Redd Homestead

On The Farm and Under My Needle

Since I returned from International Quilt Market in Houston, it’s has been non-stop busy around the house and farm. I had grand plans of telling you all every detail of how the trip went, and then the days escaped from me as I began focusing on what all lies ahead. This weekend brought a wild adventure starting with a Saturday morning trip to Gettysburg to help with a Kimberbell event that work was hosting. Since we were near freezing temperatures, I left early to make sure I had plenty of travel time. Since I arrived prior to the meet up, I decided to take a few minutes and drive through the battlefields on a very crisp and cool morning. We love traveling to the battlefield area, looking at the monuments, and hitting the shops in downtown Gettysburg. If you even have the chance to travel there, I highly recommend it.

After the completion of another successful event, I enjoyed dinner with the team before heading home for the night. Sunday would be a very busy day, and sleep was a must. My Sundays are my quilting days, with a break in the scheduled to take my oldest son to his riding lessons for the week. We’ve been working to make sure the Janome studio is finished and ready to be put to work for me. We finally finished putting together an adjustable height table from Ikea for cutting, and mounting a TV on the wall so that I won’t have to stitch in a quiet room. I can’t miss a day of quilting without having Golden Girls playing in the background. Finally, the Janome studio has been completed in terms of furniture, the final requirement will be to set up the video equipment to start the online tutorials and reviews. That will come soon.

But, I never did get the chance to finish up on Market, so I decided to hit the highlights of my trip. I was blessed with the opportunity to attend this event, to learn from some of the best in the industry, I was fortunate enough to sit through amazing lectures by the incredibly talented Cheryl Sleboda, Charlotte Angotti, Tula Pink, Ebony Love, Alex Anderson, Kimberly Einmo, and so many more. My mentor for the market floor was Mark Hyland. It was a trip to spend with the superstars learning how they got into the industry, and where I fit. I have come back full of energy, ready to take that next step, and find my path. This trip was a life changer, and will continue to be a life changer. In one of the lectures it was said to just keep taking a step forward everyday, and I am. Sooner or later those small steps will turn into large leaps.

Once we conference was completed, and we were turned loose onto the floor, I was thrilled to not only once again see Tula Pink (and have my photo take with her) but also got to see some of my dearest friends, those who have inspired and encouraged me along the way, and made some new friends who continue to inspire and challenge me. I was blessed to have time to talk to the amazing team at Janome (you’ve all heard my love of that Continental M7), say hello to the SVP crew, and meet some amazing entrepreneurs along the way. My final meet and greet was when I stopped by Windham Fabrics and met the Quilting Cowboy, Dale Rowse. He is so handsome and absolutely an adorable sweetheart. Here’s a few photos to show my favorite highlights from the day at Market.

Finally today was a full-time course of quilting. I have a sold-out Beginner Quilt Class taking place in a few weeks and have needed to finish my samples, so that took priority over everything else. Once the boys were off to school, it was time to start up Golden Girls, wake up the Janome M7, and work away (between chores of course). I am happy to say both quilted table runners have been pieced, ruler work quilting has begun (I’m testing out Swan Amity Studio free motion gloves with my Westalee Rulers), and I’m done for the evening. Tomorrow evening I will finish the quilting so that on Wednesday I can tackled the fabulous Pottery Line from Quilting Cowboy for a fully custom quilt for my husband. The warm colors in this line are perfect for the handsome man in mine, and it’s about time I make a quilt just for him. Until next time, enjoy the view of what’s under my needle.

After the opening session with Tula Pink at International Quilt Market 2019 Schoolhouse, I grabbed my schedule and took off to what I had thought would be my best course of action for gaining the most knowledge in such a short few hours. I had studied the schedule earlier, highlighting my game plan, planning my trip around the rooms. I made some right decisions, I made a few wrong decisions, and I made some changes as the day was progressing. What I did do right, I went, and I absorbed every bit of info that I possibly could.

Schoolhouse was a series that I look forward to attending next year. I was able to catch everything from seeing new fabric lines and designers, have sessions on improving my media presence, YouTube videos, to ruler work. It was informative, fast paced, and packed full of people and knowledge. It was mid-afternoon before I realized I hadn’t had anything to eat since 0600, and I was thirsty, starving, shaky, and a little cranky. A quick sandwich, bottle of water, and a latte to go quickly relieved all of the above.

As the Schoolhouse session wrapped up, the nerves began to return as my next stop for the evening was to the Threads of Success networking event/meet and greet. Soon I would be standing in an area full of strangers, presenters, and industry leaders. That was part of the moment I thought “What am I doing here?” Soon my question would be answered.

