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.