For reference, the things I talk about in this post happen in the following places:
It really didn't seem like a year had passed since I was last at Blade Show. Time flies! The trip had a whole different flavor this year, since I flew instead of drove, since the Engrave-In was beforehand instead of afterwards, since I was on my own this time, and since I wasn't a first-timer this year. Could it be that I've gotten so used to travel and shows that they barely make me nervous anymore? Wow. :-)
The day I left, I awoke to a foggy morning. I went out to feed in jeans and a sweatshirt that morning. That will be the last cool weather I'll see for a while, I'm sure.
I flew out last Tuesday afternoon. Miraculously, I fit everything into one carry-on suitcase and a backpack. Of course I'd shipped a suitcase-sized box ahead with my display stuff, but all the original scrimshaw and all my clothing and multitude of shoes went with me. I'm still not sure how I managed that. I friend of mine told me that I packed lighter than any woman he's ever known. I'm flattered. Packing light is not my strong point....
I have mixed feelings about flying. I love to look the out the window. I do that in a car or a bus too, but flying gives a pretty cool view of how the terrain changes, and no matter how many times I see the tops of the clouds, it amazes me every time. But I hate the crowds and the hassle and the uncomfortable seats. I took Southwest on the way there and Delta on the way back and I have to say Southwest is way more comfortable. If it wasn't for the pain-in-the-butt factor of flying, I'd enjoy it more. A private jet would be nice. Especially if it includes some handsome feller on board to rub my feet after I wear stupid high heels all day. Mmm yes.
Leaving the Sacramento valley:
Somewhere between Sacramento and Phoenix:
Somewhere between Phoenix and Nashville::
I got into Nashville at the absurdly late hour of midnight. Why did I do that? Simple answer, the flight was WAY cheaper, and my sweet and wonderful friend Emily said she didn't mind picking me up. What would life be without wonderful friends?? I guess mine was the only flight getting in that late, the plane was half empty (a whole row of seats to myself! I tried to stretch out and sleep but that's impossible for a leggy person to do on an airplane no matter how many seats one has!) and the airport was utterly deserted. We took a bit of a, um, scenic detour on the way back to where Emily lives (her family hosts the Engrave-In) so we rolled into the driveway around 3am. Getting up a few hours later was a challenge.
But there's nothing like some cannon-shooting to liven up one's morning! Yup, a real cannon. You see (and eat) things in Tennessee that you don't find in California.
Here's Emily shooting the cannon:
What else happens at the Engrave-In? There are a few educational seminars, people show off their work, there's a lot of sitting around talking, I took a nap, people play music (these engraver people are very musical), and we eat a lot of extremely delicious food. On Wednesday night for dinner we were served shrimp, fried catfish, alligator (yeah I ate alligator!), hushpuppies, coleslaw, watermelon, and lots of dessert. OMG yum! And then I sat and watched fireflies over the pond. Fireflies! What a novelty! (We don't have those here). It's really an excuse for a social thing, that to me is what it's about. Last year it was after the Blade Show, but this year due to their family schedule it ended up beforehand. I much prefer it to be afterwards, I'd rather do my work first and then go party, but nevertheless I had a great time and am glad I was able to attend.
Emily brought her horse Rebel under the shade tarps to meet people (and eat watermelon!)
Sam, the orange cat, on the jeep. That cat gets into everything! He was just a kitten last year.
Emily and Forrest picking blue raspberries and mulberries. I gotta give props to Tennessee, it grows good berries. I've never had blueberries like the wild ones I ate last year, and our mulberry trees here and bland and boring compared to those!
After lunch on Thursday I hitched a ride with another engraver to Atlanta, which is about three hours away. I checked in at the show and checked in at the hotel and hit the hay as early as I could!
This was the view from my hotel room, the Cobb Galleria is where I would be set up for Blade Show for the next three days:
This is my table. You may recognize the arrangement from the way I had it set up at the Western Visions show in Wyoming last fall. I liked how that looked so I sewed a new tablecloth this year and set it up the same way. It was just me this year, I did not share a table. Now let me just say, because people often ask, yes it is hard doing all this alone. More than once I heard "I can't believe you're here by yourself!" Well... thanks? It's not like I have a choice. If the day ever comes when I get to share all this fun stuff with some else, that would be swell! Anyway... in the mean time I say again thank goodness I have the best friends on the planet. :-)
I said something on Facebook recently about how the world would be a better place if all the drivers who are too rude or stupid to move the #$%& over and not nearly run me over when I'm out walking Angus would vanish off the earth. I was told I need to carry some sort of sharp object. I found the perfect thing at Blade Show. It was a tad out of budget and therefore I did not buy it, but hello is that badass or what??? I really would need to wear the Xena outfit to get away with that though. I think I know a few guys who could make me one of these.
And the weekend flew past. I made some sales. I got some orders. I made some important connections with some very important people. I liked my table location better this year, I felt like I was more a part of the action, and having been there before it seemed like my work got more attention this year, more noticed. Heck I even got interviewed, which means I made an absolute nerd of myself and someone recorded it, oh dread! It was a good show! I nearly finished a drawing that I'd brought to work on (note to self, do this again! Drawing there is a very good thing to do!). I had a great time catching up with old friends and meeting new ones. I could hardly believe how quickly it went by.
Before I knew it I was back on an airplane. Flying west in the evening is like watching the longest sunset you can imagine. It wasn't too colorful but every time I'd close my eyes for a bit and then look out the window, it was the same state of "almost darkness"... for hours. Seeing the sun glint pinkish gold off the TOPS of the clouds is something everyone should experience in life. That said, I preferred the cross-country drive last year. I couldn't have done it this year, it wasn't practical, but I'll do it again some year for sure. Even if I have to do it alone. ;-)
I came home to hot weather, eggs hatching, things to do, and life as usual...
And I may never catch up on blogging!