Monday, November 5, 2012

Ready to leave Houston


The whole Houston thing is over.  For us the crowds were good and willing to buy our products.  We ran out of some products, but not our most popular items.  I really never know what people are going to buy at this show.  Perhaps it is because they come from all over to attend the show and if enough come from one section or another it affects the buying patterns.

Some vendors complained the crowd was not as good as last year and I suppose that may be true considering Hurricane Sandy pounded the New York New Jersey areas just before festival.  I am sure more than a few were not able to fly out or were delayed.  Even several vendors were delayed and were not able to set up for preview night.  It is such a shame when that happens because booth space is very expensive and you need all the selling time you can get.

We tore down the booth last night and it only took 2 hour and 45 minutes.  We were away and at dinner with Sue and Jon of Patten that Quilt by 8PM.   Today we will put our personal stuff in the car and head for home.  We should arrive by Tuesday night.  Garmin says we are 1203 miles from my home.  I have already voted and on Wednesday when I wake up we will know who or president will be for the next four years.  I am so tired of this election cycle.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Houston


So far preview and first day of festival have been very long hours.   This show simply has long hours.  Yesterday we started the show at 10 AM and ended at 7 PM.  That is a long time to be on our feet.  And   be on your best behavior at the same time.  Today we are up at 5 AM and have gotten already gotten our emails from yesterday done.  Worked up a new proposal for a European distributor with whom we had dinner and worked on new products for them to carry. 

We will need to be at the show at 8:30 AM today in order to get a parking place close to the show and more importantly in the shade.   It is really hot down here this year.  I remember the years I needed a coat.  Not this year.  The show will go until 7 PM.  On the bright side the time changes back to standard time on Sunday so we can sleep an extra hour tonight.  So there are 3 more days of festival.

Come on down and see the special we have to offer.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Wisconsin to Texas


Two uneventful 600 mile drives and we are sitting in a hotel near Hobby Airport in Houston.   I have to tell you about eatinf on the road.  On Saturday shortly after we left Wisconsin, we realized we would be going past Sikeston, MO at the right time to eat at Lambert's the home of the Throwed Roll.  If you have never eaten there you have missed an experience.  I would tell you more but it would ruin your first time.  So we skipped lunch looking to have an early evening meal.  We get ther and the parking lot is sort of full, which is pretty normal.  Find out the wait is one and a half hours.  No Lambert's on the way to Houston, we will try on the way home.  Last night we went to a Tex-Mex for dinner.  Stay away from Gringos.  Food lacked flavor and was served cold.  There was a huge crowd, so somebody likes it. Maybe tonight we will have a better experience.

Today we are going to spend the last day of Market walking the floor to see what’s new and exciting for our customers.  This year we added wooden hoops into our inventory.  Now we are seeking more new quality items to add to our own assortment of quality Quilter's Rule products.

Tomorrow we will get up early and go stand in line with our truck and trailer to wait to unload.  I am looking forward to that about like I look forward to a toothache.  On the other hand we will have plenty of time to catch up with old friends.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Almost Ready for Houston


It has been a week filled with turmoil.  We have been learning to use our new silk screener.  You would not think something a little bigger would be so different.  Oh well, we are getting the hang of it.  Today we were printing 48x96 mats. 

Tomorrow we will pack the trailer and on Saturday we will head for Houston, just a short hop lasting a couple of days.  We have not had to do this trip for a number of years as we had a contractor who did Festival.  But this year the show falls to Patricia and I.

Remember, if you will be in Houston for Festival on Wednesday evening for preview.  Join us for the  fun come in costume and have the pass word for special savings.  Challenge is “Who Rules” Answer is “Quilter’s Rule” the correct answer will get you a special discount on your purchase.

I think the best think that will happen is while I am traveling home from this show the election will be over.  I will be able to watch TV without political ads. Both sides can stop telling lies and making unfounded accusations.    And maybe with a little luck and a lot of hard work things will start to get better in this great land of ours.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

California to Wisconsin what could go wrong?


We finished up at PIQF with sales ahead of last year but lower than our best year.  We did something right getting out of the show because we did it in less time then we have ever done. Then we started home with the intention of going to Tracy.  Missed a turn and crossed a bridge at Vallejo that cost $20.00. Wee rn into congestion, road construction and heavy traffic at Travis Air Force base near Fairfield and it was 10PM.  I cannot believe how much the roads have changed in 36 years.  They actually built roads that weren’t there when I lived out there and I thought the State was broke.  We ended up in Auburn for a short night’s sleep. 

Next day we set out for home and got about 30 miles from Battle Mountain, NV with a failure in a wheel bearing.  We limped into Battle Mountain calling everyone we could find to help us.  A company called Atlas was able to help.  They did not expect to find any parts in the town but a local Napa dealer had the bearing and seal we wanted.  Of course it did not end there; we had to find a new hub because the race had spun and was no longer tight.  This meant we had to drive 70 miles to Elko and back again to replace it.  They were kind enough to stay late and complete the repairs and we were on one our way again about 6:30 PM. We spent over 6 hours getting going again, fell way behind in our effort to drive 750 miles each day.  We ended the day in Wendover, UT on the west side of the salt flats at 11PM.  At that point we were 126 miles behind our goal.  And we really need to be at work on Thursday morning and I wanted to watch the debate Tuesday night which meant we had to be in a hotel room early.

