Friday, August 19, 2005

Getting Unpacked At Last!

Today, when I really wanted to just relax and goof off, I did the grown-up thing and unpacked. That really is the worst part of any trip...coming home and facing the mountains of laundry! The girls kept running around the house playing with things as I unpacked, sorted, did laundry, filed stuff away, checked e-mail etc. Nick was back at work for his first day, so I had a few moments of wishing that EVERYONE was back at school...but that will come soon enough!

Now all that’s left to unpack are the models and other trade show stuff to tuck away until Toronto and Nashville.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

There's No Place Like Home...

After 2 days of traveling, a detour in Maine to get sneakers for Nick and I at the New Balance Factory Outlet Tent Sale, picking up Wuffles from the pet store where he was being boarded and having to change his cage right away, picking up milk and bread to survive until we can do groceries and being SEVERELY TEMPTED to either mail my darling girls to Australia in a box or eat a 2 litre container of ice cream (I did neither... I blogged!) I can finally say that we are safely home!

The trip was a wonderful way to combine family fun and very necessary business. I honestly feel sorry for shops that never make attending trade shows a priority. Yes, they are expensive to do and require actually getting up off your chair, out of your comfort zone and traveling, but you get to see such a better perspective on the industry and its potential that you see staring at the same 4 walls all the time! Seeing the models from different designers and putting faces to the names (as well as zany personalities) has to be better than peering at a computer monitor to see what a new release looks like! I know that from a designer's perspective, I prefer to see store owners face to face now and then instead of just speaking with a voice over a phone or e-mail. If they deal with Hoffman during the year and never come to shows, then I never build that relationship that allows me to know who to recommend in a particular state when I get an e-mail from stitchers. I never hear about ways that I might be able to help them get new stitchers into the shops or entice stitchers who have fallen by the wayside back to the craft. I also don't get to spend the much needed time talking to other designers who actually understand what it is I try to do for part of my career!! The other Moms at the bus stop still really haven't figured out what I really do for a living, but when I share frustrations, joys or challenges with other designers, 9 times out of 10 they know what I mean or can imagine how that feels.

I also think that sharing information with newer designers is crucial to this industry surviving. There were so many designers who took the time to answer my basic questions when I first started out and I always vowed that I would try to do the same. That doesn't mean that I expect them to listed to the "Gospel of Jen"! By listening to how other designers approached things, I was able to find a path that suited ME. The more people's journeys you listed to, the better you are able to chart your own in a way that is true to your soul... and that applies to much more than just cross stitch!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Time To Head Home...

Today was another great day as a family! We got up a bit later and had breakfast, then headed out to mail off what leftover leaflets we had to Hoffman and one model that we'd had another store deliver off to the trunk show it was supposed to be at. This time, since we knew where the post office actually was, it was a much faster trip.

After that, we headed off to The Nascar Mecca.. the Lowes Motor Speedway. Taking the tour and actually driving around the track in the tour van was SO awesome... as was the look on Nick's face since he was in the front seat!

Tonight is all about packing up and sorting things out, so I won't blog long. It was a good show, and some great family fun, but I am ready to get home!

Monday, August 15, 2005

After The Show... The Kids Get Rewarded!
Even though we were a bit punchy from the weekend and eating at odd hours during the show, we woke up fairly early today because we wanted to be able to let breakfast settle before getting on any of the coasters at Carowinds!

Nick helped Kat Rocha, from Cross-eyed Kat, get her stuff to a UPS store/pickup centre so that she could ship some of her things home separately. The girls raced upstairs after breakfast to watch cartoons while I checked out of the room under my reservation with Needlework Markets and checked back into the same room for a 2 day "Stay and Play" package that gave us our 4 admission tickets to Carowinds for today (2 per day but we booked 2 nights).

We'd told the girls that we had to drive "all the way to South Carolina" for this adventure, so when we pulled off the highway just 18 miles from where we left the hotel, and they saw the huge roller coasters rising into the sky, they began to squeal.

What a day!! I did manage to handle one extreme roller coaster called Top Gun that did an upside down loop, many corkscrews and lots of screaming on my part. We also did all of the other ones that Bethany was tall enough for, but looking at the Borg ride where you went backwards, lying flat and face down much of the ride... I got quite squeamish. Luckily, the wait for the ride was almost an hour, so we decided to pass on that second ride that Erin thought she deserved my company on thanks to the shop we deal with in London, Ontario. The very first thing on Saturday morning as they placed their order and we told them about our plans for Monday, Kathy looked right at Erin and said "I hear if you are a big help and your Mom has a good show, she has to go with you on any 2 rides that you want her to!" I survived!!

We concentrated instead on all the rides where you got soaked! I have never been that wet over and over. Of course, we were in regular street clothes and our denim shorts may not dry out before we get on the plane Wednesday morning unless we leave them to steam dry in the car tomorrow! By the time we got back to the hotel, our feet were all wrinkly from being in damp socks most of the day! Eeeeewwwww!

I guess we've just ensured that the girls will want to come and help us at the show next August here in Charlotte. I doubt Nick and I will be able to sneak away and do the show just the two of us with stuff like Discovery Place and Carowinds to make them want to help!

Erin looked at me the last day of the show and with an air of exasperation said "I guess you'll have another whole talk about the models next year that I'll have to learn! Just when I think I got all this one memorized, the show is over!"

That's what it is all about.. meeting friends, encouraging others in the industry, showing off what you've created and listening to feedback, trying to come up with things that will make the show fun and enticing... and then ending up with hugs, goodbyes and tons of ideas for the next time you do a show!

Time to head to bed!!