Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Happy Birthday to Lady Dresden

Dear Readers, 
We have some fun in store for you today!  My long-time readers will remember that there is a fictitious bed & breakfast aspect to my blog that has not been visited in a couple of months.  Although you cannot see any evidence of it on the blog page right now, it has not been eliminated.  Today I will be sharing with you the latest adventure.  It looks like this will be a long post, so if you want to pause and get yourself a cup of tea or coffee, now would be a good time to do that.
Amanda Suzanna (aka "Mandy Sue")

Hello Everybody!  You have come by at a most exciting time and I am really glad to see you!  Grateful Grammy is very, very busy today with a project that has both excited and worried her.  She will be working up 'til the very last minute, so she asked me to be your hostess today -- and I am thrilled!  

You see, Lady Dresden is coming to Whistlestop on a tour with her handmade quilts and her people asked if they could set up her display at Grammys Place Bed & Breakfast, and would we rent our dining room out for her lecture?!!  Wowzers!  That's terrific!  Lady Dresden is  the very best there is with a quilting needle in hand!   We are so honored that she contacted us!

Lady Dresden's publicity photograph
We contacted the Home and Garden Editor of the Whistlestop Weekly. She was pleased that something of this magnitude was [finally!] coming to our humble little town and quickly made it her business to get the word out.  

Home and Garden Editor of the Whistlestop Weekly

But then the problems began.  Grateful Grammy wanted to make her own version of Lady Dresden's most recent quilt in time to have it on display at the lecture, so she got very involved with that. At the same time, the response to news of the big event spread like warm  honey and almost overnight we realized our dining room would not be big enough for the great number of ladies who wanted to attend!

Grateful Grammy worries while she sews
Just between you and me, this is what happens when one over-plans and doesn't carefully consider ahead of time ... fretting, despair, and all kinds of gnarly problems bring on great strain. She was also worried about Beloved.  He had a knee replacement a couple of weeks earlier and although he was doing very well, we didn't like to leave him alone for long periods of time lest he forsake his walker entirely and go ride in the woods on his scooter.  I have been his nursing aid since he was released from the hospital, but I did not want to miss out on all the fun with the girls by staying with him.

I was talking with Mrs Mertz (our B&B chef) about everything one morning when she suggested we find another location that could better accommodate the crowd we were expecting.  Hmm.  That really was the best plan, although when it was all said and done, our B&B would not bring in as much income since we would have to share the ticket sales with another business.  But it was the right thing to do.

Mrs Berniece Mertz, Chef at Grammys Place B&B
As is so often the case, the wisdom of the older woman was the answer to our problem.  She called  Sister Suites (one of our competitors) and worked out an amicable plan to move the crowds to their place. Truth be told, although we would miss out on some of the revenue of having everybody at our place, we would not miss the traffic and parking problems!  

As for someone to keep an eye on Beloved, we called Rent-a-Nurse and for a reasonable fee made arrangements to keep our invalid "grounded" while we were away.

Beloved stares wistfully out the window while Rent-a-Nurse stays close by
The day of the big event dawned mostly cloudy and cold, with a killing frost on the zinnias, which was perfect for turning our thoughts to beautiful quilts.   Sister Suites out did themselves with a welcoming look to their wrap-a-round porch.  

Sister Suites 
Although this was all done pleasantly on the surface, Sister was no fool. This was her golden opportunity to make a good impression for repeat business.  She even posted some of her staff outside to greet the guests with a cheerful smile and handshake. The largest pumpkin patch in Whistlestop is on the Sister Suites property.  They would probably net some serious sales of the orange globes before the day was done.

The Welcoming staff at Sister Suites
As the guests began to arrive, we were more than mildly surprised at how far the word had spread that Lady Dresden was coming to our town.

A well-known figure from Orlando
High Society Matron
And then of course there were those who have been participating in quilting bees for years.
A traditional quilter
Even at Sister Suites, however, seating became a problem.  Those familiar with Grammys Place B&B already know that our Mrs Mertz is a very height-challenged lady with weak knees, so she often carries with her a can of Cream Style Corn on which to sit wherever she goes.  But other guests did not have chairs, so the Sister Suites staff had to improvise.  We saw that one young lady was given a can of Water Chestnuts upon which to stand so she could see over the tight bun and hair net on the head of Mrs Mertz.

Lack of sufficient seating necessitated clever solutions
Lady Dresden's staff took this group picture just before she began her talk.  Our best count is that we had twenty in attendance.
Women of all ages and stations in life  were eager to see Lady Dresden
Finally the moment had come when this dear dignified lady stepped up to the podium to share with us the wisdom and creativity learned while sitting at her Bernina for so many years.  She enthralled us with her tales of seams that needed to be pressed flat before proceeding to the next step, and  how to set up an efficient sewing room which, if at all possible, should be just steps away from the kitchen for maximum efficiency with all the responsibilities in a home.  Examples were pulled out of a trunk of quilts for wounded soldiers, bibs for newborns, and dinosaur quilts for little boys.  We learned that she hasn't much experience sewing pink quilts but plans to remedy that very soon.  

(continued below --  click on "Older Posts" to the lower right of this paragraph.  I've inserted as many pictures as allowed for this post and therefore need to begin a new one to finish the story)

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