Friday, January 25, 2013

Road 2 California Quilt Show

Angela on the longarm

the master at work

check out her gorgeous quilting- this girl has SKILLS

feathers and swirls!
quilted by Angela

Jenna and Angela talking quilts

more quilts by Angela

Angela posing by her work

gorgeous quilts

also quilted by Angela- I love the colors

close up of her quilting

this one was also quilted by Angela and was one of my favorites

check out the amazing quilting

all the negative space was a platform for lots of beautiful quilting

tiny pebbles in between all those poppy letters

show quilts

this one was actually quilted by the amazing Karen McTavish

awww... i love that piggy!

some of these show quilts are just awe inspiring
look grandma- the HQ Sweet Sixteen!


lots of activity at Jaybirds booth

Jaybirds lovely quilts all quilted by Angela

Julie "Jaybird" and I

Angela and Jaybirds

Angela and I with her new book

I was lucky enough to get to attend the first day of the Road 2 California quilt show in Ontario CA yesterday.  This was my very first big quilt show and I couldn't have had better company to enjoy the show with.  My pal Angela Walters told me about the show over 9 months ago as she had been booked to teach some classes and do some speaking.  She knew I was in So Cal and wondered if I might like to come to the show and get to meet her in person to hang out for a bit.  Heck Yes- I have been counting down the days for a very long time and finally yesterday arrived.  We almost never get rainy weather down here but yesterday was an exception to the rule- My lovely BF drove me the 1.5 hrs to Ontario and it poured the whole time.  Once I got into the show I contacted Angela and met right up with her along with another gal Jena who had taken all three of her longarm classes the 3 days prior to the show opening up.  Us gals spent a few hours walking the show looking at all the loveliness.  I got to see several of the quilts Angela had quilted for customers hanging in booths amongst many show quilts.  She took us over to the long arms and I got to try long arm quilting for the first time- which is similar to my new mid arm set up but even better!  She also did some stitching and it was so neat to watch her do her thing live and in person.  She also heard that my dear Grandma had bought a HQ Sweet 16 and since she lives 1100 miles away I hadn't had the opportunity to try it out yet, so we found the booth with those and she made sure I got to try it and get a picture for Grandma Pat.  We went over to Sharon Schambers booth and I bought a Quilt Halo.  Sharon was very nice and her quilts were phenomenal.  It was quite a memory to meeting her.  After that we had some lunch and then made our way over to Jaybird Quilts booth where we got to meet the infamous Julie.  She was a total bundle of energy and it was amazing to see her work her booth- she is such a motivated business woman- demoing her rulers and selling her patterns- it was inspiring to see the passion and energy that goes into the kind of success she has had- as well as the amazing talent.  Her quilts were gorgeous in person and Angela had quilted most all of them- they make a fantastic team- and it was so fun watching them interact.  After meeting Julie we tracked down Emily Cier- who was on her lunch break from teaching her class- and I got to meet her as well.  She was a very nice warm hearted woman who had beautiful books and her class was very engaged in her teaching with many of her students working through their lunch break because they were having so much fun.  Shortly after meeting Emily we got some coffee and had a bit of a break from the very crowed show and then Angela had to go back to Jaybirds booth to do a book signing for her books Free Motion Quilting with Angela Walters and In the Studio with Angela Walters.  It was great fun to see many excited faces come up to get their books signed and pictures taken with Angela- especially the happy women who had taken her class and fallen in love with her teaching style and warm personality.  It reminded me how very lucky I was to have gotten to walk the show and spend the day with her and get so many wonderful introductions and a behind the scenes look at the industry.   It was truly a magical day and one I will never forget.  I met a very like minded woman whom I hope to be friends with for life- and I still keep wondering if all that amazingness really happened, then I pinch myself and remember that it did!  Enjoy the eye candy as of course I took pictures for you all!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Amazing Adventures of Cinnamon: the story of an abandonded puppy