Tuesday I woke at 4:30 and we left.  About a half hour out of Wendover on the salt flats I sneezed and got a bloody nose.  Pulled over and let Patricia drive while I nursed my nose.  Got it stopped and we continued in to Salt Lake City, then up to hill to Wyoming.  Of course there was a high wind advisory.  Started at 35mph wind gusts and got up to 50 plus by the time we got to Laramie.  The best thing was the wind was from the West and we got great gas mileage.  We made it to North Platte, NE by 7:55pm and got to see the whole debate.

Just 751 miles left, what could go wrong.  It started raining just past Des Moines and rained the rest of the way home.  Nearly 6 hours of rain and the last 3 in darkness.  What could go wrong?  Trips like this I wonder why I do what I do.  Oh I remember it pays the bills and I like people.  I will write again when I leave for Houston.  Pray for a better trip.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

PIQF Preview


Yesterday we set a record for set up!  4 and half hours and we were done.  We did leave behind the bargain barn and the books and patterns which would have taken about another hour, but I put together a hand quilting frame and that took me an hour.  I guess that makes things about even.

The quilt frames are quite nice.  Very smooth and they come unfinished so you can finish they to compliment your home d├ęcor.   Quilters Rule will be carrying these frames in several sizes and shapes to meet your quilting needs.    Just a little different from the machine quilting supplies for which we are known.

Most people came to the show last night to see the quilts.  I was actually surprised by the crowd last night, but as I said most came to see the quilts and will start shopping today.  I hope.   

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Santa Clara


We arrived in Santa Clara last night about 10 PM.  The good news was that we got the truck back on the road for under $250, including an oil change.  We lost a bearing in the tensioning roller on the fan belt.  I was really worried that we had a much bigger problem.

Spent the afternoon with my brother and got to see my great niece.  She has grown so much in the three years since I last saw her.  Unfortunately everyone else in the family had to work yesterday.  So after dinner we left and drove the last 134 miles to Santa Clara.  It started to sprinkle just as we arrived and while we were unloading the truck it poured.

Today we have to set up and preview is from 7pm to 10 pm.  It will be a long day.  Let’s all hope a lot of people come and are in a buying mood.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Reno, NV


Arrived in Reno yesterday about 7:30 PM, the truck is making a funny noise so I have to check it out today before we start over Donner Summit.  Really did not sleep well as I kept worrying about it.  So I am up early and checked my email and now I am trying to find something constructive to do or say.

Fuel keeps getting more expensive the further west we go.  Makes me wonder if people will still come to the show?  Of course Santa Clara is a fairly affluent area, but I have to believe that even rich people will think twice about spending $5.00 a gallon to drive to things they don’t have to attend.  Will they save the gas for the trip to work?  What a horrible thought. 

On the bright side, I will spend much of today at my brother’s home.  We do not see much of each other as we live over 2000 miles apart. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Rock Springs, WY


We traveled just over 750 miles yesterday.  My cell phone has decided it can’t upload to my Facebook page.  We got a rock chip in the windshield that is only one week old.  Not much else can go wrong so we are looking forward to a great show at PIQF.

Gas just keeps getting more expensive as we go west.  Got a call from a friend who told us by the time we get to Reno today we will be looking at $4.05.  The cost for gas by the time we get there will be $900.  If it this show is soft as many have been this year, it will go under the microscope for next year.  We simply have to make enough money for us to come this far.  The difference in fuel will be over $500 round trip.

Oh well my problem not yours.   Today will slide down the hill to Salt Lake City across the salt flats and then across mountains and broad valley to Reno.  Another 700 miles and then on Tuesday we will go up and over the mountains and be in Sacramento at my brother’s home for the afternoon.  In the evening we will drive to Santa Clara so we can be in line early for setup.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Council Bluffs, IA


Fall is here, I have put up all the hay I can this year.  I have enough for my wife’s horses and my cows.  Most of my customers are short and asking where to get hay.  Really I can’t tell them because I do not know of anyone who has extra.  It is going to be a long cold expensive winter.  On the plus side the calves are growing well and I think the last cow is pregnant again.  If so the last calf will be born on or about June 20.  There should be plenty of fresh grass in the fields.

We left about noon yesterday and went by Nolting in Hiawatha, IA to pick up some samples of wooden hoops for the show in Santa Clara.  So if you are looking for a hoop to do hand quilting we will have some samples for you to see at PIQF.  These are the Hinterburg wood hoops.  Nolting purchased the company a couple of years ago.  Great quality and if you hand quilt you will enjoy these hoops.  We will have lap stands and floor stands for you to see.  Orders will ship directly from the factory and for this show freight is included in the price.

For those of you who attended the AQS show in Des Moines, I hope the show was great.

Stopped last night in Council Bluffs, IA, which is about as far west in Iowa as you can get.  Today we will drive and drive and drive some more and if we are lucky we will end up in Rock Springs, WY.  Not a lot to see along HWY 80 and I am sure the drought has made things even worse.   At least the snow has stopped in Western Nebraska.  Dry roads are great.

