing room!!  Rumor has it we may have even agreed to do another one!!

I think we are personally responsible for keeping Tutto and Sew-Ezi tables in business!!

My car on the way home!!  You can't see the antique ladder that is running down the center of the car!!  The big black suitcase is full of RCQ quilts that are now mine!!!!  Going to be filling up that antique ladder!!!!!

And now I'm getting ready to head out of town for the weekend - a quick trip to upstate NY to see my granddaughters, their parents, some fall colors and some apple picking!!!  It will be a nice break before I have to finish the last of the Market quilts.  The new quilt from Bordeaux and Sienna headed out to the quilters on Thursday and now I'm finishing up Lancaster (still working on those borders).  Then there's patterns to edit and all of the other little things that have to be done.  I'll share pictures of the quilts when I return from NY.

Until next time, happy quilting,
Mary Ellen