Monday, September 20, 2010

The GOOD, The BAD, The UGLY, The BEAUTIUL and The FUNNY from Spring Quilt Market, Minneapolis 2010

I'll start with the GOOD

Somehow when you are doing what you are supposed to be doing in life everything just happens around you that supports life, healing and kindness.

Cheryl and Gary Phillips had just gotten off a plane after making a last minute decision to "just come to Quilt Market."  Cheryl is a designer and has had a booth at shows in the past. 
Gary Phillips, Wonderful Husband and Partner to Cheryl (definitely what I consider to be a GOOD Man!!)

More GOOD folks.  Can you imagine this type of treatment?  This is what we experienced everywhere we went in Minneapolis.  Why?  Well, as usual....there is a story.....
The UGLY-  See this bench/table?  The only reason you are now seeing this is because I took a photo of it.  This was in the hallway at the Minneapolis Convention Center.  Look how close that table is to the corner.  If you were walking around the corner the edge of this table is out of your peripheral vision.   Just after the first Schoolhouse class Rosemary took a nasty fall as she rounded the corner.  I had heard there were at least two others that had fallen over similar tables as well.  (I took this photo and yes....I moved it way back out of the way so no one else would fall over this one.....perhaps misplaced tables but not this one). 

The BEAUTIFUL Mrs Rosemary returning from the ER and her new mode of transportation.  I was told there were no wheelchairs available as they were all spoken for.....Hmmmmm....did they just tell IHAN that one of her employees had fallen over their furniture and they had nothing to ensure their guests comfort?  Big/Huge/Enormous mistake.  They very soon saw the error of their ways and somehow found an available chair for the BEAUTIFUL Mrs. Rosemary for the rest of the weekend.  It might be because I had complimented the gentleman manager on his physique and eluded to the fact that he may find himself carrying Mrs. Rosemary for the entire weekend if he could not grow/build/find a wheelchair in the next 20 minutes.  Yes I was feeling very feisty.   Sad to say this is all true.

Yes, more UGLY.  This was the BEAUTIFUL Mrs. Rosemary's knee after returning from the ER.   We were incredibly thankful that her knee was not broken.  But she was in quite a bit of pain and had to use a wheelchair for the remainder of her first Quilt Market Experience.

 The FUNNY- This is a photo of the BEAUTIFUL Mrs. Rosemary as she had gotten dressed for bed.  I had no idea she was such a wild woman.....check out her jammies!!!!  But she was so tired and out of it from the day that she had re-attached her name tag to her jammies and got into bed.  I laughed so hard I almost fell out of my bed when I looked over and saw her with a name tag on her pajamas.   I just had to take a picture. 

I will end this post here.  Chapter 2 will be about the wonderful people you meet when you are in the flow of life.


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Follow Up on IHAN Product Review for Sizzix/Westminster Big Shot, Big Shot Pro and Big Shot Express

Since my  last post I've received several e-mails asking lots of questions.  Instead of answering each person I'm going to write a post and do my best to answer everyone's questions.  I'm sure there will be more over time, feel free to either leave a comment or e-mail IHAN. (

1.  Which do I like better, my GO! Fabric Cutter by AccuQuilt or my Big Shot by Sizzix/Westminster?
I like them both and I don't think one is better than the other, just different.  I tried to point out the differences I noticed in my previous post : size, weight, storage, effectiveness, tips etc. 

2.  Why did you buy the Big Shot if you already have a GO! Fabric Cutter?
Because that is what I do....I test sewing, quilting and needle art notions and supplies and report my experience here on the IHAN blog.  I probably own 20 plus pair of scissors....many different they all cut?  Yes.  Why do I have so many pair.....because many are different and are good for specific projects, I like to have them at my sewing area and in project bags....and because I love scissors.  Yes, Brint - The Scissor Man- still loves me even though I own scissors made by others. 
I might consider bringing my Big Shot to a stitch-in because it is smaller.  By the time I've taken my machine and all my other necessary supplies I'm not likely to bring the GO! Fabric Cutter.  Just my way of doing things.  Everybody has their way of doing things and that needs to be taken into account here. 

4. Are Sizzix/Westminster and AccuQuilt coming out with more dies?
I was told that there will be 16 new Sizzix Dies in October (probably won't be available until Jan. my experience).   My best guess is they will be shown in Houston for Quilt Market and they will take orders for shipping in the new year.  After all, that is what Market is intended for, shop owners to purchase for the next season.  I just happen to be impatient and when I see it, I want it and I want it right then and there....LOL.

