Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Sharing is Caring!

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Are you ready for the news?!  I got an email from Road to California Quilters Conference and Showcase last night right after I finished my din-din.  I told you all I'd share with you my critique from this and other shows, but first I have to tell you a bit of a story.

I know one of the lovely ladies that judged this competition.  Of course she had to remove herself from the judging process since she knew me, but I know her none the less.  When I told her I had entered, she made a remark that I would be lucky to even get accepted.  She didn't necessarily say that I had no chance, but she sort of eluded to it, you know?  She wasn't being hateful about it at all, just trying to prepare me for rejection, I think, more than anything.

Me with my silly quilt at MQS.

I did get accepted and was so happy!  But her comment(s) stuck with me from April of 2011 when I finished the quilt, right up to dropping my quilt off at UPS to ship it to Cali.  The shipment deadline date really sneaked up on me quickly, and because of that I had to send it 2nd day.  When the man told me how much it was going to cost to get it there on time, I told him to forget about it.  Even if I had won 1st place in my category the prize money would've been just a little more than my cost to ship it to and from the show.  I didn't really have my heart in sending it, because I was led to believe it was pointless to do so.

The nice young man at UPS fibbed on my payment slip, putting the measurements of my parcel down as about half the size of what it actually was, thereby cutting my ship-to bill in half.  I could handle that.  I went ahead and did it and off it went.

The most fun of shipping a quilt off to a competition is the wait...................................................

Yesterday around lunch time, Sarah sent me a text to tell me that she spied my quilt in the judging room (she taught embroidery classes at Road this year, how fun is that?!).  I immediately wanted to barf my guts out.  It's a good thing I was able to keep my mind on other things yesterday!  I wondered then, when I would get my critique emailed to me.  They were supposed to be in each contestant's inbox by this evening.

After dinner I saw the email indicator on my phone, and my heart sank when I saw that I did in fact have an email from the show.  I started shaking out of nervousness before I'd even read the first word.  This is what it said:

Dear Lisa;

 Judging for Road to California Quilters' Conference 2012 has just been
completed.  We at Road to California would like to congratulate you on having
your work accepted by our jury  We pride ourselves on selecting from the highest
quality entries for our Showcase.

 Your entry #10131 titled "BeDazzleder!" has been awarded "Excellence in
Computer Assisted Machine Embroidery" by our judges.  You will receive $xxxx.xx
in prize money.  This award was graciously sponsored by Moore's Sewing Center.
 During the judging of your entry our judges made the following observations:

 Overall graphic impact is strong.
 Machine embroidery is very well done with good tension.
 The quilting motifs are extremely well chosen.
 Good use of embellishments.

 Some of the winners of our showcase this year are:

 Best of Show Quilt to Molly Y Hamilton-McNally of Tehachapi CA  for entry
#10149 titled "Everlasting Bouquet".
 Masterpiece to Ellen Heck of Somis CA  for entry #10653 titled "Baltimore in
the Provence".
 Excellence In Longarm Quilting to Sue McCarty of Roy UT  for entry #10346
titled "Harmony Within".
 Excellence In Machine Quilting to Joanne Baeth of Bonanza OR  for entry #10138
titled "Great Blue Herons".
 Excellence in Computer Assisted Quilting to Renae Haddadin of Sandy UT  for
entry #10388 titled "golden snowflake".
 Excellence in Hand Quilting to Betty Ekern Suiter of Racine WI  for entry
#10210 titled "Creation Springs Forth".
So wow.  And Excellence Award???  I wasn't expecting to win ANYTHING, much less one of the top awards?!?!  This was the first project I ever embroidered.  Granted, I did a lot of undoing and redoing throughout the entire process, but obviously it was worth it!  Wow.  So if you know any of the other winners listed (still waiting on the full list, I don't like waiting!), be sure to congratulate them!

Now here are a few of the other things that I've had on my critiques from shows past.  Some of them I will include my own comments to theirs, which will be in parentheses.

