Monday, November 25, 2013

WWAD (What Would Alma Do)

For those of you who have had the pleasure of taking a class from Barb and Alma of Blackbird Designs you know how creative these women are!  Their cross-stitch and quilting designs are wonderful and just some of the results of their creativity.  They've shown us how to cover those cardboard boxes with fabric, the endless uses for PVA glue and Briwax, making pedestal pieces out of plates and candlesticks, creative vessels for pin cushions . . . and on and on.  You just want to smack yourself in the head and say "why didn't I think of that!".   So when "The Fun Girls" (my cohorts in Retreat attending) are trying to figure out some creative use for something we say "what would Alma do?" (WWAD). . . not that Barb doesn't have great ideas too!  It's just that Alma seemed to be the one who explained all these great ideas to us.

I have taken another career plunge and joined TNNA (The National NeedleArts Association) and registered for my first TNNA Needlework Market coming up in February in Nashville!  It's held at an Embassy Suites and you sell your products to shop owners from all over right out of your suite.  From blogs I've read and pictures I've seen, the designers decorate their suites and display their models in creative ways.  (Barb and Alma have a mock fireplace they drag around to these markets!)  So . . . I've been on the lookout for "props" to use to decorate and display my pieces . . . channeling my inner Alma!

I found two sets of peeling paint shutters that are as tall as I am . . . cheap!  I scraped, wire brushed and stained them with Briwax leaving what paint was still attached.  I'll hinge them together making a stand-up screen.  They look really old and will be a great backdrop to hang my framed models on!

I also found the cutest small metal plate with the alphabet around it just the perfect size for business cards!  I've been walking room to room looking at various things around the house that I can use as well . . . oh, if only Alma could walk around with me with ideas!  WWAD!

Maybe it was easy to channel Alma since I was working on her piece "Where My Heart Blooms" at our EGA Retreat earlier in the month.  I finished it a week or so ago and can't wait to get it framed!  Not sure where I'll put it . . . seriously running out of wall space!
I've been stitching and designing like crazy hoping to have some new designs ready for Market (maybe some before).  Here's a sneak peek:

It's been so nice stitching during the day and calling it work!  I usually just stitch at night after dinner . . . but, since it's becoming a "real" job now . . . well . . . I need to seriously devote more time to it . . . right?   Working 9 to 5 . . . what a way to make a living!!!

Happy Stitching!  ~*

Monday, November 4, 2013

Deja Vu

I just want to start by saying "I had nothing to do with either fire alarm at the last two retreats I've attended!" . . . just so you know.

Yep . . . it happened again!  This time though it was 6:40 a.m.  When I turned on the bathroom light to take a shower, the florescent lights barely came on . . . not really enough light to see very well.  I left my nightlight on and the entry light on and left the bathroom door opened to give me a bit more light.  I was in the shower when this deep sounding hum began.  I thought it was water pipe noise.  When I turned the shower off  the hum continued.  What in the world is that noise?!  It didn't really sound like a fire alarm.  I didn't smell smoke . . . doors were slamming in the hallway . . . so I dressed as quickly as I could . . . I don't care if there are flames lapping at the door, I'm not running out in a towel!  My room was at the end of the hall near a staircase (I was on the 5th floor) down I went and out the exit door, wound my way around the back of the building across a leaf covered walkway and down some leaf covered uneven steps to the street (the hotel is built on a hillside).  The exit was probably more dangerous than staying in the building!

Up pulled the firetrucks!  People milling around in various stages of dress . . . some PJs and robes.  (I don't bring my bathrobe when I travel . . . takes up too much suitcase space!)  It was still chilly and dark outside so I headed to our retreat room (in a separate building across the street from the hotel) and thought I might as well stitch.  Several other retreat goers had the same idea.

Turned out that a couple of transformers had blown and the hotel was on generator power.  That explained the low lights in my room.  Not sure why that would cause the fire alarm to go off, but it did.  Blue lights were flashing across the lake and we thought that might be the area of the transformers.  It turned out that a car had gone off the bridge and into the lake!  Related to the transformers?  Don't know.

Elevators were out for a bit . . . lobby on the 2nd floor . . . dinning hall on the 3rd floor . . . sleeping room on the 5th floor.  With all the snacks that our group brought, the morning stair workout was a blessing in disguise!

We got the all clear and headed for breakfast and a return to our normal retreat routine which is:
Breakfast, Stitch, Snack, Stitch, Lunch, Stitch, Snack, Stitch, Dinner, Stitch, Snack, Stitch, Snack, Stitch, Sleep, with a lot of talking and laughing sprinkled in there, Repeat.  Some of us do take some time to walk around the lake or a trip to the local quilt shop, but basically it's stitching, talking, laughing and eating!

We had the same space as last year for sitting and stitching and/or quilt making with a great view of the lake.  There were 30 of us spread out around the room with our various projects.

We also had a surprise engagement shower for one of our members complete with veil, a "handmade" wedding dress and a bouquet to throw (or hand to someone as was the case)!

We had crisp mornings with warming afternoons . . . a little shower . . . some strong wind . . . overall, typical fall weather at Lake Junaluska, NC.

I did finish Plum Street's - Jingle, Jingle and found the perfect fabric at the quilt shop to finish it as a pillow.  I'm sure I have some tiny rusty bells somewhere too!
And I made some good progress on Blackbird Designs - Where My Heart Blooms (Loose Feathers Pattern 29).  (No, I didn't work on my EGA projects . . . surprised?)
My creative soul is replenished for now . . . can't we do this more often?  I could really get onboard with a quarterly retreat schedule!!!!  Any takers?