This was my major WIP this week- it details the major adventure of rescuing a puppy and finding it a new home with a quilty twist at the end- it is a long story, but if you love animals I hope you will find it a worthy read! 
Hello friends and followers, I have had a life changing few weeks and I feel very compelled to share what I think is a beautiful story.  It is no secret that I am a dog lover.  I have 2 labradoodle dogs- whom I rescued, brother and sister from the same litter Moose and Juki.  My boyfriend and I were in our neighborhood with our dogs taking our evening walk when my dogs started to get excited, and I spied what I thought was a cat darting across the road.  There are lots of stray cats in our neighborhood and I really didn't think anything of it, but when I got to where I thought I saw it dart I looked over and saw a shivering very small puppy in a bush against a house.  My dog lover instinct quickly took over and my boyfriend and I agreed that if it would come to me then I should take it and try to do the right thing by it.  Obviously it wouldn't last long on that cold January night all on it's own.  So my guy Jeff took our dogs across the street and I kneeled down at the edge of the yard and said "come here baby".  Quicker then a flash this sweet puppy came bounding out from under that bush and jumped into my arms promptly licking my face and wagging it's tail.  My heart completely melted- I realized two things right there- that I had found an adorable sweet girl puppy who was full of energy and love, and that she was a pure pitbull.  I will admit in the past I was nervous as so many are around pitbulls, especially when they weren't on a leash.  They get a bad reputation, though I truly do believe it is bad owners that create bad dogs, not the dogs themselves.  But this was just a small baby- maybe 2 months old- and sweet as could be.  How could I not help her.  But I also knew at that moment I had a challenge on my hands- with their bad reputations and extreme over population in my Southern CA town I knew it was hard to get help for this breed, and I also knew that my female dog Juki does not ever like other female dogs- and so this was going to be a tough situation.  Regardless of the challenge this baby needed my help and was trusting me to give it to her, so I scooped her up and let her lick my face all the way home.  My boyfriend and I made some signs to put up in the surrounding area and spent the next few hours driving around posting signs and watching to see if anyone might be looking for her.  I expected to wake the next morning with a phone call- but I didn't.  The first night was pretty uneventful- as expected my female dog Juki wanted nothing to do with her and got a bit growly if she came too close, but my male dog Moose and she became fast friends.  She ate like she hadn't had a meal in days, and drank about a gallon of water in a few sittings- poor girl, and played with every dog toy she could find laying around generally acting like she had won the doggy lottery being in our home.  It was endearing to say the least.  She also pottied outside and on the paper we layed down for her, which I took as a good sign that she may have come from a home, so I was hopeful that her owner would be calling any moment.  Jeff decided we needed to call her something and she was exactly the color of Cinnamon so that is what we began calling her, and it really suited her.

Cinnamon is settling in for her first night with us loving having some bones and toys to play with.
 We woke the next morning to no calls from worried owners looking for their sweet puppy, which was a little disheartening but we kept our chins up thinking surely someone would call.  I distracted myself by taking care of this baby while giving my own dogs some attention too so they didn't feel too left out.  I hadn't slept much as I was relegated to sleeping on the living room floor with the pup- and Jeff had our dogs with him in the bedroom.  We started to get pretty good at keeping little Cinnamon away from Juki-  and it was enough to keep us very busy.  Luckily we own our own business and work from home- because this became a full time job and keeping up on anything else was quickly becoming impossible.  We spent our first day waiting for the phone to ring while walking all the dogs through the neighborhood several times to keep everyone tuckered out and hoping that someone would spot Cinnamon and know whom she belonged to.  That first day came and went with no contact from our signs and ended with another night with me and the puppy curled up on the living room floor- she was such a peaceful sleeper and had grown very attached to me- I could barely escape to the bathroom without her whining at the door and looking for me.  I really was beginning to love this puppy, but knew all the while that Juki didn't love her and we couldn't keep her for that reason.
backyard shots of Cinnamon on day 2

she was a natural poser- and such a cutie pie

what a pretty girl with honey colored eyes

who could abandon such a pretty and sweet girl like her?

she sure thought life was good at our house!
Morning of day 2 and still no calls from worried owner- it was beginning to become clear that she had probably been abandoned.  This is a common problem in our area- People want pitbulls because they envision them as tough dogs, and they don't get them fixed- the dogs then breed and litters are born- it is easy to get homes for the boy "tough" puppies but the girls are often seen as problems as they have more puppies one must deal with- so they are abandoned.  I was sad to come to this realization, and spent most of day two calling shelters and services in the area seeing if anyone had called in and was looking for her.  She also got a bath on day two which she tolerated very well- and showed us she could quickly learn to sit and fetch- she sure was a great little dog.  My heart was sinking fast though knowing that I would have to find a place to take her- and that wouldn't be an easy job.  Another night in the living room and boy was it a tough one, she slept peacefully beside me while I lay awake wondering what her future would be- and committing to myself that I needed to do everything in my power to make sure this beautiful little girl had the good life she deserved.

