Saturday, September 25, 2010

It doesn't seem fair...

I know I've said it before but I'll say it again, all work and no play makes Patty a dull girl. I have literally less than a week till the biggest deadline I've ever had is upon me but I needed to get out of the house and do something mindless for once. So, I dragged myself out of the dungeon and on down to the Clinton Apple & Pork Festival today. This was our first time attending this fair so I wasn't sure what to expect. Boy was I surprised when I encountered dozens of true artisans demonstrating their craft right there for all to see!

I was fascinated with this woman knitting this big fat scarf with this big fat wool and these big fat needles.

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She had pictures of her sheep at her booth and she said she hand shears them. I was immediately reminded of this blog post by my pal, Betz.

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I have never learned how to knit before but when she said you could make a scarf in just a few minutes with this big fat wool method, I was almost tempted to take up knitting right then & there. But instead I just bought a super cute scarf & hat set from her. Who's got time for another hobby? Not me!

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Then I saw this woman throwing pottery on a foot-operated wheel.

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Again... sooo cool for us to see. There she was just pumping away with her foot as she shaped these awesome pieces with her bare hands.

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I'm not a potter or scultor either, so maybe that's why I find these crafts so interesting.

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Then I came upon these kids making rope (???)

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Yeah, just like this. Not sure why. Just for fun?

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Then there was this man stirring a huge old smoky cauldron full of beans.

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So witchy! LOVE IT!!

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We also saw this man so carefully oiling and cleaning is vintage engines.

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The rust and textures were out of this world! I thought of my buddy, Melissa, and how much she'd enjoy this.

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Of course, there was the usual fair stuff, like petting zoos...

I was particularly fond of this guy...

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And I think he was fond of me too... or maybe just of my camera...

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See what I mean?

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Pony rides...

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And face-painting... (not the best face-painter, if you ask me, haha, but Sydney wanted it nonetheless)

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And yes, Sophie was with us too, but she thinks she's too big for pony rides and face-painting, sigh.

We did attempt to take a family picture...

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yep...

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"attempt" being the operative word.

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For those of you who were expecting to see skateboarding pictures today, sorry! We need to go out and buy some safety gear before we attempt this. Maybe next weekend? I'll be ready to celebrate once the patterns are off to print and the first manuscript of the book is off to the publisher. Oh, wait... but then there's Quilt Market.... argh... it never ends!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Meet Em & Em

I finally did it. I don't know what in the world possessed me to think that I, all by my little lonesome self, could handle putting out a new line of sewing patterns 4 times a year, designing a new fabric collection 2 times a year, writing a book and several magazine articles plus traveling around the country several times a year for trade shows, exhibits and lectures. All of that, in addition to all the mommy/wife duties that on their own could easily fill up a day, would eventually drive anyone into the looney bin. Well, I started seeing the signs all too clearly. You know, like when you say something and the other person looks at you strangely because you just said the same thing like 2 minutes ago? Or like when you tear the house apart looking for your glasses... yes, the ones that were on your head the entire time!? Or like when you keep missing appointments or forgetting to pick up groceries, etc. because you just didn't write it down visibly enough and... out of sight, out of mind!? I could go on and on, but you know what I mean.

So, I finally took the wise advice from my mom (and from everyone who gazed upon my crazy-eyed, sleep-deprived, over-caffeinated face in the past several months) and got some help. No, not a shrink, although that's not a bad idea either. Help came in the form of Em & Em.

The original idea was to hire one assistant. Someone who could come in for a few hours a week and help with various studio tasks, like sewing samples for the book... and for the new patterns... and for Quilt Market. Like helping me organize said studio, since lately it was looking more like this than like this. Like helping me with photography and photo staging for the book. Like assembling test patterns and fabric bundles for my testers, then helping me with pattern edits. And... and... and...

The list of roles and responsibilities just kept growing. As we conducted interviews and looked at everyone's schedule it was painfully obvious to us that we needed more than one assistant. Enter Emily and Emalee (both pronounced the same way). No, we didn't hire them because it was fun to say Em & Em. Believe me, it gets quite confusing at times.

Emalee and her cute, cute hairbow:

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Emily and her new trusty sidekick:

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Emily and Emalee are both Seniors at Illinois State University in the Apparel, Merchandising and Design Department. They both presented us with portfolios that blew our minds and resumes that went on for miles... geez, I don't remember working that hard when I was in college! But best of all, they both showed a positive attitude, a willingness to work hard and an inherent desire to learn new skills. Sold!

Both Ems jumped right in and started working on their first day...

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Little did I know that I would gain more than a little help around the studio when I hired Em & Em. I also got a sounding board and fresh set of eyes for all my crazy ideas, a new babysitter that the kids adore (we desperately needed that!) and some gorgeous models! Yes, folks, you heard it here first! You will be seeing a lot more of Em & Em in the covers of my new women's patterns, out next month!

Now... it's back to work! Or maybe I'll take that much overdue nap now.