As I looked around the room, I quickly came to the answer to my question, I was there to learn, to network, to absorb all the information being thrown at me so that I could make a decision to where my future would go. The first person to come up to me and ask what I thought was the sweet designer, Natalie Barnes of Beyond the Reef. We chatted about why I was there, that she was a little nervous for her presentation the following day, and for me to please attend it so she wasn’t alone and talking to an empty room. We laughed, it broke the ice, and told her I would see her the following day. From there it was mixing and mingling with the other attendees at my table, saying hi again to Cheryl Sleboda, and then listening to a fabulous opening from the always funny character, Charlotte Angotti with the beautiful downtown Houston as her backdrop.

After Charlotte wrapped her comedy show (she really is a delight to get to listen to), we began to wrap the evening with a little networking. It was then I looked over my shoulder and saw none other than Kimberly Einmo, a beautiful quilter, and National Spokesperson for Janome America. When I attended Janome training in September, I will never forget being told that Kimberly Einmo is one of the sweetest, kindest, and most genuine person you’ll ever meet. They were absolutely correct. I made my way over to her, introduced myself, and had the most lovely conversation with her. I tried not to keep her attention to long, so that many other who wanted her attention could have their time as well. We laughed about my impulse buying of my Janome Continental M7, taking over my formal living room so I had another studio, and our mutual love of Janome. I finished the evening with a walk back to my rental car, smiling all the way, and texting the husband that I was fortunate enough to have the sweetest conversation with Kimberly Einmo, and I had started to figure out why I was there.

Oh and of course on the travel back to the hotel, I did have to make a stop, since it was only light snacks and a bar at the welcoming event. You see, as a born and raised Texan, eating at Whataburger is in our blood. I can definitely vouch that this misplaced Texan misses her burger, a #1 with cheese, no tomatoes, onion rings and a sweet tea. My waist line may not have needed it, but my Texas blood craved for it. As I had said in my Facebook post that evening, it was a beacon of light, calling me home, fulfilling all my hopes and dreams. It tasted heavenly!

After returning to my hotel for s short night’s rest, I would head back in on Saturday to begin the true journey into Threads of Success. My schedule was marked, my plans were made, and on Saturday morning, the full event would kick off. It was the beginning of what would end up being one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. Come back tomorrow for more details.

As my flight finally left Houston last evening (we were over an hour delayed), my heart was filled with happiness and sadness all at the same time. You see, I really fought internally as to whether or not I wanted to take this trip. I waited almost to the last minute to sign up to attend Threads of Success. It was a very large expense I wasn’t sure I wanted to take on at this time in our lives. It would be missing a week or more of work for me, Chris’s hours would have to be shortened to take care of the kids, and I would just be away from everything. However, Chris said I needed to be there, I needed to go. He pushed, gently of course, but with enough encouragement that I finally messaged him at work one day and said, “I just signed up for Threads of Success, I’m going to Houston”.

Even after making that decision, and a deposit for the trip I sat on the idea and pondered if it was the right thing to do at this time. What benefit would I actually have by attending the event? Would it be a total bust and waste of money? It took me forever to book my hotel and car rental. Why was I sitting on this so long when I really didn’t have or need to. Between the time of registration to making my final payment, Mel Robbins spoke to me in so many meaningful post. Just 5-4-3-2-1 and Go..right? Especially this one:

So I did what Mel Robbins said to do, I pushed myself to have the courage to do it. To go on this trip, unknowing as to what the path would lead to. All I knew was that it would lead to something, good or bad, at least I took that step forward. So on last Thursday evening, I kissed the family goodbye, and got on a plane to Houston to attend the inaugural session of Threads of Success. It was my turn. I arrived late that evening, finally getting checked into my hotel room around 10:30 pm. Nervously I unpacked my bags, checked my schedule and drive over and over, repacked what I thought I might need for the next day, and tried to get some rest. Sleep did not come easily that night. Was the alarm set to the right time, what about the weather, do I have everything I will need without taking too much? Finally the alarm went off, but I had already been awake for over 30 minutes. This would be Day 1 of my next adventure.

