Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Market Trip Part III

Sunday Morning found us up early and at Lorraine's for breakfast. While we were waiting to be seated we struck up a conversation with 2 ladies who were also there for Market. They had arrived at the restaurant before us and when the hostess came to seat them they invited us to share a table. Lynda and Shannon are from Conway Arkansas and the name of their shop is The Stitcher's Garden. Look them up if you are ever in their neighborhood. I'm sure they will welcome you warmly! It was wonderful to talk with other shop owners/employees and pick their brains. Being so new we have a lot to learn and both ladies were very generous with their advice and ideas. If there was one thing about Market that I was personally disappointed in, it was that there wasn't to my knowledge anyway, a gathering room for owners/employees. I would have loved to talk to more people and even sit in the evening and stitch for a while with them. What a wonderful resource that would have been!

After finishing breakfast we headed over to the Embassy Suites so we could go back to places we had visited the day before but hadn't made a final decision on. I would have gone back to every room if it had been up to me but I'm not the money person and one of us had to be practical! One big decision we arrived at was to gamble a bit and buy the Sullivans display cabinet.

We realize that converting long time stitchers over to Sullivans from DMC is going to be difficult if not impossible but I saw many designers in that room and spoke with quite a few that are switching over to Sullivans. The price point is awesome, the colors are beautiful and it doesn't knot as much as DMC. The DMC number is right on every skein of Sullivans which makes conversions a snap too! Can you substitute Sullivans for DMC in the middle of a project? No. But if you are starting a project, don't have a stash of DMC and your LNS carries Sullivans, give it try. I don't think you will be disappointed. We had fun getting the display in the jeep but we did it and here is how it looks in the shop:

I went back to the Needle Delights and Nancy's Needle rooms. I've wanted to try my hand at counted canvas work for some time now and we are considering bringing it into the shop. Before we do that I think we should have a working knowledge of how to do it. So I bought these beauties to try:

We wrapped up our shopping and took a break for a late lunch. We couldn't leave for home until the Sullivan people were done with the display so we just hung out and chatted with some other ladies who were waiting for the 2:00 drawing. We didn't win the drawing unfortunately. After the drawing, people cleared out pretty quickly. The weather reports for those going home were not good in almost any direction you were going so I think people were anxious to hit the road. We loaded up the cabinet and made a quick stop at Walgreens to get Mary Ann some sunglasses. When I got back in the jeep and tried to put my seat belt on it wouldn't budge. We tried everything we could and it wouldn't move. I was not going on the interstate headed into bad weather with no seat belt so we were forced to call the rental company and get assistance. They sent us to a place where we were told they wouldn't get the parts to fix the problem until the next day but the guy was able to tell us how to unjam it in the meantime and we finally hit the road about 5:00p.m. After clearing Nashville traffic we popped in a book on tape and headed for home. The weather was pretty crappy with lots of rain but luckily no ice. We finally stopped at midnight in Columbia Missouri which was a good thing as the next day we drove by tons of cars in the ditch along the interstate. It must have turned to a solid sheet of ice shortly after Columbia pretty much all the way to Mound City. Tired and weary we made it home by about 2:00 on Monday. It was a great adventure and a wonderful learning experience and I can't wait to go again!!

Going off on a tangent here for a minute: Have any of you seen the ads for Jared's jewelry store? We don't have one in our neck of the woods but we get the commercials on TV all the time. Dan is always saying he went to Jareds to get this gift for me or that gift for me and I always roll my eyes and say yeah, sure hon. For Christmas this past year, Dan bought me a beautiful ring. Then he made up this fake Jared's tag to fit in the ring box so when I opened it, I would think he actually went there to get my ring. Well sweetie, if you read this, I REALLY went to Jareds, now you have to sweat it out to see what I bought there!! MWAW!! Love Ya!

Tuesday we hit the floor running! Lots to do in such a short time to get the shop ready for the stitcher's on Saturday. All the new stuff needed some place to go so I brought in my little hutch that was from the Stuart house. It worked out pretty good if you can ignore all the vacuums which you can in person but in this picture look terrible!

here I have photoshopped the vacs out so you can see it better:The rest of the new items went on the other display pieces.....

this is the back half of the shop.

and this is the front.

It's all still a work in progress but looks much better than it did 3 short months ago. I got everything all displayed by 3 on Friday, just in time for Last Saturday Stitching! What a week that was! This week we are re-ordering what sold on Saturday, I have 4 cross stitches to stretch and a bunch of other framing jobs so I'll be pretty busy next week too. Busy is good!!

That pretty much ends our first Market Adventure. I hope you enjoyed the journey! Thanks for stopping in, comments are always welcome and appreciated! See ya all next time!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Market Trip Part II

After we were done at the Opry we headed for Franklin and checked into the Marriott. Nice hotel, the room was clean, they had a wonderful restaurant there called Lorraine's and even though it was past serving time, they still let us eat from the buffet. Yummy! We headed to the Embassey Suites after eating to register for Market and then we plopped our butts in a couple of chairs while we waited for Meet and Greet and watched everyone come and go. It was fun to see all the stuff the vendors were hauling in and to people watch. The vendors hung banners over the railings and we kept watching them as one by one the banners would appear. I had to keep asking Mary Ann what the banners said because I couldn't make it out most of the time. I think I better get my eyes checked!

