We flew to Las Vegas and spent three nights at the Aria Hotel on the strip.
It is a truely massive hotel and involved a mile long treck from the car park to our hotel room, via the casino - of course!
Although Las Vegas was not really our cup of tea, we did enjoy visiting the sights - the canal and gondolas at The Venetian
The Belagio and its fountains - although these were great, we have been spoilt by our visits to Dubai and the amazing fountains there which are much larger.
and of course the Strip itself
So onwards to our reason for visiting the States - St George in Utah. Its around a three hour journey from Las Vegas to St George through the desert. These are a few shots from the car en route.
As you now know, we have purchased an Innova Longarm Quilting machine and St George is the home to Lets Quilt which is owned by Teryl and John and they have an amazing classroom with nine of these machines where they teach their buyers and others how to use their machines and many tricks of the trade too.
We booked in for five days of intensive training.
Teryl's unit also houses lots of goodies including extra wide fabric for backings, pantographs, rulers, dvds, books etc etc
The walls are also covered in beautiful award winning quilts by Teryl, Marilyn Badger and Cory Allender
So we spent the next five days here learning all aspect of the machine from paper pantographs, machine maintainence, free hand quilting, feathers, and auto pilot.
On day one we learnt how to do pantographs - which is basically using a lazer pointer at the rear of the machine to follow a pattern. Sounds easy - but it does take practice!
Day two was spent learning about machine maintenance and then learning how to use the lazer pointer at the front of the machine to follow templates - again the theory was fine, but we both found this alot harder and we sure do need more practice at this!
Day three was all about free hand quilting and practicing various fillers, using different threads and adjusting tension accordingly.
Day four was with spent with award winning quilter, Cory Allender and leaning some feathers.
This is the reverse as the thread shows up better
Day five, we learnt about auto pilot - the computer driven system which we shall be having fixed to our machine.
On Saturday, Teryl had invited her local Longarm people to come along and help with some philanthropy quilts with a Panto Race and we were invited along too.
We had a great time in St George and we were made so very welcome by Teryl, John and their staff and we shall be keeping in touch with some of the other students too.
Joyce, John, Teryl, Teresa, Fiona & Tim
Superior Threads are also based in St George - so it really would have been rude not to have called in.
Here are some beautiful Kimonos which were display in the reception area.
Here are a few pics of St George and Snow Canyon
On Sunday we went to buy Tim a Stetson at the local country store and we were amazed to discover guns openly on sale. Most Utah residents over 21 carry a gun!
From there we visited Zion Canyon
The next day, we called in at Lets Quilt to say our goodbyes before heading out of town for our long drive to California. Utah is a beautiful area and we would love to return to explore it some more.
En route we stopped off at Calico - now a ghost town
and then after around 400 miles we arrived in Newport Beach, California where we spent the next week.
and here is our apartment
We had a lovely restful week with a couple of trips out to LA and Hollywood and then dolphin watching at Dana Point.
Santa Monica Beach
Santa Monica Pier and the official end of Route 66
Beveley Hilton - the home of Golden Globe Awards and where Whitney Houston died.
Four Seasons Hotel - made famous by Pretty Woman
So now its back to the cold in the UK.
Matt from Innova in Houston is due to fly out to us this Saturday and will be staying with us whilst he installs the bells and whistles on our quilting machine. So we should soon be up and running and we will be announcing our new longarm quilting services early in the New Year.
Oh and here is the shopping which we managed to squeeze in to our luggage - wish the allowence was bigger, I really could have bought so much more - lol!!