Monday, March 29, 2010

Friday -- Recycled Denim Day

It is my plan to post AS MANY PICTURES AS I POSSIBLY CAN on this blog. I loved, loved, loved taking pictures of YOU -- the wonderful Expo attendees. I hope you continue to check this blog often -- and I hope you will see yourself -- sooner or later...

I took these pictures on Friday -- so, of course, my emphasis was on the fabulous recycled denim outfits I saw...

These two were having a good time! I remember these two gals -- and if I can find it -- I know they sent me an email after the show...(I couldn't be THAT organized)...


Thank you for playing our "denim Recycling" sewing game!! Part of the fun was taking your pictures and making you eligible to win "valuable prizes" from Schmetz and Junk Jeans. This will be a test....if Rhonda and Luveta area actually READING THIS BLOG -- they'll send me the names of the winners, right??

I'll keep you posted...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sue's Two Needle Class

As I walked idnto the room, Herb was helping Sue get ALL THOSE SAMPLES out of the suitcases...Sue is just a blur....

Then, Sue was trying to get everything hooked up. Between the sewing machines, the camera, the Power Points -- these two-needle speakers had a LOT TO THINK about...And Sue is way more technology-minded than most of us...

The audience is settling in for the new format --

I only wish I could have taken a picture of EVERY audience at the show. You are the REAL HEROS here...and it is a joy for us to see you embrace these more in-depth classes...

One of Sue's students sent us a suggestion -- that the two-needle classes end 15 minutes EARLY -- thus, giving the next teacher 30 minutes to "set up". We think that is a great idea. SEE HOW IMPORTANT YOU ARE??


Monday, March 22, 2010

Kathy McMakin & Serger Piping

Okay -- this is JUST THE BEGINNING of my 2010 after-the-show blogging efforts. I tried to make as many videos as I possibly could. AND I'm learning more all the time about how to actually "post" things on this blog. This is a video of the Baby Lock serger room -- where Kathy McMakin was teaching a cosmetic bag hands-on class.

Of course, the object most of the time is not to make a new cosmetic bag -- but to learn some serger techniques, and get some hands-on experience. Kathy always does a great job and we are delighted she comes up with something new year after year!!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Ya Yas & Inspired2Sew


I cannot believe Expo is over. Really. There is soo much work that goes into this show. Not just MY work, of course -- every Expo speaker is sewing late into the night for weeks before the show, trying to prepare new samples and stuff patterns hot off the presses -- every vendor is putting together their booth, shipping their merchandise, planning their displays. Mary Collen is working late into the night for weeks before the show, preparing the lists for the five or six daily style shows...the companies putting those style shows together are working on ALL NEW GARMENTS -- every stitch is pressure. The ticket office staff are putting in long hours...Ann Sagawa, Janet York and Joanne Ross are melting down their brains, trying to anticipate every problem and solve it before it happens...parking, style shows, classes, setting up the vendor floor, plugging in the sewing machines, renting EVERY CHAIR ON THE FAIRGROUNDS, hiring people to set up ALL THOSE CHAIRS...

After I got back to Iowa -- I just passed out. Really. My brain had completely melted down and I was so tired I stayed in bed for 12 hours. My friends hadn't seen or talked to me since Christmas -- they were reading the obituaries, wondering what happened to Rita...I didn't even try to return phone calls or write up my usual chatty "after the show" report...I had nothin'. Really. Nothin'...

But, I did go to sleep with a smile on my face. It was SUCH A GREAT SHOW. You are awesome. Every year, we wonder if ya'll will come...AND YOU DID. I had the time of my life -- right along with many of you! And, of course, doing the Midwest Ya Ya Sister act with Mary was a highlight for me. Our audience was amazing...Bonne & Jan sent me this picture...and I remember why we do what we's about what we all share...