As I maneuvered my way through Houston traffic and rain, I felt nervous. Again, I didn’t know what I had just gotten myself into. What I did know, I was there, and this was happening. I parked, made my way into the George R. Brown Convention Center, up to the 3rd floor, and found a sign for Threads of Success. I walked up and right there was the adorable Cheryl Sleboda ready to welcome us all in. The atmosphere was on of care, warmth, and welcoming. I was immediately at ease. Before long I was able to start picking out all the Threads of Success badges within the crowds lining up for the opening for Schoolhouse. As I stood in line chatting with other participants about what we each do, where we are from, and how excited we are to be there, I looked at one person and said hi (okay actually it was “you’re from Canada, I saw your pic on Facebook”). That one hello would completely change the rest of my weekend as I quickly became friends with Tara Sinclair of UhOh Creations, a fabulous bag designer from Calgary.

We finally walked into the assembly area, and a smile came across my face as I took on the status as not only attendee, but also fangirl. There on the stage were the stunning quilts and bags showcasing the incredible new line by Tula Pink, Homemade. Why did I pay the extra to be at Schoolhouse? Of course there was plenty of fast paced learning to be done, but soon, my favorite designer would be standing in front of me. Before long, she was there, storytelling about her new fabric line, and showing how it will deeply connect to each one of us. She was right. Of all the stunning designs I would soon see, this one would still be my favorite of the Market.

So how did my adventure change after the opening of Schoolhouse? You’ll have to wait until later to find out. But do know, this was just the beginning of a weekend I will never forget, it gained me a bunch of new supportive friends, taught me so many things I had never imagined, and brought clarity to my future. Enjoy the photos from the opening of Schoolhouse and Tula Pink. Come back tomorrow to find out what happened afterwards.

I have been waiting very impatiently for this weekend to get here. Last night I caught a flight out of Baltimore to make my way back to Houston for what I consider to be the #1 fall event in Houston, and no I’m not talking about the World Series. I’m talking about International Quilt Market and Festival. The last time I was in Houston happened last year, as we drove though on our drive out of Texas to Maryland and a bid farewell to our dear beloved Texas. Prior to that was my trip to International Quilt Festival in 2015.

Last night didn’t start off with a bang after a later arriving flight, delay in luggage making it to baggage claim, wait for the rental car, and finally arrived at my hotel around 10:30. I was exhausted, especially considering we start our day usually around 04:45! After quickly settling in for the night I was for sure I would sleep soundly. Sleep was not my friend last night as my brain continued to ponder over how today would go. Today would be a start to a new opportunity for myself and the dreams of Redd Homestead.

The interesting part of my trip down here is that I’m not really here for International Quilt Market and Festival…sort of. This year is the inaugural Threads of Success conference. Here I am able to meet and listen to some of the best in the business, and learn how to find my way into the actual business of my love of sewing and quilting. But today, it all started bright and early with Schoolhouse. Schoolhouse was an optional program, providing me the ability to pick and choose from a robust listing of chats about new products, social media, business needs, etc. When I saw who would be providing the opening, there was no question I would attend. I finally got to sit in the same room and listen to Tula Pink. She was a riot. Her latest fabric line is stunning, she is absolutely hilarious, and I was able to start making new industry friends right from the start! It was then and there that I knew that this was exactly where I needed to be.

Following Tula’s awesome intro, I was able to start making the rounds in the classrooms to see the newest, latest, and greatest. Along the way I saw the likes of Cheryl Sleboda, Charlotte Androtti, Rob Appell, Laura Heine, and Kaffe Fasset before finishing off the evening with an absolutely lovely chat with Kimberly Einmo. The day was incredible, but even more than that…making new friends from across the country and even outside the US…yes Canada you certainly deserve some acknowledgement too!

I am still blown away that all this was only day one of my trip. Tomorrow starts the full program for Threads of Success. I have figured out a few things about this event. One, I’m exactly where I need to be, doing exactly what I need to be doing. Two, when I go home on Monday I will be sad to leave, but will be beyond blessed with so much new knowledge and friends that I will smile the whole way home (and probably annoy the crap out of my husband and kids since I won’t quit talking about it forever!) Good night, enjoy the photos, and more to come tomorrow! Oh and yes, I did get my dose of Whataburger tonight!

What a whirlwind past few days it’s been. Last Sunday, I headed up with a team from work to Mahwah, NJ for a week long New Dealer training at Janome America. I offered to drive, maybe because I’m a little bit of a control freak with those things, but a 4 + hour drive ensued as we headed out from my house to the hotel. After dinner, we arrived around 9:45 to unpack, crash, and get ready for a week.

This would be my first time really putting my focus on Janome machines. Let me start of by saying I was impressed. I did not expect to fall so in love with not only the machines, but the business. Considering this location covers the whole USA, as well as our neighbors north and south, I was floored on how few of staff there actually were. The efficient of the whole business was impressive. The warehouse spotless, everyone well prepared and knowledgeable, and the training was great. We were able to look at the company from an education, sales, and logistics stand point which helps to make you feel you are a part of the organization. I just can’t brag enough. As a sewist who has always had a major love for Pfaff and Juki, I was blown away with lots of the options, accessories, and ease of use of the machines.

