Idea Overload

 

Can You Relate? How to Deter Idea Overload!

It’s so exciting when you are ready to start a new project. Maybe to boost your wheels of creativity  you’ve attended a recent quilt show, googled images on your computer or made a trip to a quilt shop.  During those moments you’ve meandered up and down the aisles gazing upon one piece after another, or perhaps browsed the infinite number of images on the internet. You’ve invested a lot of time to collect all the insight possible, because you want to be fully prepared when it comes time to move full steam ahead on this new endeavor.  Then you eventually return to your sacred space designated for designing your new quilt; the birth of this amazing piece is just around the corner and then BAM mentally you’re combusting with the “how about this” and “what about that” statements.  The result is that you find yourself closing your eyes with a heavy feeling of anxiety and strong sense of being overwhelmed while silently saying this:     

I’ve been there and it really can suck the air right out of the “I can’t wait to start” feeling of a new project.  My secret to not letting this happen is simply this.  IF I’m starting a new quilt I deliberately don’t go to quilt shows, online, or into shops for inspiration.  This solution sounds a bit crazy but for me it works. It’s one thing to get a better understanding of how certain techniques are applied to a quilt, but quite frankly I don’t want someone else’s finished product to influence what I am going to create.  I find it way to easy for my brain to get overstimulated when I look at other quilters pieces; in order for my designs to feel organic I stick to my tried and true process of sketching.  So often we don’t give ourselves enough credit that we can come up with ideas without having to use designs we’ve encountered as a springboard for our personal art.  We presume gathering one idea upon another idea will make things easier, reassuring ourselves that several concepts are better than just one or two.  You may want to ask yourself “How is this working for me, am I mentally exhausted?”


Do you have any special ways you combat inspiration overload?

Ruler Anxiety

If I’m repeating myself it’s because what I’m about to say may be a little important.

That being said, the #1 question I am asked is:

“What rulers should I start with since I don’t own a single one?”

 Answer to the most asked question:

Hands down, you MUST have a straight edge.  BUT, don’t waste your time or money purchasing the biggest one out there, bigger isn’t always better.   I suggest getting a ruler that fits comfortably in your hand, because let’s face it if you can’t maneuver the tool easily what help is it? My personal favorite is the ProMini.  I reach for this lovely little ruler when I want to incorporate “stitch in the ditch” into my design.  My next ruler that is a “must have” would be the circles!  You can accomplish so much with these babies!!  There are two different kinds, solid circles and nested circles.  I prefer the solid circles. since I have small hands, holding them is easier.   They are a little more expensive but I feel the money spent is well worth it.  Keep in mind that having a variety of sizes will allow you to accomplish just about everything.  Not too long ago, in May, I shared a post on the Baptist Fan design , which demonstrated the versatility of utilizing different sized circles.  Today, I am going to provide a tutorial on creating the Clamshell design.  Once again it’s with one of my “must have” rulers, as I am referring to the circles.

Do you feel that circles are a HUGE benefit to your quilting?  If so, what’s your favorite design to do with circles?

When I Grow Up


As a child we all dreamed of what we would become once we grew up.  We’d spend hours pondering on whether we would acquire those far off wants. And many evenings we gazed up at the stars wishing, and praying that we would create a reality out of those “maybe/someday” visions.

Just recently I’ve been asked, “Have you totally grown up? Or do you still have something you want to be become?”  Wow, that question had me reflecting just a little bit! Hmmm, had I reached all the stars in my dream filled sky? Is there something more I wanted to become?  Of course, I love being a mom, a wife, and a successful professional of the Longarm industry, but is there that one dream that I’m still secretly wishing upon?  In one word, yes.

 

IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA 

Believe it or not I get extremely nervous prior to my lectures, classes and Trunk shows.  The worries of connecting with my audience and conveying my material in an articulate, intelligent, and entertaining fashion can be overwhelming.  However, on the occasional moments that I have been placed in front of the camera I feel totally at ease. It’s simply me and the camera.  I love that the camera can’t roll its eyes, yawn, or get up and leave the room in the middle of what I am saying.

So if/when I totally grow up, I will be, someday, in front of the camera.  My dream will have me filming, none other than, segments pertaining to Longarm quilting. Did you think it would about anything else?  I say go big or go home…so I’m dreaming big, really big.  And who knows maybe when I really, really grow up I might hear:

     Are you all grown up? Or are their still stars you are wishing upon? I’d love to hear what YOU want to be when you totally grow up!

