Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Market Madness

I am not the sort of person you can toss in the pool. And by that I mean that you can't just throw me into a completely unfamiliar situation, give me no guidelines or rules, and expect me to figure out how to keep myself afloat. And that's pretty much what it was like being at Market: the show floor was a huge swimming pool and after they threw me in, I just kind of sank to the bottom and hoped a hot lifeguard would come along and give me mouth-to-mouth.

I had no pre-defined role or job, and so I had no idea what to do. We had a booth, decorated with a Breakfast at Tiffany's theme (complete with a bathtub couch and Cat), where we would hand out free copies of the magazine and try to convince quilt shop owners to buy more to sell in their shops. Thankfully, Steph, Beth, Bev, and many others (Tracy Mooney, Rashida Coleman-Hale, and Jan Peoples, just to name a few) had been recruited to work the booth. (And "work the booth" now sounds dirty to me.) And thank god they were there, because none of them had any problems with walking up to complete strangers and handing them a magazine and convincing them to order several more copies. People see me and immediately ask me all kinds of snippy questions that I can't answer. (Quilt Shop owner: "Why would I want to sell this in my shop when you have an article in here about online stores?" Me: "Um, because all you carry in your shop is Moda?") (And, no, I didn't actually say that to anybody.) They see Bev, who is the sweetest woman on earth and go, "Oh, how nice! Thank you! I can't wait to read this!" I bring out the bitch in everyone.

Jake and Melissa had "appointments" all day every day, and I put that in quotes only because at the time I had no idea what these appointments entailed. Mani/pedis? Lap dances? No idea. And for a while it seemed as though they really didn't want me anywhere near these appointments, though Scott Hansen, our Community Editor, would be at the first one, a breakfast meeting with someone I've had contact with for our blog advertising. So I was trying to figure out why they didn't want me to go, when suddenly I was told I could come! Well, okay, then!

The appointments were, in general, for a representative from a fabric or other quilt-related company to show us their new stuff and for us to show them our magazine, and hopefully they might want to advertise and we might show off their goodies in our pages. Apparently when I didn't regale our first appointment person with my exceedingly foul language, they decided I could come on ALL the appointments if I wanted to. Or I could walk the floor. Or I could hang out in the booth. At one point it was suggested that I should walk the floor and look for new products, since I am in charge of the new products/stuff we love section of the magazine. Finally, direction!

Except, I have never done this before, so I kept getting lost, wandering aimlessly, working up the nerve to talk to people (which I did eventually do, but not enough). The whole time I felt like I was just spinning in place, not getting as much out of it as I should have or putting as much into it as I needed to. It was all I could do to remember my own name.

But, I did get to meet Scott in person for the first time as well, and that was pretty cool.

Did you know Scott Hansen is about eight and a half feet tall? With our hair, we could be twinsies, but obviously neither of my parents were giants.

See what I mean?

That's Jake on the right and Melissa is between me and Stilts. Those are candy cigarettes we're holding, not joints.

The other person I finally got to meet, after a couple years of blog and Facebook stalking, is this hot thang:

I don't think I've ever been hugged so hard in my life. That is Lisa Sipes. She quilted a baby quilt for me as well as the PTB quilt. She's quickly becoming mega-famous and someday she will no longer have time for little old me, but until then, she is my internet crush and my favorite person to send weenie pictures to.

Do you know who else are freakish giants? Amy and David Butler. I couldn't do any ass grabbing because I couldn't actually reach that high. Fortunately, most quilters seem to be tiny homunculi like me, so for the most part I felt pretty comfortable.

There were about four people total who knew who I was and a couple who even sought me out to say hello and that was pretty cool. I'm told that if I had gone to the Modern Meet-Up on Saturday night, there may have been more, but I was still wary of running into some of the certain individuals out there who get all wound up because I make fun of quilting! Gasp! So I spent Saturday evening with my big sister, who was there on a buying trip for the quilt shop she works for. She and I want to start some sort of quilty business together, possibly quilt patterns, and I totally think we should call it Big Sissy Design Co. I guarantee you they will be the most entertaining patterns on the market, hands down.

It's pretty funny to me that I have seen several versions of that picture of the four of us on Facebook, and I am never identified in them. There's also a lot of congratulatory messages to us that mention the other three but not me. And there is a part of me that wants to go, "HEY!" and another that really likes the anonymity.

So, if I am required to go to Market again, I am not sure what I will do to make the experience more fruitful for me and Generation Q. Bring the good camera and take more pictures for one thing. Go on more appointments to get a better sense of the trends, particularly color trends, that will help in designing future issues. Bring a map and a bag of breadcrumbs. And some sort of portable stepladder so I can stop straining my neck when I have to talk to the freakishly tall people.

