the uncommon threads adventure
It was only 4 days, but it felt like 80 million.
You know how little kids get overstimulated at parties and then they’re exhausted and hyper and unmanageable? That was me until yesterday when I lazed about and didn’t get out of my PJs for most of the day.
(Yeah, cheap effect, I was in L.A. – What do you want?)
Other than finishing the Crape Myrtle socks before we hit Dallas (proper FO pics later this week,) the flight was uneventful. We arrived at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank where Charming Vince the PA picked us up. You know how when you get off a plane there are often gents in tuxedo’s standing around with signs waiting to whisk you off to your destination? vince was circling the airport with a hand-scrawled sign that read "Uncommon Threads." Once in the car, we quickly determined who he’d picked up before us by the crumpled up sign on the backseat floor. (That sign reads "Artisan Women of Worchester")
In the hotel lobby at the bell desk Jennifer noticed three women with amazing handmade bags. Not one to be shy among my own kind, I leaned in and asked, "Uncommon Threads?" Yup! We’d found Dharia, Sarah and Dayna (the previously mentioned AWW) who had just finished shooting their episodes. We had maybe 10 timid seconds of introduction and were then instantly fast friends, chatting and getting louder and louder and louder. Before you could say Pickalittle Talkalittle, we made plans for dinner and off we went to settle in our rooms.
Our late afternoon rehearsal was postponed, so we cruised out to nosh and goss with Dharia and Sarah. It was a relief to hear the crew were all fantastic and that although at times it was frustrating, there was nothing scary about taping the show. It helped quash some of the butterflies in my stomach (and there were MANY butterflies.) We laughed our way through the evening and although I wish we’d had more time to hang with our new buds, it was a relief to climb into bed at last.
Many more pictures and tales after the cut.
Day 2, First day of taping.
We arrived at the studio at 7AM, camera-ready and excited. The time between rehearsals and shooting zipped by so fast I barely remember what happened. I know Jane the lovely wardrobe queen picked out and pressed our outfits. I know I sat in a make-up chair while Suzie hid my undereye circles. I know I had a microphone strung under my shirt (no comment) and hung from my belt. I know our producer Lorelei ushered me onto the set. I remember Gordon the director sternly telling us "NEVER look at the camera and ALWAYS have fun," but mostly the morning is just a blur. The next thing I knew we were sitting on the couch watching host Allison Whitlock crochet a pincushion. It was hard to reconcile a voice I’d only heard in my living room coming out of the woman with perfect teeth sitting beside me. Surreal.
We were only shooting one episode that afternoon and the project was my craft bucket. Thankfully this was the hardest one and I got it out of the way on the first day. There’s so much to remember while you’re in front of the camera. Was I standing up straight? (Yes) Could the mic pick up my stomach growling? (Yes) Was I looking at the camera? (No)
I had to remember not to lean forward under the overhead camera so I didn’t block the sewing machine shots. I had to remember to move my hands slowly and announce my next move so the camera could follow. I had to remember to smile and look enthralled even though I could hear the camera crew groaning and sighing that "sewing is so boring." Mostly I was happy to just get through without sticking myself with a pin, swearing or burping.
We left the studio before 8PM, had some dinner and a quick beer and crashed. Jennifer and I wanted to try to watch Project Runway, but I knew there was no way I could keep my eyes open past 9:30.
Day 3, one episode down, two to go.
The show has had a makeover since last season with a new set and a new method for demonstrations. If you say it, they want to see it. I think the new set-up will be much better even though it meant they cut a project from each of us. We knocked out the 2nd episode (one of my CD cases and Jennifer’s paperback book cover) with nary a hitch. We spent the rest of the midafternoon rehearsing and keeping one eye on the monitors while Drew the Crochet Dude, Pam and Amie were shooting the last of their episodes. We were the last group to shoot Friday afternoon and Jennifer nailed the 3rd episode with her gorgeous craft apron and patchwork apron.
Everyone on the Uncommon Threads crew were fantastic and supportive. We met some damn cool people while we were in Burbank. There wasn’t a single moment when I didn’t think I could get through it. If you ever get the chance to apply for the show, DO IT! I will again, without hesitation.
Whew! That was long and I ran out of steam at the end, so if you’re looking for a few more pics you’ll find mine in the photoset at flickr. I’ve also set up an uncommon threads flickr pool for guests who have appeared on the show. Fun stuff, hey?