Sunday, July 29, 2012

Missing

I am missing blogging. I am missing each of you. I know I've said that alot. But tonight I am running into a bit of inner irritation at my lack of self time.

I am a needy person of alone time. I've always been that way, and sometimes my family just doesn't 'get it', that when I start getting irritable and frustrated that all I really need is some time ALONE.

Do you any of you get that way, or is it just me being selfish? Well, I don't think I am being selfish about it. So there. LOL

And I am one of these people that HATE getting interrupted when in the middle of a big project. So I've been doing alot of LATE night work on school to avoid interruption. (which makes me more tired and irritable I suppose.)

I so wish I could sneak out of the house for a candy bar right now. I am trying soooo hard to be good.

I wanted to work on a convergence quilt for this week...but it didn't happen. My #2 is getting close to being finished though. Got the applique done. Maybe I can share that in a few days.

Ok, my little vent is over. Just got Stephen to bed (at 11:30 pm!) so I guess I have a date with Ancient Greece....

Hey, thanks for letting me vent. I know you didn't really have a choice, but I think most of you understand more than anyone around here that I could vent to.

I'll take a break after Greece and get that quilt done. I think I need it; and I can't wait to share it with you.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Starch: I want to know!

What I DO know:
**Best Press is good stuff. I've used it. It also is not easy to come by sometimes and is a bit pricey for some people.

**Spray starch is best in a non-arousal can...such as Niagra.

What I NEED to know:

**What are your starch alternatives? What do you like to use BESIDES Best Press and Niagra, etc.

**What are your homemade recipes?

**My sewing student makes a HUGE mess with starch but I make her starch her triangles. After just a few triangles today I spent the evening cleaning my blackened iron and washing my ironing board cover. Help me please!

**We found that the Corn starch/vodka/water recipe is just as messy and flaky as regular starch. What do you use that doesn't flake? (Besides Best Press.)

What I do NOT need to know:

**How to use liquid starch for applique. Got it! Unless you do some method completely out of the ordinary.

What would be FUN to know:

**Other uses for starch.
         ---Here is one for you: soak fabric in it and then apply to the wall like wall paper. It is easily removed with water. I once did entire walls of burlap at a church using this method. It was for the children's dept. We gave each room a burlap wall for a bulletin board. All applied with liquid starch.






Thursday, July 26, 2012

Ahhhh 31--Citrine

Oh man these keep getting harder and harder. Don't lose heart though! We actually skipped over all the 'geometric' ones because the only person that I know of that still follows along likes stars. I've just run out of easy stars. (We'll come back to geometric later.)

If you are new to my blog, Ahhhh hexies come out every other Thursday. You can find the first 30 up under the EPP button; and we have around 80 or so that we MIGHT do. Might being dependent upon how hard some of these are!

Today's Ahhhh is a Jinny Beyer design. This woman makes some tough designs. I need to google and see if she has made them into quilts!! In fact a good portion of these tough ones are all hers. I have yet to decide if I am breaking copyright by sharing these. I found them in one of her block books. Anyone have any idea about that? If we are then there will be a dozen or more that we won't be doing--but as I said they are very hard ones to say the least!

An angel friend of mine sent me some Jinny Beyer fabrics. I've been wanting some just for Ahhhhs so I am thrilled. I used some for today's Ahhhh in fact:

Oh Mercy NO! I didn't get it finished. It will hopefully look very cool when it is done though.

Here goes and good luck!





A note about my drawings for you new comers. 
I draw all of mine in markers for your benefit,
but markers are NOT accurate enough. 
You need to draw your block using a very fine point pencil.


The next step has to be drawn with precision accuracy.
Even though I drew mine in pencil before using marker,
they didn't work out so well for me and have to be re-cut
(because it is hard to see through marker lines sometimes.)
This next step is why my Ahhhh still sits un-finished.



There are a whole lot of extra lines that will need ignored on today's ahhhh.
It is best if I color this one in for you as well:



For this next step below (in green) I cut mine apart so that I could fussy cut some mirror image type fabric,
but you could leave it as one piece I am sure.



Very cool, not too hard except those little orange points.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Back to Back with Vodka

I am going to write a couple of back to back blog posts. I don't like my Ahhhh post to be anything but Ahhhh's, and I don't feel comfortable posting it without giving a bit of a random update that I've not found time to do this week. So writing them back to back works for me; hope it works for you!

