It's been a whirlwind Sept and Oct -- with November and the holidays TOO quickly approaching!
Though I'll admit that the past couple of months have been more than a little stressful, I managed to intertwine convention work and travel with a bit of fun fabric shopping, visits with special friends and birthday celebrations, too! (BIG thanks to everyone along the way who made this possible!)
September began with a visit to nearby Ohio to help a dolly friend unpack and move boxes to get situated in her new home. It was fun to see her many treasures and hear the stories associated with each one.
I've been blessed by many friends who've lent a hand to help me throughout the years -- many times, I simply could not have made it without them. It felt great to invest a few days helping my friend -- knowing I made a difference in her life, and in some indirect ways repaying all the kindness and assistance friends have -- and continue to -- show me.
Mid September brought a much overdue visit to Texas -- one of my favorite (and most productive) places. I always enjoy working and spending time with close friends there!
I flew out of Dallas to spend a few days with another dolly friend in Los Angeles before taking an adventurous road trip together to Vegas and the Modern Doll Convention. It was very cool driving through the desert (no pun intended) in her Caddy with the radio and anticipation sweeping us along the highway.
I love the lights, sounds, and architecture of Vegas -- kind of like a fairytale land for grown ups (Yes -- even though we were there to play with dolly's, we WERE supposed to be grown ups! LOL). This trip we had the good fortune of being invited to stay in a friend's time share and had the opportunity to really take in the sights as we strolled down the strip to and from the convention hotel.
Modern Doll was great -- it's always a wonderful place to see and learn about dolls other than those I collect, and catch up with friends and manufacturers I may not have the opportunity to see at other events.
As always, one of the highlights of the trip for me was discovering fabric treasures in both Vegas and Los Angeles --something I hope you'll all enjoy the benefits of as much as I enjoy the process!
On the heels of Modern Doll came the Wilde Imagination convention, held in the perfect setting at the historical Seelbach Hotel, in my adopted home town of Louisville -- I barely had time to repack and ship orders out! To my delight, my Dallas gal -pals, Sherlyn and Sherry, had surprised me with the news that they, too, had registered for Wilde Weekend so the "3 S's" (as we've nicknamed ourselves) could drive to Louisville from Dallas for the weekend! Of course, I simply couldn't resist another road trip with my buddies, so off we went at 6AM (excruciatingly early for me -- LOL) and I became what may be the first person in history to attend a convention where she lives -- still driving 13 hours to get there...and back, too! :)
So as not to miss a "working" opportunity, I spent my time riding by presenting a fashion show from the back seat with Evangeline modeling "Radio Days" fashions! It was the first time I'd had a chance to try them on a this body type, and was thrilled that so many fit beautifully and were absolutely stunning on her!
As with all Tonner events, Wilde Weekend was packed full with fun activities, beautiful dolls, and fabulous friends -- and Evangeline attended all events decked out in "Radio Days" style!
Convention #3 came only a couple of weeks after Wilde Weekend -- in the form of the 2nd Superdoll "Unconventionalist Convention" in London. Taking place over my birthday weekend, I had planned attending this gala event as a celebration. Thankfully, there was a small break in incoming shipments of backorders -- and I had the airline points-- so I felt I could indulge myself with the treat of this special "birthday trip".
London was fabulous -- there were many highlights of the weekend -- among them spectacular dolls, the Salon grand opening, and dinner on a swanky yacht -- but visiting with my European friends, meeting new American friends, and hanging out with friends I don't get to see often will long stand out in my memories.
My birthday was a fun filled day of more fabric shopping -- though I further indulged with some exquisite lace trim, I restrained myself to only a couple yards of fabric! (But of course I got the information to order more!! LOL!! )
A dear friend surprised me with tickets to a Members Only curators' discussion and program on the Hollywood Costume Exhibit at the V&A, presented by guest curator, noted Hollywood costume designer Deborah Landis. It was followed by a preview of the much anticipated "Hollywood Costume" exhibition.
I was thrilled that we were also able to view the "Ballgown -- British Glamour Since 1950" exhibition on it's last weekend. I was even more thrilled to see Chanel's original sequin jacket and pants ensemble that was the inspiration for the Radio Days fashion, "Madame Coco and many of the gowns featured in Nashville's "Golden Age of Couture" exhibit highlighted in the V&A's newly renovated fashion gallery.
What phenomenal exhibits both the Hollywood and Ballgown exhibitions were -- very interesting and beautifully done!
"Hollywood Costumes" was a mix of magnificent Golden Age Hollywood treasures and equally important more recent costumes, with the dramatic installation and presentation making each one as fascinating as the next.
It's been suggested that the Hollywood exhibit would be ideal to plan a convention around -- something that I've had in mind since I first heard rumors of it's opening a couple years ago. At the book signing following the curators' talk, I seized the opportunity to speak briefly to Ms. Landis about possible dates and places for the exhibition to be presented here in the United States -- and came away with the idea that perhaps it was planned as a traveling exhibit to be shown in more than one US location, beginning in the fall of 2013.
It was too early to find out definite plans, but I'll keep trying! The challenges of planning a convention to coincide with any exhibition are knowing times/places soon enough to plan the event and get product manufactured, and finding dates that are workable around other events in the doll community. However, if the exhibit is featured in more than one US location, that will give us more options! :)
I've been exploring a couple of other fun ideas and locations as well, so even if the Hollywood Costume exhibit doesn't work for our theme, the 2013 convention promises to be another fun filled event packed with the panache you've come to expect from a "Sandra Stillwell Presents" event!
I've done lots of preliminary work, but once I get the backorders completed from Radio Days, I'm ready to hit the ground running with serious planning and site selection visits. so stay tuned for information to come!
Speaking of backorders -- I'm very happy to report that some of the waitlisted fashions have arrived, and I've gotten reports that others are ready for shipping from the factory and should arrive next week, with the last shipment expected mid November.
I emailed everyone status updates and confirmation on RSVP orders before I left for London, so if you haven't heard from me or have any additional questions or additions, please phone or email.
If you're interested in a back ordered fashion but did not RSVP, it might not be too late -- as once all the orders are shipped, I may have a couple of each design that can be released for sale. Photos of all fashions can be found here on the blog -- just click on the individual "Radio Day's" meal functions at the right of the page.
My "Sandra Stillwell Presents" blog sales pages will be updated with information about availability as soon as time permits, but until then, please contact me for details. Don't wait too long, as quantities are extremely limited.
Remember -- it's never too early to start holiday shipping for that special doll in your life -- and "Sandra Stillwell Presents" sales page is the perfect place to do it! Your vinyl diva will adore you for it -- and you'll be pretty happy, too!
As for the birthday celebrations -- we still have a couple of days in October, so, back in the USA, I took a little time out from packing yesterday to celebrate my birthday -- again -- with gal-pals in Dallas before heading back to Kentucky tomorrow...
And there, the shipping will continue!
The stress of the past couple of months has begun to lift from my shoulders...I'm enjoying the thrill of seeing the fashions again as they come in and reading the wonderful emails from those of you who have received packages.
Many thanks to those of you who provided shoulders and assistance, and to you all for your patience and understanding -- I feel certain you'll find it's all been worth the wait....
My one regret over the past couple of months is that there's not enough time, money, or ME to attend all the wonderful events I would like to support -- but I'm looking forward to plans for 2013 and hope to see many of you then...