Friday Night LIVE -- we hand-picked who got the "door prizes". Of course, we honored the STALKERS (more about them later) -- and my two Super-Bloggers, Bonne & Jan. The t-shirt Jan is holding says, "I AM NOT THE BOSS -- I just know what you should be doing".

I can hardly wait to see what they DO WITH THE T-SHIRTS for their Nooner event next year....hummm...???

Thanks for the picture, Bonne -- and thanks for standing in front of me. I am happy any time I can be in a picture that does not feature my rear end...

Friday, March 12, 2010



YOU KNOW HOW MUCH I enjoy making my little slide shows! If the music annoys you (believe me, I know it can happen) -- just click the mute button on your computer. This might be a good time for you to learn where it is, because I am LOVING playing with the technology of mixing the pictures with the songs...and it might be awhile before I'm over it.

Also, if I'm in the mood -- I add "captions" to the pictures. Just drag your curser over the picture, and you might see some "words"...

This slide show is just a few random shots of the VERY FIRST DAY...the song is "Something Special To Me"...WHICH IT REALLY, REALLY WAS...

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Spanaway Group

I got this email AFTER I got back to Iowa:

Hi Rita,

I tried to catch up with you during Expo, but I understand how busy you always are. We have a group that we always make something every year and this year we created our own jackets (using Torrence patterns). All 5 of us came up with the same design but different colors. We were told to catch up with you so you can take our pics, but was unsuccessful so I found your email and hope that you can use our pics and use them for next years photos. Let me know.

Tina Torrey
Spanaway, WA
Subject: Re: Pics from Expo

Of course -- I wrote back:

Dear Tina,

GREAT pics!! Please send me your names so I can put it in the blog. Are you all from Spanaway? here are some questions...

Names: (from pic left to right)
Stacey Halvarson, Kathy Ackley (Stacey's mom), Victoria Wilson (Kathy's neice), Debbie Wilson (Victoria's mom), myself Tina Torrey (adopted sister)

where from?
Stacey - Hoquiam, WA
Kathy - Rathdrum, Idaho
Victoria - Bellingham, WA
Debbie - Aberdeen, WA
Tina - Spanaway, WA

how long have you been coming to Expo?
Stacey - 3 yrs
Kathy - 24 yrs
Victoria - 13 yrs
Debbie - 24 years
Tina - 12 yrs

what was your favorite thing this year?
Kathy loved the Olisio new iron. Victoria got a new Janome embroidery machine.

We all really loved the hands on class with Lisa Shaw (except a few had machine problems and never got to finish their projects. Debbie loved the bobbin work seminar. Victoria liked the one seam pants seminar.

I love Cecelia Podolack (Material Things) patterns and now have most of them. I even made a vest and she put it in her booth for showing others. Debbie likes Gypsy bag and flip pocket bag. Victoria likes Lingerie secrets and sew wonderful dreams.

style show?
Never had a chance to watch -- too busy

TELL ME WHAT YA'LL you stay in a motel? eat out? Where?
There are 3 of us that bring our RV's and stay in the campground behind the fairgrounds and we stay the entire time from Wed - Sun. I was the chef this year, except for Wed where we all go to Red Lobster for our annual kick off. The only man allowed is my husband. We ate all our meals in our RV and we make our own lunches. We did have one newbie from Idaho that loved Expo and will definately be returning and joining us next year. There is also a teenager, she has been coming with her mom (Stacey) for 3 years also and has been making her own clothes.

Share Fischer Scones??
Yes, I always have to buy a dozen for my husband; my best friend can no longer eat them because she is not allowed to have fruit seeds now but they made one special for her with butter only, and the others are trying to lose weight.

C'mon..!! THEY'LL WANT MORE...
Every year we create an outfit for expo. This coming year 2011, we are creating a complete outfit using one seam pants, classic shirt and curvy camosole. The year before 2008, we all made bags to carry our stuff we get an expo. Plus we also have vests that have all the years on it of when we've been coming to Expo. Kathy also makes us expo jewlery every year (necklaces, earrings, pins, bracelets, etc.)