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I read that some quilters use vodka to make their own spray starch. My young sewing student is doing a traditional sampler quilt right now, and I have her starching her HSTs (sewn using traditional methods). She just has a time with it though, so earlier this week we did some vodka experiments.

The first batch we did just 1 cup of water and 2 Tablespoons of vodka. (Found this recipe on a forum.). No good. Might has well used straight water. I did up it to 4 Tablespoons and I do think it made it a little more thick, but not enough to do any good.

So for the next batch we mixed up corn starch, boiling water and vodka. (found this recipe by googling.). Well, it worked ok, but it still flakes and I truly think for the trouble I might as well just use starch.


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I have been wanting to start something on my blog each week called "I want to know". Well, this is a good time..."I want to know what you use for starch".  I will probably make a page of  "I want to know" posts for future reference. In fact, don't even answer this today. PLEASE. Wait until Friday. I'll make it a post of it's own.

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Saturday we had a nice time at our concert/theme park. My daughter and I got chosen to work the booth for the cover band. I felt that a great privilege and my son enjoyed his free t-shirt and signed cd. We might just start working more concerts. It is a nice way to get out of the house. I LOVE working booths like this and if I can't get my act in gear for a craft booth I might as well volunteer and get a free t-shirt out of the deal.

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School starts in 2 1/2 weeks in the Hillbilly Home. I've been searching and searching and searching through curriculum; all is bought and here. So, starting tomorrow the HUGE job of scheduling begins. I am one of these that likes to have the whole year all lined out. (Not to mention it is Missouri law.). Only the preschool year is a huge task to me but we will have fun. Stephen is going to get a theme every few weeks. To start the school year off he gets Bugs, then Oceans, followed by Fall, Christmas and Things that Go. I'll figure out the rest as I go on him. I do like to have several months in advance scheduled and ready though, so I can just put it away and forget about it.

Anyway, all that to say, my friends, I thank those of you that are supportive and still check in with me even though I am slow to check in with you. I desire to, but the time isn't there. I mean look, it's almost midnight and I've an Ahhhh post still to write too!

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I have not touched my Convergence project 2 since last week. I think I will set aside some time tomorrow night if my family cooperates. Mom is feeling the need to get alone for a bit; and creating just is my getaway spot. What is your getaway?

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I really just cannot even think of anything Hillbilly right now. What a boring post this was with no photos! No worries, the next has enough to make up for it....


Friday, July 20, 2012

I'm roasting away...

While I really wish I could have been home for our Quilters Campfire Day, I could not be due to a gift I am giving to my teenage son. You see, I went to the same small high school as a lady who does all the Kansas City Christian concert promotions. And when these concerts come to town, she needs volunteers to sign up to 'man' the booths that sell the shirts and cd's and all that stuff.

Well, Saturday is the big HeartFest in Kansas City. It is really big because it is held at the local themepark, Worlds of Fun. So not only are there rides, but also several well known Christian bands. I signed myself and my daughter up to work because there was no way for us to afford to get Seth into the show. Doing it this way he gets in free. The catch? I have to be at the themepark at 9 a.m. and I cannot leave until my shift is over...that would be 10:30 pm.

Do you know it is fore casted to be 103 degrees tomorrow? On hot pavement. Oh, ya. I'll be roasting. Just not marshmallows.

Anyway, I wasn't going to let our campfire day go by without me joining along...we just had to do it a couple of days early. But I saved the post so that I could link it up to Sharon's Blog. She'll be hosting the entire campfire day of fun and I sure hope you join in for me.

We did have a campfire of our own. In Mo they are banned so we did an indoor one again this year. NEXT YEAR WE ARE HAVING AN OUTDOOR CAMPFIRE FOR THIS DAY. There, I shouted. Think it will help?

Stephen and my teen sewing student Cierra are blowing on the flames to get them going, LOL:


We turned the lights back on to eat.
As you can see our fire wasn't much, but in the dark it doesn't matter what color tissue you use. It shows up glowing with the strobe light.

If you hop over to Stephens Blog, you will find out about the cooking of the S'mores and other fun S'more activities.


Then I taught Cierra how to do EPP. 


