Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Trailer Trash

I dragged a trailer to Shipshe last week,
And I backed it up without missing a beat!
    Well, maybe not missing a beat or two,
    But it sure wasn’t easy….just let me tell you!

   It was a great time we had at the NQA Quilt Show in Columbus two weeks ago, and immediately following that fun event we headed to Indiana's Amish community, Shipshewana, for a great 5 days at the Shipshewana Quilt Festival.
 Shipshewana has these stunning gardens that have been laid out like quilt squares. I was almost standing on top of the Stitch Mobile, and still it's not a great picture, but maybe you get the idea!
  We were really exhausted after coming off the NQA Show. I had a great Mystery Class and we had a large booth....and of course, we ran out of product. (for those of you who do not vend at shows, this is a GOOD thing!)  I had no time to order more stock and have it shipped to our shop, sew I ordered it to be shipped to our hotel in Shipshewana, and then I picked some of it up at the Checker Distributor's warehouse. Checker is our main source for product, plus I am a demonstrator and consultant for them, sew we love to take a bit of time and visit the warehouse and fondle all the beautiful fabrics whenever we have an excuse! 
  Because we have a triple booth in Shipshewana, we needed a lot of product and a lot of fixtures....and a LOT of help! I was teaching two days and needed plenty of staff in the booth, sew there were a total of 4 of us heading to Indiana. This meant the Stitch Mobile needed some extra seats (rather than just the driver and passenger) and that meant less room for merchandise. And THAT meant I had to drag a trailer.....again.
  I'm a pretty good driver (well over 600,000 miles and no accident) but, backing up a trailer....well, it's just not a pretty sight.
  The gang and I hit Checker on Tuesday last week and loaded up all the goodies that had not been shipped ahead. We had a lovely lunch and then turned left and drove to Shipshewana.  
We were able to set up our booth between the hours of 4 and 8pm. Did I mention I had a triple booth??  Yeowza!  Of course, we got the goods unloaded, then we scratched our heads and considered the possibilities then before we were ejected from the booth we managed to hang all the quilt and set up the bones.

    With visions of how the booth was to be set, we headed to the hotel. We dropped the trailer!!!!!  (Can I tell you how excited I am that we could do that?! Last year we had to drag it all over Shipshe because we never got out of the show before all the stores were closed and we didn't have a trailer lock!)
  Sew I backed the trailer into the parking space. (First shot!  Can I brag?!)
  Janice-the-camper gave good instructions and support! 
     The hitch was lifted off the tow-ball.
     Then I had to wrap the safety chains and lock the trailer down.
     The Count made sure I had a good assortment of locks from which to choose!
     First lock on!
 Second lock on!
 I remembered to remove the tow-hitch!!
And put it together sew we had all the parts when we were ready to re-hitch the trailer!

A GREAT sense of freedom to drop the trailer!
  Now it was time for dinner!
  Last year friends at Checker suggested that if we wanted a glass of wine or beer with dinner we drive to a cute little sports bar in LaGrange, 10 miles east of Shipshewana. No prob!!  We headed east (last year we were dragging the trailer, remember?) and stopped at a place that looked like a sports bar, and we were able to pull in to the spot in front of the bar on the street, and were guaranteed to be able to still pull forward when we left.  Upon walking into the establishment we quickly discovered that it was a biker bar, and not the family sports bar we were seeking (another story for another time!).  Eventually we found the little restaurant we were seeking (Grossman's Restaurant in LaGrange, IN).  We had such a nice time (and such a reasonable bill!) that we ate there every night we were in Shipshewana ~~  last year AND this year!  Highly recommended!
     Sew, trailer-free we zoomed to our 'Cheers' in Lagrange, IN.  We had a great time and a great meal!  Headed back to the hotel and next morning bright-and-early we were back in our booth putting on the finishing touches.

