A Birthday gift to me

Friday was my birthday. My 36th birthday. Which meant three things. The first was that I got notifications all day long from Facebook, people wishing me a happy birthday. Lots of people that I love and care about… and some people that I can’t remember why their on my friends list at all! Each Facebook message – and each phone call from family – was a precious reminder that I’m loved.

The second thing that happens is that I make a call to schedule my mammogram. I’m 36, and my two closest female relatives have battled breast cancer. For those of us with a family history, we start making our annual dates with this pretty machine when we turn 35.

The mammogram machine

Yup, that’s the photo I took last year, on my first date with the mammogram machine. It wasn’t so bad. There were no flowers or chocolates… but I also was told not to put on deodorant. Any date where you don’t put on deodorant as part of the getting-gussied-up process is going to have a different bar for success, don’t you think?

It isn’t a coincidence that the Cancer Treatment Centers of America and MomSelect reached out to me to share this important message in February. For me, a mammogram in February makes sense because it coincides with my birthday. For you, it might make sense because of Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s day is a great reminder to get an annual check. While you’re in the changing room trying on something lacy – make a quick phone call to the doctor to make sure that the curves that fill out that lace and trim is healthy – and stays that way! And if you’re not in a situation where you feel compelled to buy some lingerie mid-February, maybe you just need a reminder that your breasts need a little squeeze. A mechanical hug, if you will…

Love yourself - Schedule a Mammogram!

Last year I went for my mammogram, I was a little scared. It was like part of me was admitting that breast cancer could happen to me. And running away is so much easier, y’all. Thinking that everything will be fine. But getting the report back, confirming that everything is fine – that feels so much better! If you’re nervous about getting your first mammogram, check out the CTCA website and type “mammogram” in the search box. You’ll find lots of information on what mammograms are all about. Or, feel free to ask your questions in the comment section below – I’m no expert, but I’m happy to share what I know!

So, what is the third certainty that comes with having a birthday? Blowing out the candles and making a wish. A birthday isn’t a birthday without getting to make an annual wish while blowing out those dancing flames. I can’t tell you what I wished (or it might not come true!), but if you know me you’re probably guessing that I wished for something along the lines of a happy and healthy future for myself and my family. And you’d probably be right.

Yes, I received compensation for this post as part of a promotional program with CTCA and MomSelect. I am thrilled to participate because Mammograms are important.

San Diego Maker Faire

We headed to the San Diego Maker Faire Today, and though we were there most of the day… we didn’t even see half of what there was to see! We hit up the Northeast end of the park, and my little guys (7 and 3) had a blast. The youngest passed out in the car on the way home… and won’t wake up again until tomorrow.

The San Diego Maker Faire was in Balboa Park. We parked in the Inspiration Point Parking Lot, and took the Trolley up to the Mayor’s Maker Plaza. From there we went East, hitting up several of the exhibits. Each section is set up in one of the museums in Balboa Park. For Example, the “Families, Kids, and Fun” Section was in the NAT. There were other sections within other museums – so we got to check out both the museum exhibits AND the booths that were part of the San Diego Maker Faire. Which was awesome. As a newbie to San Diego, we got to check out several of the awesome museums that Balboa Park has to offer while getting the added bonus of the Maker Faire. All for the price of the Maker Faire. Which was pricey – $25 per adult and $15 per kiddo.

I didn’t have time to take pictures of everything… but here are some of the highlights.

When my oldest met R2D2… that made his day. We were less than 30 minutes into the event, and if we left right then, he was set. He has already asked that I print these photos for him.

meeting-r2d2

Of course there were several booths with the Lego Mindstorm robots. One of these days, we’ll need to get one of these for my tech-loving kiddos. We saw them earlier this year, and they combine Lego and programming… but they are not cheap!play-with-robots

My oldest and I hit up a presentation that Qualcomm was giving using their Dragon Boards. We used wires to link the board up to a motion sensor and a color sensor. It looks like this board is basically a smartphone backbone that you can use to create all kinds of devices.programming-with-dragon-boa