I know AccuQuilt is coming out with some great new dies soon as well.  Click here to see the latest (and there is one that is not listed here too....oh the suspense is building!!) I'm very excited and can't wait to get the Dresden Plate and the 3.5" Drunkards Path

3.  Are the dies from both companies interchangeable?
The GO! Dies are slimmer than the Sizzix Dies so by themselves they will not go through my Big Shot Machine.  However, you can see below,  I made a shim and then put the GO! Hearts Die through the Big Shot and it worked just fine. Let me explain a bit further: the Sizzix acrylic cutting mat was on the bottom of the sandwich, then my personally made shim (3 pieces of slim hard cardboard taped together) the GO! Hearts Die and on top I used the GO! Cutting Mat.  I found with the shim I had made I could not get the Sizzix acrylic mat to fit through the machine.   
( I could have taken more or better photos-but I just didn't and it is late and night when I do my posts typically and I'm just too ready to go to bed to be re-taking all the pix so they look "professional.")
Then I tried a Sizzix Die with the GO! Fabric Cutting Machine.  It did go through the machine but look at the cutting mat bowing up in the air.  It was a very tight fit and the cutting mat curled up because of the pressure.  I was very cautious because I obviously did not want to break my GO! Fabric Cutter!!!  I have to say I would not likely do this again because there is not really enough clearance to continue doing this without serious risk of breaking my GO! Fabric Cutter.  


That was my experience.  I have been told by Sizzix that the Big Shot, Big Shot Pro and the Big Shot Express will all take the GO! Dies (keep in mind the width of some of the GO! Dies clearly would not fit into the Big Shot or Big Shot Express...they are just too wide....the narrower ones work just fine.  The wider GO! Dies will fit into the Big Shot Pro because of it's wider bed).  I have not tried them all myself, just the GO! Hearts Die with the Big Shot and then the Sizzix Bigz Sunflower and Poinsettia Petals Die in the GO! Fabric Cutter).  I have been told by Sizzix that their machines work with the GO! and Studio Dies but that their Dies do not work in the GO! Fabric Cutter.  I don't own a Studio Fabric Cutter nor any of those Dies so I can not personally say I've done it or have seen it done. 

The Sizzix website says that the Big Shot, Big Shot Pro and Big Shot Express works with every Sizzix Die ever made.  So I'm concluding that really opens up the applique shapes quite a bit and would include the Sizzix Alphabet Dies as well. 

There are also differences in how each machine is made and the materials used(metal, plastic, rubber etc.) in making each of the machines.  I don't plan on going into all those details.  If you are interested in that information I would suggest you contact each company and inquire.

The GO! Dies come with a free pattern printed on the packaging and there were no patterns on the Sizzix Dies Packaging that I purchased.  Both companies Dies did have instructions for use and tips for use printed on their packaging which I found very helpful.  They also print their warranty information in the product manuals.

Warranty Comparison:
According to the AccuQuilt website the Studio Fabric Cutting Machine comes with a Lifetime warranty
The GO! Fabric Cutter Machine have a One Year Limited Warranty .   The warranty says if you experience a manufacturing defect within one year of purchase, AccuQuilt will repair or replace the cutter at no charge.  It also says to return the cutter to the place you purchased it.

As a consumer, you would have to return your GO! Fabric Cutter  or GO! Dies to the place where you purchased they are defective. If you purchased your GO! Fabric Cutting Machine from an on-line store like IHAN, their warranty says you would have to return it to that store and thus you would have to pay the shipping to return it.  I see this as an obvious drawback because if there is a manufactures defect and you have already paid once to have it shipped to you, I would not want to pay again to get a replacement.  On my part, I don't want to have to pay shipping back to a distributor and be charged again to have a replacement sent to me and then I would have to send it to my customer.   
I did have a situation where a customer paid to send their defective GO! Die back to me for replacement.  I compensated the customer for their shipping expenses.  I contacted AccuQuilt and they were very accommodating in getting my customer's defective die replaced without further expenses being incurred by myself or my customer which I greatly appreciated.  
According to the Sizzix website the Big Shot Express has a One Year Limited Warranty  and the Big Shot has a 3 year Limited Warranty.  The Big Shot Pro has a 5 Year Limited Warranty.  The photo below is of the manual that was enclosed when I purchased the Big Shot.

The Sizzix Warranty indicates that you contact the Sizzix Customer Relations and they will pay for the return and replacement of your product.  That is only the case if they determine there was a manufactures defect.  If Sizzix finds that you have misused the machine or used it commercially the customer will be responsible for the return postage. 