But what made me go WOW? The new Janome M7 Continental sewing machine. The throat space is incredible (up to 13.75 inches), the screen is beautiful, and it sews so smoothly! It has now made it onto my Christmas list…not sure what Christmas I’ll get it, but it’s now on the list!

I also need to give a shout-out to Ramsey Subaru in Ramsey, NJ. While on the drive there, my passenger side airbag sensors failed and wouldn’t stay on. After talking with Subaru America, they helped to get me in with Ramsey, and my car was fixed in less than 24 hours, including having a recall completed. The whole team there was awesome, so much better than my local dealership. In fact, I was dreading having to visit my local dealer because of the lack of quality customer service. Ramsey knocked it out of the park with taking care of everything.

The best part of the trip though, making it home last night to my guys. There is no doubt the husband does a knock out job of taking care of things while I’m gone. The kids, critters, and house were all in great shape. I am so appreciative of their support in everything I do. The husband is incredible! I feel beyond blessed to have a spouse who will just take over so I can go take care of my work needs.

So what’s next on the list? After a soon to be hectic beginning to mid October, I will be returning to Texas on October 24-28 to attend the first ever Threads of Success program. Threads of Success will be offered during this years Quilt Market in Houston and is for aspiring fabric designers, pattern designers, retailers, inventors, writers, and teachers. My plan is to following the path towards pattern designers and teachers, since teaching is what I love the best.

Until my trip there, I will be spending my time working at the shop and in my studio as much as possible. I really love what I get to do and am so excited for all the upcoming opportunities and possibilities that are in front of me. Until then, enjoy a few of the recent photos from my travels and around the farm.

I often fully agree that today’s society and population is the one who is greatly in love with the “throw away”. It’s broken…throw it away and get another. It’s dirty…throw it away! We too easily throw things away. If it’s new and shiny, that’s what get our attention. Bring out the bling and the wallets open to buy another. But what about the cool vintage finds that are still out there?

It seems that over the past few years there has been a sort-of revival of the love of vintage or antiques. Flea Markets, Farmer’s Markets, thrift shops, and Restores are often picked through looking for that treasured find. Sometimes there are the amazing little things that would make an appraiser on Antiques Roadshow swoon, and sometimes it’s just an old piece of junk in some’s eyes. But every now and then, you’ll find that special item that may be junk to others, but shines like gold to yours.

About a year ago we are walking around one of our local Habitat Restores in the area (a favorite place of mine actually) and after quickly shuffling through a few pieces of art for the walls, the husband shows me a neat little picture with Owls. I happen to be a big fan of Owls, as I matter of fact, my Woodbadge Patrol is the Owls, I have an Owl tattoo, and there are quite a few Owl items perched around the house. Back to the picture, to some it may have looked like an ugly piece of art, small in size, that no one wanted. I’ll admit the frame was quite boring. I figured I’d bring it home, re-frame it and it would be a cute knick knack piece for a whole $5. Little did I know until I brought it home that it’s a signed and numbered piece, in the original frame…worth a bit more than the $5 sale tag.

In the past month, I’ve added 2 more little treasured pieces to my collection of knick knacks. As you all know, I do have a love of sewing and quilting, and with that seems to come along a love of vintage sewing machines. Since moving to Maryland my collection has grown drastically. Upon arrival my only vintage machines were a Singer Featherweight and a 301A. Quite prized in themselves by many. Shortly after, the same Restore mentioned above had a Singer Treadle for $70 that the husband picked up for me on the way home one day. That $70 spend was well worth it when included was the puzzle box to hold all the accessory feet worth more than the price tag! Earlier this spring, a customer at the shop I work at was throwing away a Pfaff 30 (treadle) and a Singer 66 with cabinet. I happened to be there, and instead of watching them be carted off to the trash, they were carefully loaded in my car and transported home. While researching for parts for the Pfaff 30, I found a Pfaff 130 with all parts and original cabinet an hour away for $50…I brought that home next.

Then came last month. While surfing around on the internet one evening, I found a listing in Virginia for a Singer Featherweight for $200. I looked at the picture and knew I had to have it, it was a Centennial Edition. This was one of the machines on the Sewing Machine Bucket List I have in my mind. After verifying the serial #, age, and that it was indeed a Centennial, we agreed on $150 and the kids and I were off on a roadtrip to bring her home. She is in beautiful condition, only needs a slight tune up, and is ready to run again. However, the prize of all prizes came home this past weekend.