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

 

Next up after Vegas was Quilt Odyssey in Hershey, PA. Yes, two trips back to back, but thank goodness no flights were needed for my trip to Hershey, PA.

I was thrilled to have my partner and crime, Judy, on this trip.  The two of us always have a great time traveling together and Hershey proved no different.  We set up the booth in record time, an hour and half, in case you were wondering what record time was, and then we relaxed while waiting for my teachers meeting to commence.

I taught a fun class entitled, “Getting in the Groove”.  It was great!  I loved witnessing my students getting in the groove and progressing in confidence and skill throughout the class.

Finally it was time to host my trunk show.  Sharing my journey of quilting brings me such pleasure as I discuss my trials and triumphs of getting where I am today.  I do pass my quilts arounds, I just request that hands are free of objects that may spill or soil the material.   

 

As many of you know Hot Yoga is my exercise of choice, and about my ONLY exercise of choice (unless you want to include my love of golf).  But on this trip I had to compromise and endure walking, which Judy loves to do.  Since I held her captive in the booth each day and kept her “daily” steps throughout the day at a minimum I had to pull my big girl yoga pants up high and put one foot in front of the other as Judy and I walked every morning.  One word….BORING.  Just to clarify Judy’s company wasn’t boring I was referring to the exercise of walking. You aren’t going to catch me throwing my dear friend under the bus!

As a reward for walking without complaining, until just now, I felt deserving of the treats that my friend, Susan, bestowed upon me. She provided a little bit of everything in order to satisfy my sugar tooth.

 

I cannot thank you enough Susan, I loved all those yummy treats but the Swedish Fish were the best!

And just a little random information:

For future reference, I am not normally a soda drinker but when I need a carbonated beverage, my go to is Coca Cola.  Sorry PEPSI fans.  However, it has been suggested that I do a blind taste test challenge to confirm that my taste buds are correct in their choice of flavor.

 

And while browsing through the ever chocolate infused Hershey gift shop….

 

 

Finally one of the best, and most treasured part about traveling to quilt shows is the opportunity to spend time with my precious quilt friends! Whether it’s Vegas, or Hershey, friends make traveling well worthwhile!

 

For now that brings my business travel to a close.  Cheers!

 

Living the DREAM!!

 

The last two weeks have flown by.  I was in Las Vegas for BERNINA University, which was amazing!!

Except for:

Let’s begin with the flight to Las Vegas.  There was “air traffic” which, to those non flyers,  delayed our flight.  In this day and age there is traffic people!  And in the air “planes” don’t magically appear.  Road travel is a bit more unpredictable as far as volume but can’t we be a bit more efficient with scheduled flights (air traffic controllers may need to be paid more, just a thought)? I mean I had important things to do and people to see in Vegas.  Then when I finally boarded my lovely source of transportation, and we taxied out we were #15 (not 3,  5 or 8 but 15) for take off.   And because we weren’t number 3, 5 or 8, our plane waited so long to take off that we had to return in order to REFUEL.  Trust me I can’t make this stuff up.  Originally this was a nice, early 8am flight that was scheduled to arrive at 11:30.  The joke was on me.  Once we FINALLY were airborne and moving, not suspended motionless among the clouds, my seat mates and I were extremely hangry.  It was now lunchtime.  As my flight from hell would have it, by the time the beverage cart rolled my way we were advised there was no more food. Didn’t they thing to reload with food when they refueled? I mean really, is it me or do not get a list of passengers prior to flight departure? So what’s this girl to do but drink lunch.  Don’t judge me there are vegetables in Bloody Mary!

As you can see I eventually made it to my amazing hotel, Red Rocks Resort and Casino.  Thank goodness I’m not a gambling kind of gal, or I could have been in big trouble. But still a fun place to stay when your “working”.

As this particular trip would have it, I entered my room and was once again starving; only to find this “welcoming sign”.  Did this plane take me to a hotel on Mars? Note to anyone staying here set your stop watch if  you remove/place anything from/in their mini bar.

The ladies I met were absolutely incredible. Below you will see me standing with Suzy Williams and Yaya Han.  They are two BERNINA Experts as well, I was so fortunate to spend quality time with these women.  Unfortunately, Lizzy House was MIA when this picture was taken.

