Monday, March 06, 2017

Nashville Needlework Market 2017

Bear with me, because this is going to be a long post...

Getting ready for Market this year was a bit more of a thriller. I decided to take two more new designs than I've taken in the past, and failed to calculate for just how much more work it would entail to be ready on time. I folded and stuffed more charts in a short period of time than I've ever done and my poor hands were full of paper cuts. It was right down to the wire, touch and go, I-don't-know-if-I'm-going-to-finish-in-time right up until my shipping deadline to get things there. I don't have the luxury of being able to load everything into my car to drive to Nashville. I live too far away, so every last item has to be mailed.

I am so thankful and blessed to have a faithful helper that lives not too far south of Nashville that receives packages for me and brings them to the hotel. She has also been known to store props and sundries all year long in her closet so I don't have to keep shipping them back and forth.
The travel day always arrives sooner than expected and off I go, ready or not! I inevitably sit on the plane for the hours of travel trying to sit still and relax when my brain is ready for the next step... setting up my exhibit room.

Friday morning dawned bright and clear, with not enough sleep, and with really bad hotel coffee (waiting on my coffee brewer to arrive with Donna!), but with my customary breakfast of champions, which does not alter one bit every morning in Nashville. Want to see?
Melon, cottage cheese, potatoes, and a big pile of bacon. Every. Single. Morning. Seriously... I have dreams about this breakfast all year long. I burn so many calories while on this trip that I have absolutely no guilt about starting my day with that much grease. It's just SO irresistible.
I like that I get the same room every year now. It feels a little more like home when the view is the same and the furniture is the same and even the hideous hotel art is the same.

This year I had a banner made by a local company and I felt like such a grown-up hanging it out on the railing outside my room like all of the other designers and vendors (can you see it? Middle top of the photo). This Market experience is truly like none other I've ever encountered. At what other time could there be such a great pop-up mall of needlework supplies? That's the only way I can possibly explain it to those in my circle of friends that don't understand this needlework tribe of ours. A big, beautiful pop-up needlework mall.
Thursday evening I did my errand running, so Friday was spent fussing and arranging and making my room as pretty as possible. I even shopped from pictures of Donna's house for props. I was pretty pleased with how much better my things looked this year. Now for a little tour. First up, the front window...
The view out my front door, with door sign...
And this is the back room where all the charts are laid out in preparation for shoppers.  Just about every surface is used and I arrange them alphabetically to help with flow when the busy times come.
And last, but not least, my display area... I added little glowing candles this year and it made the room look so much more homey.
I didn't go into Nashville this year, like I did last year, so Friday night I got out into the hallways to do a little Early Bird shopping of my own. It was my only chance to get out of my room for any duration of time during open hours all weekend, and I kept forgetting to take pictures, so the following snaps are only a small representation of the beautiful things that were there to behold.
Some antiques for sale, always so tempting...
 The Gentle Art's gorgeous color palette...
 Some beautiful things by GiGi Ries...
 Stitch Dots...
 Summer House Stitche Workes...
 Kathy Barrick...
 The Primitive Hare...
Niky's Creations...
 Cabranmary Woods...
At the end of the weekend, after the busy, busy selling day on Saturday, I was able to sneak out one at a time to see a few of my 6th floor neighbors on Sunday afternoon. Some of my own personal favorites are just rooms away, and I love to pop in and visit when I can during Market.

The Scarlett House...
With Thy Needle & Thread...
Lone Elm Lane...
 Blackbird Designs...
Black Branch Needlework...
Saturday at Market is the BIG day. Fueled by the breakfast of champions, my own favorite coffee brought from home, a love note snuck into my suitcase from my littlest sweetheart, a hug and a prayer from Donna, a whole lot of adrenaline, and wearing my new "Floss Boss" pin (purchased from Red Gate Stitchery) I opened my doors at the allotted time.

The line for Brenda Gervais' With Thy Needle and Thread was super long, stretching past my door and around the corner. I cheered them all on, gave them tea bags and had Donna stand in line for them so they could come in and shop while they waited.
It was an amazing, wonderful, exhausting day. I sold out of my Coffee Quaker charts by 11am, and had to take orders the rest of the weekend. Everyone was very gracious, but wowza! you all knocked my socks off with your exuberant welcome of this design! I have never even come close to selling out of a new design before (maybe I bring too many, but I always want everyone to get as many as they would like), so this was an unexpected delight.

Saturday night is usually pizza order-in night in someone's room, and I was still too wired to settle down right away, but eventually I collapsed into bed for a few hours of sleep.

Sunday is always a mellow day, without the frenzied pace of day one. Shoppers are more likely to be helpers that have some free time, or shop owners coming by to pick up pre-orders. I don't have a helper that day, so I try to sit and stitch and be available to visit with whomever wants to stop in. Midway through the day, my Farmboy started texting me asking if I'd had anything decent to eat (knowing that I was stuck in my room). He wasn't satisfied with my Cliff Bar and cheese sticks, so he called in a surprise order from room service, all the way from Oregon. The cute girl who brought it to my room had the biggest grin on her face as she stuck her head around the corner. By this time I knew that something was up, but it was still such a sweet gesture and made my afternoon. Want to see what he ordered for me? 
Yes indeed, it is what you think it is... french fries, a scoop of ice cream, and a super dark chocolate cake with cherry sauce. Oh man... that guy takes such good care of me.

On Sunday night, a small group of us tired people went out to a local place for some of the best food we've ever been able to find in the area. My burger and sweet potato fries were amazing! They were having trivia night, so we decided to give it a go, under the title "Team X" (I know... perfect, right? I'm pretty sure it was Alma that came up with that title). We nailed it the first round, and bombed it the second round, at which point we decided to call it a night. 
I am constantly surprised, amazed, and delighted to have been welcomed into this family, my Tribe. My Cross Stitch Nation. Team X. Thank you to everyone that plays a role in this industry that I've grown to love; the stitchers, the shop owners, the designers and purveyors of goods... I can't imagine my life without you all.
And if any one of you ever crosses paths with my dear friend Donna, give her a big hug and a giant THANK YOU, because I don't know if I'd be able to do this every year without her help.
My trip home was an all-day affair, including a brief layover in the nation's capitol, where I had never been (I know... Tennessee to Oregon by way of DC doesn't make much sense to me either). I just happened to choose the correct side of the airplane to sit on and was treated to a view that I never imagined I would be seeing that day or any day for that matter.
I woke up my first morning home, utterly wiped out in a way I haven't felt in a few years. I took three naps that day and felt even worse the next day. So a call was put in to my Naturopath who confirmed that I needed to start taking my supplements again, from my days of battling Adrenal Fatigue. It turns out that this is a condition that I may never fully beat. But knowing what was wrong with me this time around was more helpful than I can say, and even though I feared it would be a long time until I started to feel normal again, it really wasn't much more than a few weeks. As I type this, it is two months later and I am almost back to 100%, which is better than I had hoped for. The first month after returning from Market was a steady and constant stream of orders and re-orders for that silly Coffee Quaker, which was wonderful and tiring at the same time. Just when I thought I was done for a few days, another batch of requests would come in. I am so thankful for you all and your continued support of my endeavors. Have I said "thank you" enough times yet?

And I have no regrets, I would go back and do it all over again, every single bit of it. I love this wonderful job of mine. I'm afraid you might be stuck with me for quite a long time yet.

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