As a consumer and as a business owner, I must say I prefer the Sizzix Warranty.  I own the Big Shot and the warranty is 3 yrs vs the 1 year I have on my GO! Fabric Cutting Machine

Note: The warranties take effect from the date of purchase so save your receipt!!  I typically keep my boxes too just in case I need to send something back to a company so I can safely package it for shipping. 
That is what I know today.  When I learn more, I'll let you know.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

My Morning - Enjoying a bit of YouTube - AGT Style :)

(Title of post edited 9/18/10 -I changed it because I did not get back to posting my review and I did not want people to be misled by the title.)

Good morning blog world.  I've had a wonderful morning so far.  Even though I should have gone back to bed to sleep two more hours (to get a total of 7) I mistakenly clicked on something that took me to the America's Got Talent Finale videos.  Oh my word.....needless to say I've spent over an hour thoroughly enjoying myself.  Michael Grimm and Prince Poppycock have my hearts.  I adore their passion and courage.  I can not forget to include the frat guys in Defying Gravity either- completely entertaining and innovative....a real pleasure to watch indeed. 

I must say singing is something I do only when alone or in a group of folks who are certifiably deaf and this is not a joke- just ask Rick!!!  After listening to Michael Grimm sing Janis Joplin's Bobby McGee....tears came down my face.  I didn't think anyone on earth could do Janis that well....and he most certainly did.  Remember when Natalie Cole sang with a video of Nat King Cole in the background....that is what I thought when I saw Michael Grimm singing Me And Bobby McGee.  He needs to be singing and a video of Janis Joplin singing.....oh I can dream.

If I could wish one thing for both Michael Grimm and Prince Poppycock....I would wish that they maintain their personal centers and not allow money and fame to take their passion....or any piece of them.  The money and fame is really more like rain on the windshield .....brush it aside....use it to get the things you need and your family may need.....but simply put it aside....and continue to allow their authenticity to move and guide them.

If you have no idea who I am even referring to.....then just google the names and it will all be revealed.  For this post, I'm not putting in links, photos, etc. 

How I got on this topic in the first place.....I was sidetracked when going to my e-mail.....LOL....when I opened my e-mail this morning I had several e-mails wanting more information about the Sizzix/Westminster Quilting By Design Big Shot, Big Shot Pro and Big Shot Express.  Instead of answering all of those e-mails, I'm going to write a post to answer all those questions.  But first, if you don't mind....I think I would like a cup of coffee :)

and re-play Michael Grimm singing Bobby McGee :)  Oh yeah baby!!

Joyful Smiles,

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sizzix & Westminster Partner for a New Fabric Cutting System - IHAN Product Review

 The new Quilting By Design Fabric Cutting System also embosses, cuts tin, foam, paper, card stock, and of course fabric.  You may remember my previous post (click here).   These photos belong to IHAN and were taken at Spring Quilt Market in Minneapolis, Checker Distributors in Maumee, OH, and here at IHAN World Headquarters :)  
My first opportunity to get my hands on the New Quilting by Design came in Minneapolis at Spring Quilt Market.  I had heard it cut so many different mediums I was very interested to see for myself how it worked.  You probably want to know there is more than one option for Cutting Machines.  There is the Big Shot and Big Shot Pro.  Both of those are hand cranked.  For those of you can not or do not want to use the hand crank there is the Big Shot Express that simply plugs into your electrical outlet.  (The word on the street is there is another new one on the horizon.....The Sizzix Vagabond Machine - inspired by Tim Holtz) Click here for the You Tube Video- I've seen it and it is definitely worth looking at.  For those of you who are interested in cutting fabric you will want to know the Cutting Dies work in both machines.
Cheryl Adam is the designer of the quilt behind her.  You will see her pictured below because she also attended the Checker Distributor 62 Anniversary Open House.
Meet the Big Shot Pro!!! 
The Big Shot Pro has a cutting bed and comes with two acrylic cutting pads.  It also comes with an adapter pad that is used for embossing....see below.
Depending on how you fold your fabric you can also make the above designs without using a special die.  It is all in how you fold your fabric :)
Here Sizzix had cut some rubber foam to make a rubber stamp.  I like the variety of things these machines can be used for because I'm also a scrapbooker. (Yes, I have an obsession with paper....I've had it since I was a young child...shhhh our secret!)
This was Mrs. IHAN (very tired) in Minneapolis using the Big Shot to see how it worked.  I also used the Big Shot Pro but I decided I have so many photos here that you don't need to see all of them.  If you want to....just ask :)

