Monday, February 28, 2011

end of February, 2011

Dear Friends,
Here I am home from the market and finally getting back to some sort of normal. We had such a great time in Nashville that I can hardly believe it is all over and we are back in Ogden again. There were many times in the frantic rush to get ready for the market, that I had to stop and really wonder if it was all worth it. Teri and I were stressed, and we seemed to pass that frenzy and fatigue onto all the girls at the shop who were also desperately doing their best to help us finish up and get rid of us for a few days. In my nighttime wakefulness and worry, I thought how much easier it would be to simply post our fun new designs on the website, click a button and call it good. I hate to fly and seem to dread it even more the nearer it comes. But then I sat in the window of the plane on Thursday evening and watched the lights of Nashville growing closer as we descended towards them, and I found myself surprisingly eager and excited, as though I were a child getting ready to land in Anaheim. We got our rental car, had a lengthy fight with Ms. Garmin, who insisted on speaking to us exclusively in German thanks to a whim of Christian's from last summer's road trip, and slowly made our way to Cool Springs snatching a much needed dinner and cache of Diet Coke on our way. By the time we finally made it to the hotel, cranky and tired from our long day of airborn metal captivity and dragging our 4 large suitcases wearily behind us, I just wanted to be back home. We rounded the corner and headed for the elevators, when I heard our names called out. Looking up, I saw a line-up of friends on the 6th floor balcony waving and shouting--and I almost cried. But a part of me laughed inside and thought--silly--you are home. And thus began a few short days of visiting and laughing and enjoying each other. Of course our floor of the hotel was filled with friends whom we love and see so rarely. We went to breakfast on Friday morning and sat at the bakery and talked forever until someone finally said that we really had to go and set up our room for the market. And even then, it was hard to just stay put and get it all done instead of looking outside the door for each new arrival and then starting the hugging and visiting all over again. In the end, we spent the long weekend seeing the many darling shop owners who leave their own shops and come to the market, and we had a chance to catch up with the other designers who set up their own booth-like rooms with their lovely treasures. We were slammed busy the first day and sold out of everything that we brought with us to show. But in the midst of our own craziness, Teri just kept hankering to get out there and start her own gathering frenzy for the shop. And what a blast she had! She and Ann from R & R spent both days sneaking out and flying around the hotel buying fabulous things for us to bring back home. (I have to admit that there were a few times when I was a bit worried.) But each time they would sail past dropping off more bags and chattering about their wonderful finds, the more I would catch their excitement. And at the end of a day of visiting with shops from all over the country and some overseas, we would head off to dinner where we would talk for hours, and then come back to the hotel and travel from room to room visiting and laughing until the not-so-wee hours of the morning. I know that I needed my sleep, but how can you waste much time doing that when the weekend goes by so quickly. This week I am making up for it in a zombie-like manner, and Teri has spent every evening calling Sydney and Pat and Ann to chat and compare notes on the market. Now that it is all over--the flight and the frenzy, the stress and the sweetness--the one thing that I have decided is that the best computer in the world could never begin to substitute for the laughter and joy and excitement of this brief time at market. So come with me for a minute or two and let me share with you some of the delights of the weekend.

On Tuesday, we all worked like crazy unpacking our suitcases and getting everything out and ready for our own Nashville afternoon. We had punch and cupcakes and the most darling friends and customers dropped by to catch the excitement. I had as much fun as anyone else looking over the tables which were brimming with fabulous new things that Teri had gathered up. I wish you could have all been here all week to share some of them with us. Oh well...I will try to tell you about some of them anyway. We had our own darling new things if I do say so myself. You can see the pictures of them on our website by going into the New from Shepherd's Bush link. Teri's new books--Irish Heart and Love is--are sweet and perfect for early spring stitching. Both have great button packs to go with. Pink Snowman is a new addition to our coloured snowman series, and I think it is quite cute. Stitched on Red Pear linen which Weeks dyed especially for us, she is just happy not to have melted yet. Teri's Tiny Garden Fob is going to be the first of a new series of implements. It is just as cheerful as Teri is, and quick and easy to finish up. PLus we have 2 new kits for the boxes: Hold Hope--the perfect spring scene--and Keep Love--a sweet heart great for any loved one. And finally, my favorite kit is Little Eggs Pin Cushion--a dear little piece finished with hand-dyed silk ribbon. Good luck choosing what to do first.
Pat and Ann from R & R had the most wonderful new chenille trim which they have dyed in scrumptious colours perfect for the Blackbird pin cushions. You just have to see it and you will want to get started on the perfect project. We have sold tons of it already and are looking forward to using it ourselves. Speaking of Blackbird--Barb and Alma had a wonderful booth brimming with fun new designs. I just love their Rewards of Merit and since Teri let me price all of their things before we came home, I had lots of time to just sit and look through them. Each little project is sweeter than the last and I would like to do them all. I have the materials pulled together to stitch Dear Friend while I watch the Oscars--if I finish my own homework first. I will let you know how it is coming. And if you haven't seen their big book--A Stitcher's Journey--you must! It is beautiful and filled with lovely photographs and projects that will make you yearn to do them all.
Our friend Jeanette, from Jeanette Douglas Designs, was in the room right next to ours so I had a few brief chances to dash in and see her lovely new things. Her Quaker Stitches is just beautiful and I am sure you will love stitching it up. Good luck deciding whether to work in in just one color or several. It is quite wonderful both ways. Her long Royalty ABC Sampler is also exquisite with its soft colours and pretty old stitches. There were so many fun new books, that I can never tell you all of them. Rosewood Manor had 2 new ones that our customers fell in love with. Past and Present is a great sampler filled with different stitches that I think would be a blast to stitch. And Emily Munroe Quilt is lovely and sort of Amish in nature--perfect for a new, big project. Then on a different note, Little House's Fresh From the Garden is simply adorable. The sampler itself is quite wonderful worked with great garden colours of Crescent Colours floss. And then, if you are lucky, you will also pick up her Exculsive Set which goes along with the sampler and includes the quilted needle book and tomato which are all finished and ready to go. Honestly, it is darling. Oh...and we also have Heirloom Sewing Tomatoes which are also already made in soft Blackbird fabrics. You will love them for sure. Then you have to try out Plum Street's newest offerings. Her brand new The Flood is fantastic. It is a rendition of Noah's Ark and it is just very fun. In our shop, we just love her Hare series. Her two newest ones--Hares Autumn and Hares Winter are very sweet. There is just something about them that makes me happy. I guess it just reminds me of those days of doing everything with 2 little boys in tow. Super sweet! And I forgot to mention the Ann Grant Sampler from Shakespeare's Peddler. We have had a few customers waiting for this to come in and everyone has been very happy about it. Teri has had fun this week laying out threads and helping everyone choose just the perfect linen for this project. Sorry, but you just need to come in and see everything.
We are also very happy to carrying something new for our shop. Namaste Boxes seem to be popular all over the country since our friends who own shops couldn't wait to go on and pick up their orders. They are beautiful little leather boxes lined with matching suede and magnetized to keep all our sewing implements safely in place. I can't wait to choose one for my stitching table so that everything will be right where I need them. My problem will be to choose the colour I want. They come in such heavenly hues--pinks, lime greens, eggplant, and red to name a few. You just have to come in and take a peek.