We are all wanting to make a suggestion and would LOVE a hands on of a Wild Ginger fitting class (for those of us that have the software since all 5 of us are from different regions of the state including Idaho).

THANK YOU, TINA -- It is a complete joy for us to hear the stories of the girlfriend groups who attend Expo. Your traditions, sewing challenges, etc. I hope Lorraine Torrence reads this blog -- as well as Lisa Shaw. AND the Wild Ginger people certainly SHOULD teach a hands-on class!! Keep those suggestions coming, people -- we're having our planning meeting in MAY THIS YEAR.

Friday, March 5, 2010

2010 Day One

On DAY ONE -- I tried to get outside so I could get THIS PICTURE. As I was standing there, on the corner, taking the shot -- my friend Marilyn Norton came up to give me a hug -- so I only got THIS ONE PICTURE. When i find it -- I'll post the picture of Marilyn and her Mom, Irene -- two of my favorite people...

THIS is the ticket office, inside the Showplex building. We tried to improve the way we sell seminar tickets "at the show". For one thing, we had an "Expo Extra" sheet at the gate every morning -- listing some of the available classes. The women in the ticket office did an AMAZING JOB...

AND -- this is one of our busy vendor booths! A brand new exhibitor -- BONASH -- came and delivered wonderful demos. They had GREAT traffic in their booth and it was obvious that a lot of us were just hearing about the fabulous 007 bonding agent. Sooo much fun. And, it leaves the fabric soft and supple...PERFECT...I used it for one of my Ya Ya projects -- it worked perfectly.

IT WAS A GREAT SHOW. I'll be putting up a lot of pictures in the next coupla weeks. Be sure to check out both blogs...remember -- the 'bathroom pictures" all go over on my personal blog!! ( lol...

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Eileen's Burning Expo Questions...

It's Thursday morning. I got home late last night...and the FIRST THING I DID WAS go to this blog...Expo was FANTASTIC. The weather cooperated (for the most part) -- and I felt like Kevin Costner, in my favorite baseball moie, Field of Dreams...BUILD IT AND THEY WILL COME....I'll be posting lots of pictures and stories in the future. But, for this morning, I'm posting an email I got from Eileen Roche (Designs in Machine Embroidery Magazine...)

Eileen wrote,

Ok, Rita, I could handle the sideways photos – kinda fun leaning to the left at my desk! But alas, it didn’t last long. I know, I know, it’s way more fun to run around the fairgrounds in the golf cart! And buck the line at Fischer’s scones because you have some big cheese name tag on than to update the blog. And how come you can pay $200 a night to stay in a hotel (prime show price, I’m sure) but they can’t furnish their guests with a decent computer in the lobby?

Oh that’s right, if you were in the lobby, you couldn’t ANY work done because you KNOW everyone walking through the lobby!
We can't afford the Puyallup hotels -- so were down the road at a $89/night LaQuinta. The room was nice, the wireless connection was a joke...

Ok so here’s what I want to know:

What was the hottest booth?
The Bonash booth was JAM PACKED every time I got in that building. Apparently, there were a LOT OF PEOPLE who didn't know about their bonding powder. And, of course, Vogue fabrics was always busy.
What new sewing technique did you learn?
You're kidding, right? I DID NOT GET TO ATTEND A SINGLE CLASS. But the class I would have LOVED to take was Cindy Losekamp's "upside down" -- using heavy thread in your bobbin. It was one of the new two-needle classes and I heard rave reviews.
What new sewing/embroidery tool did you see?
I am DElighted to report that I actually did see A NEW SEWING TOOL..AND I GOT A VIDEO. It's a new ruler, that you use with your rotary cutter, and make automatic prairie points and large ric-rac...keep reading, babe..!
What hands-on class did attendees rave about?
The VERY FIRST class to sell out was Jan Bones lingerie class. We could have filled it five times! She was showing them how to make a knit nightie -- and when I went in there to take pictures, her students were having a great time.