Now these are the photos I took at Checker Distributor after returning from Spring Quilt Market.  One thing I noticed when I used the Sizzix Bigz 2in Hexagon was that there seemed to be threads that did not cut through.  I called it the "dangling chad."  I was curious why this was happening.  I have since learned that this can happen with all die cutting systems and if it should occur, put a piece of paper on top of the fabric and that will eliminate the issue.
You will probably recall me posting this before.  I figured if I got threads hanging from the Sizzix Bigz 2in Hexagon  I would most definitely get the same result with the more intricate Sizzix Bigz Flower with Leaves and Stem die. was a clean cut. 
Now fast forward to the recent Checker Distributor 62 Anniversary Open House (that is a long phrase and I'm about to just refer to it as "the CH-OH")*

Dennis Horcher from Sizzix and designer Cheryl Adam gave demonstrations of the Big Shot and the Big Shot Pro.
Here is the Sizzix Bigz Pro 25 - 3-1/2in Strips die.  Cheryl gave me a great tip, she suggested that when the acrylic mat is removed to slide it off as pictured below.  This cuts down on static cling. 
During the CD -OH* I purchased the Big Shot and brought it back to IHAN Headquarters to give it a whirl.
The Big Shot comes with The Big Shot Machine, 1 Pair Standard Cutting Pads and the Instruction Booklet.

Some assembly required.  I actually read the directions, aren't you proud of me?  The handle has to be attached and I found that to be quite easy.  The instructions are clear easy for me to understand.  The Big Shot Machine itself weights apx. 7lbs 9oz and it stands on 6 small rubber feet.  It is very sturdy and does not move when I put the dies through the machine.  The instruction booklet does have Tips for using Fabric and it says to use paper on top of the fabric as well as other tips.
My first die, Sizzix Bigz Sunflower and Poinsettia Petals, because I am in love with Sunflowers. 
I sandwiched one mat, the die, fabric and the other mat together and put it on the bed of the Big Shot Machine.  I laid it down and with one hand held it in place while I used the handle to move the die sandwich through the Big Shot Machine.
No I did not iron my fabric, I could have but for the demo I did not bother.  This is what I got the first time.
I now know the remedy to this so I took another scrap of fabric and put some of my used paper (I only use recycled/used/junk mail etc for the paper).

The results.....perfect Poinsettia and Daisy petals :)  No "dangling chads."  The only problem is I used green....had I been actually thinking I would have used yellows and golds.  Next time :)  I was a Gal on a Mission.
Both cutting Machines worked as advertised and I liked them both very much.  The Big Shot Pro weighs 44 lbs (per their website)  and the Big Shot weighs 7 lbs 9 oz in on my scale, their website says 7lbs 5 oz.  Both machines have open flat beds and do not fold up for storage.   The Big Shot Express weighs 9lbs 6 oz (as per Sizzix website).  The machines are heavy. I chose the Big Shot because of it's size and I keep it on the floor under my cutting table when not in use.

The machine's I used did not move when I was cranking the handle to get the die through the machine.  The weight and the rubber feet seemed to keep them in place.  I was able to cut (using the Sizzix Bigz Sunflower and Poinsettia Petals) up to 10 layers of cotton fabrics and still get precise cuts.  It also cut 4 layers of denim without a problem.  Once the fabric becomes too high the "die sandwich" will not go through the Big Shot any longer.  So there is a limit on the layers of fabric it will cut.  I cut one layer of woof felt and up to 4 layers of card stock.  I liked the price of the Cutting Machines.  The prices of the dies vary from 19.99 all the way up to 89.99.
I really like the repeating dies that cut one shape in the same size several times.

If using your hands has become difficult you can get the Big Shot Express that simply plugs into the wall.
Although I have not done any embossing in my scrapbooking or fiber life both of these machines have embossing plates.  I like that I can cut paper, cardstock as well as a variety of fabrics.  The machines are compatible with most everything Sizzix makes, I don't own any of those other items so I can't give them a review at this time.

I"m sure I will learn more as time goes by and I use my Big Shot more.  None of the items I reviewed were given to me, I purchased everything and was not asked by anyone to do this review. 


Monday, September 13, 2010

Jaybrid Quilts Giveaway, You don't want to miss this one :)

Julie Herman, Jaybird Quilts blog, is hosting a giveaway, one you won't want to miss.  I'll give you a has something to do with the quilt featured below :) 


The Velocity V50 by Reliable Review - It made Oprah's O-List

Yes it is true, the Velocity V50 made Oprah Winfrey's O-List!!  Congratulations Reliable!! 
It is also true that IHAN knew it Totally Rocked Big Socks back in May  before it made Oprah's O-List.  So perhaps Ms. Winfrey's staff need to contact IHAN for the skinny on all the best stuff going ay?  :)

This is me (me hand :), and my red bag in the background, getting personal with the Velocity V50.  Mr. McSteamy has the Velocity V100 (posted about here) and I use it when I iron the co-workers clothes for school.  I will challenge anyone's iron against the V100 every day of the week and I know it will beat every iron out there for continuous steam and it will not leak or leave wet spots on your clothes.  I do not own the Velocity V50 but I used it at Spring Quilt Market and I was just as impressed with it as I am the Velocity V100

Art Grabedian and Kimberly Szucs tolerated Mrs. IHAN while she inspected their wears.  Art already knows when he sees me to back away from the merchandise because I don't want them showing me how it works.  I want to be the operator so I know for sure that it works and how it works. 

