Wonderful Things

There are multitudes of sites on the web that sometimes get in the way of things I’ve been meaning to do.  Like updating this blog, for example.  My handy-dandy excuse is always that I have not done any illustration for the blog because I’m working on a project and sometimes, I’m not sure if it’s right to post the illustrations for a work that’s not entirely my own.  For those of you who know me or are following my blog, you know I’m talking about UTales.

UTales is a site where there are many ebooks available for children and access to them is unlimited for a small monthly fee.  Since I haven’t got young children anymore, UTales.com is a place where I “meet” other writers and artists and where I can collaborate with a writer by doing the illustrations for his or her work.  A percentage of the sales is donated to Pencils of Promise and because I was once an educator, I feel good about helping this organization build schools for developing countries.  I also feel really inspired when I look at the work of fellow artists and I intend to post links to their sites here because they do incredible work.

The wonderful thing about visiting other artists’ sites is that they usually provide links to other equally wonderful things.  On weekends or sometimes late at night when I’m wrapping up some illustration work, I meander about on such sites and drown myself in the creative masterpieces that evoke feelings of both inspiration and self-doubt (the latter being the whole “OMG my work sucks compared to theirs!”).

Last Saturday, I found a link to a video of The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore.  I posted it on FB but I want to post it here again because it’s just a wonderful thing that shouldn’t be missed.  


The Las Vegas Market 2012 Show

There are some things that remain surreal even when they’re right in front of you.  Vegas has never been in my list of places to visit so landing at the McCarran Airport was already something.  But that was definitely nothing compared to the rush of excitement I felt when I stepped down from the shuttle bus and saw people making their way to any one of the three huge buildings that housed everything from theater seating for the home to little wooden figures that encourage you to live better and love much.

We set up the day before the show opening date.  It was a Sunday but there were other exhibitors pulling their bags along, making a beeline for their buildings.  We did the same thing, of course, and found our way to our booth.  Well, Lyn did that, of course, as I am direction-challenged (is there such a phrase?).

Monday morning was like a scene in a finally-finding-my-corner-of-the-sky movie. While this was not exactly Lyn’s or my idea of our corner of the sky, the sheer number of people (again with rolling bags in tow) and the music that greeted us filled us with excitement.  A couple of months before, I was chiding her about buying a throw pillow cover that she had bought online.  I told her I could have easily made one for her.  True to form, she counters with, “How do we scale that so we can sell them?”

Fast forward to January with many a crazy designing, editing, paring down, trips to Mexico, Skyping, unpacking, sorting, labeling, repacking days leading to it and we’re at one of the largest trade shows ever.  The two of us had no real idea what was in store.  We  had to be reminded that we were there to sell and not to shop! We were, however, armed with the faith our families had in us (though for a minute there, he who must not be named did consider dropping in lest we fail to put on our marketing hats), belief in our designs, and maybe that sheer desire to succeed and make this work. 

Did I mention that our booth was right next to the cafe?  Well, it was!  Other than driving buyers over to our side of the exhibits, it provided us with happy hour sustenance.  At about half past three, the clinking of glasses and plates begin.  At about four, I just have to lean back and take a peek by the divider to see what spread had been prepared to go with the free wine and beer and soda.

Two exciting things that happened during the week: the first was being picked and featured by Monica Pedersen in the Style Finds section of the Market website.  A camera was planted on one corner of our booth and Lyn asked me why it was there.  I told her that maybe they were going to feature the booth that was diagonally across from us. Then someone comes up to me and says, “Oh, I should probably be talking to you ladies!  We need the pillows in your Saffron, Rhythm, and Infinity collections.”

When she said that, my first reaction was to wonder how she came to know the collection names off the bat.  My second reaction was to, like an automaton, pick out the pillows and put them on the shelves where Monica Pedersen (who was close by memorizing her lines and smiling at us) was supposed to stand.  Lyn stood by with our neighbors Gitte and Heidi, frozen.

It took a few seconds when it was all over for us to realize that something good had just happened.  When Lyn’s husband asked if she took pictures, that’s when it hit us what zombies we must have been.  Luckily, when Monica found out, she came back to our booth the next day and the pictures were taken.

The second thing was Lyn’s having her picture taken with David Bromstad.  I was too lazy to go to Building A and line up for it.  Besides, I might have carted the poor guy along with me.  Best to keep a distance.

Our neighbors were wonderful.  There was Herman who sold curtains and fabric in silk and silk-like polyester, Dada who sold real silk fabric, and Bret who sold quilts and pillows that had microfiber filling or organic silk filling made from imperfect silkworm cocoons.  They had been doing the Vegas show from the time it began about five years ago so they shared trade tips with us.  Right across us were two ladies, also newbies, from California.  Heidi and Gitte drove nine hours with their goods and half a wooden barrel that smelled like whiskey (they used it like a little table in their booth).  We exchanged notes, helped each other by critiquing one another’s booth designs, and wondered where this experience would lead us next.

All in all, it was a good experience and I wouldn’t mind doing it again.  But I’m quite happy to be back.  I can’t wait to finish some illustration work and to continue writing the novel I began in November.  I know for sure that even while I’m doing those, I’ll be keeping an eye out for email from the buyers we met at the show.  That’s when the real thrill will begin for sure!

A little advertising here: if any of you are curious about our pillow covers, head on over to our website and take a look. It’s a flash site so it may not work on iphones or ipads but they’re also on Amazon.