We will try to post pictures on my Facebook page. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Leaving Huron

Today is the last day of the Quilting with Machines show. At 3pm we will begin packing up our booth and getting set to start home.  Normally we would stay the night and start out tomorrow.  But there is a freeze forecast for Sunday night and I need to get home and do some work on Sunday before that freeze. 

The show is a bit slow for us this year.  We always want the shows to be bigger and better each year.  But that is just not going to happen with the economy the way it is.   Attendance is down but those who came and purchased seemed to spend on average more than last year with us.  The parking lot was never as full as in previous years.  That could be a function of other things going on at the resort. 
On the other hand a bit of good news.  We supplied A Touch of Thread with a full line of our products and they are now a Certified Store Dealer for our products.  You can get most Quilter’s Rule products from them.  Please support their effort to bring you the latest in machine tools and rulers. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Huron, Ohio


I have not written for some time.  Of course this blog is called Travels with Quilter’s Rule and I have not travelled for what seems like an eternity.   But it was just last month when we did the short hop to Oconomowoc for Machine Quilting Today.   I have gotten so out of the show habit.  We arrived on Tuesday afternoon, having left at 5 AM to beat the Chicago traffic.  We were successful and were on Highway 80 at 7 AM headed east in Indiana.  First thing I did was miss a turn and ended up headed for Detroit because I had the Garmin on shortest route instead of fastest.  Shortly after the first wrong turn Garmin dumped us off on highway 20 for a drive in the country.  We had plenty of time so I stayed on shortest for a while.  Through South Bend and on and on through towns and villages until I got tired of 30 MPH.  Finally decided to get on the interstate, pay the tolls and make up a little time. I had to pick the only entrance that was closed going east and was forced back onto side roads until we got to the next entrance.

Off subject but if you are traveling through Chicago, avoid buying gas, it is $4.23 per gallon.

Quilting with Machines started last night at 5 PM with a three and half hour preview.  Crowd was a little light but we did better than last year.   I am encouraged with those results, but they may be reflective of Patricia’s class earlier in the day.  I really like this show Dottie, Cathy and Jodie are so friendly and do a great job.  The Sawmill is a great private resort.  If you are in the area, stop by and visit for a while.

Birgit Schueller’s Licorice and Lace won Custom Quilting and Best of Show.  If you have not seen her work you need to come to the show.  Linda Taylor is here teaching and that does not happen often enough anymore so you have another  reason to drive to Huron.  You have three more days.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Colchester, VT



We left Waterford Monday about mid-day and arrived in Colchester just past mid-day on Wednesday.  I have no idea why it takes so long to drive east.  Normally I think going west is boring, but now going east is just as boring.  To cover the 1009 miles to the hotel we drove just over 1200.  The best part of the trip was from Albany up the east side of the lake to Colchester.  It was country we have never driven through and it was beautiful.

The really bad news is we replaced the fuel tank again before we left and when we filled it the third time it started to leak  around the filler tube.  They just can’t seem to fix the problem.  When we call the shop to report the problem they were nice enough, but we could tell they were distressed, but so are we.  When you are on the road as much as we are and driving a vehicle with 344,000 miles on it, you expect to have small problems.  This problem is driving us nuts.  Life on the road has its stressful moments it is not all fun and games.

We arrived and unloaded in the rain and it is going to rain again today.  The preview is at 7:30 tonight.  If you are in the area, come and have chocolate and campaign.  The crowd is nice at this show.  People are friendly and they remember you from one year to the next.   My phone is still not working to upload photos, and the show does not want us to take photos of the quilts so we are limited to the vendors and the crowd.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

It's a Wrap

The NQA show is over, and I have spent a few days thinking about this show.  It should be a great show for Quilter’s Rule; it is in an area of the country we normally do well.  We have lots of customers in and around Columbus, but it is only a mediocre show.  It ended a bit down from last year.  The question becomes why does that happen?  There are a couple of reasons, I suppose.  I spent some time speaking to a lot of the other vendors, and for some it was a very good show if you believe completely what they tell you.  But for many it was just an OK show.
But before I get to far astray, I want to say the traffic was so much better at the show this year, than last year, at least part of the mediocre performance has to lay with our effort at the show or our selection of product to display at the show.  And when you look at our records, only the first day was down, the second and third days we gained back a portion of what we had dropped the first day.  I have watched the leadership of NQA work so hard this past year to promote their organization.  I think that is great the organization and does so much for the industry.
Here are the things I know for sure.  There were four jewelry dealers, two could be said to be high in and two low end dealers.  One of the high end folks told me that he only had one sale on Saturday.   And why would he tell me that detail?  Because, on Saturday, I purchased a birthday present for my wife from him and he wanted to thank me again.  Mine was that purchase!  One of the fabric vendors told me they was busy selling fat quarters, but it was not adding up to a lot of sales on the register.  One machine dealer said they used to sell up to six machines at the show and for the last couple of years they have only sold one.  Many of the vendors were showing signs of impatience by the end of the show.  We sold a lot of patterns and books that we had steeply discounted to clear our warehouse.
NQA got the people to come to the show.  The people who came were not willing to open their pocket books.  They were only willing to make a few very small purchases.   I can’t tell you how many times I rang up an 80 cent sale.  But I ended with a lot of dollar bills and no dimes.  There is a lot of interest in quilting otherwise people would not have come.  But they are fearful of sending their money.  In my opinion, the recession is deep in Ohio and shows here will only get better when this recession finally ends.  I hate to wait but I think I must. 
On another note I will be traveling again this week end but not to a quilt show.  I will be attending the American Dexter Cattle Association http://www.dextercattle.org/   Annual Convention in Ft. Wayne, IN.  I will attempt to send a few pictures if I can get my phone to work again.  Then on Monday we will leave for the Vermont Quilt Show. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Columbus, OH