National Quilters Association:
-Strong graphic visual design
-Trapunto should be consistently stuffed (It was, it was a solid layer of extra batting!)
-Quilt should lie flat (I block my quilt before EVERY show, so I couldn't help what happened in shipping, it came back home all shriveled up and I was horrified!)
-Piecing is well done
-Use of crystals is appropriate
-Embroidered applique technique is well done
-Machine quilting is well done

Milwaukee Machine Quilting Show:
-Piecing - Excellent
-Applique - Excellent
-Quilting - Excellent
-Quilting Design - Very Good
-Finishing (Binding) - Excellent
-Overall Color and Design - Excellent
Comments:  Exciting visual impact.  Larger applique motifs would have benefited from additional quilting.

I really wanted to share my critique from Machine Quilters Showcase, but I'm not sure where it is.  And AQS doesn't give written critiques back to you.  So there you have it.  It just depends on what each judge for each show is looking for!  (I have since added just a touch more quilting to the larger applique motifs).  :)
YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!!  I am dying to find out what color my ribbon is!  And I get to celebrate over dinner with a friend tonight.  I'm over the moon happy, y'all!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The "oops" blog aka New Dreams

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Last night I spent a whole lot of time writing a blog.  I published that blog.  And then I somehow magically deleted it.  Le sigh.

Luckily, I had the web version of it still on my screen this morning so I took a bunch of screen caps and am going to give my best effort to re-post it!

What a crazy start to 2011!  Wait, no.  It's 2012.  Insanity!

This year has already been filled with a whole bunch of awesome/stress.  I'm currently trying to fill up my planner (yes, I have a planner - a paper one - that I write in - with a pen) with important dates (quilt show dates and entry deadlines, client deadlines, other deadlines, deadlines deadlines deadlines) so that I have somewhat of an idea what my year is looking like.  We're only in the third week and I'm already feeling the pinch.  But that's okay because I'm no sissy.  I'm up for it. 

Speaking of quilt shows and deadlines, it seems like it should be time to retire my BeDazzled quilt, but really it hasn't even been a year since I finished it.  That's just crazy.  I'm currently being tormented by pictures and updates from Road to California Quilters Conference and Showcase about the judging and whatnot.  I'm not delusional enough to think that I'll place in this show, but that critique really means a lot to me.  I made a promise to myself that once I get my critique, I'll share it, along with others from shows past. 

I haven't had much of a chance to quilt on the Gammills yet so far this year as a bunch of year-end stuff had to be taken care of first.  I only quilted one quilt between Christmas eve and Saturday.  That was three weeks!  I can't show you that quilt, but I can show you the delicious threads I used on it and maybe you can guess whose it was.  But probably not.  :)

So after basically not quilting for three weeks, I kind of went into hyper-super-freakout-mode on Saturday.  I was a quilting fool!  I did three quilts.  Unfortunately two of them were picked up before I got a chance to photograph them.  But here's my pal Judi's Frolic quilt.  It's not a great picture because I took it in the dark, but it's a cute quilt!

I now have a stack of OTHER quilts that I've completed over the last two days that I need to trim and invoice so that they can be picked up.  Having two machines is proving to be AWESOME!

The other thing I finished on Saturday was my Pear Tree quilt!  It will be sent to Bumble Beans Basics once it's quilted and bound.  However, I'm re-working it first.  Let me explain!  This quilt started out as a pinwheel quilt.  Since I had a bunch of HSTs, I changed my mind and decided to do chevrons, since I'd never made a chevron quilt before.  But then I decided to do chevrons with strip piecing and lots of white.  But then I saw Thomas Knauer's windmill quilt (more on that later) and thought, "Hey!  I've never done windmills either!".  So I decided to combine windmills and chevrons.  I knew before I even sewed the chevron units on that I wouldn't like it.  So they're coming off to get used for something else.  I'll either add more of the solid (Moda's Bella Solid color #60 by the way, one of my favs!) or do something else to the outside. 

Anyway.  The title of this post is "New Dreams" (well, it was the first time it got posted!).  Why?  My super-awesome friend mentioned the other day over coffee that I've achieved everything I had been working for in less than a year.  I hadn't really thought about it, but she was absolutely right.  She said I need to "re-do" my list, because I've already accomplished everything I had on my quilty list.  This is terrifying for me.  I never thought I'd have to re-do my list so soon, and I can't think of a single thing that seems realistic for a goal.  What should my new dreams be?
I've been asked to teach.  That's serious crazy-talk.   I mean I obviously already teach but certainly not on any kind of national level.  Nobody is going to pay me to teach them!  I'm so not there yet.  I know that there are certain things that I know how to do that others would like to learn.  But maybe in like, five years (six months) I'll think about something like that.