These three ladies and I hosted an entertaining Facebook live event, here it is if you are interested.   If you’ve viewed the video I must admit I felt like the old lady of the bunch.  And my big question of the day was why on earth did my hand look so big?

When it was time to depart Vegas I felt entitled to a drama free flight.  Well, entitlement gets you nowhere! If you don’t follow my Instagram stories (@lisahcalle) I thought I would give you a little more insight on my plane adventures and put them all together.  This way on the, off-chance, you haven’t incurred a day in life of delayed flights you will no longer feel left out.  I actually did this to occupy myself and prevent any outburst of my frustration from being video taped by a stranger.  I didn’t need to be seen on Good Morning America as “that” one angry passenger.  So enjoy!  Living the Dream! 

 

Life is Getting in the Way!

It was Las Vegas, then Noah’s graduation party, and now my trip to Hershey!

Sorry fellow quilters but my life is getting in the way of quilting!  Although some of my interruptions are actually quilt related.  Speaking of quilt related I am headed to Hershey for their Quilt Odyssey!

The Quilt Odyssey is being held July 20-23rd! My Quilter’s Groove Rulers will be located at Booth 103, I will be hosting my Trunk Show, and teaching “Getting in the Groove”.  It will definitely be a busy and eventful couple days in Hershey PA.  If you are attending the event please stop by and say hello!

Yes, it seems that this summer has me juggling many things and the days are just flying by.  I’m hoping to find a little more balance in the month of August.  If you haven’t already taken a peek don’t forget to check out my Facebook and Instagram pages; what can I say I like to give a little TLC to all social media!

Have Wings Will Travel

 

 

Yep that’s where I’m headed, but what’s wrong with the picture below? If you said, ” The plane is not in the air” you would be correct!

Red Rocks Resort for Bernina University is my ultimate destination.  This amazing facility is where the Bernina dealers gather each year and are introduced to future BERNINA, concepts and ideas.  We also are given the opportunity to hear about new products, so exciting!  This year brings a little addition to my time at the University as I am teaching two classes tomorrow, both focused on how rulers are used and the most effective ways to sell rulers in shops.

PAST

The travel for this yearly jaunt seems to be a challenge, last years trip was to New Orleans.  During that little adventure I was supposed to play golf on an incredible course, but as my luck would have it I flew into Charlotte and had to stay the night.  The next day I took Con Air to Miami and eventually arrived in New Orleans.  Obviously I missed the golf experience.

BACK to PRESENT

10:27 am Monday, I should be half way to Las Vegas, but now that we are refueled and pushed back we have been advised that we are being rerouted. So I sit and wait once again but at least my seats mates are cool!

I told my row that once that drink cart is within my line of vision the first beverage is on me.  At this rate we could be having milk and cookies as a bedtime snack.

6:09 pm No bedtime snack required, I finally made it! Now let’s get happy and make the most of my time at BERNINA University.

Do you have one trip that undoubtedly brings adversity and frustration to your travels? If so please share!

 

We Need to Talk…

 

I have no problem encouraging my students to step out of their comfort zone and push themselves to experience something new but sometimes I don’t always like to practice what I preach.  Yes, I am admitting yet another “Lisa flaw”.  Anyone that read a recent post will recall that I did sew a bag, which is not my thing, and I had a great time.  But I am ultimately a creature of habit and feel very uncomfortable taking steps into “newness” and that includes welcoming new things into my studio easily. And here’s what I mean:

My beloved BERNINA longarm has a friend now.  Heavens no, not another machine, although that thought is very tempting.  LOL  I have the QMatic which is the computer component for the BERNINA.  Now, I’m not a total dinosaur, in the past I did “computerized” quilting but this was back in the day (many moons ago) when I was quilting daily for customers and could not fathom completing projects without computerizing.  Since I currently quilt for myself, I now find it hard to jump in and bring myself up to speed with technology.  Yes, I need to come face reality, and with this incredible addition I’ll be in feeling like a more modern quilting girl in no time.  BUT it will take some practice!

 

Learning the software is obviously my first goal, however, I also need to become familiar with the new weight of the machine while doing freehand.  Ah, major learning curve! This is extremely important because although the machine doesn’t necessarily feel much different, the swing is a little different.  Therefore, in order to apply those nice backtracking feathers, it requires me to practice, practice and practice some more.  To aid in my training I’ve placed practice fabric (fabric I care less about) to make sure I’m comfortable with the new weight of the machine.  After gaining confidence in the adjusted swing of my machine I plan on tackling a small piece that will hopefully be an auction piece at Houston. Fingers crossed.