Oh, and a box of Manic Panic so Lisa can turn me into the purple-haired punk goddess I was so obviously meant to be.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Thank you, everyone, for your patience with me. The doctors have said that my brother needs surgery and needs it soon, so he is meeting with another neurosurgeon this Thursday and hopefully the procedure will be scheduled at that time. This is not a cure. It is, as I understand it, the best hope of giving him a few more months with a good quality of life before...well, before. I can say it out loud to my husband and to my sister, but otherwise, I can't even type it. Suffice to say, this may be a very hard year.

I want to take a moment to thank you all now for your support and prayers and love. In you I have found not just an audience but a community, and I continue to be humbled and so very grateful for the friendships that have come to me through this blog. I've said it before, and I'll keep saying it: I love you all.


So, yeah. I went to this Market thing in Kansas City. My youngest child decided that would be a perfect time to get sick and not just sick but Oh-Holy-Crap-Is-A-104.8-Temperature-Grounds-For-Calling-911-? kind of sick. David was much more worried than I was, having been thoroughly traumatized by a trip to the hospital with Harper when she was a baby for dehydration from a rotovirus. (I made him go with her when they took her out of the room to put in her IV, because I couldn't do it. I don't think he has ever forgiven me.) I didn't actually think she was going to die, but I just couldn't bear to leave her, so I called Jake in tears and told her I needed to cancel my trip. Fortunately, Jake just rescheduled the flight instead of canceling altogether, and so, when her fever started to come down, David felt more secure and I felt marginally better about leaving her. I ended up on the plane only about 24 hours after I was originally scheduled to go.

I don't fly very much, for several reasons. It's too expensive. I don't usually have places I need to go that can only be reached via a flying tin can. And I hate flying. Hate. It. Taking off is, despite everything I know about physics, clearly against the laws of nature and I spend the entire time until we reach altitude white-knuckling whatever I can get my hands on and trying desperately not to look as terrified as I feel, because I am sure that if a flight attendant or another passenger spies my ohmygodwe'regonnadie! terror, they will have a big U.S. Air Marshall sit on me and hold a taser to my neck, yelling, "YOU NEED TO CALM DOWN, MA'AM" while the pilot turns the plane around. Then, once we are above the clouds and flying more or less horizontally, I spend the remainder of the flight desperately needing to pee but unwilling to announce this to total strangers by forcing them to move so I can claw my way out of my seat and find the tiny lavatory that is likely already occupied by people trying to have sex.

And now the TSA makes me nervous. Probably because I read way to many TSA horror stories on, and so I start to wonder if I look suspicious and then I wonder if my wondering makes me look more suspicious and by the time I make it through the scanner thing and get my shoes back on I am still trying to shake not just the fear but the certainty that a gloved hand is going to grab my arm and pull me off to the side so they can poke around in my butt for contraband.

This time, when I made it through security un-anally-violated, I naturally headed straight for the ladies' room, because every nerve-wracking experience makes me need to pee. And you know how public bathrooms have those big-ass toilet paper rolls mounted to the side of the stall? And how they are held in place in this big plastic contraption? Well, when I went to tear off the paper that I needed, the plastic housing popped off and both the roll I was tearing from and the spare fell off the now dangling holder and rolled right past me and into the stalls next to me. I have no idea how far they went, but I heard a "What the–?" from pretty far down the row.

I suppose a normal person would have piped up and said, "Hey, this fool thing just fell apart! Sorry!" But I was still recovering from my imaginary cavity search and elected to just sit there like an idiot instead until everyone had left.

The awesome little wine bar where I got toasted the last time I had to fly wasn't there anymore, so I ended up eating a sandwich and drinking a margarita at some little diner just outside security where I could read my book and watch other people being held down and beaten for forgetting to put the gun-shaped vibrator in the checked baggage. Number one rule of flying in a post-9/11 world: Always Put The Gun-Shaped Vibrator in the Checked Baggage.

The rest of the flight was uneventful, except of course for the silent screaming during takeoff, and I was picked up at the airport by Melissa's sisters, Steph and Beth, and her friend Bev, all of whom were helping to work the booth at the show. We went straight to the hotel, and there I got to meet Melissa for the very first time. I've known and worked with Melissa for what, three years now? And so to finally be able to hug her was a wonderful thing. And even Jake I've only met once, so suddenly I'm in the presence of the two women who changed my life when they decided to publish me back in 2009. As if that wasn't overwhelming enough, then I finally got to hold my baby:

A magazine. Our magazine. A real, honest-to-god, goddamn magazine. I cried. My hands were shaking. It didn't just look okay. It didn't just look passable. It looked good. And I designed it. I had no idea what I was doing, but I figured it out, and I did good. I am so proud of this, I can't even tell you. I still get choked up thinking about it.