So as we were sitting there, I mentioned to Mary Ann that I hadn't seen anyone I knew. She gave me that look she sometimes does when I say things that she can't believe I said because they are so ridiculous. Why in the world would I know someone at the Embassy Suites in Franklin Tennesee! I said it not because I expected to see someone I knew but because when my sister and I go someplace together she always sees someone she knows so I've started saying I haven't seen anyone I know when we go places because I never do. Clear as mud right? I do have a point with all this rambling......not long after that I was watching the elevator come down with a load of people and lo and behold there was one of our stitching ladies! I poked Mary Ann and said LOOK! There's Doreen! Mary Ann whips her head around and says where?? I point her out and Mary Ann looks again. Then she slowly turned her head back to me and really need to get your eyes checked Julie. That's not Doreen. So in my defense, the gal had the same hair and body type as Doreen and Mary Ann said if she squinted a bit it looked like her but it wasn't really her. Still, while I was sitting there I also saw, Deb, Linda, Mary, Carole, Nancy.....all ladies from our stitching group. The only one I didn't see was Connie and she's a one of a kind so I didn't really expect to see her as I'm pretty sure they broke the mold after her! LOL!! Love ya girl friend!

Meet and Greet was at 7:00 that evening. Since this was our very first Market, we weren't sure what to expect but by 6:45 there was quite the crowd outside the doors. It was nice to see previews of some of the vendor booths and to chat with the designers but it was a madhouse in there and I was really worried that the next day would be more of the same. A few of the vendors were going to be open that evening so we hung around and did a bit of shopping that night at Dessins. It was crowded and took forever but eventually we were done and headed back to the Marriot.

Saturday morning at 9:00 found us back at the Embassy Suites, rolling suitcase in hand ready to fight the crowds.....only there weren't any. I was thrilled for myself but felt really bad for the vendors. Everyone said it was very quiet and slow. I found the designers to be warm and friendly for the most part and quite helpful when they found out we were market virgins. I would have loved to take pictures of the different "shops", most were set up so cute and clever! But it wasn't allowed and while I could show you what we bought, most of you have already seen it online somewhere so I won't bore you with that. I will say I saw a lot of things in person that I had seen pictures of beforehand and believe me when I tell you pictures just don't do most of them justice.

For instance the Erica Michaels petites collection, the pictures are nice but when you see them in person they are gorgeous!!!

Kinda of hammered home the importance of shop models. We need to work on that I think!

Saturday came to a close with tired feet and fried brains. We opted for fast food for supper that night and I had my very first Chik-fil-A sandwich. It was quite tasty and now I know what people are talking about when they say Chik-fil-A. I was clueless before!!

That's it for today folks. Have a great day!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Finally! My trip part I

I would like to thank all of you who commented on the loss of my furbaby Missy. While her death was not truly a surprise, in the end it wasn't her leg, her back or her liver that was the deciding factor but her neck and that was a surprise, to me at least as she didn't have any signs of a neck problem until Tuesday night. But at that point I could tell it was a very big problem. The decision to put her to sleep was the right one and I know she is no longer in pain and hopefully she's up in heaven running around with Nicki, Willie and Poncho having a grand old time. She was a wonderful friend and will be missed by all who knew her.

I know this next bit is old news by now, but I'm gonna tell you about my Market Experience anyway. Mary Ann and I were barely over the bridge from Nebraska into Iowa when we had to pull over and back up down the highway. No, we didn't lose something off the car, we didn't have a flat tire, nothing like that. What we did have was a Convocation of Bald Eagles! Mary Ann thought at first they were turkeys but as we went by them, I'm looking at these big birds and I'm saying, I don't think those are turkeys Mary Ann, they looked more like Eagles to me! By this time we were way past them and Mary Ann had come to the same conclusion as I had so we pulled over, waited for traffic to pass and then backed down the highway so I could snap a picture! There were actually about 7-8 of them but I could only get these 4 in the shot.

I know, you can only see 3 in this picture but if you look closely when you click on the picture, you can just see the 4th eagle in the upper right hand corner. He took flight when we backed up. I think the tires crunching on all the gravel on the road scared them.

I saw lots of cool wildlife and items of interest on our trip. Unfortunately, when you are driving 70 mph in a car it's really hard to get decent pictures! We saw a coyote, an oil well on fire, deer, lots of cars in the ditch, and in Tennesee, the natural rock formations leak water and when it freezes, it's makes these really cool frozen waterfall looking things. I tried to get a picture of these but I'm just not that good a photographer. We drove through parts of Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky and finally Tennesee on our journey. Got lost in St. Louis when the exit we needed was closed and the GPS kept taking us in a circle back to that exit. Saw the arch:

Visited quite a few rest stops along the way too. When we arrived in Nashville, we happened upon a big antique show so naturally we had to stop and look around. I didn't buy anything but I did see some beautiful old needleart and gorgeous old beaded purses.

Most of the needleart was in frames pressed right up on the glass or had acid matting on them. It broke my heart to see that. I'd have bought them all up if they weren't asking an arm and a leg for the pieces! Most were over $500.00!!

After we finished browsing the antiques, we went over to the Grand Ole Opry. I'm not sure what I expected, I just know the reality wasn't what I had pictured. When I showed Dan my pictures he said the same thing. Not what he expected either.

We didn't take the tour of the backstage that they were offering. I'm sorry but $15.00 to see an empty building seemed a little high to me. I told Mary Ann she could go if she wanted but she decided not to. We thought about buying tickets to the show for Saturday night, Kelly Pickler was performing, but we decided we might be too tired from Market so we passed on that also.

While we were trying to find the Opry House, we saw this sign that tickled our funny bones.

Speed limit 24. Not 25. Speed limit 24. I've never seen that before. It could be I lead a sheltered life and that is normal in other parts of the country. But here in the Heartland it's always 25, 30, 15. Never 24.

Before this becomes an epic novel, I think I will stop here and continue the story in my next post. I don't want to bore everyone just once, I want to bore you over and over and over! Wicked of me isn't it?

In the meantime, please have a wonderful day and thanks for stopping by!