Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Just for Fun!

Don't you love those blogs that are so instructional and educational? Hopefully I will have some posts down the road that will be like that but...this isn't one of them. Today I have a story to share with you just for fun!

When I was about 8 years old, my grandmother was the pianist of their church and my grandfather, "Poppy" was a deacon. They would go to church early for Sunday evening service for Poppy to get things set up and Grandma would practice her music selections. I loved to go with them and have the whole church to myself to run around and play. There was often special music scheduled and one group that used to come frequently was "The Keystones". I remember them pulling up in an old white van filled with their equipment. One of the members, Joe, was always so sweet to me. He would let me help carry things in from the van while we would chat away about things that were important to an 8 year old little girl.  Joe went on to join another group and achieved some fame. Maybe you have heard of him? But I won't reveal that just yet. About 6 or 7  years ago I decided to try and get in touch with him. I found their website and sent an email to customer service with a message for Joe. I didn't even know if he would remember me after all these years. How excited I was to receive a personal email from him shortly after! A few months later they happened to be playing in my town so we not only got to go to their concert, but my whole family was able to go back stage and take pictures with the band.

Ok, my friend from all those years ago is <drum roll> .....
Joe Bonsall of the Oak Ridge Boys!!!
I gave him one of my afghans!

What a super, exciting honor!

My girls used to love playing "Elvira" on the juke box at our local Waffle House. They never believed me when I would say I "knew" Joe!

And Georgie!

You can visit their official site here: Oak Ridge Boys!!! And by the way, they were recently inducted into the Grand Ole Opry on August 6, 2011.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My dear friend Jean Leinhauser

I am quite late in writing this post but I didn't have a blog when we lost Jean back in June and I really want to share my memories with you.

My first meeting with Jean was about 8 years ago at a CGOA conference in Manchester, NH. Her longtime business partner and closest friend, Rita Weiss had sent out an email prior to the show to schedule meetings with designers. Of course I wanted to take advantage of  this opportunity and quickly sent an email to make my appointment. But when my meeting time came, I couldn't find them! I was frantically searching all over the designated area but I had no idea what they looked like! I was at the point of giving up and so disappointed! This is when Doris Chan walked up. She was supposed to meet with them after me. So I wasn't nervous enough just having the meeting to begin with but now I was late and also sharing the meeting with Doris Chan! Once we finally all got together, one of the first things Rita said was "So you're the one that can crochet with your feet?" Years ago Jean had been the editor of Talking Crochet and had done an article on me doing foot crochet. But that's a story for another day.

I have already been missing Jean in so many ways. I had emailed with her in April as we collaborated on a design. We would have little email chats and there was never an occasion that she didn't make me laugh! Doris and I would often call Jean and Rita "The Living Legends". Jean would correct us immediately and say that she preferred to be called a sex goddess!

I still smile and chuckle everytime I think of my friend.

This photo was taken just before walking into the fashion show and banquet the day after meeting them for the first time. Jean took my arm and said "YOU, my dear, shall sit with us" What an honor!

Always a smile on her face!

From front left to right: Marty Miller, Doris Chan, Me, Jean, Vashti Braha, Rita Weiss.

Like I said - Jean always made me laugh!

One of my favorite things to do was to sit at the Creative Partners booth in the market and visit with Jean. Last year I picked out a couple books that I wanted to buy. As I reached for my purse, Jean patted my shoulder and said "My dear, you picked all the ones that are free" I couldn't figure out what she was talking about at first but as soon as I realized I began arguing with her that I was not taking them without paying for them. Naturally Jean won the argument. So as soon as I got home I packed up a cute little purse that I had with lots of color and bling to send as a thank you gift. Inside the purse, I tucked a bottle of bright bluish/green nail polish. Everytime Jean saw me with my blue nails matching my outfit she would remark how much she loved it. The last time we emailed she told me she would be wearing her new blue nail polish to the Minneapolis conference. How I would have loved to see that!

This was the last time I saw my sweet friend. This was taken right after the banquet and fashion show last summer.

I feel so blessed and honored to have known you Jean! Thanks for so many great memories!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Finally enough room to crochet!

I took some time off work yesterday to go for lunch with my family. It felt really good to be out of my office although I did take crochet with me to work on in the car. Just too many deadlines right now to really take time off. The restaurant we went to is about a 20 minute drive and we pass by a beautiful house that has been empty and for sale for a couple years. After eating it was such a pretty, sunny day and I wasn't ready to go back home so I suggested we peek through the windows of this amazing house. Well, that was my first mistake. I am so totally in love with this place and scheming (dreaming!) of ways I can get it! My second mistake was to come home and pull it up on the internet. Now I love it even more! I can totally see myself sitting on the porch crocheting and I already have the rocking chairs! I could even hold a crochet retreat here, open a yarn shop, offer 6 or 7 crochet classes at the same time! Is this not one of the most gorgeous places you have ever seen!

My dream crochet house!

This is the view from the entrance. Check out that floor! It is a work of art! Notice the pocket doors that I could so easily slide closed for instant classrooms!

Crocheting by the fireplace!

I love this room! The gorgeous wood, the unique ceiling. It looks like it would have such a warm, cozy feeling.

AND..... it has an attached 1800 square foot warehouse! What an ideal place to keep all my yarn! Ok, back to work <sigh>

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Across the Board Crochet 2011

One of the added benefits of joining CGOA (the Crochet Guild of America) is the pattern book put together by our board of directors. If you are a new member just joining or an existing member renewing your membership,  look what you will receive!

Seven great patterns from our board of directors! My design is the "Vertes Ananas" shawl. This is a fun, easy to stitch design. I hope you like it!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

CGOA Fall Conference

Four weeks from today is the Fall CGOA conference in Greensboro, North Carolina. It's not too late to make plans to attend. If you've never been before, it is an awesome experience. There are so many classes to choose from, a fashion show and banquet, design competition, great shopping in the market, and the list goes on! For aspiring designers, the meet-and-greet is a fantastic opportunity to meet publishers face-to-face with the potential to sell your designs on the spot! It doesn't get much more exciting than that! The event kicks off with professional development day on September 21. I hope to see many of you there!
I will close with an introduction to Marley and Rugrat. Take note of their tails. Even the cats have to match the furniture around here!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Shock Factor!

I've always been one of those conservative people that likes to blend into the background. Ok, so nothing could be further from the truth! I like bright, bold, in-your-face kinds of things. I often refer to what I call the "shock factor". 

A perfect example would be my appearance. I have had long, blond hair in one style or another almost my entire life. This is the look that everyone has always known me by. So imagine the "shock factor" of my husband when I changed to my current look especially since I didn't tell him before I did it!

But this is just who I am and it affects every part of my life including my crochet. I love to create a design that will be remembered. That unforgettable piece that leaves an impression. I also give everything I do 110%. There's no point in doing something half-heartedly. Give it everything you've got! Hence my beautiful, orange car. There is no way I was driving around in my purple mini-van with orange hair! So I bought the car to match my hair. The point is, don't be afraid to try new things. Experiment with your crochet. Try something new that you've never done before. Have fun with it!