Set up at Columbus was really uneventful.  We had a long time to do it because we arranged to drop our stuff off at 5 pm and we were going to train a new person.  So we had 4 hour on Tuesday and 8 hours on Wednesday and we took the entire time.  Normally, it should take about 6 hours.   But then I had to talk to everyone.   Many just wanted to know about the recall election of Scott Walker in Wisconsin.  A few we have not seen for several months just wanted to catch up on the latest news as did I.

So we have a new person in the booth with us.  If you are reading this and will be at the booth, come by and meet Patty,  No not my daughter, a new Patty from Missouri. She is thinking about becoming an Independent Contractor for us.  She is a hard worker and catches on quickly.  Make her feel welcome.

Preview at the NQA show was and is like many previews, a waste of time and effort for the ;vendors,   The are very nice to everyone and provide an evening meal for the vendors, but the attendees are not interested in buying they come to see the quilts.  So let them see the quilts and let the vendors eat on their own.  Everyone would be happier.

The quilts at the show are quite beautiful and the display is great.  Sorry no pictures as my phone has decided to have a fit.  It will not send to my Facebook account.   I will have to take it in when I get home.  I don’t understand why they call it a smart phone.  In my opinion, mine is dumb as a cob., but only when I can’t make it work.  There are days I just hate technology.  I must be getting old, I sound like my father. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Richmond, IN

Patricia and I are on the road again!  Big surprise!

Yesterday, we started the day at Quilter’s Rule.  We worked on catching up from the weekend and getting ready a couple of items for the week.  Are goal was to leave by noon.  Started loading the trailer at 11:30 and finished about 1 in the afternoon.  Then stupid me, I decided I could cut through Chicago at 3 in the afternoon, save a few miles and miss the tolls.  Just pay the tolls and go around.  That cost us a couple of hours in traffic.  Will I ever learn?

It has been a busy couple of weeks since we returned from our last trip.  We received in nearly 20,000 pounds of mat material.  It has been printed and much of it shipped.   I have cut, baled and put away almost 1,000 bales of hay.   The horses and cattle have to eat this winter.   We need rain and the best chance for the week passed us by yesterday.  Of course, I broke the baler and have a hydraulic leak on my tractor.  Put in a garden and broke my lawn mower.  If only that stuff would break in the winter time when I had time to work on it.   Or I could be like the rest of the world and just buy new stuff and wait for the government to help me.  Oh, that sounds like sour grapes. 

After we finished with MQS we spent an extra night in Kansas City and went to Spring Market.  We are deciding if few want to carry other products than our own.  We did find a couple of interesting items and we will be testing them shortly.  Something we have not done for a very long time. 

This morning we are visiting a vendor in Richmond and then off to Columbus, OH, where we will unload at 5pm tonight.  Another full day on the road with Quilter’s Rule.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Machine Quilter’s Showcase is Over



The last MQS in Overland Park, KS is over.  It was a smaller show then in previous years.  It is a little sad to see this change and I worry about next year.  My records show sales for our company dropped considerably after the move from Springfield, IL and it took several years to return to a new normal lower than it had been in Springfield.  On the other hand they had out grown the facility in Springfield and so the move resulted.  Thus I have serious reservations about next year.  But regardless of what I think the show will be in Witicha next year.  Oh, Well!

Today we are going to Spring Market which is also in town this weekend at Bartle Hall.  It has been a long time since we went to Market, and a first as a buyer only.  As many of you know we were a distributor of other peoples products for many years, but have not pursued that avenue for some time.  Many of our current customers have asked us to carry other items and we have resisted. 

Now we think it may be time to carry a select set of products that are not our own.  So off to Market we go.

Friday, May 18, 2012

At Machine Quilting Showcase


Preview and the first day at Showcase was a bit short of some previous shows.   It is not often I attend a show where I don’t feel comfortable leaving Patricia in the booth by herself and I get to go around and smooze with the other vendors and show staff.  But for the last two shows W have actually been busy most of the day.  Yesterday Patricia did have time to go get us an sandwich late in the afternoon and I watched the booth.  We were not going to have time to eat because of the auction for education.
Last night at the Auction they were able to raise over $11,000 for education, so I expect we will see lots of people who benefit next year.  And the money was raised on half the quilts auctioned last year.  The big winner was Baby Turtle Bay by Claudia Pheil, at $2400.  My thanks to Claudia for her donation to education.  The auction is such a great effort to help people and new quilters learn how to contribute to the industry. 
This year the IMQA can fill more of the many requests they receive and give complete scholarships to deserving people.  To all the bidders thank you for your generosity.  Come by the Quilter’s Rule booth and see the quilt I purchased for Patricia’s office door.   I think it fits.  Maybe I should post at picture you tell me.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Kansas City (Overland Park)

I am beginning to understand how much I dislike driving across WY, NE and KS.  There are long distances with nothing to see except wide open spaces.  I know many of you live there and love it.  I just need my trees and rain. But I do thank the farmers and ranchers that live there and feed our great nation. 