The boys also loved using smartphones to control cars. Here is my youngest operating a little smartphone car. He’s 3, y’all!! These kiddos can manipulate tech so easily… it is normal to them!robot-phone

And there were some less “tech” focused areas. Like this artwork made from pushpins.thumbtack-art

And digging through dirt at the NAT. Though… they showed how archaeologists scan the items they find, and then 3D print models so that they don’t handle the artifacts more than needed.

digging-at-the-NAT

Really, robots were the highlight of the day for my kiddos.controlling-robots

And robot cars.driving-robots

Even if they weren’t manipulating the robots… just watching the robots was pretty cool.  go-robot-go

They also liked making Marshmallow guns from PVC pipe. Which was also one of my favorites – all the pre-cut PVC pieces were right there for making the gun. It took seconds to make – instead of hours of mom’s time to source all the joints, cut all the PVC – and then seconds for the kiddos to assemble.

There was one thing that trumped robots… Legos. There was a booth where they were engraving lego bricks with each child’s name. Personalized Lego bricks? WINNING!

engraving-lego-block

Some links to cool stuff from today, in case you’re interested:

San Diego Maker Faire
Engraved Lego Bricks
Balboa Park
Robotics Competitions

Southwest Robotics

Happy Valentine’s Day!

We started our day with a Valentine’s Day breakfast, and I’ll be ending my day out on a date with my wonderful husband..

Simple Valentine's Tablescape

I hope your day is filled with love in all forms…

Place Setting for Valentine's Day

a call from a friend. a kiss from a loved one. a hug. a smile.

Valentine's Day Table

Happy, happy Valentine’s.

Snow Day

My kiddo goes back to school tomorrow, so before the winter holiday was over, we decided to take the kids up to the mountains for a snow day. We don’t usually get much snow in the desert where we live, so we drove to some nearby mountains, found what looked like a good sledding spot, and put on our snow gear.

Loving the snow

L had been asking to go to the snow for weeks. He’d been hoping for a White Christmas… but was willing to settle for a trip to the snow.

sledding with dad

L loved going down the hill with his dad.

Sledding down the hill

However, after getting bundled up, having his hands covered up with gloves, and having a tough time walking on the iced-over snow… Baby B wasn’t so thrilled.

Grumpy doesn't like the snow

Hope you are having a fabulous winter!

Organize 2014: Tips for Using a Paper Planner

Tips for Using a Paper Planner

This is the last day of this week’s cleaning and organizing series that Angie from The Country Chic Cottage, Gina from The Shabby Creek Cottage, and I put together. I hope you’ve enjoyed it! In case you missed any of the posts, I shared my New Year’s Resolution Printable, Thoughtful Kit, Simple Expense Sheet, and Christmas Card Book.

As a blogger, I spend a lot of my time online. Either on the computer or on my phone, I have a lot of screen time in the average day. So you might think that I use a digital calendar as well. But I don’t. I’m a big fan of my paper planner for staying organized. A paper planner will never run out of batteries, you don’t have to wait for it to load, I can check it even when my phone has no signal, and can be customized however I like. Based on years of paper planner use, here are my tips… feel free to add your own in the comments!

1. Put it all in one place
The kids’ school schedules, your work schedule, hubby’s work hours, sports, clubs, appointments, guests, holidays – keep it all in one place. You want to know at a glance what is going on, and where.

2. Use a pencil
I always have a mechanical pencil tucked into the spiral spine of my paper planner, and another in my purse as back-up. Plans change, things come up, and using a pencil helps my planner to stay as flexible as I am.

3. Use the monthly view for events
Most paper planners have a 2-page spread that shows a whole month. I use this to write in events. This includes everything listed in #1.

4. Use the weekly view for tasks, lists, and notes
Most paper planners also have a 2-page spread that shows each week. If you’re very busy or are juggling multiple schedules, you might use these pages for more detailed planning. When I have a busy day or week, I will plan it out on these pages. However, most of the time they’re great for other uses. I jot down grocery lists, errands that need to be run, to-do lists, and notes from phone calls or brainstorming sessions. This keeps all my lists handy and archived for later reference.

