And suddenly it's September...!

Hello friends!

Where has summer gone? It seems only yesterday that we were looking forward to June in San Francisco, and now Labor Day has passed!

I don't know if this can be attributed to "time flying when you're having fun", a sign of aging... or perhaps a little of both....but summer seemed to slip away especially quickly this year!

I love a good road trip, so, still riding high from the success of Golden Gate Glamour, my "last hurrah" of summertime 2011 was to pack the Cruiser and head East for fun filled visits with friends, a little dolly play, and new sites along the way!

First stop: Washington DC, where I joined my friend, Meg Hunt, for the drive to Kingston, NY, to attend A Day of Ennui - The Sequel. It's always fun to hang out with the ever introspective Ellowyne and friends, and the Wilde Imagination/Tonner team showed each guest a wonderful time! Tempting new offerings in both the Ellowyne and Evangeline lines were on display at the Tonner Company store afterwards, where sales were brisk! (I was a good girl and resisted...for now!)

After spending a few days with Meg (Yes...I was there for the earthquake!), I headed to New Jersey for a visit with dear friend, Michael Basala...and a bit of fabric shopping in NYC!

Michael is coordinating the always fun Metrodolls luncheon this year, and attendees are in for a real treat! If you haven't signed up yet, there is still time! You'll find me there at the Sandra Stillwell Presents table, where we will be showing available pieces from the Golden Gate Glamour Balenciaga collection... with a couple of new stunning designs offered for the first time!

I left New Jersey just in time to miss the threat from Hurricane Irene (my heart goes out to everyone affected) and traveled to beautiful upstate New York. I stopped over in Corning for a brief visit with longtime friend, Brian Bulkley, who many of you will recognize as the supremely talented artist responsible for much of our beautiful Gene convention artwork!

After having spent countless hours on the phone chatting with Brian, it was wonderful to actually spend some "real" time with him! What a treat it was to see Brian's library of inspiration and art studio, where his exquisite renderings are created.

On this occasion, I was especially looking forward to showing Brian the Golden Gate Glamour collection, as his drawings were key in helping to translate my instructions to the factories in Asia. It was gratifying to see Brian's enthusiasm as each fashion was unveiled, as he had expressed to me in earlier conversations that lately he had felt somewhat distanced from dolls. As the evening progressed, I could see his interest escalating. He spoke of which doll should model the outfits and the perfect place of honor on his bookcase.

Before leaving Corning the next day, I made time to visit the not to be missed Corning Glass Museum. What an impressive museum! I could have spent days there studying the beautiful glasswork.

I continued my drive through the breathtaking Finger Lakes region to visit Angelic Dreamz, in the lovely town of Canandaigua, NY, where store owners George Gonzalez and Tim Hoffman could not have been more welcoming!

One of the highlights of the trip was the opportunity to see Angelic Dreamz' amazing new St Tropez line of JAMIEshow resin ball jointed dolls in person, and watch George do a photo-shoot of the girls dressed in the Golden Gate Glamour collection! (More about this to follow in my next blog post...)

George and Tim took time out of their busy schedules to take me to the legendary Strong Museum of Play in nearby Rochester to see the museum's phenomenal doll collection....something I have wanted to do since I began collecting over 25 years ago! In addition to collectibles, the museum houses a breathtaking butterfly sanctuary where we walked among beautiful specimens of butterflies and birds flying freely, in many cases easily within reach. What an awesome experience!

Whether you're a child, or simply a child at heart, there is truly something for everyone at the Strong Museum of Play! It did not disappoint in any way!!

My final stop in New York was to tour the Lucy-Desi Center in Lucy's hometown of Jamestown. Two buildings house displays and memorabilia which pay tribute to Lucy's early home life, career, and marriages. Though the museum was very interesting and well done, I was a bit disappointed there weren't more costumes from her movies. Worth the trip? Definitely, but only for the avid Lucy fan.

Now, back in Louisville, there's much work to do...emails to answer, packages to be shipped, hotel proposals to be studied for 2012, unpacking the Cruiser...and packing again for my next trip!!

Yes, the next couple of months will be filled with more whirlwind road trips to Modern Doll in Texas, Metrodolls in New Jersey, the Tonner Halloween convention in Vermont, site visits for possible 2012 Sandra Stillwell Presents locations... and a maybe other surprise destinations too!

Do I have time to be tired yet?

Looking forward to seeing some of you along the way...