Usually, whatever I set for a goal for myself isn't something that I think about before-hand.  It's usually something that just sort of slaps me in the face and then I begin to plan around even the smallest little idea.  But right now I just feel lost, with no direction.  I will continue as I am for now.  I do know that I would like to enter something into Houston before I turn 35.  More on that later, too.  Melissa at Generation Q Magazine thinks I should write a book.  A book about what?  Ha!  Minor details, my lovelies.  Such minor details...  

Basically I have no idea what I want to do next.  For now I think I have a lot of room for improvement and fully intend to suck up the knowledge that my wonderful friends offer me.  I don't have to have a new dream right away, do I?  What the hell am I talking about?  Yes I do!  I'm right on top of that, Rose!

I'll figure it out.  I just have to wait for it to come to me.  I am having loads of fun with things just the way they are.  I seriously cannot wait to gush about the fun things I've been doing the last couple of months. All in due time.

For now, I'll ask:  Have you picked up the February issue of The Quilt Life????!!!!

Oh!  And a couple of my friends and I were joking around today and decided I needed to start recording videos of my quilting.  Little did they know that I'd actually do it!  Unfortunately, taping your cell phone to the handles of your longarm isn't the best idea for several reasons.  Don't get sea-sick if you watch this (but really when the whole display starts waving like the ocean it looks pretty cool!)

Be sure to check back later as I share the Road to California goodness!!!  I already have the news but I've certainly written enough for now.  Besides, gotta keep you in suspense, right?!

Monday, January 16, 2012

More stuff about yours truly

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So. I was thinking last week about my interview with GenQ and how lame some of my answers were. I attribute this to my inability to have a productive and normal conversation over the telephone.
For instance, one question I was asked, "Lisa Sipes would never...?"
It was followed by a long period of silence and a lot of stammering on my part.
So she changed the question and asked something that most people don't know about me. And I said I'm a cat lover? How lame am I? Most people know I'm a cat lover anyway. Embarrassed by my answer, I thought of a few things that people really DON'T know about me. And I'm taking this opportunity to share them with you to make up for my lameness!
* My eyes glow in the dark.  When I was younger my eyes were a pretty ocean blue  but then they turned green and weird and now they glow.
*I can't burp.  I just can't.  I try.  The only times I have ever burped have been purely by accident.  Usually when I'm laughing.  And the burps lead to more laughing which leads to more burps.  My dad says he still remembers the first time I ever burped as a non-baby.  We were at McDonalds, I think I was four or five and I was laughing. I used to be so jealous of my sister because she and dad used to belch the names of everyone in my family. That's quality time right there!
*I'm left-handed.  I didn't think this was very interesting but I guess some people think it is.  It's sort of a handicap if you think about it. I wish I could open a Leftorium.
*When I'm pondering something, or am trying to imply that I think you're full of shit, I make an elvis-lip-face.  I don't even know I'm doing it.  It just happens.
*I can sing when I want to.  I'm a soprano!
*I can put my feet behind my head and walk on my hands.  I never do it because I have a fear of ending up on YouTube.
*I have abnormally defined triceps for a female of my size.  I think that even in ten years when I've gained 100 pounds and am the crazy cat lady, I'll still have my arms.  When I was in college and went to parties the boys made me flex my muscles for them so they could take pictures.
*I will do just about anything on a dare.  That's how I met the Dallas Cowboys. It's a long story but I had to sign a release form and everything.
*I used to be a model.
*I'm still not sure how that modelling stuff happened.
*My cat is legit agoraphobic. And anti-social. I had to throw something about her in, right?
*My absolute favorite movie is Amelie. If you haven't seen it, you absolutely should and then you'll understand why it's my favorite!
*I graduated high school early.  Though if you were to ask people that I actually went to school with, they would likely tell you that they thought I dropped out or got kicked out.
*This one time, I died. I was luckily in the hospital when it happened. :)
So there you have it! Some things that you probably really didn't already know about me. I'll be back later in the week with some quilty goodness for you. Promise!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Guest post at Lilac Lane!

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Hey everyone. I got to guest post for my friend Melissa today on preparing your quilt for the longarm quilter. Give it a peek and tell us if I forgot anything or if you learned anything!  :)
I'm just learning how to post with the Blogger app on my phone so I'm sorry if this isn't all pretty!
More later!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Well isn't that special?

