BlogHer 15 In NYC

I began this journey as a quilt blogger a little over two years ago. I heard about BlogHer Conferences via the quilt blogger community. Each time there was a conference, it was in a city that I would have to fly to. Being a very budget conscious person, I couldn’t justify it after attending Fall Quilt Market, QuiltCon, and a few other quilt related conferences and events.

When I saw that the BlogHer 2015 Conference was coming to NYC in July, I read the class offerings, and decided to register. I live an hour north of Manhattan, and could go home for the night, and come back the next day. Good budget decision.

I had a mixed experience, but would attend BlogHer again in another city nearby; Southern, CT, Parts of New Jersey or Long Island.

To be fair, I  have to throw in this caveat – I’m not sure this conference would have been the same experience for me, if I had attended it in another city, and not NYC. Keep that in mind as you read this post. It has been my experience that conferences in NYC take on a hyper personality of it’s own. But there are lots of pluses I was lucky enough to experience too.

I attended four workshops/classes. The first two were on Friday, and the third and fourth on Saturday. 

1. Focus and Organization; Tips and Tactics to Focus on Your Content and Get More Done, (D+). Two people gave this class, and didn’t seem to coordinate well as a team. The result was disjointed. For me, I didn’t learn anything new, but that could have happened with any class taken at a conference too.

2. How to Be a Better Instagrammer (A). The presenter was clear, organized and gave good tips and information for those who understand the basics of Instagram. Some of her tips tended to be for bloggers who write about parenting, fashion, food and photography. (Same for the Geek Bar below). Craft blogs are considered a niche blogsphere compared to these others.

3. Geek Bar – SEO (A+). This session was packed. It was in an open area with a few other geek bar sessions going on at the same time. Attendees were competing for seats, and to hear their presenter. However, our speaker had clear, elocution. Loud enough to be heard, but not screaming. She did have to repeat herself a few times. And it was helpful to follow her powerpoint presentation on our laptops or tablets. I wrote more about this in 3A, below.

Our presenter is the woman in the top left corner of this photo. And those you see attending, were 1/4 or less of the attendees at this geek bar group. And it was not in a private room, like the other sessions were.

Her information was up-to-date with changes that are happening at Google. She was enthusiastic about the topic and was more than generous about answering questions after the session was over.

4. Lightening Lessons on the Latest: Facebook and Pinterest – (A). This was a lightening fast session. I was taking notes so quickly. I am still re-reading the notes and following up about the changes in these platforms. I heard a lot of information, that as I process, I know will be useful.

Bottom Line – Know what platforms work for you, your blog and your audience.
Keep up with the changes, which are happening all the time.

There were several keynote speakers, such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Christy Turlington Burns, which I skipped so I could write down my thoughts, and check out the Exhibitors, which were extensive. My favorite exhibitor was WordPress, but that’s because I’m considering migrating from Google Blogger to WordPress.
And take photos. 

The negatives

1. Very crowded. Insanely crowded.

2. Very disorganized in some ways. About half the staff at the Hilton and who represented the conference couldn’t answer basic directional questions accurately. 

3. Very loud everywhere.

3A. I was in a great workshop about SEO. The room was packed with other Geek Bar classes going on. This was next door, (only separated by a curtain), from the main dining room, and where keynote speakers would eventually speak, and loud bands would play. The bands would practice while workshops were happening so close by. Very annoying. It was hard to hear my class leader speak at times, which I mentioned before. And she was really patient, trying to talk over the bands testing their equipment. She still did a stellar job. 

See Jessica in the upper left hand corner? She had about fifty attendees surrounding her, and there were three to four other Geek Bar workshops going on around us. Fortunately, she spoke loudly and clearly. She was great at answering questions, and instilled confidence in her attendees. She really knew what she was talking about. Answered so many questions.

4. A lot of live bands played music during breakfasts, lunches and dinners. This made it hard to talk and network. This photo only shows 1/2 of this room. It was the main room for keynote speakers.

5. Heavy party component after the workshops – that could be good or bad depending on what you expect out of a conference.

6. Interruptions are part of the conference. This is a given here. Whether it be attendees or musical performers testing their equipment. Fortunately, most of the sessions were in private rooms on other floors, where this wasn’t an issue.

7. Attendees are aggressive about having their questions answered and being up front. (As I said, earlier, this could be a New York thing).

8. No limit on attendees for any workshop. Could be crowded, or not. Therefore, some people were sitting on the floor.

Positives of the conference.

