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That's right, I said it, Happy New Year!  January 1st might be the start of our official calendar new year but the day after Labour Day is always the start of a new year for me.  It goes back to all those years at school, summer was over, you put on a new back to school outfit and it was a new year! 
Now, the day after labour day still marks a new year for me.  Guilds and clubs of all kinds start back up after a summer hiatus of some sort.  Classes for new techniques in whatever your craft may be are scheduled to start soon and we start that march toward Thanksgiving, Halloween and Christmas.
This fall, what are you going to start back up?  Are you going to finish a quilt?  Do those Christmas stockings you've been meaning to do for the past couple of year? 
I'll be on the road a lot, the new 6D software is going to be released to the public  around October 1st.  I'm starting my tour in Halifax showing some very excited quilters and machine embroiderers just how this new software works.  I can't say much about it now--O.K.  due to a confidentiality clause I can't say anything about it now, other than IT IS GREAT!  A whole new look, new designs and some new ways of doing things, but don't worry if you're a current user of other software or earlier versions, it's not so different that you will be lost.  Believe me, you will want to upgrade.    With all of those back to school sales, now is a perfect time to upgrade your computer if you need to.  This new software only works on Windows 7 or 8.
Again, Happy New Year everyone, make your crafting resolutions now and hey maybe you should go buy your back to crafting new outfit too!

 
 
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I am working on a large embroidery project, this week using several of the same threads over and over and over and over again.  I want, no I NEED this eight spool thread rack that will fit on the back of my machine.  I can't think of a better place to keep all my thread for one project, in one place, neatly and off the top of the desk!    This is definitely going on my must have wish list and when I get it I'll post a before and after picture of my work space and we will all sigh with satisfaction and envy over the organization that's possible with this add on attachment, and might I add that it's a value for it's price.  
     I know, I hear some of you already, I don't really need that to do my projects.  Well we don't need cars, dishwashers or microwaves either but we sure do love those handy, time saving gadgets don't we?  Imagine the time you'll save not searching for thread or the frustration over remembering exactly which shade of blue you used. I guarantee this will save you time, frustration and well quite frankly will just make you happy.  

 
 
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Recently I had the opportunity to attend a series of talks by one of the Quilting Stars of our times.  Ricky Tims, if you don't know who he is then you need to pop over to his website to learn all about caveman quilting. 
Ricky was a gracious host, sharing his knowledge in clear and concise terms, without being too technical, too boring or too full of himself.   Being a great quilter does not necessarily equate with being a great lecturer.  In turn a great orator may not be able to quilt.  Ricky Tims is both a great quilter and great lecturer.
He provided challenges and inspiration, he made me squirm just a little bit as I considered leaving my comfort zone and cutting into that fabric without a ruler.  He made me dream and add projects to my to do list.  Knowledge that I already had sitting at the back of my skull was reintroduced and I had a couple of "ah ha" moments. 
Every time I attend a lecture or trunk show at a guild meeting a store event or large show event I tell myself it was worth it if it made me think, if I learned one new thing or left inspired.  I walked away from each of the three lectures in this series, smarter and inspired with a brain full of new ideas.
Now the challenge?  To implement some of his ideas and i

 
 
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Five months today--that's right, it will be here before you know it.  
I am getting lots of emails and notices from some of my favourite quilt shops about their Christmas in July sales.  Their new Christmas fabrics have arrived and if you want to get a particular line before some of it's all gone, now is the time to make that list and go shopping.

We need to do so much more than shop.  Though I just love adding to my Christmas stash, in fact my Christmas fabric is even stored separate from my regular stash!  Ocassionally, I open up that cupboard and look and fondle that wonderful fabric and dream of the beautiful gifts I will make for family and friends.  Then Christmas comes around and I give these family and friends perfectly lovely gifts I have purchased for them because I didn't get around to making their gift.  

Last year I got a good start on some Christmas gifts, table runners with a themed novelty fabric based on a classic Christmas Cartoon.  I even went and bought a DVD to go with each gift thinking of my adult children in their own homes huddled under a quilt I had previously given them, eating popcorn out of a bowl placed on this table runner and watching the movie.  They would sigh and smile at the end and think that I had given them a wonderful gift allowing them a 30 minute reprise from the hectic Christmas pace.  But that just didn't happen, I got busy, too busy and didn't get these gifts finished.  I had every intention of finishing them early in this year and have them ready and waiting for Christmas, after all, they are all pieced, they just need the quilting and binding.  Now we are more than halfway through the year and they sit in the Christmas cupboard waiting to be finished.  I will make them my Christmas in July project and hopefully my grown children and their families will have that wonderful experience this year.....I hope.