In what some would call a crazy idea, and I’ll admit it was out there, I flew to Nashville on Sept 1st to pick up the #2 machine on my bucket list, a Pfaff 130 with the decorative stitch attachment. This old gal came from a family estate, and no one wanted her, so for sale she went. I found her online through the Facebook Marketplace and the seller was more than generous to hold her for me until I could fly in. So on Sept 1st I woke up at 4:45 am, caught a flight out of Baltimore at 7:30, landed in Nashville, got a rental car, drove an hour to pick her up, packed safely away, spent a few hours back in Nashville, and flew home, finally arriving back at the house at 11pm. It was worth every second of travel, she is stunning, all original pieces, plus some. I cannot wait to take her in for a tune up and then let her sew me a quilt.

In case you may be wondering what my #1 machine is on the Sewing Machine Bucket List, it would be a Singer Featherweight Texas Centennial Edition. If you happen to find me one, send it my way. I’ll be forever thankful to add that final one into the studio.

The oldest kid has been part of our life for 12+ years, which means he has been around horses for 12+ years. In all those years his interest in anything involving a horse has been absolute none. He complained about having to clean stalls, feeding them, water, working on fencing, whatever it may be. Complaints were abundant, especially as he has started approaching those pre-teen years. Horses were an annoyance, a burden, and just a plain problem in his world.

After the move to Maryland, he began to lose even more interest in the things that previously brought him joy. He didn’t want to continue his journey in Scouting after 5 years. He was still enjoying gaming, but the enticing challenge wasn’t always there. School was going well, but he wasn’t enjoying it like he usually would. Finally the day came where I had enough of the “I have nothing to do” or “I don’t want to do anything” attitude. I gave him 5 days to come up with 5 things that he would like to do or try to fill up his very empty free time. If he did not have some good options by day 5, I would pick something for him. By day 5 he had come up with nothing, not even one idea. He didn’t think I was serious that I would give him something to do. I threatened with him having to take ballet lesson as a joke (no offense to you ballerinas but this kid’s dancing skills are questionable at best). I told him then of the 1 thing he would do, he would have to start taking horse riding lessons. He wasn’t happy. I refused to teach him and informed him he would be going to another barn and learning there. He complained and stomped his feet a few times, and there may have even been a tear or two, though he would never admit it.

Finally the day came and he went for his riding lesson. He was nervous, there was no question about that, but he went. Neither one of us knew or expected what would happen afterwards. The same boy who wanted absolutely nothing to do with horses was completely hooked. He fell madly in love with a horse and everything has changed. He first rode an Anglo Arab named Faith. He then start riding on a Thoroughbred named Finch. The change I saw in this boy was something that has blown me away.

The boy who hated horses suddenly couldn’t get enough of them. The boy who hated cleaning stalls, now works it into his schedule to not clean one, but all 6 of the stalls everyday. The boy who was afraid to walk up to a horse now walks taller, with his head up and in confidence in tow to work the cranky mare to her stall from the pasture. The boy who complained constantly has found love in the beauty of a horse.

Almost 2 weeks ago, while at his lesson, his trainer gave me a lead on a horse who was ready to retire from jumping. We were not looking for a horse at this time for the oldest, but decided to see what we could find out. The horse was a big one, a Clydesdale x Thoroughbred x Hackney cross. He stood tall and beautiful. His color rich, his eyes were kind. I was told he is 18 years old and retiring from a career of jumping as he wasn’t enjoying it anymore and his legs hurt afterwards, but he was great on the ground. He had jumped, done dressage, and hauled little kids around. I knew he would be perfect, and as soon I met him, my mind was made up, Zach would come live out the rest of his life at our farm.

Less than a week later, Zach came home to the farm. The kid was just getting home from school when I pulled in with him loaded in the horse trailer. The smile on that kid’s face was enough to light up the whole sky. He had his own horse. Zach has taken his time settling in, but he has done well. So well, that when it comes time to go to the pasture or back in the barn for dinner, the boy doesn’t even need a lead rope or halter, he just walks beside him, like a dear friend ready to have a chat on a friendly stroll.

Was a new horse in our plans, definitely not. Was this horse exactly what this 12 year old boy needed in his life at this time, without a doubt. We look forward to them being best friends for a very long time. Soon the kid will have the opportunity to ride his new friend so they can learn all about each other in a bond that only a boy and his horse can understand. Welcome home big Zach, you’ve made a boy into a very confident and responsible young man.