Monday, May 11, 2015

Best. Weekend. Ever.

I am back from my 'hiatus' and BOY did I have an enjoyable time!

I signed up for some seminars that were completely awesome.  Not a bad one in the bunch... and the one I was not totally in love with when I registered turned out to be the best thing I heard all weekend.  How awesome is that.  More on that later...

My friend Suzi went up last year for one day only, and this year I talked her into the whole three day experience.  I had made a room reservation early last year and got right into one of the Beaver Dam hotels instead of having to drive to Columbus or all the way home each night.  Score!

Next, I registered early and got all the classes I wanted, including two evening lectures.

The weather was good.  That's a blessing.  One year it snowed on one of the days.  UGH!

The one thing that wasn't good was that Nancy had some knee surgery and she wasn't going to be able to do her classes.  But two of my 'heros' of sewing were recruited -- none other than the Midwest YaYa Sisters Rita Faro (Iowa) and Mary Mulari (Minnesota).  If you have never seen these ladies, either singly or in tandem, you have missed out on something special.

Mary ( does magic with stuff from sweatshirts and applique to tote bags and zippers and travel accessories.  When I was in a sewing guild, the first outside speaker we brought to town was Mary.  Down to earth, great ideas, a lovely person.

Rita ( is a force.  She specializes in all things zebra and her resource center is affectionately called "tee shirt mountain".  She once showed a way to hem jeans using tee shirt fabric that has done wonders to save my sanity.  Literally.  I check her blog regularly.  Life is better with a Rita fix to start the day.  Sometimes I comment on her blog and I always sign myself Sue from Milwaukee because that's where I work.

I enjoyed their Thursday daytime class.  Rita showed a ton of wraps (garments to wear to keep you warm and stylish) and linens for your bedroom, and Mary also did wraps and aprons and her travel accessories.

We had signed up for the Friday night event too.  They did a different set of things, there were live models, some of Rita's family had come to see "Grandma" work and she loved that. 
Mary and Rita in zebra from their promotional photo for YaYas.
The evening was so much fun.  Lots of laughter, modeling of wraps and tee shirt dresses, and aprons, lots of jokes and banter between Rita and Mary... a good time was had by all.

About to be made better.

Babylock's parent company, Tacony, now owns Nancy's Notions.  They took over the business several years ago and made some changes, some for the better, others -- well, the jury's still out on   some.  But this much I have to say:

THEY ARE VERY RESPONSIVE TO CUSTOMERS.  They care what customers think!  And they give great door prizes at their seminars.

Our ticket was our entry into the drawing.  The first prize was an Ott Light Floor Lamp.  Not a skimpy prize in anyone's book!  I did not win.  I turned to my friend and said "what are the chances one of us would win?"  Ha!  I won a peanut butter maker once about 35 years ago.  I'm still hopeful on the lottery.

So Rita has her granddaughter pull the next ticket.  She's six, and she can't read the name.  She hands it to Rita.  She says "Susan".  And pauses.  I'm sure trying to pronounce something like Ignatowski or Rachieniwicz or something because you know there are always about seventeen susans in any audience of women of a certain age.  Heck there were three just in my row!

Then she said "Slottke?  Hey, is this Sue from MILWAUKEE??" 

I sucked in a big breath.  OH. MY. GOD.

It's me!  I stood up and yelled "Hi Rita! It's ME!!"

I won a Babylock Sewing Machine!! 

It's called the Rachel.  It has 51 built in stitches and a drop in bobbin and a bunch of accessory feet and it's a freakin' BABYLOCK sewing machine!

Well, it could not have been more perfect, to win this at the YaYa Sisters, whom I have been following separately and together since who knows when and I love them both for their attitudes about life and family and women and everything. 

Mind boggling!  I could not stop smiling, even through the photos and the paperwork.  Oh, and if I had known I would not have worn horizontal stripes...

So if you know me you know I do not NEED another sewing machine.  I'm not one to collect them, but I have a few.  Let's say more than one and less than a dozen.  I brought it home and set the box on the kitchen table and called my oldest granddaughter over.  She's 13 and I've blogged about her sewing and crafting before.  She's pretty talented.  Mom and little sister came along too.

I asked her if she wanted a sewing machine.  hmmm... I don't know, she was a little hesitant.  I said "you don't have to use it today or even decide today if you don't want to."  She thought for a bit and we went on to other topics.  I emptied my big bag of newly acquired treasures.

We decided to open the box on the table.  We pulled out the machine and took off all the plastic.  I pulled out the accessories box and laid out the feet.  We perused the instruction guides.  We went back into the living room and left her with the machine. 

I could see her face.  She was intense.  And starting to smile.  I said "you know I was 22 years old before I had my first NEW sewing machine.  Before that they were all used."  She said "this is new?"  I said "yes, and Mr. Jeffery, the Babylock president, told me when I thanked him for the prize, it's the one they put into schools for students to use.  It's a very good machine."

She scooted out the front door.  A few minutes later she was back with her phone.  She took some pictures.

I knew I had her when she posted it to Instagram!

Instantly about 15 of her closest friends liked it.

Today we're going to dig in my stash for some project materials and make her up a sewing kit.

Babylock rocks!


  1. WHAT A GREAT TIME!! I love your report, Sue, and I have forwarded it to Nancy Zieman. She will be delighted to hear that the Ya Ya Sisters were not a disappointment. I am thrilled that you won the Babylock Rachel -- and looking forward to following THAT sewing story on your blog!!

  2. Congrats on turning your prize into an even better prize.


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