Folding Stuffing Shipping

Autumnprairie

This afternoon I picked up the first batch of my patterns to ship from Houston.  It’s exciting and a lot of work- but this is busy work- Folding, stuffing, shipping, and hopefully, repeat.  And repeat again.

I’m hoping there’s some good TV on tonight, because I’m going to folding for a long time… That’s a good thing. A very good thing. Keep placing orders, all you stores! I promise, if you make a sample, you will sell scads of my stuff!

Houston: Fin and TA-DA!

Well. What’s done is done. I did what was in my power to do, and I can do no more.

What an amazing experience. I’m still a teeeny-tiny fish in a great big sea, but I caught the eyes of some of the bigger fish- and the law of attraction seems to be en force. I met some fantastic, inspiring people. I wish I had the intellectual reserves to mine for the words to show you how amazing these people are- but right now? I’m just too damn tired.

Yes, I got to bob along in the awesomeness of the textile world. Yes, I got to preview the 2010 lines for sooooo many fabric manufacturers- if you don’t care about textiles, that won’t mean bugaboo to you, but if you pet your fabric like I do, then you are drooling. Look for amazing new stuff from some of your favorites, and perhaps to be surprised by a few, too. Yummy. Really, really yummy stuff.

As for me- well, it was my virgin sail in Market- any market- any show. So while I have nothing to compare the experience to, I did have the people in the booths surrounding mine circling around me in excitement and celebration. The quilting and fabric community is fantastically and oddly devoid of weird tension or competition. It’s as though everyone knows there is room for many artistic visions, and they buoy each other up. Everyone. Every. Single. Person. Was kind, generous, and forthcoming with advice and introductions. I just worked a convention floor for three solid days- and didn’t encounter even one grumpy, or crabby or otherwise unpleasant person. Do that with the general public. Yeah.

So. As for me and my house? I took enough on-site orders to cover all my expenses. That’s good. I also made a ton of new business contacts. Hundreds of stores know about me that had never heard of me three days ago. Not all of them placed orders, but as many of them as I could get left with promo pieces from me. I am no longer a random name. In business, that’s half the battle.

Also. Since I am a one-woman-band, who writes, illustrates, paints, sews, designs and plays the tuba (ok, one of those things is a lie)- some folks who might be able to make some money for and from me also noticed. And told me so.

That’s all I’m going to say about that at the moment.

What?! I know. I’m superstitious though- I’m worried if I overflow with excitement like I want to- like I did when my neighbors and new friends told me what all those business-cards in my hand actually meant- well, then I might accidentally pop the bubble. And I so, so, so very much want the bubble to hold more than a castle in the air.

HOUSTON Part Deux

I started out super-nervous and excited. The people are beyond nice- honestly, of the hundreds of people I talked with today, there was not one crab or grump among them. The exhibitors in the booths surrounding mine are all fantastic, and all of them have been here before and have been generous with tips and advice. The learning curve is steep, and I already have a full page of ideas scrawled down for next year.

First thing this morning, the guy in the booth directly across from mine told me not to panic if I didn’t take any orders today. He said on Saturday, most of the people just take their spin through and figure out their game plan, waiting for Sunday or Monday to do their serious buying. I’m glad he told me that- and I didn’t panic.

I got to meet Heather Bailey. She is fantastic,  and her stuff is completely drool-worthy. Nice things coming down the line for 2010. I saw Amy Butler, but did not get a chance to speak with her. The new Moda lines are vintage-tastic. Amazing.

While I do still feel like a super-small fishy in a giant pool of  insane talent, I also feel a little more confident now as well. I’m not any of those other people- but maybe what I have is cool in its own way too.

Now, I am tired and my feet are achy- I’m thinking about the hot tub, but am debating if  my transparent-white Washington legs should really make a public appearance. Tomorrow ought to be fun. I will return and report.

First Report: HOUSTON

First, thank you all for your support this last week. It’s been a doozy, and sometime down the road, I may be able to share more than just my aching heart, but now is not the time.

Hmmm. What to say about Texas so far…

Dude, when leaving a building or your car? When you do, your glasses fog up like they would in a steamy bathroom. I kid you not. When I walked out of the airport to get my rental car, my sunglasses immediately steamed over. The ONLY time that has ever happened to me before was in my own kitchen on a cold December when I opened the oven to take out some hot baked bread. Here in Houston, it’s the norm. Your car windows fog too- on the OUTSIDE.