Yesterday was set up day at MQS.  We are in the first row just across from Nolting.  We are trying something new a 25 foot in line booth.  It took forever for us to decide how to set up.  Normally we would set up the booth at the office to determine where everything should go.  But this time we did not do that very smart thing.  Instead we had to make all the decisions after we arrived.  Almost three wasted hours.  But by 7pm we were almost ready.  Just a little straighten up to do and we are ready. 

We were short a little on quilts to hang with 45 feet of wall space.   Thanks to Dusty and Stephanie for loaning us Garden Orbs, the Viewer Choice Award winner in Milwaukee two years ago.

Anyway, preview starts at 2:30 this afternoon.  Come by and say hello.  Shop a bit and let’s all have a good time.

Patricia and I are sorry we were unable to get more pictures at the show last week.  But we were so busy and had no time.  That is a good thing.  Thanks so much to all who shopped with us in Sandy, UT.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Salt Lake City (Sandy)


This has been a particularly difficult trip for me.  Have not been able to get the Road Warrior Suit on or maybe it just does not fit.  To bring everyone up to date (I stopped writing here on Tuesday) what a difference a few days make.

We have been at the Home Machine Quilting Show in Sandy, UT.   What a great success this year.  We have not been able to get out of our booth to view the quilts or be able to put pictures on line.  I took one photo of the crowd coming in and then I put my head down and have been working.  After the show was over on Thursday there were a lot of people left in the hall so I quickly when over to check out the QOV bus.  It is being built – not finished - to transport disabled vets to appointments.  A good cause, please support it.  I did see a couple of the QOV quilts on the way back.  It breaks your heart and makes you so proud of the warriors that will eventually have these quilts.  I find it hard to understand why everyone who quilts does not help in this effort.

If you live in the Mountain States and have not been the HMQS, you should make plans to go next year.  Sorry but the show ends today.  If things slow down today, I will try and get out and post a few pictures.  After  4PM it will all be over and we can look forward to next year. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

After Six Weeks Off




Omaha, NE

After 6 weeks at home I find myself on the road again.  This time we are on our way to Denver, Salt Lake City and Kansas City.   We left home at 2 pm yesterday afternoon with 1006 miles to cover to get to the first show.  We spent the night in Omaha, NE, near the zoo.  Just past that locomotive setting on the bluff over the Missouri River.  In 1976 I lived not far from where I spent the night.  I had left the Army and had my first job with PIE (Pacific Intermountain Express) as a Trainee.   This area has changed so much, but everywhere and everything has changed.

Today we will drive the rest of the way to Denver.  I must be getting old. I can’t remember the last time I forgot to pack my razor, but I did yesterday.  Well I will treat myself to a new one. 

I have to tell you I am not looking forward to this trip.  March was very warm and I got the itch to plant my garden.  April was cold and I had to cover the plants.  My cows had their calves and now I want finish planting.  My first cutting hay crop can be cut next week if the weatherman is correct about the temperature.  And I will be in on the road.  I am just a frustrated farmer and sometimes it just gets the best of me.

Oh well, if it were easy everyone would do it.  So just come by our booth to visit and pick up that new tool you need for your next project.  I have a special gift for qualifying purchases.  A Quilter’s Rule Tote Bag could be yours.  These are brand new and are off white cotton with burgundy print.  Who will be the first?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

My Friends Won't Let Me Forget

 The show in Lancaster is over!  What a great success.  The exhibits were so beautiful and unique.  The weather was perfect, the vendors were great and the crowds were huge.  Just over 3300 unique visitors to the show so much larger than last year.  All the vendors were happy.  And the results were the same for Sue Ash and her show in the Continental Inn.

So here I sit at 5 in the morning.  Can’t sleep and waiting for Patricia and Devlin to wake up so we can head for home.   I am thinking I am the only one up and all my friends are wishing me a happy birthday.  Don’t any of you sleep or are we just a bunch of insomniacs?  So to all of you Thank You.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Day Three at the Show

 Well day two came and went and I have no idea how it passed so swiftly.  In two days we surpassed the attendance we had in four days last year.  And today we were over 1000 people for the day.  We are so happy.  Our shoppers were happy and spending money.  Our vendors are happy.  What more could you ask?

Tonight we are having Gallery Tours of the Quilts.  We have allowed people to come back.  The vendors are closed and the curators are here giving tours and talking one on one with folks interested in the history of the Quilts.  It is quiet, there are no crowds, and everyone is happy.

We will do this again next year.  Plan to attend.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

First Day of the Show

We were so happy with the first day.  Mary Kerr, Sue Riech and Cindy Souder did such a great job of hanging their exhibits.  The comments on the quilts was delivered all day long.  Devlin had reset the vendors and they looked so wonderful.. I am so proud of all of them for making the show look so well.

