Preparing for a conference is like the preparation for a large dinner or holiday party

You spend months writing your class, gathering your images for the slides, practicing the presentation over and over and over again so that the timing is right, and in one day its over.  Does this sound like what you go through when you prepare for a get together or a holiday party?  Then you know exactly what I mean.  Your adrenaline is spiking daily as you gather all the necessary items.  Then, just when you think you’ve got everything perfect you have one of those nights where you sit straight up in bed and know that there is a detail or two you need to change.  Yep… this is what a teacher goes through as they prepare to present the perfect class.  Making sure the attendees get the full value of what you have to offer.

I taught two classes at the 2017 Custom Workroom Conference, one was my Headboard Class which I taught in 2016 and the new class was a Chair Upholstery Class.  Day one of the conference was my scheduled teaching day.  My first class, Chair Upholstery, was at 8:00am and my second class, Upholstered Headboards, was at 4:30.  Each class was an hour and a half time slot.  Knowing there will be lots of questions and discussions, you need to allow time for this as well, but if there are no lengthly conversations, you need to be prepared to fill that time tool.  That is a lot of pressure for sure!  It’s like cooking the dinner for your party and also having to keep the conversation going as well. YIKES!  So why would anyone want to take on so much pressure?  Because the LOVE to teach and share their knowledge!  Yep that would be me.

Now once your classes are over you still have the luxury of attending other instructors class too.  Not only do I love to teach but I also enjoy learning.  You are never done learning really, are you?  I sat in on a class taught by Donna Cash of Designs by Donna out of Georgia.  She taught a class on “Double-Flange Pillow with Miter and Zipper” which I sat in on and one on Bed Skirts which I was not able to sit in on.  Donna is a wealth of knowledge and a very good teacher.  With clear concise instructions I was able to walk away with a new project to make and a new item I could offer my retail clients.  Donna is also one of Kim’s Upholstery partners in that she has video tutorials for sale on our website too.   The second class I sat in on day one was Tracy Windley of Sew Elegant Window Designs out of Arkansa.  Tracy’s class was on “Bed Coronas: Fabrication to Installation”.  I had never seen such a beautiful design for a corona as the sample Tracy shared featuring here design of a smocked corona.  What a beauty that sample was.  Tracy definitely opened my eyes to the thing I hadn’t thought of for installation of coronas.

On day two it was time to do some shopping.  The “Market Place” Vendor hall was open.  The gracious vendors were offering free shipping on items ordered that day.  Many vendors also had brought inventory of small items so you could take them home with you.  What women doesn’t like to shop, and if your in this industry of Upholstery and Soft Home Furnishings, you know how much we LOVE our tools and toys of the trade.  Laurie Medford was on hand in the Rowley Company booth, and was generous in making a donation of tools for door prizes in both of my classes, they had lots of great items flying off the shelf.  Also the Home Shopping Depot, manned by Claudia Buchanan and her team, with there great new addition of several upholstery tools.  Yes I too made a couple of purchases.  Two new pair of Scissors from Wolff Industries and a few new sewing machine feet from Sloan Machinery, Sam always has the best feet. Of course my favorite fabric vendor, Greenhouse Fabrics, was there with their beautiful samples as well as handing out green bandanas for the WCAA’s “Rhinestone and Cowboys Shindig”.  I was ecstatic to meet, in person, Tammy Paradoski of  “Bespoke Soft Furnishings Magazine“.  I have written articles for the magazine and had many a phone conversation with Tammy but we had never met face to face.  Tammy’s publication is the best $20 a year you will ever spend and is a great way to get to know the educators in our industry.  These are only a handful of the vendors that were there showing their wares but you can find a full list on the Custom Workroom Conference’s Facebook page.

For me the best part of the conference was meeting YOU!  Many of our online class members attended the conference.  Some I have met at our workshops and for some of you it was the first time we met in person.  I was humbled by love and friendship you shared with me.  This is what teaching and sharing the knowledge is all about.  It’s not about the teaching, its about the people you teach and the friendships you make.  Thank you all for coming up and introducing yourselves and for making me feel so loved.

With love and gratitude to you all,