 
 
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This week I gave up the battle and crossed over to the dark side.  No I didn't join forces with Darth Vader, nor will I ever say "it's not really quilting if you don't do it by hand"  but I did buy a PC with Windows.  I am a die hard MAC fan so this was really a painful decision for me.  But after just a couple of hours I am already glad I made this decision. 

I run three pieces of software that require windows--I won't bore you with how I tried to get them to run smoothly on my MAC, the countless times of getting booted out, crashing, falling asleep while it was so slow,...... suffice it to say I tried for months and wasn't happy with the results in speed and fluidity.

So now my 5D Professional Software and my Quilt Design Creator software have a new home.  After an initial 'test drive' of these programs in their native environment I am excited to be working with them again.  They are fast and easy to use.  I've already created a quilt label and 'tweaked' an embroidery design as part of my test and was so happy with them both I am going to use them.  6D will be on the market soon--think a new fall project for yourself--and I have a beautiful new home for it. 

Now for the hard part--moving certain files over and re-organizing them.  Sounds like a job for a laptop, an easy chair and a nice cool drink!

I will still use my TruE Embroidery software for my MAC  and will always return to this for certain projects.   Now I have a choice and since they all work together rather seamlessly, I truly have the best of both worlds. 

 
 
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Last night my nephew Nickolaus graduated from grade 8.  He casually let me know a few weeks ago that "somebody should be getting a quilt ready".  
Three years ago when his brother graduated from grade 8, I made him a quilt to mark the 'start of high school' and the new adventures that would be in his life.  I did announce that as each of them marked that passage between grade school and high school that they would get a quilt made just for them.  
But they are boys, and I don't mean just boys, I mean these boys are a real guys' guy.  They hunt, fish drive dirt bikes and ATV's way too fast and love to camp.  What do boys like this want with a quilt? Did I say his tux was a special edition salute to Duck Dynasty?  However, I had said I would do it so already had his quilt top finished before he even dropped the hint to me.
I made his quilt in black and white, I think black and white quilts are pretty and can be very manly.  There are splashes of purple throughout--his favourite colour and the backing is flannel (almost all my quilt backs are flannel for lots of reasons, but that's another post), the flannel is batman fabric--also a favourite of his.  The quilting is computer generated, in a variegated purple thread (almost always variegated and again another posting) and it has music notes and hearts on it.  It is my prayer as I make these quilts that this young man will grow up and dance to the music in his soul.  
 I wish Nickolaus many happy dreams and adventure planning as he sleeps under this quilt.  

 
 
School might be out for summer for the kids, but my education is just starting.  Summer is a time of making samples, learning new software releases  and yes, even starting those Christmas projects.  When Fall gets here, and it will get here quicker than we want it to, I will be so busy assisting with the launch of some products--all top secret right now, but I will tell you that you will just LOVE some of the new products and enhancements that are coming out this fall.  
So while some of you are taking the summer off from your quilting or sewing projects, I will dive into mine head first.  It's not really work though when you love it as much as I do, so Summer really does mean playtime for me.

Why don't you join me.  We often don't want to commit to a whole big project of quilting or sewing in the summer but why don't you commit to learning one new technique this summer?  A small project will do.  

Remember too our Christmas in July special.  Any quilt brought in for quilting that is a Christmas themed quilt will receive a 10% discount.

 
 
It's not as much about the actual  location of your crafting space as it is about the mindset you have when you start your crafting.
Like many people I started out on this hobby road with an old portable sewing machine set up on the end of the kitchen table, which meant it came down every time we wanted to eat at the table. I could only dream of the day when I might be able to have some dedicated space.   Eventually space became available in the house so I could set a small table up in the 'spare bedroom", then my 'sewing' only had to be put away if we were having overnight company.  Somewhere along the line that room transitioned from "the spare room" to "the SEWING room"--nothing physical actually changed, it was the same room with the same bed and the same card table holding the same sewing machine.  What changed was my mindset.  I realized that on a good day it was the sewing room and on a bad day--you know those days where you take out more stitches than you put in?  well, on those days that space reverted back to being the spare room.
Did my mindset really impact how I viewed my hobby?  Of course it did!  If that was the case, and I started each day with a grandiose mindset, would that be reflected in my work?  Of course it would!  Once I realized that I no longer quilted or crafted in the spare room or even the sewing room, that room became my "STUDIO".  A sewing room is where you go to sew, a STUDIO is where you go to create, to live large, to dream big.  It might be the same room, with the same bed, the same table and the same machine but I was now entering the STUDIO, a place where dreams could be made.