1. Yes, this is a conference for women, but men were attendees too. Not a lot.
I don’t like disclusion, so I see this as a positive.

2. High energy from presenters and attendees. Everyone was nice, generous with information.

3. They fed us good food and provided us with coffee, tea and water all day.

4. There were many classes that occurred simultaneously. If you weren’t happy with the workshop you chose, you could go to another without being closed out.

5. No limit on attendees for any workshop. Could be crowded, or not. Both a positive and a negative.

6. Attendees are at all different levels of technological experience. Some might see that as a negative. Actually, those who were more experienced were quite generous in helping those who had less experience.

7. All the workshops offered were relevant to bloggers in general.

8. The classes were only an hour. Some were called “lightening lessons.” And they were. You have to be a good note taker, or hope the presenter is coordinating it with a powerpoint presentation. (Could be considered a positive or a negative). It wan’t a negative for me.

9. The app for navigating this conference, and informing all involved was fabulous and informative. You could really organize your day easily, and stay on top of everything that was going on.  Great job.

Lots of WIP progress during the next week. Stay tuned. Happy Quilting!!

Mini – Quilt Paint Chip Challenge Top is Finished

The quilt top for the mini-quilt, paint chip challenge is finished. I wasn’t happy with the way it first came out, so I changed it up a bit.



I thought this pattern was a good choice. The abstract composition gave me the feeling of random chaos. Before I sewed the strips together in the first version, above, I thought the random chaoticness didn’t communicate that at all.

So I did some playing with the fabrics, color combinations, the sizes of the blocks, and their positions. 

On the second row, I added a long block. 

On the fourth row, I added a block, using two half – square triangles. It provided enough change to really give it that “randomness” I wanted it to have.

One of the comments I received The Colorful Fabriholic, said, not to go lighter with the binding, and she is right. (Thank you to all who commented). It would make the grey, which I’m trying to draw attention away from, more attention. 

Too late last night I auditioned some bindings, and the darker blue used in some of the squares seems like a good choice. I’m going to sit with that idea for awhile, while I baste and machine quilt, and see if I still feel the same way when it’s time to add the binding, and I’m not tired.

More to come, and I need to get started on a pirate baby quilt, and a girl’s baby quilt during the next few days.

On another note, the anniversary issue of Make Modern e-zine is now on sale. 
It is the first anniversary of this outstanding modern magazine from Australia. I do write features for this magazine, and I am really proud to be a part of it. My article this month is about what inspires Alison Glass’s designs, and “getting to know,” her better, “up close and personal.”

I want to make this clear to all of my readers. I am not praising this magazine, because I am one of the writers. I wouldn’t write for any publisher or publication that I didn’t feel produced a stellar product. 

It is my opinion that if you enjoyed Hey Quilty!!, you are going to love Make Modern.  Along with feature articles about everything to do with modern quilting and sewing, there are patterns from some very talented quilters and quilt bloggers. This bimonthly e-zine, also covers quilting math, book reviews, give-a-ways, and tons of recommended quilting and sewing resources to help readers reach their quilting goals. The photographs are stunning. Who doesn’t love that?

Have a great weekend and Happy Quilting!!

WIP Mini-Quilt Paint Chip Challenge

I’ve been working away on this WIP, and gathering fabrics for a pirate baby themed quilt, for my friends daughter, and her husband, who are expecting around Thanksgiving. (I will be posting more about that this week).

I’ve also been scrambling to get my fabrics together, washed and cut for Cheryl’s Mystery Quilt; see her site Meadow Mist designs. 

And these are the most immediate WIP’s that have “hurry it up,” deadlines. Some of my other projects have been pushed down to 4, 5 and six on the priority WIP project list.

A quick digression – I hope everyone had a great Fourth of July weekend. We visited some friends on Candlewood Lake and had a great time.

My other mission during this holiday weekend was to work on my quilt guild’s paint chip, mini-quilt challenge. Above are leftover fabric scraps that I will incorporate into the back, using mostly, light blue solid fabric.

Below are all the rows, finally finished. By tomorrow they will be sewn together, and I can begin work on the back and binding.

I’ll be honest, I don’t love how this is coming out so far. It’s the grey fabric that I used in the background that I’m not so crazy about. On the positive side, it gives the piece movement and texture. On the negative side, it looks like a weird piece of minky fabric. I wasn’t not intending for that to be the look. 

In retrospect, I wish I had used light blue for the background and the grey fabric for some of the small pieces.

