AQS Quilt Showdown

AQS Quilt Show & Contest Show Stoppers

Please Let Me Explain Okay . . . Here’s the deal. Last night I dutifully uploaded my photos from the AQS Quilt Show as I promised. I did this, so that those of you unable to attend the show could have a glimpse at the beauty I beheld while I was there—but before you click on that link—I have a confession to make.

Please Don’t Judge You see, I have a problem. It is a personal problem that I have struggled with for years. I know it’s an issue, but I have chosen to ignore it—in hopes that it will go away. Up to now, this problem hasn’t effected my daily life in any significant way. There is a certain amount of shame associated with this condition, so I have become very adept at hiding it. When people look at me, they would never guess that I had this issue at all.

Please Hear Me Out If someone asks me directly about my problem, I usually tell them the truth. In most cases though, I’m just like the U.S. Military. I have a Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Policy. When I feel that the concern is legitimate—and not condemning—then I tell the truth about my condition—but NOT before.

Most people are shocked to hear my revelation, but after the shock wears off, they become my greatest allies and advocates. These caring individuals understand my issue and do not judge. Time and again they come to my aid, diverting unwanted attention and steering conversations away from the subject. Yes, my friends are very diligent and protective. The bond we share is hard for me to describe without tearing up.

There I go again . . . Does anyone have a tissue? My eyes are leaking . . .  I’m sorry, but I just can’t help it. This is a very emotional subject for me.

Please Keep This To Yourself Since you and I are so very very close, I feel comfortable telling you about this extremely personal issue. We have covered a lot of territory in the last couple of months, so I know my secret will be safe with you.

We are BFFs after all . . . so I HAVE to tell you this. I MUST do this or our relationship will be built on a foundation of sand—and you know what they say about that.

Oh, . . . this is so hard.

I spent hours last night rehearsing how I was going to tell you about this. I really thought this was going to be easier to do—BUT IT’S NOT! I feel so ashamed.

I feel like I’m falling and I’m not sure if anyone will be there to catch me. I hope you will . . . (please catch me).

Okay . . . Enough of this! I have to tell you what is wrong with me—for my sake—for OUR sake. A friendship like ours cannot continue without honesty, so I am going to be completely honest with you about my condition.

(Visual me taking a deep breath) Okay . . . my issue is . . .

Hey, is that a new blouse? That color looks great on you. It really brings out the color of your eyes.

I know. I know. Get back to the subject.

(Visual me taking another deep breath) Okay . . . my issue is . . .

Did you get a new haircut? No? Hmmm, I don’t know what it is, but you definitely look younger. Have you lost weight? Yes, that must be it. You look MAHVELOUS, darling!

Okay! . . . Okay! . . . I’m sorry! I’m gonna stop putting this off. My issue is . . . and this time, I’m really gonna tell you about it.

My issue is . . . I don’t take pictures! That’s right. You heard me correctly . . . I don’t take pictures. Can you believe it? I have gone through the majority of my life without documenting it. Oh, the shame! All the pictures I have of ME—and what I’ve done—were taken by someone else. Oh, the tragedy! I take my camera almost everywhere I go, but I rarely take it out of the case. Oh, the burden of it all! (Visualize me wailing and thrashing around on the ground)

Okay, I’m feeling a little shaky . . . please give me a minute. Yes, I’m okay. Thank you for the tissue. That’s very considerate.  You know, I actually do feel better. Thank you, and please watch your step. The floor is wet.

Whew . . . That’s a load off my chest . . . and man . . . do I feel better? Yes, I certainly do.

You know, they are right when they say that confession is good for the soul. I truly feel like a great weight has been lifted off my shoulders and I have you to thank for that. This amazing moment wouldn’t have happened without you. No wonder we are so close. At this moment, I feel like I can share anything with you (Insert BIG hug). Thanks for being there for me (Insert crocodile tear running gently down my cheek).

Please Be Patient Because you mean so much to me, I knew I couldn’t go to Paducah without taking pictures—even though it was against my nature. I had to do this for you, so we could have something to talk about when I got back.

With you in mind, I set out (With camera in hand—not in case) to take photographs of all the quilts I liked. Things were going pretty much according to plan until my camera died. I actually think it died of shock. After my camera’s untimely demise, I was left with only one option for continuing my photographic journey, and that was to use my cell phone.

Please Try To Understand I knew this was a less than adequate solution, but what choice did I have? I needed to make this work for BOTH of us. With cell phone in hand, I continued to take pictures. I shot quilt after quilt for you. I slavishly took photo after photo trying to capture the essence of the show—until the cell phone died. I did this all for you (Insert BIG hug). Try not to feel uncomfortable. I know I’m a little sweaty, but I’m a hugger. I can’t help myself.

Most of the photos I see from other quilt shows are overall shots. These are great and all, but I wanted to do a little something different for you—because you are special. Remember, we are BFFs. Along with the mandatory overall photos, I took some closeup so you can appreciate the details.

After reviewing all the quilts, I wish I had taken more photographs, but it’s the best that I could do. I promise to do better next time. I PROMISE! Quilter’s Honor.

Please Don’t Be Cruel So, without further ado, here are the photos from my Paducah adventure. I hope you have as much fun looking at the photos as I had taking them. If you have advice on a camera, I’m all ears—so help hook a brutha up!

