The last few days before we leave for annual needlework market are CRAZY at our house/office. No matter how early we begin preparations, we're always busy until the exact moment we hop in the car and head down the road...Beverly Hillbillies style, that is! (car overflowing with booth props, inventory, luggage and us!).
In order to avoid high shipping costs, we're actually packing 3 cars this year. Every year my wonderful local needlework shop owner, Debbie, agrees to let me fill her car. She needs the space on the way home to haul her purchases, but on the way it's full of L*K inventory.
We had to make an emergency trip to Tulsa a couple weeks ago to repair our virus-infected computer. The only good part about that was the opportunity to detour over to The Silver Needle, and leave them more inventory to schlep to Nashville. Miraculously, we already had some boxes packed...
and we've got more boxes waiting for their journey. The office is so full, these boxes are hanging out in my piano room!
One reason the office is nearly impassable is my "mock market" setup. Before we pack everything, I set up a fake little market display, trying to anticipate everything I'll need for display and inventory. I promise it will look much nicer and neater in my Nashville showroom! No matter how well I prepare, there are always a few lists and emergency trips to Walgreens, Home Depot, etc. for forgotten items when we're setting up. Instead of going next door for a cup of sugar, I pop down the hall to borrow T-pins and tape!
My long-time (never old) friend in the needle biz is Judy Whitman from JBW Designs. Judy and I met many years ago in the lonely exercise room of the Embassy Suites. Let's just agree that the exercise room is much less busy in the mornings than the complimentary breakfast buffet! Judy and I got acquainted on the elliptical trainers and we've been good friends ever since. Judy even made the trip to KC several years ago for our daughter Sarah's wedding.
Pic below from left to right: Judy, Connie (Judy's friend and market helper), Jeff and Sarah, my mother-in-law Georgia May.
Judy and I usually attempt to have our rooms next to each other, and run back and forth during the weekend. We've also enjoyed shopping in historic Franklin, exploring lots of yummy Franklin/Nashville restaurants and taking long walks before busy market days.
One reason Judy's room is so popular with shoppers (and Alan and I!) is her cookie buffet. Yes, multi-talented Judy puts out a delicious smorgasbord of home-baked cookies in her room every year. She even publishes a darling little yearly cookbook with all the recipes. It's quite the collector's item every year!
Sadly, Judy had an accident last week and is now sporting a new hip. She's home recuperating in snowy Michigan, and her faithful friend, Connie, is coming to Nashville to run the popular JBW showroom. For the first time, they won't have cookies in their room...so I decided to pick up the slack (or is that the sugar?).
My freezer is filling with several of our favorite cookies...
and Alan is working on a batch of his famous chocolate chip cookies...a real classic. I still remember the first time he decided to make a batch of cookies "all by himself". When he got to the "shortening" part of the recipe he came to me to ask..."what is shortening?". Thankfully, he bakes unassisted now. The real trick will be getting these sugary treats to market uneaten! Sorry, no cute L*K cookbook.
And while we're talking food...I snapped this pic for my church scrapbook a couple days ago in our beloved church basement kitchen. Alan and I gathered with a few friends (the rare ones who are available on a Friday morning) to cook for the homeless day shelter across the street from our church. We prepared our famous tater tot casserole (think hamburger, onions, mushroom soup, corn, cheese and tater tots), green beans, salad, and peach cobbler for 120.
Pic below: Jim, Stuart, me, Linda M, and Eddie (dubbed the "top tot")
We experienced a "biblical moment" when the shelter was unusually busy that day, due to our nasty weather. The line just kept coming, and we just kept dishing food (and praying) and we managed to feed 150+ grateful souls that day. It wasn't loaves and fishes, but that magical tater tot casserole seemed to multiply and was sure a hit!
Here's to you, Judy! We'll miss you at Nashville and promise to eat a cookie (or two or three) and think of you!