Thursday, February 21, 2013

Day 3 in Austin - bring on QuiltCon!

Today was simply spectacular and I couldn't possibly capture it in words. It started as I entered the Austin Convention Center for the first day of QuiltCon.

As soon as we entered the quilt show, we posed for a family photo at the Michael Miller photo booth. Thanks for taking this picture, Susan (West Coast Crafty)!

The first quilt we saw at the show was the QuiltCon challenge raffle quilt (pieced and quilted by Elizabeth Hartman with blocks made by MQG members)! Here is Sophia proudly pointing out the block I made.

Other highlights of the day:
- walking the show (amazeballs!)
- free Pearl Bracelet charm pack at the Andover booth
- the Awards ceremony (including TWO honorable mentions for Felicity!)
- learning hand quilting from Anna Maria Horner
- running into all sorts of quilting friends and mentors
- chatting with keeners at the MQG Leaders meet up
- getting kicked out of the atrium for stitching too loudly with a group of rowdy quilters

I can't wait for tomorrow!

Day 2 in Austin (pre-QuiltCon)

Before I head off for the first official day of QuiltCon, I wanted to write up some memories of yesterday. Wednesday was our one full family day in Austin before I go into QuiltCon mode and let Dean take care of the girls on his own, so we took advantage of it!

First, we bussed to the Austin Nature & Science Center because Dean had heard that they had a dinosaur exhibit. In addition to lots of cool raptors, a raven that Eleanor adored, and an acrobatic raccoon, they had a dino pit where junior paleontologists could try their luck. Sophia loved it!

After lunch at Chipotle's, we headed up to the Texas State Capitol Building (did you know that Austin is the capital of Texas? I didn't!). The building was truly impressive and even though our kids didn't have the patience for a tour, stepping into the grand lobby was worth the security check.

At 4:00pm, I was dying to check-in to QuiltCon, so I headed over to the convention center (I'll use American spellings here as a concession to the locals). Since our hotel is offering a discount to QuiltCon attendees, there are quilters all over and I met Maria from NYC on the way to registration. She was kind enough to take this photo of me:

When I got to the desk, who should check me in but Julie (Procrasticraft) from Australia who I'd been chatting with over twitter for over a year in anticipation of this event!

I soon met up with Leanne (She Can Quilt) and Marianne (The Quilting Edge) from Edmonton, and then Rene' (Rene' Creates) popped by and then Kristy (St. Louis Folk Victorian) was running up and introducing herself! It was like the internet had come to life and I loved every minute of it! I quickly said hello to Heather Grant (Modern Day Quilts) who has been working like crazy with her amazing team to make this event come together.

Leanne and Marianne and I were chatting and checking out our swag bags when what did I see but the program with the raffle quilt and MY BLOCK on the cover!

Eventually, I decided I'd better find my family for dinner, so I left the convention center. As I was heading out, I gave directions to fabric designer Laurie Wisbrun (Scarlet Fig) who was headed to the Kaufman booth to drop off her adorable rain coat made from her laminated camper fabric. Once back at the hotel, we headed to Whole Foods and enjoyed pizza and a build your own salad before stocking up on groceries for the week.

Back at the hotel, Eleanor got into my swag bag and especially loved the sunglasses (shown here as a white blur in her hands)!

The quilt show officially opens in less than half an hour and I can't wait to see it! Thinking of all my VMQG friends who would love to be here today and wishing I could transport you all to Austin! I'll do my best to keep you updated! (happy yet, Michelle?)

I'm in Austin, Texas! (day 1, pre-QuiltCon)

After months of anticipation, last-minute frenzied packing, and hours on an airplane with a squirmy toddler (and relatively well-behaved husband and five-year-old), I'm finally in Austin for QuiltCon! We arrived on Tuesday afternoon and met up with my cousin who used to live in Austin (she now lives in London) for a tour of the city.

As soon as we arrived in Austin, the live music capital of the world, we knew there was something special about this place.

After leaving below-freezing temperatures and snow behind in Pennsylvania, warm weather and palm trees were a welcome sight!

Our hotel is very close to the Austin Convention Center and I jumped up and down with glee when I saw this sign for QuiltCon!

We headed over the Congress Bridge for dinner and stopped on the way to see the famous bats. I had read that we were out of luck since it wasn't bat season yet, but apparently some of the bats didn't get the memo. We saw hundreds of bats leaving their homes under the bridge to find their food for the night. If you're in town, you can watch them from a park on the southeast side of the bridge and the bats started their flight at 6:30pm.

Can you see the bats? I know they're blurry, but it was so cool!

Here's a video of our bat viewing. As you can see, Eleanor was impressed!

We enjoyed our first taste of TexMex at Guero's. The novelty of eating outdoors in February did not escape us!

After dinner, our intrepid ice cream lover was determined to try Amy's famous ice cream despite the cooler weather. It was indeed delicious and I hope we get a chance to go back there on one of the warmer days that should be coming soon!


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