Our double booth, outfitted as a country kitchen/pizzeria, introduced my "Pie a la Mode" and "Pizza Party" fabric lines to quilt shop owners at the 2003 International Quilt Market in Houston, TX. The goal was to create an exhibit space to feature quilts made with fabric from the lines. Since new fabric typically arrives within days of leaving for Market, I spent most of the summer working on the booth.
I built kitchen cabinets out of two shelving units, with thanks to Julie Tuttle at HDP/Keter Customer Service who scrounged up four extra "feet" for the shelving units. I Velcro-ed white vinyl to the top shelf to simulate the cabinet base. I found some flexible, black, rubber stuff in the garage and sewed it to the bottom so it would look a bit more three-dimensional. Turns out that was extra weather seal that goes on the bottom of the garage doors. (Oh well.) Darker vinyl fabric formed the counter tops. I put contact paper over corrugated plastic for the cupboard doors and drawer facings. The knobs and handles really helped make it look real.
An indoor fountain pump sitting in an empty kitty litter container circulated water through a vinyl hose inserted into a $13 faucet. (It sprung a leak while at the show. We fixed it by jamming a rubber grape into the cold water intake hole and covering it with two fingers from a latex glove secured with a few rubber bands)
I built the stove from PVC pipe, vinyl tubing, corrugated plastic, styrofoam, Velcro, parts from an old baby gate, and a handful of screws, bolts, and plumbing things. The "skin" is more vinyl fabric. I pilfered the knobs and dials from old appliances waiting to go in the dumpster behind an appliance store, with permission. The clock actually works, although Jennie won't be able to use it as I smashed the outside plastic "cover" to get the guts out of it.
The pizza oven is really triangular shelving from Rubbermaid. I just added another set of legs to increase the height to just over 6 feet. (The legs were sitting around in the garage and probably belong to something important, but I don't know what.) The "skin" around the shelving unit is made of corrugated plastic covered in brick wallpaper. It was impossible to get the wallpaper to stick to the corrugated plastic no matter what we used. Finally, in desperation, I used leftover strips of Steam-A-Seam2, with just a little bit of heat and a dry iron. The open sign, table, and four chairs came from a Schlotsky's restaurant that went out of business and was selling off the furnishings.
The interlocking foam floor tiles (even the special order ones spelling out my name) came from Wandix. They were the best ones I tested and the least expensive, too. (That's Nanette mugging for the camera with my American Pie in her hands. She's wearing an apron made by my friend Sharon Thomas.
None of this could have ever been possible were it not for…
- My brother-in-law, Jim Simms, who built a state-of-the-art window ledge for us to cool the "pies" on. He also created the wooden windowpane above it.
- Joy Cramer, my sounding board for several of the new pizza patterns, and stitcher of the window curtains and the Twisted Sisters quilt made with "Pizza Party" fabric that hung in the booth.
- Sharon Thomas, who figured out how to stuff canning jars with fruit fabric and make them look really good. She also sewed the awesome fruity aprons we wore at the show.
- Len Thomas, who picked several miles of basting thread out of the Pizza Party quilt so it could hang in public.
- Mary Andrews who made "Fruit Parfait" quilt to showcase my new fabric.
- Maggie DuPuis who made "Amish Center Strawberry" and "Bananas Foster" to hang in the booth.
- Lynn Flynn, who created garments from my Pizza Party fabric for Debbie, Nanette, and I to wear at the booth.
- Bethany Reynolds, who had a fabric line of her own coming out this market and yet found time to make two rucksacks for me.
- …and finally, four very special women who worked the booth with me: Debbie Chenail, my trusted assistant, office manager, and keeper of my brain; Kathy Kennedy, warehouse manager of "Mallery Press South" who may just have to apply for a chauffeur's license; Nanette Zeller (a.k.a. The Pattern Doctor) who proofs all my patterns and created duplicate quilts from my "That's Amore" and "Hold The Anchovies" patterns, plus made half a dozen flying pizzas to toss around; and Susan Pain, navigator, airport shuttle driver, and head cheerleader. Thank you one and all!