Monday, August 29, 2011

I Heart Ohio

I spent the better part of last week traveling the Ohio countryside with my husband. If you ever feel that the whole world has gone "you know where" in a hand basket, pack your bag and head for rural Ohio on a summer day. It will do wonders for your outlook on life.
This was not a vacation trip, it was work related. We probably would never have found our way to Greenville Ohio unless I had been invited to speak, but it was well worth the trip. We began the week in Maumee, Ohio, home of Checker Distributors and Creative Grids Rulers. I was one of the featured speakers for their annual Open House - my absolute favorite summer event. This is a wholesale show for shop owners, long armers and quilting professionals. The event is fabulous and the dinners each evening where the vendors and demonstrators have the chance to catch up with friends and network with other people in the industry are an absolute highlight. It was at this event last year that I learned from Sue Hausmann that my husbands official position in our company is as CEO. Which really stands for Carry Everything Out. I'm sure that he agrees because that is what he did for most of the week!

Finishing up after the Creative Grids designer meeting on Tuesday and having to be in Greenville, near Dayton on Thursday made the trip home to Pittsburgh silly, so we headed south to visit the grandbabies! Wednesday also happened to be my birthday and I don't think that I could have found a better way to celebrate than holding, hugging, snuggling, feeding and changing these two, especially when it was capped of with an all you could eat crab leg dinner on the kids deck!
Thursday we headed for Greenville and the Great Darke County Fair. I was the featured speaker on Friday afternoon and offered a class on Saturday morning at Smiths Merchants in nearby Arcanum. That left plenty of time to explore Greenville and the Great Darke County Fair. This isn't your average county fair, this is the largest county fair in the country and they have everything you think they should and more.

There were chickens - beautiful chickens - an entire barn full of rabbits, a swine barn and a Cow Palace. The Domestic Arts building was filled with quilting, crocheting, cross stitch and needlepoint. I was wondering why cooking wasn't represented in the Domestic Arts category until we found an entire room full of entries for the best pies, cakes and cookies, jellies, jams, etc. in a different building with flowers and vegetables.

My husband found his own way of enjoying the fair offerings.

This is him enjoying Greek food:

Sweet Potato Fries

Rootbeer Float

Bourbon Chicken

Fried Ice Cream

Hot Sausage

Fruit on a Stick

Foot Long Hot Dog



And then he picked out the tractor of his dreams.

I had to break the bad news to him that he couldn't bring it home. But the fair was so much fun that we might just go back and visit it again next year.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Isn't this a great looking quilt?

You can see it in person if you stop by the shop. The 60" by 80" sample is on loan from the pattern designer, Blue Underground. The name of the pattern is "A Bit Askew". I was immediately drawn to it the first time I saw it at Quilt Market and I'm thrilled that my customers will have the opportunity to see it in person.

I think everyone that looks at this type of quilt sees something different. Some people take one look and all they see is a hot mess. Others see creative possibilities. What if I used that pattern and all of my blue scraps with only red accents? What if I made it larger by adding solid black sashing between the blocks? Hmmm. Imagine the possibilities.

Do you want to know what I thought the first time I saw the quilt?

Remember the old commercial with the cracked egg in the frying pan? "This is your brain. This is your brain on drugs" immediately came to mind. I thought "This is your brain, this is your brain in a quilt"!

Follow me here. To me, all of the black and white areas represent the mundane things I have to remember that clutter my brain everyday, grocery lists, when to pick up the dry cleaning, what size underwear my husband wears, etc. Those bright colored strips are the bursts of creativity! They are the fun, the excitement, the new quilts, fabric shopping trips, new patterns and new designs - the things that make you happy! I know for a fact that all of the stuff in my head is "A Bit Askew" and I love that there are "bursts of creativity" in every square.

I wonder what would happen if I made my own version of this quilt and reverse the fabrics? Every strip would be exciting, bold and beautiful with a few black and whites tossed in for accent. I would not straighten the strips, because to be honest, I like my life "A Bit Askew". With a brighter more exciting pallet and room for fewer mundane things, I wonder if it would be overwhelming? One thing is for sure, my husband would have to buy his own underwear.