Also, it never ever cools down. Last night, I kept waiting and waiting for it to cool off, but at almost midnight, it was still almost 90. Today it’s been pouring rain all day. And it’s still hot. You. Should. See. My. Hair.

Texas really, really likes Texas. Also, the Voldemart here is really scary- at least in East Houston, which is the only one I’ve been in. Downtown is nice. The convention center is massive, and the new ballpark downtown is cool. Er, rather, it’s retro and nice- nothing in Houston is COOL. No, everything here is meltingly hot. I don’t know how Texas women even bother with make-up or doing their hair…

I’ve been taking photos, and I’ll put them up when I get home- I don’t have an isb cord for my camera on me, and as Mo will attest, I am so-not-good at techie things. I look forward to the day I can use my wireless mouse as a tri-corder and just tell my Computer what to do, a la Picard. “Computer! Chamomile tea with honey!”

There are over 2000 other fabric artists here, and I’m TOTALLY the little fish in the big sea. Intimidating? Oh yeah. I’m trying not to think about it too much. My booth is all set up, it looks cute, and I’ve done everything in my power. Now, it’s out of my hands. Tomorrow, I’ll get up, make myself pretty (minus the hopeless hair situation), don my super cute new apron (pictures and maybe a free pattern coming), and hopefully wow the world. Or at least the small part of the world that make up the fabric lovers who’ve travelled to Houston in 2009.

Moda  (Moda! I love Moda fabric!) is one aisle over from me- and so is Amy Butler. I have a girl-crush on both of them; I feel bashful each time I look over there and see the fantastic things they are setting up… and here’s me, over here, all quiet and small…and shaking in my boots.

Math Is Not Interpretive Dance

math1222954353Our school district has been using an, um, -interesting- math curriculum for the last three years. David and I had puzzled over the work Jeffrey has brought home since kindergarten, but kind of figured the teachers must know what they were doing. Right? Rookie parent mistake. Not that the teachers didn’t know what they were doing- most of them are great, and they didn’t like the math program either. But they had to teach it.

Our math program has been “Interpretive” math. It’s been more about gleaning concepts from doing, about working with blocks and tiles and diagrams to absorb concepts. Which is a fine, nice idea- except that it’s not. Not teaching them anything that is. Math is not like art. Math is not fuzzy around the edges. Math is hard. And I mean a Hard Science, not difficult, though it may be that too.

When Jeffrey, who is generally a bright kid, struggled figuring out how add a column of numbers, alarm bells went off in Mama’s head. We’re talking basics here. His homework never contained basics- it was always things to cut out, to color, or to put into sets. David and I would sit at the table to help him, and be totally perplexed at how this was supposed to be math. A (large) group of parents began to make a lot of noise, and after some messy, loud district meetings, the Interpretive Dance Math Program was dropped.

So today I took Jeffrey to school to meet his new teacher and drop off his supplies (minus ink cartridge- don’t get me started), I was overjoyed to see the brand-spanking new textbooks on the counter. Textbooks! Not workbooks with pretty pictures and games. I picked the heavy book up and began to flip through it- and holy cow, it had actual MATH on page after page! And he will be working on a sheet of lined binder paper, from a textbook! I’m so happy I could flip. His new teacher, (and first man-teacher) was equally excited.

Who ever thought I would care about math? Me, the art major- who took business math in college to avoid any further algebra than my high-school career afforded. I can’t wait to do some long division and quiz his multiplication tables!

I’m OK, even love it, when the humanities are interpretive. But math? No way. Some things are just hard. And they need to stay that way. Funny how your priorities change when you become a mom…

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Garage Sale Finds: SCORE!

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This one just makes me giddy. That table is a solid walnut, antique, Duncan Pfyffe knock-off, with filigree edge and brass toe-caps on the tri-corn legs. The filigree is broken a little in the back- but it doesn’t bother me at all. It was marked fifty cents. Yes, that’s right. FIFTY CENTS. I asked the lady if that was right- actually, what I said was “This can’t be right, can it?” and she said sure, it was damaged. I slapped down my two quarters and ran to the car.

The wingback chair is also a thrift store find, $5.00. Yes, I ran with that one too. And its matching partner, which lives on the other side of the fireplace. I have a bolt of natural linen that I plan on making them slipcovers- and eventually I’ll get around to it. Won’t they be darling in linen slipcovers? The orange doesn’t do it for me, but hello!? FIVE bucks each? Thank you very much!