Look at those hexies in her sewing box!
She is really a fun student. The other student has fallen by the way side, but this one just loves quilting.

We sat by our campfire that day and worked on her hexies. I think she has a great start, don't you?


I hope you all are roasting in a much different kind of way than I am today!



Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Convergence Project 2

Before I show you this awesomely prettiness, let me tell you that we are gearing up for Quilters Campfire around here! My little sewing student and I are getting things ready tomorrow. She is supposed to be bringing the sticks for the fire, and she had a great idea. You see, we were going to have a real campfire this year, but all campfires are banned in Missouri right now. Even in fire rings! So...that is out. But my student said her family uses canned heat to roast marshmallows. Ha, what an idea!

We are planning to work on teaching her how to do hexagons for our campfire day. No, not ahhhh's. Just some flowers I think. And a fake campfire. And canned heat. And S'mores. And some fun for Stephen. Oh I forgot to tell you--he is joining us and will be linking up from his blog! He's got special activities.

Saturday people, come on it will be fun!!

Ok now are you ready for this? I've had my hand dyed fabric hidden away for so long. I am in love with it and all my fabric dyeing supplies are gone. Gone, gone, gone. (too many moves). Oh after today's post you will see why I want it all back! I suppose it is best to just wait until I move again. Well have a look at some of my pretties that were tucked away:

For the second project we were to choose two separate squares of fabric that contrasted.
(I feel like a proud Mama showing you these hand dyed beauties of mine!)
Then we were to stack them on top of each other and cut out a simple curvy design.



Do a bit of swapping around:

Do some cutting:


And some converging:


Now, this one I wanted to add a really neat border on. I am still working on it though. And it may take until next week because...

 I'm in the middle of huge school scheduling right now as Thursday is a big educators discount day with 20% off all supplies and curriculum. I sold a bunch of fabric on my swap to be able to stock Stephen's preschool area. Speaking of my short and cute little guy, he really loved this quilt project and he keeps going over to the design wall and looking at it and the borders. So today Stephen and I  took some of the scraps and sewed them back together. He really was very proud when he added them to the design wall. 
Here they are:

Love that boy!
And I love my hand dyed fabrics. 
So glad I saved them for just the right project, even if it took years to find the right one.




Saturday, July 14, 2012

Convergence Bites the dust

I have had  a quiet day alone today. And I purposely stayed away so that I could enjoy my hours sewing. And silence. Oh how I love silence!

Of course my convergence quilt was right on the top of the list. As I've been working though I have been falling more and more out of love with it. I really liked the design that I chose to applique:

But the more that I worked on it, the more busy it became. It was just way too much.

But I kept plugging along. Until I decided that I was not going to hand applique all that shrubbery with all those little mountains and valleys. 

So I tried thread painting that so many of you love. Oh my gosh! Thread nests. Thread breaks. Thread nests. Thread breaks. 

So then I tried satin applique. Never a fan of that. Thread knots this time. And lots of 'getting stuck' issues. I just do not do well with that stitch at all. Not at all.

Then the worst of all? Taking the botched project out and looking at the satin applique. 
I hate satin applique. Always have. Always will. Sharon I need a teacher! I never get it right.

YUCK!!



It stands out like a sore thumb against all that hand applique.
It is not possible to rip out. It has layers of thread paint. Layers of satin applique. It's stuck. Good.

Hey, Jill! Want the scraps? Ok...thrown in the scrap box now.

But what I am proud of:

Sticking with it and trying to fix as long as I could.

Many many hours of hand applique. 

I am so ready for our Quilters Campfire next Saturday.

Marshmallows. S'mores. Chocolate. Crafts. Stories. What are you going to bring to the party? 
Sharon and I will set up a linky party...so start planning! 

And now--I am moving onto something else. 
How about convergence project two?


Friday, July 13, 2012

Convergence Day Four: An almost finish!

Can you tell how perfectly easy and fun this quilt has been? I am not going to spread out the step by step anymore past today because it is simply the same as we already did earlier in the week.

Turn the quilt on the side and slice it up:

Converge it together in the same way as before, and sew it up:

Convergence DONE! Of course, my little quilt needs something. It is just ok right now but it doesn't WOW me. Borders would help, but so would something else.

