Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Step Daughter's Wedding

My step-daughter got married this last weekend. It was both a hippie wedding and a grand extravaganza. The wedding lasted 2 days. Darling Step-Daughter, (DSD), is a nature girl, so the wedding was on the beach. A risky choice. It was a bit cool and drizzled as we walked back to the cars.

The Friday night ceremony for close family and intimate friends was followed by dinner at a very nice restaurant. On Saturday, there was an outdoor reception from 3 pm to 9 pm at another park(half way across the state!)for extended friends and family. There would be food and dancing and a bonfire at night.

So what does a knitting step-mom wear to such an affair? That was the agonizing question for me for several weeks (well, months, really) as I searched for the right dress(es) and tried (but failed) to diet. In the end, I bought a simple jerzey knit summer dress with cap sleeves, a low-scooped back, and flare at the hemline - but it was in a beautiful shade of blue and it begged to be accesorized. I knit this shrug and made a necklace, bracelet,and earrings to co-ordinate. I finished the necklace at 2:30 p.m. on Friday and we left for the ceremony at 4:45 p.m.

I was definitely glad that I had made the shrug. All the other women were wearing sleeveless sundresses and shivering in the cold, but I was just right. I was definitely the most dressed up person there next to the bride, though.

The same was true on Saturday, when I wore a sleeveless summer dress with a garden print. I haven't gotten any wedding pictures from DSD yet, so the only pictures I have are these that DH took. You can sort of see the Friday night outfit in the picture on the left. I'm the one who looks like a lush with a wine glass in her hand. The only picture of me from Saturday is this lovely rear-end view.

What is it about the internet that inspires one to post such unflattering pictures that do not make the cut into a traditional photo album?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Knitting Screw Guy

I can't believe it's almost 2 weeks since Stitches. I meant to post this story right away, but didn't get around to it.

When setting up my booth at Stitches, I was helped immeasurably by my neighbors at Mind Your Knitting. I'm forever indebted to the husband of this family business team. Since he may want to remain somewhat anonymous, I'll just call him "Screw Guy." Screw Guy saved my sales for the weekend.

As mentioned in a previous post, Stitches was my first retail venture. (I only sold wholesale to yarn shops prior to this.) Besides packing 500 Knitter's Journey Knit with Wire Kits, I had to get display fixtures and get a merchant number so that I could accept credit cards in order to do the show. My credit card validator and my merchant number arrived just in time as I was packing for Stitches. I knew I had to swap the new merchant number plate for the generic one that came with my validator. I packed a screwdriver and figured I'd take care of it in Chicago.

Well, guess what? One of the screws just wouldn't budge. It looked like the head of the screw was stripped. Panic set in. No Validation plate = no credit card sales.
Screw Guy to the rescue! Not only did he have a better screw driver, he had an arsenol of tools that had no business being at a knitting show. And am I thankful that he did! Screw Guy loosened the screwed up screw with a few quick twists of his superior Philips head. But we weren't out of the woods yet! When I swapped the plates it was evident that the new plate was larger than the old plate- it covered the numbers of the date. But never fear, Screw Guy was here! He had a sharp little cutting tool handy. He expertly cut the plate down to size. I breathed a sigh of relief. Thanks to Screw Guy, credit cards of Stitches attendees were now free to lay themselves down on my validator bed.

Thanks again to my superhero, Screw Guy, fighting for truth, justice, and the American Way . . . CHARGE!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Will work for food

Sorry, there is no picture. I tried to get my friend Carolyn to wear a sign, "Will Work For Food" but she wouldn't go for it. Carolyn is retired from working as a wholesale sales rep in the gift industry, and as you can imagine, she was a great help to me. She has great sales skills and a keen eye for merchandising. She was the one who suggested I turn the baskets on their sides for a cornucopia effect, which made a great difference. We had many positive comments from both vendors and customers about the booth and the baskets in particular. Obviously, it worked, since sales were good.

Boy did we work! We arrived Wednesday to check in and drop off our stuff and we spent all day Thursday setting up. Showtime was Thurday night, when we were open for business for 2 hours. Friday and Saturday we were on our feet selling from 10 - 6, and Sunday we worked 10-4. Our evenings were busy with paperwork, and I had to make samples for the demonstrations I did every day. Our only compensation was food -We enjoyed 2 great meals at the Hilton Garden O'Hare. Am I following my bliss or going crazy? I may not be rich, but I am happy.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Stitches Midwest 2007 Thank Yous

Well, this is it! This is what I worked all summer for. Here is my booth at Stitches. I was so pleased with the comments from customers and vendors that they liked my booth. Not bad for a first time, do it yourself on the cheap venture. I'm especially proud of my logo and banner. I designed it myself with the help of my knitting buddy Melissa.

This mammoth undertaking could not have been tackled without the help of my knitting buddies. Special thanks go to:

Melissa - for help with the logo and packing kits in the 11th hour.

Lauren - for her savy retail merchandising advice -especially her suggestion to use glass block to create shelves and risers.

Karen - for her enthusiasm for my product and support with her pocketbook by being my first Stitches customer.

Kathy - whose appearance on the other side of the booth on Saturday was a welcome surprise

Lynn - for her willingness to listen to me going on and on about this venture on our morning walks.

and most importantly,

Carolynn- who volunteered her van and came to Chicago with me as my unpaid employee. An entire post shall be devoted to this wonderful lady, but I have to talk her into letting me take her picture first.

I was also helped considerably by new friends - my vendor neigbors at Mind Your Knitting.

From what I understand, the attendance at Stitches was down almost 40%. Was it poor promotion? Is knitting that much on the decline? Or is it that the Rosemont convention center is cavernous, dirty, and ugly with far too much walking required for elderly or out of shape knitters? Still, I had very good sales and I have made contacts with several guilds and yarn shops to do presentations and sales.

I'll write more later....
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Thursday, August 2, 2007

Busy Girl

I can't believe I blogged only once in the month of July. Can I really be so busy? It's summer, I should have lots of time. I was teaching summer school the first 2 weeks of July, but it was only 1 90 minute class.

My husband and I enjoyed a mini-vacation to Austin, TX. I was surprised at how much there is to do there. There are lots of good restaurants and bars/clubs with live entertainment. I enjoyed the LBJ library and the Lady Bird Wildflower Center.
I actually got hubby to go out dancing!

Austin is a nice town but way too hot and muggy at this time of year.

I actually relaxed and read Harry Potter while on vacation. I was surprised how I really was instantly in vacation mode. I forgot all about Stitches for a while. In fact, I kind of forgot about knitting. I didn't seek out any yarn shops while I was in Austin, although I did spot one by chance when we went out to dinner.

Speaking of Stitches, I've got 500 kits packed and I'd like to pack 100 more since I've got the supplies. I really have to crank things up. I have lots of details to take care of. I've only been able to work on Knitter's Journey in the evenings because I've been taking a 2 credit podcasting class this week.

Well, busy girl has to get going.....bye!