5. Mark your page
Nothing is more frustrating than having to flip through the calendar to find the right page. Use a big binder clip or large rubber band to secure all the pages on the left. This makes it easy to flip to the current month’s calendar view, but still keeps past months handy for reference.

6. Tuck in important pages
Coupons or newsletters from your favorite stores, your envelope for this month’s receipts, and other important papers can be tucked into the secured left side of your planner. That way you always have your JoAnns or Michaels coupon handy if you make an impromptu stop at the craft store.

7. Use the back pages for future planning
When dates come up that are further in the future than your planner goes, use the pages in the back to start a list of these dates – weddings, parties, school holidays and other events can be listed on a single page. When you buy your planner for the next year, you’ll already have a list of the important dates that need to be transferred over.

8. Keep a master calendar
I carry my planner with me, but I’m not the only one in my family who needs to know what is going on. Each month, I copy my planner onto a large dry-erase board in our kitchen. This is a great reminder for me, letting me know what we have planned for the month, and is a great at-a-glance reference for my husband and kids.

These are my tricks for keeping my calendar organized… keeping me from missing appointments, double-booking or over-scheduling my life. If you have tricks that work for you, please add them in the comments!

I buy a spiral-bound paper planner from the store each year, but there are lots of great printable calendars available online that you can print out and pop into a 3-ring binder if that works better for you. Check out these great printable planners:

Monthly and Weekly 2014 Planner Pages from The Handmade Home

Monthly Calendar Pages from I Heart Naptime (she also has matching Family Planner pages)

Monthly Calendar Pages from TomKat Studio (these are B&W so no need for colored ink!)

Monthly Calendar Pages from Oh So Lovely (5 different color/pattern options to choose from)

What’s in Season Monthly Calendar Pages (also shows you the fruits and veggies that are in season each month)

Monthly Pages from Kate & Trudy (also available: Daily, weekly, and Monthly for a fee)

2014 Monthly Calendar Pages from Elli

Monthly Calendar Pages from The Shabby Creek Cottage

Editable Monthly Pages from A Typical English Home (you can type in your birthdays/holidays before printing)

Monthly Calendar Pages from 30 Handmade Days (she also has a family planner and kid accountability binders)

Monthly Calendar with Family Events Printable Labels

Perpetual Monthly Calendar from SITS Girls

Monthly Perpetual Calendar from Nina’s Design Studio

Monthly Calendar pages from Landeelu (designed to not use a ton of ink)

 

Other planners you might like:

Printable Blog Planner from My Joy Filled Life (costs $4.99)

Life Planning Binder from DIY Home Sweet Home (just about any page you’d ever want)

Monthly Blog Planner from Infarrantly Creative (she also has a lesson planner and stay-at-home mom planner)

Cute To-Do List from Idlized

Organizing 2014: Simple Expense Sheet

Happy New Year! I’m ringing in the New Year with something super thrilling – expenses. Okay, maybe not super thrilling, but very much needed. Last year, I had little slips of paper spilling out of my wallet, my purse, glovebox… all over the place! I decided to fix this problem for 2014, and while I’m at it I thought I’d share my solution with you. Because all this week Angie from The Country Chic Cottage, Gina from The Shabby Creek Cottage and I are sharing cleaning and organizing tips!

Simple Expense Sheet

The expense sheet is super simple to use. Just tape it to the front of a 9×12 envelope. Tuck the Envelope in your purse. Each receipt gets recorded on the front, then tucked in the envelope. I can quickly enter all the receipts for a month, trip, or other time period into my bookkeeping software, and all my little slips of paper stay put!

If you want to print off your own simple expense sheet, you can find it here.

Come back tomorrow for another great tip to make 2014 your most organized year yet… I promise it’ll be a whole lot more fun than this one!

Signature Baby Quilt

This little baby quilt is long overdue, in a number of ways. The blocks for this quilt were made at the orange and monster truck baby shower. I finally stitched them together and quilted it up about 3 or 4 months ago to give to baby D… but then it didn’t make it to their house. It was going to make it to D this weekend (for his first birthday), but he got sick… so it didn’t happen!