Oops! I am out of time. Guess you can't see what I added until next week!
(Plus it's not finished.)

IF you would like to do a convergence of your own, then another blog post has been shared with me. It shows step by step with exact measurements (which I refused to do.)

There are 3 other projects in the book that I cannot wait to do as well!!
Of course I will share them with you :)
I was going to do some more of these before I started on them..but what if I like the others better?
I think I will just keep moving (as soon as the first gets finished to completion. I am a finishing kind of person. Don't like extra projects hanging around.)


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Ahhhh 30--Alhambra Star

Today's Ahhhh comes from Weldon's Practical Patchwork c. 1890

And it was very very difficult.

For the next several we will have a lot of thin, narrow points. I found that glue basting on these narrow points is much better for helping them keep their shape.






Confused yet? 
I decided to color this one in to clarify it a bit better for you.






And here's mine.
It will get a yo yo in the middle because the middle is messed up!
(but it's pretty anyway.)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Convergence Day Three: Sew and eat cake!

Yesterday I left of with showing the beginning of the converging. Today we will begin with sewing those together.

Now, I have to tell you that Ricky has included some tips on the seams that I just had to share:

"Watch the seams as best as you can....If you don't get them to match perfectly, leave them alone. This (middle) seam will be soon cut out and tossed away. Also, if you get to the end of a seam on the outside edge of the quilt and it doesn't match perfectly, don't worry about it."

Who doesn't love instructions like those?? 
(Just wait it gets better.)

I sewed all those strips together...



And now we are halfway done.
Here is where Ricky Tims gives the best advice of all. I quote:

"Congratulations! You have completed the first half of your Harmonic Convergence quilt. It's time to celebrate. Take a break. Admire your work. Treat yourself to a slice of chocolate cake!"


(Image from Hershey's of course!)

Hey, you are all joining me on this journey. Better go get yourself a slice of cake.
Tomorrow is an Ahhhh day so Convergence will return on Friday.












Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Convergence Day Two: Slice!

Here comes the fun! The next step on my Convergence quilt journey was to take the two sections that I had sewn together, and slice them all back apart.

The slices:


Opened up and placed on design wall:


The converging begins:


Monday, July 9, 2012

Convergence Day one


Ready to begin? Or at least watch?

The first project in the book was super fast and easy; if you are working along with me do NOT feel like you need to go at my pace. I actually plan on making a couple more before moving onto project 2. And I am using these as applique background, and since I am now doing all hand applique it will take me a bit to get three or so projects completed before moving on. That way if you fall in love and want to make one as well you will have 'catch up' time all built in. 

(Note: for those that are new to my blog...when I go through a book like this, I do like to discuss step by step with lots of photos. I do that on purpose to help those that are joining me. BUT--books are copyrighted. I will not reveal enough here on the blog for you to make the projects on your own without purchasing the book.)

If you are making these and do not have a blog, then please feel free to send photos and I will share them. 
Be sure to follow Linda's Blog to see her progress. She is a tad busy right now so she might not post right away, but Linda is a follow through kind of gal so she'll get one up when she can.

Here we go:

For the first project we were to cut four different squares of fabric same size around a 14"-16" square. Of course the fabric that I chose only was large enough for a 13"--so I went with it. 

The fabrics were to be laid out in such a way that if there were two that were similar they had to be diagonal from one another, and any large scale prints should be on the bottom. 

So here is what I came up with:

A bit zoomed in:


First step after laying them all out in a good order;
we were to sew two sides together a certain way, but not all four sides together.


Well, that's enough for today. Just enough to get your curiosity up, right?




Sunday, July 8, 2012

Clarification, a shop or two, and other things

Normally I do a random post on Mondays, but tomorrow belongs to Ricky so Sunday evening will have to do!

To clarify, Linda and I (and maybe Jill) will be starting Ricky Tims Convergence tomorrow. Of course--more on that bright and early in the morning!

On July 21st Sharon of Vrooman's Quilts and I will be hosting the Quilters Campfire. Next Saturday I will devote an entire post of things that you can do during the campfire. Join us and have some fun! And of course eat a S'more.

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My husband noted at the table a few days ago that I'm much happier now that I'm not on the computer so much. I dropped a TON of stress. I still worry that I don't visit blogs enough. I feel that visiting is an important thing to do. You all are my friends. I need to find that balance and I will.