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Hey everyone!  The lovely ladies and dude at GenQ did an interview with me and it's up today!  You can check it out here.

Also, I'm tweeting now!  I'm so proud of myself.  You can follow me @CrazyQuiltyGirl  YAY!

I've just finished the first quilt of 2012 and it's a doozy.  I can't share anything for a few months yet but it's pretty super exciting.  Other than that, just trying to finish up year-end junk and stay afloat.  I'm looking forward to (hopefully) a weekend of TLC and catching up on doing nothing!

I've noticed that I have some new readers (probably thanks to the GenQ profile), so I also wanted to shout out a welcome!  And I hope you enjoy your stay.  =]

Monday, January 2, 2012

Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes

Pin It How do you measure a year?

Wow.  I'm beginning to think that I DO measure a year in cups of coffee!
2011 was pretty much insane and awesome.  The year started off with my kitty in the hospital clinging to life.  After a ginormous (seriously...  ginormous, people) vet bill and a new set of guts, she did see her third birthday.

That was kind of a horrible time.  I cried a lot.  I spent a lot of time at the vet clinic visiting her.  And they even let me stay after hours because I work a lot and couldn't be there during regular business hours and all that fun stuff! So that was the start of 2011. Awesome.

However, Lily came home within the first week of the year and every thing sort of shot upward from there.  I really can't even find words in my super-duper-verbose-noggin to describe how incredible 2011 was as a whole.

I spent a lot of money.  I did a lot of dumb stuff. I did some kind of awesome stuff.
I fell in love.

That was probably the most awesome part of my awesome year. But there were plenty of other awesome things that happened in my awesome year.

I finished my first show quilt.  I won ribbons.  I did quilts for super-duper awesome people.  And I had super-duper awesome people holding me up the entire time that all I wanted to do was fall.

My friend Sheryl has been my rock through all of these crazy adventures.  She is the one that talked me into trying trapunto for the first time (and even mailed me all of her stencils so I could choose my favorite!)

When it came time to quilt my show quilt, I wasn't sure that it was going to be a show quilt.  But Sheryl took care of those doubts by saying, "this quilt needs to be seen".  And you know what?  She was right there by my side at its debut in its first show.

She is that one person that really pushes me to do the things that I want to do, without even knowing that I want to do them.  She is the person that is always in my corner cheering my name.  She is the person that pulls me out of my dark, cavernous hole and makes me slap myself in the face and get over my fears.  She is an amazing person, and has made me a better person just by simply knowing her.  She knows me better than I know myself.  She's in my head.  It's really kind of creepy.  Before her, I never really knew that friends could be so friendly.  She is my best friend.  And I love her.  I love you, Sheryl!

Then there's the boy I fell in love with.  He doesn't know what the hell I'm saying half of the time (quilt speak, you know), but he just rolls with it and supports me in everything that I do.  He tries his best to learn about what I do, he even made the trek to attend that first competition so he could be by my side, too.  I love him.

Then there's Melissa.  She is pretty awesome.  Do you know Melissa?  She's pretty crazy-creative and I'm happy that I get to join her in her journey through the quilty world.  I hope we have a lot more adventures ahead (in fact, I know we do).  Her latest pattern is so ridiculously cute! And I can't find a picture of it.  So I'll post a picture of the one before that.  I quilted it!

And we can't forget Sarah.  She has been such a huge inspiration to me.  She is an amazing designer, and an even more amazing person in general.  Her designs in both quilting and embroidery push me to try things I've never done.  And I actually like the outcome.  Thanks to her, I've started learning to think outside of the box.  She really took a chance on me this year by asking me to make the copy cat of one of her babies, the Quilt Show's 2012 block of the month, Sedona Star.  All in all, I think that experience was probably one of the best I've ever had.  It was insane and grueling and crazy.  But totally awesome.

So here I am, thinking of all of these wonderful things that happened in 2011 and I'm left wondering how 2012 could possibly be any better.  I'm not sure that it can.  But there's always hope. 
I'm collaborating with some pretty awesome people, I'm getting to work on some pretty awesome things, and everything is just pretty awesome in general.

Here's to you, and hoping that 2012 brings you joys a-plenty!