Friday morning I pulled into the DFW area. My aunt and uncle live in Plano, so my mom drove down to stay there and watch my kids while I headed to Frisco for the Applique Getaway... Over 48 hours kids-free! After getting them settled and giving hugs, I was on my way!
My first stop was the Love Field Airport to pick up my virtual BFF Kaycee. We "met" and have interacted in various applique groups and forums over the years. We seemed so much alike and have become genuine friends, it was fantastic to actually meet in person! We headed to the Westin Stonebriar to check in, grab lunch and catch our breath before the activities began. We happened to see Mrs. Lynnie Pinnie herself and gave her a big hug. At that moment, I had accomplished my main goal, meeting Kaycee and Lyndsie! Everything after that was just gravy. :)
That's Sew Grammy and Sara Ann of Pick and Stitch at the pool. I ended up having several opportunities to visit with these two throughout the weekend, such sweet and down to earth ladies!
Janna (fellow LP tester) came by our room late in the afternoon, it was such a delight to meet her and chit chat a bit. She gave us a ride to a dinner, a gathering of several volunteers at a Tex-Mex place. It was neat to walk in and hear, "I would recognize you in a group of 100 people, Janay!" (It was the first of many experiences being recognized. I was not prepared for that aspect of the weekend at all!) Met several fun people: Lori, Kendra, Tracy, Laura, Amanda (plus adorable son and husband), Shannon and Bradley, and had lots of laughs. (I didn't get any decent pictures though!)
When we finally got our bills we dashed back to the convention center to help set up. Even though we were "working" it was SO FUN to meet people -- fellow stitchers who inspire and educate and commiserate with each other on a daily basis online. I am hesitant to list the volunteers there, I know I am leaving out a TON! Joanett, Amy, Faye, Ivannia, Kelli, Rhonda, Teri, Chanda... (again, I didn't take any pictures as we were filling goody bags, helium balloons, etc)
I got to meet some of my all-time favorite digitizers, I was beyond giddy! I met Cristy of The Itch 2 Stitch:
Towards the end of the night I met Nicole! Another gal whose blog I have followed for years. She is such a fabulous seamstress, I've often wished she lived next door. She taught a sewing basics class at AG.
More on that here.)
Here we are, ready to roll! Chystyna, Cristy, Me, Lyndsie, Kaycee and Janna!
DigiStitches. It was SO NEAT to meet her.
A little more gophering to help track down a missing software dongle :) and then I sat in on Lyndsie's digitizing demonstration. It was amazing to watch her create a design from start to finish, and confirmed that I'm just going to leave digitizing to the pros!!
Throughout the day I did browse briefly in the vendor room. I avoided the machine dealers (no sense in drooling over things I can't have), quickly perused the blank suppliers (sadly Annaliese is now too big for the A-lines, ruffle pants and knit dresses I saw) and lingered in the fabric booths. I didn't go TOO overboard buying fat quarters from All Stitched Up by Angela and The Fabric Cobbler.
The Meet-n-Greet that evening probably turned out to be my favorite part of the whole weekend. Yummy food and fun company! Towards the end of night I was sitting between Jennilee and Cristy, and around the table and at the next were more of my favorite digitizers and embroiderers! It was hard to not be totally star struck!
I got to talk to Whitney about a special digitizing project she is working on for me. It was cool to be able to bring a couple of my test stitchouts with me and discuss progress in person. She is doing a valiant job on such a detailed request... can't wait to show off the final product when it's all done!
One of the gals around the table that I haven't mentioned yet is Sheila of Savvy Stitches. It was so neat to meet her! We "met" a few years back, both testers for LP and bloggers. We've participated in the same fb group, and been fans of each other pages. She's moved on to digitizing and I really enjoy the designs of hers that I've used. I was excited to meet her, but the crazy thing is she seemed just as excited to meet me! So fun!
The second class I attended was Applique Innovations, sharing three cool products that you can use in applique projects, taught by Sue Sews herself and her daughter. They were a fun pair as well! After the class I spend some time browsing their booth. I didn't end up buying anything there but came home armed with a coupon to do some online shopping (they had actually sold out of some cool products demoed in their class). I got to chat a bit with Katie (one of Sue's daughters and EB tester) she's a sweetie!
Monogram Market pack up their booth and missed the final door prize drawings. No worries, Kaycee had my ticket number and it was never called. :) There were some amazing prizes that would have been fun to win, but really, interacting with all my online friends was prize enough! Macy's mom made an amazing cake to celebrate Laura's birthday, so I had a huge slice (aka my lunch) before giving final hugs and heading back to my aunt's house.
The coolest, most unexpected part was being stopped over and over again by people who recognized me from my blog, FB page, groups or forums, and wanted to thank me for my posts and for answering questions. I do occasionally get a random email or comment on my blog, but I was overwhelmed by all the in-person feedback I got at Applique Getaway. Prior to AG Lyndsie told me that she had gotten several emails asking if I was teaching a class, and several more asked me in person at AG. ME! THAT blew me away. Sounds like I might have a teaching slot next year though... what do you think I should do?! EEK! Next year. I already can't wait. :)
Oh, hold on, there's one more little thing. Another digitizer that I've become close to wasn't able to attend Applique Getaway due to their recent adoption, the timing just didn't work out for them this year. But my journey home from AG took me near their home, so I stopped by to meet Joe and Julie of 8 Claws and a Paw! We had a delightful time talking in person, and it was neat to meet all of their new kids.