This past week has been one of extreme highs and lows - mostly lows. I'm looking forward to a better week ahead.
Low: Bill and I traveled to Sacramento to say our final goodbyes to a long time friend who lost his battle with lymphoma. He left behind his high school sweetheart, two sons, two grandchildren, a lifetime of friends, and a community who loved and admired him.
High: I read a loud from Susan Branch's, A Fine Romance, Falling in Love with the English Countryside as Bill maneuvered Friday afternoon traffic on I-5. It was a good diversion for me who can never watch as my husband weaves in and out of traffic and drives three inches from the car ahead going 70 miles an hour.
We laughed at the similarities of Susan's husband and mine (seems Joe isn't any fonder of his wife shrieking from the driver's seat than Bill is) and I choked back tears as I read the part where Susan and Joe toasted their trip as they sailed past the Statue of Liberty and under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge on their way to Southampton. I never know if Bill is really listening but as we rode the elevator to our hotel room he said the book made him want to return to England (yes!) and later, when the waiter asked for his dinner order, Bill joked that he was suddenly hungry for fish and chips. (There may be an Atlantic crossing in our future).
Low: Our fall newsletter. This has been a huge learning experience for me. I've tried to be less of a perfectionist (so hard for me), less controlling (ditto) and tried to practice patience (totally lost it). In the end it will all be fine, but the process is just. about. to. kill. me! Enough said. If you are on our mailing list you should get your newsletter sometime in 2013 (just kidding - hopefully by early September). In the mean time you can view our fall classes on line here.
High: My staff who has been there every step of the way. Becky, who has talked me down from the ledge more than once and Andi who when I apologized Friday for the lunch break she probably wouldn't get, just replied with a smile, "No problem, I'm here for you".
They are here for me - all of them. I'm so lucky to have them (Bill included)!
For those of you who have been reading my blog for a while, know I don't believe in coincidences.
We have been working with Susan Branch and her husband Joe for a while now to bring her to Strawberry Patches for a book signing for her new book, A Fine Romance.
The problem was in the timing. Timing. Remember how hard that can be for me?
Anyway, Sue and Joe are driving from Martha's Vineyard to California over the next three months
photo by Susan Branch
stopping at bookstores and shops like ours to do signings along the way. When I asked for a date the best they could give me was " probably sometime in October".
This is our October schedule:
There is not one day in October that doesn't already have something going on in the classroom!
Although I was willing to bump a class to accommodate them, I really would have preferred to have a date before the calendar was done and the newsletter was off to the printer. They suggested we announce it on the blog and through facebook once they called us in September with a date.
Okay. No need to worry about something I couldn't control. We'd schedule our classes and if it's meant to be that they can come, then we'd host a book signing party they will never forget. If it doesn't work out, then it wasn't meant to be.
Out of the blue Susan called again on Friday afternoon to answer some of my email questions and as we were chatting she asked if November 7th might work for our schedule. Hum, let me check:
November 7th? November 7 from 1:00 - 2:30? Yes, that's perfect!
Do you see that? In the six week window Susan and Joe had originally given us the seventh of November was the only date that wasn't booked. Coincidence? I doubt it. (I still get chills when I think about this).
So now that you know how this all came about, I am proud (and oh, so excited) to invite you to a booksigning, or in this case A Party complete with favors and decorations!
photo by Susan Branch
You'll hear more about our party as the time comes, but I wanted to give you plenty of time to start your travel plans and to design your tiaras.
I spent the morning hanging quilts. Our fall newsletter is about to break and there are a million details to check off this never ending list.
Hanging the class models was at the top for me this morning.
I must have made a hundred trips up and down that ladder and must have moved each quilt at least a dozen times.
This one was too big for that wall and that one didn't look right next to this one.
By 11:00am I was beyond beat.
As I pounded the last stick pin in the last of the bunch Bill walked in with one of these
That man. I swear he knows what I need before I do!
I begged him to sit a minute so I could take a break and enjoy the gift.
As we sat admiring my hanging handy work he asked who made all these quilts.
"Our teachers did", I replied proudly. "Aren't they awesome"?
"They really are", he said. "I like that one best".
"That's Swoon" I said. (He usually goes for more masculine looking quilts so picking Margo's Swoon quilt totally surprised me).
"How much would something like that sell for" he asked making small talk.
"Oh, I don't know, it's sometimes hard to get your time and materials out of a quilt. We make them because we love the whole creative process and how quilting and working with fabric makes us feel. You know, it's like fly fishing in Montana (he's planning a trip next month), or restoring an old car or wood working - you just can't put a price tag on something you love so much".
My husband. I wouldn't take all the quilts in the world for him!
Encourage one another,
And here is the rest of the story:
About an hour later as I was buzzing around the store acting like a rabid drill sargent - totally high on my triple nonfat latte, Becky asked if there would be any more caffeine in my day.
You can download the free pattern for this adorable quilthere.
Yeah, but where was it three months ago when we were making picnic quilts and swim trunks and those big brimmed sun hats? *sigh*
And then there's this
We've had one heck of a time getting this book. I took my copy to bed with me last night (I was so happy to finally have it in my hot little hands) and fell asleep dreaming of old trailers with lace curtains, billowy down comforters and crystal chandeliers. This book is a must have for anyone who yearns to gussy up a travel trailer and hit the road girlie style.
Six months ago, when we first got in Mary Jane's fabric I planned a display with this adorable pillow, the fabric and precuts and the Glamping book, but we sold out of the main fabric pieces in mere hours and the book never came...
How are you spending this hot summer weekend? Hopefully you've found some time for your Happy Place.
Sadly, there is no time for sewing for me today as I'm putting the final touches on our fall newsletter. I've been working on securing some amazing surprises for you all in the coming months at Strawberry Patches. Do you know how hard it is for me to keep a secret? I'm absolutely miserable not being able to share what's coming but I do have one exciting bit of news that I can share.
Downton Abbey® is coming to Strawberry Patches!
If you are like so many of us, you are probably already addicted to the story line, the characters, the gorgeous set design and the amazing costumes of this run away hit PBS series. If you haven't yet seen the series you can catch up by purchasing the first three seasons on DVD at places like Walmart or Target or by watching them on your computer via Hulu or Netflix. I can't think of a better way to spend a hot Sunday afternoon than by watching previous episodes of Downton Abbey® while sewing.
Call me a dork but I get chills everytime I watch this trailer!
Speaking of sewing, Andover Fabrics has partnered with the people at Downton Abbey® to create the first exclusive collection of licensed fabrics for Downton Abbey ®. Playing on the strength of the upstairs women of Downton, the exciting premiere collection will be THE WOMEN'S COLLECTION, featuring designs chosen in collaboration with the award-winning Downton Abbey production team.
The full collection will be available at Strawberry Patches when it is released in November.
We are so excited to host a Downton Abbey® Tea at Strawberry Patches on Friday December 13. (I'm giving you plenty of time to get the day off, gather your girlfriends and make travel plans). Dennis - one of my favorite people from Andover will be here to show us some behind the scenes footage from the show, a video of the costume and production designers speaking about the show and of course there will be lots of door prizes and plenty samples and quilt kits from the collection. So wear your prettiest hat and come for tea.