Quilts, Inc. has held a Summer Quilt Festival in California at the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center for the last six consecutive years which included exhibitors, special exhibits, classes, lectures, tours, and special events. We held the last one in this series to an awesome crowd of class and show attendees August 1-4, 2013.
While we have enjoyed the years producing International Quilt Festival/Long Beach and meeting all the wonderful quilters from this area, our non-Houston-based Festivals are regional shows that we periodically move to different cities. This allows a wider audience of quilters and quilt aficionados to enjoy what Festival has to offer. However, it is hard to say good-bye to such a magical area with delicious climate and the good friends we have made. Our many thanks to the Long Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau for their partnership and friendship. We hope to see you again another time.
My job with our multiple shows throughout the year is VP of Education. I choose the teachers, classes, and special events and spend most of my time at the shows in the Education Office or the classrooms. The Education staff that comes to our shows are all quilters and crafters, too. Barbara Black, quilter extraordinaire, had two quilts in the Special Exhibits and showed Vicki and me how to use a new tool to make a simple, but complicated looking quilt. I plan to use the pattern to make Fall and Christmas table toppers for our church Fall Festival in November.
Because of a well-balanced, trained staff in our home office and at our shows, I am able to spend more time in the classrooms now than ever before. This year, I attended a half- day button bracelet making class with Vicki Thomas and taught by Kaari Meng whose shop is located in Los Angeles. Last year, we toured her unique shop, French General, that was full to the brim with home fabrics designed by Kaari, vintage paper crafting materials, books, jewelry and notion kits and much more. If you live in the area, put a visit to her shop on your bucket list. If you don’t live in the area, visit her website for a smaller treat.
Several of us also took Kaari’s half-day Beaded Embellished Cuff Bracelet. So much fun.
Check out Kaari’s July 8, 2013 blog post, The Warp and the Weft for better bracelet pictures than I have. You’ll also enjoy her blog.
Awesome classes went on for three days taught by Esterita Austin, Wendy Butler Berns, Patt Blair, Melinda Bula, John Flynn, Jane Hall, Katie Pasquini Masopust, and Judith Baker Montano to name a few. The final Special Event for the show was held on Saturday evening and was as active as a three-ring circus. The Iron Quilter Challenge was sponsored by Bernina of America. Three teachers and their hand-picked teams battled it out for bragging rights as they were challenged by time and the provided fabric palette to create a spicy wall quilt. Attendees mingled, ate and drank, danced, cheered on their favorite team, won door prizes and waited to vote on their favorite quilt. With a drum roll and plenty of excitement, it was announced that Charlotte Angotti’s team won the challenge followed by a drawing for the winner of the Bernina 550QE sewing machine. Thank you Bernina. Check out rayssewcrafty.com for more details with pictures of the Iron Quilter Challenge. It was a lively way to end our last event at the Long Beach Quilt Festival.
Our Quilt Festivals are not complete without doing some shopping, learning, and looking at the Special Exhibits on the show floor. I don’t spend as much time there as I’d like, but on the last day I get a little time for the fun and excitement of shopping and visiting with our excellent exhibitors.
On Sunday I did a little early morning power shopping and made purchases at sew-blessed, Helen Gibb Design Inc., Walk the Walk, Cupcakes and Cartwheels, and Mary Jo Hiney Designs. My husband, Tom, had joined me by now for a little vacay away from the Texas heat, so he was a super bag carrier.
He has joined me at the end of the Long Beach Quilt Festival a couple of other years also because we have a son, Troy, who has lived here since he graduated from college in Texas. It’s hard to believe that I started working for Quilts, Inc. 37 years ago when he was one year old. I also had a preschooler and a child in elementary school at the time. I had a lot more energy then than I have now, there is no doubt.
Troy is a musician and custom design contractor in the LA area. We were able to hear his band, Restavrant, play very late one night at the historical Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood just yards from Grauman’s Chinese Theater. Jill Benge, who works in the Education Department full-time, never misses a chance to dance and went with us. We had a great time, but it was one in the morning when we returned to Long Beach. I loved every minute of it and wouldn’t have missed it.
The two days after the show were a whirlwind of adventures in the Los Angeles area with Troy. He and Meesh wanted us to see and do as much as possible. We spent several hours at Abalone Cove Shoreline Park.
Friends, I climbed down and then back up that hill with a lot of help from Troy. Everyone else with us had no problem. I need to start walking again for exercise, but it’s hot in Texas and when is there time? What do I give-up to do that? My sewing? My crafting? Dinner with my husband? Maybe I should retire…
We spent time at the Natural History Museum especially to see the “Becoming Los Angeles” exhibit. The Museum is an indoor-outdoor museum with 3 1/2 acre Nature Gardens. We didn’t see those, but did see Dinosaur Hall, Age of Mammals, African Mammal Hall, and Gem and Mineral Hall, but there was much more.
Early evening we drove to the city of Lake Elsinore to see the minor league baseball team, Storm, play. Our boys and Tom played baseball in high school, and it’s almost always on our list of activities when we are together. The home team won, the hot dogs were good, and it was a nice evening to be together.
We also made a stop at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum so Tom could see where the Summer Olympics were held several years ago.
Troy is starting a new company called “Olafson Creative” in LA. His middle name is Olaf and my maiden name is Olafson. Do you think that makes a mama happy? We visited his warehouse and his office he has constructed within his warehouse. It’s an exciting time for him with new beginnings. We are so happy for him.
We flew out late Tuesday so we were able to fit in one more adventure. We went to the Queen Mary for lunch in Diana’s tea room and did the Glory Days tour with James as our theatrical tour guide. The ship is magnificent and caters to weddings and receptions for really special memory makers.
Our last Quilt Festival for now in Long Beach is a special memory I will keep with me always. Love you Long Beach.
Love you, too, Friends,