I will tell you more about Market itself in another post. I am still working on putting together a fabric sale, and I have a lot of fat quarter bundles ready to go. Much of this is older stuff, so if you are into more "traditional" fabrics there will be a lot here for you. I'm thinking that I will, once I am ready to start, post one or two items here per day with a Paypal button for each. I also plan to have some fun with the descriptions, so even if you hate the fabric you might want to check out the sale for that. And I know some people were willing to donate fabric to the cause, so if you are still interested in doing that, I would be very interested and very grateful. Please email me at dontdrinkandquilt (at) gmail (dot) com and we'll work out arrangements for shipping.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


I will eventually write the posts I had planned to tell you all about Market and how I almost didn't go and then I did, but I find myself unable to write anything right now that isn't just kind of morose and dull. My brother called me Monday night and told me that his latest MRI shows tumor growth, the first since his initial surgery two years ago. We will all find out tomorrow what his treatment options are now, and so, until I get past that, I simply can't even pretend to be lighthearted. Thank you all for your understanding and patience with me. I'm sure I'll be back in a few days.

Monday, May 14, 2012

An experiment

Several months ago, I discovered this website. Now, it may not be to everybody's taste, but I immediately fell in love and then into a deep despair because I knew I would probably never be that funny. (I got over it.) From there, I started reading the author's personal website and got to see a little more about him, and he turned out to be rather fascinating. He had a girlfriend in Scotland and he wanted to marry her. He worked in a coffee bar and made very little money but he had a few thousand readers and he decided to put up a donation button. And now, every month, I try to budget some money to give to him (I try to budget $20, but I often have to do less. He asked his readers to give one dollar a month, and I believe only about one percent have given anything.) He doesn't know me. I've never written to him directly or communicated in any way, but I read every word he puts online and for that I think he deserves something from me for that. There aren't many sites out there that inspire me to daily visits, so I try to support the ones that do. (He married his girlfriend, by the way, but is still saving to move to Scotland to be with her.)

So now I am about to head out to Kansas City, for a business that has no money and can't actually pay me. I have eschewed paid work in order to focus entirely on this project and so, as I suspected, I am going to KC completely fucking broke. (I had money saved up, but then David broke a tooth and that took up what I had saved and more.) If I need a cab, I'll have to pay for it. If I need to eat, I'll have to pay for it. I'm going to stuff Power Bars in my purse and hope that I can live on those, but I doubt it. When Devon starts school in the fall, we will have some relief, because then I won't be paying for her daycare anymore (and yes, I could pull her out of daycare now, but I'd never get any work done and she LOVES it there.) I need to consider shutting off the cable TV for a while.

There is no way for me to know when or if GenQ could become profitable, but if it does it is likely to be a while. Before I knew GenQ was even happening, I had plans for some projects that I hoped would make up for some of the loss from losing my Quilter's Home work (and no other mags out there are interested in what I write or pay as well). However, the time necessary for work on GenQ has made pursuit of those projects next to impossible. If things ease up this summer with the second issue, then that may change.

When I return from KC, I am going to start organizing a fabric sale here on the blog. It pains me to do it, but I have to. I have also decided to put up my own donation button, which you can see at the top of the right hand column. Several people have suggested this in the past, but I have always resisted it. I hate asking for money, and so I'm not going to. I'm just going to leave that button there and whatever happens, happens. (And for those brave souls who do click the button - Sundara Silver is me. I had a home-based silver jewelry business when I started my PayPal account and I can't seem to change it to just my real name.)

BUT. Because I love you, and I realize I haven't been very entertaining these last few days, I will leave you with a very special present. I give you the first submission to the 2013 Quilter's Shirtless Man and Spicy Burrito Calendar:

Is that not the most awesome thing ever? These guys are all brothers and they and their sisters made a calendar of their mom's quilts for her for Christmas last year. But for the last month, the boys all shed their shirts and grabbed burritos! She sent me this on Christmas Day, so it was like a gift for me too, and when the boys all said they'd be happy to have the picture in the calendar, I just about died.

The three on the right are performers—the Platt Brothers—and I believe it's the hottie on the far right who is named Cheetah (a name, his mother assures me, he gave himself. Apparently, she tried to name him Ben, but he informed her at age six that she got it wrong and he made it legal when he was 16). The rest are Flynn, Cy, and Boone—and if those don't sound like the names of four brothers from a Nora Roberts quartet, I don't know what does. Hopefully, this will assuage all the weirdos who saw the 2012 calendar and were all, "Why aren't they all buff? I only want buff guys with quilts and burritos on my wall." So, here ya go, ya whiners. Four of 'em. Now leave the rest of us to our cuddle bears.

