I know! I haven’t posted in forever! With good reason, though. My father-in-law, my husband and I were at the annual Bernina University conference. It’s quite exciting! The theme for the conference was Unmask Amazing which is tell-tale of the location.
Overall, I learned quite a bit about Bernina products, the history of the company, and the different products offered through partner companies that include fabrics and other notions. You can’t very well create and complete a sewing project without fabric or thread with as much ease as you can with quality products such as scissors, cutting mats, or rulers of all shapes/sizes and tons of other gadgets.
The registration booths at the conference. Each dealer for Bernina who attended the conference received a welcome package from Bernina headquarters in Switzerland and Bernina of America at these registration booths. As you can tell, the booths are arranged by dealer last name alphabetical order. And, of course, the main event, Bernina Masquerade Ball (pictures provided at the end of the post).
During the conference, Bernina revealed new product and/or changes to current product that will be available to consumers within the next few months. As required by Bernina, when a store owner chooses to become a Bernina dealer, he/she must be certified on Bernina machines for installation, repairs, and teaching how to use the machine to customers. At the conference, classes were offered to dealers and/or employees of dealers to educate on the machine (about, how to use, how to repair if needed, etc.) If you are a sewist, seamstress, or quilter, then you probably know of Bernina. If not, I’d like to briefly introduce Bernina to you. Bernina is “the world’s premier manufacturer with a proven reputation for offering state-of-the-art sewing and embroidery systems, sergers, and embroidery software” (Bernina website) with familial roots and manufacturing in Switzerland. The company itself has been in business for almost 125 years and has remained within the same family since the beginning. It is a company that promotes family values while providing the most up-to-date products such as the 3, 5, 7, and 8 series sewing and embroidery machines, the long arm quilters such as Bernina Q 20 and Q 24 (which, by the way, provide a fun experience with quilting), as well as Bernina L 220 and L 450 Overlock and Cover/Chainstitch machines plus sewing notions such as needles, foot controls, and suitcases or bags for the machines.
Go ahead, keep reading as even more interesting information can be found further down.
As promised, more Bernina. I have to mention that my father-in-law, a Bernina dealer in the densely populated state of North Dakota (located in Mandan), owns and operates the store Sewing Machines Plus! (not to be confused with a separate sewing machines plus website). The store offers a variety of fabrics, threads, sewing/embroidery systems, and serger machines as well as the long-arm quilting machines with friendly service and an inviting atmosphere. They also offer sewing classes to anyone who is interested and even rent the use of their long arm quilting machines located in their sewing studio, connected to the store. Their website is found here so stop by and check it out (again, the Mandan store is not to be confused with another SewingMachinesPlus.com website as the two stores are completely separate and do not tie into one another). If you have questions on product or services offered, shoot Jim or Angie an email or call the store. For a memorable conversation, if at all possible, swing on into the store as face to face communication is always so much more friendly and encouraging for all involved. Speaking with the owners and/or the employees offers a wider range of conversation and is surely to answer more of your questions plus actually seeing, touching, or even hands-on practice of the machines will definitely grab the interest of experienced quilters as well as those who are not so experienced but have a willingness to learn.
But, we didn’t make the trip all about business 🙂
We can’t possibly go to New Orleans without seeing and experiencing the city, known for its crawfish served in a variety of ways, music of the city: Jazz, and the infamous Bourbon street. The culture in the great state of Louisiana is quite simply amazing. The three of us (my father-in-law, my husband and I) were easily entertained during our stay. I’m sure you’ve heard of the most popular district in New Orleans – the French Quarter (Mardi Gras!). The atmosphere in the French Quarter was relaxing, expressive, and enjoyable. We even rode in a Pedi-Cab!
Other areas may not be as entertaining, but most certainly are just as fun to see, such as the Garden District which is like walking back in time. The “antebellum mansions” (http://www.neworleanscvb.com/visit/neighborhoods/garden-district/) are rich with history of Louisiana and are beautiful to look at. Sadly, these two districts are the only ones we were able to visit due to time constraints, but it’s a trip not soon to be forgotten. Our mode of transportation throughout our stay consisted of the trolley ride. I’ve never been on a trolley to get from one place to another so it was quite exciting for me. I boasted the unforgettable smile of the ever-popular kid in the candy store the whole time I was in New Orleans.
And the buildings, skyscrapers! Beauty. Creativity. Artistic abilities. All tied into one unforgettable city.
Another big bonus to me was the warmth. You see, I am from the south and currently (and for the better part of the last 20 years) live in the north. Being back in the south, among the trees, southern plant life, the people and yes, the heat was quite refreshing for me. I told my husband I could stay there forever, but ahh, here I am, back home with God’s greatest blessings, my children who we missed terribly throughout the trip. North Dakota is simply unbearable to me, but I love my kids and my husband which is reason enough for me to stay. It’s unfathomable to even think about leaving here since their (my husband and children) family ties are here, this is where I shall remain. It’s not to bad, but most definitely not my cup of tea.
OMGoodness, I can’t sign off without mentioning the fine Louisiana cuisine. My husband and I didn’t eat one single food that we normally eat at home (either home or out dining). For every meal, we tried a new dish. The foods are absolutely to die for. Some of the foods that we tried are right out of my childhood (a southerner by birth) that I haven’t eaten in years. Such foods include red beans and rice, grits (the hubby likes his with shrimp but I’m not a shrimp person so butter, milk and sugar is my choice for grits which is the way that mama made it when I was a kid), and boiled crawfish (I never ate these in my childhood so completely new to me but delicious!). And spicy! Louisianans definitely like their spice! They don’t call it Cajun food without reason 🙂 Much to my dismay, most places didn’t offer my drink of choice: Dr. Pepper! Since most southerners (at least all the ones I know) prefer Dr. Pepper when not enjoying a cold glass of sweet tea, I was quite perplexed and disappointed that DP was not a popular drink choice in many places we dined. Honestly, I was sad about this 😦
Oh, but I managed to enjoy the trip regardless.
As with any major city and/or tourist attraction, you can’t enjoy such a visit without engaging in a least one guided tour 🙂
Ours just so happened to be a paddle boat cruise on the third longest river in North America and the major river that flows through that part of the country, the mighty Mississippi aka “Big Muddy”. Riverboat Natchez carried us along the river and provided fine dining for those who paid the extra, a New Orleans history lesson, and entertainment with what else other than music that was created in N’Awlins: Jazz. I fell in LOVE with the music and who am I kidding, the city itself!
So, as promised, a few extra pictures from our visit:
As enjoyable as the trip was and as memorable as the experience of New Orleans will always be, my without-a-doubt, hands-down most favorite part of the trip was getting home to our little people. We were gone for almost a week that felt like months, years even. We were undoubtably happy to see our youngins and bring them their treasures we got while in N’Awlins.
The trip was fun and captivating, but home is where my heart is and will always be ♥♥♥