Below you can see an orphan block from my four-year, never-ending quilt.  This will be my Houston Quilt Festival Auction piece if I can get my rear in gear and get it on the machine.  Yes, I realize there is a seam ripper in the picture.  Remember I’m a WIP, need I say more?!

This quilt is  more like the four-year and some odd month, never-ending, quilt…lol    Goal 450 billion is to get that finished by the end of 2017.  I refuse to let it become,”The 5 Year Quilt”.

So I’m off to  practice what I preach and throw myself full force into learning, and understanding this new software.  Big girl pants are pulled up, zipped and belted tightly!

 

What changes have you recently encountered that has you hesitant to step into the new, and unknown?

 

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Move Aside Testosterone

 

SEW(something I don’t normally do) + Testosterone (my three boys, my husband AND even my dog) = Me sewing a bag.  Yes, you heard correctly, this “quilter” (non sewer) decided on a whim to try her hand at sewing a bag.  And here’s why: I discovered this wonderful pattern for the Sew Together Bag at Pennington Quiltworks.  If you haven’t stepped inside “Pennington Quiltworks” do yourself a favor and pay a visit to this store. In addition to coming across this darling pattern, I also felt the need to embrace the estrogen part of my world, every now and then I feel a little suffocated by all the maleness encompassing my four walls.

A fellow shopper in the store was kind enough to give me a heads up that the directions weren’t the absolute best, (thank goodness for the kindness of strangers) but if I googled the pattern I would find there is a blog sew along (no, not sing along, although I had so much fun I was singing while I sewed)   Click here  if you would like to have access to the blog.  I chose this bag since it was touted as a beginner bag.  Since I like easy peasy and being a non sewer I felt this pattern was right up my alley.  Much to my surprise after googling the pattern, I found that some individuals didn’t agree that this was a beginner bag.  Well, I am very competitive at heart, ask anyone who plays golf with me.  Therefore, I gazed upon this pattern as if it were in a golf course and thought, “Back away from this non sewer, these opinions aren’t going to deter me.”  FYI, lets not forget that I had also invested money in all the materials required to make this little bag so if you think I was about to waste my hard-earned cash Hell no!

 

 

Begrudgingly, I read through the directions.  I am a visual learner and I cannot stand reading directions, don’t even think about commenting that I sound like a typical man.  Anywho, I knew that in order to complete this little project I would actually need to follow the instructions step by step.  The struggle was REAL!

DAY ONE: I completed most of the interior.


 

I actually completed all 3 zippers, now for me that’s pretty darn impressive! Remember people I am NOT a sewer, I am a quilter.  A straight line I can sew, and occasionally a curved one but that’s really pushing it!

DAY TWO: I brought this project to a close, zippers and all!

Regardless of what the task is, new or old, I always learn something new.  As I looked at my finished project I realized I would have liked longer handles. But overall for my initial attempt I am very happy and satisfied with the results.  Lord help me if I stumble across some cool golf fabric, because then there will be many more of these in my future.

Please act surprised when you receive one of these from me during Christmas…LOL

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Quilting UPHILL

 

 

Level Table? Yes, believe it or not you do need to check your table every now and then, BUT having a level is not required to do this.  Maybe you’re wondering how to accomplish this without using a level, first move your machine to the end of your table and position the needle in the center.  After you have done this note whether your machine falls to the front or the back of you table?   Repeat this again in the center and at the other end.

If you find that your machine doesn’t remain in the center,  it’s quite possible that you’re making quilting more difficult than it really needs to be.   Finding your groove while quilting is what you should expect, however, when you discover that your lovely several thousand dollar product isn’t cooperating as it once did you may need to consider that it could the that it’s not leveled appropriately.

Another culprit could be loose threads that have gotten wound around the wheels of your carriage, this can be a quilting nightmare and wreak havoc on your sewing.  I am not the neatest quilter but there is one thing I do make sure is kept tidy and that’s my table.  Allowing threads to hang around opens the door for clogged wheels etc.  I suggest getting in the habit of wiping down your table before and after each quilting session.  This will ensure happy quilting and prevent little snippets that can cause major headaches.  And no one wants headaches and everyone wants happy quilting!

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