As my first quilting teacher said, “There is no such thing as a mistake in quilting. It is an opportunity to learn something new, and be creative.”  She also said “There’s no such thing as the quilting police,” either.  (Thank goodness for that!!)

So for now, I’ll hold off on my disappointment with this piece until it’s finished. That light blue binding may be just the thing that tones the grey background fabric down.

Linking up today with WIP Wednesdays at Freshly Pieced.

Let’s see. Happy quilting!!

Earliest Sewing Memory

My first memory of using a sewing machine was during Home Economics in seventh grade, which was in the late 60’s. I sharing this personal story because Jennifer @ Little Black Cat Quilting posted about her first memory of using a sewing machine today. 

Coincidentally, last night, at a Fourth of July party, a friend from middle school reminded me of Mrs. Chantilly’s sewing class, which I had completely forgotten about. We were required to sew a simple A line skirt using a sewing machine, which she taught us to use. Or so she thought.

Some of us were not so great at mastering sewing machine skills. Our skirts didn’t look like something we would even wear for a Halloween costume, and we never touched a sewing machine again. 

For me I decided I had to learn to quilt in 1994, which of course included using a sewing machine. It was many years after seventh grade sewing class. Fortunately, I forgot about that middle school class. But when I threaded my sewing machine in 1994, I remembered how to do it. I felt very proud. The bobbin part, not so much.

I wish I could show Mrs. Chantilly what I’m capable of now. Thanks to my friend Nancy for reminding me of our disastrous skirts. We had a lot of good laughs about that memory. And thank you to Jennifer @ little  black cat quilting for writing about her first experience with a sewing machine too.

By the way, Monday, July 6th is international kissing day. Just a fun fact I heard on the evening news tonight. Make sure you share kisses with all your loved ones, pets included.

Lots of WIP’s this week, so stay tuned. Happy Quilting!!

WIP Wednesdays and a Give-a-Way

Short post today. I finished the back and made the binding for my jelly roll race quilt. I will not put on the binding until it is machine quilted. Thanks to all who responded to my question. I wonder why that is the way we were taught all those years ago? 

This photo is not my favorite. When this quilt is finished, it will look a lot prettier. I did audition this when I purchased the fabric for the back, which is the dark blue batik on the right side of the photo. It is sewn together. The white batik strip going diagonally across will be the binding. And to the left which you’ve seen finished is the top – a jelly roll race pattern made with Timeless Treasure Batiks – Watermelon.

Below is the finished top.

Linking up with WIP Wednesdays at Freshly Pieced.

My last post is a wonderful interview with Lee Heinrich of Freshly Pieced, who hosts WIP Wednesdays.  Lee has generously offered to give-a-way a pattern of the winner’s choice. In order to win, please leave a comment in my comment box, telling us which is your favorite pattern from Lee’s shop. The winner will be announced after 5:00 PM EST on Thursday, June 18. So you have until then to enter this give-a-way. Please let me know how I can reach you if you are a no-reply responder, in case you are the winner.

Also, don’t forget to stop by and visit The New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop. You will meet some inspirational new quilters and bloggers. 

 Blog Hop Week 1 – June 15th
  Blog Hop Week 2 – June 22nd
 Blog Hop Week 3 – July 13th
 Blog Hop Week 4 – July 20th

Happy Quilting!!

WIP Wednesday – Binding on 1930’s Reproduction Quilt

I finally finished sewing the binding on my 1930’s reproduction a quilt. The pinning was the hardest part.

I love doing bindings. But it’s really hard for me to do this, and the only place big enough is on the floor. I had spine fusion a few years ago – that’s what makes it difficult, physically. Just another reason why we are moving, (still looking), for a bigger home. Not a lot bigger, just by one room and a workshop for my husband Charlie.

And a proper sewing room to do this kind of work on a table, not the floor.

Biscuit kept me company and supervised, which always makes me happy!!

 I love when it fits right into the fold where it belongs.

Done!! Now to sewing.

So here’s the situation, and then a question. When I first learned to quilt, I was taught to….

1. Attach the binding to the quilt. 

2. Machine quilt. 

3. After that, sew the binding to the back.

4. Remove the basting stitches.

5. Wash the quilt to give it that crinkly and fluffy feel.

Most of my quilting buddies at Friday morning clinic were taught to machine quilt first, attach the binding, then sew the binding to the back or front.
(I just prefer doing it to the back). Either way is fine and pretty.

