Monday, May 14, 2012

I Love Lakeland

I've said it. Sort of out loud no less. It's a cute little town, the home of Publix, the nation's best grocery store, and the people are nice. Very, very nice. Plus, they seem to like me too.

When we arrived on Friday afternoon, only minutes before the 4:00 deadline for check in, I was both happy and sad. Happy that the drive through check in was super easy, plus they gave us both an ice cold bottle of water AND a major goodie bag; sad that when we got to space #33, there was not a tree in sight.  Not only were there no trees to shade my tent, but I also had a large square indention smack dab in the back third of my space as well. As in, a trip hazard marked with ORANGE paint. What were they thinking?? Some sort of utility thing. While I was whining, Bruce was dreaming up a way to mitigate the situation. A quick call to his superintendent on the Olive Garden he's building in Lakeland, and the problem was solved. Steve cut a nice piece of plywood which we picked up after setting up. Whew!

After dinner at Longhorn, we went straight to our hotel, pretty much in the same huge parking lot. This time Bruce used up all his Hilton points for the stay so our show take would seem all the better. Because we weren't done setting up, we were up bright and early Saturday morning. Before we left I had to take a few shots of the sky with my phone.
No red sky so I was feeling very optimistic about the weather. The clouds were very interesting with this one looking, oh so close, to a heart with the moon in the middle.
Well, not really in the middle, but close. I kept thinking of the hearts you used to draw when you were young with the Cupid's arrow through them. Is it just me?

The plywood was in place, the canvases all hung, and show time arrived. While we were playing bridge on Thursday, our friend Debbie brought out some bridge notes written in the most perfect print I've seen in ages. I asked her if she would consider coming by the house on her way home to write out all my price tags and consent she did. Oh my goodness they look so much better than mine. It's not that I can't print or anything, but my writing is not nearly as perfect as hers. She re-did each and every one for me and I can't wait to tell her how great they looked hung on the walls.
You can't really see them very well, but trust me on this, they are nice. So, the day began and right from the start things went well. I was super busy all day long much to my amazement. The weather cooperated; despite my lack of tree shade, I was comfortable enough. Of course, some of that is because Bruce made a little shade shelter with an umbrella and one of the walls behind the tent. Not that I spent much time there thankfully, but it was there had I needed it. Plus the battery operated fan he insisted we bring. Two years ago it was so darn sweltering that he ran out and bought the fan just so we could survive the weekend! I sold lots of little stuff, some middle stuff and some big stuff. When the day was all said and done and the amount totaled, Bruce was thinking that if we did $300-500 on Sunday we would be happy.

Because we were staying in town we attended the artist dinner at Hollis Gardens. They are so generous with food and beverages. Plus they decorate!
During our meal we chatted with our booth neighbors; both of the artists proved to be very interesting indeed. Everyone went to bed on Saturday night happy campers. Bruce, ever the romantic, surprised me with a rose in a bud vase, a card, and a bottle of wine in our hotel room. An ORANGE vase no less!

Sunday, the skies looked great again and off we went to see what the day would bring. I brought my Mother's Day rose to grace the table.
Actually, Bruce spent much of the time in the hotel room working. Surprised? I didn't think you would be. Guess what? Sunday rocked as well. After adding it all up on our drive home I thought I'd sold one amount, only to count my cash and Square transactions and discover it was at least $100 more. Which meant that I sold $1,000 more than last year!!! Now you see why I love Lakeland.

Actually, that is only part of it. The folks there treat the artists so well, from the goodie bag on arrival, to  water whenever you need it. They have an artist hospitality center where they served cups of grape tomatoes, grapes, cheese, peanuts and more both days. Plus, they brought little breakfast bags to your tent! In polka dot bags!!
The load in is super easy, the parking the same. Really, everything about the show is the best of any I've done. Did I mention it cost less than some? It does. Despite what folks call it, "The Bake at the Lake", I have no complaints. Especially after the plywood fix.

Because the show closes at 4 we were able to pack up and arrive home around 6:30. Naturally the bird feeders were mostly empty, but this time, what I was really worried about were my flowers. Bruce, he worries about Baxter, I worry about my garden. Baxter was well taken care of by Mr. Bill, the flowers not so much. I cringed when I saw my flower boxes looking PARCHED. Today it seems as if they may have recovered, however, it may be too soon to tell. Let's hope so.

Matt called from San Paulo, Brazil to wish me a Happy Mother's Day on Facetime.  Crazy, right? Bill and Dave arrived with Baxter soon thereafter, and Jonathan called a bit later. All in all, it was a Mother's Day to remember. My boys, my photography and my dear husband. What more could I ask for?

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Long Beach, CA