      We had a great show and had LOTS of fun!  As usual there are many, many stories, most we can't share on a blog :-)  [But we're always willing to share in person!!]  Unfortunately it was freezing in the vendor mall.  But really ~ when your business is quilts, is there any reason to freeze??  (And of course, there's always a chick having a Hot Flash!!  lol!)
    At the end of the show, Saturday at 4pm, we hitched up our trailer and loaded it up with our fixtures and the remains of the show.

    We poured ourselves into our assigned seats, grabbed some food-to-go (from Grossman's!!) and slithered our way southeast to Columbus, Circleville and Stoutsville. We were all in bed by midnight. Ahhhh....
     Next day: Family Picnic!

    In a couple days The Count and I head to New York for a bit of R&R(&S) ~ Ron and Rita and Shannon, NY daughter.  Looking forward to sharing more fun with you!  Until then, I head to the garden for the continuation of more weeding and leave you ~~ In Stitches, Rita

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Stitchin' Time

Took a few minutes to play in my room.
These quilts that I'm making began to consume
My thoughts daily and nightly.  I just had to sew
The ideas that you can see pictured below!

  Well, all day yesterday as I sat at my office desk at the shop dealing with paperwork, I constantly thought about the Storm At Sea quilt I began on Tuesday. It was sew much fun to play with the shapes and the placement of the different fabrics to see what was developing!  My treat to myself, as I crossed all the jobs off my 'to-do' list, was to finish that quilt sew I can write the pattern.  As I was organizing things in my office I came across a demo-storyboard for another Creative Grids ruler that I've never made anything with.  It intrigued me, and it needs a pattern.....sew here I go. One quilt down now, and one on the cutting table.
  Here's a picture of that beautiful Storm At Sea:
 The quilt as shown measures 40"x 52" which is great for a lap quilt to throw on the couch.  Here's a picture of the ruler I used:

  Sew stay-tuned to learn when the pattern will be ready. I figure I can add a few other sizes to the pattern, too. It was fun and relatively fast to make. I worked on the quilt for about 2 days.
  Remember the other ruler that grabbed my attention:
  This strange looking, curvy thing gave me the heebie-jeebies.  However then I saw this:

and it intrigued me enough that the heebie-jeebies faded away.  Sew now my assistant and I will retire back into my sewing studio where more quilts will be created.
  Actually, very little work gets accomplished when my assistant is present, but she's sew darn cute it's hard to make her go away!
  I made a super-yummy din last night and The Count wants me to remember it sew I can recreate it often. Since I never measure, and just look in the 'fridge, the pantry, and the herb garden as I begin to prepare dinner, I thought if I tell you what I did last night I may be able to go back into this blog and find the recipe idea again when tuna sounds good for dinner next time!
  Here goes....
Herbed Grilled Tuna Steaks
2-4 medium size, wild-caught tuna steaks about 1" thick
1/2 cup olive oil
1-2 T ginger paste (found in the produce department and way easier to use than fresh ginger! Looks like it's in a fat toothpaste tube)
scant 1/4 cup chopped fresh dillweed
scant 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
2-3 T chopped thyme
juice/zest of 1 lemon
  Squish all ingredients except tuna together in 1 gal zip-lock baggie. Place tuna steaks in bag and work the marinade all around. Allow to marinate at room temp for about 30 minutes.
 Meanwhile gather: 1/2 large red onion
                               1/2 large orange or yellow bell pepper
                               8 oz fresh mushrooms
                               2 stalks celery
    Chunk all these veggies up into fairly uniform sizes.  On stovetop heat grill pan over high heat. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over pan and remove tuna steaks from marinade using tongs and place on grill pan.  Allow these to sit in one place long enough to get good grill marks. As soon as you put the tuna on the grill pan, toss the veggies into the baggie of marinade and work all around sew veggies are covered. Pour these on the same grill pan at the other end. Carefully turn the tuna steaks and frequently  turn the veggies using the tongs. Remove tuna to plate when they have reached the desired doneness for your taste.  Continue to cook veggies until they begin to look roasted and golden. Pour over the tuna steaks before serving. Yumm!!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


To anyone wonderin’ ~ I’m still alive!
I’m just sew darn tired I have to revive
My creative energies and gift of gab.
But never fear….I’ll give it a stab.