What was your favorite style show?
This year, the style shows were all excellent. And you've gotta know I can't have a "favorite". BUT I can say there was one that was brand new and very different. On Sunday, the design students from BATES Technical School put together a kick-ass fashion show. Their handout was excellent, and they did it just like a New York City Fashion Week show...all music -- no commentary. Their garments were beautifully sewn -- and very edgy. You would have loved it! They ended it with an Elvis impersonater who actually SANG! yes, I have video...keep reading, folks...!
How was the food?
The food at this show is some of the most delicious, most reasonably priced in the show world. Fischer scones, fish & chips, bread bowls of soup...Hey -- WHAT'S NOT TO LIKE??

What booth was the most intriguing?
That's such a good question. I think the Janome booth did a great job with their new location -- and the Upcycle area was SO GOOD. We had a lot of young people coming in there and remaking trash into treasure. Really good stuff...shrugs and ponchos and hats and cut off jeans into totes. It was piled high with mountains of stuff to be recycled and even with all that chaos, everybody seemed to be very calm and serene.

How was the Ya Ya show?
AWESOME. (she said modestly). The Friday Night Live event sold out, and we both loved the projects we were making. Our focus was so much fun -- "Babies, boyfriends and best friends". Mary came to Iowa in December so we could plan the show, shop some thrift stores (always looking for cashmere, y'know), etc. Then, I sew in Iowa and Mary sews in Minnesota. We build the show in two separate locations, not coming together until we get to Puyallup. You've seen our run-throughs, Eileen -- well, this year -- we didn't have one. THAT'S KINDA SCARY...because it was hard to know if we had 90 minutes...would it be too short? too long? how can we know?? This weekend, I'm going to Wisconsin for Lillian's first birthday -- so she'll actually GET some of the baby things that were in the show.

Did the Stalkers show up?
THEY WERE THE BEST PART OF THE SHOW!! Chris and Judy are now in a position of having to "top" their own act every year. This year, I had reserved seats for them...but kept looking out at their empty chairs. They did not enter until the last minute -- and there they were -- dressed like the Blues Brothers. In trench coats,, cark glasses and hats!! OH MY GOD. SOOO FUNNY.

Did you take a picture with them?
OF COURSE i did. But I can't find pictures this morning...I'll post lots in the coming weeks.
Did you announce to the audience Mary’s big news? FOR SURE. They were all delighted for her. The next coupla days, she had women stopping by her booth looking for dating advice...

Did you make her flash her ring?
We had a great camera guy -- Joe -- and he tried to zone in on the ring.

What gifts did you give each other?
HEY -- our big GIFT story at the Ya Ya show was that we pre-determined who would get the "door prizes". And guess who got them? BLOGGERS!! That was really fun for me...I hand-picked who would receive our "prizes". Of course, the stalkers, and Jan and Bonne, and Marilyn and her Mom (friends of mine since my very first Expo), Laura Mendoza (who often writes on the blog to make fun of me), Cathy Swanson (a CTA who survived a bout with cancer this year)...OF COURSE, the quality of these prizes was suspect. Some "mystery CDs" from Designs Magazine -- remember the original Ya Ya Design Your Best Life CD? Well, somehow, I had a pile that was mis-labeled -- and may have been Rita Farro quick gifts instead...HEY -- QUIT WHINING --- IT'S FREE, PEOPLE!!
How many Hey Rita tote bags did you see?
My Hey RITA tote has a very busy life!! And now she has two sister-totes. Jan Potter and Bonne Swett -- and we took SEVERAL PICTURES. I'm also looking forward to posting THOSE pictures in the future...

Did you order pizza in your room and tip the kid $20?
of course. on our first night...

Geesh, I hope you get home soon.
Thanks for missing me...