Yesterday channel 11 came to do an interview.  Now many of you know that I can not talk about Quilts of Valor without getting all watery eyed.  Now I know I simply feel that way about anything connect with a veteran.  And I had to learn that while doing an interview for TV. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Lancaster, PA

Let me catch everybody up.  We are in Lancaster, PA, at the Lancaster Spring Quilt show at the Host Hotel.  It is Wednesday morning at 5 AM.  We left Dallas at about 8 PM on Sunday.  The Dallas show was a great show as I have reported earlier, despite the fact it rained all day on Saturday and most of Sunday.  The clouds did part and the sun did come out late in the day and we were able to load out without getting everything all wet.  That made all the vendors in a better mood.

We drove to Texarkana, TX and spent 4 hours in a hotel room. Got up and drove 918 miles to Salem, VA.  Got to sleep for 6 hours because I did not hear my alarm and had forgotten to tell the hotel to give me a wakeup call.  Got back in the car and drove for 5 more hour to arrive at the Host Hotel to set up the show.  We finished setting up last night at 9 PM.  Checked into the hotel went down to the bar to meet a couple of people and were surprised to also find Mike and Virginia Walton who had come to see us.  They are doing the show downtown. 

Exhaustion set in after the second drink and we went back to the room to balance the till from the last day of Dallas and get some sleep.   Finally laid down about quarter to midnight.  I feel remarkable good this morning.

I hope all of you who are in and near Lancaster this morning will come to our show.  Please tell me if you are reading this.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Daylight Savings Time

Last night we set our clocks forward one hour.  So what, we have been on Standard Time since November?  So why does Day Light Saving time last longer than Standard Time?  This is one of those quirks that the government thinks up to do something and then never gives up. 

I really don’t care which time they use, just use one and leave it alone.
Enough Said.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

A Day at the Dallas Show

Yesterday was a good day at the show.  The crowd was great. We were busy from about 45 minutes after the show opened until 3:30 in the afternoon when the buses started to leave and the things ground down to vendors looking at other vendors by 4:30.  The show closed at 6PM.   If you live in the Dallas area and want to see the show without crowds, come after 4 and you will have a couple of hours of pleasant shopping without crowds.  The vendors would appreciate something to do the last two hours.

If you have never been to the Dallas show you should come to this show.  It is a great North Texas regional show.  Quilts are beautiful and there is a good selection of vendors.  With all the quilt stores that come plus the national vendors you should be able to find almost anything you want.

We had Barbeque for dinner last night and then went to the movies.  The new Disney movie John Carter is to be expected Y chromosome movie.  If you like action Science Fiction with a love story thrown in you will probably like the move.  Besides the previews of the new movies mean I will get to go to the movies after set up all summer.  Love to watch movies.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Dallas, TX

Set up today went very well a little over 7 and a half hours.  When we started the temperature was nearly 70 and the humidity was close to 100% since it was raining.  By the time we finished the temperature had dropped almost 30 degrees.  Anyway we finished and went and got cleaned up, had dinner at the Big Horn Brewing Company otherwise known as Humperdinks.  Building looks a lot like the Ram Brewing Company building in Portland, OR.  Food was good the beer was better after the first one went down. Normally the first is best.

We also found the local AMC movie theatre as we want to go see John Carter tomorrow when it opens.  We have choice of 3-D, D-Box and regular.  I must be getting old, we are getting the regular tickets.  I don’t even know what D-box is, but the told  us the seats move.  What is wrong with just watching a good Y chromosome movie.  Oh I know watching it with a good beer.

Then we found a Walgreens and tried to go back to the hotel.  Did you know it takes a long time when they close off and on ramps and build new roads?  I should have know there is almost as much road construction here as there is in Houston.  We know where all that stimulus money went.

Tomorrow will be a great day.   Rain is forecast, I know they need it here, but next week would have worked for me.  We will try to get in early to take and up load a few pictures of quilts.  We will not be able to transfer them to the Quilter’s Rule Facebook page until tomorrow evening.  So if you want to see them during the day check out my personal page and Patricia personal page.  We can upload to those pages from our phones.

I think a good night’s sleep is in order for me.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Facebook Changes

Timeline is coming and for some of us, it has already come to our Facebook page.  On the 22nd of February my personal Facebook page was forced over to the new timeline format.  Do I like the change?  Not really, but it is time to suck it up and deal with the changes.  I signed up for a webinar on the Edge Ranking that controls how long posts stay in on my friends pages.   I worked right through the webinar on Friday afternoon and missed it.  Now I will have to read the report next week.  So what does it all mean?  I really don’t know, but if I figure it out I will tell you. 
But as long as the change is here I would like to do something positive with it rather than just complain.  On everyone’s timeline, is a cover photo that can be changed as often as you desire.  And you have the ability to pin a story at the top of your Timeline. While I was trying to decide what I wanted to put up for Quilter’s Rule page, I had a couple of thoughts.  Some mediocre thoughts and maybe one good thought.  What do you do if are not supposed to be commercial?  Well the Quilter’s Rule page is commercial. 
So what to do?  What could we do that would be of interest to all our friends?  One thing Quilters have in common is they love to look at quilts.  We know there are a lot of great quilts out there that never get seen by anyone except the quilter and their family.  We would like to show our friends some of these quilts using our Facebook page.
So here is how it is going to work.  Subject to revisions as we figure this out!
Send me an email at jim@quiltersrule.com attach a photograph of your quilt.
Tell me a little about the quilt.  You know, how big, why you did the quilt.  How long it took to complete.  Fabrics, thread and batting used.  And any other information you think is important.
Once a week we will choose one quilt from the photos we receive to be the Quilter’s Rule Pin Story.   For each quilt photo we post we will send out a complimentary Quilter’s Rule ruler (Your choice of any of our Fabric Gripping rulers).  Just a little incentive to do it today not next week.  Don’t forget to like the Quilter’s Rule page if you have not done so previously.
Currently, I have posted a quilt that was created for the Quilter’s Rule Tool Challenge.  The quilt was pieced by Virginia Walton owner of Creative Curves, using her Multi-Angle Tool.  This photo was taken before it was quilted by Gayle Bong of Gaylee Quilting.  I forgot to get another picture before we presented the quilt.  The quilt was presented to Juanita Canfield, a longarm quilter and a great supporter of QOV, for her service to this great country during the Quilts of Valor auction at the Milwaukee Machine Quilting Show in 2011.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Weather

