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Monday, May 21, 2007

Back from seminar!

Wow, what a trip! Last night I returned from the Mid-Eastern Region EGA seminar in Chautauqua, NY.

My MIL & I left Wednesday morning at 8:30, arriving at Bellinger Hall on the grounds of Chautauqua Institution sometime around noon. We found the room in which the exhibit was to be held, and started labeling the pieces that had already been brought in by our fellow seminar workers. We ordered out for subs for us and for those doing setup of the vendor and registration areas, the opportunity baskets, and classrooms.

At some point we registered, got our room keys, and brought our luggage in. The rooms were not fancy - just dorm rooms with single beds, a small desk and wardrobe for each, and a shared bath for every two rooms. Most people, including us, specified that we wanted a private bath, so, for the most part, only every other room was populated.

By 6:00 PM Wednesday most of the exhibit entries had arrived, and some folks went out to dinner. I joined the crew that shared 6 delivered pizzas! After dinner, four of us went to work setting up the exhibit, and were done by around 9:15. (I'll share before and after pictures tomorrow, since I don't have the camera hooked up right now!) In all, we had about 65 pieces of needlework on display.

On Wednesday night, the bed I occupied was the hardest bed I had ever used. It seemed to me that I didn't sleep much, but I think I just kept waking up - frequently. MIL had brought a pillow from home, and gave me the one on her bed. I ended up sleeping on it, just so my back wouldn't be on the hard bed.

A routine started as of Thursday:

  • wake up at six, take turns getting ready (and stitching while the other was doing so).
  • breakfast at 7:30 - eating and lots of chatting.
  • back to the room to pick up stuff for class at 9.
  • At 11:55, run out of class to get the exhibit opened at noon. Coach the three people who signed up to monitor it, and trust that they'll figure out how to take turns monitoring and getting their lunches.
  • 12:10 - Go have lunch, and compare notes with people in other classes.
  • 1:15 - the exhibit (and the attached vendor area) is supposed to close, provided we can get excited stitchers to finish up purchases and viewing, and find the guy who's supposed to lock everything up. A couple of times I resorted to flickering the lights so people would look at their watches and realize they had 10 minutes to get back to class!
  • 1:30-4:30 - back in class.
  • 4:45 - repeat the exhibit opening routine, then shop for a bit, and actually take time to look at the exhibit! Once I actually had time for a bit of a walk outside!
  • 6:00 - exhibit closed again, and we all head to dinner.
  • 7:30 - exhibit opens, coach more helpers, etc. I usually headed back to my room for a bit of quiet time!
  • 9:00 - exhibit closes for the night. Then I could find the ladies from my chapter who tended to meet in somebody's room, with hilarity ensuing! We had about 17 people from our chapter there, and all of them are lots of fun!
  • Somewhere around 11:00-12:00 - clean up, change into pj's and tumble into bed.
The funny thing was that the bed became more comfortable every night! :-)

As for the classes, they were both great. The sampler class with Catherine Theron was pretty packed, with maybe 17 people. She handled it wonderfully, going over a stitch or two and giving us lots of time to practice and add it to our sampler. We finished going over all of the stitches by 11:00 on Friday, and then we reviewed all the central motifs in the sampler, going over what stitches were used where. Again, she broke this up, going over two to three motifs, then giving us time to stitch before we went on and talked about other motifs. By the end of class on Friday I had the main vine of the border done all the way around - and it met correctly!!!

Saturday and Sunday was Kathy Fenchel's Picnic Hampered! This is another fun piece, with plenty of challenges of its own, but it's a completely different "mood" than the sampler. There were only 6 other people in this class, three of whom were in the sampler class with me. I think we're all having more difficulty with stitching messy, random tree bark than with the detached buttonhole on the sampler! One of the other people in this class was Karen Wojahn, the national president of EGA. She sat next to me, and I was honored to get to know this lovely lady a bit!

Since the opportunity basket drawings were scheduled for lunchtime on Sunday, and we were all going to leave right after class, Saturday evening was the last exhibit showing. A few people in Studio Time were going to take down the exhibit on Sunday. As I was shutting things down Saturday, the vendors were starting to pack up. One of the vendors had brought 10 items to the exhibit, and requested hers back. I pulled all of hers, and mine, and MIL's, just to get them out of the way. Then, the owner of the pegboards we had used decided she wanted those back now, so I pulled the rest of the items off the pegboards. I was reluctant to leave a partially-disassembled exhibit open as the vendors were carting out their things, so I found a few more exhibitors in the dining room and offered to give them their pieces at that time. I found the ladies from my chapter, and got those out, too. So, out of 19 exhibitors, I distributed pieces back to all but 4 on Saturday night. A glass of wine later, and I slept the night through!

I took today as a vacation day, figuring that I'd need a day to recover, and I'm sure glad I did! Seminar was great, but it was also very tiring!

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