I needed something to iron and Art would not take off his shirt so I started to take mine off to iron it (Linen wrinkles very easily) and I saw people starting to run so I quickly changed the game plan and just ironed the bottom of my Linen shirt.  Here is the before..... 

And here is the after.....see what I mean....not one wrinkle.  The Velocity V50 had continuous steam the entire time.  The other thing I really liked about the V50 is you can bypass the auto shut-off.  That is really nice if you are working on projects and you don't want to be annoyed by your iron turning itself off.  There were no water marks or drips....just like the V100.
The only other wrinkled item I could remove (yes I have other wrinkles but they don't come off that easily) was my camera strap.  It had gotten wrinkled and bunched up in places.  So off it came (no one ran this time :)
See how nice it looks now?  It was perfect again.  As everyone already knows, I don't work for Reliable Corporation and I don't own stock in their company either (that I know of) but when I find something I think is a great investment, I like to tell all my friends.

As with every product, there are things the V50 just does not do well.....after almost 45 minutes I discovered what the Velocity V50 really stinks at doing and I've gone to the trouble of posting my photos as proof.
The Velocity V50 really stinks as a belt.  I thought the cord did nothing for my waist line and the fob hanging from the cord was just not runway material.  Sorry Reliable!!!
It was also really ugly as a toe ring embellishment.  Somehow it really failed my expectations.  Again, a drawback, but not the end of the world.

Lastly, it makes a really ugly necklace.  The iron itself is way to heavy to dangle down even if you are into a huge amount of bling.  I have to give it a negative rating in the necklace and scarf categories.  Although I was thinking about plugging it back in and seeing if it would remove my crows feet.....but I was afraid to be disappointed.

Art and Kimberly also brought the new EnviroMate Pronto P7 with them to Market.  I wanted it so badly I was willing to shoot Art to get it.
Good thing he brought Kimberly with him as backup.....I almost had that baby in my bag and I would have been gone lickity split.  I think Kimberly is an ex-marine....but I'm not 100% on that.

The EnviroMate Pronto P7 shot steam for 15 minutes kidding.  And it was not a puff of steam either.  I tried several times to take a good photo of the steam but I don't know how to do that and have the steam show up in the photo.  I guess I need to take a video camera with me to Houston for Fall Quilt Market.  That steam was literally coming out in front of the tip for quite a distance.  The EnviroMate Pronto P7 is only available for pre-order at this time.  But I have it on good authority it will be available soon!!!

I have purchased a steam cleaner last year only to return it to the store because it sputtered and spurted and did not really steam.  I have been interested in Steam Cleaners because they clean and sanitize without using chemicals.  With two young co-workers around that is very important to me.  Guess what else it will do?  Kill bed bugs.  I know that is a gross subject to bring up, but I have read recently that bed bugs are not just in beds....they have found them in malls, clothing stores, and other public places.  So when I travel, you know what I'll be bringing with me!!! 

All I have to say is....."I'll Be Back."



Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Winners Announcement

Giveaways are so much fun.  The Checker Distributor 62 Anniversary Open House was lots of fun to go to and it was much better being able to share it with all of you.  I hope you have learned something new and enjoyed the posts.  And the winners are:

Rule-Breaking Quilts by Kathryn Schmidt

Take 5 by Kathy Brown
Becky from Georgia
Fabric's for Hobo Quilts
Pinwheel Squares Quilt Pattern by Carolyn Griffin
 Floating Stars Quilt Pattern by Carolyn Griffin
Kay Lynne

 Braids on Parade Quilt Pattern by Carolyn Griffin
Joyful Quilter

Amy Barickman's Vintage Notions Tote Bag
Quilts and Cats

Patty in Iowa

Congratulations to all of the winners.  Please e-mail with your address so I can send you your prize.

If you are not a follower of the IHAN blog, I'd like to invite you to become a follower.   There are many more giveaways to come....and I'm not even finished with the Spring Quilt Market and I still have lots of prizes to be given away before I leave for Fall Quilt Market in Houston.


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