Monday, November 4, 2013

Houston, we have a problem..........

Well, the activity of last week at the International Quilt Festival is now behind me, and I am home again.

I have decided that I love Houston. I went with Cathy, and our reason for going was to make contact with potential countries to show their work at the Ailsa Craig Community Quilt Festival in future years, I am glad to say that we were successful in this endeavour, and are set for the next four years. No, I will not tell you which countries, wild horses will not drag that information out of me.

This was my second visit to Houston and Cathy's first. I knew it was going to go well when we got the Metro Detroit airport, and couldn't find the car park to leave the car. We followed the signs which suddenly stopped and were never seen again. We stopped at a Days Inn and asked there, but the receptionist had no clue where they were. As we were driving out of the parking lot, there was a valet parking van pulling in, so we did a quick trip around the lot and pulled up to him and asked the question. He started to tell us and then just said, "follow me".  So we did. He took us to the valet parking lot. It actually turned out to be a lot cheaper than using the main parking lots, $5.99 a day as opposed to $10, so we lucked out. They were very nice people, and we had a laugh and a joke while getting the car checked in, and, when they heard my English accent, I was given a discount, so we were going to pay $5.98 a day!! A good start to our trip.

We were flying Spirit airlines. I think we will just leave that there, I think they are akin to Ryanair, or have taken lessons from them.

We arrived late in Houston. I don't know how many of you have been to the city, but it is HUGE. I had no idea until we were talking to someone in the queue one morning, that the city is about 100 miles across in any direction. We had decided that we would rent an apartment rather than stay in a hotel in order to keep the costs down, and had found the perfect one for us through Air BnB in Montrose, which was just a short bus ride from the Convention centre, but we had to take a taxi from the airport to get to it, took about 30 minutes.

The apartment was attached to our host's home and was lovely, just perfect for two people for the amount of time we were there. The swimming pool was just outside our door, and we were welcome to use that. The fridge was stocked, most importantly, with wine, butter, milk, yogurt, juices and water, and they had bagels and chips to start us off. Lovely and fresh and clean.

The next morning we were up bright and early as we were taking workshops at the show, and then staying on for the Preview evening. I was really looking forward to that!! Cathy was taking Cindy Walter's fabric painting class, and I was taking Paula Nadelstern's Tower One class. I did ask myself after I booked it Why? It is so unlike anything else I would ever do, but I thought it would be a challenge and it doesn't hurt to do some precise piecing once in a while.

Paula Nadelstern's Tower One quilt

As we were leaving the apartment, our host appeared and offered to drive us to the bus stop as it was raining quite heavily, and we could see lightning and hear thunder, it also showed us where to go every day.

The workshop was very interesting as we had to do drafting and cutting out of templates, and then we chose some of her beautiful fabrics which was part of our kit, with which to do our blocks. We had an hour for lunch and met up with out Dutch friend Laura. The weather was still wet, but at this point it had stopped raining, and we walked a shortish distance to a bar and had the most delicious hamburgers. As we left, the rain was teeming down, and we only had one umbrella between the three of us. Laura decided that as I had a raincoat, I didn't need the umbrella, whereas she and Cathy had no coats so huddled together under it. (They both have short hair, so fairly drip dry, whereas I am the princess of the group with my medium length bob and hate getting my hair wet unless I happen to be washing it!). We made it back and continued with our classes.

A view of the vendors

I was pleased with what I achieved. For a non piecer I thought it looked good, although I did make an error on my last border and needed to re draw my template and will have to recut and restitch them. But its a learning process which is why your there.

We finished our classes and made or way down to the show floor where we spent the next four or five hours looking at the vendors. I have to say, I was very restrained and I bought thread only. As I was paying for it, a class was announced at Make It University which is right in the middle of the show floor. For $10, you can take a one hour class with a teacher learning a new technique. We hot footed it and had a blast! It was creating text on fabric by using scrapbooking sticky letters and then painting, and then peeling the letters off to leave the image. Very effective. After that, we carried on looking at the vendors. After four days at the Festival, I still don't think we saw them all, but it was terrific fun.

We left the show and then crossed the road to get our bus back to Montrose. It seemed a lot quicker than it had in the morning, and the buses are hardly full. Trouble was, it was pitch dark and we had no clue where we had to get off! Cathy thought we should get off at the next stop as the name of the street we got on at flashed up on the screen, So off we get, only to find that we are nowhere near where we should have been! A quick call to our host, and it was, " stay there, I'll come and get you".

So there we were, standing on the street corner by the traffic lights of Brazos and Elgin in the rain and dark waiting for a ride home. Cathy came up with all sorts of ridiculous scenarios which led to us having fits of the giggles when we suddenly heard a car horn, and turned to see an arm waving through a sun roof on the opposite corner to the one we were on. We ran across the road, Cathy ahead and me following, she clambers in the back, I reach for the front passenger door which had been opened, stepped off the kerb and..................that's when my left leg suddenly disappeared into thin air and I was looking at the bottom of the car sill. Cathy clambers back out hauls me out of the hole and we discover that the drain cover, had been broken leaving a large hole into which I had fallen. My right leg was bent at another angle and I had plonked my bags on the road and by doing so wrenched my shoulder.

We climb into the car, and are laughing so hard I had tears running down my face. Our host was horrified, and once we got back, took us into his apartment and then found me sterile pads and anti bacterial lotion to bathe my wounds. I had scraped the side of my leg and the the front side and back of my thigh, the bruises are beautiful! I was in a lot of pain, but we just kept laughing so that was a good thing, they were worrying that they needed to take me to Emergency but I said I was fine. We went back, or rather I hobbled, to our apartment where Cathy fed me wine, Advil and chocolate, which I thought was a good thing. Sleep was difficult as I couldn't find anywhere to put my leg without causing pain, but did manage to get some eventually...................

To be continued......


  1. What a brilliant post!

    Houston is so huge - I had no idea! And I mean both the city and the quilt extravaganza!

    I love your parking discount. That really made me smile. But so sorry to hear about you drain cover trauma! I think you were lucky. It could have been so much worse.

    1. Thank you for reading it!
      Houston has 1200 vendors, 1500 quilts and at least 62,000 visitors, a wonderful show and well worth the visit!

      My bruises are coming out now and I am green and purple.