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Jerry and I had quite a discussion yesterday. I was working on my convergence quilt and was just SO excited. Jerry asked me if I like art quilts so much, then WHY do I insist on making these other quilts that cause me to pull out my hair (or his--well never mind, he's bald), or why do I moan about having to work on them. (Like the 20 plus dog quilts for that dud of a craft show.) (Or the memory quilts that I try to make and advertise).

 I explained to my husband that a certain other family member (whom I won't mention because I adore her anyway) told me that my art quilts will never sell and I always figured that if I am going to take time to sew I need to either work on gifts or items to sell. I mean I just opened up 3 etsy shops for goodness sake! I am trying to help out our family here. After we discussed it a bit and he practically shook me to get me to see things the right way, he forbade me to ever make another quilt except an art quilt. All of this was in fun, of course. But his point was, if I like the art quilts and am so excited about them, then why not make them and TRY to sell them. I never really have TRIED. I just have always tried to think up things that I figure would sell better. ( I don't really enjoy making memory quilts. Sometimes the public is a pain to deal with about photos or fabric, etc etc. Trust me...I've made at least 20 and there is always some kind of problem or other.)

So, with that in mind...I have no idea what to do about my etsy shops. Let me share them each with you because you are so good about giving feedback. Any and all is appreciated!

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Before we get going on my shops I need to say that my artsy quilts are not really the modern style. They are just more art work-ish. I just realized that the one that I am making now is the ONLY one that I've made since Jerry's known me. Wow, it is certainly time to re-visit my first quilting love. I guess if I take the time to return to that first love, then you will know what in the world I am talking about!

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Ok, the shops:

Shop number one is my Hillbilly Handiworks shop. You can find it RIGHT HERE.

I have several runners and placemats to still list.(Finished but hate taking time to take the photos of them to get them listed.) IF I were to start selling art type quilts, then this is the place where I would list them. I am considering taking down the made to order memory quilt and the baby quilt...at least I am considering it after the discussion Jerry and I had yesterday. I enjoyed making the baby quilt and would make more...but not made to order ones.

Shop number two is Upcycled Indigo. You can find it Right here.

This shop I do like the concept of, but really have my doubts that these items will sell well. I just make them to sell them. On the other hand, I have about 20 more dog quilts, 30 aprons and 20 jean bags finished but not listed yet. (anyone want to adopt them?). In my free time I don't want to list these items. I want to sew! Plus I don't know if this shop is worth all the time it would take to list the items. They were up there in the past, and they didn't sell. What do you think? I don't know...I go back and forth on this shop. Phooey.

Shop number three is not live on etsy yet but its called Itty Bitty Quilts. I do think I'll like making these in between other quilts. I have practiced on a couple and just loved how they turned out. This site is for doll quilts and smaller. Like barbie quilts and quilts for miniature houses. I think sewing in miniature is kind of a fun challenge, so I think this shop will be a cute/good one once I get items made to fill it. (Lesson learned from the upcycled indigo shop--list them as soon as they are completed because I won't want to list a bunch at once!) Do you think itty bitty quilts would sell? Is it worth the time?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

So, ahhhh, random...

The ahhhhs are getting harder. I've been working on the current one for about 4 hours. It's still not done, but almost. I am glad that I changed to posting them every other week for sure!

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Yes I am still here. Well not HERE too much, obviously. Or THERE where you are. My current big time taker is school. It starts in just a month in the Hillbilly Household. (August 11). This year it will be about 4 times as hard...as it is time to start preschool with the little one. I am not a fan of teaching the wee little ones, and it takes a lot more prep work for me than the older ages. All those games and crafts etc. I am also trying to find as much FREE stuff as I can on the net. I will be writing his curriculum soon (right now I am still gathering). So, yeah, that's pretty much where I am right now.

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What good things have I missed around here? I want to know!

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Don't forget we have a campfire day coming up very soon! I just cannot wait to taste a juicy marshmallow. mmmm. I will actually be away all day that day, but will enjoy my yummies and still post for you.

Also coming up is the Ricky, Linda and I Convergence Event. LOL, I think I change the name of it every time.