The blocks are “signature blocks”. All the kids at the shower were given fabric crayons and asked to draw on the blocks. Some of the kids drew a lot, and pressed hard with the crayons. Some didn’t draw much at all, and drew very lightly. Most of the kiddos were under the age of 5, which makes for some really fun artwork!

I stitched the whole thing together with orange sashing. There were only 8 blocks, so I decided to leave the center plain, and wrap the blocks all the way around. Another option would be a fun focus fabric in the center.

I just used a plain solid orange fabric for the sashing and borders.

orange signature baby quilt

I quilted it with orange cuddle on the back (to make it extra snuggly). I folded it up and tied some tulle around it. Because a quilt doesn’t really need any extra wrapping – does it?

wrapped up baby quilt

Baby D… one day your blankie will come! I promise!!

… and that’s how Christmas gets DONE.

I am one of the funny members of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community.  This post has been compensated as part of a series of #motherfunny posts for Collective Bias and Nick Mom.

101 Things to do before Christmas #motherfunny #cbias #shop

When it comes to marriage there are a lot of compromises. On both sides. We compromise and accept the household to-do list… and our husbands compromise by letting us.

Then Christmas comes along, and that to-do list multiplies. Even more so at our house, because of the massive number of December birthdays in my husband’s family. An aunt on each side, a cousin, a close family friend who might as well be a relation, and both his mother and sister. My MIL and SIL have birthdays the week of Christmas – and my Mother in Law was born on Christmas Eve Day. Add to this my husband’s work schedule. He works in retail management, so his regular 50-hour workweek easily becomes 60 hours a week starting 2 weeks before Thanksgiving, and going right up to Christmas day.

This time of year, our division of labor looks something like this:

Pre-Thanksgiving Christmas schedule:
1. Decide what to give nieces/nephews on my side. Purchase, make, wrap, and give before mid-November.
2. Ask husband to write up his Holiday wish list.
3. Write my holiday wish list and wishlists for the kiddos
4. Try on old bridesmaid dress for pre-holiday family birthday party with “red carpet” theme. Decide it will look great if I lose 10 lbs.

Christmas to-do #5 #motherfunny #shop #cbias
5. Resolve to lose 10 lbs before the party.
6. Remind husband to write his wish list.
7. Start purchasing stocking stuffers.
8. Find place to hide stocking stuffers from nosy Kindergartener.
9. Remember it is almost Elf on the Shelf time. Check to make sure Elf is in off-season hiding spot.
10. Get e-mail from in-laws reminding me wishlists are due.
11. Pull up last year’s wish list, copy and paste husband’s portion. Delete anything he was given last year.
e-mail list to in-laws in the nick of time.
12. Decide hiding place for stocking stuffers will be discovered. Re-hide stocking stuffers.
13. Get new wish list from husband. Let in-laws know that previous list has been revised.
14. Ask husband to remind me to get the Elf up.
15. Ask husband what he wants to do about Christmas cards.