Let me know in the comment box which you do first, because a few months ago, was the first time I heard about attaching the binding after the machine quilting.
I am thinking with the extra fabric and batting hanging off, which we trim before attaching the binding, those sides would get caught on things and get in my way. It’s fine to do it either way, as I’m told. Just wondering what other people’s experience is like.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Have a great week. We are waiting for our third grandchild, who is now overdue.

Happy Quilting!! And I’m linking up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Modern Pieced, and Lee Heinrich.

Congratulations to The Winners of The Bloggers’ Quilt Festival, Spring 2015

Congratulations to all the winners of The Bloggers’ Quilt Festival, Spring 2015, sponsored by the lovely and talented, Amy Ellis, the blogger of Amy’s Creative Side.

The quilts were fabulous, beautiful and inspirational. As we learned in team and camp sports when I was growing up, everyone who participates is a winner for having the tenacity to work at it, and the courage to try. (Thanks Joe, Adele, Mel and Lois for always instilling that in us).

If you haven’t stopped by to see the all of these lovely quilts, and discover some great blogs, click here.

Happy Quilting!!

One Lovely Quilt Award

Last week while we were away on vacation, I received this lovely e-
mail Iris@crazydutchbirdquilts telling me that my blog is nominated for the One Lovely Quilt Award, along with nine other quilt bloggers. I am very honored and excited that Hudson Valley Quilts received this very unexpected award. I met Iris last year through the Plum and June’s Advice for New Blogger’s Blog HopThank you, Iris. And thank you Beth for hosting the blog hop where we met.
Here are the rules/instructions for the “One Lovely Blog Award”
1. Thank and link back to the person who nominated you (mention your nominator in your own award post with a link back to their original award post, which for me would be this one).
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3.  Nominate 10 other blogs for the award. 
(Note this was how this information came to me but I have since found out that a year ago the 3rd agreement just said nominate other blogs for this award….so I say if 10 seems overwhelming just go with the number you are happy with).

Part of the award process is for me to share 7 things about me that you might not know. Then I will nominate 10 other blogs that are very lovely blogs too. 

1. I have two masters degrees: an MBA, (Masters in Business Administration), from Syracuse Universtiy and a MLIS (Masters of Information and Library Science, with a speciality in youth services), from Long Island University.

 2. My first career was as an in-house Recruiter and Human Resource Manager at two large law firms in Manhattan. 

 3. As you probably know, I love cats. Dogs are great too. I volunteer for the SPCA of Briarcliff, in Briarcliff, New York. My husband and I have raised over 40 when the shelter was at capacity. It is a no-kill shelter, and we are a foster home. This is why we support this local shelter so passionately.

There is one family, and one adult female cat I will never forget. The older female cat was abused, and the Vet did surgery to try and repair her broken leg. Sadly,  it was unsuccessful. She had to have it amputated. We were devastated for her. They shelter wanted us to create a physical therapy program for her while she was recuperating at our home. None of us knew what physical therapy for a cat was, but we did a little research and used some creativity. Mostly, she really needed to get her confidence back. 

We set up a mini obstacle course for her from one end of our living room into the second bedroom of our condo. Four times a day, I would have her do four heats of the obstacle course. After a few weeks, she was walking and running around confidently. She returned to the shelter for adoption. Six months later, she found her forever home. We cried many happy tears. 

We fostered a new mom and her five 3-day old kittens. Watching the kittens grow up until they were seven weeks old and could return to the shelter for their vaccines and adoption, was such a treat. Everyday they would surprise me. It is always hard to bring fosters back for adoption if you’ve bonded with any or all of them. 

One of the kittens in this litter was a little boy who looked just like Emma who is sitting on the masthead of this blog. 


                                                Biscuit and Emma

We adopted her when she was a year old from a rescue group. So we named the kitten Emmett, after Emma. The day came when we brought the family back to the SPCA, we cried, and really wanted to keep Emmett, and struggled with adopting a third cat. This little guy had us wrapped around his paw. 

We have two cats who are very close, Biscuit and Emma, and adding a new one into the mix probably would have caused issues. Hard decision – ultimately the best one for Biscuit and Emma, was not to adopt another. We decided by the end of the day to go back and adopt Emmett But he was already adopted by a lovely family with two children. So fate stepped in and made us stick to our original decision.

