It all feels like a dream now; one of those really great dreams that you never want to wake from, and when you do wake, you try desperately hard to fall back into. There was so much hard work in the months beforehand, and I sometimes wondered if it would all be worth it. Let me tell you as adamantly as I can. IT WAS.
Last year was my first trip to Market, and although it was an amazing time, I felt like I barely got my toes wet... this year I may have made it up to my ankles.
I took two new chart designs and decided to try taking a kit as well (SO much work goes into making those kits! I had an idea, but experiencing it for myself makes me have major respect for those designers that kit their charts regularly). And then, as if I didn't already have my hands full enough, I decided three weeks before the show that I needed a completely new look for my charts. I have Crazy Creative Brain Syndrome in combination with another rare disease called Unrealistic Overachieving Optimist.
I pulled it all together in the nick of time. But only with the help of some of my favorite people (thank you again Mama, Angela and Jen!).
After working feverishly for so long (preceded by the birthday/Christmas/birthday season, don't forget!), I found myself on Monday afternoon before the show with everything done and shipped and just time to wait until my early flight on Thursday. So what did I do? Cleaned and did laundry and shopped so Farmboy wouldn't have to do it while I was gone... then I designed two brand new samplers. Nothing like nervous energy with nowhere to go to fuel the fires of creativity, I guess.
At last, the day was about to dawn, with a 3 am alarm set, and bags packed, I tried desperately to sleep. But of course I was wide awake at 1:30 in the morning. It's so hard to wait sometimes for that silly clock to make its rotations, then other times its all I can do to not cry in despair as it turns way too quickly.
At last, my flight left just as the sun rose, and with a full day of travelling behind me, I touched down in Nashville forty minutes early (when does THAT ever happen?).
When I texted my Farmboy to let him know that I skipped the show, he couldn't believe his ears. He knows me well, and knew that I would be disappointed with myself. And he's usually right about these kind of things. So when my friend from the night before texted an invitation to go to a writer's round at a cigar bar on Friday night, I decided I had better go for it. This would mean missing out on Early Bird shopping time, but I hadn't planned to have my exhibit room open anyway.
I spent the day Friday trying to figure out how on earth I was going to turn the really badly decorated hotel room into something inviting.
Brian White, Chris Roberts, Pete Stewart, and Pete Sallis.
These four have written songs for some pretty big names, so it was surprising that we got a front row table and were treated to what felt like our own personal concert. You really should check each of these men's work out. I know I did, and now that I've seen the evidence of their accomplishments, I am extremely humbled that I got to sit in on their collaborative effort.
At one point, having briefly met the other three writers just before the show, Sabrina and I were treated to a little impromptu ode to cross stitch. Good thing I had my phone set to record, because the moment was priceless for those of us in the Cross Stitch Nation:
And should you doubt my claim that one of these talented performers is an old friend of mine, I have solid proof, right here:
Back at the Embassy Suites the next morning, the real work began. Two solid days of selling, networking, collaborating, being inspired, laughing until I cried, and eating bacon for breakfast every single morning. It was a dream. A dream that I can't wait to repeat.
Having five floors totally full of designers and suppliers, all related to cross stitch is truly an amazing experience. I still get stars in my eyes as I get to spend time with my own cross stitch heroes. I'm a pretty small fish in a very big pond, and I know it full well. I look forward to the years to come when I might start to feel like a legitimate part of this creative industry.
Just Another Button Company:
The Scarlett House:
Black Branch Needlework:
Brenda Gervais' Country Stitches:
Plum Street Samplers:
Chessie and Me:
Lone Elm Lane:
The Gentle Art:
Picture This Plus:
R&R Reproductions (featuring a candle by my very own Sister-in-Law Jen Hamilton!)
The turnout of new designs this year was stellar, and I only showed you a tiny peek. You must be absolutely overwhelmed trying to decide what to buy! But do take the plunge... you won't regret it. This industry is full of some of the most kind and creative people I've ever met, and I'm proud to be counted as part of the Cross Stitch Nation (no one better use that term, I'm already plotting a way to fit it into a design).
Monday morning rolled around, with all my boxes packed and on their way, and a flight that didn't leave until 1:00. I was stuck sitting in the hotel lobby drinking bad coffee and watching election coverage (seriously... ugh!), and I decided that I had to seize the day. So I spent some time searching the internet for things to do on Monday mornings in Nashville.