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I have been trying to get my Etsy shops opened. Do you know how much I HATE running online shops? I am a retail shop manager. It's what I've always done. Brick and Mortar that is! It just irritates me all the time it takes to get things into an Etsy shop. Photos, listing, networking, whatever. I'm trying...but grudgingly.

I am opening 3 stores. Over the next few days I will share the first two. I've not even made any products for the third but it is actually the one that I am the most excited about.

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I sold off a ton of fabric on the destash page on fb to pay for my dogs eye surgery. It worked. Only I had to get rid of the dog. Go figure. I only had him two weeks, in that time I spent over $200 on him medically (all very proudly paid for with my stash),and LOVED having him sleep on my tootsie toes every night. But he was a barker. Lots and lots of barking. Would never stop all night or when we left him during the day. We tried kennel and no kennel. He would sleep with me but with every single sound would bark. Even wind or bugs! We live a duplex. Nope that wasn't good. I found a lady that just adores Cocker Spaniels as much as I and she said we could come visit him whenever we want. She assured me the barking wouldn't bother her. I've given up on getting a dog until we can get a home. That might be a very long while.

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My husband did apply for a promotion at another prison. We never know about these things. Usually they prefer to promote from within their own prison but Jerry has an impressive college background plus came with good referrals from his boss so we will see. It is about 35 miles away from home, so that would mean a good portion of his raise would be eaten up in gas money. You know what that means don't you? Yep, it's been two years. Time to move again. IF he gets the job.

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My plant based diet is going very well. Even my daughter has watched a ton of documentaries and has gotten in on it. She is about as skinny as a bean pole, but this is about lifestyle, not a diet really. Did you know that they have proven that meat fat causes cancer tumors to grow? And that if some go on a plant based diet, their tumors go away? I know it seems far fetched but there are lots of documentaries out there about this stuff people; watch one or two.

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I am sure (even though I've not been around to read) that Andy has been a big topic of interest in blogland. I really did like him. I had to post this song to fb right after he passed. It kind of brought a tear to my eye:



Monday, July 2, 2012

Well, I did it...


I was excited to do a craft show in my own town so that I could get the word out especially about my one on one learn to quilt classes and my memory quilts. It was about noon on Friday and another lady said it was about 104 degrees out on Friday. I was a little surprised when the lady in charge told me that I would be right by the 'blow-up games'. But, I just said "Ok" and went on my way. I spent the next few hours getting set up. I knew that I would not have any early customers as it was just too hot. Here are a few photos of my display:



About 5:30 it was starting to pick up. I had finally had a couple of people stop by to look and the party was just getting started. Until this man walked up:


 His name is Zack Workman, and he is "all that" in Cameron. I didn't know that at all time. All I knew was this guy walked up and said,
"We are moving you." Huh? It didn't register for a moment. And then he said, "This has always been the carnival area, and you are right in the middle of it and I am moving you."

Well, he was right. I was smack in the middle of the carnival. I was the only vendor there. And I didn't like it.
Here are the views out of my tent:



. Seems the carnival lady owner didn't like me being smack in the middle of her carnival either; and she threw a fit. She went straight to the top to Mr. Workman and complained. It seems money talks because I can assure you she paid a whole lot more booth rent than I. But remember, I spent HOURS in the middle of 104 degree heat. All they did was turn on some generators to blow up their booths. 

They (the carnival lady and Mr. Workman) claimed that they could just get some men and move me. Would only take 5 minutes. Yeah, right. NOT! I had stuff wired up, hung up, rigged up. There was no way to just "pick me up and move me."

And guess where they wanted to move me? Right in the middle of the BBQ contest men. Where there were no vendors. And no purchasing at all. No reason for customers to even walk that direction. Again. NOT!

By that point I was just LIVID! I had tears, anger, temper fit all in one. I told the guy I would just leave and that he better have my money refunded by the first of the week. He said I was making too big of a deal out of nothing. Ah, yes, because I am the LITTLE new guy in town. A NOTHING. By the way, this event was put on by the Chamber of Commerce. Are they not supposed to welcome new businesses in town? 
What a warm welcome, Cameron. Thank you!

After I got all torn down and walked around a moment, I noticed something. I was the ONLY hand crafted vendor there. For an event that was in it's 15th or so year according to Mr. Workman. Hmmm, and I am the only crafter? Yep, that tells me a lot. How about you?