My Adventures

Mesa Arizona Desert Stars Quilt Show

Michele Frasier with her beautiful quilt.

Like most Arizona days, the sunshine warmed the morning air and the birds sang with a promise of beautiful new day. It was Monday, and my next destination was Mesa, Arizona. I had an oil change appointment at the nearby Camping World in Tucson so while waiting for this to be completed, I picked up a few things in the store. One particular item of importance was a hammock for my bananas. I go through a lot of bananas every week because I put two in my morning smoothie. If you travel in a motorhome and like bananas – get a hammock for them so they don’t get bruised (or put them in your freezer after you peel them). Kaila, a very helpful service provider, helped me with other useful tips and my appointment (and wanted to be in my travel blog, see selfie below). She made the rather expensive stop quite pleasant, as did the others that helped me with my to-do list.

In just a couple of hours I was on my way to Mesa, Arizona, just a short hop from Tucson. Most of the trip was on a rather flat two lane road that Ranger handled very well. I arrived at the Apache Trail KOA park in Apache Junction later that afternoon. We were both tired from the trip despite how short it was. Joey played in his playground, then I ordered some pizza. Without any choices of food nearby and with my refrigerator not staying cool enough to keep much in it while driving, I’ve been resorting to ordering pizza because it’s good for a few meals the following days.

The next day, a beautiful warm Mesa Tuesday, was my Free Day where I was free to explore and do fun things before the show work started. I went to the Convention Center to get my bearings and parked in the lot while I explored downtown Mesa. A short walk was the post office where I mailed off items for my other company. Next, I headed to the Arizona Natural History Museum! Clearly, I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time because it has dinosaurs! I’ve been fascinated and studied dinosaurs since I was about five years old. I stop at every dinosaur exhibit I can.

There was an antique store down the street that was fun to go through, then a very old bookstore that reminded me of the bookstore in Port Townsend, Washington that I love so much. Next door was Mango’s Mexican Restaurant. Voted best Mexican food in Mesa. I ordered some flautas after being in line for quite a while. Excellent food and excellent service. From there I headed back after stopping for groceries and a couple of items at Michaels. It was a great way to end my day of exploration.

Because the booth setup was scheduled in late afternoon, I spent Wednesday doing prep work. This included assembling show specials, stapling catalogs, working on the blog and updating the demonstration video. I headed back over to the convention center to set up my booth only to find I was able to park very close to my assigned booth – even with the motorhome! This was to be a busy show so I took nearly all of my inventory out of Ranger and put it in my booth. I’ll be glad I did that. Driving back to Apache Junction (which was 27 miles away) in the dark on the five lane freeway was fairly easy, but then it was about 8pm, well after rush hour.

The following morning I had time to work on my other business (do some advertising work, printing, etc) and did some housework. I went into town later that morning and had lunch with a friend at the brew pub. I had just enough time to walk back to the Convention Center to get my booth ready. Thursday was what they called “Preview Night.” The admission was just $5 instead of $15 and it was from 5pm till 8pm. This event was held so that the guild and it’s members and friends could view the quilts without the hustle and bustle of the regular show. As a vendor, it was very slow, but the quilters were there to admire the quilts, not go shopping.

Up and early the next day I found myself back at my booth and ready for the eager quilters! I was warmly greeted by many of the quilters that I’d seen in Tucson. Michele, pictured at the top, came by to say hello and later showed me the quilt she had entered into the show.

Below are the photos of some of the quilts at the show. I admired the color work, design and detail on so many of them. Some took years to finish, some were stitched by hand and even some where professionally finished by another quilter. I am partial to the quilts that started with a grand idea, worked on meticulously but with joy, but also with the level of skill that the person acquired either through many years of practice or just a few months. That quilt is a part of that person who started with the first stitch and ended with the last knot. The quilt represents joy, design, discipline, love, and beauty. If you spend enough time in front of a quilt and really look at it, you may see this. The quilts represent the lives of the quilters. Life events such as birthdays pass between the stitches, holidays go by and more sewing is done, listening to books while sewing into the night, the quilting time spent with their friends over wine, the many classes it took to get to the level of artistry you’re looking at – it’s a timeline of this quilter’s life, a part of her or him lives in the quilt you see in front of you. I hope your heart will be filled with great appreciation and deep gratitude for the person who made it.