4. I am the author of five non-fiction children’s books, which are not all under my name. 

Crispus Attucks: Hero of The Boston Massacre

Nat Love; African American Cowboy

The Supreme Court and The Judaical Branch

The Importance of Being an Active Citizen

Booker T. Washington; Educator and Racial Spokesman

Three of them are biographies. Although none of the subjects are alive, I really enjoyed interviewing people and writing about other people’s lives.
I learned so much about how different and similar people are. Hearing what they had to say, and learning about what makes them alive was fascinating. This is why I enjoy interviewing people in our industry and featuring them on this blog.

5. My two amazing and cool, personal Rock ‘n Roll moments. (Growing up and even as an adult, I have been to many concerts, Rock, Jazz and Classical). 

I saw The Beatles filming the movie, “Help,” in Nassau, The Bahamas. I was with my family on vacation. 

And…while attending Ithaca College, I was at a Billy Joel concert. During one of his encores, the Piano Man asked for requests from the audience. He picked me.
I was so excited.

6. I love swimming. Going to a beach or lake is a haven for me. I also love swimming in the pool, especially an infinity pool!!

7. I love outer space. When I heard that Scott Kelly, the astronaut was going to spend a year in space, and tweet about it, I had to follow along. The photos of earth from outer space, as well as the photos of space, that Captain Scott J. Kelly is posting are amazing and inspirational. If you want to follow along with me, his handle is  @StationCDRKelly

I am nominating the following blogs, in no particular order for the One Lovely Blog Award. A big thanks to them for supporting and inspiring me, and Iris@crazydutchbirdquilts, who nominated me.






Christa@christaquilts – Christa recently came out with a book; Machine Quilting with Style: From Walking-Foot Wonders to Free Motion Favorites.



Amber@alittlebitbiased – Amber recently came out with a wonderful new book; Vintage Vibe; Traditional Quilts, Fresh Fabrics.

Beth@plumandjune – Beth just came out with a fabulous new book; The Modern Medallion Workbook. 

Faith@freshlemonquilts – Faith co-wrote with two other fantastic quilters and bloggers a book; Vintage Quilt Revival; 22 Modern Designs From Classic Blocks.

On another note, I am linking up today with WIP Freshly Modern Pieced, hosted by another favorite quilter and blogger, Lee Heinrich. I have been marking my king sized quilt for hand quilting, which is taking a very long time.

I am going to post a short tutorial on marking quilts for hand quilting. Once I start working on it, I will only show myprogress when I’m at the halfway mark, and then at the end. That will probably be in 2020!!  Hopefully a lot sooner. Everything else I’m working on is being quilted by my Bernina 750.
Happy Quilting!!

Quilting and National Library Week

I have been very busy this week at my part-time job as a Reference Librarian. Before I was a Librarian, I was an HR Manager for two large law firms in Manhattan, which was a great job too. Although I had one graduate degree, I made the decision to go back to school and earn a degree in Information and Library Science. I am a lifelong learner, and I love it. And the library is one of the best places to research, learn and become inspired.

Besides books, I borrow DVD’s, CD Audiobooks to listen to in the car and musical CD’s. I also read magazines and newspapers in the library or on my iPad through the library’s digital resources. 

And it’s all FREE. Your tax dollars pay for this amazing resource and these borrowing privileges. Your public library offers free programs too. Chances are if you are the teaching type of quilter or sewer, you might be able to offer your library programs in hand sewing, embroidery, knitting and crocheting, while earning a fee, and increasing your visibility. 

This week is National Library Week. Yes, there are “unlimited possibilities” at your local public library. Last week and this week, I visited four out of the thirty-eight libraries in our consortium. I looked to see just how many quilting books I would find. Many. And I mean many. In one of them I found four very large shelves, packed with quilting books.

And this photo shows about half of one shelf.

Often I check out a quilting book, before I buy it. If I decide to buy it, I know it will become part of my permanent quilting reference library, and it’s money well spent.

I have also found undiscovered treasures, not just in the quilting and crafts sections, but others too. Have you ever looked for a specific book at the library and it’s not owned by any library in the consortium? You can ask your library for and ILL.

Many of you may know this, but if not, most libraries offer an Inter Library Loan service; an ILL.Your library can put a request out, and possibly borrow it from another library in the U.S. This is a great service, especially when trying to find very old books.

So to celebrate National Library Week, tell me what your favorite book is, or the last book you finished, and why you liked it. My favorite is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. It’s told in letters. Very difficult to write a great and memorable book using that technique. And do you prefer reading a book or do you prefer reading on a device or computer?

Happy Quilting and have a great weekend.