So this is just the beginning of the awesomeness that will be the QSMASBC for 2013. Also on track and hopefully to be completed this summer: a book. Specifically, all my Quilter's Home humor pieces plus a few new ones that will only be found in the book. I'm doing design and layout myself on this one and will self-publish as well. (I could just imagine trying to pitch that to C&T or Martingale: "Yeah, it's all previously published stuff, but in all the places where it originally said 'poop' I'm going to change it to 'shit'.") It's even going to have a special introductory section called How To Quilt! Rest assured, you will come away with WAY more knowledge about quilting than you ever thought possible. I won't guarantee that it will be useful information or that it won't get you arrested in certain states, but it will be edifying.

Now I need to go estimate how many tampons are reasonable to pack just in case and try to get my favorite smelly soap into a travel bottle without also pouring it down my pants. If don't manage to check in before Thursday, wish me luck with my attempts to be personable without a full meal or access to Dr. Pepper. I just got my 16GB SD card for my camera so I hope to be back with lots of pictures of people trying to grab David Butler's ass when Amy's not looking.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

It's never finished

Last night, at 10:15 pm, I made the final approvals for the PDF proofs of the magazine at the printer. Oddly, just like every other time I sat back and yelled, "DONE!" no balloons fell from the ceiling and no one cracked open a bottle of champagne. David wants to celebrate, but I just don't feel like it yet. I had said that we would celebrate when the hard copy proof arrived via FedEx this week, but it turns out that there will be no hard copy proof and that I won't get to look at it until I arrive in Kansas City next Thursday (and if they don't have a copy ready to hand over to me the second I see them, there will be hell to pay).

I'm feeling kind of burnt out and a bit numb. I just cleaned my kitchen,  because that's one of the things that has been ignored these last few weeks - housecleaning. My family might actually get to eat a decent meal this week and there may even be clean clothes for everyone to wear. If I also manage to take a shower and shave my legs, well then it will be just like a party around here.

Now I will be thinking about Market, or trying not to think about Market. I've always wanted to go, but not so much as a vendor, but as an observer. I keep telling everyone that the last thing they want is to put me out in front of the public, but that is also the last thing I want. Nearly everything about this trip is high up on my master list of Stuff I Avoid Whenever Possible:

1. Flying.
2. Sleeping with other people (there will be at least 4 people in one hotel room, god help us all.)
3. Being in any situation where I do not have immediate access to a bathroom.
4. Crowds.

Number three has me particularly worried, since I spent my entire weekend in pain, running to the can, and none of my meds seemed to help. I never know when it's going to get bad like that, but it has on the last couple trips I've taken. And I'm such a freak that I can't bring myself to talk to any of them about it, but apparently I've got no problem broadcasting it on the internet.

We have recently had some issues on the mag with people being upset that we sometime use the terms "slut" or "ho" (always used jokingly, never meanly, by the way). It has been enough of an issue to make me realize that it would probably be wise for them to not publish the link to my blog in the magazine or to even have the link online. They wanted me to put my blog address in my column, as well as on my business cards, and I ultimately decided not to. It was a strange time when I first started getting published in Quilter's Home and my blog address was in there and I got a pretty sizeable increase in readers - as well as a sizeable increase in people who didn't care for what I write and told me so. And that was fine. I don't expect the entire quilting world to love me, and I wouldn't want it to. Part of why I write the way I do here is in order to remain on the margins, where I can continue to do what pleases me and not what I have to consider might please a large audience.

But now, as Creative Director of Generation Q Magazine (that still sounds so cool!), I represent an entity beyond myself and one which we hope will be our livelihoods. I have to consider that lots of very conservative people are going to be picking our mag up to see what's what, and the last thing we need is for somebody to become inclined to reject us because they decide to check out my blog and discover that I worship Beelzebub and all his minions. See, when you are audacious enough to try to put together a magazine with national and international (that means Canada - sorry, Meg) distribution with only four people and a lot of nerve, people are inclined to either fully support you or totally reject you because you make a neat scapegoat. Lots of people in the world aren't truly happy unless they've got something to hate, and there's not much in the quilting world to hate. Turns out, I make an excellent object for that.

Again, I don't care if people don't like me or what I write, but I do care about it in relation to Generation Q. I am starting to think that it might be time to split off again, to have one blog where all of you who know me and like coming here can continue to read my insane rantings and another, more "public" blog that would be the face of my professional self. Which basically just means that I wouldn't curse or mention weenies. I'd probably still be a smart-ass half the time. I can't help myself.

So, I need a name for my "sanitized" quilting blog. Any ideas?

Friday, May 4, 2012

Finished. Sort of.

Guess what I did, bitches? I finished the motherfuckin' magazine. Uploaded all 100 pages last night, and I totally wish I was a young dude right now, because this feels like the kind of thing I need to celebrate with cigars, scotch, and hookers.

But I am not a young dude, I am a middle-aged woman with kids to pick up from school later and take to a baseball game tonight. So, instead of celebrating with bad life choices, I decided to design a new t-shirt.

Available on t-shirts, mugs and tote bags in my Cafe Press shop. And possibly also a tattoo on my ass.