I had time on Saturday morning to take photos of the Best of Show Quilts. These famously awarded quilts were in a special room that was filled with color and craftsmanship. Along the walls were the Best of Show Quilts of the last 20 years! I watched people as they went from one to another. They’d stand in front of the quilt for several minutes, as if they were watching one of the most beautiful sunsets of their lives, drinking into their soul the days, months, and years of that person’s life which it took to create the masterpiece. Enjoy the photos! Be sure to “like” this page so you get emailed updates of the next show.

Sierra Gold Quilter’s Guild Show

The Sierra Gold Quilter’s Guild Show was a well-oiled event with helpful staff and beautiful presentations. In the little town of Plymouth, California, on a beautiful fall weekend, the 50 members of the guild displayed the talent of the local quilters with both breath-taking design and technique in the many quilts that were hung. It was difficult to choose my favorite quilt, with such unique styles, colors, shapes, patterns and panels. I don’t know if my favorite won any of the many prizes awarded over the two-day show, but I would have proudly hung it on my wall.

“I can’t believe I did that!”

“This box is shot!”

“I lost my cotter pin!”

These were some of the many sayings of my friendor (vendor friend) as she was setting up her booth next to mine. As a new vendor, I wasn’t sure if she was talking to me, to herself or to someone else as she put her booth together.  I just smiled awkwardly and nodded. I believe as I do more of these shows, I’ll be talking to myself as I set up the stencil displays.

Lady Bug Lace set up a large booth next to me. The nice ladies have been friends for over 35 years and all the items in their booth were made by them over the years. From the quilting, the woodwork, the sewing, the painting and gluing of their amazing yard plates!  It was a lot of fun chatting with them between the busy times at the show…

“It’s magic! Where did it go?!” an excited quilter said as her eyes widened and her hand grabbed for her heart. That reaction happens often as I pounce the chalk through the stencil revealing a clear design of the artsy dragon fly, only to swipe it with the iron to have it disappear forever. “Nancy! Nancy! Look at this!” Others gather ‘round to watch me demonstrate the pounce pad and stencils. That’s what makes these shows so much fun – and, of course, my friendor-neighbors.

I stayed at the beautiful Placerville KOA campground for four nights. Joey (that little black and white chihuahua rockstar) and I walked around the park every evening and every morning. I spotted a Lewis’ Woodpecker at the fishing pond, some nuthatches in the other large pine trees and a very friendly squirrel too. They had horses and a petting zoo for the many kids that were camping. The 30 minute drive on Highway 49 had a severe pucker factor as it sported 15 mph switch backs with “trucks use lower gear” warnings. My thirty foot motorhome puckered a few more times than I did, I’m sure, but after the third day, I knew all the bumps and curves to make it a leisurely drive to and from the show.

After the show, I headed southeast and stopped in Tehachapi, California – a small historic town famous for their trains. So, you know, I had to stop. Because my motorhome is too big, I couldn’t do the Tehachapi Train Loop that is a world famous attraction just outside of town – the road just isn’t safe enough for an RV according to the internet. I went into town instead and walked the 200-year-old downtown strip. The museum was fun to look at, at least the outside. They were closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. It was Monday. The doors were locked.  Small towns, what can you do? I was excited to see that this little town has two quilt stores just one block from each other! They were closed too. I did go into a craft store filled with work from local artists. That was great fun, because, they were open! The owner’s adorable dog followed me everywhere.

Peggy Sue’s Diner (website here) in Yerma, California was my stop before I headed further east. The gift shop was a lot of fun, the food was disappointing though (except the split pea soup, it was incredible). I had breakfast with Elvis before leaving the next day. I some how found myself in Las Vegas before landing in Kingman, Arizona about ninety minutes away.

The San Juan Quilter’s Guild in Farmington, New Mexico is putting on a show that promises to be their biggest and best ever! The Color In Motion Show starts on Friday, October 11th and ends Saturday the 12th at the McGee County Fairgrounds. I’ll continue my blog after my stop in Kingman, Arizona but below are photos of my booth (before and after), along with random photos of the trip so far. I’m very excited to show more wide-eyed quilters the magic of our stencils and how we can help them mark their quilts faster and better than ever! I hope to see you there!

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