Monday we pack the trailer and we leave on Tuesday for our next show run.  First stop is the Dallas Quilt show.  While the company has done the show several times, Patricia and I have never done the show.  It will take us a day and a half to get to Dallas.  We will be making a stop in Joplin to visit with Richard and Sandy King.  We will update everyone on the progress they are making on their new home.  
Dallas is a three day show starting on Friday.  We will be setting up on Thursday.  After Dallas we will leave Sunday evening on our way to the show in Lancaster.  We have to set up on Tuesday.  That means we have 1400 miles more or less to drive.   A couple of hundred miles to drive on Sunday night, 900-1000 miles on Monday, and couple of hundred more on Tuesday.  Early mornings and late nights will be the rule for a couple of days. Remember it takes us about 6 hours to set up.
Devlin will be leaving on Monday a week from tomorrow to fly to Erie, PA and ride with Dusty and Stephanie to Lancaster.   His job is to work with the decorator and curators of the exhibits to get the quilts hung.  He will also be checking in the vendors. So if you would like to help out come to the Host Hotel and Resort on Tuesday morning and volunteer.  We could use the help.
So what does all this have to do with the weather?  Almost everything!  If the weather does not cooperate we could be late for either or both of the shows.  On the way to Dallas we will be skirting the western edge of all the tornados that have been forming.  And the weather forecast is not exactly great for next week.  Then when we leave Dallas we will go right through the middle of the strike zone.  Looking forward to that trip is so thrilling.  We could go around the worst of the weather, maybe, but it would add about 300 miles.  Really not an option. 
On the lighter side, Patricia and I would love to meet you at the show in Dallas and the show in Lancaster.  Please stop by and tell us how we can help you and if you like the way we are communicating this year. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Leap Year is for People Who Need More Time

Under normal circumstances today would be the end of February.  But we have one more day.  And do I need it. There is so much to do.   As most of you know we just finished the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival.  The show was very well attended and we posted pictures of many of the quilts that won and a few that we thought were great but did not win.  There are so many great quilts and not all can win but all can be enjoyed. 

We had plenty to do.  Saw customers we have not seen for several years.  Several of our store customers were anxious to be resupplied with products of upcoming shows.  With so many people out maybe due to the weather but hopefully because the economy is starting to turn around…..I hope.

In any case yesterday we started home.  Drove over 700 miles and slept in Lima, OH last night.  Today we get home unload and start packing to leave on Tuesday.   We are off to the Dallas Quilt Show.  We will finish the show on Sunday and have to set up on Tuesday in Lancaster, PA.

Hope everyone will come out and visit us at the two shows.  Patricia and I have never done the Dallas show before.  Sonja has always done it, but she and Chug have decided they have other things on their bucket list that need doing and we wish them well.  And the Lancaster show is our show.   Devlin is going by plane to set up the show before we get there.  We have great exhibits so come out to see them.

Anyway the week went so fast.  We stayed at the Best Western Hotel in Hampton.  I am not telling you about it because I endorse it but because I want you to stay away from it.  While we were there a biker club had booked part of the hotel to party.  They were up until all hours of the night screaming and yelling in the hall and they had a dance two nights in the ballroom with music so loud you could feel it in your room.  Management of the hotel simply said they were allowed to party until 2 AM.  One vendor called the police they quieted down for a while then went out and revved up their bikes for a couple of hours.     

Friday, February 24, 2012

Hampton Roads

I have not spoken to you for a couple of days. I would say I was in a funk and my daughter would say I was just in a rotten mood.  Well this morning I am feeling much better.  There is always a reason for everything.  Tuesday we took our truck in because the left front brake was dragging.

The first estimate was for over $800.00, and I was calculating how much we had to sell to make up that bill.  They wanted to put on life time parts.  Now I almost never do that but I decided that if they were going to warranty the parts for a lifetime I could deal with it.  Maybe the parts would be of a higher quality than the last ones.  When I told Patricia she remembered she had put lifetime brakes on the truck in California about 5 years ago.  Well okay where is the paperwork and how do we prove it?

Those of you who know Patricia know she never throws anything away and she carries way more than we need.  So out comes a file on repairs we have done to the truck and she hands me the bill from California.

Last night we picked up the truck and the final bill was a little over $400.  Not everything was covered; we still had to pay for the rotors.  But the bill was a lot less.  I owe her a huge thanks for keeping track of things of me.