Post-Thanksgiving Christmas schedule:
16. Go through in-laws Christmas lists with husband. Find that two people did not send their lists.
17. Have husband text family for missing lists.
18. Select Christmas gift for MIL with husband.
19. Select Christmas gift for FIL. Discover that there is no remastered edition of the original Star Trek on Blu-ray.
20. Postpone selecting a Christmas gift for FIL.
21. Check out online toy lists with Hubs to select gifts for kiddos. Santa is generous this year.
22. Consider taking holiday photos.
23. Send e-mail to hub’s family re: missing lists.
Christmas to do #24 copy #motherfunny #shop #cbias
24. Remember that Elf is supposed to be up, but is not. Concoct plan to get kids out of the room to put up elf as if she was always there.
25. Decide we are not taking holiday photos this year.
26. Look for Christmas cards that have not been sent for two years.
27. Discover Christmas cards. All envelopes are addressed and stamped. With Forever Stamps. Winning.
28. Start writing Christmas letter for Christmas cards in perfectly rhymed couplets.
29. Move front room furniture to make room for tree.
30. Discover floor in front room is disgusting. Mop/Vacuum.
31. Toddler comes to help. Finds an M&M under couch. Eats it.
32. Wonder about the dangers of eating a 6-month-old M&M.
33. Keep an eye on toddler for strange symptoms.
34. Floor is clean – now couches are noticeably covered in cat hair. Vacuum.
35. Decide that rhyming takes too long, start Christmas Letter over in standard letter format.
36. Get tree up. Only two ornaments broken. Instagram.
37. Move piles of papers from front room tables. Decorate tables.
38. Get holiday wish lists from remaining two family members.
39. Remember that hub’s family friend makes fun of me for writing Christmas letter in third person.
40. Revise Christmas letter to be in the first person. Read through twice to make sure I didn’t miss anything.
41. Send out invitations for Gingerbread house decorating party.
42. Present Christmas letter to husband for review. Get high praise in the form of “it’s fine.”
43. Sit down with husband to pick gifts for remaining family.
44. Remember we need to purchase Birthday gifts for MIL and SIL. Sit down with husband, go through lists again. Select gifts.
45. Go online to purchase selected gifts that can be purchased online.
46. Give up Sunday to brave the malls and stores to purchase gifts not available online. Instagram photos of long lines to commiserate with others.
Christmas to-do #47 #motherfunny #shop #cbias
47.  Try to distract kids when boxes of items ordered online appear at the door. Curse retailers who leave CozyCoupe in original box and just slap on a label.
48. Decorate Banister. Instagram.
49. Search for the “perfect gift” to give hubby.
50. Make 28 gingerbread houses out of graham crackers for Kindergarten class to decorate.
51. Make 28 bags of icing for Kindergarten class. Run out of powdered sugar. Head to the store.
52. Curse my big mouth for volunteering to do gingerbread houses with Kindergarten class.
53. Decorate front-room windows with kids. Take appropriately candid-looking photos, and Instagram.
54. Trip over now-empty holiday decor boxes. Pile up semi-neatly. Ask husband to put away.
55. Shop for holiday clothes for kids and husband to wear to pre-holiday family birthday party with “red carpet” theme.
56. Bring graham cracker houses to school for decorating. Break 2. Hope two kids are sick today.
57. Ask husband to put holiday boxes away.
58. Prepare to print Holiday letter on cute Candy Cane/Christmas Tree/Gingerbread house stationary. Discover letter is too long. Adjust font, font size, margins… edit the letter for length.
59. Print Holiday letter.
60. Read through holiday letter as they are printing. Discover typo. Stop printing, throw away all printed copies. Fix typo and start over.
61. Ask husband to put holiday boxes away.
62. Sit down with kids to make holiday artwork for grandparents. Instagram.
63. Search online for hubby’s “perfect gift” find something that will do. Order it.

Christmas to-do #64 #motherfunny #shop #cbias
64. Bake a dozen+ sugar cookie houses from scratch. Put together in preparation for holiday party. Instagram.
65. Ask husband to put holiday boxes away.
66. Clean downstairs in preparation for holiday gingerbread-house decorating party. Decide to close baby gate and ban people from the upstairs so that they won’t see the mess.
67. Ask husband to put holiday boxes away.
68. Shove holiday boxes in the garage and out of the way.
69. Have Gingerbread decorating party. Take photos and Instagram. Blog about it.
70. Pour through blogs to decide on appropriate pot-luck dish for work Christmas Party.
71. Fold holiday letter and shove into envelopes with cards from 2 years ago. Resolve to get to the post office.
72. Bring Christmas cards to post office. Do a dance to celebrate first cards out in three years! Instagram. (the post office, not the dance).
73. Sit down with kiddos to make holiday ornaments. Instagram.
74. Clean up mess from holiday party while snacking on leftover candy. Remember resolution to lose 10 lbs. Put candy away.
75. Make dish for work Christmas Party Potluck. Fail. Throw in garbage.
76. Buy cookies at grocery store on way to work Christmas Party. Take out of packaging and put on Christmas plate while in car on the way.
77. Hem boys’ pants for pre-holiday birthday party. Instagram.
78. Remember we didn’t get gifts for aunts being honored at pre-holiday birthday party. Scramble to figure out, purchase, and wrap gifts.
79. Wrap gifts from online and shopping trips.
80. Remember that MIL and SIL birthday gifts are not allowed to be in Christmas paper. Search for Birthday Wrapping paper.
81. Find wedding and baby shower wrapping paper. At least it is not Christmas. Wrap gifts.
82. Put gifts in car to give to family at party to save on shipping costs.

