Sunday, December 7, 2008

Edited to add: Check out our great video tour of Shepherd's Bush at Christmas! We just added it at the end of this post.

I'm back.

I don't know what happened to me all through the fall, but I just couldn't ever seem to get caught up and back to normal after the retreat. I know that Teri has been sneaking in to write now and then, so I'm grateful that she has kept you up to date with the shop and you have seen pictures of the wonderful new pieces we have been stitching. It seems like we have been in a total whirlwind since the retreat ended the first of October and I am looking forward to a quieter December and enjoying the peace of the holidays. In the midst of going to the St. Charles market 2 weeks before the retreat, we also embarked on a huge renovation project on the outside of our building. Our sad and tattered awning finally came down, we had the whole outside painted completely new colours--odd green and black, and now we are in the midst of replacing all of the windows. It is very exciting and I love how everything looks, but somewhat stressful.

Teri and I had a very fun excursion to Jean Lea's Sampler weekend in Mesa the middle of November. We had such a great time--and it was warm!! What a treat! Everyone there was delightful and Jean's shop was beautiful. I have decided that the Arizonians have much better eyesight than Utahns as everything seemed to be stitched on 40 count linen. Truly beautiful. We spent the weekend with Barb and Alma from Blackbird Designs who were also teaching and Sharon Crescent from Crescent Colours. I think Teri has a couple of pictures down below. That weekend was a little warm oasis for us.

Then last weekend was our Christmas Open House at the shop. Teri was determined and cranky about getting some new things put together, so we had to hop to it in the back and produce some lovely offerings. There are times that we have to prove to the fronts girls that we are working. I think we did pretty well, even though Teri had to design one of them herself. In the end it was a perfect day. Teri had everything decorated so sweetly, and the green swags and red bows look fabulous on the new black front of the shop. The weather was great, the food was beautiful and yummy, and all the new things were very fun. A perfect end to the Thanksgiving festivities.

This past Sunday we left for Washington DC. This was the culmination of a stressful but exciting project which started in August. Our Senator Hatch called Teri in the late summer to invite us to design an ornament for the White House Christmas Tree. Wow--what an honor. Of course Teri was flying around thrilled to death in her inimitable way and I, of course, was fraught with anxiety. This is really how most of our lives work out. Well, at the time, we were overwhelmed with getting a market ready as well as the Retreat, so we just filed it in the back of our brains--the very, very back. Then towards the end of September as the deadline approached, Teri sort of went into super-overdrive and worked like a maniac night and day on the ornament. She really did it herself--although I did give her another idea on how to lay it out. It turned out fantastic and she mailed it in. Then she received an official invitation from the White House to go to the reception for all the artists for the unveiling of the tree with Laura Bush. So Bob, Chris, Teri and I flew out on Sunday. We had a blast--thanks to many tips from our D.C. friends, Susan and Trish. I think Teri may be giving a photo tour down below so keep scrolling. What a great honor and a great experience.

Now we are back and ready for my favorite time of year at the shop. I love it in December when everyone is happy and excited and it gets dark early and all the lights are lovely. It is the best. I have a million things I need to be doing: new scissor fob, new snowman, new hearts...BUT all I have done today is find new projects that I want to stitch for myself. I have even gone so far as to pull fabric and threads. OK, I probably won't actually start any of them, but I have had a great time getting them ready. Due to popular demand, we are going on holiday hours starting Monday which means we will close at 5 each day instead of 6--so keep that in mind. But we will be here at 10 in the mornings and I will be making Christmas cookies and candy to serve on the front table, so wander by for a treat. I am planning to write on Wednesday and hopefully we can put up a picture of another extraordinary piece---one of the ones in my new pile--Christmas Cheer. Watch for it. Until then--enjoy the time of year, the lights, the bustle, the music and the joy.

fondly, Tina