Now, on with the show . . . 2011 AQS Quilt Show and Contest


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12 Responses to “AQS Quilt Showdown”

  1. Kathy Shaw Says:

    Oh Tom, all is well! We’re here for you…and you are not alone. I am so glad that you started this…so I can feel the freedom to also admit that I too am not a photographer! I used to haul my camera everywhere our quilt group went…and bring it back home…without the shutter ever being opened. Truly…it just usually rode along in my purse! I know…shocking!

    But, I do so much better now…and it’s because my camera started making strange grinding noises…like Oz’s tin man…squeaking. So, now…I have a new phone…which I selected for the camera in it. My “real” camera was a 3.5 mpg and my phone is a 5.1 mpg…and it takes wonderful and clear photos. Every photo on my blog for the last six months have been taken with my phone! So, if you get into the market for a new one (and are on Verizon) consider the Exilim phone as a camera substitute!

    • Tom Russell Says:

      HI Kathy, I appreciate knowing that I am not alone. Each event or gathering I go to, I dutifully take my camera, only to leave it in the bag. Until blogging I just didn’t feel the need to document my life—beyond quilt construction.

      Thank goodness I have so many photo inclined friends. If it weren’t for them, future generations of my family will think I died at 18, because that was when I left home and very few photos have been taken since then.

      I have learned a lot from this experience. My phone did okay, but I think I really need something better. Your phone does an amazing job, but I think I need something different. Thanks for the advice!

  2. Gari Says:

    Sooo funny!! No, I can not comprehend it, as I am “the girl with the camera”…..everywhere. Almost to an annoyance. But you so openly admitted it and…gees! Your phone takes wonderful pictures!!!

    Thanks for the humor, the blog, THE TRUTH…AND the photos!!!


    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Gari, It’s good to hear from you. I have friends like you. They never go anywhere without their camera. They document everything. That is why scrapbooking is such a big busiiness.

      If scrapbooking were dependent on people like me to exist, it would have gone the way of the dinosaur long ago. The closest I think I am ever going to get scrapbooking is this blog,

      I’m glad you’ve enjoyed my humor, my blog, my truth . . . and my photos. You have no idea how happy that makes me. Thanks!!!

  3. jayardi Says:

    • • • I know where you are coming from. I rarely take photos. Never even had a camera until I joined the message board so I could share my quilts. I do take it to shows, but forget to take it out. Then, when I do remember to take the time to snap a few, the batteries aren’t doing their job.

    Woe is me, I even took spare batteries and the charger to the retreat, but for some reason the “good” camera does not like the rechargeable batteries. I only got a few in before they died completely.

    Never fear, I’m sure anyone of us will catch you if you fall. If only I were closer, you’d have a safety net wherever you went. 😉

    Thank you for overcoming your personal issues and sharing your adventures with us.

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hey there! I know what you mean. When I realized that film cameras were going away I bought a digital one, but never used it. It was just something else to pack when I went on a trip. My friends know I don’t take pictures, so after each event, they send me photos. My friend Jim does this automatically. Jim is an art teacher,but he is a historian to the core. He is really a blessing to someone like me.

      I’m sorry you didn’t get pictures at the retreat, but I’m sure you have lots of message board friends that will help you out, like Jim helps me. The message board has lots of photo-friendly people on it. I’ve seen the evidence! Those ladies know how to document an event.

      I appreciate your offer to catch me when I fall. I knew I could count on you. I wish you lived closer too. We’d have a wonderful time together. You’d have to move in this direction. Where you live is WAY TOO COLD for my southern disposition. 🙂

  4. Linda Teddlie Minton Says:

    Tom, I laughed out loud at your very funny post … then gasped at the beauty of the quilts you photographed … with your PHONE! Congratulations on your own quilts in the show, and on taking fantastic photos under difficult circumstances. And THANKS for the eye candy!

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi there, I’m glad you enjoyed my post. Once I decided to share my truth, I feel completely different. I know people will start looking at me in a whole new light, but now they will see the real me and not the illusion I created.

      Taking the photos was a lot of fun—once I got started. Getting started is usually the hard part. For me it’s kinda like going to the gym. The hardest part of the workout is getting there. Once you start is not that big a deal, but getting started takes a lot of effort.

      Glad you enjoyed the photos. I’m considering this effort a trial run. I learned a lot about me and the camera, so I have high hopes for the next show I go to. Beyond taking the photos, I have really got to figure out Flickr.

      I just have to say. Flickr was a real PITA. If you know someone who deals with it all the time, let me know. I need help!

  5. Lynn Kelly Says:

    Your secret’s (WAS) safe with us until YOU spilled the beans. But never fear, we’ll keep it b/c we want you to take more pictures! You did a great job with your closeups….the detail….I’m speechless at the talent and creativity. Oh what we might aspire to in the future. Will have to set those goals mighty high now!!!

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Lynn, Glad to see you back here. I’ve missed your comments. Thanks for looking out for me. I am going to keep at this photo thing until it feels more natural.

      One of the greatest lessons—I still need to learn—is how NOT to photograph my fingertip. This unfortunate incident happened several times during my photographic journey. I MUST overcome this obstacle or figure out a way to incorporate it into the photographs better.

      Who knows, maybe my fingertip can become a signature element in my photographs.

      Yes, the talent and creativity shown is inspiring. If we take the time these quilter’s did, we can achieve what they have. I’m glad you enjoyed the show.

  6. Jim Gatling Says:

    I love the way you take pictures. The close-ups make ya feel like you are right there. I like seeing the detail that you notice. Thanks so much for the wonderful trip to Paducah!

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