I just finished getting dressed when mum knocked on the door to wake me - we wanted to get an early start, and as I am habitually a late sleeper we'd agreed that she would knock five minutes before she wanted to leave if I wasn't already up. If I don't have the Evil genius or T to chivvy into clothing and out the door, I can be up, dressed, and ready to go in less than five minutes - and that includes making up the bed I slept in. Sometimes it's useful to fail at being a girl - no makeup, hair held back in a clip, ready to go. It actually takes less time for me to get ready for a dinner date than it does T!
Mum took me to breakfast at The Sautee Trail, a tiny building just of the side of the road that has the best BLT anywhere (outside my four walls, I mean). We had eggs, toast bacon (they make bacon nice and crispy without being greasy. There's little in this world as disappointing as limp, greasy bacon), and potatoes - mum's were hash browns, mine were home fries. The coffee was OK - not great, but not awful - the portions were huge, and neither of us even tried to clean our plate. We didn't want to be full and sleepy for the mineral show!
The drive to Franklin was uneventful - we chatted about this, that, and the other thing, and about what she wanted to look for when we got there. We had two vendors to see first...we knew that we'd have heavy bags when we were done with them, and we wanted to take them out to the car and then wander around the rest of the show.
To get in, mum had to present her filled-out form and tax ID - the show is wholesale only, and only people with legitimate business are allowed in...and their employees. I get in as mum's employee - I do carry her bags and help her find what she needs, so I'm earning my keep. We had to put on name stickers that had a space for the business name (Double L Designs) and our own name - I wanted to write my name and "Sherpa" or "Faithful Mule", but I refrained.
Once inside, we headed to the back corner where our first two vendors were set up. The first vendor had sarongs and tapestries, among other textiles - sarongs to make shirts from, tapestries to use as dividers for our vending setup (we sleep and live in the back quarter of our booth, and we'd like to keep that hidden from view - really, you don't want to see us sleeping or when we first get up in the morning). Don't ask me why a textiles seller is at a Gem and Mineral show - I have no idea. Mum tried on a jacket and I told he she needed it to live. It really was a nice jacket. She bought it, some sarongs and tapestries, and handed me the heavy bag. We moved over to the next vendor, a purveyor of display goods that we find useful for showing off the chain maille, beadwork, and other jewelry we make. Once we had everything we needed (and a few things we didn't, strictly speaking, NEED), we headed out to the car to drop off the two heavy, bulk bags. Whew. I'm glad I didn't have to carry those things around the whole show...I swear, the tapestries have lead in them!
For the next hour or so we wandered up and down several of the aisles, looking for clasps, fasteners, and other doodads (findings) for mum's work. It was harder than it sounds, because this particular Gem and Mineral show USED to be about gems, minerals, and working with the aforementioned, but lately it seems to be more about finished pieces - many of them gaudy beyond belief - than about the craft. Still, I managed to help mum spend a fair chunk of change before we had to break for lunch. We even ran into some of my bandmates who also make and sell jewelry - that was cool.
Lunch was from one of the little stands outside the show - we really didn't feel like driving anywhere. We opted for barbecue, because
After lunch, it was more wandering up and down the aisle, occasionally being grabbed by the eyeball by something sparkly, colorful, or unique. Despite the encroachment of "finished piece" sellers, there were still plenty of folks with rough stones and mineral samples, cabochons, faceted gems, semi-precious gemstone chip beads, polished beads, meteorites and tons of fossils. I kept stopping and staring at the fossils, thinking of Bird - he loves fossils. There were shark's teeth, dinosaur teeth, trilobites and countless specimens of ammonites to be had. I didn't end up bringing one home, because I was worried that he's not quite old enough to take good care of it yet. Maybe next year. By the end of the indoor section, we were tired - it's a big show, lots of walking on asphalt, lots of visual input, noise, and rude people who push right past without saying "excuse me" or even looking where they're going. I was glad to be done with that part.
Outside the main building were the tents - thirty by thirty pole-and-canopy setups that belong to gypsy vendors who travel around the country doing show after show. They had everything from gems, beads, and jewelry to stone inlay tables and other furnishings, as well as more sarongs, incense, and a dizzying variety of other goods. We scored a few more sarongs and wandered around in a daze. It's a lot to take in. At one tent, I had to stop and whimper with unadulterated lust...there was an amethyst geode as tall as I am (Five foot ten, if you must know) with a calcite deposit inside. I wanted to lick it, make it mine. I had to ask what something like that goes for - it was too spectacular, and I just wanted to know how unattainable it would be for an ordinary person like me. Turns out...pretty darned unattainable! Nineteen thousand dollars and some change...but they deliver. Wow. They also had a bathroom sink carved from fossil stone, with an ammonite right in front of the faucet hole. Wow...how cool is that?? I didn't ask the cost - really, it would clash with everything I own. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!
We wandered back to the van - my shoulders were sore from carrying around a loaded bag and from the sun beating down on them, and both of us had tired feet. Luckily, mum always parks near the back of the lot, which is actually quite close to the tent vendors, so we had a short walk through the lot to our conveyance. Whew.
Replete with the purchasing of shiny things, we headed on home, with only two stops along the way - one to drive through Dairy Queen for Blizzards, and one at the gallery where mum hangs out and works so she could see if any of the paper they had would be useful for my cards (and also so I could scope out other cards on sale there and compare pricing and technique). Cool place, and I'm probably going to put some note cards and maybe a few matted prints there for sale, see what happens.
Back at mum's, I got ready to go. Before I left, she wanted to show me her new red skirt - it's cut, a handkerchief hem with lace insets, very gypsy. One of the sarong tops I made her will go beautifully with it! I clambered into my van and drove on home, tired but happy - I had a relaxing night and day, and I needed that!
Now I have tons of blog reading to catch up on, and a bit of writing to do, too. Happy mother's day, all!