Oh...I could just go on forever. But, I promise to write again next week with new ideas for you. I think that Teri is going to post a picture or two of our Nashville displays, but if you want help--just call us, and Teri will give you a personal, over-the-phone tour. We are in a snow globe here, so I hope your weather is just a bit more spring-like. Nashville spoiled me since I got to pull out my shorts and flip-flops. Anyway, have a wonderful, and safe week.

fondly, Tina

ps: Our hearts and prayers go out to all of our friends in Australia and New Zealand as they try to deal with their own nature catastrophes. I just want you all to know that we are devastated for you and are sending our very best thoughts and wishes for your health and safety as you try to pick up the pieces of your lives. a million healing hugs, T

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Dear Friends,
Remember me? I hope so, but then again, maybe not. I know that it has been quite a long time--as all of my friends are happy to remind me. Actually I think around Thanksgiving. Well that sort of says it all doesn't it? I really couldn't tell you what has happened with the last 3 months, except that things have been busy and crazy. We were very busy preparing for our shop Christmas open house the weekend after Thanksgiving, and from there it seemed like we were just in a continual whirlwind spinning through Christmas and January in no time flat. I think that is good. The shop has been extremely busy and we have had a blast making and shipping all of our Christmas designs. And now, we are on the brink of the Nashville Market having spent the past month diligently designing and preparing fun new kits and patterns. I think that we might almost be ready--at least I hope so. Of course, yesterday, we all worked hard finishing up everything as Ray,our printer, would deliver the patterns. We just turned the music up and tried to keep up with it. And surprisingly enough, by the end of the day, we seemed to be pretty much finished. We left work at 5:00--still on our winter hours--and I went home to fix dinner and finish helping Christian with some college app stuff. As we left work, I said to Teri--Yippee!!! we don't have any "homework" to do tonight--since we have spent the past 6 weeks either stitching or preparing kits. Honestly, I was very happy. Teri looked sort of sad and answered--what are we going to do? I knew she was off to a youth church activity, and then stopping back at work to finish packing a suitcase. That should have been my danger signal, so I was only mildly surprised when she called at 9:30 to tell me that she was just a tiny bit bored and had thought up 1 more project for us to work on. Oh, yay! I, of course, had happily put myself into slug mode and was zoned out on top of my bed staring at a wall. Her 3-hour project was fun, though, and now I think we are ready to go to market.
She is armed with her lists of things to gather for the shop, so if you are looking for something, be sure to call the shop and we will pick it up while we are there. Next Tuesday--February, 22nd--we will be having Market Day. We will be closed until noon, and then open from 12 to 5 for a super fun afternoon of Nashville treasures. Teri has ordered tiny, fabulous cupcakes from Vintage Cupcake and she will be making her friend, Ruth's world famous punch, so how can you not want to come by. We will hopefully have our own new things out as well as all of the wonderful finds that Teri scoops up at the market. I know that all of our friends are very excited about the new Blackbird books--as are we--and I can't wait to see the new books from Plum Street--Hare's Winter, Hare's Fall and The Flood. I don't know what else she is looking for, but I do know that she has been making a list, and she will be most impatient to get out and go shopping on Saturday. So...mark your calendars and try to stop by if you are close. We will leave the market things up all week if you can't come on Tuesday, but I fear that the punch and cupcakes will be long gone. I might try to post a blog at market, so watch for it. But don't be too surprised if I am confounded by technology. I will write again as soon as I get back.
I know that there will be a lot coming up on our website in the next week or so. Maybe a blog from market, and Kristin is going to try to post our new things on the main page of our web site on Saturday, so be watching for it. Then, next week, we will post some of the fun things we have found at market on the blog, so that should be fun. In the meantime--here are 2 new things which we have gotten back from Jill:

Bent Creek's St Patrick's Row is very darling. I love what Teri did with it. Good Luck!

Everyone here is enchanted with this little sampler--Clara Ellen--from Blackbird. Teri had it stitched for our mom, and honestly, it is just beautiful. Don't you just love what Jill did with the mat and frame?
Are you now a little bit excited. Well we certainly are. I am just hoping that the good weather lasts for the market. In the meantime, stay safe and stay tuned...hugs, Tina