Today we are going in a little early and take some pictures of the quilts.  We will post them on our personal Facebook pages during the day and later share them on the Quilter’s Rule page.  So watch our pages or the company page later tonight.  Remember we are on Eastern Time and we will most likely eat before we settle down on the computers tonight.

I am in a better mood and the weather here is wonderful

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Dodging Snow and Tolls

We loaded the trailer on Sunday and Monday morning we left the house at 5:30 am.  We started with 951 miles to drive.  I hate to pay tolls, so we normally try to avoid them.  So instead of going east on 80 we went south on 65 to 70 and then east.  We could hve gone down through the middle of WV but that would have put us in the middle of the snow.  Combined, that added about 100 miles but saved about $80 in tolls.  We still have about 350 miles to drive today.

The drive yesterday was great, no clouds, no rain and more important no snow.  I will let you know how things turn out tonight.

But this morning we have to find somewhere to have the brakes fixed.  Our front left brake sounds terrible.  And it was just in the shop last week.  I am sure some of you are thinking why don’t you just get a new truck?  For me it is relatively simple.  Repairs are much cheaper than payments.  I could have payments and repairs.  Oh well that is life on the road.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Home in Waterford

After two days at home (the office) I still can’t find the top of my desk.  Everything and everyone wanted a little including my dog.  Some of you may know my wife’s dog Scamp.  She comes to work every day and is treated as a company health benefit.  Did you know that if you pet a dog each day your heart rate is lower?

Next weekend February 17 & 18, Devlin and Roger do a show in West Bend, WI. Patricia teaches at the show on Saturday, then on Sunday we pack the trailer and Monday morning we leave for Hampton Roads, VA.  That is near Fort Eustis, where I went on active duty after college.  Right in the middle of the Viet Nam War or as our political leaders called it a police action.  I guess what you called it had to depend on whether you were telling someone to go get shot at or you were being shot at. That was a very long time ago. 1970 I remember it just like it was yesterday.  Right, I am having a senior moment.  How did I get lost in the 70’s?

So let’s get back to the task at hand.  As long as I am home I thought you might like to meet our employees.  If I can learn to download my phone’s camera to my laptop I will write a bit about one of our employees each day and give you a picture of that person. 

If you think this is a good idea let me know. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Iowa City, IA

Iowa City, IA

I have a few minutes to bring you up to date before we hit the road again today.  The second day of the show was terrible.  No one’s fault.  No one can control the weather.  The snow fall was reported as the most in history for a February storm.  All but a few vendors were able to make it to the show.  Some of the students came for class and a few brave souls came to make purchases.  A long day.

The last day of the show was nice, attendance was up and sales returned, but did not make up for a lost day.  We will give the show another shot next year.  Our normal run of shows will not work next year because Road to California is moving its date.

Sunday morning we got up at 5AM and pulled out. Drove 750 miles more or less and ended the day in Iowa City.  Today we have a short 250 miles to drive and we will be home for a couiple of weeks.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Snow versus Show

The first day of the show was nice.  Many people told us they came yesterday rather than today because of the prediction of snow for today.  I have no idea what traffic will be like today.  I am sure most of the people who have classes will try to come.  But you never know.

Any way school was closed by 9PM last night.  High temperature for today is going to be 27 degrees.  Burr!  I think it could be a very long day.  They are saying we will get 16 inches of snow.  Watching the weather forecast while doing this blog is discouraging.  Oh well,  I can’t change anything and maybe we can take turns doing some other work at the show.

We saw the draft of instructions for the Nested Mini Equilateral Triangle last night, so they should be up on the web site soon.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Instuctions for Square Chain

Instructions for the Square Chain

The instructions for the Square Chain are ready.  You can download them from our website at http://www.quiltersrule.com/downloads/squareChain.pdf . 

This tool is very useful for creating geometric borders, filling squares and rectangular spaces.  We have only worked with it for a couple of weeks and have created many useful designs.  Have fun and play with the tool.

Send in your new designs. 

Snow is in the Forecast

Denver, CO

Set up in Denver was interesting.  Patricia and I have never done this show.  The company has done it with a Independent Contractor, with modest success.  We are looking at this show for 2013, because Road to California is moving a week later in the year and we need to have several shows to attend in order to make the run to the west coast a reasonably profitable trip. 

Does that make sense?  Let me explain.  Quilter’s Rule is 2200 miles from Ontario, CA.  It takes us 3 days to drive out. 1 day to set up 4 days of show and 3 days to get home.  11 days on the road with all the associated costs of gasoline, hotels and food eat up a lot of money.  Then add in booth costs and costs of goods, make the show hard to justify.  But add in a couple of extra shows and spread the costs of travel to them and increase your sales a bit and you make the trip very reasonable.

In addition there is a show in Denver in May when we travel to Salt Lake City for HMQS.  We can add in a show here then go to Salt Lake City, then back to Kansas City.  We can then make that a 3 show run instead of 2 and help both shows be more profitable.

Snow is in the forecast for late this evening.  I would suspect that today will be a good day at the show and tomorrow will have much less attendance.  Perhaps they will come on Saturday after the snow is cleared from the streets.  But people in Denver know how to drive in the snow, so maybe it will make no difference.  We will know what has happened on Saturday when the show ends and in the meantime, it is what it is.