Christmas to-do #83 #motherfunny #cbias#shop
83. Go to post office to send any remaining gifts. Bring jelly beans to entertain the kids. Curse long lines and insane postal prices. Instagram.
84. Go to pre-holiday birthday party. Drink, Eat, be merry.
85. Shop for holiday meals: Christmas Eve Dinner: Mexican. Christmas Breakfast: MonkeyBread. Christmas Dinner: All the fixin’s.
86. Find room in fridge for all the groceries.

Christmas to-do #86 #motherfunny #shop #cbias
87. Display Christmas cards as they come in. Ooh and Aah over cute family photos. Regret earlier decision not to take family Christmas photos.
88. Decide to use hand-wash-only wedding china for Christmas meals.
89. Make Christmas Eve dinner
90. Curse hand-wash-only wedding china. Wonder what would happen if they went in the dishwasher. Decide not to risk it. Hand wash dishes.
91. Find room in fridge for Christmas Eve dinner leftovers.
92. Wrangle kids through Christmas Eve Bath.

Christmas to do #93 #motherfunny #cbias #shop
93. Bribe kids with multiple stories to get them to bed.
94. Drink a well-deserved glass of wine.

Christmas to-do #94 #cbias #shop #motherfunny
95. Put kids who snuck out of bed back into bed.
96. Wrap gifts for boys and husband.
97. Stuff stockings, put presents under the tree. Instagram.
98. Put Elf on Shelf back in off-season hiding spot.
99. Think of all the things that didn’t happen this year. Resolve to do better next year.
100. As the sun is coming up, fall asleep exhausted. Wake up moments later to shouts of excited children.
101. Update Facebook status: “Worth it.”

Hubby’s list:
1. Write Christmas Wish List.
2. Ask wife if she remembered to get the elf up.
3. Read Christmas card letter. Tell wife it looks fine.
4. Move holiday boxes conveniently stacked in the garage onto garage shelves.
5. Shop for new suit for pre-holiday birthday party with “red carpet” theme.
6. Eat leftover gingerbread house pieces and candy. Be thankful for amazing metabolism.
7. Purchase gift for wife. Wrap. Put under tree.

If you need a little more holiday humor, check out Nick Jr. after the kids go to bed. Nick Jr. becomes Nick Mom at 10pm, and they have some great stand-up comedy from real moms who have lists (and lives) just like ours. You can also commiserate with Nick Mom on Facebook, and Nick Mom on Twitter.

Catbearding and other kitty love… (like cat litter)

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and their client.

Do you have a cat in your home? If you do, and love your kitty the way we do, your cat is a member of your family. Our cat, Trouble, joined our family back in 2002. She was a tiny furball who loved playing with my shoelaces. She loves to sit on whatever project I’m working on, and she loves to snuggle by my feet at night – under the covers when it starts to get cool at night. And every now and then she’ll give a slight nibble at my toes to remind me that she’s there.

snuggling with the cat #shop

We’ve had Trouble longer than our two kiddos. Which means that I was exempt from litter box duty for each of the 9 months I was pregnant with my boys. Which is like one of the best perks of being pregnant. In fact, it is how my brother found out I was pregnant with my first. I was visiting him for the weekend. He left to go to work, then called from the road to ask if I could scoop the litter box. They had 3 cats, it litterbox duty was one of his morning chores. I started to say sure… but then told him I couldn’t. When he asked why, I told him that I couldn’t tell him. He shouted into the phone, “YOU’RE PREGNANT!?” I was shocked that he knew. It turned out that his wife had told him over and over that she was so excited that as soon as she was pregnant she could give up her share of litterbox duty!