    Well....where to begin?  Last we chatted I was telling you a bit about myself.  Mostly I identify myself as a wife, a mom/gramma, and quilter. Since we last visited I became a gramma again! Our daughter, Erin and hubby Kris, presented us with a beautiful baby girl, Camille Eileen, born via c-section on Tuesday, May 24 at 5:30am.  The Count and I are nearly as over-the-moon as proud mama and pappa!
   Sweet 21 month-old cousin Charlotte has not yet met this newest Fishlette....but I'm sure it will be love-at-first-sight. (Especially since this little one is not going home with Charlotte!)  Anyhow, that's part of the reason I'm a bit bushed. I was 'night-nanny' for a few nights as everyone settled in. Lucky for mamma and pop, little Camille is a good sleeper.  I think Charlotte stayed wide-awake her entire first year, sew I'm thrilled for Camille's folks that she's a sleeper!
  After Camille settled in I headed to Cincinnati to teach a couple classes and demo to the Ohio Valley Quilt Guild, a HUGE, active group of very talented and super-fun quilters. I had a blast!  Now I'm home and getting myself geared up for the fun NQA Show in Columbus next week.  Meanwhile, I'm operating on a bit of sleep deprivation and a pile of "must-do" stuff on my desk.  It's actually the pile on my desk that wears me out. REAL life is nothin' compared to "what's comin'".....
  I'm teaching a very fun group of quilters-now-friends in Ajo, Az (extreme southwestern Arizona) in February. I've been teaching there for many years and have become good friends with many of the quilters there. I look forward to that visit all year long.   At the end of their class this year they asked to make the Storm-At-Sea quilt in February 2012, using the Creative Grids Storm-At-Sea ruler.  Sew.....I took a deep breath, picked out my fabrics, and started cutting and sewing.
  There is not a pattern yet using the Storm-At-Sew ruler, sew I figured I'd go ahead and write the pattern while I make the quilt, and that's what I've worked on today....as I successfully managed to feel like I was accomplishing something while I deftly, once again, avoided doing all the things I REALLY needed to do today. Any wonder I'm tired. That avoidance-thing wears one out!
  My goal with this blog is to pop-in frequently and keep you updated on all-things-quilty in the world of Rita Fishel and Creations SewClever.  Thursday I should be able to show you some pictures of the Storm-At-Sea quilt I'm working on, and give you some details of the things going on around the shop.
  Last week I took one long day mowing, trimming, weeding, and generally sprucing up around the shop.  The poison ivy on my arms and legs is a gentle reminder of all the hard work I put in.  All I can say is, it looks really nice, and is WORTH it (itch, itch, scratch, scratch).  Stop by and admire, if you have the opportunity, before the weeds grow up again!
  Next week we head to the fun NQA Show in Columbus where we'll have a large booth and I'm teaching a fun Mystery Class on Saturday (June 18).  I hope you can join us at this fun show, in our booth, or in the class!
  My day is winding down and now there's dinner to prepare.  Here's what I'm fixing to go with the pork loin we roasted the other evening. This recipe is light and fresh and summery!  Enjoy!
Fresh and Fast Quinoa Salad
1 cup raw quinoa
1 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup shredded carrots
1-2 ribs celery, chopped fine
1/2 cup craisins (dried cranberries)
1/4 cup chopped or slivered toasted almonds or pecans
1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
2T minced fresh rosemary
2T minced fresh thyme
2T minced fresh basil
2T minced fresh mint
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup shredded fresh Parmesan cheese
   In medium saucepan heat chicken broth to boiling and add quinoa. Turn heat to low, cover pan and simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally as quinoa absorbs liquid.  As Quinoa cools make dressing by whisking together: vinegar, olive oil, herbs, lemon zest and juice. Add carrots, celery, craisins and nuts to quinoa. Toss all gently with dressing. Top with shredded cheese and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  Have a wonderful evening!!  Your friend in stitches, Rita