Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Dream Come True

The stars have aligned for me this year in terms of my being able to meet some very well known people whose talent and personality really speak to me. In the last ten months I have met Southern cook extraordinaire Paula Deen, blogger and cook extraordinaire Ree Drummond - the Pioneer Woman, Southern author extraordinaire Pat Conroy, and now this week, Amy Bunger, needlepoint teacher extraordinaire.

Melinda and Amy
I drove to Memphis on Sunday - eight and one half hours from Augusta - for my day with Amy Bunger at her shop on Monday. I don't know how I've lived my life in Georgia and have never set foot in Alabama or Mississippi. But now I can say I have. They are both beautiful states to drive through especially in the early Spring. I got to see (from the interstate) the spectacle that is Race Day at Talladega. Gosh there were a lot of people there!

I arrived at Amy's shop a little before 10:00 AM on Monday morning. There to greet me were Amy, Jill, and Peggy.  Although we have never met, I felt like I knew all of them and was seeing old friends. Once I was settled, Amy and I got to work. We started on my Queen Elizabeth canvas and for most of the morning worked on her. I'll take some photos later this week to share with you so you can see what we worked on. Amy showed me how to make the ribbon flowers on the "batwings" on either side of the Queen's face. She selected threads for her lips and spruced up her eyebrows for me. We worked on the Queen's breastplate. I was not happy with the way my stitches looked and wondered if the threads were too heavy. It's not the threads that are the problem, it's the way I stitched them. But, watching Amy stitch a row of the fern stitch helped me see what I was doing wrong. The Queen also needed some jewels and Amy had just the right pearls for her. Those will be a fun to add when my stitching is almost done.

During the middle part of the day we worked on my Linda Carter Holman (Melissa Shirley) canvas. There is so much detail in Linda's work but I have several pages of Amy's handwritten notes with thread and stitch selections to see me through it.

I think you would all find it so interesting to sit with someone of Amy's expertise and listen to her talk through why she chooses one stitch over another or one thread over another. I found it fascinating.  While I would defer to Amy and her choice of stitches and threads, she never failed to ask me how I saw a particular area being stitched or if I approved of a thread color.  

Jill and Peggy were working hard throughout the day helping customers who stopped by the store, or phoned in orders, or placed orders via the website. Very busy ladies! But they kindly took time to pull threads for me for a couple of canvases I brought with me. They were both so much fun to be with!

Peggy, Melinda, and Jill

I enjoyed being able to see a sneak peek of the two upcoming Home Study projects for later this year - Melissa Shirley's Thanksgiving banner and Christmas banner. Amy is stitching the Thanksgiving banner at present. Both projects are large canvases (lengthwise) but Amy has great ideas for the mechanics of stitching a project of this size. I have signed up to stitch the Christmas banner although it was a hard choice between it and the Thanksgiving banner. You can't go wrong with either one! I also got to see the beautiful creche canvas for the current home study - it is another great collaboration between Kelly Clark and Amy.

I loved seeing all of the Halloweenies in their finished state. And, I got to see the finished and framed Haunted House - spectacular! The framing was fabulous. There is so much to see at Amy's - the threads, the rooms of canvases, the accessories, books, and DVDs. Unfortunately, my time at Amy's ran out and I had to say goodbye to Amy, Peggy, and Jill. Now that I have been there once, I know it will not be the last time. Next time I will just give myself a little more time to just look around and enjoy being in the shop.

I'll be sharing with you more about my projects that Amy and I worked on as they come up in rotation. It's too much to share in just one blog post. All in all, my day with Amy was a dream come true and it was everything that I imagined it would be. Amy is just as lovely, gracious, and warm in person as you would think her to be. I can't think of anyone more delightful to spend the day with. I highly recommend "Rent Amy" as a gift to yourself or your favorite stitcher.

I love Andrew and Anna so much for giving me this day with Amy! Andrew has already said he doesn't know how to top this gift when Christmas rolls around again. I hinted that I wouldn't be at all disappointed if he and Anna give me the same gift again this Christmas. Amy told me that my being there was the first time she had been "given" for Christmas. But she was also "given" as a wedding shower gift - how fun would that be? - having all the bride's friends in the shop for a day of stitching. Sounds like too much fun to me!

Hope you're having a great week!


  1. Hi Melinda,
    I knew that you would have a wonderful time with Amy. It sounds like you and Amy really accomplished a lot . Looking forward to seeing all the wonderful things you and Amy came up with.

  2. Melinda

    Your day with Amy sounds like so much fun. I just knew it would be!! Look forward to seeing more about your day. So glad you had so much fun Exciting!!!

    Sue V

  3. This was the perfect gift. Your family are terrific to treat you so!

  4. Wow Melinda! You are living the good life. That sounds like so much fun!

  5. stephanie ashworthApril 22, 2011 at 12:31 PM

    I have been checking the blog daily waiting to hear about the day with Amy. I am so glad for you that it was everything you hoped. I just love being in Memphis with Amy and the girls. After reading about your wonderful day, I am going to hint loudly and longly that I would like a Rent Amy day for Christmas.
    Can't wait to see the progress on the projects!

  6. Sounds like you had so much fun with Amy! What a wonderful Christmas present to give to a stitcher! I can't wait to see all the progress on your projects, but I am really wanting to see the Queen Elizabeth one! :)

    Happy Easter to you and yours :)