Day 3 arrives with no calls- no help, no hope.  I called around to every single no kill shelter within a 200 mile radius and got the worst kind of news- no help or hope for this baby- I was laughed at, talked down to- you name it- no one wanted to help when they heard it was a Pitbull I was dealing with.  I heard about a local organization called "Loving All Animals"  who helped place dogs in good homes and called them.  The lady I spoke to was very supportive and said she would do what she could but warned me that it was very unlikely she could find a placement for this dog- as no one wanted to help pitbulls.  I was quickly becoming disillusioned with all of this- sure she was a pitbull, that was her breed- but she didn't live up to any stereotype I had ever heard- she didn't have an ounce of mean or aggressive in her- she was sweet and smart and very trainable- she loved my dogs though one of them didn't like her- she loved me completely and Jeff too- this was a great dog who would make a fabulous pet- how could people so quickly dismiss her based on a stupid stereotype?  It was sickening.  "Loving all Animals" got back to me and told me that the only placement they found was in the county shelter and she was honest with me that this poor girl would be euthanized within 48 hours of arriving there as they had literally hundreds of pitbull pups and thousands of pitbull dogs come through- so after the required 48 hr hold time to let someone claim them they were all euthanized.  The tears really started to flow at that time... I felt so hopeless.  I had this sweet puppy sleeping in my lap as I was trying to fight for her life and coming up against brick wall after brick wall.  I didn't know what to do.  Jeff came in the room about that point and through tears I told him what our only option was that I had found and he shed a tear too and said- we took her, we are responsible for her, and we need to do whatever we can to find her a good home- get on facebook and start begging and pleading- I will drive her up to 700 miles if we can find her a home.  Jeff and I are originally from the Seattle area and knew that we would have a much better shot with friends and family helping if we would at least drive halfway there.  I fell in love with Jeff all over again after he said that- and was reminded why we are together- we make a great team and both have the same heart for animals- he really is the one for me.  So facebook blasting I did, I pressured everyone to post her picture and story on their status thinking the more we reached the more likely it would be that we could find help.  My sister in law gave up a day of work talking to everyone she knew and found us a few options, as did my father- but what we kept coming up against was that someone still needed to drive from Seattle to the boarder of Oregon/CA to pick her up and that was a problem.  Then my mother proved why she is my hero once again and said her and dad would do it- they would drive that far to pick up this pup and deliver it to her new home!  I cried, Jeff cried, and we quickly started planning our trip.
  Within 24 hrs we had booked a rental car big enough for all 3 dogs,  booked a hotel in Yreka CA that would allow the dogs, and were on our way up to meet my parents.  I hadn't seen them in over a year so the icing on the cake was getting to spend an evening and morning with them in Yreka before they left to take Cinnamon to her forever home and we returned back to life as normal.  It took 15 hrs to drive the 700 miles- the weather was sketchy and the puppy needed to pee every 1.5 hrs.  She was a beautiful road companion though, slept in my lap the whole way up- never complained or got fussy- just a perfect little dog.  We met my parents and had a great night talking, eating, laughing, and playing with the dogs.  I was hoping Cinnamon would sleep with my parents so I didn't have to sleep on the floor, but alas- she wanted no part of that, I was her mom as she saw it and she was with me!  I was dreading saying goodbye, and again I had a night of almost no sleep at all.  We woke up and decided to have breakfast and walk through the local quilt shop- and also take a few pictures under the Yreka sign before getting on our way.  I picked up a charm pack at the quilt shop and cried my eyes out when I had to hand her over- It took me a few hours to stop sobbing- I was so happy I had found her a great forever home with 2 very loving people who had owned pits in the past and were very excited to get this little dog, but so very sad to say goodbye to the puppy who had forever changed my heart about this misunderstood breed- and who thought of me as her mom.  When my mom told Cinnamon to say good bye to me she put her paws on my shoulders and licked the tears off my face.  I still choke up thinking about it.  I found through this experience that I was stronger and more capable then I had ever imagined, and when faced with a tough decision- would do the right thing.  The self confidence that comes from something like this is priceless- but the heartache is still, a week later very palpable. 

saying goodbye

trying to stop crying long enough to get a few pictures

my Dad telling me he was proud of me and it would all be okay
 It took 12 hrs to drive home, and for the most part those were 12 sad hours- then I walked in the door and saw reminders of her all over the place and the tears flowed again- I am not a cryer typically, though you wouldn't know it from this story- but this little girl had a piece of my heart and I was so sad not to have her with me.  My Juki however was elated and kept snuggling me to let me know she was so glad I had done the right thing and remembered that she was my first responsibility- and there was no room in my busy life for that puppy.  Jeff hugged me and suggested that when I wake up the next morning I begin work on a special dog bed for Cinnamon- I made my dogs quilted dog beds and they love them- and Cinnamon loved their beds too- he thought it would be a good way to heal and the charm pack I picked up in Yreka would be the perfect fabric to use.  I agreed with him and was already working on it when I got a video text from my parents that next morning of the hand off to the new owners- where they squealed with excitement and Cinnamon jumped into her new Mommy's arms and licked her face- I was still a bit sad, but at peace- she had her new forever home.  I have been working on and have finished her dog bed this week and it is on it's way up to her new forever home along with a bunch of new toys and bones- I have been getting daily reports from her new Mommy and she is doing great, already learned 3 new tricks and really getting the hang of the potty training thing- she also has been to the vet and had all her shots and will be getting fixed very soon.  Life is basically back to normal, and though I still miss that little girl I feel better and better every day.  It was an adventure to say the least and I sure learned not to judge a book by it's cover, or a dog by it's breed- I hope this story helps everyone who reads it come to the same conclusion.
Cinnamon's new dog bed

it is really puffy now but will compress with use

quilted in a meandering stipple

Juki had to test it out to make sure it was just right!

I am linking to Freshly Pieced's WIP WEDNESDAY