Monday, January 2, 2012

International Quilt Festival 2011

Wow I know it has been so Long since I last wrote!! Life has just been so crazy these past few months. I have a lot to cover… Let’s see… 
From November 1st – 7th I had the privilege of going to the International Quilt Festival in Houston Texas. I got to go with Handi Quilter, So every meal, flight and my room was all paid for by work. It was so so so fun! I got to work the Golden Threads and Handi Quilter Booth at the show and I even got to see my quilt hanging in the exhibit. That was quite a rewarding moment. 
(My shirt even matched and I promise I didn't plan that... Just a happy accident.)

 It felt so good to see my work hanging up next to some world renowned quilters. I even got to have dinner with a couple. There is one quilter who I especially love, Helen Godden. I few years ago she was named the World’s Most Innovative Quilter! She is one of Handi Quilter’s International Ambassadors. 

This is Me, Helen, Michelle and Lexi

We had a blast laughing and joking at dinner. As you can tell....

 She is basically the official teacher for the Handi Quilter products in Australia. Her and Michelle Pearson (who is the Store front dealer for HQ in AUS) stayed in the same hotel as we did. It was so funny, one night Lexi (my coworker who I roomed with in Houston) were supposed to meet them for dinner but we didn’t end up being able to. So after we got back to the hotel, we checked the hotel bar and they were in there. So Lex and I sat down for a little bit and had drinks with them. It was really funny because I am still underage, but no one asked me for an I.D. or anything… the bartender said “what can I get you?” and I just kinda giggled and said “water please.” Haha it was funny. Maybe the bar keep didn’t even consider asking because I was with older ladies. Haha. But anyways that was pretty fun. It was cool to hear about their travels and just make friends. I like making new friends and it’s so cool to be friends with someone that is so successful at something I aspire to do. It was really cool to get pointers and feedback on my work. Now we keep in touch over Facebook which is cool too. It was really awesome being able to go to Houston for work, because I was with someone all the time. It made being away from Andrew a little less scary. I wish he could have come, but I am also happy that he supported me in going even though he couldn’t come too. It was cool going to really fancy restaurants with coworkers too. I got to meet all of the National HQ Teachers that work all over the country, not in-house. I made good friends and it was really fun because I ended up being kind of the silly entertainer at dinner. They are all more poised and settles because they are older, but I was getting them to take pictures with me and make silly faces. It was really fun. And It feels good knowing that I have mentors all over the place that can help me be the best version of myself in the textile field. Its valuable to get feedback from them and it makes me feel good that they are so open to helping me achieve my goals. That is one thing that I have really come to realize about the quilting market is that it is so refreshing that everyone is so open and accepting of each other. There are so many different quilting styles and techniques and everyone is just so loving and motivational towards each other. There is such a huge support. That is one thing I love, this is a connection oriented market. Where people make friends. When I was at the show and I would take a little bit of time for lunch, there is a huge section of the convention center for lunch, and the tables were always pretty full. But every time, no matter where I sat down, whoever else was sitting there would take the time to get to know me, where I’m from and what brought me to the quilt show. I love that environment. I guess I am lucky because I make friends so easily. It’s not hard for me to ask someone their name and make friends. I know I got that from my mom, for sure. Every time a friend would come o0ver to our house, she would take the time to get to know them who their parents are, and what they are interested in. I have learned from her that one great way to show love to someone is to express interest and invest time into them. I know I feel loved when someone cares enough to take the time to get to know me.
   I am so thankful that I got the opportunity to go to Houston and I would go back next year in a heartbeat if I was asked to. The CEO of Handi Quilter is such a great guy and it was really nice of him to let me go. His name is Mark Hyland. The CFO is Darren Denning and the Marketing Director is Brenda Groelz. They are all such great people. And it was pretty cool to get to spend time with all of them and have a chance to really show them that I have a lot to offer to the company. After working the booths, it was crazy to realize how much I know about all the products. After handling them every day, I have most things memorized and it felt really good to know off the top of my head the answers to questions. I love feeling like I am an asset to a thriving business and that I was good enough at my job to be invited to the BIGGEST QUILT SHOW ON THE PLANET.
   I got to do a little bit of sight-seeing while I was there, well with restaurants at least. Mark and Brenda both have favorite restaurants in Houston where they take everyone every single year during the show. Brenda’s is a place called Ninfa’s. It is a Mexican place and it was soooooo yummy! I ordered a virgin margarita and it was so yummy. 
It even had the salt around the rim of the glass. It was fun. The food was great! I got enchiladas. So yummy!

Mark’s favorite place is super high class. I think it is called Massa’s and holy crap was it high class!!! We had crab cakes, deep fried calamari and the biggest shrimp I have ever seen for an appetizer, and then I had a rib eye steak sprinkled with CRAB and SHRIMP!!! 

Over mashed potatoes and asparagus. Oh my gosh! It was so good!!! So that was so cool to go there. We got to eat with the entire team all together and Helen and Michelle were there too. It was great fun. We had a blast just visiting and enjoying great food. For Dessert we had Crème Brule, New York Style Cheesecake, and Fried Ice cream. It was wonderful.

   Being at the show was a lot of fun, It was pretty hectic most of the time, but It was good to watch different national teachers do demonstrations and I got a little bit of time to walk around and buy a few things… Ok, I ended up buying a lot. I bought about 10 yards of fabric, some friendship bracelets for Me, Whit, and Lexi. It was so much fun! I also bought a few super cute scarves. A grey one, a black one, and a thicker brown one. I had such a wonderful time at Houston. Seeing my quilt hanging in the show has given me such a high to keep going. I want to become a competitive quilter.

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