Having a litterbox is part of having a cat… but that doesn’t mean that you have to have it right under your nose all the time. Our litterbox is in our laundry room, about 20 steps away from where I do most of my crafting. But thanks to Fresh Step’s Odor Shield Technology, I don’t have to smell my cat’s “business.” I love that there are scientists out there who think of things like “triple action” cat litter… so that I don’t have to!

Instead, I can think about snuggling with my cat. After the kiddos have gone to bed, she loves to come snuggle with me while we watch whatever show we’ve DVRed for the evening. Sometimes I’ll share my snack with her, and sometimes I’ll see if she’s interested in turning the snuggles into a little cat-bearding. I’ll admit – we have some work to do when it comes to getting the perfect cat-bearding shot.

cat bearding first attempt #shop

although… we have gotten better with practice… lots of practice…

Cat Bearding Attempts #shop

Oh! And if you want to pick up a 42lb bag of Fresh Step with Odor Shield at Sam’s Club for your cat-bearding partner, they’re offering double-paw points through the end of the month! You can check out my shopping trip here.

 

More Riley Blake Fabric Fest

I had a total blast at Fabric Fest this past week, and wanted to share with you more of the fun goings-on. I really can’t express what an amazing job the folks from Riley Blake did on this event. Seriously. Putting on a conference is no joke, and these gals (and guys) knocked it out of the park on their very first try. I’m hoping they’ll do it again next year, and if they do I have no clue how they’re going to top this event!

Earlier I shared with you some pictures from my first night… there was some meet-and-greet with the other attendees, lots of ogling over quilts, and a little buying of fabric, too! (ok… maybe a LOT of buying of fabric! HA!)

jack quote

This quote is one from the Thursday keynote, and I loved it. I loved that I spent the week surrounded by dingledodies.

My first class, Tuesday morning, was with Amy Smart from Diary of a Quilter. Her class was part lecture, part hands-on about modern quilting. I’m a fan, and love absorbing the modern vibe whenever and wherever I can.

What is modern quilting

I took this picture so that I could put most of these books on my Christmas List! HA!

modern quilting books

In the hands-on portion of the class I whipped up a scrappy, quilt-as-you-go, free-pieced mini quilt.

modern free pieced mat

I kinda love how it turned out. I won’t even share with you all the ways it isn’t perfect, or all the things that look awesomely intentional, but are total happy accidents.

The Tuesday keynote was with Eleanor Burns. This lady is tons of fun.

Eleanor Keynote

Seriously, this picture of her is like the definition of all my favorite people: creative, and just a little crazy. But totally the good kind of crazy.

eleanor laughing

My Tuesday afternoon class was with Eleanor as well. If you haven’t read about my connection with Eleanor, you have to go read the whole story in the post where I talk about teaching at fabric fest.

eleanor teaching

I didn’t finish my quilt, but got very, very far in putting it all together…

eleanor and me

On Thursday, I had lectures. The morning lecture was with Nancy Zieman who came to us via live satellite feed. Isn’t technology awesome?

Nancy Zieman Lecture

My afternoon class was with the twin quilting phenoms from Logan, UT. Kim from Kimberbell Designs and Kris from My Girlfriend’s Quilt Shoppe. Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of that class, where they talked about all kinds of fun ways to transform precuts into quilts!

I do have a couple pictures of what meals looked like. In case you have ever wondered, this is what 300 hungry quilters look like:

fabric fest meal

And this is what all their bags look like… machines and rulers and more!

sewing machines all lined up

Thursday there was a dual keynote, Jenni from Missouri Quilt Co gave an awesome impromptu talk about how her choices as a quilter have changed her life. I really love hearing quilters who really get it. She understands quilting, other quilters, and what it is really all about.

Jenny from missouri quilt co

I was able to snag a quick photo with her after the conference.

jenny and me

And since I started this post with a quote, I’ll end it with another great one that helps describe this whole experience:

Brian Andrews Quote