Tuesday, August 19, 2008

All Apologies...

Hello to everyone,

I think that August is surely the busiest month of the year. It is inevitable that no matter where I am in my life, no matter what I am doing, August is always going to kick my butt. It has definitely been the most crazy month so far this year at the store, and that's saying something. You just never know what is going to happen.

And sometimes, despite my best intentions, I let the craziness get the best of me.

Take, for example, Wednesday morning. I have gone to visit my Grandmother for tea. I have left said Grandma and driven to the local car-wash to clean and vacuum my car's interior in preparation for the trip to Betsy and Andy's wedding which will take place later on this same day in Kennebunk. I cannot relax unless my car is clean, for which I plead my type-A, OCD-edness. Kennebunk is about 2 hours away from here, if there is no traffic. Oliver and I were spending the night down there, and we were running late.

My mind is racing through all the things I need to do to get myself ready (buy wrapping paper, wrap present, write out card, do the dishes, pack clothes, shower) none of which I have done yet, when I come around the corner to the store and see about 20 different people sprinkled throughout the area. They are gathered on the store property, my property, the sidewalks, up and down the street, all throughout the Mills, and they are painting. More specifically, they are painting Watercolors. Watercolors of the store, of my house, of the bay, everything.

Now, normally, I am a big fan of the Watercolor painter. I have been known myself, during my Boston days, to get on the T (at Alewife station, no less!) with my bag full of tricks and a fold-up chair and spend the afternoon painting watercolors in the park. I looove painting watercolors. It is very soothing and quiet and pretty and I like the colors and brushes and control that you can get. In fact, for Andy and Betsy's wedding gift, I painted a watercolor of their house and Oliver made the frame. The point is: I consider myself a friend to the watercolor painter and would normally be thrilled to death to have a gaggle of painters on our property.

But not on this day. This day the painters had parked right smack dab in the middle of our parking lot, filling it up completely 45 minutes before we even opened. Crazy-Rhea parked her car and asked the nearest painter (who probably had no idea what hit her) what the deal was with all of the artists. She told me that they were all in a class, at which point I asked her if they would be there for a long time. They would be there until 11:30, she said, at which point another car came and pulled into our property AND it was chock a block full of painters with easels.

I would like to be able to tell you that I calmly and politely asked them to please move their cars, but I AM an Aries and sometimes things come out of my mouth that sound a lot harsher than I mean them too. They are straight, sharp, barbed little arrows of nastiness that fly out of me before I can even think. My aim is DEADLY and My Mom is ALWAYS telling me this. While I did ask them to move their vehicles I was perhaps not as diplomatic as I could have been in the situation. I offer up as an excuse the fact that I was super stressed-out, but, really I think that is not a very good excuse at all (Can you tell that I'm a Catholic and feeling a little guilty?)

So, if you haven't guessed by now where I am going with this, I just want to put out there on the internet for all to see, in the vain hopes that someone who knows one of these painters will pass the message along, an APOLOGY. Painters, I am sooo sorry that I may have been a teeny, tiny, blush of a bit angry with you for filling up our driveway, but it's the only one we've got and I was stressed about things that really had nothing to do with you at all. You were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. I wish I could go back and react a bit more calmly but I cannot. As Popeye says, I yam what I yam.

So, there ya go. I got that off of my chest. Please, if you are painting a watercolor in the tri-state area and see me drive by, be not afraid. I assure you that I shan't make this mistake again, and watercolorists will always have a safe-haven at Alewives. Just don't park in our driveway.

Ta ta for now!!!



Thursday, August 7, 2008


...A little birdie told me that there is a HUGE sale over at Alewives today.
Over a hundred bolts of our best cheese at just $5 a yard, plus all kinds of other good deals, like patterns and books for 50% off and unfinished quilt tops and bag samples, etc. for next to nothing. The sale lasts through Sunday so get yourselves over there while the getting's good.

Tell them Rhea sent you. Er, rather, tell ME that I sent you because I'll be the one in the sale room. See you there!!!



Tuesday, August 5, 2008

someone needs a shower...

Hello one and all,

Am writing to you after an absolutely cuh-razy weekend, in addition to which I feel like I am STILL recovering from the big, bad Quilt Show, but I PROMISE not to kehvetch (spelling???) about it any more.

This post has been MONTHS in the making: lots of planning and secrets and creative hiding and a cast of thousands (okay, a cast of tens) So, without further delay, I am free to present to you the fabulous tale of...

A few months ago, Meredith Fossett, who is the president of our local Clamshell Quilters Quilt Guild (and coincidentally one of the most fabulous people I know) comes to me with the idea to make the soon-to-be-married Betsy Jewell and Andy Spekke a
wedding quilt. Not only that, but to present it to them at a surprise shower and give them gifts as well. I LOVED this idea. Nobody actually DOES stuff like that any more. And, Betsy and Andy are exactly the type of couple for whom it is a pleasure to do this kind of thing. They are both so nice and fun to be around and chill, you cannot help but love them (plus, I am forever in Betsy and Andy's debt as they are the ones who guided my boyfriend, Oliver, in my direction).

So, Meredith and I decide on some fabrics for the quilt and one by one, the Clamshell Quilters and my Alewives Girls ALL came in and made a square for Betsy and Andy. The squares got sewn together by the wonderful Ruth Vietze and quilted by our very own Maia Hart and voila: instant quilt. Except it was more like instant quilt in two months. There were even so many extra squares that we made matching pillows and throw pillows and pillowcases for Andy and Betsy.

In the meantime, it was my job to liaison between Andy and Meredith. Andy was in on it from the beginning. He was on a need to know basis about the shower but knew nothing of the quilt and other fabulousness coming his way. It was his job to get Betsy to Meredith's house this past Sunday at 2 o'clock for the shower. This was somewhat easy-ish, because Meredith also happens to be the notary who will be doing the actual marriage ceremony. It was perfect for her to arrange a little pre-wedding get together to go over the vows, etc.

But, of course, when Betsy and Andy got to Meredith's house they did nothing of the sort. We all hid on the deck and got to jump out and yell "Surprise!!!" ( I love the photo with Andy's "the jig is up" face) and, as Andy says, there are very few true surprises in life. He's right. When you get to pull a fast one on somebody (especially for a good reason) it feels sooo good.

The couple were immediately whisked into the living room, where their quilt was waiting on a quilt stand, surrounded by pillows and gifts. Meredith read a poem that she wrote herself (this was the point where everybody started crying...) and then, after the quilt had been oohed and aahed over and the whole story had been told, we got to EAT and that was very fun. I'm telling you, these little ladies know how to rock and roll with the baked goods and finger foods. That and talk about the most spicy things imaginable. I thought my friends and I were bad, but the Clamshell ladies make "Sex and the City" look tame. Seriously.

Anyways, Betsy opened the gifts and Andy TOTALLY schmoozed with the Clamshell ladies and then we talked the afternoon away on Meredith's beautiful deck overlooking the Damariscotta River. Of particular cooperation was the weather: a day that started out positively black with rain and thunderstorms had become golden, sunshine-y and warm by 2:30. Those of you who live in the mid-coast area, you KNOW of which I speak.

Months and Months of work and it all actually went off without a hitch. Very much worth it.

Andy and Betsy's wedding will be in Kennebunkport on the 14th. Oliver and I will be there, so don't look for me at the shop on the 15th until much later on in the day, as I will be recovering from what is sure to be a great shindig.

Congratulations, Betsy and Andy...

You are very much loved and have the quilt to prove it!